Another Man Gets the Boot

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

I’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 wasn’t. It was business, strictly business.

Flying By Night novelI wouldn’t consider what passed between this man and me to be a date. He’s a rocket scientist I know from my day job, though I haven’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.

He’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 I’m not interested in a romantic relationship with him. There’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 that’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 didn’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 he’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 didn’t want to be around a woman with kids. I’ve seen it before. I’m at that age where men either want someone 30ish that they’re relatively sure will bear them several children or someone whose kids are grown and gone. They’re not interested in something that might lead to a ready-made family.

“Look,” the rocket scientist said after a while, just as I was leaving, “I’m open to having a sexual relationship with you, but if we do, please don’t think it’s anything more.”

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 I’m thinking more along the lines of asshim.

“Not…not for several years,” he continued, referring to the possibility of something more than a sexual relationship. “Maybe after your youngest is out of high school. Or better yet, out of college.”

The look on my face didn’t change except to get more confused.

“My kids are over 18,” he said, as if that explained everything. Then he added, “I 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 can’t afford it.”

I blinked at him. “You don’t want to ‘get involved’ with me because you think you’d have to finance my children?”

“Well…yeah. I have to be very careful about my finances. At my age, I need to be thinking about retirement and I don’t need to take on any additional liabilities right now.”

Liabilities?

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? I’m glad he was so honest with me. How else would I have realized so quickly that he’d befinancial liability for me?