So we're doing a music session with a friend of ours later and I want you to meet him."
When I first met Joan, she wasted no time telling me that she knew some fun single guys she could introduce me to. I know people mean well by this, but when they start in on the matchmaking, I start to have a serious case of feeling hunted. Or like a gay person sent to a Christian conversion camp. MUST! NOT! BE! SINGLE!
I usually dodge the issue, mention that I like being single, and move on to another subject. I thought I'd been successful with Joan, but apparently not.
"You're sweet," I said to her over the phone, "but really, I'm not looking."
"He's really fun and nice. He's a musician!"
If I were 15, this might thrill me. Now, I just imagine all kinds of arrested development and constant poverty.
"Joan, really, you're sweet, but I haven't dated in three years, and I'm OK with that."
"He's really a great singer. I mean, he's not a model, but he's a great guy. And he's your size!"
Bingo. The Devito-Perlman syndrome: I'm required to date a guy because he has trouble finding women as short as he is.
I begged off, claiming a baby was crying. Later, she called me.
"I'm in front of the house - come out!"
The girl was sleeping so I walked out carrying the boy. Joan was in her car. We went over and the boy tried out his new hello wave, and Joan suggested I bring the kids over later on when the session was over, and hang in the yard with them.
"You can meet my friend." Lord, she was NOT going to let this go.
"Yeah, I don't want to give the impression I'm a Kid Person."
I have this theory that guys gravitate to women who show a fondness for kids, because they go through this transference: if you are good at taking care of children, then you are clearly someone who wants nothing more from life than to follow people --including grown men -- around, feeding them home-cooked meals and doing laundry. A mommy is a mommy is a mommy. It's like I'm some sort of dating Statue of Liberty: Give me your egocentric, needy, and immature; your drunken, lying, flexibly and serially monogamous liars yearning to take me for granted. Behold, I lift my lamp beside the golden doormat: me!
I'm wired to be sexually attracted to them, but every time I sense one has a crush on me, I feel like I want to chew my foot off and run. Call me what you will, but after a life of really frustrating dating, I'd be deluded NOT to feel this way.
"He has a kid," Joan said.
And it gets better.
"Yeah. Nope. No way."
"I don't date men with kids. Tried it once. Nope."
Joan looked at me incredulously. "The kid has a mother."
And we know how much fun it is to deal with the ex-wives, who will always see you as getting what they deserved to have.
"And she has a father," I replied. "Who is going to have to be in her life, and that means if I date him the kid is in my life, and if I wanted kids in my life, I'd have had them. If I'm going to date someone, I'd like to be in a relationship where I have a reasonable chance of being a priority at least 25% of the time. That hasn't happened since 1988, and I'm feeling nostalgic."
To get her to leave, I promised her I'd bring the kids by later. I didn't. Instead, we all fell asleep on the TV-room floor.