One day, just days after breaking up with 3-month boyfriend, I went grocery shopping. This wasn’t any shopping trip. This was a grocery shopping trip with my beloved children whom I had already taken back-to-school shopping earlier in the day. I usually never take them with me to get groceries. I time it so they are with their father when I go, or I’ll order groceries online and pick them up. The stress of ensuring they are alive at the end of a shopping trip and managing to get everything I need is just too much.
My daughter is a quiet, but needy 12-year old. Upon entering any store, she suddenly has every “need” imaginable – from special foods and drinks to expensive beauty products… it is exhausting and mind-numbing to process each request. My 6-year old son always has a lot of energy and is usually talkative, but for some reason walking into a store turns him into a wild animal. He turns into a literal high-powered testosterone-filled superhero that suddenly wants to touch everything imaginable and run through the aisles at a high speed.
It was a Sunday evening and we had just visited grandma and grandpa. On the way home I was passing the store, and I realized we had no decent meals for the week. If my kids don’t eat well most of a week, well, there are always consequences, a whole other story. So against my better judgement, after a long day of being out and about already, I decided to go in.
We barely get through the produce section, and I’m already regretting my decision. I’m trying to calm my nerves as my son darts around people’s shopping carts and I dodge my daughter’s never-ending list of preteen demands. I was already exhausted and just wanting to get through the mental list I had for the week.
I noticed two things. The store wasn’t too busy (for that I was thankful) and I also noticed that there were a lot of single men shopping with their baskets. I admit the thought crossed my mind that this would be a place to scope out a single dad. To be clear, scope out, not ask out.
You know how you can end up with the same people as you make your way through a store, and then you end up at the check-out with the same people? That was me, and I was getting in all these people’s ways as I rushed through the trip, because I was in multi-tasking mom mode.
Fast forward, I’m in the meat section. I’m trying to pick out some beef tips (of all things in the whole store, beef tips). My daughter is right next to me saying something I don’t comprehend, (because 12 year olds mumble, a lot). As I turn around, my son is in my peripheral vision jumping around, my daughter is right by my face mumbling, and a guy I don’t know is right behind me saying (in what feels like slow motion) “Excuse me…would you like to go to coffee sometime?”
I make eye contact. I am stunned. My daughter squeals and runs away down the snack aisle with her brother (bro thinks its a game). I am out in the open, in front of other people, in the beef section, getting asked out by a guy who maybe, just maybe, watched too many RomComs recently. I knew my answer, but all I could immediately think was I just broke up with my boyfriend, how did he know? Do I have an “I’m newly single” sign on my forehead?
I’m not married so of course I don’t wear a wedding ring, but my kids were with me, I was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans, and I was not making flirty eyes with anyone. If anything, my head was down and I was just getting through it, man, I was in survival mode. What possessed this poor guy to ask me that question? And in the meat section of the supermarket?
This guy was on the short side (nothing against shorter guys! My personal preference is just taller), he had a head full of messy dirty-brownish hair, and a big messy beard. I couldn’t tell how old he was because he was covered in hair – maybe 35, but he could’ve been up to 45. I couldn’t even tell if he was attractive because of all the hair, and I was too shocked by it all.
I just blurted out “Ohhh thank youuuuu… but no thank youuuu.” And I smiled nervously as he bolted. I mean the dude whipped his cart around and bolted like lightening down the closest aisle toward the check out area. I stood there grinning sheepishly as my daughter bounced back to me, laughing hysterically and texting her friends that her mom just got hit on in the meat section. My son was laughing too, but he didn’t know what was going on, he just thought were were all having a great time.
I made it through the rest of the supermarket, trying to remember what else I needed. I was equal parts flattered and horrified. My daughter said “Mama, you got game!” Haha, sure kid.
Life is so weird. I’ve been considering my next move (if there is one) in the dating world. Online dating is frightening, but I’m not sure having a complete stranger walk up to you in public to ask you out (before asking for your name) is much better. It’s not like we even had a run-in and joked about broccoli first. It was just bam, wanna go out?
I’m trying to keep an open mind about it all. Bless his brave heart for trying. I hope he finds the girl of his dreams soon. For now, it’ll just be me, myself, and my own coffee.
Stifle Me Not