We first spoke with Neenah Pickett in the very beginning of her 52-week journey to find a husband. Now, nearly two months into her love quest, she gives us an exclusive update on what it's really like to be on the hunt for a life-long companion. The 42-year-old tells ESSENCE.com exactly how many dates she's been on, her most embarrassing moments and whether she's still as optimistic as she started.
ESSENCE.COM: How have these first few weeks been for you on your 52-week journey to find a husband?
NEENAH PICKETT: This week has been slow, which I've been grateful for because the past five weeks have been busy. It's been interesting going through this process. It's not what I thought it would be—not in a good way or bad way but just very different . Since there was so much attention surrounding it, I didn't realize how many people were going to take notice. I was getting a little overwhelmed and I wasn't focusing on what the goal of what I needed to which was meeting a great guy. Even though it's been crazy, busy and fun, it's been a lot of work.
ESSENCE.COM: How many dates have you been on so far?
PICKETT: I've been on 10 dates now. I'd say half of them came through the profiles that were submitted through my Web site and along with the Web site, I've signed up on dating Web sites and I've met guys from those sites as well. I'm encouraged to see that there are men out there. I haven't found him but for all of my single sisters out there, there are men out there that are looking to commit, who are normal, smart, funny guys.
ESSENCE.COM: Have you had any funny experiences?
PICKETT: Somehow, I got all of these women from the Philippines sending in their profiles because they thought it was a regular dating Web site. I was just like, wait a minute, wrong place ladies (laughs). Another thing was, because I was getting so many profiles so soon, I would forget who was who all the time. I felt really bad the times I may have called one guy by a different name. Or I might've thought I was going on a date with one guy, but another one showed up and I got mixed up because I was getting so many (laughs).
ESSENCE.COM: So, it's working in all sorts of ways! What's your forecast for the rest of the journey?
PICKETT: When I first started I was very optimistic and as I continue I'm still as optimistic. I feel positive that there are men out there who find me attractive, aren't intimidated by me and have the desire to get married. It has put me in the position to be more social. I think that plays a big role as well in terms of whom you meet. You have to be out there and meet guys and I put myself in that position because of this Web site and so I think it is going to happen.
ESSENCE.COM: That's great! Do you have any new dating tips to share with men and women since you've been on all these dates?
PICKETT: The biggest thing that I've learned is to make the decision to enjoy myself. I've gone on some of these dates where I could tell right away that I wasn't feeling anything. Yet I was determined to have a good time. Even if the guy is a jerk, you can choose to have a good time. Don't go out there with high expectations thinking that you're going to meet "The One", especially with the first date. Even if you do meet him, you probably won't know it on the first date. Present yourself in the most positive light possible and whatever happens, happens.