The One: Myth or Reality?

Gather a group of post-25 women over Cabernet or cocktails and you'll invariably hear how hard it is to meet "quality men."

As the snooze bar on the biological clock inches too close or the women are post-40 or 50, the complaints become more vociferous.

If there's a married woman among the unattached, she'll probably console her friends with the myth of "The One."

Girls of any age who were brought up on a steady diet of rom-coms and Jane Austen have dreamed about meeting The One since we were old enough to play with Barbie. There's that glance from across a crowded bar. The soundtrack. The meet-cute with snappy dialogue like out of a Nora Ephron screenplay.

Or the romantic battle over a pair of black cashmere gloves in Serendipity that leads to a par chance romance between Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale). Of course, New York City plays a starring role.

After a string of not especially serendipitous OkCupid/Match/Tinder experiences, the notion of The One is either met with doubt or an increased sense of longing, depending on one's degree of cynicism.

It's kind of like when you didn't want to give up the Tooth Fairy or Santa, except with a pretty loaded consequence.

If we give up on the idea, we come across as embittered and broken by the process. About as appealing as spinach in your teeth on a first date.

If we stare longingly into someone's eyes over that first double capp, we might come across as a raving lunatic.

I've tried to remain open-minded about The One, but what if my One lives on another continent and our paths never cross? What if I have already encountered my One but I was at yoga or just wasn't paying attention?

What about those people who seem to have had multiples of One, you know, the serial monogamist types? If they've taken the last of the cookies, will there be any left for the rest of us?

I love romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant as much as the next girl, but I'm not buying into the fate philosophy. I suspect the idea that there's someone who will make it all right sort of eases the torture of all those bad dates, leaving it all up to some chance meeting in the Bloomingdale's men's accessory department.

Though I don't agree with Jerry McGuire about The One to complete me, I do believe we may find someone who complements us, sort of a Plus One.