So I’m sitting at the front desk of the church childcare center, basking in my 1.5 hours of the workday that do not involve snot-nosed busted-lipped crying whining 3-year-olds. I love the baby chillens, I do. But I’m constantly amazed by their sheer and utter grossness. (If you have a strong stomach, be sure to ask me about the day Joey forgot that he’s potty-trained. Yeah, that was epically disgusting.)
But I’m sitting there, and in walks a parent of one of my favorite baby-chillens. She stops to talk and starts chatting about work or weather or some other such nonsense. Then, without word of warning she says, “So Miss Frankie, how old are you?” (The baby-chillens call me Miss Frankie, and thusly so do their parents.)
Immediately I become apprehensive.
If you’re happily married (or at least married in some capacity), you may not understand my aforementioned apprehension. But. I’ve been blissfully single for most of my adult existence, and I’ve therefore learned the DANGER! DANGER! signs that indicate I’m about to be propositioned with someone’s uncle’s cousin’s half-brother thrice removed who is also, GASP, single. And when somebody new to my life starts a sentence with “so” and ends it with “how old are you,” it’s safe to assume the next words out of her mouth will be, “well I just so happen to have this friend…”
So I pause, give myself a brief BE STRONG THIS IS A TRAP mental pep-talk, and say, “I’m 25.”
“Oh really? Miss K thought you were 20. Well I just so happen to have this friend…”
(I KNEW IT.)
“…and he’s a great guy but he only ever dates psychotic girls.”
Long pause. This is when I’m supposed to be complimented by the subtle inference that I’m not psychotic, therefore allowing her to blindside me with her upcoming proposal. Luckily and/or tragically however, I’ve been tricked like this countless times before. You ain’t getting me that easy, lady. I am an experienced evader of set-ups, and implying I’m not a psycho just proves you don’t know me from Adam.
So I say, “Oh yeah? I completely understand…I only ever seem to date psycho guys! That’s why I’m on a dating sabbatical. “ And just in case “sabbatical” isn’t a word familiar to this stay-at-home mom, I add “meaning I’m not dating. At all.”
(After countless awkward conversations where I’d admit to being available, get set-up with the King of the Douchetards, feign illness or unexpected travel, piss off my set-upper and then be deemed “too picky to find love,” I finally developed a strategy for these type of scenarios. Now whene’er I sense the DANGER! DANGER! signs meaning I’m about to be set-up, I act jaded and deeply cynical and say things like “I’m never dating again” and "men are pigs.” Nobody wants to mess with a woman scorned.)
So she looks at me, cocks her head and asks, “bad break-up?”
(I’m intentionally vague in hopes she’ll assume my last dating go-round ended in arson, mandatory anger management classes and/or restraining orders.)
She nods the way people do when they don’t really get what you're saying but would like you to think they do nonetheless. “Well I guess that makes sense then. I was just going to say that my husband’s friend Blane is a great guy, and you’re just such a sweet girl that I thought I’d get y’all together.”
Things get very awkward for a moment as she waits for me to succumb to the pressure and say, “ahh what the hell, my number’s 555…” But though the take-this-as-a-compliment-and-say-you’ll-go-out-with-him silence is deafening, I stick to my guns.
'Yeah...I’m just reeeeeally not dating right now.”
“Hmm. Okay. But he really is a nice guy...he’s got a great job, and he’s really cute!”
And just as my armor of cynicism begins to break under the awkwardness, she decides to elaborate on my potential manfriend, Blane.
“Yeah, Blane’s great…I think he’s good looking-"
(“I think” means “he’s really not but I don’t know how to tell you that and still get you to go out with him.”)
(Umm, did I stutter? I said I’m twenty-five! A 10 year age difference does not a good match make.)
“He has a two-year-old but never sees her-"
(He’s a dad…and he’s a deadbeat dad at that.)
“And he's got a fantastic job. He’s a prison guard!”
..........and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m morally opposed to being set-up.