Because this post concerns dating and such, I'm putting it below the cut so those related to me can make a conscious decision whether or not to read on. If you choose to read on, you will find out things about me you will wish you could un-know immediately. Don't blame me. I warned you. And for heaven's sake don't ever try to talk to me about it. I don't want to know what you think about my online dating profile.
Andrea posted today about the conundrum of whether or not to say you have children on an online dating profile. She was responding to a post at SingleMomSeeking, who was responding to a gag-inducing article from one of the idiots who brought us The Rules.
Theories abound: yes you should because it's part of who you are (but don't say too much because then you'll be a Mommy! Mommies aren't sexy!), others say no you should never because either you'll scare all the men away or you'll attract sexual predators.
I'll tell you what I do. I have an online profile at okcupid, although I've never actually used for real-life dating purposes (I've never had to). I mentioned my kids as often as they came up (but no pictures, ever.) You can't care for children for all but 40 hours every week and not have them make a huge impact on who you are. Here is the (edited) text:
I like cities, my kids, reading, and coffee. Don't like cars, the
President, or closed-minded people. I enjoy good beer and I bemoan
digital jukeboxes. My cat thinks I'm crazy. So does my mom.
What I'm doing with my life
I'm really good at
The first thing(s) people usually notice about me
The six things I could never do without
I spend a lot of time thinking about
The most private thing I'm willing to admit here
You should message me if
You have something fascinating to say.
But if you can't punctuate, don't even bother.
As you can see, 1. I'm kind of an asshole (and I took the most obnoxious parts out!) and 2. my kids come up pretty damn often, and to hide them would be completely dishonest.
But then, I am privileged enough by the way I look that the world abounds in interesting men, and there is nothing to gain for me by hiding my maternal status. If some guy is turned off by it, there's always another intriguing possibility around the corner. And after five minutes with me, any man could see that I am not looking for a Daddy. (I wonder sometimes how my outlook would be different if I were less attractive.)
I've never experienced diminished stock because I have kids. Maybe it's because I'm clearly not looking for something lasting, maybe because I want to keep my kids and my dating life separate (but, full disclosure, when I was actually put in that situation about six months ago when I started dating the man I'm currently seeing, the separation of progeny and dating life didn't last very long).
But then, I have no expectations of Partnership. When I date, I don't want a Relationship (although now I have one, and have for seven lovely months). I just want to go out, see a show, have a good time, maybe get some (safe) nookie. I like being alone, I don't want to get married, and I expect that men will cycle in and out of my life in the same way as my friends do. I also like being in love but just in a romantic way, not in a hey let's get a joint bank account kind of way.
All the feedback I've gotten from the dudes of the world can be summed up in this comment:
Jim E. "Are you joking? Single Moms are HOT! There is just no two ways about it. I would seriously respond to a single mom before an unexperienced single woman in an online posting. Lets face it, most of the paths to single motherhood are unpleasant. That means that single moms have already faced fears, looked reality square in the face, are working their butts off for the betterment of others and STILL come up smiling and full of hope. In my book, that makes them the queen of women. Single women with stars and hearts over their heads can just go sit down. There is no comparison."
And if they don't feel that way? They are not worth one more second of my time.