Foibles of a Renaissance Woman
By Laura J. Bagby
think I have finally learned my lesson.
A couple of years ago I was in a rut. I found myself doing the same things
with the same people and not meeting any new, eligible men, so I began
searching for interesting activities where I might meet my match.
The question I kept asking myself was, Where do all the never-married
men in their late 20s and early 30s hang out? They couldn't all
be sitting at home watching ballgames, or spending endless hours
climbing the corporate ladder, or--God forbid--spending time chugging
down a few too many at the local bar. Good, decent, fun-to-be-with
Christian men must go other places than home, church, the laundromat,
the local video store, and the grocery store.
I began my quest with the brilliant idea of taking horseback riding lessons.
It was something I never did as a child because my parents didn't have much
disposable income. I pictured being athletic and outdoorsy, riding skillfully
with the man of my dreams.
I told my plan to one of my co-workers. He nicknamed me a "Renaissance woman,"
because at the time I was also trying to learn Spanish via audiocassette and
I was toying with the idea of taking cooking lessons all while pursuing my
I liked that, Renaissance woman. It had such a noble air to it, so admirable,
so mysterious. I was sold on the idea.
I trotted out to the local ranch with much anticipation. As I drove up, I
saw smiling, rambunctious youngsters, not the tall, handsome men I had dreamed
of. I didn't think anything of it. Sure, there would be the moms with their
kids. After all, a lot of folks do learn these skills early in life. But somehow
I hadn't been clued in--until I arrived at my class. No joke, there was a
room full of 9-year-old girls, some giggly, some demure, some nervous, some
boastful. But good gracious, ALL 9-year-olds? So much for Mr. Right!
Then and there I realized lesson number one: Don't pursue
any activity, even one you think you will enjoy, with the main
motive of meeting an eligible member of the opposite sex. You
might be sorely disappointed.
Unfortunately, I forgot that lesson.
About a year later, I got the itch to do some serious hiking, both for the
exercise and the opportunity to meet a potential mate. I scanned the Internet
for a hiking club in my area. I was thrilled to find one that had reasonable
fees and something going on just about every week. Cool, I thought.
People in this club like to have fun. I should check it out.
I paid my dues before ever attending a meeting, which was not
the wisest thing to do. If I had followed principle number two,
which is to always check out a new endeavor in person
before spending money, I would have realized that I was
headed for another hilarious situation.
Because of recurring sickness and car trouble, I couldn't make the meetings,
but I kept up to date by reading the club newsletter. I learned how best to
handle bears, read about the various hiking trails open to my adventuresome
spirit, and dreamed about venturing off to the club cabin. I also learned
this club was responsible for repairing and maintaining portions of the Appalachian
trial. Being a nature buff and a conservationist, I was quite impressed with
what this club had to offer.
At last, I had a free night and dependable transportation to get to the meeting
so that I could sign up for a hike. My roommate looked at my quixotically
when I told her I was on my way to a retirement center downtown. I just figured
they held their event there because it was cheaper or because it was more
centrally located for members or perhaps because they had connections to that
They had connections all right! I walked into the retirement center with
several elderly-looking men and women. I thought they might be going to a
pottery class, not to the hiking club, since retirement centers have lots
of other activities going on simultaneously. Then it happened. I walked into
the wooden-floored auditorium and scoped the place -- almost all were gray-haired
That is when I learned lesson three: Watch for clues
that this activity might not be what you expected.
To be fair, I did enjoy a very fascinating story about the antics of polar
bears in a remote winter tourist trap in Canada, complete with an old-fashioned
slide presentation. Once again, my time wasn't completely wasted. However,
I was mortified to be the youngest person there.
As another brilliant idea, I decided to take a vacation to attend a conference
in North East, Maryland, to learn about the various personalities. Although
I mainly went to improve my work and personal relationships, in the back of
my mind, there was that same niggling thought that at last I would come face
to face with my future husband. Over dinner, we would discuss what we had
learned, discover that our personalities were complementary, and begin a lasting
I had a fabulous time at the conference meeting some great women
and nice married men, enjoying having all my meals cooked
for me, and finding pleasure in walking along the bay and praying.
But single men... are you kidding?!
I have learned that there is nothing wrong with trying new things; I just
need to leave my ulterior motives at home.
When I finally do meet Mr. Right, my guess is it won't be while pursuing
my Renaissance lifestyle. Nope. I will be dashing into the video store to
pay a late fee, or grabbing a gallon of milk at the grocery store, or getting
a prescription filled, and then it will happen. With no makeup on, my hair
up in a messy ponytail, and garbed in sweatpants and a T-shirt, I will turn
and suddenly lock eyes with Mr. Wonderful. For some inexplicable reason, he
will like me just as I am--Renaissance woman or not. All my pursuits and all
my efforts won't matter. Now, isn't that the way it is supposed to be?
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