It was the end of 2011, and Alex and I had secured 11 Male Panelists. We needed 12. I was meditating hard on the last man to provide the winning pitch, hitting the ball right out of the park with his perspective and honesty. You know, the kind of slam that gets baseball fans not only to do *the wave, but also to scream in celebration until their voices go hoarse. That kind of man.
Our search for the Male Panelist was a unique one: We didn’t want to go to every relationship professional and make them part of our panel. We instead recruited real men, of any ethnicity, financial status, culture and manner. Men who live the regular everyday life, like everyone else. Men with enough experience in life and in love, who reflect the healthy male perspective sought by any Jane pining to ask him why Dick didn’t call, email back, or come over anymore.
We found 11 panelists who eagerly joined in our quests: (a) to help us revive a lost appreciation for the contributions men make toward healthy relationships; and (b) to provide care and concern to women looking for such good men. In the short time we had, we were meeting different candidates to fill the 12th and final position. I spent the bulk of my carved-out time flipping emails back and forth to prospects, negotiating, and learning about them.
One day, I got an excited text from my high school friend, Vivian. Her passionately acute campaign of a text grabbed my attention, as she read a post I placed minutes before on Facebook, searching for the right kind of man for the job.
I called her and she answered.
“OmgAnitayouhavetomeetmyneighbor!” she blurted with tremendous excitement, and the rest of her communication with me was delivered in just about the same positively passionate format.
“My neighbor, Michael, he’s awesome! He is the kind of man who came from a modest upbringing, and despite all challenges that he ever faced, he made himself more valuable of a person and friend than all the millionaires in the world have done for themselves, combined.”
She continued sharing more about her friend and neighbor.
“He’s an amazingly loving and supportive husband, an incredible father who dedicates his heart and soul into his children, and regardless of any storms that came his way, he finds a way to move forward. He’s got an attitude so positive that it’s contagiously inspiring to anyone who knows him.”
And she continued,
“And Anita, what’s funny, is he was born and raised in Boston and is a diehard Yankees fan. How does that even happen? How does he survive a visit to his hometown? Hilarious! And yet it just goes to show that he doesn’t aspire to doing things because ‘everyone else does’ them. He takes pride in being himself and we love him exactly for that reason.”
I asked Vivian for his information, and contacted him myself, only moments later. The instant I got on the phone with Michael McDermott, I thought Vivian gave me the number to Denis Leary.
No kidding. In seconds I heard a Boston accent, words that were quick-witted, comedic, honest and left me jaw-dropped and laughing all at the same time.
Michael is contagious to talk to, and magnetic to listen to. His words are raw, his opinion is honest, his points are clear, and he makes me think –and laugh. I had seen Denis Leary in concert and had a similar reaction. After I got off the phone with him I said to myself, “Now, that was Denis Leary’s personality doppelganger.”
I called Vivian and thanked her. Her campaign was worth every word she could tell me in the 30 minutes of time we had on the phone. I signed Michael up, and he became our final Male Panelist for The Dating GPS™.
Michael has a hidden joy for writing which made our connection a win/win. When he heard what we were writing about, I could almost hear him jumping out of his seat, ready to give feedback where it mattered. While we were getting to know each other, I asked him to share with me how he met his wife.
He told me the story of how he hurriedly walked toward his desk with a coffee in his hand, and one of the ladies in the office said “Thanks!” to him, as if he had bought the coffee for her. So, what did he do? He didn’t reply with a smart-ass comment (of which I am sure he has plenty tucked away for safe keeping); nor did he blow off her comment with a snarky laugh and pass her by. Nope. Michael stopped at her desk, gave her his coffee and replied, “You’re welcome.”
A few evenings later … [she] came walking towards me with a “claim” that needed to be processed. She thanked me for the initial coffee and the subsequent ones that had greeted her daily thereafter.
Then one day he asked her out on a date.
I suggested that we should go out and grab a cappuccino at a place I frequented at the Marina Bay. She paused and said that she would love to, but that she had a boyfriend. I replied, “That’s fine; he can come along, too.”
Needless to say, he didn’t.
…and from that night onward we have been inextricably linked.
Three months later we had moved in together and within a year with nothing but a coffee pot and a garbage bag full of clothes we moved from Boston to Indiana. Less than two years after our initial coffee exchanges, we got married.
His wife’s name? Destiny.
I asked Michael how he knew she was “the one.” He answered:
The first clue I guess would be her name, I mean – Come on- she’s named Destiny! It’s kind of like John Lennon had to marry a Yoko just as I was not meant for a June, Jane or a Jill.
Now going on almost two decades together, those initial impressions have never wavered and have only enhanced, watching her as a mother.
Destiny and Michael have been married for 16 years and living in Indiana for 17.
He reminisced with me about how he got to Indiana.
Me and a friend of mine had driven out to Indiana for the sole purpose of smoking a cigarette on James Dean’s grave. We did, and two years later I was living in Indiana. Ain’t life crazy?
He also shared his immense joy in being a father to his two children: 15-year-old son, Dylan and 10-year-old daughter, Madelyn.
… there are moments where I feel that every battle I ever engaged in and surmounted prior to this has led me toward this victory: They are my just reward.
And as he sees his children as a reward, his children see him in the same light. Most children in their teens may struggle to find thoughtful words to say to their parents. Some mouth off. Others talk back. Parents chalk it off as “the teen years.” With that said, Michael humbly shared with me a gift he received from his teenager, Dylan.
“You’re the best Dad ever. I believe in God only cuz I have you.”
You put in love and love comes back to you. In this day and age I admired seeing this kind of special love come back to a loving parent. He knows what it takes to give love; and what a joy his heart had to feel, seeing his hard work come back to him through that small expression of great love from his son.
All three of them have given me more fulfillment than I could possibly put into words and it is an honor to be with them. I take equally immense pride in being [Destiny's] husband and being the father of these two wonderful children who have taught me more about life and love than any book or class or professor or university ever could.
After we wrapped up, I asked him how he felt our book can impact today’s generation and the next decade’s.
There is no better teacher than experience, and the gentlemen sharing their real-life experiences in this book are a far better guide than some advice column or a list of data with lots of percentage marks following where the reader would fit. This is delivered on a personal level, and that can only help anyone who reads it.
Michael McDermott needs to have a baseball trading card with him on it. In the game of relationships, he’s got it right. He plays the game with heart: he knows the rules, what it takes to hit a home run, and wins for the team. I’m not only thrilled to have him completing our panel of great men, contributing to our mission in giving hope to women and heralding men in relationships; but even more, I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to work with a man who is respected, loved and appreciated by everyone around him.
In the major league of relationships The Dating GPS™ just found our final draft pick for our All-Star team.