31 dates to happily ever after

Alumna authors book about modern-day dating

After countless breakups and years of painfully bad dates, Tamara Duricka Johnson '98 was beginning to believe that dating in New York City was utterly hopeless. With her 31st birthday looming, and no Prince Charming in sight, Johnson decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.

On the eve of her 31st birthday, Johnson launched a 31-day dating project to find out where she was going wrong in her relationships. "I looked at it as my master's class on men - 31 days of class with 30 different teachers," Johnson said. "I had to be open and learn."

Restricted by a $31 cost limit, suitors had to get creative with their dates. Johnson went ice skating, to a Knicks game, visited the Central Park Zoo and even made a winter trip to Coney Island, among other activities.

After each date, good or bad, Johnson had to resist the urge to jump into a relationship - a mistake she'd made one too many times in the past. It was not until the 31st day of her project, which fell on Valentine's Day, that Johnson allowed herself to go on a second date. With the help of family, friends, and an online poll, Johnson chose her man. One short year later, they were married.

Not only did Johnson finally find her Mr. Right, but she gained a new respect for all men. As her project progressed, she began to shift focus from what made her suitors good for her, to what made them good people.

"You have to realize that every man is someone's Prince Charming," Johnson said. "He might not be yours, but he's someone's."

Inspired by her own success and personal growth, as well as enormous response to her blog, Johnson decided to write a book. Titled, not surprisingly, "31 Dates In 31 Days" (Seal Press), the book was released in October.

She describes the final product as "the book that I needed as a single person to help keep myself in check."

Johnson will return to campus in March 2012 for the College's annual Women's Forum.

About the Author

Kristina Breux, a senior from Connecticut, is a student writer in Roanoke's Public Relations office. Breux is majoring in English, with a concentration in marketing, and she is a member of the Phi Mu sorority. She hopes to pursue a career in public relations.

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