AREA’S MOST HOPEFUL BACHELOR: HEY, ALL THE SINGLE LADIES!
Is this your future ex-husband?
He has been called “shameless” by the National Enquirer and “the world’s loneliest man” by the UK’s Daily Mail. To me, this very charming 30 year resident of Bradley Beach can, at a minimum, be described as… dedicated.
Rain or shine for the past 13 years, Robert Darling has spent two days a week walking around New York City as a live personals ad.
That is more than 10,000 hours pounding the pavement for love. The sandwich board sign he wears serves as an informal introduction to passers-by in the Wall Street or Metropolitan Museum of Art-areas of Manhattan – the locations he feels he is most likely to meet Ms. Right. An area he avoids? Times Square. [more below]
This never married, former security guard and Rutgers graduate started his love-parade-of-one as a way to conquer social anxiety. Today, he has gotten international attention and gained some unique insights into human nature. A life mate, however still eludes him.
Dating is no party at any age so I was excited to talk with Darling about his unique approach with the ladies.
TBP: Your sandwich board says you are looking for a wealthy lady to marry. But money is not really your primary criteria for someone local.
Darling: There are a lot of pretty ladies at the shore. What I am really looking for is someone that is easy-going, intelligent, educated and likes to do things. I am not wealthy so it would be difficult for me to take her out all the time. If she had money we could do more things.
My idea of a nice date is going to dinner and then to a concert at the Count Basie or Stone Pony. I am not a great dancer but I have some moves.
TBP: For the single ladies reading this, talk about yourself a bit.
Darling: I listen to great classic rock every day – my favorite is Jethro Tull and Electric Light Orchestra. I have a wall of cassettes at my house and go to the library to watch concerts on the computer.
When I can, I take classes about history and international affairs at the NYU School of Continuing Studies. I describe myself as easy going, kind, tolerant, optimistic. I like dogs. My all-time favorite movie is “Ben Hur.” I read a lot about Native American and 20th Century world history.
Life is good for me living a block away from the beach. Life is good but having a great mate would make it even better.
TBP: Any good dates?
Darling: None. One woman met me for coffee and told me I would be perfect for her friend who was looking to marry for a Green (immigration) Card. I told her she didn’t measure up to my standards.
TBP: Walking around, you have had such a unique vantage point to our world.
Darling: I have talked to people from everywhere – from England to Brazil to China to Korea and many, many other places. Tourists from around the world take photos with me. Sometimes a woman will stand in front of me and show me her bank book. Yes, I have been flashed, which was fine. Men in suits cheer me on and shake my hand. Sometimes people say “who doesn’t want someone wealthy”; a lot say “be careful what you wish for.”
Mostly, people smile or give me the “thumbs up” and keep walking. One time a young girl made a sign for herself and walked with me all day. I don’t pay attention to the people who savage me – I know it’s their way of letting steam out. Every day is an exciting adventure.
Sometimes people try to give me money but I never take it. That is not why I am there.
The most touching time was after 9/11 when a woman called me to make sure I was okay. A stranger just called to check on me because she cared.
The biggest thing I have seen for the past 12 years is that people want the best for other people. It’s true.