Anybody who knows me well enough know that I’m a single father who is getting exponentially more singular as the kids move on to greener pastures. My son, The Last Of The More-He-Can’s, is now cramming in a state of panic to make sure his passage to similar pastures is smooth. Family, for reasons based on elusive rationale shared amongst themselves have chosen to be less than friendly; and my usual motley social circle of students have ceased to expand as I’ve stopped tutoring. And the sweetest smile that used to fill up the gaps in my days is no longer topographically accessible. So in order to satisfy my neurological need for company, I’ve actually taken to start dating again.
I should declare outright that I only sought to date single working ladies. No single mothers in order to avoid ungainly Brady Bunch situations.
No divorcees and definitely no separatees; don’t want to have to keep looking over my shoulder for homicidal exes. And of course, no homebodies simply because they’re, well, homebodies.
First thing I came to realize out in the field this time is that single working ladies do not have much liberty over their time. They seem to run on clockwork more diligently than men do; especially men with a more leisurely attitude towards time like me. Don’t get me wrong – I despise the whole culture of so-called Malaysian/Asian time that run on circadian clocks rather than GMT, and find absolutely no charm in such quirks. What I mean is that the ladies so adhere to their working time slots that nothing will be allowed to slip in between them. No casual calls, chats, text, winks or waves.
Out of their work time, is their free time. But this is time necessary for them to catch up on what they couldn’t do because of their work time; and that includes wash & blow [for hair and car], waxing [body and car], shopping [self and car], facial, spa, gym, household chores, etc.
Between their work time and free time is spare time, and this is the time when you can meet up with them for a date. But you might as well call it sparse time because there really isn’t much of it. If you are to meet them in their spare time on a working day, they would need some free time to prepare for that spare time. And if they spare you some of their free time, they would need further free time to prepare for that as well.
The outcome of that is that, by the 44th minute of your date, comes their first yawn. By the 55th minute they’ll be reassuring you that you are not the cause of their yawning and by the 66th minute, you’ll be saying your goodbyes and promising that the next time you will be meeting with much higher energy levels because seriously dudes, the lady must be worn out after what she had to go through to meet you.
And I do feel for them. Such is their loyalty and dedication to their chosen lifestyle that you cannot but appreciate and empathize. So no complaints from me there. However, there is something within it that I sincerely wish could be better.
You see, as sparse as their spare time is, it seems incredulous to me that single working ladies prefer to spend it by talking about how busy they are in their work time and how hectic are their free time. And this is not some mild sharing of the rigors of the day. It seems as if they will not be satisfied until they have convinced you that they are busy and hectic like no other person could possibly be or know true busy or hectic like they do. Ever! And that includes you, buckaroo! They will spew it out as if you too would not have a clue what busy or hectic is until you have spent a day in their 3 inch heels – and you will not last even 3 minutes in them. And don’t you even begin to talk about your day lest they take it as if you are throwing down the gauntlet for a challenge. It can only end in a duel – one that can leave a man with so much guilt that he be applying to take over their next menstrual cycle.
It reminds me of days of yore when I was an active single father and how active mothers insist on sharing how hectic are their days what with looking after their kids, their career, the household, the maid and the husband. I would not even dare to begin talking about my days because my spidey-sense would tingle warning me that if I began to do so, it would end in a ludicrous debate as to who has it worse or harder. C’est bizarre! Parenthood is challenging enough as it is without having to dwell in a duel with other parents about it.
But I digress. Even though this happens enough times to qualify for crude generalization, it doesn’t take up the whole duration of a date. Probably about 2/5ths of it. They do talk to you much about themselves the rest of the 3/5ths. You’d get to know of their childhood, places where they grew up, schools they went to, friends they had, their place in the family, their family members, their apartment, their place of work, their job, their boss, their colleagues, their best friend, where they shop, their haunts and hang outs, their gym, where-when they treat their hair, where-when-what they wax, their hairdresser, their waxer, their spa, their masseuse, the guy who cleans their car, their car, their celebrities, their meals, their diet, their snacks, their indulgences, their guilt, their resolution, you see their pictures, their poses, places, what they ate – essentially, you would be well acquainted of her world, and would know enough of the phenomena that surrounds her to infer the person she is beyond what she tells you.
Now, next time you have a chat with her, see if you can surreptitiously tell what about you that she has come to know. If your luck is anything like mine, probably not much. I’d discover that the lady knows less than an eighth of what I’d already known about her. She’d have no clue about my background, my work, my home, my habits, hobbies, hats, hates, haves or have-nots. And how can I be so sure? Well, for one thing, I hadn’t told her any of those. And it wasn’t because I was taciturn, reluctant to share. Nope, not at all. I would have been just as eager for her to get to know me as much as I wanted to get to know her. So what gives? Well, the reason she knows so little of me is simply because I never got the chance to tell her. She was so preoccupied waxing lyrically about herself that I couldn’t get a complete sentence in edgewise. Hence, the severe imbalance.
But what of the ladies’ perspective? I do wonder what of guys on dates – what would they be talking about if they were given the chance to. Of course being a devout practicing heterosexual I wouldn’t know, but from my experiences with my fellow men in general conversation, they don’t fare much different. Single working ladies may want to talk about the labors of their working life while men on the other hand, want to talk about the fruits of their labors – their cars, their golfing, their paraphernalia, their gadgets and gizmos, their bimbo and hoes, etc.
Unless they’re gay. Then they talk about the fruitiness and labors of being gay.
So, what of all this? Well, for one thing it has left me alone on a Saturday night, writing out how farcical and futile my return to the turf has been. And of course, if any of those ladies were to come across this I’d definitely be defriended and deleted off a few more social networks. But my faith will not wane, nor my fortitude waver. Because good dates do happen. They’ve happened before. And when they do, they last for years.
Thanks to H and WZ for their objective retort online.