Estelle: "I'm out there, George."
George: "You're not out there."
Estelle: "I am too."
George: "You're not out there. You can't be because I am out there. And if I see you out there there's not enough voltage in this world to electro-shock me back into coherence."
Remember this bantering between George and his mother in "The Fusilli Jerry" episode from Seinfeld??? Classic!
My divorce has been final now for about 5 months. One of my friends told me she wants to set me up with one of her friends. This whole being, "out there" thing can be a bit overwhelming at times. On the other hand, it can also be a bit underwhelming when I actually look around and see what is "out there". I mean, let's face it - there are usually a few reasons for a man in his 30's or 40's to still be single, and hardly any of those reasons are comforting.
Any good therapist will tell a divorcee to wait at least one year before seriously dating someone. However, a good therapist will also encourage you to get out there and meet other singles and make new friends. (Mine told me both.) It sounds so weird to say it out loud, "make new friends", like it's your first day of Kindergarten, but with hormones.
That's another thing that's a bit inundating; hormones. After having children I thought my hormones had gone into retirement. I figured the days of feeling nervous around guys, flirting, and NCMOs (non commital make-outs) were long past. It's like that door closed and the key was lost forever.
On the contrary, since my divorce, those hormones have resurrected themselves and I find myself checking out men almost everywhere I go. Of course, my eyes are immediately drawn to the hand to check for that flashy symbol of matrimony. Grocery Shopping is the best. No ring on the hand? My eyes are then cautiously drawn to the cart. Frozen dinners, bulk boxes of laxatives, feminie hygiene products (for their girlfriend, I presume) and the like, are all immediate cast-offs.
However, the makings of a real meal and items that are not overly priced and yet not the cheapest seem to have my attention. It says he's a man who is independent, not frivolous, and yet not broke. Also, the type of cereal or "snacks" in his basket indicates whether or not he has any children. (Something I haven't even really given serious consideration to.) Do I make a move? Say something? Throw a sultry smile in his direction? Absolutely not! The fear of the unknown paralyzes me for a brief moment. Instead, I take a deep breath and move on down the aisle to buy lunchables and juice pouches for my own three kids.
Living in my neighborhood is sometimes like a Mormon version of Stepford Wives and I don't fit the mold. I am not the Suzy Homemaker that gets to stay at home with my children and greet my husband at the door with hugs and kisses when he arrives home from a long day at the office. I don't have bread baking in the oven. My two-year supply of food storage is more like a 2 week supply. My housework is a week or two behind and i don't remember the color of my laundry room floor. It's been an adjustment working outside the home in an 8-5 job and figuring out a routine that works at home too now that I am a single mom.
I find that when you're divorced people make strange comments. "You won't be single for long." Oh really? What else does your crystal ball tell you? "Your Ex doesn't know what he's missing" And yet he's the one with the flashy new toys. Then there's the one that everyone uses, "Are you doing okay?" Will somebody please define "okay" for me? If by "okay" you mean not slitting my wrists, then I am fantastic. However, if you mean keeping it together long enough to know where I put my car keys, which kid has the dr. appt, whether or not I fed the dog this morning, and falling apart anytime a Hallmark commercial about happy couples comes on??? Well then - I am not doing "okay". Of course, my favorite comment came from a neighbor. "Can I do anything for you? If I can do anything for you - anything at all, please let me know." It's like - what am i? dying? Yeah, you can do something for me - make me dinner, clean my house, walk the dog, fold my laundry - oh and while you're at it, find me a man with money, a sound mind, a good heart, and who can appreciate a sense of humor! Others just don't say anything at all. Instead, I just get "the look". I can always tell when someone has just found out I'm divorced. I get "the look"; the woeful look in their eyes accompanied by the half-nod of the head that seems to say, "you poor thing". What this tells me is that the neighborhood isn't ready for me to be "out there" yet either. Just what exactly is the appropriate grieving period for neighbors to feel sorry for the new divorcee on the block? I'd like to know so I can move on. For the record, I don't need your pity-comments, folks. Pithy comments are welcome anytime, however.
So, back to being "out there". I'd like to be "out there", and maybe one day, soon, I'll have enough confidence to realize that someone might actually want me. ME! -- the lady with a few kids, a few extra pounds, and a few too many opinions. And maybe, just maybe, someone will not only want me, but he will want me for being me! It's a process, I get it. There are a few good (single) men I've got my eye on. And who knows? Maybe one day soon, sooner than later, one of them will have his eye on me too. It might not be such a scary thing after all. It may even be exciting or adventurous. And maybe, I'll get lucky and find it comforting, like the long-lost sweater that reminds me of the family vacation at the lake when I was a child, oh-so many years ago. That's what I want to find when I am "out there". I want to find the man that I was already meant to be with.
So...here's to being "out there".