The 50 First Date Project: Like the Bachlorette, but a Blog and Classy

I may not be Drew Barrymore, but in the movie called "My Life," I'm still the leading lady

One girl, 50 First Dates — it’s the kind of thing only attempted in a Kate Hudson or Drew Barrymore movie.

I’m neither Kate Hudson nor Drew Barrymore, but in the movie called “My Life,” I’m the charmingly quirky leading lady who is perpetually single, frequently comic, rarely dramatic, and always up for a challenge.

One girl, 50 First Dates — it sounds like an act of desperation.

I prefer to think of it as part-ironic critique of today’s process of finding a mate, part-viable alternative to online dating or a friend’s/family member’s/co-worker’s ill-fated match-making plans…and part-cure for writer’s block.

So, what is the 50 First Date Project and how does it work?

Let’s face it, sometimes the First Date is the best date of any relationship.

What: The 50 First Date Project will become a sub-column within They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband as I meet selected Candidates for first drinks, first dinners, and first adventures. Think a literary version of the Bachlorette, but hopefully with less trash and more real-world insights into the way we date and fall in love now. Candidates don’t have to be potential Prince Charmings — potential date disasters are, in fact, encouraged to apply.

Who is the Candidate applying to have a first date with? Meet Me here.

Candidate Criteria*: Know or are a single guy between the ages of 25 and 40 who lives in the NYC metro area and searching for love? Think he/you will provide an entertaining first date story? Then apply to be a candidate for a First Date using the form below!

The application is considered incomplete until receipt of at least one tasteful photo, which should be emailed with the Candidate’s name/method of contact in the subject heading to: theytoldmetofindrichhusband@gmail.com.

* Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Men seeking a one-night stand should look to Craigslist. 2nd dates or steady relationships are not automatically ruled out by the mission statement of this project.  In the event that one of these first dates turns into something significant, the project will go on hiatus. Not every first date will be documented on They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband. No real names or identifying photos will appear in any 50 First Date Project related posts.

And Here We were Worried About Tsunamis on our Vacation

We were heading into tsunami zone. Little did we realize there was more to worry about at home

“You realize you’re heading straight into the heart of tsunami country,” my mother warned when we finalized our bookings for a family vacation to Tofino, British Columbia.

Tofino is a small town perched on Clayquot Sound, on the far west coast of Vancouver Island. In March 2011, when we were starting to consider the area as the celebration site of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, there was a tsunami warning. People were evacuated. My mother thought twice.

“There’s only one road out of the town — the road along the coast. Oh! And there could be an earthquake!”

Nevertheless, we decided that the first growth rainforests and the pounding pacific, ideal for sea-kayaking and surfing, were worth the risk of a tsunami. But my mother packed her flippers, just in case.

The night before we left, I wrote a note to a friend: “Providing my kayak doesn’t get flipped by a whale, I don’t end up in a back brace after my intensive yoga retreat, or my surfboard doesn’t get swept out to sea, I should be back by Aug. 27. We’ll catch up then!”

I was more worried about my surf board being swept out into the Pacific than a hurricane back home

In all the things we tried to prepare for, it never occurred to us that we’d have to leave the earthquake and hurricane survival kits at home for our house sitters. Even though we’ve had numerous flights cancelled due to inclement weather, it never occurred to us we’d be stranded on the far, far west coast because of a storm named Irene.

It’s true that there is only one road that cuts through the heart of Vancouver Island, taking people from the more populated cities on the east coast to the rugged, untamed, ancient west coast. If you want to get from Nanimo and Tofino, you have to traverse 125 miles of narrow, winding asphalt with a maximum speed limit of about 40 mph.

To get to that road, you have to take a 2 hour ferry from Vancouver.

To get to Vancouver from New York, you have to fly 3,000 miles.

This storm looked pretty serious, and we're stuck 3,000 miles from home

Basically, to once again quote my mother, if we’re in Tofino and something happens back at the ranch, “we can do fuck all.” But what were the odds that something would happen back home and we’d have to hurry back? Small, surely. And then Brian called to tell us about the hurricane baring down on New York.

For the first time in 10 days, we flicked on the television and logged on the internet. Panic quickly followed. Our flight was cancelled. There’s no way home until Tuesday. What will happen to the old willows by the stream, with their short roots and their overgrown limbs? What about the dogs? Will Brian and Cliff be able to find the leashes?

While the boys are readying the yard, removing anything that could become a projectile, and battening down the hatches, I’m sitting on a bench in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, catching my breath after a 12k run and taking in the sunshine. The sail boats pass by and the there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

From my bench in Stanley Park, it's a glorious day in Vancouver.

Let’s Play “I’m Going on Vacation and I’m Bringing…”

Venturing to exotic locales with your friends is one of the given perks of traveling.

Escaping la vie quotidienne and venturing to new locales are the reasons why we travel. Self-education and the temptation of exotic shopping sprees are also known motivates. But traveling has many other frequently over-looked side benefits — you might call them collateral damage, or perhaps necessary evils.

Packing requires decision making.

For my summer 2011 vacation, my family and I are heading to the North West Coast. The weather is changeable, the scenery is transcendent, and the lodgings are frontier. This is not a bikini and a coverup kind of suitcase. This is a fully-loaded, be-prepared-for-all-seasons kind of packing job.

Several of the things in the pile above need to go into the empty suitcase below... laundry time!

I’ll need to decide on one of everything.

But before I can make decisions, I have to know what I’m making decisions among. Which often means doing a load or two of laundry and putting clothes away so I can remember what’s in my closet to begin with. Finally, I’ll be able to see my bedroom floor.

After you’ve made decisions, you need to go shopping.

Now that I know what I have to take with me, I can make of the list of what’s missing and mend the gaps. An all-terrain, itinerary-packed vacation is a “finally buy the things you need to buy but have put off buying” kind of vacation.

New running shoes. Check.

Hiking sock liners. Check.

Bug repellant. Check.

Field binoculars. Check.

Sleep romper. Check. (Not really on my “need-to-buy” list, but I figured since I’m traveling with people, my usual sheets-only sleep wear would be inappropriate.)

This is really not how you want to look in your vacation photos. Better make an appointment with your stylist

Vacations force you get cleaned up.

You never know who you’ll meet while traveling away from home. Likewise, the last thing you want are vacation photos where you look like the Bride of Frankenstein.

Extra innings at the gym. Haircut. Highlights. Manicure. Pedicure. Bikini wax. Restylane. Fresh bottle of foundation. New mascara: Whatever you need to look refreshed and fit when you get there.

You have to get your sh*t in order.

Wrapping up projects at work. Refilling prescriptions for your seasonal asthma medication. Paying down credit card bills so you can fill ’em back up again. Removing expired foodstuffs from your pantry. Mowing the lawn. Trimming the hedges. Updating your Final Will and Testament to include appropriate custodians for your pets.

While it would be nice to just say “tahellwithit!” and run away with life strew about, there’s nothing worse than coming home from vacation to a mess bigger than what you left behind.