Another Man Gets the Boot
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.
Iâ€™ve been given another perspective on why date-able men find out about my kids and run like hell. Here, all this time, I thought it was because my daughters were teenagers. But it wasnâ€™t. It was business, strictly business.
I wouldnâ€™t consider what passed between this man and me to be a date. Heâ€™s a rocket scientist I know from my day job, though I havenâ€™t worked with him in many years. We simply met up for lunch at the food court so that we could talk a little before we both had to run back to our respective offices.
Heâ€™s older than most men I break bread with….by far. But at 49, he still has a quick mind and all his hair. I enjoy talking to him, but Iâ€™m not interested in a romantic relationship with him. Thereâ€™s just no chemistry, no attraction.
We had an interesting chat in the food court about politics, and I appreciated his candor. One of the traits thatâ€™s helped him to succeed is his efficiency via bluntness. So he was candid about his liberal political views, his divorce almost ten years ago, his metro-spiritual belief system, and…his finances.
Maybe it was just the approach of April 15th and Tax Season, but I really didnâ€™t expect to hear all about his finances. Most of it was complaining-the only negative comments I heard from him at all. I sat quietly, listening, pretending not to be shocked at the credit card debt heâ€™s racked up. But I am shocked that a man of his stature, a man so well-known for organization and efficiency, is in debt up to his eyeballs and has nothing to show for it. Not a house, not a new car, not investments, not college funds for his kids, nothing. Nothing, except expensive suits and an active social life.
Somewhere in our conversation, I mentioned my kids, and he got that deer-in-headlights-look. He was polite, asking how old they are, but suddenly distant. An awkward silence slammed down between us, and I figured he didnâ€™t want to be around a woman with kids. Iâ€™ve seen it before. Iâ€™m at that age where men either want someone 30ish that theyâ€™re relatively sure will bear them several children or someone whose kids are grown and gone. Theyâ€™re not interested in something that might lead to a ready-made family.
â€œLook,â€ the rocket scientist said after a while, just as I was leaving, â€œIâ€™m open to having a sexual relationship with you, but if we do, please donâ€™t think itâ€™s anything more.â€
Maybe it was the look on my face. Physical intimacy had not been discussed at all. It was a huge assumption on his part, and you know what they say about the word assume, though Iâ€™m thinking more along the lines of asshim.
â€œNot…not for several years,â€ he continued, referring to the possibility of something more than a sexual relationship. â€œMaybe after your youngest is out of high school. Or better yet, out of college.â€
The look on my face didnâ€™t change except to get more confused.
â€œMy kids are over 18,â€ he said, as if that explained everything. Then he added, â€œI finally got my kids out on their own 8 years ago, and the last thing I need is to get involved with a woman who has kids still at home. I just canâ€™t afford it.â€
I blinked at him. â€œYou donâ€™t want to â€˜get involvedâ€™ with me because you think youâ€™d have to finance my children?â€
â€œWell…yeah. I have to be very careful about my finances. At my age, I need to be thinking about retirement and I donâ€™t need to take on any additional liabilities right now.â€
I grinned all the way back to my office. He thought a working mom with two kids might turn into a financial liability for him? Iâ€™m glad he was so honest with me. How else would I have realized so quickly that heâ€™d befinancial liability for me?