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Dating doesn’t have to be a singular pursuit
The first rule of Vet Club is you don’t talk about Vet Club.
—Brad Pitt and P. Charlotte Lindsay
And we don’t. Because when too many girlfriends are vetting a dude, our genetically preprogrammed gossip instinct kicks in, and “Gossip Club” is not cool (unless it’s a Friday night and you are with your gal pals, drinking martinis).
A “Vet Club” is a group of four to five good friends who communicate via cell phone (generally in group chats) to ascertain if a potential online date is a good guy or a time-wasting douche bag–pervert.
My Vet Club blossomed quite organically: My Solo Mom friends and I date dudes (or try to date, I should say). Most of us choose online dating because as Solo Moms, we don’t have the luxury of time and money to go clubbing or bar hopping, or to hang at men’s clothing stores. Plus we feel stupid doing any of those things because, let’s face it, we have kids at home and are way past this shit. After a long, hard day of work and single parenting, we’re exhausted and just want to put on our jammies and crawl into bed with Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
This is when the cell phone comes out . . . and we swipe. The problem is, upon receiving the coveted “Match,” we are faced with the rigors (and time suck) of texting, talking on the phone, and possibly spending a solid two hours or more with a complete stranger.
After doing this myself—at least 100 times (seriously!)—I came to realize this exercise is a total waste of time, calories, and babysitting money . . . and sometimes can be very scary.
I discovered I was not alone in this dilemma when my friends began sending me profile photos of their own potential dates in hopes of getting the “what’s what” on a particular dude (because, sadly, they knew I’d already dated half of them). It became obvious that based on the theory of six degrees of separation (or six degrees of P. Charlotte Lindsay), we had a resource better than any FBI database: the cross-talk of women.
Here is how Vet Club works:
Invite only four or five of your besties to be in your club. Less is OK, but more is too many because if there are too many women in your club, inevitably everyone will want to be in your club, including married friends. And because it is awkward to exclude any friends (especially if they are moms at your school), you say yes. And inevitably a married friend will tell her husband. And inevitably the husband will tell his friends. And inevitably the cat is out of the bag and nobody gets a date because men are on to the fact that we vet them. In short, make sure the gals in your Vet Club are able to keep a secret and low profile.
When one member gets a match and begins a text exchange with said match—or, more important, books a date—she immediately disseminates his profile photo and name via cell phone to the other members of her club.
Each member then checks her own Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or any sort of social database, including discreetly contacting first- or second-degree contacts (i.e., friends of friends on Facebook) to ascertain the “what’s what” about her match.
Among the four or five of you, I promise you will secure information. Chances are, one of you has already dated him (chances are even better that I’ve already dated him . . . and slept with him), or knows someone who has.
The downside of this exercise is that since putting our Vet Club into action, not one of us has gone on a date. We have effectively eliminated every potential dude we’ve matched with—because of his reputation with women, bad behavior, lack of housing and a car, lack of employment, his wife, or general perv-like behavior.
In short, while Vet Club has saved us money, time, and heartbreak (and encounters with scary pervs), it has trashed our love lives.
That is why we took Vet Club live. Now we meet in person . . . with wine. We pull out our cell phones and attempt to vet, but the conversation inevitably turns to other, more interesting topics and then breaks down into mostly laughter and we proclaim that dating is overrated . . . and then open our third bottle of wine.
Come to think of it, Who needs Vet Club in the first place? After all, hanging with your Solo Mom friends on any given Friday night is way better than any online date you could ever vet.
When swiping doesn’t bring satisfaction, feel free to turn to our community of Solo Moms who totally get it. We may not solve your dating woes, but an ESME Sister is always around for a kind word or pep talk.
P. Charlotte Lindsay is a middle-aged Solo Mom. She shares her newfound expertise as a user of a dating app that can help you meet guys, get laid, and maybe even find love. She is a real person, though her name has been changed to protect the innocent, namely her children and parents. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.