Frog County: That Prince of a Guy Is Out There, Somewhere
On any given Friday or Saturday night, Orange County, California, is hopping with hopeful singles – young, old and middle-aged – jumping from eateries to bars to nightclubs looking for romance and a chance encounter with “The One.” If you listen closely, straining to hear past the pulsating music, clinking glasses and small talk, you’ll detect a familiar sound in the background that only grows louder as the night gets older and your judgment fuzzier . . .
While I have met some wonderful men over the years, I’ve also bumped into my share of frogs in this town – men who have no interest in dating women with children. Frog County, I sometimes call it. And I’m not alone in my disillusionment, either. I have shared many meals with attractive and intelligent single mothers – great catches by anyone’s standards — with whom the conversation usually revolves around our favorite topic: how hard it is to find a good, available man. To be fair, I know that some men have an equally hard time meeting a good woman. I just don’t understand why we can’t seem to find each other.
My friends and I have tried Internet dating. Mismatch.com and e-Smarmony. One friend hit the jackpot and married a great guy she met on one of these sites. They just had their first baby!
Me? Not so lucky. Truth be told, Internet dating is too much work. I’m tired of sharing the depths of my soul with total strangers via a questionnaire or a chain of e-mails. Keep it light, and it’s fun: What’s my favorite color? Purple. What’s my favorite kind of food? Italian. But when these faceless suitors start asking me weighty questions like, “Describe your spirituality,” I’m done! Look, I don’t even know if I have a soul these days, let alone where I am on the spiritual plane! And when I do figure it out, I won’t be posting it on Match.com, I assure you.
I even joined a dating service once, the “pay to play” concept. After plowing through 13 dates in about as many weeks, “It’s Just Lunch” became “It’s Just A Waste Of Time.” The first guy they fixed me up with was a decent enough fellow. And while I do allow for some physical imperfections, the gigantic zit in the middle of his forehead did little to stimulate my appetite for either him or the salmon. That thing was so big, I swear it had a heartbeat. I was just praying to get through lunch before it burst.
The next guy on the roster was deaf in one ear, and by the end of the evening, I grew weary of repeating everything I said. It was like dating a 3-year-old! Bachelor No. 3, who ran from his car to the restaurant in broad daylight with a hat pulled way down over his head, had battled skin cancer at one time and half his ear was missing. There seemed to be an ongoing theme here, so I called the “It’s Just Lunch” staff the next day and asked them if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to arrange a date for me with someone who had both his ears intact, for God’s sake!
And they did deliver on that promise. My next date was a man who had all the right appendages, but he was severely broken inside. He spent the entire meal talking about ex-wife who had left him for a lesbian lover and was now fighting him over custody of their two children. Perhaps it was too soon for him to start dating again, whaddya think?
My last date was the cream of the crappy crop. He was a very successful, handsome man, my “perfect match,” so the matchmakers claimed. “Owns a chain of hotels!” OK, good start. But during the appetizer, he discovered I had young children and blurted out, “I told them not to fix me up with anyone who had kids under 10!” I then spent the rest of our lunch watching Prince Not-So-Charming catch flies with his sticky tongue.
So where do single parents find true love? Sorry, Ladies and Gents. I don’t have the answer. But I do have a suggestion: Write down precisely what you’re looking for in the man or woman of your dreams – “The Sequel,” that is. It may help you narrow down the field a bit. And you’ll probably discover, as I did, that the ideal qualities you’re seeking in a mate change from year to year, even decade to decade. Here’s the list I started once upon a time:
The 20s: The Cinderella Years
Sense of humor
Clear direction in life
A sex god
A good family, preferably of royal lineage
Kind to animals
Friendly with strangers
Owns a horse-drawn carriage
The 30s: The White-Picket-Fence Years
Sense of humor
Trustworthy if working late
Stays out of my way
Enjoys sex, preferably with me
An occasional sportsman
A skilled handyman
Doesn’t abuse animals
Likes touring model homes on weekends
The 40s: The Disillusioned Years
Shows up on time
Tolerates children who aren’t his
Doesn’t fall asleep during sex
Reliable set of tools
Frog warts OK
Lynn Armitage, a freelance writer, editor, blogger and single mother in California, is still hoping for a happy ending. You can catch her other peaceful (HA!) reflections on life at myteenthealien.blogspot.com and amadmom.blogspot.com. She welcomes your e-mails at: Boatfolk@aol.com.