REVIEW: Mr. Right-Swipe by Ricki Schultz
Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle–even if it is her best friend’s wedding. She’s too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol’ novel in the drawer to waste time on any man, unless it’s Jason Segel.
But when her be-fris stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they’ve hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She’s skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she’s out to prove she hasn’t been too picky with men.
However, when a familiar fella’s profile pops up–the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work (Nick)–Rae swipes herself right into a new problem…
Rae Wilson is a teacher with an insane sense of humor who tells her story in present tense, first person. It’s American Chick Lit with a slightly older heroine who has steady job she actually likes. Rae is amazing with her first graders and her love for them is returned by her happy students. She loves reading story books to them even when her own chest is aching from yet another agent reject – yeah people expect Julie Andrews and a Spoonful of Sugar from teachers 24/7. The message she and her students decide on – ‘give all we can and love all we are’ – will be the theme here.
We start with Rae meeting a set-up date who eventually becomes known as The Tongue to her and her friends. He’s also the jewel who sends her dick pics – and recycled ones at that. Life is tough out there in the dating world, especially for over 20s. Since Rae’s been through a painful divorce as well as a relationship that augured in in flames, she’s very resistant to her besties’ efforts to get her out there.
The Pixie Dust starts swirling the moment Rae sees “Mr Green!” as her class choruses out when they catch sight of him. He’s “Hot Sub Guy” as her fellow teachers and office staff have dubbed him and he can rock his dress shirts – even pink ones. Her “fluttering hand Southern Belle” distraction from seeing his hotness appear in her class doorway almost leads to disaster as one of her students wanders over and sees Rae’s open laptop on which she’s been tapping out her latest erotica opus, asking why someone in Ms. Wilson’s story is being spanked.
I’m laughing as Nick is quick on the uptake and starts innocently asking Rae about adding colors and numbers to the cover story she’s trying to spin her students: gray, and 49 or 51, maybe. #wideeyes.
Having got the word that Nick is in a relationship – the sighs from the female staff at the school were deafening – Rae is startled to see a very familiar face on the online dating site her friends strong-armed her into. Is Nick available or is he not? Married Val and soon-to-be married Quinn remember the dating trenches but are convinced (cynical) Rae can find someone and that not all men are sleazes. Nick playfully texts with Rae and when they’re in the same room, the electricity would light up downtown Tokyo. Finally Rae pops the text question and gets the scoop on Nick’s dating status.
She and her friends head out for a wild bachelorette weekend complete with a “Magic Mike” experience only to discover the surprise of their lives after being dragged onstage. Well, isn’t THAT interesting??
Then Rae finds one man out of all her right-swipes who just might be someone worth getting to know – and invites him as her date to Quinn’s wedding. Can Rae move past her cynicism? And have her doubts poisoned her relationship with her best friends of 20 years? Plus what is she going to do with all that excess zinging energy still going off like fireworks between her and Nick?
First this is hilarious. Rae’s got quite a sense of humor and an outgoing personality to go with it. The tense, writing style and tech savvyness worked for me though I wonder if that will seem dated in years to come after whatever next gadget and communication revolution we have. Rae’s conflicts and issues are very period. Getting back on the dating horse after being tossed and dragged through the mud not once but twice is hard. Letting yourself hope about someone can lead to hurt. For people in their 30s it’s even worse. When there’s more feeling involved and you’ve let yourself hope – the pain and sense of betrayal is enormous. Part of her acquiescence to her friends’ pressure to join the online dating service is to prove them wrong by showing how horrible dating sites are but there is a little bit of her that envies their happiness and finding their One. She keeps feeling a pull with Nick though, an ease and comfort she hasn’t felt in years.
Rae, Val and Quinn have been such good friends for years but they can still have issues. Time passes, people change, situations develop and flex – will their friendship survive this dating experiment and the wedding stress? Nick and Rae can banter and tease each other and talk about the more serious stuff but is that enough conection to start anything more than just friendship? When Rae’s world crashes down, she has to remember the lesson she and her students devised – along with what Nick tells her about needing to let people in a little bit to get the most out of something.
So Rae’s assignment, boys and girls, is can she? Is she still able to learn from her mistakes and make things as right as she can? Rae does stretch and grow, painfully but she does. She also discovers that her friends sometimes think life is greener on the other side of the fence. A little self-reflection and willingness to open herself to life, which might also be painful, might be the ticket Rae’s needed professionally and personally. I think by the end, she’s reached that stage and her HFN-maybe HEA could be within her grasp. B