Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Where’s the Dating Writer?

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"When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz," Gilbert writes in Eat, Pray, Love. "Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled life."

Let's be honest here: it's not easy to sit with your loneliness. At least for me, it's not. After moving out of the Israeli's house, it was agonizing to sit with my loneliness day after day. That's when I found this 40-something Jewish vet -- or, I should say, he found me -- to be my scratching post. My sex life with the Israeli had been, well, sex-less for months and now my phone was ringing.

The first time we kissed, it was six hours after an earthquake -- a 4.2 which shook the bed and I dove for Mae. I was like fizzy soda the rest of the day, exposed and on edge. When I saw him that evening, he gave me a book of Neruda love poems. He held my hand as we took a sweaty walk through the fog.

He told me, "You're so sexy." And the sex, or little we had of it, made the floor below me and ceiling above me fuse together. In other words, I forgot about the fact that I was so fresh from this recent break-up that I let myself go. I was vulnerable. I forgot that this nice Jewish vet and I had only known each other for a few weeks.

So, after our little tryst (sorry, that word sounds so Jane Austen), I didn't hear from him again. Classic, right? I felt like I'd been used as his scratching post.

When I asked him on the phone to come clean, he told me, "My heart is not open to you."

Well, my heart felt like it had been left in the hot sand to burn. Clearly, I wasn't ready to date.

Of course, he asked me not to write about him. Actually, he didn't ask me. He told me. But I'm writing about me here -- and the fact that clearly, this girl is still healing.

Maybe I don't know what love is. A well-meaning therapist would probably say it's the little empty girl inside of me who lunges into these relationships -- not the satisfied, fulfilled grown-up. She looks outside herself to be loved, instead of looking inside. I know that being vulnerable isn't necessarily a bad thing. Unless you feel like a raw steak, like I sometimes do, as I play out a silent movie in my head called, "Heartbreak In My Office Chair."

You can catch me sitting here in my office chair a good part the day, working, and analyzing myself as I work. I wonder why my shell is so thin. I wonder why I turn to men to hold me, instead of holding myself.

In the meantime, online dating is just a click away. I've even started to revise my online profile. "If we come with heavy baggage, we'll help each other unpack," I write. I describe myself as "a single mom who takes the trash out." (I'm not sure what I mean by that, but I like the sound of it. Do you?)

A publicist for JDate wrote to me this week, offering me a complimentary six-month membership, because maybe I'll meet a hot Jewish lawyer who can show a bit more vulnerability than Arnold Schwarzenegger. And then I'll write something gushing about how this premiere Jewish dating site led me to love.

The only problem is, I know it's not going to happen.

At first, when my book came out, I was having a ball being The Dating Writer. But right now, I'm feeling a little stuck in this cubicle. I'm supposed to be dating. My column at LifetimeTV.com launched this summer and I've got to get back out there. But I don't want to.

Instead, I'm sitting here at my desk, writing a 5th grade textbook. My chair has a massager pad, a gift from a local single dad cop I had a massive crush on years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find the cable to make the massager work. How typical is that?

It's time for me to spin my chair around and gaze another direction -- within -- even when it hurts.


Rachel Sarah lives and writes in the Bay Area. Her first book, Single Mom Seeking: Play Dates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World (Avalon/Seal Press) was published in 2007. She is also the author of the Literary Mama column, Single Mom Seeking. Rachel has written for Family Circle, Parenting, Tango, Bay Area Parent, Ms., Hip Mama, and American Baby. A journalist for the past decade, Rachel is also the single mom columnist for LifetimeTV.com. For more information, please contact Rachel through her website.


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You're a brave woman, Rachel. From the other side you know I know just how you feel. Even though we know we have to stop looking so hard and it will just find us, it's so damn difficult to find the patience.
That is one textbook that I can't wait to read!
This is such an open and honest post that makes my heart ache for your ache. I can't believe the men aren't knocking your door down. Thanks for sharing this, Rachel and be patient.
Sorry about the Vet experience Rachel. I liked the quote though. It's a valuable lesson at any age, but especially for the young to learn. On the cable & massage chair bit, you might try Radio Shack, they might still carry adapters for it. But more than likely, they'll just tell you to get a new one. It's almost always (almost) as 'cheap'. And there in lies the tale of too much of modern life. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'
Wow. I came into work this morning completely taken aback at my new dating style. I call too much. I am sure I'm scaring him off with my "desperation." But he is a really, really good one. Yet, I still can't stay calm and just "let it happen." I feel like I want to know now if he's the one - but that's irrational and completely crazy. So I come into work - like - I better figure this out - what in the hell is wrong with me? I'll read up. And I found your book and now your blog. Can I just say THANK YOU. It's uncanny. I don't feel so insane at the moment ... I ordered your book so it should be in my hands soon enough. Meanwhile I too am sitting in my office analyzing my vulnerabilities all of the time. Some days are better than others of course!
Alaina, I'm grateful to know there are other single mamas out there who will also admit to being a bit, uh, vulnerable at times... And thanks for keeping me sane... Trey, Art, Gail, and VJ! Please stay in touch. Rachel
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