Much to my great surprise, I met a man! And I like him! And he likes me back! And it was a blind date! We had one of the greatest dates of all time and are going out again this weekend. (Of course by the time this is published it'll have ended in tears and thrown china and I'll regret ever having mentioned it, but for now I'm just going to go with it.) The effect this has had on me is astonishing. Your formerly cranky columnist can now be found cooing at babies, smiling at strangers, and wondering aloud at the beauty of nature. So, for one week only, welcome to a kinder, gentler Dategirl:
I'm 40 years old, divorced after 11 years of marriage, and recently back in the dating game. Last week I met and went out with a woman. We did some barhopping and drinking on a Saturday night and in the middle of our date, she asked if I wanted to go to an alternative rock show next week with her. I said yes. We seemed to get along pretty well and I like her a lot. At what point will I know that I've become her boyfriend and she's become my girlfriend as opposed to simply an "activities partner"? I probably should know, but I've been out of the dating game for a long time.
Dear Mr. Hopeful,
Because you've got that open-wound ring to your words (plus, I met a man!), I'm not going to be my usual bitchy self, but instead adopt a nurturing and caring tone.
I really don't know what the hell difference it makes if she's your girlfriend or your activities partner—though I don't think I've ever used the phrase "activities partner" to describe anyone. Your girlfriend? Your paramour? Your bitch? What's the diff? You're fresh out of an 11-year marriage and you've gone on one date! What's the rush? This is the fun part. Enjoy it while it lasts, because believe you me, son, it's fleeting.
Here's my concern: You don't seem so much into her as you are into the idea of having a girlfriend. You went out with her, you guys got along, she invited you to a (blech) alternative rock show, and you're going to go. Note that you didn't say you met the smartest, funniest, cutest girl ever (of course that would be me, and I'm almost taken). But maybe I'm misreading you and you're just not capable of articulating your feelings. Maybe you don't even know how you feel. Then again, perhaps you're one of those annoying people who are incapable of being alone for any amount of time and will attach yourself to a tree if you think it'll protect you from the elements. Let's just assume this last possibility is untrue. Go to the wretched alterna-show with her, get a little liquored up, and slip her the tongue. If she doesn't bite it, slap you, or run away in horror, you're on your way to gaining a girlfriend. And then the fun really begins.
I am a single father of two little kids who are pretty much with me all the time. This, of course, tends to reduce the amount of time I can spend carousing for dates by myself. So my flirtatious activities with women tend to be in the company of my children. At first I was thinking that this was going to be a killer attraction for many women—two little kids with drippy ice cream cones in hand, having their snotty noses wiped by the stoic single father; Dad walking down the grocery store aisle, one small kid standing on each foot, trying to push a cart full of diapers and cookies. I've been led to believe that women would find this fatherly activity quite endearing. But I seem to have a more fundamental problem—convincing women that I'm not married.
Can you think of something I can do? Look less married? Disguise the kids as large pets? Lie about them?
Flirtless on Weekdays
I'm printing this letter because much to my horror an acquaintance of mine (who's not gay) asked me to have his baby this weekend. He put forth the proposition very sensibly, like a business plan. After about 10 minutes of hysterical hooting and hollering, he realized it wasn't going to happen. My point is, not every woman is dying to have kids. Especially someone else's.
But you sound like a nice man, so run out and get yourself a copy of About a Boy by Nick Hornby. Then join Parents Without Partners. Go to PTA meetings and contribute badly made cookies to school bake sales (if they look too good they'll think your wife made them). You'll be swimming in tail in no time.
Ah, the beauty of nature. Write firstname.lastname@example.org or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle WA 98104.