I got hit on the other day. By a girl. In the Nordstrom bathroom.
It’s not nearly as interesting as it sounds. Quite the opposite.
Like a bar serving Enfamil, the Nordstrom bathroom is somewhat of a mommy pick-up scene. For those not in the mom-know, customer-friendly Nordstrom has these adjacent-to-the-women’s-restroom areas called “mother’s rooms”. They include comfy couches and chairs on which you can sit and feed your baby, and a luxe changing area, complete with the sink.
If you’re at the mall and find you need to change or feed your baby, you head for this room, a far more savory dwelling than some random bench in front of Bath and Body Works. Of course, I’d never ventured into one pre-baby, but post, I found that I practically began living there whenever I go to the mall which, admittedly, is often (I’d try blaming it on not wanting to walk outside in the really hot weather, but who am I kidding?).
Naturally, there are always countless women and their babies in this room, and more often than not, they’re checking each other out and chatting each other up in hopes of making a connection, much like a guy does when he sees a hot chick at the local watering hole. Just as men and ladies size each other up over cocktails at a bar, in the Nordstrom bathroom, women check each other out. While some moms only come for the cushy amenities, much like some singles truly do head to bars to simply grab an after-work drink, many come to cruise for other mom friends.
I’ve noticed that in the Nordstrom bathroom, the pick-up isn’t totally unlike the scenes that often play out at a bar on any given Saturday night. What’s different is that “How old is your baby?” has replaced the Joey Tribbiani-Esque “How you doin’?”, and imagining yourself grabbing lunch with this other mom and her kid takes the place of imagining yourself in bed with the guy. Here’s how the pick-up usually plays out: If a mom in the room deems you look vaguely normal, chances are, she will say something to you.
Assuming you find her equally appealing, you’ll begin a conversation. If not, you’ll focus on changing your kid’s diaper, just like you used to blow off the cheeseball in the bar by focusing on your drink or excusing yourself to get another. If there’s a “spark”, you’ll sit and talk, discussing when your kid began sleeping through the night and whether or not you’re going back to work. If things are going well, one mom will make a “move” by either asking for your number or email (or offering hers).
If there was a connection (The new “we both love Thai food, The Beatles and The BBC version of The Office” is now the oh-so-sexy “we both live in Chevy Chase, are former middle school teachers and have husbands who are lawyers”), someone eventually suggests heading to Starbucks to grab a coffee. Thus, the first date begins.
I’m consistently blown away by how the parallels between dating in hopes of finding your future spouse and meeting other moms for friendships/future playdate potential are so very similar. The pick-up scene in the Nordstrom bathroom is just one example; being set up on “blind dates” is another. Occasionally, and probably because I’m still relatively new to the DC area, people will “fix me up” with a friend of theirs who recently had a baby or already has a young child.
This potential mom friend and I will play phone tag for a while, and then finally meet up for lunch or coffee or lunch. Much like a blind date, if it goes well, you’ll arrange to meet again, and if not, you’ll just sort of “nice meeting you” and be about your own, separate business.
I had a really good mommy blind date once, set up by my friend Alli’s mom, who I have never met, mind you. Isn’t that just like so many blind dates? You don’t always really know the person setting you up, but he or she just knows you and the other party will hit it off because you both are Jewish/from the South/are Jewish/like the theater/are Jewish, etc.
Usually, a traditional blind date is a dud, but often, a mom blind date is a winner. Unlike when you’re seeking a life-long mate, with mom friends, your requirements aren’t so specific. You’re primarily seeking a woman who isn’t annoyed when you’re only 50% focusing on your conversation because you’re talking while spooning Garden Vegetable Medley into your kid’s mouth, and he’s smearing it all over his face. If she’s a cool person with whom you have shared interests, then jackpot!
I never thought that after having been married for five years, I’d be back on the dating scene, but as a new mom, I am. While the places I’ve met other moms differ from those where one can meet guys – the Nordstrom bathroom vs. a bar, the JCC “Mommy and Me” class vs. the New York Road Runner’s Club’s singles runners group – the “scene” is so very much the same.
When you think about it, both are about looking for a person that provides you with support, friendship, compassion, and good times. Therefore, just as with dating, it makes sense that moms actively seek each other out for such relationships. Just like having a husband (in my opinion, at least), forging these relationships does enrich my life.
The woman who tried to pick me up in the Nordstrom bathroom the other day seemed really nice, but in the end, I didn’t return her advances, as I’m already seeing Alyson, Becky, Brigid, Dana, Jayme, Jenny, Lauren, Linda, and Melissa pretty seriously. Oh yeah – and my husband too.