Thursday, March 18, 2010

the perfect single dad?

well, i’ve been talking to my best bud chrissy over at the storked! blog and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing the differences between single moms and single dads, and of course, dating. she wrote a little something interesting over on her page, with a quote from me that many will find controversial…

so…she asked for a quote,

"i realize that i’m in a privileged position as a single father, especially one made single by chance rather than choice. when/if i’m ever ready to date, there will be more than a few women standing in line. pretty impressive for a man with below-average looks and intellect. some women see in me the husband they wish they had, the father they never had, the man they hope they will someday meet and marry. and i’m not reading between any lines here. i get daily e-mails with those exact sentiments. here’s a public comment that was left on my blog just yesterday: “If my husband knew I crushed on you soooo much (he would be pissed, you are a KICK ASS DAD. I only wished J would care as much as you. The love that you express for Liz is something I could only hope for. You are the perfect daddy and husband.”

am i? i suppose i sound like the perfect man, a man who was/is a devoted husband, a great father, an all-around nice guy. why? ’cause what you read is what i write. and i’ve mythologized myself in my writing. yes, i’m all of the above, but i’m nowhere near perfect. society has also mythologized the good, single father. a man that steps up to his role as father is looked at in awe. single mothers? nothing remarkable about a single mom. they’re just doing “their” job. women are expected to be good mothers. men are expected to be, well, men. just look at k-fed.

soon after liz died i had friends warn me that i’d have tons of female admirers. i scoffed. i couldn’t believe that anyone would ever want to deal with me and my baggage (dead wife, brand new baby, etc). of course i was thinking like a man…what i didn’t realize is that the baggage i have as a single father is the kind of baggage some women want…a built-in family. flip this. how many men are willing to date a single woman with kids?

not too many, i suspect.


  1. This is not surprising. My second husband was besieged by women after his first wife died. Why not? He had a great track record. It's not quite the same for women. Though I found in my short dating stint between late husband and second husband that I was considered a notch up from divorced women because I had no ex to contend with. Still, for women, looks, age, number of kids, job are things that men use to weigh their worth in a way that most women don't. Women, mostly, look for the intangibles.

    Also, the "baggage" thing. People whose only experience with loss of relationship is break-up with boyfriends or divorce have a different way of looking at it then those who've been widowed. They see only someone who made it to the finish line - so to speak. That's a huge plus to many who've dealt with partners who haven't lived up to expectations.

    The double standard is the double standard.

  2. This whole single father phenomena is so distorted by the fact that men have historically failed to meet their share of the parental responsibilities. There was a time in the past when men were the bread winners, and women were the home makers. When women became equally involved in the workforce, you would think that men would have taken up their share in the home making. Yeah, right.

    So, now we have all these women who look at any man doing this, are in complete awe. I have been a single father for 18 years now. There have been so many times that I have received more than my share of kudos, only for me to remind the person giving the compliment that I am doing no more than women have always done.

    When I am around new women at the office, and they realize that I am a single parent of three children, then learn that I chose to have three children as a single parent, well, they instantly put me up on a pedestal. I have had my share of them gazing at me with interest, but soon they learn that there is one more dynamic that is very important to the mix.

    I am a single gay father of three.

    Now, put me in a gay bar with a group of other single men looking to meet someone. The conversation usually went very well, then suddenly it happens, I let it slip that I am raising three kids. I could then do a 60 second count down. First they lay on the heavy compliments, "why thank you very much, but I am not a saint", then they quickly dash off.

    Now throw into the mix that I am also a widower, well I suppose I'm now also the kiss of death. Make that a 30 second count down.

    I guess the outcome becomes the same as with the single moms. It's very funny in a way. I have looked at the blogs of straight widowed single fathers, and there are many young female followers. Look at my list of followers, you probably won't find anyone that might be found in a singles bar.

    Okay, maybe one or two.

  3. First, it is statistically proven there are more women than men, thus making single men a very hot commodity. I am a widow with four teenagers. Even though I'm attractive, intelligent, fun, active and have a lot to give I have a funny feeling I'll be single for a very long time. Men have no interest in taking on my baggage. Women with baggage are a liability.
    However, I must be honest and say, I have no interest in men with young children. I’m almost ‘done’ raising mine and have no desire to start over.

  4. I would love to meet a single dad who also is a widower, for the sole reason I lost my husband when me son was 16 months old. He is now 5, and trying to date is very hard it would be easier with a widower because things would not need to be explained there will always be pictures of my husband and I will always love him and a widower would feel the same about his wife.

  5. I am admittedly very upset right now over a heated conversation that just took place, and I don't know where else to release that steam. I’m sure I’ll step on some toes in the process. I usually do. Frankly, I don’t care this time. Dads need to stop leaving their kids, and I’m tired of men not being the ones to say it. I’m tired of the world tip-toeing around these guys’ feelings. I’m really tired of society acting like such behavior is now “normal” or “expected”. I’m tired of the media making light of it. I'm tired of the emails and comments from endless mothers who've been thrown under the bus. More than anything, I’m tired of dads not taking their responsibilities and duties seriously.

    Proud to be a Single Dad

  6. The moment a child is born, the father is also born. He never existed before. The man existed, but the father, never. A father is something absolutely new. What a lovely quote. Dedicated to all fathers. Thanks for the lovely post.

    Single Dad Dating

  7. Actually, Being a single father
    is a difficult job, but one with innumerable rewards. Whether you are a divorcee or a widow, being the prime caregiver for your children is a big responsibility that will likely become the focus of your life. Even those single fathers who work and have childcare help understand that raising their children is their life’s work.

  8. It's remarkable how many people who've commented didn't get the context at all. The question asked is "Is it true that women are more open to dating single dads than men are to dating single moms? If so, why?"

    My answer - Yes, it is true. A large part of it may be gender inequity but I think at the bottom of it lies yet another difference between men and women. Women like being 'needed'. A situation where the single father is a widower, especially attracts women because the situation lets women assume virtuous roles. Men, on the contrary, have no such need. They, in turn, would probably think of the 'baggage' that a single mom brings much much more than a man's supposed need of being a 'rescuer'. Men like to rescue women only when they're fair, thin and in pradas. The rest is codswallop.

  9. Wow what an inspirational post! "How many men would date a single mother with kids?" not many that's for sure!

    I have a friend who is 23 with two kids and is unhappy in her marriage - is divorced - and NO ONE will seriously date her. because she has kids.