As Mariah Carey once said, "and then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on." We are surrounded by heroes in this world, from firefighters who have the courage to look like this:
To the first responders of the COVID pandemic who had the courage to be clapped for every day at 7.
A common question for middle elementary school essays is "Who is you hero?"I used to struggle with this because I hadn't learned yet how to properly own my obsessive tendencies and be honest with who I admired.
That would change a bit.
Today, I would like to honor a hero in the world of shidduchim, someone who used to seem like a villain when I was young, but recently I have found myself wondering how I can be more like this intrepid young woman.
I am about to turn 26 and while I have accomplished many things, including gaining the arm strength to open jars for myself, my accomplishments pale in comparison to this woman who was perhaps the greatest 26 year old of all time.
This woman is Meredith Blake.
While Meredith's likeness should be carved into Mount Rushmore or at least Stone Mountain Confederate Monument, it is likely that many of you out there haven't heard of her.
In the highly important film "Parent Trap" (the 1998 version starring Lindsay Lohan) we focus on protagonists Annie and Hallie, two twins who have never met and are unaware of the other's existence who meet at their all girls except for one boy sleepaway camp and decide to switch places in an effort to get their long divorced parents back together.
When Annie, disguised as Hallie, arrives at her father's northern California mansion, she discovers that, for the first time in her existence, her father has a girlfriend and that girlfriend is getting more and more serious by the minute.
The girlfriend is Meredith Blake.
I would like to explore this film from Meredith's point of view for a minute.
While Annie and Hallie are up to their high-jinks at their camp, a camp for about 500 girls and 1 boy that has only 2 staff members, one of whom is Janice from friends, Meredith is stalking out her prey: Hallie's father Nick Parker.
Here is what we know about Meredith: She claims to be 26. She is an only child and both her parents are still living and her mother's name is Vicky. She drinks Evian. She likes a man with a little chest hair. The outdoors are not "her thing." She works for a PR firm and is the top PR agent for Nick's vineyard. She spends all her time at Nick's vineyard and in the one business call she does take she tells a "white lie" (her words) and turns down an interview for Nick by saying he is out of the country. She also has an assistant who drives a golf cart and is quite clearly gay and about 35 years old.
I have been working in the marketing industry for 5 years, plus internships. 26 year olds do not have their own PR firms. They do not have gay assistants 10 years their senior. Meredith also says she is working on a new label design "featuring Y-O-U" for Nick's company. PR firms do not design labels.
All of this evidence says to me that in order to hook Nick Parker, a perennial bachelor who is focused on raising his 11 year old daughter in his mansion with stables and vineyard and the 24-7 assistance of the greatest nanny ever, Meredith has faked her own PR firm, complete with fake assistant who is probably just a regular gay guy trying to make it big in Hollywood and took this "acting" job for practice. Once she has gotten Nick Parker as a "client" she hangs out around the house, pool, vineyards, stable-( I WANT THIS HOUSE SO BADLY. The amount of sunlight in this place just cured my depression.) There, she enchants him by being 26 to his 45ish.
A wrinkle hits her plan when his daughter returns from camp with plans of her own. No matter. Meredith will simply encourage Nick to send the dear child to a boarding school in Switzerland. This is a pretty big deal considering boarding schools in Switzerland cost $113,000 per year. Meredith could have used that money to buy a Birkin bag but she wants only the best for Hallie.
Except now there are two Hallies and one's name is Annie and Nick has been lying about his first marriage, a serious issue that would throw weaker relationships off the rails. But Meredith didn't start a fake PR firm by being weak. She agrees to pay TWO Switzerland tuitions and even goes with the girls and their father on a camping trip, where, for propriety's sake, she sleeps in a separate tent from her betrothed.
Unfortunately, there is only so much Meredith can take and after a series of pranks from her soon-to-be stepdaughters, she gives Nick and ultimatum: it's either me or them.
Nick picks them. T-H-E-M.
That's the last we see of Meredith Blake.
Let's think about this from a shidduchim perspective: Meredith is 26, she is, as Mishpacha Magazine so eloquently put it, "doomed."She readjusts her standards to think about guys who have been divorced and even guys with red-headed children, even though we all know gingers are cursed. She finds a guy in her neighborhood with good middos and business sense. She waits until his daughter is at camp, not wanting to take him away from his primary responsibilities. Then, she needs to make her move but he has been a bachelor for so long he isn't even getting shidduch resumes anymore. So she appeals to his business sense and finds her way into his life. This isn't a typical gold-digger situation-Nick is only 45 and we know from his horseback riding and hiking skills that he is in shape-he will not be dying of a heart attack anytime soon. Meredith has picked Nick because she has the skills-fake PR, being young, paying tuition-that he needs and he has the things she is looking for.
Meredith is my hero because she knows exactly what she wants and she goes for it. When the going got tough she stuck by her man even though he had lied. I would have been out of the camping trip by the lizard situation, but she stuck around and even took her ambien knowing that there were two 11 year old Libras out to get her (Libra is the psychopath sign.) That shows dedication to her fiance and to her drug regimen which is important. Finally, the mattress on the water was too much. She laid down the law for Nick, asserting her needs in the relationship.
He didn't pick her.
I hope Meredith found someone with a bigger house and two pools and no tuitions to pay. Maybe she even had some baby tuitions of her own. I hope her gay assistant made it in Hollywood. Mostly, I hope that she kept her knowledge of the value of her own worth and when it is time to lay down the law for a man.
If I ever find a guy with a vineyard and a pool and only one tuition (and good middos and CHESSIE), I hope I'll do a better job faking my PR firm.