The Dating Game--And Other Life Horrors, Part I
Soooooo...I've been trying to write this blog post for a while. Actually, I've started it like four times and each time I say, "Nope, can't do it." I had a hard time organizing my thoughts on this because I have a lot. I have a lot of mixed emotions about dating. Like, sometimes, it's not that bad. And sometimes, I wish that I had King Jaffi of Zamunda pick my bride. "She's your queeeeeennnnn!!". Sorry, I had a Coming to America moment.
But most of all, I need to reiterate two disclaimers that come with reading my blog:
1. All of the opinions in this blog are my own. If you don't like them, go out and build your own website and talk about me. I think www.ihatesingleblackdad.com is available.
2. If you think I'm talking about you...I might be.
Okay. Here we go...
I used this analogy this weekend, and it think it accurately describes my dating experience. Remember when Lucy would hold the football for Charlie Brown and he would try to convince himself that this time she wouldn't pull the ball away when he ran up to it. He would talk to himself about the reasons why he had been screwed in the past with her pulling the ball away. Then he would say to himself, "Surely she won't do it this time!" Then he lines up, runs, gives the best kick of his life, and pow no ball there. He falls straight up on his back.
That's what I get. And honestly, I'm tired of falling on my back.
I had a very good home life growing up. My parents were married for pretty much all of my life. And they had a great marriage. My Mom and Dad were two very different people. My Mom was bookish and my Dad is an outgoing engaging guy. They had differences, but they would come together and love each other unconditionally. I never saw my parents really argue. I'm sure they had issues, but us kids never saw it. I never saw my Dad hit my Mom. I never saw my Mom call my Dad out of his name. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had love. We had God. We had enough.
And I use that blueprint in trying to find what I'm looking for. Look, I haven't been the best boyfriend/partner for every woman I've ever dated. I cheated, I lied, and I regret it. There were times that I was very selfish and looking back on it, I can easily think of a few women in my life that I could have explored the option of getting married to. But I wasn't in a good place then. I chalk that up to being immature. And for those of you who figured life and marriage out in your 20s and 30s, kuddos to you. Because that ain't my story.
So of course I want that kind of life where I can find my mate for myself. But I'm going on 41 and we still ain't there. And being a single parent further complicates the matter. For a variety of reasons. Here are top five reasons its hard to date as a single dad.
5. I have very little time. I work a real job. I work a side job. I have two kids. It's hard for me to find time for myself. Hell I couldn't tell you the last time I even bought anything for myself. And my kids, they are getting to that age where they've realized that Daddy is another name for ATM. So they hit me up like the student loan collection people. But a lot of women (especially women with no kids, or older out of the house kids) just don't get that. No, I don't have time to hang out with you during the week until after my kids bedtime. Why? Because I got kids and I gotta be there for them. Which leads me to....
4. My kids don't need to meet everyone. I believe that I'm pretty progressive when it comes to women I'm dating meet my kids. Usually, if I've been on a few dates with someone, and they're cool with it, there might be a time where they meet my kids. The reason why I don't wait months is because I believe there are two sides to every single parent. The side of you with your kids, and the side without. And I need you to be interested in both sides of me before we can be completely serious. If you don't like the Dad Jamaal, then that's me most of the time. I want to know that before we get to serious. So you can find them other fish in the sea girl!
3. People are odd. Chris Rock once said, "When you first meet someone, you don't meet that person, you meet their representative." Completely true. You may not know that they like the toilet paper a certain way, or that they have a horrible temper until you go through some stuff. And honestly, the representative is usually a whole lot cooler than the actual person. I wish I could return some folks and be like, "Hey, bring that other chick back. She was dope."
2. It's hard to meet people. I don't know how people meet people in 2019, but Walmart ain't it for me. I'm not trying to hit on a woman in the frozen food aisle. Plus, if you see someone who is cute, if they are trying to pump gas at the gas station "Aye gurl" really ain't gonna cut it. Also, church and work are out for me as far as meeting people to date. Work, because I've been down that road before and its too crazy. Church is out because if we date and it goes bad, then one of us is going to have to find Jesus elsewhere. And I like my church. Plus its hard to date someone I've been calling Sister So and So. Too much like Divine Incest.
So I've tried dating online for a while now. Man, yeah well. That's hard in itself. Part two of this post will be about online dating. I promise you, I got a lot of say about that as well.
1. My kids. My oldest daughter's Mom is ehhh, and my youngest daughters Mom passed away. So any woman that I date is going the be the primary woman in their lives. (Notice I did not say she'll be their "Mom". They already have one.) But she will be the person that they'll talk to when they feel as if they can't come to Daddy to talk. For as hard as I try to be everything my kids need, I'm not a woman. I know that. And there are some things that a woman can talk or give perspective about that I just can't do. And honestly, that's a lot of responsibility. There have been a few people that I've talked to over the years that flat out did not want that responsibility. And that's cool. Do you pimp. Being involved in their lives ultimately comes with the fact that you will have the chance to shape the lives of two little girls. And frankly, some people just aren't up to the task.
So dating is hard. It really is. And honestly I hate it. It's not a game to me. Me dedicating time, energy, and money to someone is really a big deal to me. Especially the time aspect. I can hustle and get more money back. But I can never get time back. And while I am grateful for the time I've spent with women that I've dated in the past, I still can't get that time back. But so many people, men and women, look at dating as something that just passes time. And I'm not on that.
Now I'm not writing this because I want 10,000 DMs saying, "Hey I get it Jamaal. What's up with you." I wrote this because I know there are other people out there who are single parents, especially men who are going through this. It ain't all roses over here. For real. And I don't have it all together.
But if you can get the 1988 version of the woman that King Jaffi picked for Prince Akeem, please let a brotha know!
Read and discuss.