Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Q" is for Questions, Questions, Questions. And Dating.

Every once and a while I come across a story in The Times and think, "I could have written that story. Why didn't I write that?" And Devoted But Dateless is just such a story.

The author, Hannah Brown, who lives in Jerusalem for God sake's (no pun intended) and is the film critic for The Jerusalem Post, has written a beautiful, witty memoir about dating and the not-so-small fact that she is the mother of an autistic son. 

How much time do you have?

I love everything in this story, and every bit of it is true. From the inability to run out the door to meet for coffee without having a back-up plan, to trying to explain why your son does not live with you during the week (he lives in a group home...and no, I am not a crack-addicted mother who lost custody of her son, thank you.)

And even as I write that, I feel humiliated to admit that, just like her, there was a time when I felt I had to have a dating strategy for explaining Sam. I mean, let's face it: those of us who are on dating websites probably scroll way more than we date. You scroll, you scroll, you read. You look. You think. You scroll, you scroll, you read. Repeat

Sometimes the most idiotic things can cause you to keep scrolling ("likes canaries").  I do it too. And in your 50's you are looking for someone -- as I always say -- who either travels light, or who carries their own baggage. The whole complications thing? Who wants to deal with that? And the fact is that, just like when we were in our 20's or 30's, we still have this urge to break ground. To be with someone who hasn't done it all yet and who maybe only has one ex-spouse. Two, tops. Finding an aging ingenue is not the easiest thing to locate at this point in our lives.

Two other things about this story interested me: One is that I've had the exact opposite reaction from a date when he learned I had a son with autism. That's because he had a daughter with special needs. That was a non-issue for me and I welcomed the special bond that came from being able to discuss our children. However, there was a big issue between us: did we even like each other? Take the status of our kids out of the equation and was there any there there? I can recall a First Date Drink with this man and being worried that he might propose, he had so made up his mind that we should be conjoined. It was sad. I understood it. But I wanted more than my son's diagnosis to be our bond. 

The second thing about the story that was good to know was that apparently this issue extends to men who live in a 60 mile radius of Jerusalem. This means that, despite my attraction to Jewish men, life is still pretty much the same there. One less place to trouble myself with to look for a mate.

In many ways, I suppose I am the dating equivalent of the guy with three or four ex-wives. It's not that you don't wish them well. It's just that you foresee a little more involvement than you're really ready for in a dinner and a movie date, and the mind does wander about why there are so many ex-Mrs. Smith's. Too many bags.

So ultimately, like Ms. Brown, I came down on exactly the same side of the fence as she did:

"Does this imbalance make me crazy? It certainly does. But Danny is my life. These men are people who may or may not become a part of my life."

And the same is true for Sam. I got to the point in my dating development that I could no more dissemble about Sam than I could about having two arms and two legs. He is a part of me. He is my everything. Do I have room for a Mr. Everything? You bet I do. And it's the most fun package deal you could ever imagine. But I guess I will just need to keep carrying my own "bags" and enjoying my family (which begins with the letter "S" for Sam) until I scroll over the right man.

Link to The Times story:
Devoted But Dateless


Author's Note: In the month of April, I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The idea is to blog about something every day, starting with the first letter in the alphabet ("A") and continuing through all 26 letters (to "Z"). (We get Sundays off for good behavior.) In order to make this fun and challenging, I've decided to theme my A to Z blogging. Here's the plan: since I love reading The New York Times, and since I always find no shortage of frightfully interesting stories, I am going to center my blog on the stories I find in The Times. One thing I promise: an A to Z ride through The Times as diverse as the Gray Lady herself. Hang on for some fun. Or as Kevin said in Home Alone (one of my favorite lines),
 "I think I'll give it a whirl..."


  1. So true about the whole baggage thing! Holy hell before my Mister found me I met some guys who had more baggage than Samsonite!
    And so wonderfully true about her son/your son. :) I was a single mom for many, many years and I would always tell my girlfriends, men will come and go but my kids are here for life.
    Great post.
    Thanks for stopping by my lit'l corner of the asylum. ; )
    Now following you and looking forward to nosing around your blog and reading more upcoming posts.
    Q was hard!

    1. LOL. It sure was! I also had trouble with "K". The Times needs to increase the number of stories they write about "K" that aren't about Korea (no offense to Korea. lol). Thanks for visiting! I really enjoyed your site!

  2. Dateless since 1989 here. Completely at ease with it because I know I have way to much of my own baggage to want to impose on anyone and also knowing I can barely carry that baggage without adding someone else's to the pile. Therefore, I am content with my solitude, which isn't truly solitude as I live with my adult daughter and do have a male friend with whom I dine and travel, although not on a dating level. My social life is satisfactory without the bonds.

    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge.

    1. Sounds like you have a practical solution. And maybe you are ahead of the game by just accepting what you want your life to be. I think it's harder when you still "hope" for something different and can't reconcile yourself to reality. That's the hard part...:-)

  3. Luckily I am happily married and don't have children to concern me. I am a step mother, not wicked I hope and they all live in the UK anyway. Re autism, anyone read "The Speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon. Wonderful story, she has a son with autism.

    Thanks for the visit Denine, and by the way try finding recipes with X.

  4. Loved this post, especially as I am on the very teetering edge of 50. Just so you know I married late (not the best plan) and met my husband on 11 years ago. I was 38 and somehow was able to squeeze out two little boys before my body as started going south. I stepped on a scale today and I'm officially, forever, 10 pounds heavier. that dang matabolism is slowin' down!

    1. Well, you have me beat by a few years as I didn't marry until I was 31. And that's not all bad! I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's just that if you figure that it took me 31 years to meet Husband #1, I'm not due to find the next one for 6 more years. lol...

  5. I gave up on dating. I am going to ordee a mail order husband from Russia!