Thursday, March 2, 2017

How Do You Know by Meredith Schorr

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary break from her live-in boyfriend results in a breakup, Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0.

As Maggie reenters the New York City dating jungle, suitors present themselves quickly, but who is “The One?” Is he a sexy coworker, one of many bachelors at a speed-dating event, or is he the man she already set free? How do you know? Her fun-loving friends and supportive family, including meddlesome “no-filter” Aunt Helen, eagerly share their (often unsolicited) opinions, but Maggie is determined to find her own way, even if she falls on her face—repeatedly.

It boggles my mind that Aunt Helen insists on being a supporting player in my dating performance but takes only a backstage role in Cheryl’s trial separation. If I weren’t so loyal to Cheryl, I’d be tempted to tell Aunt Helen to worry about her own daughter’s floundering marriage and stay out of my love life.

“Of course he asked her out again. Who wouldn’t want to date my Maggie?” my mom says while beaming at me.

“Thanks, Mom,” I whisper.

“I never said Maggie wasn’t lovely. But why aren’t you sure you want to go out with him again?” Aunt Helen asks.

“I’m afraid I’m not emotionally available for another relationship yet,” I confess.

“Well, your biological clock is not going to wait for you to be ready. What if this man meets someone else? Aren’t there more single women than men in this city?”

“Mom,” Cheryl says in a warning tone.

Aunt Helen’s blue eyes widen. “Well, aren’t there?”

“I guess,” I mutter.

Cheryl mouths, “I’m sorry,” from across the table.

“Well, don’t shoot the messenger,” Aunt Helen says. “I was merely stating a fact. If this man fancies you, and you think he’s nice, don’t you think you should give him another chance before someone else catches his eye? Doug moved on. You should too.”

Since I can’t think of a valid reason not to—at least one good enough to satisfy my aunt—I elect on the spot to go out with Ben again.

Some say peer pressure is the biggest motivator for people to do things they aren’t sure they want to do. I say those people never met my Aunt Helen.

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