On any given Friday or Saturday night, my town is hopping with hopeful singles—young, old and middle-aged—jumping from eateries to bars to nightclubs looking for romance and a chance encounter with “The One.” If you listen closely, straining to hear past the pulsating music, clinking glasses and small talk, you’ll detect a familiar sound in the background that only grows louder as the night gets older and your judgment ?fuzzier . . .
While I have met some wonderful men over the years, I’ve also bumped into my share of frogs in this town—men who have no interest in dating women with children. Frog County, I sometimes call it. And I’m not alone in my disillusionment, either. I have shared many meals with attractive and intelligent single mothers—great catches by anyone’s standards—with whom the conversation usually revolves around our favorite topic: how hard it is to find a good, available man. To be fair, I know that some men have an equally hard time meeting a good woman. I just don’t understand why we can’t seem to find each other.
My friends and I have tried Internet dating, like Mismatch.com. One friend hit the jackpot and married a great guy she met on one of these sites. They just had their first baby!
Me? Not so lucky. Truth be told, Internet dating is too much work. I’m tired of sharing the depths of my soul with total strangers via a questionnaire or a chain of? e-mails. Keep it light, and it’s fun: What’s my favorite color? Purple. What’s my favorite kind of food? Italian. But when these faceless suitors start asking me weighty questions like, “Describe your spirituality,” I’m done! Look, I don’t even know if I have a soul these days, let alone where I am on the spiritual plane. And when I do figure it out, I won’t be posting it on Match.com, I assure you.
I even joined a dating service once, the “pay to play” concept. After plowing through 13 dates in about as many weeks, “It’s Just Lunch” became “It’s Just A Waste Of Time.” My last date was the cream of the crappy crop. He was a very successful, handsome man, my “perfect match,” so the matchmakers claimed. “Owns a chain of hotels!” so they said, thinking I'd be impressed by that. During the appetizer, he discovered that I had young children and blurted out, “I told them not to fix me up with anyone who had kids under 10 years old!” I then spent the rest of our lunch watching Prince Not-So-Charming catch flies with his sticky tongue.
So where do single parents find true love? Sorry, Ladies and Gents. I don’t have the answer. But I do have a suggestion: Write down precisely what you’re looking for in the man or woman of your dreams—“The Sequel,” that is. It may help you narrow down the field a bit. And you’ll probably discover, as I did, that the ideal qualities you’re seeking in a mate change from year to year, even decade to decade.
Here’s the list I started, once upon a time:
The 20s: The Cinderella Years
Sense of humor
Clear direction in life
A sex god
A good family, preferably of royal lineage
Kind to animals
Friendly with strangers
Owns a horse-drawn carriage
The 30s: The White-Picket-Fence Years
Sense of humor
Trustworthy if working late
Stays out of my way
Enjoys sex, preferably with me
An occasional sportsman
A skilled handyman
Doesn’t abuse animals
Likes touring model homes on weekends
The 40s: The Disillusioned Years
Shows up on time
Tolerates children who aren’t his
Doesn’t fall asleep during sex
Reliable set of tools
Frog warts OK
Lynn Armitage, a freelance editor and enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, still believes in fairy tales. She welcomes your e-mails at: Boatfolk@aol.com.