'I gave myself a year to find a husband'

By Debbie Jackson
BBC Scotland

Image source, Samantha hannah
Image caption,
Samantha found love 12,000 miles away

Some people give themselves a year to get fit, some a year to find a new job or a new home.

But a Perth comedian gave herself a 365-day deadline to find a husband.

Samantha Hannah set out on a mission to find love in time for the following year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She planned to write about her experiences in a stand-up show.

Not only did she find a potential life partner, she also found enough material to fill several shows.

Samantha, 32, was at a stage where questions from friends and family became awkward.

Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
Samantha is sharing her experiences on stage in her Fringe show

She told the BBC's Stephen Jardine programme: "You get to a certain time in your life and everyone starts to ask you why have you not found someone yet, why have you not settled down?

"I started thinking about this and I work better with a deadline.

"So I thought, 'I'll do it but I'll do it in a year'. Like a smart goal you might get at your work because it's a specific goal, it's measurable and achievable."

Samantha was travelling with friends at the time in Australia and New Zealand and she decided to "do it properly".

Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
Samantha's Tinder profile was upfront about her mission

She decided to use the dating app Tinder: "I set up a profile which said: 'I am trying to find a husband in a year. I am writing a show about it. Does anyone either want to come and watch or be my husband?'

"I put a little disclaimer at the bottom saying any Tinder interaction may be used for material."

Despite the potential to become comedy material, the messages flooded in - but not always from what she would consider her ideal men.

'Hobbit downstairs'

Samantha said; "I remember I had a message from someone in Queenstown who asked me if I was a Lord of the Rings fan. I said yes and he told me he was an Orc upstairs and a hobbit downstairs. And I am still not sure what he meant by that. But that was the kind of message I was getting.

"And it was really hard to act all cool when you've actively said I am looking for a husband.

"But deep down inside I really did want to meet someone."

Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
Some of the replies were questionable

Samantha went on numerous dates. She hiked up a mountain to watch the sun set. And she went on a date with a man in Australia which ended with her shoes in the freezer.

"I was quite open minded and saying yes to everyone. I thought finding a husband would be the icing on the cake."

Having gathered enough material for her show, Samantha got to Wellington and decided to call it a day, thinking she had done her best.

She logged on for one last visit to Tinder.

'Pure coincidence'

"I started swiping and I got a match. Then I got a message saying: 'Congratulations on your match 12,000 miles away, how's your hubby-hunting going?'

"It turned out it was a man called Toby who was in London one stop away from where I used to live in Parsons Green and I was in Wellington a stop away from where he used to live because he was a Kiwi.

"It was a pure coincidence. He was investigating the workings of Tinder, and looking at the algorithm. He just happened to find me while he was searching the Wellington area, which is where he is from."

Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
The message that changed everything

Over the following weeks the pair chatted via messages and discovered a lot of coincidences. Samantha even met Toby's parents before she met him.

She said; "Myself and my travelling friends realised we would be very near to where his parents ran a chip shop in Napier. We thought: 'Should we go?' So we did. We popped in and met his parents before I had even met him."

Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
Samantha met Toby's parents before she met him
Image source, Samantha Hannah
Image caption,
Samantha and Toby

The pair met in London and the rest is history - the two are now officially a couple.

Toby will be at Samantha's Fringe shows to reveal how her mission worked out.

Almost 12 months ago, Samantha set the challenge to find a husband in time for the Edinburgh Fringe. With just weeks to go, has she done it?

"I don't want to put too much pressure on him - he has had to put up with a lot with the show," said Samantha.

"I have realised it's not really about the husband any more, it's just about finding someone you just really get on with. That's the success of the story."

Samantha Hannah: How to Find a Husband in a Year is at the Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate Edinburgh on 23-26 August.

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