I’ve been dating. Friend dating that is. As you can imagine, it’s been a challenge.
Last year, Mr. Fab and I moved to a new city at the opposite end of the state. As part of the move, I prepared myself for “friend dating” getting myself out into social situations where I could meet new people and hopefully make good friends.
Friend dating is hard enough, but I think it’s doubly so, when children won’t be common ground on which you can build a friendship. Irrespective of this handicap, I’ve been making an effort to meet new people. I joined a gym and have been challenging myself to strike up a conversation with someone new every time I go.
Last week, while I was waiting for my class to start, I smiled at a friendly-looking woman and initiated a conversation. It was general ice-breaking chit-chat, a comment about how the class seemed lighter today and that the traffic had been heavier on my drive over because the Junior College was back in session.
“Oh right,” she said. “I wondered about that. I drop off my daughter at the school and then drive my little one to pre-school and it took me ages this morning.”
Before I ping-pong a comment back or ask her a getting-to-know-you question, another woman stepped into the conversation and said, “Oh, you have a preschooler? I have a preschooler, where does yours go?”
And then she quite literally stepped into the conversation. She all but put her body between me and my potential new friend, as if I wasn’t even there.
In the past, I would have been devastated. You know the feeling when your heart sinks, your stomach sinks lower, and your entire body follows along. I would have felt dejected, rejected, ashamed, and worthless. I would have slinked away to my little childless corner and stayed there feeling worthless.
But I didn’t. I laughed. Out loud.
Because it finally dawned on me, it’s not about me, it’s not about my childlessness. It’s not even about moms elbowing us out of their important conversations.
It’s about one self-centered and pretty bad mannered individual on a mission to find her tribe, to fulfill her wants and needs, in this case to find a sympathetic ear to listen to her woes about moving her kid to a new school in the fall. She definitely wasn’t going to find that in me.
And the truth is, I was doing a similar thing. I was putting out feelers, looking for common ground, trying to fill my own needs and find my tribe. And these women, the second one especially, weren’t going to fulfill those needs.
The whole ludicrous situation made me realize just how far I’ve come. This year will mark nine years since I got off the baby crazy train. It’s a long time, but I’m happy to report that the Mom Snub bounced off me in a way I never could have imagined nine years ago.
Still, this puts me back in the friend dating game again. But it helped me realize that moms aren’t the enemy, it’s just that I need to find woman—childless or otherwise—for whom motherhood isn’t the sole focus of their existence at this time in their lives.
Maybe in 15 years or so, once she’s packed her kid off to college, her priorities will change. Maybe then we can become friends then.
If I’m not too busy with all my other new friends.