This is apparently what the single people do these days. Even single, widowed people like me. From what I understand, this is one of the many normal, routine things people do when they are 'out there.' I haven't been out there since 1998 and back then I was armed only with a cheap, pink razor, slim hips and dreamy, pre-breastfeeding boobs– and it all worked like a damn charm.
But time has changed things a bit. It's a little sexier out there this time around. They do selfies and sexting and sit at certain bars to go home with people after catching a 'vibe.' They join Tinder and Bumble and other dating sites that sound Disney-like yet are so dirty you have to shower after just opening your web browser. They flirt at the gym, too. And I'm a complete moron at the gym and only know how to use a treadmill, so I got no game there. The other day someone approached me at the drinking fountain near the ab machines and started talking to me. You would have thought I was trying to do my best Elmer Fudd impersonation, because I seriously didn't know what to say let alone how to make coherent words come out of my mouth. Yep –he gone!
My twins were watching me page through a dress catalog tonight. They were pointing at and picking out all these beautiful, fancy dresses for me. I told them how mommy would be a little overdressed for cafeteria duty or my work at the preschool in any of these outfits. I just don't have anywhere to wear them, I said.
"What if you went on a date," my daughter asked. "With that guy?"
I haven't told the children I have already been on a few dates. The counselor we see told me months ago to ease them into news like this and obviously proceed with caution when I do decide to introduce them to anyone. They only know the name of someone who had been texting me lately but I never made a big deal of it around them because when and if it became nothing I wouldn't hurt or confuse them. I said he and I were probably just friends now. Mommy is not everyone's cup of tea, I say out loud, if only to realize that truth myself.
Then there's the Internet. Weeding through Internet dudes interested in a widow with four kids is not pretty y'all. Neither are they, though. Some are creepy. Some are probably married. Some only want a quick hookup and nothing more. I found myself conversing with a guy the other night who– from his tiny online photo– seemed to be quite perfect. Good looking, great job, loves The Office (that's a deal breaker y'all) and not married. We talked a while. Then I realized he was from Canada which is not close to Kentucky. Annnnnnnd that was the end of that.
It's too hard though. It's exhausting and sometimes it's heartbreaking too. Because when you do start going out and liking someone enough to want to make out with them (Lord, do I miss a good makeout session) things usually just crash and burn or go sour. It's something I take personally that leaves me wondering about all the things I know are wrong with me. It puts me in a funk and I hate it. I hate being out here some days, sweating on a treadmill or ripping (literally) every hair from my 43-year-old body for the sake of getting a date.
I'm in the second year of widowhood now. This is it. This is normal life now. The second year is when it really starts setting in that your person isn't here and never will be again.
I had a person– a date for everything. A valentine card every year. I had a person who loved me and didn't want to leave me. (Ok, well maybe he may have wanted to leave me a couple times during 15 years, but I know he truly loved me). He loved me even when I had no makeup on. Even when I had an extra 10 pounds in these yoga pants. He loved me when I told him how much debt I racked up in college. He loved me enough to pay it off, too. He loved me despite the most horrific deal I made with a car salesman back in 1999. He loved me when I told off an asshole boss in 2001 and quit my job when I didn't have a backup plan. He even loved me when I peed during every contraction during the last hour of labor with our firstborn. In fact, he told me he loved me more then. He loved me despite my foul mouth. He loved me despite my bad Italian temper. He loved me despite all the inappropriate things I said and did.
Even when I never found time to shave (or have a beautifully manicured hoo-ha courtesy of some Kelly-Clarkson-inspired f-bombs) he still loved me.
And I just don't know if that kind of love happens twice in a lifetime.
This post was also published Feb. 17, 2019, here at Filter Free Parents.