Taking To The Road, To Find A Man

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Former Miami television anchor Julia Yarbough quit her high-profile job and took to the nation's roads to find a husband. She is traveling by car through parts of the Western U.S. in hope of improving her statistical chances of finding a mate, and is blogging about her journey on her website.

ALLISON KEYES, host:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Allison Keyes. Michel Martin is away.

Coming up, the musical stylings of guitarist Meklit Hadero - a musical journey that blends American jazz with her Ethiopian roots. That's in a few minutes.

But first, all over the country people are hitting the road for this very travel-centric holiday. But some folk are looking for a lot more than a pool party. Julia Yarbough spent a dozen years at NBC's WTVJ in Miami living the glamorous life of a television anchor, but she didn't have a man. So she quit her job and took to the road, seeking a mate on what she calls "A Highway to a Husband."

We caught up with her at NPR member station WLRN in Miami. Welcome, Julia.

Ms. JULIA YARBOUGH (Former Television News Anchor): Hi, Allison. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate that.

KEYES: So, I've got to start out with what made the relationship situation so dire in Miami that you quit your job and said, okay, enough, I'm looking elsewhere?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. YARBOUGH: Well, I think there are several factors that, as you say, made it dire. First of all, statistically, there are almost three women to every male in the South Florida area. And statistically across the country, there are more women than men. So right off the bat, I think a lot of us single, professional, successful women are slightly at a disadvantage because there are simply more of us than available men.

And what I'm hearing from a lot of men as we travel across the country is that a number of men who have responded to our website say that they feel slightly intimidated by women of that nature, or that they feel like there's not a lot of room for them in women's lives. And they say, well, what do women need us for? Because you have your careers. You have your homes. You have your cars. You handle everything. Where do we fit in?

KEYES: So, are the men out West different than the men on the East Coast? I mean, do they all have horses, are they herding cows? Are they big, strong, strapping men?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. YARBOUGH: Well, I think that's the image that we like to have in our mind. But I will say that we have encountered a difference as we've traveled from city to city. Each place has its own vibe or its own feel of how people approach dating. In Louisiana, we met a number of people who seemed very gentlemanly. They made comments of saying, you know, we want to show you that men still do nice things for women.

KEYES: Well, that's refreshing.

Ms. YARBOUGH: Which was nice. As we moved into Texas, there was more of a down-home feel. People were very friendly. And interestingly enough, when we moved into Denver, we had a lot of comments from men and women who said they felt like, for whatever reason, that particular city, that men and women were very standoffish with each other.

And I had one man say to me that he doesn't have to try hard. That - and when he's in Chicago or L.A. or New York, that he has to take a woman to dinner or buy her drinks. And he said, well, here, I don't have to do anything. I let them come to me.

KEYES: Ouch.

Ms. YARBOUGH: Which was interesting. Now, I don't know if that's true, but that's what he said to me about that particular community.

KEYES: So have you met anyone cute yet?

Ms. YARBOUGH: I have actually met a number of different men on this journey that caught my attention, and I think that I've caught theirs, as well. And so like any type of testing out the waters of a relationship, you have to see who they are and who you are and see if there's a fit and take it from there.

KEYES: Somehow it sounds like there's a but in there. No success so far?

Ms. YARBOUGH: Well, no success in the terms of, you know, seeing stars and knowing that this is the right person.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. YARBOUGH: But I will say I've met some people that have definitely caught my attention and piqued my curiosity. And a trip like this allows me to learn more about myself and also more about, I guess, other singles, because we're hearing a lot from other men and women about the challenges they are also facing being single, working people in our country right now and how our society deals with relationships.

KEYES: All right. In the couple of seconds we have left, what happens if you don't find a man? You don't find a husband. You don't find a boyfriend. Is this going to have been worth it?

Ms. YARBOUGH: Oh, most definitely. First of all, we are learning so much about the dialogue happening between men and women that I feel like it's opening my eyes to the things all of us as single individuals should be aware of. And we're hearing from a lot of our followers who say thank you for doing this, because it's proving to us that sometimes you have to take fate into your own hands. And also, face your fears and do something different.

And for those people who can't travel or who can't get out and meet other people, they say thank you, because we can come vicariously with you as you show us the country and share your stories with us. So if one person decides that they're going to do that one thing in life that they've been afraid to do and they say: You know what? This is the time for me to do it. If I could've helped affect that change, than this is all worth it.

KEYES: All right. Julia Yarbough on her "Highway to a Husband," joined us from member station WLRN in Miami, Florida. Good luck with that, and thanks for sharing.

Ms. YARBOUGH: Thank you. And just follow us on highwaytoahusband.com and come along.

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