So I made a friend.
Hurrah! And in the course of talking with this new friend (whose middle name I have yet to learn) I started to realize that single life issues -- Milwaukee/Chicago/wherever don't change.
Over late night slices of pizza, New Friend was talking about being 30 and single. She said she would love to have a boyfriend, but was struggling with a prejudice she admittedly brought to the dating table.
She didn't want to date somebody who'd been divorced or had children.
New Friend herself had never been married. She's very attractive, went to a great college, landed a good job in Chicago and has an all-around friendly and open personality.
Can't I get a guy who hasn't been down all those roads already? she asked.
Sorry to everybody out there who's divorced and with kids, I know this is probably not fun to read. But then, I'm sure it's something you're very familiar with -- there's definitely a rift between the single-never-been-marrieds and the singles familiar with the big D or kiddies.
In some ways I can relate to New Friend's concerns. I've dated someone with a child and I remember telling him early on that I was sad that his ex got the best of him: his youth, the first vacations, the first time he got to be told he was going to be a father, the first exciting baby steps, the first well, everything.
He assured me that it wasn't as romantic as I was imagining. And that he had learned so much from going through all that which made him better this time around.
In the end, he was right and it worked out for several years after.
That said, I can definitely see where New Friend is coming from when she says she just wants to try dating someone in her exact situation -- 30, no child support, no burned wedding albums -- before diving into the other pool.
I suppose some people are going to take issue with this prejudice, especially in Milwaukee, where it seems like many people settle down early and thus the chances of meeting someone who's been there, done that, are more likely.
But I hafta say, I like my New Friend's honesty. Maybe this'll be the start of a beautiful relationship between her and me.