It’s been a fair few years since I last dated a man other than my husband, and to be honest I’ve never really done ‘proper’ dating: my one text-book date was when I was 24 and I went for a drink with the fit barman from The Chameleon. It wasn’t a great success.
Luckily, Mum Dating is different
Since September last year, however, I have been both witness and party to this whole new concept of Mum (or Mom as many of my LMBB companions charmingly call it) Dating. Much of the time I have been on the periphery, watching in delighted astonishment as complete strangers arrange to meet, actually turn up to that meeting and then post pictures of themselves looking fabulous.
It’s all rather daunting to me, and very much out of my comfort zone. I’m a big fan of bonding over alcohol, in a dark place during the wee small hours of the morning… I’m not great at making plans in advance because I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe, and I very rarely look fabulous in photos.
Motivated by the joy that these Mum/Mom Dates seem to have brought to my English-speaking Munich-based sisters, I have dipped a tentative toe into the dating water, only to withdraw it several times in a panic of self-doubt. Like the time I didn’t go to a big meet-up because my skin was awful, and the other time when I was recovering from a cold and had the skanky top lip you get from blowing your nose too often.
Braving my first Mum Date
I worried that, in this brave new dating world, looking good when meeting other women for the first time would be essential. Especially as so many of these women are drop-dead gorgeous on their Facebook profiles. I am intimated by beauty.
I wasn’t actually looking my best on my first LMBB adventure. I had a spot on my chin the size of Venus, but thankfully I was going to be riding a bike in the rain (tactical scarf placement), followed by drinking alcohol in a dark place (very much my forte), and so I decided to take the plunge. It was really jolly good fun, but left me with a social dilemma that has been niggling away at me ever since. A very lovely lady with wonderful lipstick bought me a drink, but I had to leave before I could buy her one back, and I’ve not seen her since. I am British and so is she. I am therefore convinced that she now hates me because of my failure to abide by the rules of the Round System.
Since then I have ventured out a few times. I have met people that are so beautiful, so charismatic and have such presence that they have turned me in a stuttering idiot, so desperate was I to impress them. I have also met people who have reassured me with their normality, after dazzling me with their online wit and knowledge. And I have met people that I’m convinced I have bonded with, only for them to blank me at the next meeting. It’s all very confusing.
Does anyone else feel like this?
And of all the glorious mix of nationalities that LMBB has put me into contact with, it’s with the Americans that I have the biggest cultural clash. These confident, warm, beautiful women who hug and complement and share intimate secrets. It’s utterly bewildering. I want them to hug me but I’m very much from the stiff-upper-lip, southern end of England and I know that next to them I come across as cold and snobbish and I hide behind sarcasm, which just makes me look like a bit of a cow. I want them to like me but I can’t seem to find a common language.
Most confusing at all, especially to a social media Luddite like me, is managing the online relationships: from writing posts (sometimes with grammatical errors that make me die a little bit inside), to commenting on others (always too long – I can’t seem to manage concise witty replies) and from worrying in the middle of the night that I haven’t responded to other comments, to accepting friend requests from people I have never met and wondering if I should follow up with a chatty “Hi, I’m Helen” PM…
My only hope is that all these confident women are feeling the same as me and that the collective confidence of LMBB is rubbing off on of all of us and forcing us out of a lonely comfort zone. And so I have made a mid-season resolution that I will put aside my insecurities and make the effort to attend more Mum Dates. I’ve joyfully trotted through the LMBB events and signed up for everything that is suitable and doesn’t take place at 10 a.m. on a working day. If my skin, hair and fat bits are all in an acceptable state, then I might get to meet some of you sometime soon.
Helen is a red-wine-drinking, good-book-loving, ski-obsessed, vegan mother-of-two-boys. She is English, but has called Munich ‘home’ for more than ten years. As a corporate copywriter, Helen usually writes about finance, healthcare and sustainability issues, so it’s a pleasant change to tackle such a personal topic: the endless learning curve of motherhood and its overwhelming impact on life.
Photo credit: Oli Beer is portrait photographer and a stylist. She trained her artistic eye and composition while studying commercial art and graphic design at the University and later working in the field. A former dancer and a model she knows both the vulnerability of being in front of a camera, as well as the power of lines and angles to create optical illusions. She uses her talents to help women discover their inner beauty and transform it into gorgeous portraits at You are Stunning Photography.