Unfit Father

Published on May 4th, 2017 | by Richard Black

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Swing on by for Dinner

This is not the kind of swinging I’m talking about.

There’s something about asking a couple I barely know to have dinner that always makes me a bit…uncomfortable. Being a stay at home father I don’t meet many people and those I do tend to be stay at home mothers which is great and all.

The teen version of me would have been ecstatic about having a group of women as friends. The forty plus year old man that I’ve become however has some concerns not the least of which are, and in no particular order of importance; I haven’t met their spouse or significant other, I’m pretty much devastating handsome and charming and worry about my effect on women’s loins, I forgot the third point but you get my drift.

To make matters more complex my wife Laura is always asking me to invite my daughter’s parents (i.e their mothers) out to dinner. After all I’m the person who knows them socially (not biblically) and it makes sense for me to provide the invitation. Still there’s something about the request that implies something unintended.

For the record I love my wife and the last time I checked we’re both completely monogamous so it is with best of intentions that I try to solicit another couple out for dinner. Being an introvert I generally send out a text because I hate speaking on the phone unless I’ve had eight or nine beers in which case I’ll cheerfully talk to a brick wall or a dead phone. More often than not my invitation to dinner ends up something like this:

Anyone up for a bite?

“Hey Susan I don’t know what you and John are up to tomorrow but the kids are going to a movie and I wondered if you both would be up for a bite.”

…and then, as soon as I hit “Send” I immediately feel as if I should clarify my intent.

“…a bite of food. Not anything else. I’m not using this as a euphemism for something that might involve sex. Laura and I would just really like to have you over for dinner and nothing else.

For the most part I usually leave it at that, assume that all parties involved think that I think I’m being funny and then go on about my day. Occasionally though I feel compelled to explain myself and, in the process, make matters exponentially worse.

“Apologies about my last text. It’s not that I find either you or John to be unattractive. Both of you are beautiful people inside and out and if my wife and I were into polyamory we’d be lucky to score either of you and by “score” I don’t mean to be derogatory or imply that I’d think of either you or John as a one night sort of deal.”

…and as soon as I hit send I feel compelled to explain myself again.

“You both mean quite a lot to Laura and I and if we were into that sort of thing I imagine that we’d both be committed to the arrangement until one of us got chlamydia and we parted ways. Not that either of you are into that sort of thing. Polyamory, not chlamydia. LOL.”

I usually give it a few moments before I get a response and then, when I don’t, I try to nail down our plans and shrug off the awkwardness.

“So let me know if you and John are up for dinner,” I text, “No strings attached I promise ;).”

More often than not my dinner invitations are typically met with a tepid response like “Let me check with my husband” or the more frequent “please don’t contact me ever again”.

Occasionally however I’m able to find a couple willing to spend a few hours with my wife and I over a meal in a public place that is usually close to a police station.

Conversation, as I imagine it is with most people trying to get to know each other, is often stilted and rife with innuendo despite my best intentions. I usually try to open with something light about where the couple we’re with met or their favorite sex position but no matter the topic it always goes downhill.

“So you both moved up here from Atlanta. John tells me that you like it down South.”

Laura, my wife, immediately shoots me an ugly look. I shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes and then do even more damage as I try to clear up any misconceptions lest they be misinterpreted.

“What I meant was I’ve heard you really enjoyed living in Atlanta. Not that John doesn’t like going down on you Susan.”

The most recent X-Ray of my ankle after my latest dinner date.

Laura, inevitably, begins kicking me in the shins under the table and I make another sorry attempt to rectify any misunderstandings.

“I’m sure he’s pretty good at it and you look like you’d really enjoy it too I mean who doesn’t enjoy receiving oral sex right? I don’t know John all that well but he seems to be a guy who’s a compassionate and understanding lover. You’ll have to excuse me for a minute it appears as if I’ve spontaneously broken my shin.”

Once I limp to the bathroom, order another drink which is promptly slammed at the bar and gimp back to the table I sit down out of kicking range from my wife and give conversation another shot.

“Who’s up for fish tacos?” I ask in all of my innocent idiocy.

“Fish tacos are not on the menu,” Laura informs me with a gaze that could peel the paint off a car.

“Maybe they have fish tacos off menu,” I respond, “a lot of people enjoy ordering off menu. Just because something isn’t on the menu doesn’t mean that no one wants it. Sometimes you just have to ask.”

The rest of the night is generally met with an awkward silence until the server comes around and asks if anyone wants dessert and mentions that the restaurant serves an authentic Tiramisu.

“Is it made with sponge cake or ladyfingers?” I ask, “Not that I have anything against ladyfingers I just don’t like them in my dessert and by ‘dessert’ I’m not referring to my butt. Not that I look down on people who like that sort of thing. I had a buddy in college who ended up with a shocker and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience once he peeled himself off the ceiling.”

Anyone up for pie?

Another awkward silence inevitably ensues aside, of course, from the sound of my wife tearing a cloth napkin under the table. The server leaves in a bit of a huff and I whisper, a bit drunkenly, to the poor son of a bitch next to me something about how my old man had something like a tiramisu done to him back in Vietnam.

“If you guys aren’t up for dessert here we can always have a few drinks back at our place before dessert. Laura’s got a great pie. It’s a little old but it’s absolutely delicious.”

The check is usually requested a bit hastily after that and we all part ways. Laura settles into an angry silence on the way home and, for some reason, we never hear from John or Susan or really anyone who’s ever been on a dinner date with us ever again.

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