The New Dating Scene

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Uncategorized

Finding a good play date match is a lot like dating. Granted, the play date rarely ends up in the bedroom and you don’t often offer your date assistance going to the bathroom, but the two rituals are more similar than they are different. Each have a multitude of potential pitfalls that you have to negotiate, making a good match a rare feat. When it works, though, life is sweet.

This is bliss. (Actually, it's Drew)

Both dating and play dating involve a lengthy search for what really matters: compatibility. Sure, a nice rack or kids with awesome toys are nice. But if the kids don’t play well together or your date annoys you, things won’t last. The first time we got together with one of Malcolm’s play group friends at, the other kid just rolled around on the floor and tried tackling Malcolm. It wasn’t a play date, it was a wrestling practice. Similarly, the most beautiful woman I have ever dated had this really annoying habit of not returning my phone calls. It was like she didn’t even acknowledge our relationship, and that grew to be very irritating. At some point, you have just have to decide that it isn’t worth it any more and look for greener pastures.

Both rituals also involve finding an acceptable forum for the early encounters. I find that initial play dates at either kid’s house are extremely difficult, as the “home” child has a hard time dealing with the nervous energy and ends up not wanting to share. I try to do all first play dates on neutral ground, and things go much more smoothly. The first date location is also very important. Obviously, you can’t do a first date at your house, and if someone agrees to a first date at your place, they probably look or smell like a troll. Find a neutral site with the right balance of people, noise and alcohol. The wrong location can doom either relationship.

Both involve dealing with rejection. I dated a girl in high school who had a mustache. Not a slight one, either. She looked like Borat. So, imagine my surprise when she stopped making out with me, left, and never returned my calls. I couldn’t help but think, “YOU HAVE A MUSTACHE!!! I’M AS GOOD AS YOU’RE GONNA GET!” Similarly, Malcolm’s friend at school is cool, has a cool older brother, and has cool parents (one of whom is an artist). I tried many ways of getting the boys together, even offering at one point to just take the friend with Malcolm and I to the park, but alas, each advance was shot down. I eventually realized that they just weren’t that into me, and stopped asking. Sigh.

Lastly, both dating and play dating involve hanging out with a lot of losers. I once dated a woman who smelled like formaldehyde. A high school girlfriend looked like the boy from the movie “Mask” and used the word, “pudnucker.” I’m sure the woman I dated thought I was a pretty big loser when I revealed my political affiliation as “Anarcho-Marxist.” Similarly, I went to a play date at someone’s house and they had naked family pictures hanging in the living room. (That is one thing about hippies that I will never understand.) We had one kid over to our house and instead of drawing on the easel, he threw it across the room. I have lost track of the number of play dates that have ended prematurely because Malcolm or the other kid have hit/bit/kicked/slapped/poured battery acid the other. And yet, the search for that special someone must continue.

And continue it does, until you find that special someone. Malcolm has a lot of good playmates, but he just added one more. Note to current friends, don’t be jealous, I’ll get around to writing about you someday, just not today. Malcolm had his first play date last week with his friend from school, Josh. Of course, we followed the rules and went to a nearby park, where the boys ran around together, played imaginative games like tree house or fishing, and when they played Star Wars characters, they were both on the same side. They are smiling and happy together and, although they each melt down occasionally, they seem eager to continue with play dating relationship. Seeing such happiness really makes you feel good as a parent, especially when you recognize the river of shit you had to wade through to find the good play mate. I am sure that it will only last until the mom, who is cool and mustache free, tires of me and decides that we are no longer worth it. Until then, I can enjoy the ride.

3 responses to “The New Dating Scene”

  1. Jean says:

    Great analogies — some scary parts of your history that you have never revealed before!

  2. Kat Wilder says:

    Pretty funny.

    As a single mom (well, a divorced co-parenting mom) and as a mom (hmm, a seem some repetition here), I have experienced exactly what you’re saying.

    Fortunately, now that he’s a teen, the play dates are over; the dating remains …

  3. […] both awesome and that everyone else would be lucky to have us in their presence.) Check out this post for a more detailed description of the play dating scene. Everybody to our house for a party? Not […]

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