Single In The Suburbs, Installment 24

A former suitor wants our columnist back… but she has her eye on dating someone new (and very unexpected).

By Sara Susannah Katz

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

erhaps against her better judgment, our writer has agreed to give Sleep Apnea Man (or Sam, as he’s now known) another chance. But in the meantime, she’s wondering what’s going on with her daughter’s theatre teacher who was so obviously ogling her…and decides to find out.

Saturday, 11:40 a.m.
“Oh. My God. Omigod, omigod, omigod.” My daughter is jumping up and down, cell phone in hand, squealing and clasping the phone to her heart. “I can’t believe this!” She sprints up the stairs and disappears into her room.

Saturday, 1 p.m.
My daughter has reappeared. The cause of her current delirium: She asked a boy to the movies, and he said yes.

Today it’s Jaden, three days ago it was Ethan, the day before that it was Andrew, and before
I need to stop staring at his name. I’m starting to get punchy.
that, James. She draws her new crush from an apparently bottomless well of boys and isn’t shy about asking them out. Her friends are the same way. Whether it’s via IM, text-messaging or, these girls seem to be always on the make. And their egos, I’m rather amazed to report, are bulletproof. If Ryan says no, there’s always Chad. The boys are interchangeable, which is a nice hedge against heartbreak.

Then there’s me. I’ve never asked anyone out. When I was in high school, my only hope was to position myself in the path of my beloved, hope he’d notice me, talk to me, and eventually invite me to a movie.

Monday, 3 p.m.
My daughter calls me at work and reports that Mr. Kidman, her theater teacher, doesn’t wear a wedding ring and hasn’t mentioned a wife, fiancée or girlfriend. And now she’s all in favor of me dating him.

“I thought you were disgusted by the idea,” I say.

“Well, I still am, sort of. But I also realized that if you go out with him he’s practically obligated to give me an A in advanced theater. And I have him for language arts next semester. That’s two A’s right there.”

“I see. So now you have a vested interest in this whole scenario.”


I am tempted to have her serve as my emissary. She could walk up to him after class and say, “My mom thinks you’re cute. You wanna go out with her?” She could do the hard work and I’d just show up for the date.

“You should ask him out,” my daughter urges. “Come on, Mom. You’re a hottie.”

“I am?”

“Of course you are. You have my genes!”

Tuesday, 10 a.m.
I’ve taken the first step toward asking Mr. Kidman out. I look up his email in the school staff directory. There it is, in between Kearney and Koceka. I stare at his name. Kidman. A kid. And yet a man. And with any luck he’s a man without sleep apnea; I have to admit, I’m sort of dreading my date with Sam next week.

I think I need to stop staring at his name. I’m getting punchy. But I still don’t have the nerve to ask him out. I think I need to do a little research first.

Tuesday, 10:50 a.m.
I’m going to call my friend Lisa who knows everything about everyone in this
“I’ve actually never asked anyone out, so please be gentle with me.”
town, and not just the basics but whole genealogies of gossip. Kids with drug problems. Brothers in prison. The reason for the divorce. Who got custody of the cat. If you’re looking for the finer details, Lisa has them.

Tuesday, 11 a.m.
Well, apparently Lisa knows everybody except Mr. Kidman. That’s probably because her kids go to a different high school. Darn.

Wednesday, 5 p.m.
What a day. My boss asks me to sit in on a day-long strategic planning retreat. I suggest a new approach to our newspaper advertising, and I can see everyone in the room nodding and smiling as I am talking. My boss is beaming at me like a proud parent. After the meeting, she invites me for a glass of wine at the restaurant in the art museum across the street. I call home to let my daughter know I’ll be late.

Wednesday, 6 p.m.
I am sitting in the art museum café, sharing a bottle of chardonnay with my boss, a woman I admire but sometimes pity; she has a hard time commanding the band of pit bulls and liars known as upper management. She tells me that I am her most precious resource. She is getting a little misty-eyed. I know she’s under a lot of stress; her contract will be up at the end of the year and she is undergoing a review by her supervisor which will determine if she’ll be renewed.

I am careful not to drink to the point of blathering. (Three-quarters of a glass is nice, but any more than that and I’m prone to embarrassing confessions.) I want to tell her that I think Brenda McAleer is gas-lighting me but she already seems so burdened that I don’t want to add to her worries.

Thursday, 8:45 a.m.
The voice mail waiting for me this morning is from Dave Myers, executive director of marketing at the university. I’ve known Dave for years; our sons were in the same scout troop, and I did a little freelance work for him. The last time I saw him — two years ago at a Christmas party when I was still married — he hinted that he was trying to create a new position in his office and thought I’d be perfect for it. Two years went by, no word from Dave, so I forgot all about our conversation.

“Sara? Dave Myers here. We finally opened up that new position I told you about way back when. If you’re still interested, the job gets posted at the end of the week. I really hope you apply for this. We could use someone with your talents here. See ya.”

Thursday, 9 a.m.
I’ll admit it. I’m feeling a little cocky. All the recent accolades have really buoyed my self-confidence. I decide that now’s the time to contact Mr. Kidman. I start typing:

“Greetings. We haven’t met, but my daughter is in your advanced theater class. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee sometime. If you’re not already involved, that is.”

I delete the last line and replace it with: “Of course, I completely understand if you’re involved with someone else.”

I delete this and write: “I’ve actually never asked anyone out before, so please be gentle with me.”

I immediately go to delete this but — inexplicably — hit send instead. I am such a dork.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 25

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