Wanting to lure several of my far-flung Single and Fabulous friends to New Hamsphire for some quality female bonding, I suggested that yesterday’s annual Pumpkin Festival would be a great chance to ogle Hunky Guys. After all, the Pumpkin Festival is southern New Hampshire’s premiere event, attracting some 70,000 people to stroll the streets of humble little Keene. If approximately half of those 70,000 bodies are male, odds would suggest that at least some of them are Hunky. But on a day when Keene failed to break her own World Record for the largest number of lit pumpkins, our attempts at finding Hunky Guys similarly fell short. After looking high and low for eye-pleasing males to ogle, Kathleen, Leslee, and later “A” and I were left cold.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not actually in the market for a Guy, Hunky or otherwise. Nope, after thirteen years of Solidly Coupled life, I’m loving my stint of Single Fabulousness. I love having my huge-for-one apartment to myself. I love coming and going when I please without need for explanation or permission. I love the plain old simplicity of shopping, paying bills, and making plans for one. When I get the Sympathy Stare from folks recently learning that I’m going through a divorce after a long and seemingly wonderful marriage, I want to shake my head. No, really, it’s okay. I’m happy now. Yes, a divorce like any breakup is painful…but I love my life now. Really.

In a word, I’m not (for now) looking for a man…but that doesn’t mean I don’t like looking at them. So with this being my last weekend as a married woman (my last chance at adultery, I’ve joked, since after Tuesday I’ll be fixing “only” to fornicate), I thought it would be good to immerse myself in social activity of the Supportive Female kind. Although I’m neither ready nor willing (for now) to re-enter the Man Hunt for real, I’m always a fan of people watching. And what better way to people watch than at a huge annual festival and in the company of friends who have a similarly practiced eye when it comes to crowd-ogling?

So yesterday with red-haired Kathleen, blonde Leslee, and later brunette “A” in tow as my real-life versions of Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte, I hit the streets as Keene’s own Carrie Bradshaw, doing some on-the-scene investigative reporting on the nature of southern New Hamsphire mating habits. As I now sit here just like Carrie typing on my laptop in bed, there’s one Sex-in-the-City-style question simmering in my head: in a state the size of New Hampshire, where are they hiding all the Hunky Guys?

We started by looking in all the usual places. Every woman loves a man in uniform, so the visiting Mounted Policemen from Dover, NH seemed a promising possibility. But with thick jackets and other protective gear covering potential Hunkiness, it’s tough to tell what lies beneath the kevlar. With yesterday’s brisk autumnal weather, there wasn’t much opportunity to see what anyone’s layers were covering: is that a Hunky Guy or merely a Hunky Outfit? At a recent talk, KSC author-in-residence Janisse Ray quoted a button she’d seen on the jacket of a matronly peace marcher: “I prefer to love men out of uniform.” Yes, I’d have to see more flesh before deciding whether the men of Dover’s Mounted Police unit are indeed New Hampshire’s Finest. Unfortunately, however, mounted men tend to be men on the move: the calvary rode off into the sunset before I could get the qualitative evidence I was looking for.

Luckily, when you stroll a street fair with two fellow bloggers, there are plenty of photo opportunities of the non-hunky kind. When or where else would I have the chance to photograph Leslee photographing Kathleen photographing yet more potties? Talk about meta-photoblogging! I can only imagine what the fellow walking in front of not one but three shutter-snapping women thought we were doing taking pictures of him headed toward the Port-o-Potties: maybe he’s strutting his stuff a bit more confidently now, convinced we’d found our sought-after Hunkiness in his bathroom-bound form.

After lunch, two margaritas, and some illicit Heavy Petting in the nonetheless disappointing Museum of Pumpkin Oddities, I was beginning to question whether New Hampshire much less Keene had any Hunky Guys. Had they caught wind that three fabulous females were on the prowl and subsequently gone into hiding? Was our plan to stroll the afternoon streets of Keene a poorly timed tactic since it seemed all the males we saw were either accompanied by children or themselves children? Surely there’d be more men milling about after dark when the glow of lit pumpkins marked bedtime for all those cute kiddies and the Married Guys who herded them down Main Street. But with both Kathleen and Leslee having other engagements to lure them away before dark, our hours were numbered. So many pumpkins–so many people–and so few Hunky Guys. Even Cinderella was lucky enough to make an impression on Prince Charming before her coach turned into a pumpkin. Surrounded by so many would-be-coaches, where were our own Princes, or at least our own Fairy Godmothers?

As four o’clock approached and we turned back toward my apartment where Kathleen and Leslee had parked their cars and where I later would meet “A” for another stroll through downtown, dinner, and yet more beverages at Keene’s local blues club, volunteers started to light carved pumpkins one-by-one: the famed Gourd Glow that tourists for miles around come to see. Surely New Hampshire’s Hunks would be lured by pumpkin light to crawl out of hiding, Keene’s own autumnal version of Groundhog’s Day? Yes, ‘twould be romantic to catch sight of a promising Hunk across a crowded festival, our eyes meeting over pumpkin-candlelight…but I still held out hope of catching sight of a Hunky Guy by light of day. Surely the sight of eye-pleasing Manliness wasn’t so rare a sight in New Hampshire that three keen-eyed women couldn’t spot themselves any? The streets were growing increasingly crowded as men with kids headed back to their cars and the men of Red Sox nation emerged to peer at pumpkins before settling themselves down in front of the largest TV screens they could find to watch Game 1 of the World Series over as many pitchers of beer as their bellies could hold.

As we turned back down Main Street for one last pass through Downtown before turning off toward my Hunk-free apartment, I became increasingly more persistent, peering through pumpkins for one last glance at those Mounted Policemen from Dover: surely some of them were single, or they had brothers, or they had Hunky friends who had other Hunky friends, a secret Band of Hunky Brothers that had been hitherto hidden to the likes of me and my Fabulous Friends?

And then, at long last, I saw him. My very own Mr. Big. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and as honest as the day is long. Respectable. Solid. Dependable. The kind of guy who can hold the Union together in a time of war while saying more in 235 words than any other orator has had the skill to say so succinctly since. Make no mistake, ladies: even from beyond the grave, Honest Abe is an Honest-to-Goodness Hunk.

And so last night after dinner with “A” and a subsequent call to Kathleen to beg out of a too-late (at least for this thirty-something-year-old) nightcap, I sat in my huge-for-one apartment and watched the Pumpkin Fest’s firework finale from my huge-for-one bed. Between you and me, girlfriends, I had to wonder what kind of fireworks Mary Todd Lincoln saw from her bed. And I, just like Carrie Bradshaw, had to wonder what kind of wooing, magic, or downright trickery it would take to get Honest Abe to make an Honest Woman out of me.