Fish Out Of Water

LIFE: Ok, here is how it is going to go. You are going to get divorced and on the days your kids aren’t with you, you are going to date. Oh, you haven’t dated anyone new since you were 16 years old? That’s FINE. You’ll be fine. It’s soooo easy now. You don’t even have to put on real clothes. You can just grab your phone and swipe left or right. There are PLENTY of fish in the sea. Take your pick! They are all very normal and none of them are intimidated by a woman with three kids. One is an infant still in diapers? Oh, it’s cool. They won’t blink an eye. You don’t ever want to get married again? No problem-that’s actually PERFECT. 

ME: Well, ok. I am bored when I don’t have the kids. No man will ever be interested in this hot mess express, but analyzing profiles actually sounds like a fun way to pass the time.

I often share about my love story with my husband, so I think it’s only fair that I share my “Almost Love Stories” from my brief dating days. (I’ve also included the picture of the time I got stuck in a romper that I thought was a dress in a dressing room)

Fish Out Of Water

One of the first times I went out with friends, I noticed a cute (way too young for me) guy eyeing me. Why was he staring at me? Did I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe? Lipstick on my teeth? Then…oh no. He’s coming this way. What do I do? What do I say? He is cute. But he is way too young for me. He probably just graduated college. As he approached, I froze. He introduced himself and started to make flirty small talk. He seemed nice enough, so I decided to give him a chance. I could get used to this. It’s really not so bad. He is just a regular human, like me. Then, out of nowhere (completely unprompted ) I looked right into his eyes and blurted out “I have three kids.” Silence. He smiled awkwardly and nodded, and then turned around (literally on his heel) and walked away. The end. 

While on a girls’ getaway with my sister and friend, we found a really trendy bar/restaurant. Our bartender befriended us and the more he talked, the funnier he was. The funnier he was, the more I wanted to impress him with my amazing wit. It was going well. He served my drink in one of those huge, super tall glasses. Apparently, I found something he said quite hilarious and may have overexaggerated the laughter. I managed to knock that ENTRIE full drink right into my lap. The end. Again.

Another time, I opened my phone to find messages from a handsome model (he literally was a model, but more on that in a minute). After talking for a little while, I was finally convinced he was a real human and not a Catfish. But why would this extremely attractive man (“Paul With The Abs” as I designated him in my phone contacts) want to go on a date with a mom of three with exactly zero abs and a love of french fries? I knew there had to be a catch. The catch came when I talked to him on the phone for the first time. Turns out, Paul with the abs was an actual calf model. Nope, that’s not a typo. His calves were featured in shoe commercials and ads for tennis shoes. Just his calves. When we talked on the phone, I quickly realized why Paul-in spite of his chiseled abs- was single. He was already in a very committed relationship with his ego. He told the woeful story of how hard it is to be a single dad and have women leaving suggestive notes on his windshield at the grocery store for his sons to read. He noted his height at every opportunity. He really enjoyed talking about himself. He even sent a video of his very suave 8 year old son saying “If you don’t like my dad, you can marry me”. I’m sure he kept that video in his back pocket to send to all of his prospective dates. I convinced myself I could suffer through one dinner with him because he was so pretty and I was just looking for new experiences with new people anyway. After our phone call, my sister sent a text asking how it went. My sisters and girlfriends were as invested in my dating life as I was. Maybe more. I replied, telling her how into himself he was and how he had so many corny lines it was cringeworthy. After I replied, I glanced down at my phone and realized with horror that I had sent the message to HIM! I was mortified and tried to explain, but there really was no good way to cover that one. It didn’t seem to phase him or his calf muscles, because the next morning he sent me an interesting photo (definitely photoshopped or he would be a different kind of model). The end. 

Last, but certainly not least-there was “Alex”. Alex was doing a dermatology rotation in a nearby town and we connected and had a nice conversation. He wasn’t going to be in town long, but invited me to meet him for a no pressure, casual dinner. He seemed very nice and easy to talk to, so I agreed. We exchanged numbers and agreed on a place and time to meet. The day of our dinner, my dad called me laughing and said “WHO IS ALEX? He sent me a message calling me sweetheart.” I could not figure out what he was talking about, so I immediately called him. It was then that I realized what had happened. My dad and I share a phone number that is only one number different. When I sent my number to Alex, I accidentally sent him MY DAD’s number. I later found out that once my dad realized he was going to be a dermatologist, he sent him a photo of a weird mole or wart and asked for his professional opinion about what it could be. Mortified doesn’t even cover it. Luckily, Alex was a complete gentleman about it and we both got a big laugh out of it. But also, the end. 

During these fun days of dating, a fellow single mom and I would often compare notes and laugh about our ridiculous experiences. At the time, the website Plenty Of Fish was popular and I remember her saying that we should create a dating website for awkward moms called “Fish Out Of Water”, because that’s what we were. 

During those brief months of dating, I did get to know some really quality people and I learned a lot about myself through those experiences. I don’t EVER want to go back to those dating days (most of these “fish” in the sea are really more like those sea monkeys that I used to “grow”), but if I hadn’t opened myself up to those opportunities, I would have never caught and reeled in my husband with my amazing newfound fishing skills. 

If you’re dipping your toes back into the dating pool after divorce or years of not dating, here is my advice: always double check the phone numbers and make sure you’re texting the person you mean to. Also, there’s no need to blurt out how many kids you have in the first 30 seconds after meeting someone and for goodness sake, stay away from calf models (or elbow or forehead models). Finally, know that when you use the right bait, the fish that is meant for you will get you hook, line, and sinker. 

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