Friday, February 19, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Today, four and three quarter months after giving birth, I took a small tentative step toward dating. While I do not feel ready for a one-on-one experience, Raphaela and I went to a Shabbat singles event in the neighborhood, a five minute walk from my apartment.

I shower and dress every day, but today I had to think about presenting myself and my child as the happy package we are. I debated leaving Raphaela with a friend, and cleverly mentioning my daughter as part of the conversation with potential men, and then decided that "Show and Tell" represented the most simple and direct means of communication. Raphaela is not only an aspect of my being, right now and for quite a while she will be the biggest part of my daily routine and my thoughts, and for that I rejoice rather than feeling ashamed. Any person interested in getting to know all the facets of my life, must include my daughter.

As a person who does not enjoy being the focus of a conversation, I knew that bringing a baby (no matter how cute) into a room full of singles would raise eyebrows and cause chatter. As a friend of mine said, however, "Someone has to be the first to bring a baby to one of these events."

The luncheon started out with some discomfort, when one of the organizers approached me at the door and asked, "Do you belong here?" I replied that if this was indeed a singles event as billed, I had every right to be there, as I am in fact a single woman.

I was the one of the youngest adults in a room mostly filled with women between 40 and 65, and men between 55 and 65 years old. Many of the women gravitated toward Raphaela, either because they had grown children of their own, or because they wish to be mothers and have not/ will not take the steps I pursued to become a single parent by choice. Most of the men in the room ignored me, which I did not mind as I did not feel a particular attraction to any of them anyway; someone ought to tell a never-married man in his 50's that he is more apt to attract a successful and attractive woman if he takes care of his body.

I spoke to a few friends, had some fruit salad and used Raphaela as an excuse to sit outside on the porch. Went back inside for one more round of socializing and then walked home, enjoying with my daughter the relaxed pace and fine sunshine of the day.


Doc said...

Some of the men in the room tried to flirt with Raphaela, and then muttered, "A little too young for me." One woman there wanted to make a shidduch between Raphaela and her grandson.

Commenter Abbi said...

Maybe the organizer asked her question because she thought you were too young? Singles events are usually organized by age and it sounds like you were definitely on the young end of things there, if pple were offering to make shidduchim with their grandchildren...