Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dating and Kids

I just got back from the weirdest date. I went out with two females—K. and her 11-year-old daughter.

The plan was for us to go for a picnic dinner and then go for a nature hike. The weather didn’t cooperate, though. The windy spring season has begun, so we opted to eat outside at the table in K.’s backyard. We ate cold salmon, soy bean salad, picked beets (yuck) and a few other things for dinner. We ate off paper plates, holding the plates down so they wouldn’t blow away in the wind.

K.'s daughter, being an attention-starved tween, kept jumping on the trampoline in the backyard while K. and I were trying to eat and talk. Having an 11-year-old along on a date makes for a very different dynamic, let me tell you.

K. and I retreated into the house to get out of the wind. She sat down on a chair in the living room, leaving me to sit across from her on the couch. We talked, but mostly about her daughter and her ex, who is behind on his child support. Not exactly romantic date conversation.

It became very clear to me that K. wants a male presence in her life—but largely for her daughter's benefit. (And to give K. a break from the 24/7 job of being a parent.) Already K. is sizing me up as a potential stepfather.

One of the things I enjoy about mid-life dating is the sexual tension of “are we going to kiss on this date?” and “how far will she let me go tonight before she offers resistance?”

With K., there has been none of that delicious tension. We haven’t had a romantic date, so we haven’t had the opportunities to touch each other tentatively to see how comfortable we are. There have only been hugs of greeting and goodbye.

Tonight I felt like I was on an extended job interview. Maybe that’s what all dates are, but in this case I didn’t have to impress just one woman, I had to impress her daughter, too. I’m a great dad to my own (now grown-up) kids, so I know how to along with children. But I resented having to pass the “dad” test before I even know if there is any chemistry between me and K.

After tonight, a single woman without children looks very good to me, indeed.

How about you? What's your experience with dating and kids?

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