Why I Stopped Dating a Man After My First Conversation With His Daughter

scandal olivia pope fitzAs a single mom, I know there's a constant juggling act between making sure my daughter has the best I can provide for her, being a career woman, taking time for myself, and, oh, that little thing called dating -- and the pursuit of happily ever after.

Advertisement

During any given (and always busy) week, I look forward to Thursday nights. Shonda Rhimes (okay, probably ABC) deemed it #TGIT, so I follow suit. Once my daughter is snuggled in her bed, I tiptoe downstairs in our apartment, pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave, and pour myself a pretty decent-sized glass of Malbec while watching three hours of indulgent, sexy, scandalous TV. My iPhone is off and I’m not even checking Instagram. Heaven.

After one of these great Thursday nights to myself, the following evening was date night. I had dinner plans with a man I had been seeing for a couple of months. We were meeting at his house before going out to dinner, and I briefly met his daughters, ages 8 and 13, who were just about to head to their mom's house.

It was a casual introduction. I’m big on not getting the kids involved until we have the “Do we know where this is going?” conversation, but it seemed harmless to meet them then. The younger girl was chatty and felt like interviewing me. Sitting in the doorway bundled in her coat, she began her line of questioning: "So I heard you have a daughter too. How old is she? ... Where are you guys going for dinner? I love Italian food! ... Do you live in New Jersey?"

They were all harmless inquires until she hit me with the final question: "What did you think about last night's Scandal? It was goooood!"

Being a pretty transparent person whose thoughts are typically written all over my face, I knew I had to dial it back. Quickly. But I couldn’t resist shooting a look at her dad, my date for the night. In my mind, a red flag went up, but he was so busy fumbling through a pile of mail that he was oblivious to my chat with his daughter. I wanted lasers to come out of my eyes and spark the mail, but it didn’t happen, so I took a deep breath.

“You must be talking about a commercial that you saw by accident?” I was reaching here, but trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. “No, I watch Scandal with my mom all the time. The Murder show, too!” she said, referring to How to Get Away with Murder, the Viola Davis show that follows Scandal.

This little girl, a year younger than my own daughter, just asked me what I thought about these very adult shows. Shows with scenes that make me red-faced when I watch them with my own mom.

Maybe I’m a prude?

Once we got in the car, I gently mentioned what I just learned from his daughter.

“What’s How to Get Away with Murder?” he asked. He was a TV guy, so I knew he knew that the show contained adult subject matter, but playing dumb was really the dumbest reply ever. Way to go, Dad. Then he followed up with: “Oh, they watch that with their mother. I can’t control that. And it’s just a show.”

We had a nice dinner, but from then on, I started judging him -- and his parenting -- even further. I was excited about this guy, but what he told me about the kind of parent he was compared to what I actually saw and learned myself was like night and day. Things didn’t last much longer between us for other reasons, but that incident was definitely the catalyst.

 

Kweli Wright is a NYC native and single mom to a 9-year-old daughter. She has been writing about pop culture, beauty, and parenting forever. Kweli starts her day with coffee and ends it with wine. In between, she dreams of running off to Tuscany and obsesses over interior design, writing her first novel ... and Beyoncé.


Image via ABC 

Read More >