I swear, the strangest things happen to me. I was standing in line at Wal-Mart last week, casually flipping through the latest Hollywood gossip and trying in vain to understand why “20 items or less” never means 20 items or less when a woman accidentally bumped her buggy into me. She quickly apologized and we began a random conversation like only true Southerners can do in Wal-mart at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night. As we were talking, she abruptly stopped me and asked “Honey, can I pray for you?” It’s been my experience that 9 out of 10 times that request is asked with good intentions but I still have that reflex where I feel as if I’ve been insulted for a moment. But, being a good little Southern Baptist, I said “Of course” and thanked her for her offer. I didn’t know she meant right then and there. She came over to me, laid her hands on my head and began praying, very very loudly, for all the world and the people in the next 15 lanes to hear that God send me a man. Yes, really. Let me paint a picture for you. I’m in yoga pants and a t-shirt, bare minimum make-up and my blonde hair that is in dire need of a root touch up is pulled back in a ponytail. The woman is easily three times my size, in a bright purple suit, purple hat and white gloves. I’m having several thoughts at this moment. The first is obvious and complete mortification followed quickly by the belief that this has to be a joke before moving into acceptance and realizing that yes, this really is happening to me. Then panic sets in as I realize that five minutes into this prayer, we’re still going strong and my ice cream is turning to soup on the conveyor belt. But then I heard the deep conviction in her voice and realized that this woman was genuinely concerned for me. It was the darndest thing but as she stood there praying, she repeated over and over for God to send me “an honest man full of virtue.” When she finished praying, the patted me on my head and wheeled her buggy away like a drive by praying. I’m still not sure what the heck happened but what I took away from that experience is just how important it is to women to have an honest man in our lives that we can trust.
When I first got back into the dating game I met an unbelievably sexy man at a bar. Lesson number one, my future husband isn’t bellying up to the local beer joint downtown. But that’s another story. I met this man and over the course of the evening, I told him about my sweet Prinny. He told me that he too had a daughter and we spent the next hour talking about our girls. We left the bar and went to Waffle House where he continued to gush about his little girl, even showing me her picture on his phone. We exchanged numbers and I was honestly excited about the idea of seeing this man again. The day I was gushing about him to a male friend of mine when he realized he knew the man I was talking about but he seemed confused about one teeny tiny detail. My friend insisted that this man did not have a child. I swore up and down that yes, he most certainly did and vowed to ask him about it over dinner that night. Well lo and behold, turns out my friend knew a thing or two. We’re sitting over dinner and I jokingly mention the conversation I had had with our mutual friend earlier in the day. The guy looked me dead in the eye and said “Yeah…about that….I don’t really have a kid. I just thought it would give us more in common.” Um. Beg pardon? My reaction was somewhere between shock and disgust and I quickly left, never speaking with him again. But driving home that night I realized just how hard good men are to find. Genuine, honest men, who would never dream of hurting a woman or lying to push their own agenda.
Over the course of years of dating, women gradually build a list or a series of ideals that they long for in a partner, a manifesto if you will. When you’re younger that list includes things like having a hot car or a fake ID. The older we get, the more that list evolves as we learn what works for us and what doesn’t. The superficial things pass away and instead we long for a man of substance and character; the size of his bank account and that summer house on the lake don’t matter as much if he doesn’t have the personality and substance to back it up. In addition to those things, I’ve learned that I need a man that makes me feel safe. I don’t mean as a protector, the .38 in my purse suggests that I can take care of myself just fine but I need a man that will safe keep my heart. Cheesy, yes, but I’m finding that to be true more and more everyday. I want a man that I know is faithful only to me, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I want a man that I can trust with my innermost secret, thoughts, fears and desires and know that he will hold those in his heart, making them his. I long for that quiet companionship that comes only from decades of raising babies, juggling finances and late night whispered conversations in the dark. I could go on and on as I have been known to do on occasion but in order to achieve those things for myself, I need to be with a partner who values those things just as much as I do. Over these past years I’ve learned that the good men are hard to find but that just makes it all the more special when you do meet a man that not only meets your expectations, but exceeds them. Maybe the woman in Wal-Mart was right and I do need a good prayin’ over but I am thankful for her and her prayers. I don’t know who is he, where he is or when we’ll meet but I know if that woman has anything to do with it, he’ll be an honest man full of virtue. I can only hope she’s praying for him too, whomever he may be.