Randall Burns is forty-eight, out of a job, and tired of wasting his time pounding away on Match.com as if it were a game of Whac-A-Mole.
One day at a Barnes & Noble, he comes across a travel guidebook for single men with a unique itinerary and a titillating passage on vaginal thrush. Burns is no traveler: He hates public toilets, loud noises, weird smells, and people who sweat. Eventually, the call of the thrush, his fears of dying alone, and a snarky e-mail from ex-girlfriend Ricki, compel him to take the trip.
During his travels, Burns strikes out with women on three continents and suffers loneliness that would have broken Papillon. The only thing that keeps him from returning home is Ricki, who continues to e-mail, declaring her certainty that he's having a rotten time and won’t last another week. She recounts his failures as a boyfriend, lover, and human being.
By the fourth continent, Burns accepts that he's going to die alone and the sooner, the better. He bungee-jumps, eats food from street carts, and visits a body spa named "The Curious Finger." He lets go of his germophobia and his quest for a woman, and begins to enjoy himself. Ricki e-mails again. She’s now on antidepressants and sorry for her past behavior.
Is his luck with love about to change?
Randy Ross is a Boston-area writer, performer, and web consultant. His one-man show, "The Chronic Single's Handbook," has been featured at fringe theater festivals in the United States, Canada, and Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2007, he took a trip around the world and learned to say in three languages: "Speak English?" "Got Pepto-Bismol?" and "Where is the evacuation helicopter?" This is his first novel.