My First Night Out as a Single Mom

Posted by admin on Nov 16, 2009 in Dating as a Single Mom |

Hi everybody,

The first time I felt the itch to socialize and date as a single mom, I was just two months out of court, post-divorce, not really knowing what I was after. But I knew I needed some new people in my new life.  So grab a coffee or a cocoa, take a leisurely read through, and when you’re done, tell me about your forays into the world of dating and meeting new people…

It was bound to happen to me, this whole going out thing. I was starting to have that cooped up feeling. I wanted to socialize. With adults. And I wanted to tell somebody a story from beginning to end, without any interruptions. My daughter was now at her dad’s house every Friday night, so I had one precious night a week to myself. Half of the time it was ‘booked’ with working late or putting on pajamas as soon as I got home, hitting my couch with takeout, a movie and ice cream (just writing that makes me sigh happily). But I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with old friends, and make some new ones too. And I kind of felt the stirrings of curiosity about the dating world, though I had had such little experience with it.

I hadn’t been out as a single woman in nearly two decades: one college relationship had led to another relationship, which had led to marriage. That was pretty much it. I was ready to go out, I thought…sort of. I was noticing *men* once again.

Working within my wavelength, a girlfriend called me on one fine Tuesday to invite me to a happy hour for single professionals the following Friday, and I eagerly yelped out a “Yes!”  The event sounded like a good place to start. Immediately after I hung up, I began to wonder what I would wear. And, a small part of me felt ticklish as I wondered if fairy tales still came true: maybe I could meet Prince Charming on my first night out and live happily ever after, and avoid this whole thing…? It could happen. So I’ve heard.

My closet was full of suits and other business clothes; I also had my “weekend wear,” which fit my status as a single-working-mom-with-an-almost-three-year-old: sweats. Given that I was now broke (thanks to a five figure divorce), shopping was not an option, so I had to look in my closet again.

Friday finally arrived. I indulged in a bubble bath. “Oh my goodness,” I thought, “when I took the time to fix myself up, I actually looked pretty!” Hair: shiny; skin: nice and clear. Smile: full on and present. I had slid into a pair of cool, silky underwear. I had gotten into my skinny jeans without jumping around, trying to use gravity as my enabler – the ones I wore before I had had my daughter. I had found a pretty red and pink water-colored top with billowy sleeves in the back of my closet, never worn. Shimmery eye shadow and a rosy blush made my face sparkle warmly. My fingernails matched my toes and they looked so lovely in a feathery-pink shade of polish – I had forgotten how nice it was to be well manicured. And I used an actual, Hollywood style powder-puff to put on a glittery, lightly scented powder. I felt soft and girlie inside. I had just spent an hour fixing my hair and putting makeup on my face – a luxury I hadn’t indulged in since…well I couldn’t remember. Music played in the background and I sang along when I wanted to, as loud as I wanted to, and I did a few dance steps too. Feeling very Sex and the City, I switched to a purse that matched my high heeled shoes.

As I took another twirl in the mirror, I paused. I felt like eighteen years of experiences, feelings, and significant events were a jumbled, messy stack of memories in my hand, punctuated by divorce. Woven in was laughter, sadness, joy, pain, confusion, confidence, fear, elation, heart break. And suddenly, a light breeze had come by, on its way to someplace else, and scattered my memories from my palm to random locations, connected and unconnected. It was so strange and yet it was real: I was single again. The life I thought was going to happen was not going to happen. I was going to figure it out, again. I was scared. I was certain I was on the right path. I was going out again, this time as a single mother.

I shook it off, smiled back pointedly at myself, and headed off to meet my friends for the singles mixer.

By the time I got situated in a taxi, I was bubbling with excitement; I felt so lighthearted, energized! At the bar, I found my girlfriend pretty quickly (i.e. my shield for the evening) and the ratio of men to women actually looked pretty even. Within minutes, a tall nice looking guy with a dark purple jacket walked up to us and said smoothly, “Hi, I’m Barney. It’s nice to meet you.” I immediately suppressed a laugh and sipped my drink. Barney, the tall guy in the purple jacket? I had just ordered a Barney the Dinosaur character (yes, the one who has an entirely purple body) to come sing at my daughter’s third birthday party! We introduced ourselves and made small talk. Then we asked him what he did for a living. He paused, stuttered, and said “I’m a sor-sor-sourcer.” Not wanting a pause in conversation after the stuttering, we all paused. Thankfully, my vocal chords jumped to life and I asked with a smile, “What do you source?” He paused, and then gave us a vague reply, “Well, lots of different things…” and casually wandered off. My girlfriend stared at his back as he floated away, as if on a magic carpet; she then muttered, “Do you think he meant he was a ‘sorcerer” and not a ‘sourcer’?” We laughed like we were in high school and headed towards the finger foods. We talked to a couple more single men, no sparks. Then we bumped into another man who quickly introduced himself between bites (“Hi I’m Joe ”) and told us that he worked in the women’s fashion industry. Ok, that could be interesting. He should be easy to talk to! “Do you enjoy it?” I asked. He tore into a chicken wing and said matter-of-factly:”Well I can now walk up to a woman and immediately tell her what her bra size is; want me to tell you your sizes?” We didn’t. We already knew our sizes. In fact, thanks to Oprah, we knew our correct sizes. We left, giggling silly. And that was my first evening out as a single working mother.

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  • Vic says:

    Awww…this is awesome! Congrats! I wish I could go out with some girly friends:) I miss it so muchy…..been down here in the south with no fam.:( poor meh! It’s so fun to get dolled up….I’m sorry your life that you thought would happen ended this way but good things are headed your way…I promise you that…I have esp:)

  • Swati says:

    Thanks Vic…I think you are right :-)!
    – Swati

  • Colleen says:

    Oh, I so remember! I wasn’t a single mom, just single after 1st marriage and long relationship after that. Dating was a pain in the a**, as far as I was concerned. I began to love my single life, my solitary home, coming and going as I chose. Six years of utter bliss. Then I met my Hubster, his 3 boys moved in, and life was never the same. I look back on those single years with full appreciation, even tho I wouldn’t give my family up, you kno?

  • Swati says:

    Hi Colleen: Yes, I do know…life is funny that way I guess. I wouldn’t change a thing – and yet, some parts have been difficult, while others have been so much harder. I’m glad you got time to yourself at one stage – and now what sounds like lots of love and adventure in this stage.
    – Swati

  • Rebecca says:

    Wow, that could have been written about me! Like you it was 2 months once the divorce was done and dusted that the urge to date even surfaced. I was lucky enough to have my 22-year old borrowed daughter/niece living with me who calmly walked me through my closet, pronounced my choices ‘too old’ ‘too intimidating’ ‘can’t you look a bit more dressed up?’, gave me pointers on dating etiquette and stayed up for the recap. She’s back in Zim now and on the rare occasions I get to go out I still use her advice as a compass since it’s all so new, occasionally hilarious, sometimes ack!-inspiring and once in a while, sheer bliss. Loved this entry!!!

  • Swati says:

    Hi Rebecca: You were (and are) lucky to have your own fashion consultant! I’ll be writing more about the “ack!” and the “hilarious”, and even the “What?!!”…and I look forward to hearing your tales too ;-)!

  • Robin Arthur says:

    It sounds like you had the full range of all human emotions that night…heavy on the good ones! Yay!

  • jean says:

    hi swati! that entry was cute and it reminded me of my first time going out. it feels like it was a long time ago, but in reality it happens everytime i know i am going out with friends or on a date. dating can be so hectic.

  • Swati says:

    Robin – Ha! Good point and it sounds like you are a fellow optimist like me.
    – Swati

  • Swati says:

    Hi Jean – you are right, dating can be hectic and I have that very uncertain feeling at the beginning of every dating episode (lucky us) :-)!

  • You go girl!!! Have fun when you can and try to enjoy the time you have earned. You are more than a Mom, though I know that is most important right now. There needs to be grown up time or you will be no good to anyone! 🙂

  • Swati says:

    Thanks Kathy – you are so right about grown-up time.
    – Swati

  • Ria says:

    OMG! So funny! Thanks for making me laugh. I can definitely relate. I think it took me almost 8 months to get that cooped up feeling. I was so enjoying the times when I could just take care of myself and not worry about anyone else. After being married for 11 years… sometimes the thought of a relationship is just… tiring. Perhaps that’s a clue as to where my head is right now. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Swati says:

    You are right Ria…I so wasn’t ready…:-)!
    – Swati

  • Emily says:

    I have been a single mother for three years and I can say I have never been asked out on a proper date. I live in a small town which lacks an array of suitable dating options. I would much rather be single in Chicago than here. Ironically, I met my sons’ father in Chicago and spent most of my time with him while I lived there. Now I live here! Ugh! But, I have developed a sense of ease living here and don’t get too down that the pool of men here is can be better described as a puddle. But, I love to go out here and I have the most fun hanging out with the townies: I can go out here alone and always know someone. That has been more fulfilling than trying to look for a date. But, I don’t want to resign to this “I don’t need a man” mentality as an excuse for still being single. I do want to focus on my son though. He needs my full attention.

  • Swati says:

    Hi Emily – you know what? I am 41 and only 2 men have every asked me out propoerly on a date (one of whom I am dating now)! It never occurred to me before – ha!
    I think it’s a good point – there is a difference between “needing” and man and want “wanting” a man in your life.

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