Am I ever going to meet "The One?" Will I be single for the rest of my life? What am I doing wrong? These questions and others like them can be heard during a girls' night out in Anytown, U.S.A. Beyoncé's hit song has sparked a craze, with single ladies everywhere longing for Mr. Right to "put a ring on it." But how far would you go to find that mate? Well, meet Neenah Pickett, a 42-year-old single woman who's taking marriage matters into her own hands. Pickett is putting her pride aside and publicly announcing to the world her desire to find a man with the launch of her Web site, 52weeks2findhim.com. She's made a New Year's resolution that she's determined to keep: to find a husband within a year. From blogging to taking polls on the best places to meet guys, Pickett is doing whatever it takes to reach her goal. With the help of friends and family, the New Jersey-based media consultant will choose the crème de la crème from men who will submit their video profiles through her site, giving a whole new meaning to the term "Internet dating."
Only a few days into 2009, the self-professed go-getter already has dates lined up and is ready to mingle and meet her groom. Though her approach may seem far-fetched to most, Pickett has no doubt that this will be her year to wed. The adventurous Capricorn took a break from her love quest to chat with ESSENCE.com about her inspiration for 52weeks2findhim.com, past dates gone wrong, and what will happen if she can't find a husband in 12 months.
ESSENCE.COM: We want to know what you have up your sleeve. What is your master plan to meet a husband in 52 weeks?
NEENAH PICKETT: My master plan is to go out on dates! That's what I think I've been sorely missing. I just haven't gotten responses from guys in the past couple of years. I really stepped up my game in a big way. I've gotten over 100 e-mails from guys [since I launched the site]. I have three [dates] scheduled so far and I'm really excited.
ESSENCE.COM: Are you ready for all of these dates? You're going to be exhausted.
PICKETT: (Laughs.) I will be exhausted, but I think it'll be a good exhaustion. I'm so excited that I won't be exhausted from thinking about somebody else's career or company. I'll be exhausted focusing on my own personal pursuits and what's important to me. That's a good kind of exhaustion; the kind that when you go to bed at night and you can sleep well from.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you think this strategy will scare any men off because of the pressure to commit?
PICKETT: I think that one of my best qualities is that I have an adventurous spirit and I think that's a quality I'll look for in a man. If something like this does scare them off, then okay. Everyone's not going to be a good fit for me and some will not find this approach appealing. I wish everyone the best. The goal for me is to find people who are compatible with me. If I scare a few men off in the process, that's okay.
ESSENCE.COM: You seem very open-minded, but what is one type of guy you've vowed to stay completely away from?
PICKETT:The drama kings (laughs). I don't like drama. I'm pretty easygoing and I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I choose to work my way through challenges and I need someone who's going to be that way. You live your life and there are certain things that happen to you that are out of your control but you do have control over how you view those things and respond to them. I need someone who's going to build me up and not drag me down with a lot of drama.
ESSENCE.COM: What have your relationships been like in the past?
PICKETT: I've only had a couple of serious relationships. The one that was most recent was on and off again with a guy that I was dating for four years. On the "on again" part, our relationship stepped up and we'd talked about marriage. But once we started to make plans, we both realized that he didn't want to get married. He wasn't the type of guy who wanted to get married. He was willing to do so because he didn't want to lose me, but I knew if that happened two years from now, he would probably have backed out then too. I'm glad it ended when it ended.
ESSENCE.COM: What makes Neenah Pickett a catch?
PICKETT: I think one of my best attributes is that I really do see the glass as half full. I'm an optimist, I'm adventurous and I have this natural curiosity. I can sit down with anybody and just listen to their story. I love to hear people's story. I think it makes me a more interesting person when I earnestly want to learn about other people. I think I'm fun and easygoing.
ESSENCE.COM: We're all rooting for you, but if after 52 weeks you don't find a husband...what's next?
PICKETT:Obviously I'll be disappointed. I think at that point I will need a year off from dating. But I think I'll really want to take a year off and reflect on my life, what it is and what I want it to be. To be honest, I've taken a year off from dating and not by choice-just because no one had asked me out, so it doesn't sound like that bad of a thing for me. I'm a go-getter and I don't like the idea of sitting still, but I've been in that situation before where I haven't dated in a year and I survived it. Hopefully I won't get to that point.