Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Donut Holes


Could you believe joining your church congregation for coffee and donuts would be so frustrating?

I started attending a new church when I bought my new condo in Denver. Going in, I reasoned the parishioners would be light in the singles department. This church is in a beautiful established neighborhood among very expensive older homes.

(the sort I certainly can’t afford – it would take a two income family and probably some ‘family money’ to even think about those homes.)

On my first visit, people were very friendly and inviting and I even spotted a few singles making their way to Communion. Upon evidence of single people, I reasoned this may be a welcoming church.

(yes, I sing along with the Communion song, and become distracted from praying by looking for the absence of wedding bands on reasonably attractive men returning from Communion.)

This parish serves coffee and donuts after every Sunday Mass, and while the last thing I really need is a donut, I figure it’s a good way to be social so I make my way to the basement – alone of course.

Tentatively, I choose a donut thinking about how many crunches I’ll have to do, or how many minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym it will take to counteract this consumption.
In the name of social activity and meeting new people I indulge anyway. Then I make my way over to a group of people who appear to be my age.

Here is where it turns odd. They don’t introduce themselves. Not to me, but I didn’t expect that. They don’t even introduce themselves to each other. Instead the conversation goes, “Caitlin, this is Noah. He’ll be in your grade next fall.” Then the discussion turns to, “Are you planning another child?” and “Oops, pink frosting on your sweater sweetie.” They introduce themselves through their children.

I feel like some sort of single apparition. They clearly had to see me, but simply couldn’t believe I was there.

I tossed in a few comments, but they fell straight to the floor. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “Talk to me! Sure you’re married, but you must have a brother or cousin or something! Don’t you want me to wipe frosting off my own kid’s mug someday?”

Clearly, this is why there are no other single people down here for donuts. First we don’t want to have to work it off and second, we’re ignored by the married people. Why would anyone return for the rejection?

By all appearances, married people have created a single-free zone at Coffee and Donuts. It’s one more place that we can’t meet.

It's completely understandable why singles roll their eyes when it’s suggested that they should seek the love of their lives at church.

Then I realized, this is a church and School. All these parents know each other through their kids. If I don’t have kids, they have no reason to get to know me. How rude. I’m not ruling them out as potential friends just because they’re breeders. Why the fear of the single?

I called my best friend back home from my cell phone on my way home from church. She understands my frustration, noting that I’m constantly making grand gestures (ie, walking into a room full of donuts all by myself) just to meet new people. Together we reason that meeting new people is more important to me than it is to these people at church. Okay, I can accept that. But it still hurts.

Best Friend also adds, while considering that since I look so much younger than my 34 years, these ‘Moms’ might see me as a threat. I interject that it’s a silly notion, but BF continues, “… and the husbands don’t want to talk to you because they think they’ll get in trouble.”

Oh. Hadn’t thought of that. I honestly hadn’t thought of that.

Honestly, when I see a dad wrangling his kids into their coats I think it’s the sweetest thing on Earth. I’m thinking here’s a marriage minded guy, who probably associates with more of the same. He should have a brother, a cousin a wonderful single friend or co-worker. So I’ll make a funny comment as a means of introducing myself, and I’m generally ignored. So here’s a note to you married people. If you have single people bugging you at church, they’re not trying to steal your man or your kids. They just want what you have, and we think, maybe, seeing as you have it… you might want to spread the wealth. Introduce yourself and start thinking about your single in-laws that might like to have dinner at your house with a nice Catholic girl.

Sound like too much work? You’re not thinking ahead. If you introduce a single friend to someone, you might get a free night of babysitting in return. If the introduction goes well, your new friends end up watching rentals at your house with the kids and you get to take your spouse to the theatre… on a regular basis!

Sheesh. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you!

Your comments are welcome. I want to hear from singles and marrieds. Let’s share perspectives and insights.