Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dating with a diaper bag

I went on a blind, internet date last night.  First date in three years - no pressure on him or anything.

I spent the entire day fretting.  Was my hair frizzy? Did I remember how to put on makeup? Did I need blush? What about my legs, did I shave my legs right with this newfangled electric razor?

Then there was the purse.  The dreaded but oh-so-necessary mom purse/diaper bag.  It's all I had.  I literally don't own anything else.  What I did own that could have flown for something decidedly less domestic decided to stage a coup and have a strap-snap.

It's never been a secret that dating mystifies me.  I was never very good at it, and now that I have kids I'm even more inept.  But it's necessary.  Even if the outcome of the date is just a night out with an adult, meant to be nothing more than a night out with an adult, it is vital to keeping your sanity.

We went out for drinks, and I learned a lot.  Not just about him, but about myself.  It was a moment of clarity, an epiphany, one of those times where the lights come down from the heavens to illuminate certain key points of existence and provide clarity on the mysteries of being a single parent.

Things I learned on this date that I'd like to pass along to you, my dearest readers:

1. First dates are infinitely easier when the person said date is with has a child, themselves.  Yes, you talk about your kids.  It's inevitable - but it's OKAY.  They understand, and in the rapport they talk about their own.  You share stories, war wounds, laughs, tips.  It brings the liberation of not having to compartmentalize yourself and seal away a part of you, or two or three parts of you, that you can never really cut off.

2.  Don't fret over the purse.  Seriously. He wouldn't have noticed if I had brought a bowling ball bag, I don't think.

3.  Find things to laugh about.  Be silly.  Keeping your back ram-rod straight whilst good for posture is bad for soul. Yes, you're a parent, but you're also a person.  Don't forget who that person is, and let that person shine.

4.  Beer is better when it goes IN your mouth, and not on your date.  For that reason, I pray that my dates never wear dry-clean only suits, and I never do either. ;) (Here's lookin' at you, kid.  It was an awesome way to break the rest of the ice.)

5.  Don't be afraid of chemistry.  Take that post-drink/dinner walk, talk some more.  If you brush up against them, IT'S OKAY.  We're all so used to creating huge bubbles of personal space, especially with our kids in tow so that strangers don't end up with chocolate fingerprints on their Fendi bags, that we may shy away from accidental or timid purposeful contact.  Don't.  Take a deep breath and embrace it, embrace them, let that chemistry send chills down your spine if your lips meet or your hands clasp.

Lastly? Sometimes it's okay to sneak back out after you come home and the kids are in bed, just so you can talk and kiss for four hours more.

Stay Madd, my darlings.  It's the only way to survive these seasons.

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