Single Dadventures: My Life Is Basically A Recent Episode of ‘Power’
As a single dad, rarely do I get a chance to sit down and watch television. Last night, I finally had two hours to catch up on season three of Starz’s hit show, “Power,” and felt like I was watching an episode of my life.
For those that don’t watch, Ghost–the show’s protagonist–divorced his wife and has moved in with his girlfriend, Angela. The honeymoon phase begins to fade and reality sets in as Ghost’s children visit for a weekend. While Angela seems to love Ghost, there is a look of uneasiness on her face. For the first time, she is seeing her significant other in his most natural element: a father.
While watching this with someone I once dated, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself because art was imitating life. I’m all-too-familiar with what was going down on-screen.
Being 30 and single for five years, I have found dating to be perplexing. As soon as I pull out my Galaxy S7 to take down a number, it’s obvious that I’m a parent. My phone’s lock screen and wallpaper are pictures of my little girl and me. At first, women may see me as a man, attractive enough to get to know, who just so happens to be someone’s father.
For days, weeks, and/or months, a single father can talk about their children all and every day during the beginning of the dating, but eventually reality sets in and at some point, meeting the children comes into play.
In my experience, you can spot a single mom a mile away. They check in with babysitters while on dates, incessantly worry, or keep sunscreen, candy or tissues in their purse “just in case.” I have literally laughed and told a woman, “You’re such a mom” in the middle of a club on a Saturday night.
On the other hand, a single dad may demonstrate a vulnerable side, but when a woman first sees us with our children, in that dad role, everything changes. Like stepping into sunlight after sitting in a movie theatre for two hours, you are forced to adjust. A single dad can hold your hand and glance at you in adoration, but there’s a different look in his eyes when the person is three-and-a-half feet tall and resembles him.
The first observance of a father and his child is an unintentional reveal. There is no more hiding. Theoretically speaking, I could be dating someone who follows the narrative I portray as this amazing single parent through my blog, my writing here and on social media. After that first in-person interaction with my daughter, they see that all of my cute Instagram posts are a front.
More than likely, the relationship will not last much longer. I like to call this phenomena “demonstrative vulnerability.” Chad Milner, the man, is a completely separate entity from Chad, the dad. As men, we are instinctively wired to be protectors, so the first part of dating is introducing ourselves and what we have to offer.
I get it, it’s endearing to see a man in all of his fatherhood glory. There’s a softer and attentive side that may rarely be seen and who can resist a cute kid? I can’t speak for all men, but I know what goes through my mind when dating: “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with just my child. So can she accept me for who I am and then take on being in my child’s life as well?”
Those intense feelings that revolve around trust and vulnerability for women in dating relationships? That’s how intensely single fathers feel about trusting people around their children.
Bringing things back to “Power,” after spending time with Ghost and his children, Angela had a choice to make: to stay or go. Accepting the man she loved and all that came along with him prompted her to start searching for a larger apartment.