D.C.’s most eligible single
In 2015, I was named one of Washington Blade’s first most eligible singles — an honor that has taken me on around 300 dates and half-way around the globe in search of love. But before we jump into this little Yelp-Review-worthy plot twist of a story, a little background:
I was first nominated for the D.C.’s Most Eligible Single’s contest by a group of close friends following a string of failed relationships. You know the typical lesbian drama — girlfriend leaves you for your best friend, the new rebound girlfriend isn’t out to her parents yet, stress eating myself into gaining 40 pounds and finally breaking up because, “This isn’t really working out for me …”
Like I said, the usual. But for some reason, that last breakup really hit me hard and I was feeling down on myself. My friends, the sarcastic assholes that they are, decided I needed a little pick me up and nominated me for the Washington Blade contest saying, “Well if you’re going to be single, mind as well be the most eligible,” and so, the story begins.
Valentine’s Day 2015
Flash forward to the night of February 14, 2015. After a series of interviews and photoshoots, the 20 Most Eligible Single finalists stood on stage at Town Danceboutique awaiting the announcement of who was going to take home the title of D.C.’s Most Eligible Single. I came to the event solo, because that same group of encouraging friends also thought there was no chance I would win and told me to call them afterwards to meet up for a drink.
Little did we all know, I took home the top prize that night, winning the title and a plethora of sponsorship prizes ranging from free dinners and box seats at sporting events to movie screening tickets. I never ended up meeting my friends that night, because as soon as I jumped off stage, I was attacked by a swarm of lesbian bumble bees. For the first time, in a long time, I felt alive again. I was in love with the newfound attention (yes, I am a Leo). I had my first date that night and thus, began a whirlwind of a dating spree that would eventually have me packing my bags and moving to Madrid, Spain.
The art of the first date
Between Feb. 14 and the end of May, I had mastered the art of the first date and was ready to throw in the towel until I matched with a beautiful Spanish girl on Tinder (Dios Mio). To this day, I can’t really explain why, but she was different.
We spoke for over a month before we met, using Google Translate in most cases due to the language barrier. Our first date was at El Centro on 14th Street and she brought her best friend along to help translate. In the end, the language barrier wasn’t so much of a problem. We knew the basics of Spanish and English and spent the whole night dancing and laughing.
I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her I wanted to see her again. We started meeting up more and more and ultimately, I fell in love. A few months later, she was fired from her au pair job and had to return to Spain. We tried long distance for a few months but the time difference (six hours) and jealously issues became a huge problem. Eventually, she gave me an ultimatum: move to Spain or cut it off. I searched for ways to make this happen and eventually found and applied for a one-year MBA program in Madrid that would land me in Spain before the end of the year.
I quit my job in wealth management, abandoned my music career, sold my car and all my possessions, packed my bags, and against the advice from all of my friends telling me I was a moron and “we hate her,” I hopped on a flight to Spain. I was so excited. A new life, a new adventure, the girl I loved — Que romantico.
We broke up on the first night
I can’t make this up, I arrived to a foreign city I had never been to before, dropped my bags at my apartment, she picked me up, we went to the lesbian bar to dance, celebrate and meet all of her friends — and the bombshell that had gotten back together with her ex-girlfriend about a month before I had arrived was dropped on me before I could even order my second gin and tonic.
I couldn’t believe it. I had just up and picked up my entire life to move half-way around the world and we broke up within hours of me arriving. I was too proud to tell my friends they were right about her all along, so I spent the next two weeks locked away in my room eating helado, crying and wondering, “What have I done?!”
The turning point
It took quite a while for me to pull myself out of bed but when I did, I decided, “I’m here for one year, let’s make the best of it,” and I turned on my phone to discover what Spanish Tinder was all about. Let. Me. Tell. You.
The lesbian scene in Madrid is out of this world. These women are goddesses. Tall, beautiful, olive skin, incredible dancers, carefree, extremely open and most of all, fun. The first date I went on ended up turning into a wonderful year-long relationship. She is now my nutritionist and we are still best friends to this day.
I lost that 40 pounds of depression weight, and then some, and found a new energy to life. I went on many dates during my three years abroad, had several relationships (a few long-term but mostly short stories), but most importantly, I found myself again. I can honestly say, the last three years in Spain were the most transformative, incredible moments, I have ever experienced.
As a musician, I’ve written many songs about my dating experiences, (I’m one break-up song away from becoming Gaylor Swift), but the last one I wrote, “Roses,” landed me in the top-90 out of 16,000 for the 2019 season of “The Voice, Spain.” Life is all about those small moments that add up to big experiences.
I want to thank my asshole friends, the Washington Blade, the Spanish girl, the ex-lovers and the many wonderful moments that lead me on this once-in-a-lifetime quest for adventure and love. After three years traveling and touring in Europe, I’m stateside again and am excited to see what this new chapter will bring.
So for all of you singles out there who are wondering if you should take that big leap of faith, my advice is to go for it. Life is too short to sit back and wonder what if. And whether it works out or not isn’t the point. What matters is that you learn to love yourself before anyone else. Listen to your heart, fasten your seatbelt and return your tray table to its full upright and locked position, and enjoy the ride.
PS: Happy Valentine’s Day. Ladies, call me ;)
Michelle Raymond performs as Michi. Find her on Instagram at michimusic_official.