Single In The Suburbs, Installment 7

In our 7th installment, our writer discovers that her new guy may have been less than honest with her…

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n her previous column, our writer — a divorced mom of two — had a great date with Tony, a doctor who lives a couple of hours away. He’s invited her for a weekend visit…should she accept?

Friday, 10:15 p.m.
Home from my date with Tony. I’m remembering that nice kiss and feeling all warm and happy. But I’m nervous too. How can I spend
I’m remembering that nice kiss and feeling all warm and happy. But I’m nervous, too.
the night at his house, 130 miles away, after just one date? Am I insane? How would I explain it to my kids, and how can I expect them to behave responsibly when I’m having sleepovers with men I barely know?

I peel off my clothes, wash off the makeup, and stare at myself in the mirror. Who is this woman staring back at me? Not very long ago I was a suburban housewife in a stable, if not particularly happy, marriage. I felt sorry for families who had been fragmented by divorce. I was certain that I’d be married forever. I should be excited but all I really feel right now is sadness. Maybe it would be easier if Craig and I weren’t such good friends. Sometimes I really wish I hated him so I could move forward with my love life without these moments of wistfulness.

Saturday, noon-ish
Tackled the dreaded bill-paying. My gas bill was $324. Ouch! It makes me wonder whether I can really afford to stay in a 4,000-square-foot house. But my daughter freaks out every time I raise the subject of moving. She started experiencing panic attacks several months after the separation, and I feel guilty enough about that. I don’t want to send her into an emotional tailspin by moving, so even though I covet a charming bungalow that’s in my price range and better suited to a smaller family, I resolve to stay put, at least for now. I grit my teeth and pay the gas bill.

Saturday, 5 p.m.
No dates lined up tonight, so it’s just me and the kids. Actually, one is going to a party and the other is going to the movies. Guess it’ll be just me, myself, and I tonight. I will try not to feel sorry for myself. I just wish Tony would call or email. I don’t get this guy. He drove out of state just to have dinner with me. We had an actual kiss. He invited me to his house next weekend. Why hasn’t he called, if only for the usual follow-up pleasantries—thanks for a nice night, thinking of you, blah, blah, blah.

Saturday, 10:15 p.m.
Note to self: Never sort through old photographs when you’re feeling sorry for yourself. I’m going to take a hot bath and go to sleep. But first… I have to check my email. I have no self-restraint. And besides, I have nothing better to do.

Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Three new responses to my profile! One is promising, the other two are duds. Dud Number One says he prefers a woman without kids (so why did he bother writing to me?) and Dud Number Two sounds like he’s looking to get married quick so he has someone to keep house and cook dinner (no thanks).

The promising one comes from Gene, a chiropractor right here in town. He’s a widower (which is sad, but somehow makes him more appealing to me; I guess I assume that he was a good husband who would have remained married if his wife hadn’t died). I write a quick
Now I’m on the edge of panic. What if Tony isn’t who he says he is?
note back, thanking him for his interest and asking him to tell me more. Since this is a small town, it shouldn’t be hard for me to find someone who knows this guy so I can get the lowdown.

Feeling a little better now (amazing what one positive response can do for my mood). Time for a bath and bed.

Sunday, 11 a.m.
Still no word from Tony. Against my better judgment and natural inclination, I send him an email. “Just checking to make sure you made it home safely,” I type. Wait. That sounds like I’m his mother. I delete and start again. “Just checking in. Thanks for a great time. Sara.” I click send before I can change my mind.

Now what? I know. I’ll go to the Y, lift some weights, break a sweat on the elliptical. Now that I’m dating, I probably ought to get into shape. The prospect of undressing this 40-something body is rather harrowing. On the other hand, none of the men in my life are Chippendale’s dancers. I might as well cut myself some slack.

Sunday, 4 p.m.
That workout was long overdue. I feel so energized now, which is good considering I’ve got a thousand loads of laundry waiting for me. The phone rings. It’s Tony. He apologizes for not calling me sooner but he’s been on call at the hospital and this was his first chance. Of course I forgive him. I’m relieved. I tell him, impulsively, that I’ve decided to visit him next weekend. He sounds elated. He gives me his address and driving directions. When I get off the phone I go to his hospital’s Web site. I search the staff directory for his name.

I cannot find it.

I try to stay calm. After all, I’d Googled Tony last week and found his name and a Web site for his private practice. But he told me that he’s also affiliated with this university hospital. So how come he doesn’t have a listing? I can’t help myself: I call the hospital and ask the switchboard operator to connect me to his office. She says that they don’t have a doctor by that name.

“Are you absolutely sure?” I ask.

“Yes, ma’am, I’m sure,” she says, a little impatiently.

Now I’m on the edge of panic. I realize that anyone can make a Web site. What if Tony isn’t who he says he is?

And what if I’ve just told a man I’m coming to visit him—and he’s not at all who I think he is?

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 8

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