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“Hey, are you dating anyone right now?”

I was at my four-year-old daughter’s baseball game watching my daughter play with another little girl. The other parents and I spend three to five evenings a week together at practices and games throughout the spring and summer, so we all get to know each other pretty well. A week earlier, I’d been talking with a mom who asked me what I did for a living. I told her, “I’m a writer. I write about parenting and dating/relationships as a single father.” In a different crowd, this honesty opens up the door for people to ask me a million questions and help them solve their problems while I’m out and about; but I digress.

At this last game, this lady who I have gotten to know over the last three seasons asked me the dating question. I thought back to our conversation last week and assumed the questions that I normally get were about to fly. So I was honest and said, “Not right now.”

She responded with excitement, “Oh really? I have this friend…”

Shit!  

“She’s thirty-six and has a son about your nephew’s age…”

Fuck!

“She’s a nice person…”

Dammit!

“She hasn’t really dated much since she and her son’s father broke up. I feel like she’s afraid to venture out, so she kind of keeps him around. I’m gonna give her a call right now!”

Shit! Fuck! DAMMIT!”  

I’m just not that into it

It was as if she ran down a checklist of everything that doesn’t quite work for me at this point in my life (I’m twenty-nine, I still want to have more children, and everything else just sounded like we wouldn’t be a good fit). I looked at my phone, and said, “Hold on, I have to take this call.” I walked away for a good five minutes, listened to a song and rapped along with the lyrics to look like I was having a conversation, and then came back. She had just got off the phone and looked like she was looking for me to show some semblance of interest. That’s when I said, “Honestly, I just got out of something I had been in for two years,” which is half-true. It looked like she took that to mean I wasn’t dating right now. Luckily, that was the last game of the season, so I won’t see her until next spring.

That was the moment that I realized that I’m that person people feel like they need to hook up. Honestly, only women friends who are more like associates do this. I like to think I’m pretty good-looking and I’m always coming to my friends with some hilarious and drama-filled dating story, so they don’t even try.

I am a single parent. I don’t have much time to be out and about to meet people. Others, like said baseball mom, see me spending so many evenings at games and practices and probably think I am inundated with doing things that revolve around children. And it’s very true. People are just trying to help two people they know who they think are good people. No harm, no foul.

OK, I admit it – I’m shallow

However, blind dates almost never end well. The first question anyone asks after, “I have a friend” is “What do they look like?” Often the response is “She’s cute,” or “She’s nice,” which all mean, “Hell no.” I have humored this once or twice and upon meeting the “cute friend,” I want to punch my  so-called friend in the face. Some may think this is shallow, but the truth for most is that physical attraction comes first, so I don’t feel bad at all about this. The truth is, you can ask someone who is a real friend of yours, “What does he/she look like?”And 9.5 out of 10 times they will respond, “They don’t look like someone you’d date.”

What happens when things don’t work out? It can get awkward. Everyone might be at a function after things went south. Or you could wind up losing a friend. While I do love being in the same place as one of my exes for the sake of a great story, I don’t need extra drama.

Sometimes people who want you to meet their friend think that you’re lonely. Sure, things would be a lot easier if there were two of us raising my daughter, but I am happy. I like to think that many of us single parents live pretty regular lives with the exception of our dating lives…that’s where things get incredibly interesting. And speaking for myself, I want to be the one to set up that part of my life. The acquaintances who want to introduce me to their friends only know me as fairly mild-mannered guy who does kid shit all day. If the baseball mom knew what the dating part of my life looked like, she wouldn’t think her friend and I were a good fit at all.

Readers, tell the truth: Do you like being set up on blind dates? 

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Photo by  Jude Beck on Unsplash

“I cast out and you reel them in!” My daughter recently said to me. I laughed because she had all but confirmed that she sees herself as bait to attract women for her single father.

I don’t–nor have I ever–used my daughter as bait on purpose. I like to think that I am a pretty handsome guy and quite personable, even a little charming. However, my four-year-old daughter has been the greatest wingman I have ever had.

I’m 29 years old and have been a single father since my Cydney was nine months.  I’m still young and want to enjoy what my grandmother once told me are “the best years of my life.” Because of this I have taken my daughter with me some of everywhere. We would hop on Megabus and go to Washington, DC to hang out with my friends until the wee hours in the morning and she would be the life of the party without dulling down the festivities because she’s a kid. We’ve gone to happy hours, dinners, job interviews, networking events, you name it. If my college friends in New York have a day party and I don’t bring her they ask “Where’s Cydney?!” They’ve adopted her as an official member of the crew.

My girl knows my taste in women

I guess along the way Cydney has picked up on a thing or two. When or if she sees fit she will make her presence known to women. About two years ago, while watching the Knicks in a playoff game, Cydney took it upon herself to leave, invite herself to the neighboring table of girls in their mid-20s, introduce herself, stay there, eat some of their fries, knowing that I would have to come and get her. She has done this time and time again.  What’s extra interesting is that she has this down to a science. She knows exactly the kind of women I like and who find me attractive. It is as if she knows what she is looking for for her dad and for herself.

Cydney has not only appointed herself as the bait but she is also the gatekeeper. She is nice to everyone but if she isn’t quite interested she will let that be known as well. Once I took Cydney with me on a date. She was cool about it for a while. But when she was no longer interested she laid her coat on the ground and pretended to go to sleep. That was an indication it was time to get the check and go. She has done this more than once.

I’m aware that my experience dating as a single parent is a little different from most. Part of this is because I am a father with a little girl–seems to tug at heartstrings or something that I can’t quite understand (I chalk this up to being a guy). But many single parents have found dating to be more of a challenge. It’s tough to find time for it and I definitely have a hard time being able to consistently do so, but for me getting a date has never been a problem.

Do single dads have a dating advantage?

My good luck might be because there is a double standard around dating single fathers versus single mothers. I will admit I don’t date single moms. I did once, but for the most part I stay away. I have my reasons and for the sake of this post they don’t really matter. In any case, knowing that I’m a solo dad with a cute little girl makes women fawn…so I’ve been told.

I think my ability to find dates is also because I am not afraid to take risks. One of the things about starting a blog based around the Adventures of a Single Dad is that it prompted me to constantly find things to get into. I often say God knows I live for great stories so He keeps giving me great stories to tell. There have been weekends in which I wanted to do absolutely nothing, but I would make a conscious decision to go out, do something, and bring my kid along just for the sake of having something else to write about. I still have living to do and my daughter is a major part of what I do it all for. Turns out she’s been paying attention and has found herself a niche for continuing to make things interesting.

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST? Sign up for our weekly newsletter in the box (above, right)!  You’ll get great new essays, advice and ideas by and for single parents, coming to your email inbox. Also, register for our Singlewith Forums, to become part of our community and start connecting and getting support from fellow single moms and dads. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter (@singlewith) and Instagram (singlewithphotos). In short, JOIN US!

Photo by  lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash