| How Rachel met her husband: |
I've always been a practical, organized person-- both in life and in love. Sure, I believe in romance, but I think romance is something that comes AFTER you meet a wonderful partner-- not necessarily in the search for him. Searching for the guy with whom you're going to spend the rest of your life is serious business. When I was single and dating in my late 20's, I knew I wanted to get married and have kids while fertility was still in my favor, so I didn't waste time. I made dating my number one priority.
With my Harvard Business School training ingrained in me, I did in the dating world what came naturally to me in the business world. These steps are described in detail in my first book, Find a Husband After 35: I focused on my "priority," found a "mentor," improved my "packaging," sought "exit interview" feedback, expanded my "market," created my "personal brand," "advertised" my brand, focused on "niche marketing," "guerrilla marketing," "mass marketing," and "telemarketing." I eventually arrived at what is now known as Step #12, "Event Marketing:" hosting a 'Program Party.'
I was living in Boston at the time, and decided to create a big event which could ultimately lead to meeting my future husband. The event would enable me to do three things: network with other women who could eventually introduce me to other people, broaden my circle of friends, and meet new men directly. A 'Program Party,' as I call it, is no ordinary party. This was a carefully crafted networking event to meet a man with whom I could envision spending the rest of my life, or someone who could eventually introduce me to that man.
I worked hard on the guest list. Each person was invited according to my established set of criteria: 1) A woman with a large circle of friends, 2) A woman with a husband or boyfriend who had a large circle of friends, 3) An interesting man, 4) A man with interesting friends or large network, or 5) An ex-boyfriend or ex-date with potentially interesting friends.
One person I targeted for my invitation list was a guy named Jon. He was the roommate of one of my ex-boyfriends from three years earlier. Jon was very social and knew a lot of people in Boston. He was currently attending Harvard Business School, and as I looked up his phone number in the school publication, I saw a name that rang a bell listed alphabetically next to him. This other guy was named Brad, and I realized that I had once spoken to him a year earlier on the phone during a business call. I remembered liking his voice, but then I had looked up his photo in a business directory (these were pre-Internet days!), and had thought he was not anyone to whom I could be attracted. (Classic mistake: believing that photos are an accurate indicator of in-person physical attraction! Photos are either better or worse, but rarely accurate).
So when I invited Jon to my party, I asked him if he was friendly with his classmate Brad. When he said yes, I asked him if he would bring Brad to my party, and tell Brad to also bring any other friends he thought might be interesting. I figured that even though I wouldn't be attracted to Brad (according to the photo I had seen), he might have appealing friends.
My party planning continued, and I worked hard to secure all the details. The night of the big event finally arrived, and I was standing in the entry hall of my apartment, chatting with guests as they came in. I'll never forget that exact moment when Brad walked through the door. I recognized him, but he looked completely different from the photo I had seen in the directory. I was immediately drawn to him and our eyes locked.
Much to my chagrin, Brad had brought a woman with him that night to my party. But he and I talked alone at various points during the party, and I was completely smitten with him. I hoped the feeling was mutual, but didn't know the status of his relationship with the woman who had accompanied him. When the party ended, Brad left with a simple "good-bye" (no mention of seeing me again).
I spent two miserable days wondering if Brad would ever call and ask me out. So, I got on the phone with my Mentor and we created a backup plan. I was just about to use my "one rule-breaker move" and call our mutual friend Jon to invite him and Brad to a dinner party (I would then host a dinner party only if they could both attend), when Brad called me first to ask me out the following Saturday night. I still remember that phone call vividly, and how my stomach was doing flips all week waiting for that much anticipated first date.
Brad and I have been happily married now for 17 years and have three great children. BUT, I don't believe you can ever truly know if someone is "the One", not on the first date, and not even on the wedding date! I had some serious doubts and fears on my wedding day, and you read all about that in an article I wrote called "The Odds Couple" which explains my belief that marriage is always a gamble (even for a professional matchmaker herself)!