Because sending a duplicate message to the same woman every month WILL increase your odds of a response…
I’ve been seeing a guy I used to date four years ago. Let’s call him Repeat. I broke up with Repeat in 2011 because I couldn’t see anything long term. We literally had only one thing in common *wink*. He loves watching sports- I’d rather have a root canal. He loves to travel- the idea of jet setting 24/7 makes me queasy. I like to read, write and express myself- he hasn’t read a book since it was mandatory in college.
The point is, we both agreed we’ll never be serious. Quite frankly, I have no time to have anything other than fun until I graduate my masters program.
Last weekend, we had a good time at a wine bar, which led to the inevitable. Repeat promptly asked for a follow-up date for this weekend. I agreed. He had to babysit his brother’s kids on Saturday night, so I offered to come over with board games and keep him company after the kiddos scampered off to bed.
So, last Friday came and went. No text or phone call. That’s okay, I reasoned. We already had plans, right? Saturday in class, not one text to confirm plans. So, I did what I almost never do- tried to confirm via text. He skirted the issue and mentioned he was at a baseball game that would end at 10pm.
To me, that sounded like a flake move. I resolved to make other plans with friends. At 11pm, I received this message:
“Hey, I finished up a little late here. Still down to come over?”
Doesn’t that sound like a booty call? It did to me, so I didn’t respond.
So, my fellow bloggers- Who’s the flake?
Taking a break from some of my more “intellectual” posts on society, this post is a nice segway to the date I have planned on Saturday. He’s a single dad I’ll call sapiosexual (someone attracted to intelligence) based on our common interests. We’ve been chatting for weeks but our hectic schedules have yet to align until this weekend.
- Probably smarter than me. He’s what I call an uber-intellectual because every text message is a psycho-analysis of our discussion. It’s clear he’s pretty self aware.
- He does not look like a guy in his 30s. At first I thought he’d be too young at around 24 or 23. He has a lovely baby-face.
- Tall and attractive. Oh how I hope this is true on Saturday.
- Independent and lives alone. After my last boyfriend, I’m happy he’s not living with a mentally unhinged female roommate. No drama please.
- Very committed to his family. He called me when he came back from upstate New York to care for his ailing mom.
- Single dad. I love that he has 50/50 time with his child. He totally gets me.
- Digital marketing specialist. We can talk shop!
- He offered to get a babysitter since it’s his weekend. Oh gosh, I’m in love!
- He works in the same area I work. Convenient.
- He lives an hour away. Dating logistics are not in our favor.
- LONNNNGGG, lengthy text messages. I’m more of a logistics texter. His texts over share and ooze emotion.
- I’m not immediately attracted to his pictures in an animal-esque way, but then again, I’m better in person too.
I’m also talking to another guy in his mid-30’s who is incredibly attractive but I’ve been kind of burned out on the dating scene and haven’t offered a time to meet.
This is one area in my life I don’t mind taking my time.
I started this blog with every intention on “owning” my single motherhood. I found it difficult (and still find it difficult) to label myself as a single mother because of all the social stigmas that say single mothers are women with the following attributes (some of which are based on credible and non-credible statistics, studies or outdated, but long-held beliefs):
- Divorced (because they couldn’t keep a man), single mother-by-choice (because they couldn’t find a man during their fertile years) or unmarried/never married (because they were poor decision makers or couldn’t get the father to marry them).
- Dependent on child support with other forms of government assistance.
- Dependent on welfare and/or other forms of government assistance.
- Lower socioeconomic status.
- Uneducated, with the highest education level as some high school, a high school diploma, GED or some college credit.
- At risk for chronic illnesses and diseases later in life.
- Poor judge of character and poor decision makers.
- Sufferers of mental illnesses, drug addictions or relationship addictions.
- Chronically exhausted and prone to drama and instability.
- Viewed as less desirable to date.
- Other character flaws that have led to their current circumstances.
- Contributors of the breakdown in traditional family values.
If you Google “single mother” and click on the news element, some of the headlines look like:
- Single Mothers at Risk for Poorer Health Later in Life
- After East Village Fire, Internet Helps Single Mom Of 3 Who Lost Everything
- 7 Invaluable Love Lessons From Single Moms
- Single Mother Who Worked For Brink’s Says She Was Fired for Participating in ‘Fight for 15′ Protests
- Terminally Ill Single Mother From Santa Clarita Sues for Right to Die in California
- Single Motherhood, in Decline Over All, Rises for Women 35 and Older
I noticed a few trends:
1.) The distinction of “single mom” headlines versus the “mom” without marital status in the headlines were meant to elicit sympathy, empathy, pity, a call to action or a similar emotion.
2.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mother’s in the news had a overcoming adversity, positive, strength-building or character-building tone.
3.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mothers who opted to parent by choice were older, highly educated and of higher socioeconomic class and the tone was more neutral or positive than articles of single mothers by circumstance.
4.) Studies on single mothers had a subtle, negative tone that seem to reinforce social stigma. Authors make assumptions in the first article: “Single motherhood is associated with poverty in most societies, but more so in the USA than in Europe,” the authors explain. “This may lead to different mechanisms of selection into lone motherhood between countries. Particularly in Southern European countries, strong social and family networks may offset some negative effects of single motherhood.”
So here’s my conflict: Should we be talking about “motherhood” or “parenting” rather than “single motherhood”? There are obvious differences from a married mother and a single mother, but when it comes to the basic foundations of child rearing and parenting, why do we need to assign marital status?
Playing the devil’s advocate: Is it still relevant to use the term “single mother” so that we can connect with other like-minded individuals with similar experiences?
I’m not suggesting that one term is better than the others, but rather hoping other bloggers have some insights to the question:
“Single Mom” Vocabulary: Harmful, Helpful Or Just Fact?
I heard this phrase “outcome independence” in reference to men and dating. This is one of the few times I won’t attribute the writer because at his core, he is a misogynist and I don’t make a habit of driving traffic to chauvinistic websites. To his credit, he is one of the milder offenders.
As a single mother, I think he has a stunningly good idea. His use of “outcome independence” reflects his ideals supporting open-relationships, which I disagree, however the term refers to a particular mindset. If single women, particularly single mothers, devote their time, energy and resources to one person without any type of ACTION-oriented commitment, chances are this arrangement will go badly for the time-strapped single mom. To be “outcome independent” is to carry a mindset of “whatever be will be” to any perceived commitment- it provides accountability towards ACTION rather than WORDS.
So what does that exactly mean? Living your life with a focused mission of happiness and getting rid of baggage that is a time waster or is inefficient. Some scenarios will illustrate:
- Single mom of two, Betty, has been talking online to a few guys. One she happens to like asks for her number. She obliges and he proceeds to text her plans for a date. They both agree to a location for Friday night. Betty has a birthday party to attend, but assures her prospective date that they can meet for drinks after. He agrees, promising to text her the time. Friday morning rolls around and her Prince #1 hasn’t texted her. Should she text him a reminder? Start conversation by asking about his day? Maybe he forgot because he isn’t a great scheduler?
Nope. To be outcome independent, Betty should go ahead with her original plans as if she never made date plans in the first place. She is letting the natural ebb and flow of dating take place. If he never follows up, chances are he had no intention of meeting her and is now an official TIME SUCK of her precious energy. She only commits energy to action, not promises.
- Recently divorced and working mom, Candace, met a man while grocery shopping. They exchange numbers and he promised to call. After three days, Prince #2 does call after work. They have one of the most engaging and interesting conversations she has ever had with the opposite sex. She feels that her faith in men is on its way to restoration! For the next week, Prince #2 calls to talk every day and they make plans to meet for coffee one weekend when her ex-husband has the kids. The fateful day arrives and as Candace is getting ready, she gets a phone call from Prince #2. His tire is flat and has to reschedule. Bummer! They make plans for lunch that following week. As the week drags on, they continue to talk like before, however Candace notices Prince #2 is exceedingly busy and can’t meet for lunch as promised, but asks for her to get a babysitter instead for a date night. Should Candace take initiative and get the babysitter? Her neighbor loves babysitting her kids and often does so in a pinch!
Absolutely NOT. As engaging as Prince #2 seems, he fails to realize or acknowledge that Candace is a very busy individual too. She is practically jumping hoops to see him. His first cancellation may have been genuine, however his failures to meet for lunch are telling. Prince #2 likes the “girlfriend experience” of talking to Candace in an intimate way, but when rubber meets the road, he isn’t committing energy to getting to know her as his glib pronouncements may indicate. To maintain “outcome independence,” Candace shrugs, stops participating in their two hour chat sessions and gets on a dating service post-haste!
- Single mom of three, Katie, is not that interested in dating. She is tired most of the time and her ex isn’t the most dependable person. After over a year of celibacy, Katie is finally persuaded by her friends to meet a single father for a blind date. She meets him and they have an initial spark. He mentions on the end of the date that he would like to see her the following weekend. She agrees and calls her mom to babysit the kids overnight. Her mom obliges because she can’t remember the last time her daughter went out on a date! Prince #3 meets her at a comedy club and they have a great time! She spends the night at his house. Before she leaves to go home, he begs to see her again when the kids are at her ex’s house. She agrees. The week goes by. She’s sure he’ll call. He doesn’t. At the end of the weekend, Prince #3 finally calls and acts like nothing is amiss. Should Katie demand what happened? After all, she cleared her schedule for the weekend!
At this point, you’re probably saying NO! If Katie was truly outcome independent, she would have called her girlfriends and planned a night out. If and when Prince #3 called, he would have to work himself into her busy schedule. Katie would have remained free to enjoy her weekend to the fullest and if Prince #3 was lucky, he’d have the opportunity to see her.
I write this post is after reading other sad stories of single mothers and dating- they are stood up, pushed to the back-burner, or jump through hoops to get a date. This should NOT be happening. Once you let go of dating expectations, that’s when a man worthy of dating will come around and respect your independence, autonomy, time, energy and limited resources.
Stay independent ladies!
Garry was very tall (he didn’t lie) leaning against the entrance of Firehouse bar. He was playing with his phone, probably texting me directions. My phone had died and I was in Northeast D.C. pretty close to lost. But there he was. I got this tingly feeling. I get it when I see an attractive man I’m about to go on a date with.
He looked like Hugh Jackman, he sounded like Hugh Jackman, but alas, his personality was not that of Hugh Jackman. It was of a stereotypical, Hollywood lawyer: dry and boorish. Now, don’t get me wrong- my mom is a lawyer and she an animated woman. But this guy…typical.
It was all so inconsistent. We had perfectly fun, witty banter online and via text message, but in person, he was kind of a drag.
So I pressed on, drank on, and tried to entertain myself…talking to myself. His pothead roommate stopped by mid-date and chatted us up a bit (?). Even he had more personality in those brief few minutes.
The times he did talk, it was about his insatiable wanderlust mentality. He didn’t expect to live in D.C. more than two years. Great! That’s exactly what’s going to score you points in the D.C. dating scene.
The date didn’t last long. I was out of there by 11:30 p.m. and grateful. I got a few texts the next day (YouTube links to the kind of music he likes). I was nice but not too interested.
Hugh Jackman was a HUGE disappointment.
I’m a little late, as usual, while I drive almost a half an hour away in Friday afternoon traffic. My make-up is nearly perfect but I am a little disappointed in my outfit. My apartment is a little bit of a wreck right now- a variable clothes explosion- I couldn’t find the outfit I was going to wear to save my life!
I pull up to his house, effortlessly yuppie with a well-manicured lawn, and hear Hipster’s music blasting from the window in the kitchen.
The screen door was propped open, inviting me in.
“Helloooo?” I called.
A half balding, older man popped his head in the hallway, “Hiya. Come on in.”
I walked into the kitchen and was greeted by Liz, a very petite blonde in ass-hugging jeggings, a white blouse, nude pumps and a white Chanel handbag.
“Hi I’m Liz,” she said and shook my hand.
So far so good. The three of them were downing moderately priced champagne. It was a bit early for me to drink so I nursed the glass while Liz went about the kitchen tidying (it was already immaculately clean). Poor Hipster looked agitated at the roommate and boyfriend intrusion.
Liz certainly didn’t get the hint and made herself at home on a bar stool.
“So Penny. Tell me about yourself.”
“What would you like to know?” I asked pleasantly.
“Hipster tells me you’re a single mom. So like do you have baby daddy drama? Are you friendly? Do you guys talk? Were you ever married? Do you miss your kid on weekends?”
I kid you not, this woman asked about 20 inappropriate questions in one breath.
I’m not the kind of woman to divulge my life’s story after knowing a person for five minutes, so I answered some of the more mundane questions.
She then went on to tell me about her impending divorce to a man 15 years older (in his fifties) who was a psychopath and a sex addict. I then learned she was trying to settle for spousal support and the house but the divorce process had taken two years.
“Do you ever want to get married? Was your pregnancy planned? Why don’t you and your ex talk? Even to co-parent?” she kept yammering.
After about an hour and a half of interrogation, I wasn’t sure that I liked this woman. She acted like someone who snorted too much Adderall, running around the house, chasing her dogs.
Finally she and her boyfriend left. I was relieved. Hipster went on to plate our first dish: perfectly cooked gnocchi with pickled artichokes, asparagus and a pesto sauce. The second course was even better: seared scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree (tasting surprisingly nutty) and sun dried tomatoes with flecks of bacon. The first two courses were so big that neither of us could stomach the other three he planned to cook. The desserts were cheese plates, delicious mulberry jam and chocolate-covered, fresh coconut.
We had amazing conversation, plenty of wine and those “come-hither” glances you see in movies. No more than two hours later, Lizzy and her boyfriend came home to make yet another cameo, drunker than before.
The two of them plopped down next to us and restarted our previous conversation. Liz rambled on about her female and male houseplant’s love connection (?!) and said things like “I know we probably shouldn’t be friends, but I think we will be,” “You should bring over your son next time- I love to babysit!” and “you have an intimidating type of style” because I wore black and white and dark makeup.
Our night ended after WE excused ourselves to Hipster’s room. I’m not quite sold on this chick, but their body language didn’t portray any hint of a past, romantic relationship.
At the end of the night, I am happy to report that we are now exclusive :-).
Should I give her the benefit of the doubt and loosen up or is something somewhat unhinged?
I was fifteen minutes late. The Uber driver was creeping on back roads at 10 miles per hour. The Hipster was waiting outside of the bar in his parking space. I had waited all week to wear my cute new mid-drift shirt with a long, body-hugging skirt and laced-up black pumps.
He saw me and walked across the highway wearing a dress jacket, T-shirt, thick black framed glasses and a scarf with yesterday’s gruff. He was the perfect display of San- Fran hippie and I loved his style.
He greeted me pleasantly with a hug and a quick “Nice to meet you.”
“Have you been waiting long?” I asked. I hate keeping people waiting.
“Only since 4:00 p.m.,” he joked. “I like to get a head start.”
We found a place at the bar and immediately I was struck by how gorgeous he was. His pictures definitely didn’t do him justice.
“So did I catfish you?” I asked. Our text messages that week were about his catfish experiences and since it’s hard to find me online, he was worried about a repeat.
“No,” he said. “You are absolutely stunning.”
I liked him instantly.
I was besotted by his intensely passionate energy. He was a smooth talker for sure, but not in a creepy, player kind of way. His eyes were authentic. His hand movements and gestures were excited.
We drank at the bar until I spied an open table and he pounced on it. To be honest, I wanted to have some space between us so he wouldn’t keep touching my leg- too intimate and sexual for a first meeting.
I always like to swap stories about online dating horrors- they’re always good ice breakers. He regaled me in his recent catfish story about a date with a women who was ten years older than her profile stated and with an ass the size of a “table.”
The Hipster kept asking me “what’s my story?” meaning he wanted the details of my ex-fiancee and so called “baby daddy.” I wasn’t too keen on getting into the particulars- it sounds crazy when I tell it aloud and it’s not really first date material. He backed off but told me he was divorced two years, co-parents well with his ex and is a very hands-on dad. He owns a catering company that allows him to work the hours he wants and spend ample time with his kid. I found it very refreshing. He’s also somewhat of a relator maverick, working his way to getting his real estate license and dabbling in selling property.
However, there were some potential red flags:
- He lives with a female roommate in a six bedroom home who once tried to date him (He swore he never slept with her, however I’m not so sure…)
- He seems to have few boundaries with his ex (they’re best friends…could she be the jealous type? We’ll see).
- He is a bit materialistic. He kept talking about his passion to manifest wealth and interest in personal style and having nice things. I’m not really of that mindset. I think modesty and balance is best.
- He’s somewhat of a cross between conservative and libertarian. I’m a moderate liberal, so we will probably disagree about most things political.
- He was exceptionally forthcoming about his manic-depressive traits. My ex is borderline, possibly anti-social and it was hell, so I date The Hipster with hesitation.
The night ended with him driving me home. I wouldn’t let him come up because I knew we might sleep together and that’s really not in my best interest right now. I’m not looking to hit-it-and-quit-it at this juncture in my life. But we did sit in his car for an hour just kissing, which was a nice departure for me because I’m not much of a make-out chick. He was an EXCELLENT kisser.
We have plans for lunch later this week since I have no free time for the ten days. Updates to come…