How Not To Pick Up Women At The Park
On a normal day, my daughter and I’s trip to the park is pretty uneventful. She begs me to push her on the swings, even though she could pump herself if she really wanted to. She finds some new friend on the playground and they get in trouble for trying to climb up the slides. And then we take a nice walk through the woods before we head home.
Yesterday was not a normal day.
We had the swing debate, just like normal. And like most days, I acquiesced and pushed her as high as she could go. But then my daughter met a friend who was probably twice her age. Wanting to prove her “big kid” bonafides, she decided to tackle the monkey bars with her new friend. Let me tell you, a four-year-old’s upper body strength is not quite prepared for something like the monkey bars just yet. Especially not our park’s monkey bars that swerve up and down like a snake.
I got up from my bench to go give a little support as my daughter hung there in the middle of the bars, struggling to keep going but afraid to let go. As I jogged over to the playset, her friend’s dad came over as well, commending my little girl for her “impressive muscles.” My daughter flexed for show and then ran off with her friend to try something else.
That’s when this new friend’s dad, who will forever be known at the “Show-Off Dad,” started testing out the monkey bars himself. Don’t get me wrong, the man was fit. And there he was, knees bent up to his chest, swinging back and forth on equipment meant for elementary school kids. He flashed me a smile and moved over to the firemen’s pole. As my daughter was worried about sliding down it, he started climbing up it.
Over the next 30 minutes, this man climbed on the equipment, showed off some serious athletic prowess and kept up the conversation about the different out activities in our city that he and his daughter enjoy. He told me their favorite bike trail. He discussed the local zoo and botanical gardens. He smiled a lot.
Finally, my daughter ran up to me with a question. She was asking for a drink and if her Dad was coming to meet us. “He’s home cooking dinner, my love, we’ll see him soon enough.”
Show-Off Dad’s face changed a little. All of a sudden, I saw his eyes flicker down to my left hand and the dawning realization that just because I was at the park alone did not mean that I was a single mother. I couldn’t help wondering if he was disappointed that all his acrobatics had been wasted. Really, the guy had worked up a sweat.
I think both he and I learned a lot about the parents at the park yesterday. He learned to look at that all-important ring finger first. I learned to question the intention of any adult who is actually playing on the equipment without their child, climbing around the playset like a Tarzan impersonator. All in all, it was a prime example of how not to pick up women at the park.