Monday 16 January 2017

Me vs The Accidental Date

I've been with Husband for a long time now. It follows then, that I've also been out of the dating scene for an equally long time. I don't consider this a bad thing, because as far as I can tell the actual act of dating is equivalent to wilfully pulling out your own hair while sitting on a bed of hot coals. Sure, there is the honeymoon period when everything is unicorns shitting rainbows made especially for you, but getting to those unicorns seems like boundless drudgery and torture. 

Me and Husband 13-ish years ago.   
Occasionally I see people in sparkly new relationships and reminisce about earlier times, feeling a pang of jealousy for the newness that has long since passed. But then I remember the drunk idiots out there trying to pick up girls at the bar by drugging them into submission, and it reinforces my relief that I'm done trying to secure a mate. No more chest-thumping primates arguing over who's got the bigger....banana. I don't have to consider them as possible long-term companions. 

So imagine my surprise when I ended up on a disturbingly date-like encounter, compliments of my 7 year old. 

My daughter and I had planned to go out for dinner at a local restaurant together (she's 7, so think inedible fast food). We went in and she was instantly hug-tackled by another girl, who she knew from school.  This greeting was then inevitably followed by the realization that they could now eat together. Goody!

I tried to explain to my daughter that her friend and her friend's dad probably wanted to eat together, and that we should do the same. Alone. Without them. I was categorically ignored. I'm not sure why I even bothered using words.  Finally agreeing, or more accurately, acknowledging defeat, I made incredibly awkward eye contact with her father, and we did the parental "we won't win, so just let it happen" head nod. The girls ran off to find a table, and we got our food.

In a passable reprisal of a scene from Dead Man Walking, I went hunting for the table the girls had chosen. They had picked a booth. Of course they had.  And they were sitting on one side together leaving the opposite side for the two adults to wedge into. Yup, of course they were.

So the dad and I snuggled into our side of the (surprisingly small) booth, because really, what options were left at that point, and my date and I had a lovely dinner filled with floundering small talk and peppered with shrieking laughter from the girls who were all but ignoring us; one big happy blended family out for a night on the town. We were just darling.
A much more recent (and awesome!) picture. 

To this day, what surprises me most is that no one saw us out on our date, as this is a small town, and the percentage chance of seeing someone you know is surprisingly high. And while I went home and laughed about it with my husband (because I'm nothing if not good at the retelling of awkward situations), I fully expected that at some point down the road he would come home with a report about how I was treacherously sneaking around with another man, albeit poorly, as who takes their kids with them on a clandestine date?

And so, however accidentally, I got to briefly revisit the dating world, and forever cement in my mind why I never want to reenter it. The joys of new relationships are exciting and fun, but the awkward conversations, bizarre dating rituals, and the "Does he tend towards psychopathy?" guessing games don't seem worth it to me anymore. Instead I'll take my husband, who maybe isn't as new and shiny, but who helps make kids lunches, lets me sleep in on the weekends, and probably does more laundry than I do. He is still my unicorn.

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