“Dating in the city takes its toll,” writes investment banker and first-time writer McLaughlin in this yearlong chronicle of Friday night dates.
After the end of a long relationship, an uncle points McLaughlin toward getting a life: “Girl, you’re young, bright, and beautiful. You need to get over that trifling Negro and get on with it.” Which isn’t to say that the blind date he sets her up with is the answer: “the details emerged about his failed attempt to kill his father, wiretapping his ex-wife’s phone, and hiring a private investigator to track her down.” End of date number one; there will be a year’s worth more, including Mr. Right Now (“I have attachment issues,” he says) and Mr. Identity Merger (“The only surrendering I’m doing is to God and French fries,” McLaughlin says). She doesn’t let appearances get in the way—“The jeans hanging off his ass and Timberlands made him look like he was a week away from an orange jumpsuit”—but, then again, sometimes they do: “Did he think that B.O. was some sort of aphrodisiac?” She learns to “read the clues we ignore at our peril,” like the guy wiping his mouth on the restaurant tablecloth. Sometimes the clues bite her on the ankle: Says one date, “I could see myself marrying you if you got a boob job and dropped another twenty pounds.” Fortunately, the author has good advice, both from her uncle (“He’ll show up when you stop bullshittin’ yourself and go situate yourself”) and her grandmother (“Everybody’s got to roll around the floor one time real good”). Fortunately, also, she has a handful of good friends.
Tart and quick. “Finding Prince Charming can mean kissing a lot of toads—not to mention some wicked cold sores.” It can also mean a lot of good stories.