Searching for the missing piece of the puzzle
Pre-Elsa, I recall believing that my friends’ enthusiasm for motherhood surely stemmed from pitifully transparent post-rationalisation. Yet now, here I am, bringing up my own walking, talking, freethinking, miniature human being. Shamefacedly, I must throw my lot in with my old friends and agree that as well as the speediest, this has also been the most fulfilling time of my life.
There’s an ingredient missing from this Elysian picture, however, and that is a father for Elsa (of course, a soul mate for me wouldn’t go amiss either). Don’t get me wrong: We’re a very happy twosome and I’m a firm believer in appreciating what you’ve got, and it really is something special.
But, I also hope that one day Elsa will have brothers and sisters and experience all the rough and tumble of ups and downs that a large family can provide. For some reason, I had assumed that by the time Elsa was aware of such things, an appropriate candidate would have appeared. Although she’s still very young, I’ve recently noticed a surge in Elsa’s interest in all things male in the world around her, and she takes every opportunity to differentiate herself from her best friend (“Elsa’s a girl, Oscar’s a boooooy” being a much-loved refrain). Applying the notion of gender to grown-ups has been a bit of a leap, with a very tall female friend causing some degree of confusion, though Elsa appears to have gotten the hang of it.
Moreover, thanks to close scrutiny of Pingu’s daddy in her favourite DVD set, she’s beginning to understand the concept of fatherhood. She knows it’s not just for animals, as she frequently lumps Pingu senior and my own father together in conversation, believing them to be firm friends. So I know it’s only a matter of time before she inquires as to the whereabouts of her own father figure. For now, I’ve decided to answer literally by giving a geographic location and hope it is enough to satisfy the mind of a 2-year-old.
In the meantime, I’ve resolved to put a bit more effort into recruiting Mr. Right. The preferred route of meeting via friends has proven difficult, as most of mine are either a) female, b) gay or c) 26. In London, in my early 30s, I was an active speed dater, and I’ve seen a few of these events advertised here in Beijing. Though it was great fun at the time, the novelty has worn off; and anyway, my liver can no longer take the punishment.
So, I guess there’s nothing for it but the Internet, and I’ve entrusted match.com with this Herculean task. To my surprise, I found my profile from a previous attempt lurking in their archives – clearly the customer retention team knows their stuff. I’ve dusted it off, telling one tiny white lie – ‘residing in London’ – which will hopefully boost my clicks. (I feel justified in this small transgression as Elsa was dutifully declared in my profile).
Although it’s too early to tell if the Internet will prove Elsa’s and my salvation, it has already yielded some amusing moments; my favorite was receiving a sweetly wistful e-mail concluding “shame I’m in Scotland.” Lately, though, I’ve been communicating with Roast Parsnips, who so far seems to have potential: His spelling is spot on; he correctly answered match.com’s rather rude question about income, opting for ‘no answer’ (the only acceptable response, in my view); and his e-mail correspondences are blissfully free of smiley emoticons. Furthermore, he is being seconded to India – definitely a move in the right direction.
Thus far, there is a possibility of meeting up when our trips back to the UK coincide. And if anything comes of it, tbjkids readers will be amongst the first to know.