I present exhibit A

My cousin-slash-hair artist recently shamed me into joining a dating app.

Ew, God. No. Not that one.

{Insert exasperated eye roll here}

I’ve been divorced for just over one full year, but single for just over four. That, apparently, is extreme.

I’d not noticed.

Mostly because I am raising two now-six-year-old girls who engage in regular fisticuffs – over literally nothing – like MMA prize fighters. Seriously. If I were to give them masks and a pair of leggings they would just be tiny luchadoras. I mean, maybe I could just send them out into the yard and charge admission though. It’s a thought.

“You need to get out there” is a phrase that many a single mother has cringed at the sound of. It appears regularly, and out of the most well-intentioned of mouths. And it’s not always wrong. But ungghhh. Guys. We don’t wanna.

We wanna watch “Claws” in our yoga pants (which is the only thing we ever, ever want to do in our yoga pants, by the by) and crawl into bed with wine and clandestine boxes of Samoas we’ve kept hidden from our spawn for months.

Yes, I said Samoas.

Because Thin Mints think they all that, but they ain’t.

Thin Mints are overrated, at best.

At.

Best.

#officialplatformstatement

When you join a dating…apparatus…you have to tell people about yourself. But you can’t tell them all of the things.

People don’t like it when you tell them all of the things too early in a relationship.

Or when you call it a relationship before the end of the third DM.

#protips

And, if you’re a single mom who’s been single for four uninterrupted years, you know that there is very little about yourself that any appropriate potential love interest is going to want to be told.

Watch. I’ll prove it.

Hi, I’m Stacey. I’m a reporter, which means that everywhere I go people stop me to tell me about the “news” that just happened somewhere near them. We’re not going on a single date anywhere in my hometown, ever, for that very reason. Just so you’re aware. I like pasta and wine, and my body type reflects these preferences clearly, and without even a modicum of shame. My favorite word is “no.” My favorite female little pony is either Nightmare Moon or Zecora, depending on my mood. My favorite male little pony is Big Red. All day long. If you are a childless man seeking a date with me, and you know any of the ponies by name, or could recognize them based on cutie marks, you are automatically a person of interest in my mind. Not in a good way, but in a law enforcement, “To Catch a Predator,” lifetime registry type of way.

#broniesneednotswiperight

My favorite place to hide from my kids is the laundry room. Because I appear to be the only person in my house capable of entering the laundry room. It’s a magical place. If I were a timeless figure from Mexican folklore I would be La Llorona. If I were a Johnny Cash song I would be “Man in Black.” My best feature is my brain, by far, which is probably the main reason I’ve been single for four years. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the latent hostility that infuses every word of this profile and runs rampant and furious, like a wild, seething river of mild discontent just beneath the surface of my every facial expression. I’ve been using it to manufacture sarcasm and self-deprecating humor for years. That’s why I’m so freaking charming. Shut up. I’m hilarious. The last unanimated film I saw in theaters was “I Feel Pretty.” It didn’t make me feel pretty. It made me even more uncomfortable with my appearance. Thanks, Schumer. Way to go. If I could do what Voldemort did in “Harry Potter,” I would split myself in two and send half to Kona, Hawaii and the other half to Corrachadh Mor, on the western edge of Scotland. I wouldn’t attempt to murder any children or anything. I’d just kinda hang out there. Whatever. I’m a big fan of Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls. I have strong opinions on the free range parenting movement in all of its many awful forms. I wish I were capable of meditation, but I mostly just fall asleep when I try. I dislike hippies, but only because I cannot seem to become one, despite my best efforts. I’m not willing to move to, or really even drive to, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, or points east or west of me to meet you. I know it says I am, but that’s just because this app won’t allow me tighten my radius of interest to a geographic region no larger than the distance between my house and Perkins. I’d like to say I’m okay with it if you are from one of those places and want to come visit me, but the truth is that I’m really, really not. Because you should be able to find an acceptable human female in a major metropolitan area such as yours. Your eagerness to come here to meet some random internet woman concerns me, and indicates that you are either (a) too picky or (b) too scary or (c) other, and I like zero of those three things about you already. It’s entirely possible, too, that I’m just too avoidant for dating altogether. In fact, you know what? Forget it. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about to start and I’m already securely attached to my TiVo anyhow. I feel like I’m cheating on Offred right now. I gotta go.

May the Lord open, and good luck out there Hoss.

See?

My cousin-slash-hair artist has offered to take over curatorship of my dating profile for me, but I don’t think I want that to happen. Because then I might actually wind up having to meet someone.

And that never ends well.

I present my last marriage as the state’s exhibit A.

#teamspinsterrepresent

But you know what? I have realized one thing: I am a freakin’ catch. I really am. Because for the past four years I’ve basically been dating myself, and I have become one heck of an outstanding life partner in that time. I buy myself wine, and clothes, and food, and pay all of my utilities. I don’t even expect myself to put out in return. I take myself to dinner, and out for coffee on Saturday mornings, and I let myself sleep in when the girls aren’t home after a long week. I don’t make myself do any housework I don’t want to do, and I only offer gentle prodding when people start to, like, run out of underpants and forks and toilet paper and stuff. And, because I have spent such an intense amount of time with myself over the past four years, I have begun to learn to be more patient with, and nicer to, myself. I mean, it’s the beginning of a long road, but I’m making progress. And I find, as I swipe left on more people than I swipe right on, that I don’t actually need to be paired up with anyone to be happy. I might want to be, a little bit, but being in no rush affords me the luxury of time and standards I did not perceive myself having had before.

And if there is one truth of motherhood that is absolute and unyielding, it is that the presence of children in one’s life represents a complete forfeiture of the right to settle romantically. Better my daughters see me stay single and mostly satisfied forever than give in to the bullying threat of spinsterhood and model relational insecurity for them just as they begin to develop frameworks for what their own future healthy relationships should look like.

So it’s fine. I’m fine.

But. I mean, if you are a nonsmoking, emotionally mature and available, employed, well-read, existentially-minded Dwayne Johnson doppelganger with a current valid passport, an interest in international travel just for the fun of it, a complete lack of felonies or major misdemeanor offenses on your record, an interest in settling down entirely in the relatively near future, and less than zero issues, hangups, perversions, questionable moral positions, or affiliations with the conservative right…don’t call me.

You’re fictional.

Now. Where’d I put them Samoas?

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