Susan Rosenzweig lists the qualities that can make single dads so attractive to single women.
“My son is my life.”
It felt like a warning, sent over text message. For the first time in a long time, I was excited about a first date. Which totally sucked when the handsome and charming guy postponed it, blaming it on a long day playing football with his 11-year-old son. As much as I was looking forward to seeing Mike, I also admired his commitment to his kid.
“I totally get it,” I responded. And I meant it.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve found men with children sexy as hell. I recently found an old picture of my first apartment, right out of college. It’s an awful picture of me, but behind me on the wall, is a poster of this totally hot, shirtless guy holding an infant. It was pretty popular at the time, and no wonder: there is something so very attractive about a man with kids.
“Apparently, there’s just something about a guy and his kid(s) that sets women aflutter,” writes Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author. “There’s even research to support this phenomenon. For a 2006 study, researchers asked a group of men which photo they preferred: a picture of an adult or a picture of an infant. They then photographed the men’s faces and showed them to a group of women. The results? Women found the men who liked babies more attractive, especially as potential long-term partners.”
Talking to my divorced male friends, single dads I’m dating, and reading articles about single men with kids has led me to believe that these men have NO idea how alluring their devotion can be.
After a recent nice first date, John (another single dad) made plans with me to watch football. He ended up canceling the day before because he had to take his daughter for the day. I was mildly disappointed, but again, I totally understood. And I told him he could make it up to me with a movie another night. He happily agreed. Then nothing. For two weeks.
I guess he just wasn’t that interested, I thought.
But, one night writing at a bar, I decided to say hi. He ended up joining me, and later shared his true feelings along with a surprising explanation for his disappearing act.
“I was worried that because I have my daughter, you would want a guy with more time available… I didn’t want to mess it up with you right off the bat and, for some reason, I was worried it would scare you away.”
“Seriously?” I asked. I was sure there had been someone else. Or he wasn’t attracted to me. In fact, that night when I hugged him goodbye, I sensed no chemistry at all.
“I was being a gentleman. But I wanted to grab you by the hips and pull you in close for a kiss.”
“Wow—I would never have known that!”
Ever since clearing the air on my real feelings about his devotion to his daughter, I’ve heard from him every day. If only he had known that instead of scaring me off, his paternal devotion had been turning me on. Sadly it was his lack of communication that was the ultimate deal breaker.
Dear nice dads everywhere, please do not assume that your kids are a liability. To many of us women, they are like the cute puppy that single guys take to the park to pick up chicks. I’m actually shocked by the countless stories about crazy (perhaps very young—or selfish) girls convincing you otherwise.
“I don’t want to share you with another woman,” was one girl’s lament. Another apparently told her boyfriend that when they moved in together, she would not be OK with pictures of his daughter in their home. He promptly ended it—shocker.
Who ARE these women? And I apologize on their behalf.
For the record, to many of us it’s an aphrodisiac. Show me a guy’s Facebook page full of pictures of him hiking the Grand Canyon with his son, and I’ll show you a room full of women smiling and cooing “Awwwww!”
I am so tired of self-absorbed, money-obsessed men. Not that financial security and ambition doesn’t matter, because it totally does. To a point. But there’s something about a man who can balance that with the stuff that really matters. Like family, kids, and being a good dad.
I love my dad, and am so grateful to all that he has (and still) provides for me. Emotionally, spiritually, and financially. But the truth is that he was hardly there when I was a kid. Between his law firm, the partnership with his nightclub, and managing rock bands like The Generators—let’s just say he didn’t make it to many of my brothers’ baseball games. Or my school plays.
I have no doubt that this, among other reasons, is why I’m a moth to many single dads’ flames. Their devotion to their kids shows me a lot:
That they are responsible
It’s one thing to hold down a job, an apartment, even take care of a dog and your 401K. But show me a guy who’s doing all that AND making sure that his son has the sticky receiver gloves he needs to make the winning catch in triple overtime, or that his daughter has a Hello Kitty decorated room when she visits—and that’s the guy I know can handle responsibility. And multitasking. Plus it’s kind of adorable.
That they are comfortable with their sensitive, nurturing side
On our first date, John told me about some of the work he was doing around his house. He’s in great shape, and works in a warehouse, so I wasn’t all that surprised by his handiness. What did surprise me was the type of project.
“I’m building Sophia (his 12-year old daughter) a Harry Potter-themed reading closet. It’s a little secret passage behind her bed…”
Take me now.
His passion and sweetness for his daughter totally melted my heart. And told me so much about him and his priorities. Plus, the pictures were amazing! A man’s man who is his daughter’s hero is my kind of man.
That they know how to have fun
And man, do I need more of that in my life. I remember one Thanksgiving, watching my ex-boyfriend voluntarily play monster fort with my cousin’s three kids. He himself is a big kid at heart, so while the rest of us grownups talked and drank coffee after dinner, he happily wrestled with the kids in the living room. But what truly warmed my heart to its limits was 30 minutes later, when he reappeared with all three kids, one on his shoulders, decked out in costume in an impromptu parade. He was never sexier to me.
That family matters to them
As a long-standing single girl, I ache for holidays and weekends full of loud kids, running around with abandon. I know that sounds crazy but honestly, I do. And I’ve come to accept the fact that family might come to me in different ways, including as a step-mom. Which is something I am totally open to with the right guy. I love kids, and cherish the idea of being welcomed into the family of a man and the kids that he loves.
That they can care about something other than themselves
I remember being about, oh maybe 15 years old and so frustrated with boys. “They’re SO immature,” I would whine to my friends. I couldn’t wait to get older when I could date “real” men.
If only I knew: many of them never really grow up. Which is annoying AND adorable. Watching a guy I like put his kid before fantasy football, video games, or even a date with me is very endearing. It’s impressive to see him put his needs last. To a point.
Like anything else, balance is the key to happiness. Your devotion to your kid is NOT a get out of jail free card for everything. My time still matters too. So if you have to cancel or reschedule because your dad duties are calling, all we ask is that you let us know. As soon as you know.
After an amazing second date and days of delicious text foreplay with Mike, he blew off our third date—not once, but twice—in the name of “my son.” I don’t mean he canceled, I mean he just changed his plans without informing me. And then seemed truly shocked that I was annoyed.
Sorry, but common courtesy rules still apply—whether you have kids or not.
And for the record, we women tend to do a lot of “personal prep” for a date, especially if there’s any chance of it leading somewhere. So if you’d like a little company on your nights off, as much heads up as possible when you can’t make it is greatly appreciated. #sexylingerieisexpensive
Credit: Image—André Mouraux/Flickr