Where Is the App That’ll Help Me Make Dad Friends?
My wife was laughing. She was trying out a new app called Peanut, and had made a classic rookie mistake. The app is essentially a Tinder-like service for moms — it helps them connect using algorithms, profiles, and, most importantly, the iconic swiping system that indicates interest in a potential mate.
Allison and I started dating in 2008, a good four years before Tinder came along and revolutionized the hookup. Because she’s pre-Tinder, my wife found the Peanut app’s interface completely foreign. After spending a few hours on it, she realized she had mixed up the meaning of the swipes and had “waved” at dozens of moms she had no interest in meeting. I laughed with her at this moment of tech ineptitude — the first of many in our lives, no doubt — but deep down, I also felt something else: jealousy.
A quick confession: I’m a friendship snob. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same group of awesome, supportive, funny, empathetic friends since high school. We make a point of seeing each other at least once a year — either at the holidays, at a wedding (when applicable), or on a sort of gentleman’s vacation to a city of our choosing. With the exception of my marriage, these are the sturdiest relationships of my life.
The downside is that I struggle to make new friends. Ordinarily, this would not be a major problem. I shared a city, Brooklyn, with one of those high school friends, and had made many more over the 13 years I lived there. But then, last summer, my wife and I moved from Brooklyn to Austin, Texas. We had our reasons. For her, it was a chance to be near family. For Rose, our then-2-year-old daughter, it was a chance to live somewhere with verdant greens and a slightly more accessible education system. For me, it was a chance to … not live halfway across the country from my wife and child. We also knew where the trend-line was going. We hoped to add to our family and knew that the four of us would require more space than we could likely afford.
And so we moved last July. By August, our family-growing mission was accomplished, or at least successfully launched. But the rest of the year was a struggle, with few occasions for friendship forging. There were new jobs (mine, then hers, then not-mine). There was the move itself, then finding a new house, then moving into that house. There was finding childcare for our daughter, only to pull her out of that school and starting the search all over again. Before and especially after the baby was born, I barely had the energy to make it through a full day of work, let alone spend time auditioning potential friends.
The struggle deepened because, as a father in my mid-30s, I’m also…