One woman is on a mission to find herself a boyfriend in time for Christmas so she can have a “happy ending” just like her favorite Hallmark movies.
Petra Sutherland is often exhausted by the time she returns home from her full-time job as a customer service rep, and she likes to end her days relaxing in front of a wholesome Hallmark movie. But with the holiday season now in full swing, the single 73-year-old grandmother recently found herself feeling a bit lonely as she watched the movie’s characters find their on-screen Prince Charming just in time before the credits rolled.
So, feeling inspired after watching a few plots that featured women posting online advertisements for dates, the self-proclaimed “Hallmark fanatic” took to social media to give it a try of her own.
“They all fall in love and they all have happy endings,” Sutherland, from South Charlotte, North Carolina, tells PEOPLE. “That’s what I’m looking for—a happy ending, a fairytale ending.”
Sutherland signed up for Nextdoor.com—a hyper-local social network tailored to neighborhoods—to post a call-out for the only thing she wants for the holidays: “Wanted A Boyfriend For Christmas! Please send a message. Thank you.”
“I would love to have a companion by Christmas, but I’d take one tomorrow if I could find one!” Sutherland says while laughing. “I don’t know how to go about it, because I was always married, and I probably don’t even know how to really date or anything like that.”
While she has tied the knot three times—with her last marriage ending in 2005 after 29 years—Sutherland has kept busy recently with work and hasn’t had the time to find anyone exciting. Part of the problem, she says, is simply finding a place to meet the right people her age.
“There’s really no place to go out and meet quality people,” she says. “You can’t just find someone in a bar. But I haven’t really been going out, so I should probably get out there since they’re probably not going to come knocking on the door!”
Sutherland’s even thought about contacting Steve Harvey’s show to see if he’d be open to “fixing up a grandma,” but with Harvey’s help or not, her luck seems to be changing—she’s received a flood of responses since posting her request on Nextdoor, and three potential suitors have even emerged, she says. But there’s just been one small problem with them.
“The three possibilities aren’t anybody I would actually meet,” she says. “They’re all younger, too young! One was 25. That’s not what I was after, so I probably should have put my age in the message!”
While those three may be out of luck, anyone else looking to pursue Sutherland will definitely be up for a fun and exciting time—she is a huge Carolina Panthers fan, loves outdoor adventures and “all the good things in life.” And all she’s looking for? Someone who will be honest with her, enjoy her companionship and is close to her age (55 minimum, she says).
“I would love just to be happy,” she says. “I don’t know if I would ever get married again, but I would just like to have somebody to enjoy life with and maybe help me retire from my job!”
Originally from Berlin, Germany, Sutherland moved to the States in 1956 when she was 12 after her mother married an American soldier. Sutherland moved to Dayton, Ohio, then Boca Raton, Florida, until she settled down in Charlotte in 1989. While she has three children, Sutherland says she is still lonely without a mature person to spend her time with. Hopefully, the power of social media will help grant Sutherland her Christmas wish.
“I would love to have that fairytale ending, and sometime in my life, I would like to see the happiness that you’re supposed to have—I never really have had that,” she says. “I would like, once in my lifetime, to have that feeling. I would like to have that guy on a white horse to come rescue me, just like in Pretty Woman!“