When I was about 5 months pregnant I went to a friend’s dinner party at a restaurant in Hollywood. I was through my morning sickness and extreme tiredness and excited to go out. I hadn’t bought any maternity clothes yet. I was wearing a lot of my normal dresses and skirts (which post baby I discovered were stretched out and no longer wearable, along with my ruined $20 a pair Hanky Panky thongs.)
There were a lot of people at the party I knew, and a few I didn’t. There were two other pregnant women there; One was a friend of mine, the other, a new face – Paula.
“When are you due?” Paula asked. Her husband, Dunn was massaging her shoulders; one of the few things I felt like I might be missing by not having a partner.
“Us too!” Paula said, looking lovingly at Dunn.
“We must have been having sex at the same time!” Dunn almost yelled, giddy at the idea.
I smiled and gave a tiny laugh, the mouth closed, exhale through your nose kind. I wasn’t going to get into it… no need to explain my circumstance. Dunn seemed so excited by the idea of two stranger couples, screwing at the same time, getting pregnant and then meeting at a restaurant five months later. Why ruin his fun?
The pregnant ladies all ordered lots of french fries, various burgers, fried calamari and other filling entrees and we ate them with gusto.
Dunn and Paula continued to be lovey-dovey throughout the dinner. It was sweet and did make me think about what I was missing… a little, I’ll admit.
In my fantasy, my partner would be loving and massaging and good at cleaning up and carrying heavy stuff AND fixing stuff. And, also, now good at computers. I was insanely attracted to him and respected him in all ways, of course.
As I watched Dunn and Paula, so publicly displaying their affection, I thought of a few guys I’d dated who were so touchy feely that they creeped me out. I also remembered dating guys who never touched me. I remember one guy I was with who was so stand-offish I’d actually scream in my mind at him, please touch me! In my 20’s I dated a guy who would spontaneously give me amazing foot massages… I actually really liked him…. but he dumped me.
No one I’d ever dated matched up to my fantasy of what I wanted or expected. I knew my options were: A. Lower my expectations. B.Keep Looking C.Just have a baby and give up on men/dating. I guess there’s a D option in there, but clearly I went with C.
I hoped that Dunn and Paula were truly in love and happy – I did.
My life had changed so much already; just the anticipation of having my son had given me such excitement, such happiness, such hope, that even a few pangs of envy, didn’t penetrate my demeanor. I ate my fried food, completely satisfied. Fried food is so delicious.
“We were all having sex at the same time,” I heard Dunn say again, to another guy at the party, as he pointed at me with one hand and was very physical with Paula with the other hand.
It was comforting to realize that Dunn would not be someone that I would want to date; even if he did give lots of massages. I was proud of the choice I had made. I wasn’t ashamed of not having sex to get pregnant. I’d been through a lot to get here, but I didn’t feel the need to tell this guy my business.
I started to wish again that I had more single mom friends.
A few minutes later, when Dunn said, for the third time, We were all having sex at the same time, I felt I needed to make things right.
“Actually, I didn’t have sex at all,” I said in my nicest I’m not trying to humiliate you in front of the whole party who are now all listening to us voice. “I was inseminated at a fertility clinic.”
“Oh,” Dunn said, not processing my meaning. “Well, still, we were all probably having sex around the same time.”
He really wasn’t getting it. Maybe it’s my responsibility to help normalize unconventional families. Maybe I’m supposed to be the spokeswoman for single moms. Maybe someday, I’ll start a blog or something….
“Actually, Dunn,” I said so nicely, “I’m single. I’m having this baby as a single mom. I was having no sex at all.” Then I smiled and shrugged, “Sorry.”
Dunn grinned and mumbled stuff like, that’s OK and Oh really?
I wasn’t trying to shame him. I just want people to think about those of us who are making choices and not doing things the way we were told we should do them.
And then I ordered more fries.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/6766114177/”>Brett Jordan</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>