by Erin Ann McBride from Meridian Magazine

He walked right in like he was walking onto a yacht.

He winked at me, but spoke to my friend. Their conversation carried on. She was animated and engaged in what he had to say. I could quickly see she was interested in him.

He was tall, with broad shoulders, a full head of hair, a cleft in his chin, and he wore a fancy, expensive suit. He flashed a perfect smile with gleaming white teeth that nearly twinkled under the harsh fluorescent lights. All in all, a very attractive man by most standards.

There was no question about it, he thought he was heaven’s gift to women.

Me? From the winks he tossed my direction, the way he unabashedly checked me out while faking a conversation with my girlfriend, I had exactly one thought- Gaston!

GastonFrom my vantage point (approximately 12 inches below his hairy nostrils), he was full of himself. I failed to be impressed.

He never took his eyes off me. He made my friend laugh a high-tinkling laugh. He never spoke to me. He walked off without so much as verbally acknowledging my existence. I didn’t mind. One can only assume that when I failed to throw myself at his perfectly polished shoes he lost interest. Or maybe I did not meet his impeccable standards of beauty and perfection. Possibly both. Either way, I didn’t mind. Gaston was never my type.

(Are you singing this song in your head now too? It’s okay. Join me in a rousing Disney singalong won’t you?)

“AND HE’S ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF A BARGE!”

Okay, seriously though, he was especially good at expectorating!

Okay, maybe not.

I’m enjoying myself too much here. Time to get serious.

It was my first Sunday back in a singles ward in over 8 years. And that is when it hit me. I have a problem on my hands. And it wasn’t just that I felt like an 8 point buck in a wide open clearing on the first day of hunting season. Or that Gaston hadn’t taken a shot at me.

It was that I really wanted to come home and write a column mocking Gaston. But I knew I shouldn’t.

My life has changed considerably since the last time I wrote this column. Back then, oh so long ago, (what has it been, about 4 weeks?) I was unemployed and living in rural southern Virginia. But then, out of the blue, and after 3 years of job hunting, it all changed. I got a job, I moved, and I joined a singles ward.

Gasp! A singles ward! A social life! Single, eligible men to meet and have intelligent conversations with! Female, single friends to chat and do lunch with! I can barely contain myself! No more life on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere living life as a Mormon nun! I can meet people again!!

And that, my friends, is why I must leave you. All these good things are why I must cap my pen and hang up my hat. For the sake of my reputation and to prevent gossip, rumor-mongering, evildoings, whispers, and outright vain and ridiculous assumptions that I might be writing about someone in my own ward, it is for the best that I resign this column.

Oh, I will still be around Meridian. In fact, I have an entirely new type of column coming to you starting soon! I just won’t be writing about dating and singles anymore. My social life just can’t handle it. (Or the social life I soon hope to have that is.) I can’t risk writing about Gaston, and whether or not his ascot was apricot, and alienating all 100 men in my new ward, when I only meant to mock one.

But while we are still on the subject of dating, singles, and Gaston, let’s just say this one last thing, and be over it.

A Few Parting Thoughts from the Mormon Nun to Her Fellow Singletons

Love is nothing like what you will find in the movies, books (not even the romance novels I write- although I did try to be somewhat realistic about modern dating, but even then, how often do millionaire TV stars fall in love with the everyday normal girl next door? It’s called fiction for a reason. It just isn’t real.), or even love songs.

Hollywood, Nashville, and the publishers of Madison Avenue have been lying to us from the days we were born.

That being said, the truth is right in front of us if and when we are ready to hear it. And to illustrate that point with just a hint of humor and irony, I share my parting thoughts with you, accompanied by some of my favorite movie clips.

Men, women want to like you. All it takes is sincerity, kindness, confidence, and the right approach. Those 4 things will get any man a date with any woman. Of course, the trick is figuring out the right approach. And since that changes from woman to woman and minute to minute, I cannot tell you what that is. But every woman has one. And if you take the time to genuinely get to know her you won’t fail. And lest you think you can fake it, trust me when I say every woman alive has a radar that can sense false sincerity. But she’ll fall for the sincere guy who treats her like a queen every time.

Women, if there is anything I have learned from writing this column it is that men want to like you, but sometimes you just make it too difficult for them. In spite of everything we want to think, men are not complicated creatures. They are visual (so yes, looks matter), simple, and not prone to elaborate displays of emotion, nor are they prone to elaborate methods of hiding and/or showing their feelings. Take everything they say and do at face value, and don’t make it more complicated than that. If he is 50 years old and only likes to look at 30 year old blonds, no number of homemade dinners or plates of cookies will break him of that. If he hasn’t called you in three weeks, it isn’t because he’s trying to make you miss him, or accidentally left his phone in an elevator in Vancouver. It means he isn’t going to call. Men are simple creatures. Women are not.

Male or female, true love does not look like anything you have read in a book or seen in a movie. As much as we wish it resembled a love scene from the “Princess Bride,” it just doesn’t.

(Although I admit, many of my first dates have felt like this scene from the “Princess Bride.”)

Falling in love should be enjoyable. If it isn’t, well, then, it isn’t that you are doing it wrong. It means you aren’t falling in love.

I’ve enjoyed writing this column, and I suspect I’ll miss writing it as well. But like I said, you aren’t getting rid of me that fast. I’ll be back in a different format soon.

Until then- happy dating and best of luck to all of you in your quest for love and companionship!

Erin Ann McBride is a writer, dreamer, and single woman. By day she works in marketing, and by night she hunts unicorns and writes romantic novels, “You Heard It Here First,” and the sequel “This Just In!” (Both free this week on Amazon!) And somewhere in the middle, she runs www.MormonBooksandAuthors.com. And if you really want to keep on her social life, you can always find her at the Story of a Nice Mormon Girl.