I slept like a baby last night. I mean that in the realistic sense. I tossed and turned. I woke up every couple of hours. I sweat. Random, nonsensical images kept flashing through my mind. And at one point, I thought I was going to shit myself. It turns out, if you want to sleep like a baby, have a late-night meal of Ramen noodles, an apple, and Very Berry Cheerios. It’s the perfect storm.
I often eat late at night. Half the week, I don’t get off work until about 10pm. The other half, I work the lunch shift and can’t eat until I get home. Thus, late night meals hold me over until after work. I know. Eating late is terribly unhealthy. As is smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka. Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that heroin and unprotected sex with prostitutes is dangerous. It was the knowledge that late-night eating is unhealthy that prompted me to throw together this “more healthy” combination. I was proud of myself that my meal didn’t consist of most of an entire pizza. My whole being disagreed.
What I needed at the moment of culinary decision-making was a significant other. A grown woman to tell me that grown men have no business eating like that. My daughter is no help. She’s ten, and would consider the prospect of the Ramen/apple/cereal entrée to be a delicacy. I would explain to her that those things do not make up a real meal and force her to dine on something of substance. Pot. Kettle. May we discuss color schemes?
And so, I’m back to the thought that has plagued me a lot recently. I should start dating again. It seems like a simple enough concept. You go out. You meet people. You take said people out on dates and discover whether or not the two of you connect. You get to have sex that doesn’t involve your laptop or smart phone. You have someone to talk to about your day. You have someone to smack the Cheerios out of your hand at midnight.
The problem is that dating sucks. It wasn’t bad for me in my twenties. I was bartending in a karaoke bar. I dated a lot of women from there. I met my daughter’s mother in that bar. I was in an environment designed for people to meet others my age at that time. Now, I’m 37 years old. Spending time in bars just makes me feel ancient. If you’re in a bar with a shaved head and a goatee, and you aren’t the bouncer, you’re out of place. Hip hop and rap play so loudly that I can’t have a conversation. Despite my claims, I’m not actually much of twerker. My balance, especially after vodka, is not ideal for dry-humping on a dance floor. I’ve heard it said that how a man dances is the equivalent of how he is in bed. If that’s the case, I am so, so sorry to any woman with whom I’ve had sex. That must have been an uncomfortable, awkward experience. Like dancing The Robot, but with a robot that has epilepsy.
The wonderful world of dating has changed a lot over the last decade. The Internet has taken over. I tried my hand at it. I downloaded dating apps. Those work wonders, from what I understand, if you live in a large city. I do not. Instead, I am forced to read the profiles of women to whom I used to serve drinks regularly. The pictures always look amazing. Their profiles are meticulously written and sound intelligent and interesting. But I’ve seen how they carry themselves after shot number three. And I’ve listened to them carry on conversations at my bar. Sorry, sweetheart, your profile isn’t exactly accurate. How is it that every woman in the world loves sports and is an adrenaline junkie these days? I couldn’t care less if I never see any type of game on TV. And there is no way in hell you will ever find me jumping out of an airplane thousands of feet in the air. I haven’t attended enough church in my life to have that kind of faith. Oh, you’re not looking for a hookup? I should swipe left? Perhaps you should respond to different and interesting questions from a guy who isn’t immediately sending unsolicited pics of his junk. I’m classy. I save that until at least conversation number three.
Online dating doesn’t allow me to gauge a woman the way I need to in order to find out if I actually like her. I need to hear her inflection and tone. I need to listen to her words without autocorrect fixing her grammar. I need to see a genuine smile break out on her face instead of the one from selfie number 27. I need personalization. And here lies the problem: I don’t bring random women around my daughter. Considering that I have her three days a week, we’re down to four. I work evenings three of those four. That leaves Monday. Monday is the one day I neither work nor have my daughter after I drop her at school. I’ve been trying to start a movement in which Monday is the new Friday. It hasn’t caught on.
I briefly considered attending church just to try to meet a nice woman. Considering I’m not religious, I would feel like the guy trolling maternity wards just to find loose women. Just because the probability is high doesn’t mean you should do it. That was a joke. Take it easy, angry new mother. Likewise, approaching a woman with a flirty look on your face in the baby aisle at the grocery store might seem like a good idea. However, if you don’t preface “Those diapers are the best,” with “I have a daughter and I tried numerous brands,” the woman will assume you have digestive issues or a weird fetish. You know what? Just never approach a woman with a flirty look around any baby items of any kind. Scratch that. If you’re me, never approach any woman with a flirty look, period. I can’t pull it off. I look a little rapey.
Then there is the issue of being a 37 year old single father. I would like to have another child someday. Women my age are generally done having kids. Which pushes me toward women in their twenties. Until I try to talk about life with them and realize I could have legally driven them to kindergarten. Nope. So, I’m pushed back to “age appropriate” women. The type of women my friends tell me I should date. Women in their thirties usually have children of their own. If they don’t, they seem to have a problem with my relationship with my daughter’s mom. We get along well. Although a relationship for us wasn’t in the cards, we created a phenomenal young girl that has us connected for the rest of our lives. We both understand that and remain friends. She’s married now to a great guy. I attended their wedding. I love that my daughter can see us talk and laugh together. Girlfriends without kids, on the other hand, see the “baby mama” as an ex-girlfriend instead of the mother of my daughter. The two of us being friends has created issues. My last girlfriend actually ended our relationship because I wished Madison’s mom a Happy Mother’s Day on Facebook. Social media strikes again. Apparently, the problem was that my girlfriend was supposed to be the “woman in my life” and I should have tagged her in a post on Mother’s Day. Of course, my girlfriend had no children. I suppose I could have tagged her in a post about her soon-to-be barren ovaries, but I think the tone would have been wrong. I wish she was the only one. That was the second time a woman in her thirties took issue with Baby Mama.
So, I’m looking at women my age who have children of their own. This involves scheduling around all the children and shifts at work. Those without restraining orders on crazy exes would be ideal, but I’m a realist. In addition, I expect the children to be well-behaved, as that is how I raised my own daughter. I would like this woman to be intelligent, hilarious, attractive, and sane.
Holy shit. I’m going to die alone.