Not only is she doing it for love, but also to inspire others.
Daviece Clement will meet her husband by year’s end, assuming things go according to plan. The Richmond hair stylist has resolved to meet her future husband in 2014 during her 54 Dates to a Mate initiative, wherein she’ll date one beau each week until she finds her groom.
“I don’t know what inspired me specifically,” the 32-year-old said by phone recently. “But I knew that I wanted to meet someone great.”
Whereas others make resolutions and keep them to themselves, Clement has plastered hers on a billboard. Literally. Located on I-95 North, the billboard advertises Clement’s dating initative. Clement drew upon her over two years of experience at The Martin Agency working for the likes of Verizon and Diet Coke.
“I really do want to inspire other women to go after their dreams,” she said. “I have so many women who I meet all the time who talk about things they want to accomplish, and I’m like, ‘Well go and accomplish it!'”
Clement took her own encouragement several years ago when she left her successful advertising career. “Since I was a little girl I always wanted to be a hairdresser,” she said. After realizing advertising had dominated, and would continue to dominate, her career unless she intervened, Clement did an about face.
“I was really good at my job, and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “But I wasn’t fulfilled.” So she quit her job in 2008 and became a licensed cosmetologist. She currently works at Nirvana in The Fan.
“When a woman comes and sits in my chair and she’s crying because of a bad experience she’s had with her husband, and I can sit and I can pour into her and have an impact on her life, that fills me,” she said. “I just want to, before I die, touch as many lives as I can.”
That sentiment inspired 54 Dates to a Mate. “I could go online and meet someone through online dating, but who is that going to help? It’s just going to help me,” Clement said. “So I needed to do it in a really big way.”
The 32-year-old said now is the time to settle down. “Right now, I’m pretty much doing very well in my career, and in terms of [its] trajectory, everything is going just fine. But, for me, I’m at a space now where I just want to share my life with someone,” Clement said. “For me, my definition of success is a) to be happy and b) to be married. I’ve achieved one of those things, so now I’m just working on achieving the other.”
She knows her definition of success may differ from other people. But she also knows that people, regardless of their dreams, can sometimes be afraid to pursue those dreams. “I feel like there are too many people who are afraid, and I just want to live courageously,” she said. “And for me it’s going after a husband.” She said no matter the dreams people may have, “I wanted to use this initiative as a platform to inspire other people.”
The men Clement will date this year will be selected by her friends from a pool of suitors. “They’re all blind dates,” Clement said. “My friends filter through the referrals that we’ve gotten and set me up with them.” People can visit the 54 Dates to a Mate website to either nominate a person or nominate themselves for consideration. If Clement meets someone she’s interested in, that someone can go on additional dates with her, which would count toward the overall 54-date goal.
Clement’s first two dates, at Balliceaux and Mosaic,1 respectively, went well enough. “So far they’ve been great,” she said. But eligible bachelors shouldn’t give up yet. “Were there sparks? Maybe not so much.”
Even though she’s looking for Mr. Right, Clement believes the year-long campaign is also about self-discovery. “I feel like with this journey I’m going to continue to learn more about myself,” she said. “To me, it’s an adventure, and I don’t know where it’s going to end up. And that’s OK.”
photo courtesy of 54 Dates to a Mate
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- Clement said one of the benefits of this initiative is that she can explore more of Richmond she might otherwise not. ↩