As a divorced woman who is dating again, it didn’t take me long to realize things have changed in the last two decades since I was out there. You don’t have to “go to” the movies anymore, you get to know people on text before you get to know them in real life, and no one has pubic hair. Most importantly, though, when you’re a mom who’s dating, you don’t get a whole Saturday to relaxedly primp and get all shiny for a date.
I love my three kids dearly, but they can be a bit of a roadblock in this area. Gone is the luxurious afternoon of self-care; it’s now more like a three ring circus where I have to plot and plan just to grab a half hour to get ready. If I’m lucky. More often than not it looks like this…
6:30… First things first, I have to make sure my three kids are busy. I keep them away from me by bribing them with video games, throwing down their favorite bag of chips, and explaining to them that they should please only bother me if a stranger comes to the door or they are bleeding. Once they’re settled on the sofa, engrossed in their iPads, my half hour is already down to 19 minutes.
6:41… The clock is ticking and I have to make an honest assessment. There’s no way a shower can happen. I want one, I need one, but sponging off my pits and lady parts and applying some dry shampoo is all I can squeeze in. If I really comb my hair out enough, it might pass for a real wet wash. Sure, I may not be able to breathe thanks to the aerosol fumes, but it will appear as if I have clean hair and that’s all that matters now.
6:42… The makeup I applied this morning is still somewhat present which is good because there’s no time to wash my face and do it over. I throw another layer on top of the current one even though my skin will hate me for it tomorrow. I swipe on another layer of mascara, dab my under-eye area with concealer, and that’ll have to do. I know there is a lip gloss rolling around in my car somewhere. I’ll look fresh as a daisy.
6:47… As I bend over to flip my hair I spot the stubble sprouting out of my legs. Gross. But I figure don’t really need to shave because it’s not like I’m getting naked tonight. In fact, I shouldn’t shave; everyone knows hairy legs are the best deterrent in case I want to get naked — and I don’t get naked on a first date. Although, it has been a while since I’ve had sexy time. I maybe should get naked. I do a quick shave over the sink like a classy lady, working as fast as humanly possible without shaving off my actual skin.
6:53… My shaved legs make me feel like a dangerous woman and I decide I should rock a matching bra and underwear. I search and am reminded that it’s been years since I’ve owned that. What I do have are some matchbox cars nestled in my underwear drawer.
6:56… I pull out my favorite button-down shirt which is not too dressy but not too casual. I unbutton the third button only to button it again, then decide to leave it unbuttoned because my cleavage is still on point and maybe this will distract from my tired eyes. My daughter walks in to ask me where her favorite crackers are because she needs to have them on the way to her father’s house.
6:59… Crackers have been located and the kids and their overnight bags are in their dad’s car and ready to go. I blow them kisses as they ride off with him and his girlfriend. How did I get here? But I can’t dwell on that right now. Inside, I look down to make sure there isn’t peanut butter smeared across my cleavage-bearing shirt (there’s not) and that my shoes are matching (they are).
7:00… I’m on my way to meet this stranger with whom I stayed up very late chatting the night before. I remind myself it’s done. I’ve done all I can do, my kids are safe, I’ve remembered my purse and where we are meeting, and I’m going to be on time. There’s no way something has grown in between my teeth since I last looked in the mirror, but I check one last time.
7:15… I pull into the parking lot, take a breath, apply lip gloss (I found it, yes), pinch my cheeks, and let the butterflies dance in my stomach while silently repeating my mantra, “This is me. If he doesn’t like it, screw him.” Whatever happens, I always land on my feet — and I’ll believe that for real especially after that glass of wine.