A daughter of a family friend recently remarried. Although I don't really know her (other than following her on social media, seeing her on stage and screen), I am told I am very much like her (which is a compliment because she's AMAZING.) - sort of a consummate romantic, very sensitive, passionate, very bright (I appreciate that one because given many of my decisions of late, I don't feel so smart...) In any case, this was her third marriage. I should mention, she's an actor - award winning, ridiculously talented, hilarious and of course stunningly beautiful actor. Younger than me and way taller. Total girl crush material.
I get anecdotal stories from her parents, who of course are very proud of her, but also worry for her happiness and well being, as most adoring parents do. I don't know much about the first husband other than he was a well-known musician, but the second sounded like a nightmare. Of course, the relationship didn't start out that way, it just ended that way. He is also an actor. And as the marriage was ending and being litigated, from the stories, it sounded like she was not in a great place, emotionally. Who would be? Divorce sucks. I offered a few legal suggestions here and there when asked. Of course, with the amazing support system she has with her mom and dad and sister, she made it through.
And then she met "Benjamin" (not his real name). Ben is a "civilian," meaning not in show business. He is a normal guy with a normal job. But I think what draws me to their story is her willingness to share much of it in interviews and through social media. From everything I've read, everything I've seen and everything I've been told, "Ben" is the real deal. Kind, romantic, compassionate, caring, supportive. He doesn't compete with her for the love and admiration of critics or the audience. That is probably an important element to a successful relationship - their professional worlds are not the same. I have a theory about why many Hollywood marriages fail when both parties are actors, directors, etc...- ego. When one career is up and one star is rising (usually hers) and the other is down (his), these marriages tend to fall apart. Cases in point: Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, Hillary Swank and Chad Lowe...just to name a few. After Oscars for the women, divorce followed.
Regardless of my unscientific theory, Benjamin has helped her find so much joy. She is over the moon in love and terribly happy. (*sigh) He is so proud of her - not because of what she is, but who she is. There is a big difference and I am just learning that now. And even better, he is not afraid to tell the world just how amazing he believes she is.
In speaking to her mom, I started wondering where I could find a Benjamin of my own. He sounds wonderful and like a breath of fresh air. Everyone loves him - mom, dad, sister, grandma...With the same marriage track record of my friend's celebrity daughter, I wonder if that's what we had to go through to find the right "one?" Third time's a charm? We're more mature (sort of), more grounded, have a better understanding of who we are and what we need? Is that how a Benjamin comes into your life? When you least expect him but when you need him most?
And in finding her Benjamin, her career has exploded again. So much critical acclaim, so many opportunities to shine. As I said, I don't know her - met her in passing once or twice over the last 19 years, never had a substantial conversation with her (although, sometimes she likes my Tweets, which makes me feel cool) - but knowing that we have so much in common, I am so happy for her and hopeful for myself that my Benjamin will find me. Very obviously, when you are with a person who isn't afraid to hold you up, cheer for you and adore you, your soul is able to feel fulfilled. You feel alive and strong and capable of anything when you have a true partner. That is who Ben seems to be.
For all of my "I don't need anyone in my life" bravado, the simple truth is, we all need love and we all need someone to share life with. And don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to pick out China patterns tomorrow. (Side issue: do people still do that? Do people still register for China? Who uses fine China? Get a grip young people - are you throwing a party for the Vanderbilts? Save your money for things that you really need like wine).
I just want someone to go to the movies with, who thinks my jokes are funny (they are, like really funny), someone who is kind and helpful. Someone who is real, open and isn't afraid to be honest - who isn't afraid of feelings. Someone who will understand my weirdness, appreciate it and celebrate it. Someone who isn't afraid to speak from the heart. Someone who will surprise me because he knows I am impossible to surprise. Someone who isn't going to judge me for the way I've chosen to live my life to this point.
And let's not rush anything, please - there will be no man toothbrushes in my home anytime soon. (Gross.)
I know my standards are high. I get it. But he's out there. He has to be because I'm here, hoping. And when we find each other, I might just keep him a secret for a while. My own private Benjamin.
I've been spinning my wheels for a long time hoping for impossible things to happen because I am that consummate romantic. I've walked around half heart-broken for too long - it's painful and unhealthy to live like that and I don't want to anymore. Not that I have wasted my time; I haven't. I may have already experienced the time of my life and had the love of my life, but it doesn't mean there isn't more to find. And throwing in the towel now isn't the answer. There is so much more life to live. As my summer anthem tells me: "Make a move, roll the dice..." I'm ready to step off the curb and take a chance.
So if you are Benjamin or you know Benjamin, shoot me a text. Don't bother calling me; everyone knows I rarely answer my phone.