September 13, 2011

Interview #2: What it's really like to do 31 Dates - Q&A with Janelle

Janelle and I met right after my project ended in 2009 when she decided "31 Dates in 31 Days" was something she needed to do before wrapping up her 31st year. Well, okay the truth is, she wasn't exactly pumped when her friends suggested she should try my project. But then she breathed a little and figured, why not have fun with it?
Thus began her project, which she dubbed "Fun with 31" as a constant reminder that her goal was to change her dating life and have fun. Janelle is a red-headed nurse from Las Vegas. Through her project she not only had fun and learned a lot about men, dating, and herself, she also happened to meet a handsome guy named Josh who is now her husband. Pretty cool, right?

Without further ado, my conversation with Janelle.

Tam: What were you hoping to get from your dating project experience?

Janelle: Of course I wanted to find my husband! I would be lying if I said I didn’t. However, this is a pretty extreme way of trying to find him; so it took some convincing. There are probably two reasons I did it. 
1) I am always up for an adventure and 2) I thought, maybe this could be good for me, make me learn to appreciate dating or at least have an adventure trying.  I really hated dating, but I loved your positive take on all of your dates… that is probably what convinced me the most.

Tam: How did you manage to find so many people to go out with you?
Janelle: It was hard! I will say that I was constantly trying to fill the calendar. I was looking for dates up until the last week. I asked everyone I knew to set me up with someone, even strangers at work, the store, or getting a massage. I let everyone know about it and asked/begged everyone. I really have to thank the sisters and SIL’s out there… they were my biggest help. 

Tam: In what ways did your dating project seem different from your dating life previously? Was it "easier" or "harder" to date during your time with Fun with 31? How did you deal with those differences?

Janelle: I think dating during "Funwith31" was easier than normal dating. I had made it a priority and a focus and that right there makes a huge difference. Also, I was just having fun, I didn’t put any extra stress or worry on it, I was just going to have fun. Dating was SO much cooler that way! I wasn’t stressing about all the stuff that comes after the first date, I was just having fun getting to know different guys. Having a “friendly competition” amongst the guys was fun too, they really came up with some creative, fun dates!

Tam: What was the most memorable part of your project?
Janelle and Josh

Janelle: Seriously, meeting all the guys! There are some good guys out there that want a stable, loving relationship as much as us ladies. I loved getting to know them and all their quirks! And I really did have so much fun on their creative dates. I mean I did everything from hip hop dancing, to shooting, to geo-caching! It was awesome.

Second would be all the valuable lessons I learned during this project. [Which you can find linked here]
Tam: Would you do it again? And if so, what would you do differently?

Janelle: I would do this again, hands down!! It seriously has to have been some of the most fun I have ever had in my life…and I’ve done a lot of fun things! It was exhausting, yes…but a month full of adrenaline! I’m not sure I would’ve done anything differently…maybe hired a secretary to book my calendar for me! :) It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I would suggest anyone to do it!!

Tam: How did the dating project prepare you for your relationship with Josh?

Janelle: Oh, I STRONGLY believe that Funwith31 was necessary for Josh and I to work out! First off, I don't think the first date would've gone that well if he wasn't #31 (my final date). Before Funwith31, I felt like I used to play off of my date's personality. So if he was fun and outgoing, so was I; but if he was quiet, so was I. I really hated this about me and dating, because I considered myself a pretty genuine person (maybe it was an insecurity??). 
But with Josh (who is quiet) being my final first date, I was: 1) so excited to be done that I couldn't be quiet if I wanted to and 2) really figuring out that I can truly be me on a date and that is okay. And my date would either like it or not, but it didn't have to change the way I acted. I had had so much fun just being me on all my other dates, I figured out this is really working. 
Beyond the first date, I'm pretty sure Josh and I would've never dated that long had I not done Funwith31! Josh is very methodical and slow and I am spontaneous and impatient... quick to make decisions. But by the end of the project, I realized that dating is just trying to get to know someone better, and if you like what you are getting to know, you go on another date, and another and it really calmed/slowed me down. It was perfect. 
Tam: Did your experiences with the project have any effect on your marriage?
Janelle: As for any effect on marriage...on our mantle we have a portion of the quote that Josh gave me on our first date, "Only a person who RISKS is free" this has somewhat been a mantra for our dating/marriage. We try to take healthy risks and to live life to the fullest. We both have been able to date a lot and getting married a little later, we have a GREAT appreciation for each other. We cherish each other and the institution of marriage! (I hope that never leaves!!) I love this! 
Thanks Janelle!

So, gentle reader, does this sound like a challenge you'd consider? What about just five dates in five days? Or 10 dates in two weeks? In October, I'm issuing a nationwide dating challenge in celebration of my book, 31 Dates in 31 Days. Apparently if you order it now through Amazon you'll not only get it for a discounted price (under $12 - that's less than a movie!) but you'll also get it a week or two earlier than your local bookstore. Crazy!
Interested in the book? Look here. Interested in the dating challenge? Email me at

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