“You should get a matchmaker,” one of my sisters recommended. “It hasn’t come to that!” I scoffed back.

That was over a year and several dozen (hundred?) failed dates and tear-filled tissues ago. It has since come to that.

I’ve tried most of the online dating services—free and paid. I’ve asked friends to set me up. I attend parties and galas and dress nice and force myself to meet new people. I joined a co-ed social sports club. I grew out my hair, I curled my hair. I forced myself to smile through the rain. And there’s been monsoons of rain.

I’m out of ideas, resources, patience, emotional energy and time.

Don’t laugh. I’m 39 years old. I am out of time. My ovaries are drying up faster than the Atacama Desert. But it’s not like you can whisper that sweet-nothing on a first date, so you wait until the third, and then you wait to be ghosted.

I’m a strong woman who’s broken hearts and had my own take its fair share of abuse (I won’t name names—ya’ll know who you are) but I’m not sure I have any heart strings left to be plucked.

My biblical memory is rusty but one verse that has always remained with me is the wisdom to “not cast your pearls before swine.” I’m not calling men pigs. I’m not one of those feminists. I’m just not going to keep giving my story out to another first date that won’t know how to care for it or has no intention of caring for it beyond a few weeks. My story is precious. It holds all the details of my family, my achievements, my insecurities, my silly dreams, my sorrowful disappointments.

So I give up. Or rather, I give up on conventional means of finding a partner. I also give up pretending that being single is fabulous. It is for a time, I suppose. I have learned to love being alone. Ask my friends. I begrudgingly host them when they’re in town. I prefer they just get their own room so I can think my thoughts alone in my Capitol Hill hovel. I can also travel the shit out of a foreign country by myself and blossom in those moments. I’m great at being single, but I fear I’m getting too good at it.

So Unnamed Matchmaking Service to the rescue—I hope. I’m paying good money to be vetted and interrogated and measured up and down for the sake of love.

The matchmakers asked questions that made ME uncomfortable. “Are you sure you’re willing to date outside of your race? How many pounds overweight can they be? Five pounds, ten pounds, a little obese?”

And my favorite: “You’ve told us what your red flags are in a man but what are yours?” I’m not telling you how I answered that. That’s a pearl for another time.

The next phase of my matchmaking journey is for them to find a fellow that Venn-diagrams with my soul. At least on paper. They’ll set up the first date and get most of the awkward pitfalls out of the way for me. They’ll alert him to the state of my ovaries (just a coarse way of saying I want a family) and reveal that I’m a libertarian working in conservative media who will not be quietly or loudly judged because some members of my family voted for Donald Trump.

I’m encouraged because my matchmaker has matched three couples into marriage, but I’m told the chemistry part she can’t control so I guess I’ll have to be charming and curl my hair.

This is all pretty horrifying. Succumbing to this last resort and bringing you along for this ride. But what is this life without a little vulnerability and to let other hearts on the journey know they are not alone.

I polled my humble social media following on two platforms and everyone overwhelmingly said, “give us all the gory deets!” Fine. Since you’re not brave enough to spill your own love-guts I’ll do it for us all. But you at least better be rooting me on in this misadventure.