Living Vicariously Through A Single, Twenty-Something Black Widow

black widowMy best friend Shelia (name changed to protect the innocent), is a dating goddess. If there ever was a competition on who cared the least or who was the most unavailable, Shelia is the hands-down winner. Now, I doubt she’ll be married anytime soon, but like Shelia, I believe marriages can be as necessary as another hole in the head. To the married bloggers out there, disregard. I’m sure your marriage is beautiful. We bitter types like to bash the institution for comic relief :-).

Once a month, Shelia and I get together for brunch. In the two hours it takes to wait for Founding Farmers in Rockville, Maryland, we hash out our latest flops. With a calm and warm demeanor, Shelia sheepishly let’s me peruse her cell phone. The latest chap, an early 40-something bachelor, has been texting Shelia for over a month. He’s a traveling officer for the State Department. Shelia loves the unattainable. This is her third FSO boyfriend this year.

The guy is desperately enamored with how smart and self sufficient Shelia is. And make no bones about it, Shelia is incredibly smart. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy. She’s the biggest case of FOMO I know (re: Ex-Files: I Know You Hate Me…But I Really Miss You).

Now, I will never be a black-widow dater again. That ship sailed when I was childless and had time for mindless games. As I am a very single parent, I date fitfully, almost apathetically. Shelia, on the other hand, lives a life of excitement and intrigue, where she is just beyond the clutches of a serious relationship. I admire her free-spirit attitude. I need a dash of it for when the nights seem a little lonelier than I’d like.

Likening my best friend to a cannibalizing spider isn’t a slight. There is something to be said for a woman who is so in control of her emotions that she is rarely feels the pangs of heartbreak. But alas, I am susceptible to this emotion, although I carefully keep it locked for my “Friday Dateless Nights.” Having a child hardens my love/reward brain receptors. Single moms carefully tread the dating waters, dodging cyclones, pirates and sink holes.

“Is it hard to date as a single parent?” Shelia asked after I regalled her with stories of boyfriends past.

The only answer I could give was “sometimes.”

Juggling Andrew and my schedule is a varitable mess, something lost on my black widow friend. Her nights are unencoumbered by bottlefeedings, babysitters and early morning pick-ups. If the man is childless, all the harder. The expectations of my time rarely change as the man declares he needs more “us” time. I tend to gravitate towards men with children, as they understand the scheduling challenges, but even men with children have thier baby-mama-drama and our dates can quickly become ex-bashing sessions.

Every date, every boyfriend, has its own hang ups. Blake was an patient (at least seemingly) man. If he wasn’t so self-involved and aggressive we might have made it further. I guess I am waiting for someone to really knock my socks off after years with people who were less than I deserve. So I look forward to my free-spirited friend’s search for “the one” (re: The Soul Mate Delusion), knowing he probably doesn’t exist.

Until then, we might succumb to our future as Blanche Devereaux (Shelia) and Dorothy Zbornak (me) in the Golden Girls.


They were kind of awesome anyway.


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