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10 Ways to Meet Your Mate More Socially Acceptable than Online

I became privy to an interesting conversation recently.
Guy and girl meet online. They chat, the chatting upgrades to phone calls, the phone calls upgrade to meeting in person, several dates and a few months later, these two are an item.
They are getting along famously. Guy asks girl to meet his folks, and girl says yes.
She meets the folks, it all goes great and they discuss the verdict coming in from guy’s family.
She passes with flying colors. Even with Guy’s mom.
But there’s a catch. The Aunties have given their blessing, and in the excitement of it all asked guy where he met girl. He casually responds online, and the aunties’ faces fall. They begin to worry, and exchange tales of woe, failed marriages and stolen organs sold on the black market.
And hence the online meeting versus meeting someone in person age-old debate began. Which led to the even deeper question of regardless of how you met, how well do you really know the people you choose to date, or anyone for that matter?
So, in honor of the aunties and all who side eye online dating, I would like to introduce to you all, 10 Ways to Meet Your Mate, More Socially Acceptable than Online. Now, some of these are old favorites, and others I’ve thrown in to be a complete smart ass.

1. If your parents hooked you up. It’s really a parent’s dream to actually vet and choose the right person for their child because they want their kids to be happy and not make mistakes. It goes back to you being a baby and them baby proofing your house and making sure you don’t hurt yourself. It still applies in your 30s. While some parents may have a more laid back or hands off approach, there are some parents who are actively involved in the process whether they culturally subscribe to arranged marriages for real, for real, or not. FYI, this would probably be the number one answer for parents, and not really anyone else. But they size up your partner with the most scrutiny.

1A. Your family or friends hooked you up. Now, this could be a blind date situation, this could be a set up via a backyard barbecue, wedding, baby christening, Nay Nay’s graduation party, but there’s nothing like actually clicking with who were co-signed by your loved ones. They’ll never let you live it down, they’ll take all the credit if it’s successful and they’ll fade into the bushes like the Homer Simpson meme, if yall crash and burn. It’s a super-socially acceptable way to meet people that is probably the REAL number one. But, parents, tho…

2. Your place of worship. If you are the religious type, this highly socially acceptable meeting place will resonate with you. It will reinforce that God totally brought you two together, and that you likely share the same values that will help you navigate life and a future family together. It’s a good deal if that’s your lifestyle.

3. The Gym. For some people, this is number 1. If you met the love of your life while working out, it means once again you share an appreciation for fitness, health, breathable clothing and meal prepping. It’s one of the more sexy places to meet people, because folks who may not even have a genuine love for working out will go there to meet someone they find attractive. Actually, it may be a bad place to start something real if everyone’s intentions aren’t honest. Nevertheless, people love those #couplegoals #fitness photos and hashtags with fit people doing impossible stuff that less fit people would just look silly doing, but God bless them for trying.

4. Club or Bar. Once again, you’d think with the loud music and the drinking and lewd dancing, how can you really tell a person’s true character upon first meeting? But, clubs and bars are totally socially acceptable places to meet a future mate, says society and movies and clubs and bars that want your money.

5. Volunteer event. Actually, in my opinion, this should be number one, if you were asking ME. But we’re not. We’re talking about the general public and the stereotypical places, society thinks we should be finding our true loves. But, I think a volunteer event is an awesome place to not only meet your mate, but find your tribe in a new city. When you find out what people are passionate about and willing to give up their personal time for, you can get a good insight into what they are about and their core values. You get to see it in action and you see how they balance those things with their lives.

6. Grocery Stores. Now, I’ve seen sexy guys at the grocery store, I have but I really haven’t ever had one approach me nor have I approached them. Maybe this is because I hate the grocery store, I hate how they are set up and I know despite having only a few items I’m still going to spend no less than 20-30 minutes there. I don’t think many people like grocery shopping either, but it’s a necessary evil. So, I’m really confused as to how people keep saying you’ll meet someone fabulous in the produce aisle. And it’s ALWAYS the produce aisle. Most of the time, after you’ve checked someone out, you’ve checked their cart to judge them or realize compared to them, you eat a lot of crap and you eliminate yourself and grab Talenti 2-for-1.

7. Bookstore or Library. I really don’t know how often this happens anymore because, Kindles. However, I love books and I love bookstores. So, if there is a fine man wandering the aisles and we exchange glances, there’s something romantic about bibliophiles finding love in this digital world. So go head, get you some. But, on the flip side, as a student, I think it is feasible for folks to find love in study groups hammering out projects in a library, so I won’t count it all the way out. The intensity of debate and striving for an A, can get folks all hot and bothered.

8. Work. I kind of put this low on the list, but PLENTY of people have met their significant others at work, or on their way to and from work. I have a strong belief in the don’t crap where you eat, but once again, there are a lot of successful relationships that brewed hotter than the kitchen keurig and they managed to keep folks out of their business. Gold star for them. I’m not a hater.

9. Dog Parks. This is probably an ideal place to meet for dog lovers. I know quite a few people who said if their dog don’t like you, you’re basically dunzo. So, I’m sure society will agree a match made in the dog park will probably bode well especially if the pooches get along.

10. Alumni Mixers. Ok, so this one kind of goes hand-in-hand with volunteering, but if you’re like me and you LOOOOOVE your alma mater, meeting your boo-to-be at one of these events can be pretty dope. Have you attended a sporting event against a rival school? Most schools put the playful drama to the side at a tailgate or after party, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself starring in a West Side Story…

Hmmm, I actually named 10 really legitimate places to meet people other than the internet. I was supposed to add in a few funny ones just to illustrate how ridiculous it is to judge people who meet on the internet, so let me pull a few out that are insane.

1. Competitive Hot Dog eating contest. This just seems gross. But these folks are committed. And men may be turned on by female competitors’ gag reflex…
2. Nudist beach. I’m just going to leave that right there. But at least you know what you’re getting. Rock on.
3. Lamaze class. If you know anyone who met and fell in love at a Lamaze class, please send me a message. That’s just amazing.
4. Prison. It totally happens.
5. Jury Duty. That would actually be a bomb ass story.
6. Target. Actually, meeting the love of your life at Target sounds pretty dope. They DO have everything!
7. Divorce Court. I recently heard about a person posting on facebook that her ex-husband got engaged to her divorce lawyer. Another person jumped on the post to correct her, and that it wasn’t her divorce lawyer, just the paralegal. LOL Burn.
8. Dentist office. That’s right up there with Jury Duty. If you can find love there, I salute you.
9. Department of Motor Vehicles. Since we’re going down the list of places we hate, wouldn’t it be great to at least find the love of your life, even if your Driver’s license photo looks awful?
10. Ikea. If you are a single person in Ikea and you aren’t shopping with your parents for a new bunkbed or dorm furniture, seeing all of the couples miserable or not, kind of reminds you of how alone your ass really is, and that you will be assembling that difficult ass furniture alone. But God is a good God, and would have truly shown up and shown out if he sends you a love to call your own, on your way to get that cheap soft serve ice cream. You won’t just get help putting together that complicated ass bed, you’ll get help breaking it in…

Phone Down

Erykah Badu has penned a culturally current and on-point song about dating in the age of smartphones and our collective obsession with them.
This is an excerpt of my favorite part of the song:
“I can make you put your phone down
Make you not wanna check that again
I could make you put your phone down
Ridin’ in a drop hair blowin’ in the wind
Baby I will put my phone down
‘Cause when you talk Imma listen
I can make you put your phone down
Leave it at the crib guarantee you wouldn’t miss it
I could make you put your phone down
And it wouldn’t leave your pocket
I can make you put your phone down
Probably wouldn’t even know how to unlock it
I could make you put your phone down
I see your friend callin but forget em’
I can make you put your phone down
Your mama probably think you out there missin'”

I’ve recently been having a string of dates (with the same person, hurrah!) where phone down has been in full effect.
We’ve naturally done this as there is a genuine desire to converse and just get to know each other, and it probably helps that we’re past the age of 30. So both of us can recall a time of being booted off the single landline shared by your entire household, when conversations with “your little friend” have gone on too long.

Alas, things have changed a lot even in the last decade. Our worlds are fast-paced. Our food is fast, our computers are fast, our smart phones are even sometimes faster than our computers. And yet the things that may be most important to us, like the relationships we develop, we try to blow past that too, with the expectation that we’ll gain the kind of trust, closeness and intimacy that can only come from honest-to-God-true put-in-the-work quality time. This should happen naturally of course, but quickly. Quickly is the key. Our collective attention span is crap, trash, ga-bage, basura. And this is probably indicative of the types of relationships we’re seeing come together and then quickly fall apart.

It’s been liberating to spend an entire day with someone, sharing thoughts about all kinds of things, learning about who they are only to glance at a phone for directions to the next location, or a yelp review for a restaurant we’re about to try or movie times at a nearby theater.

Sometimes we fear quietly co-existing with another person. But with the RIGHT person, sitting quietly, letting your thoughts or the last words expressed just linger in the air can be comforting. And it’s very honest. From every snort of laughter, to blush of embarrassment, or pause you take to complete a thought, you’re completely exposed. Distractions have been eliminated and you’ve shown each other how much you value the other person and their time. You’re saying, you are all that matters to me right now. It’s a powerful statement. It’s worth more than thousands of likes.

There was a time where people argued about the value of sitting down each night for a family meal because parents were working and kids involved in different activities. People were scattered. Now, we’re in an age where people are sitting down for the meal (more people work from home, kids spend a lot of time at home) but aren’t truly present because glued to their own individual phones and devices. The premise of connection has always been the same, but the practice has totally switched up.

So go ahead, and put the phone down. You probably wouldn’t miss it. I know I didn’t.

Women, You’re Dating Each Other

A guy friend of mine who I very recently reconnected with after a few years blew my mind with an observation he made over drinks.

I’m still single, he’s still single. We probably met a good ten years ago, but stopped speaking after a perceived slight on my part. We didn’t discuss that.
But we did talk about the world of dating, how things have changed between our parent’s generation and how awful going to the club is, but how “Netflix and Chill” and online dating is contributing to our social downfall.

He lamented that our generation’s dating fails are connected to one thing our parents had on a regular basis, that we lack.

House parties.

He said that house parties were unpretentious. There, you got social, you danced with people, you met a few new people outside of your social network who were friends of friends, there was good food and drink. Who wouldn’t want to warm up and get friendly in that kind of environment? Anyone in attendance was already vetted by someone in the room that you know.

I agreed. I couldn’t think of the last time I went to such a party. The best ones were probably in college. The closest thing in my adult life were ones I’ve thrown on a far smaller scale, and a wine party hosted by a couple I know, that was mostly attended by other couples and was quite awkward for me in the beginning.

I digress.

He also made my ears perk up when he said, let’s face it. Most women are actually dating their friends and don’t realize it.

I blinked. I needed him to elaborate, so he did.

“Look, y’all go to the movies, out to dinner, to the theater. And y’all all look so nice too, but out with your girlfriends. Great restaurants everything. Y’all even go on vacations with each other. Y’all don’t need to date a man because you’re already doing it with your friends. At the club, you dance with each other and get mad if a man wants to break it up and ask one of you to dance.”

I had to laugh.

He was absolutely right. I’d just come off of an extraordinary trip to Belize with some girlfriends, and it’s not unusual to hit up my friends to go out for a nice meal or see a movie.

I was complaining a few weeks ago, that being a part of a support system for a crew full of single women was tough and could be emotionally draining.

It felt like I was pulling double duty, doing things for some of my friends that I think boyfriends should do, right down to helping each other move, fix things, hunt and remove rodents and insects, or helping each other shovel out our driveways in the winter.

Sisters are doing it for themselves, but it’s kind of worrisome.

We’re leaning on each other a lot, and there is a void of protection and security and companionship a man provides.

I was getting worn down from helping my friends recover from bad breakups, health problems and other issues.

I wanted my friends to have a man, so he can help carry the emotional load and just give my friends that dose of male stability they are yearning for. Not long ago, I even prayed a prayer, saying, “Lord, I don’t even need to be first. I can be last. But give my girls the partners they need and deserve.”

My male friend went further to explain that this is a female phenomenon.

“You don’t see groups of guys out with the same frequency of women going out together.”

I had to agree. My friends won’t ever be a substitute for a real date, but if there are nice things you want to do and you don’t want to sit around at home, you will invite your homegirls. Usually, those really cool things that would make a great date, you still want to go, whether you have a man or not. On three occasions, I’ve bought tickets to some really great concerts that I invited men on dates to, and I was either stood up, or we fell out by the time the concert came around. So, I’d invite a homegirl to join me, because I’m still going.

So by my male friend’s description, I have been going on a lot of “dates” with my friends. However, there are times I have really, really, really wanted and needed the company of a man and some flirtation. My friends can’t give me that, and I can’t give them that either. Do I tell my friends they are beautiful and awesome? All the time. But there is a difference and a tingle you get, when the right man hands you a well-timed compliment.

I’ve joked with some friends that honestly, it’s almost like we’re in a relationship anyway, the way we support and come to each other’s rescue because at the moment, there are no men to do so, or no “Steady Freddies” that have come along. But then my joke didn’t feel so funny when I really started to think about it.

I found myself getting angry. I was angry that so many women have to lean on each other when they are sick, tired, sad, mad and in-between.

I’m thankful for my village, but there needs to be more diversity. By diversity I mean penis. Penis support.

So what say you? Are you unconsciously dating your friends? Be real!!

In a land far away on another social media thread, I peeped that people said, this post made sense, but I had no solutions.

I don’t have solutions. I was sharing a really funny observation and perspective I hadn’t considered. It had some truth to it. So, Sway, on this one, I don’t have the answers.

I do think women shouldn’t sit at home and twiddle their thumbs. There’s so many great things to do and see. Waiting for a date (and sometimes your company is awful) isn’t the look. Pick who you want to spend time with and go and most importantly, have a great time, whether you’re with your homegirls, homeboys, boo, undercover lover, hotline bling…

Oooh, back to answers. I’ma go with my friend. OLD SCHOOL  HOUSEPARTY!!!

More specifically to my life, maybe for me, myself, personally, I should try to get my guy friend to take me on a date…

What Are You Willing to Be?

On Jill Scott’s latest album “Woman” she has a simple interlude during which she runs off the typical man’s ultimate short list for the kind of woman he wants.
“You want me flawless. You want me patient and sweet. You want me willing. You want my honesty. You want me to be appreciative. Respect your space, ignore your fears. You want a good girl and a freak,” she speaks.
Then she sings the following, a lovely reality check.
“You want something that you’re not willing to be.”
Oh, that’s when I lost it. I was waving my hands in the air, swaying back and forth.
Jill done did it again and in less than 2 minutes.
We all have expectations. And for some odd reason we place even higher ones on the people we want to have in our lives as if we aren’t flawed and that the person isn’t being patient with us.
Reciprocity makes and the lack thereof breaks every relationship romantic or otherwise.
When people feel like a situation is one-sided with no signs of improvement, you can expect that relationship to end.
A life lesson that keeps coming back to me is that just as I want to be heard and my opinion and feelings to be respected regardless if the other person agrees or not, the other people I interact with want the same thing.
It’s not unreasonable.
However, we’re selfish people. We can only account for our souls and the actions our flesh and bones carry out. So sometimes it is hard to imagine what it’s like to see ourselves from someone else’s point of view.
Jill’s sentiments weren’t the first time I heard the concept of becoming the person you’d want to date.
I’d heard it on a panel at Essence Fest a few years back and I’ve even read something to that effect in Dr. Phil’s book, “Love Smart.”
And honestly, this draws on the law of attraction too. If you’re out of shape, someone who’s in shape may not be beating down your door.
If you don’t smile at people, they probably won’t smile at you.
The interesting thing about being a human is we do feed off of each other. We feel more comfortable with people who are like ourselves, because you can find obvious things to connect on.
So, from time-to-time, I ask myself if I’d date me.
Do I like how I look when I look in the mirror?
Do I like the food I cook for myself?
Am I proud of the work that I do or the activities I engage in?
Am I loving to the people in my life?
Do I make time for people who I love?
Do I make time for me?
Am I taking care of myself?
I do think all of these things help usher in new kinds of people in your life. You’ll radiate something.
Lately, I’ve been seeing posts about how folks tend to meet people or even strike up short-term relationships while traveling, and I can see how that happens.
When I travel, I’ve picked out all of my favorite clothes that make me feel good, stuff that I wouldn’t be able to wear at work. I can be a bit more sexy. I also tend to try new hairstyles, so I feel like a new version of myself. I wear brighter colors. I’m well-rested, I’m curious, I’m open to whatever the day has in store.
The vacation version of me seems to be an ultimate version of myself. I’m not thinking about work or any of the things that stress me out, I’m strictly about the business of my happiness and satisfaction and embarking on something different and making the most of the moments.
I’m bolder because I’m certain I probably won’t see these strangers ever again. And like me, they are also about having a good time if they are traveling too.
So getting back to Jill, I’ve been wondering about being more willing to incorporate my vacation self into my everyday life. Because that’s the version of myself I’d really like to date!

Dating Fails Don’t Exist

I had a major light bulb moment pulling into the parking garage at work this morning. It’s been horribly cold, which tends to make people always a little more pressed for physical contact and affection and some love.

Since December, I was fixed up with a guy who was attractive, smart, and was passionate about music and the arts. I thought everything was all good. He was interested, he spoke highly of me but something wasn’t quite right.

Even from our early dates, he would abruptly stop the conversation to say that I cut him off, even if I was ten minutes late to PICK HIM UP from the metro, it was unacceptable.

Meanwhile when it came to my birthday, he did send flowers and cards. I love cards, but I love them most when people write in them. I should have known that when he didn’t write much in them, welp… (blame my dad, he always writes the most wonderful things in cards.)

Anyway the final straw was when i pointed out to him that sometimes he can come off condescending and it causes me to shut down.

Instead of saying he was sorry or he didn’t realize that he went off on me he blamed me, saying that I was too thin-skinned for him and that he shouldn’t wonder why he needs days off from seeing me.

Now, I was sensing something was up when he didn’t want to hang out on the weekends, and that outburst totally sealed the deal.

I told him I just might be sensitive and that’s ok, but I certainly don’t want anyone who tolerates me or needs to take days off from me. He said something else about him patting me on my head and telling me to settle down to which I responded “Pats on the head are for dogs and children, not your partner.”

After he refused to speak to me for a few days, it was hilarious that on valentine’s day, in an effort to be gracious I guess, sends me a text saying he’d understand if I took someone else to a concert we were both looking forward to. You don’t say, sir? I had already made arrangements to take someone else. And I had a great, worry free time without him.

For a few days I had this nasty after taste left in my mouth. I couldn’t figure out how someone who went through the trouble of all of these grand public gestures could be tired of me or harbor whatever feelings. Maybe like me he knew it wasn’t going anywhere and was trying to force it because a mutual friend set us up.

Either way, I just couldn’t shake how I let myself ignore the feelings I had because he once again seemed like the type of guy I always wanted, except for the part where he accepts me completely and adores me. This guy would go from one extreme to the next, pondering what our children would be like to not complimenting my hair when I asked if he preferred one style to another, but responding that at least one style was “neater.”

So who needs that?

So this morning I reminded myself that dating is a tryout. Dating is not a relationship. Me and this person were not in a relationship, therefore it wasn’t a failure or a reflection of my character, beauty, ability to keep a man. The sad part was I was changing myself, being more quiet because I preferred that to him tearing me down or challenging me for challenging him when I spoke my mind or shared an opinion. It seemed as if he had something to prove a former musician, who I still believe prefers to be that, but reality is reality and he has to pay bills. He was older.

There is an unhappiness in him. I hope he finds some peace. I think he’s envious of his best friend who has a beautiful wife and baby and he’s trying to play catch up. It didn’t help that after I’d had enough and called him out on being a jerk, that earlier in the week his job basically told him the same thing. So honestly, I feel vindicated. He’s oblivious. No matter how old you are, you should want to grow. And normally you are wise enough to accept feedback from people. Guess he didn’t want that from me.

Unfortunately for him, he wants a brilliant, beautiful mute who will carry his child.

I can’t be that.

I am loud sometimes. I am very quiet sometimes. Sometimes I like being the center of attention (he likes it all the time), sometimes I like playing the support role for others. I believe everyone has something to offer.

So I did something unexpected.

A person who managed to keep in touch with me had asked me to lunch or dinner a few weeks back.

I spoke to this person and asked if their offer was still on the table.

We got together on Monday. I laughed, I occasionally used foul language. He PICKED ME UP and he said some things that kind of hit me over the head.

I was talking about the new job I had since we last talked and being in school. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year, maybe even two years. I said doing this new job has given me the confidence to ask for more.

He said that he was shocked that I had a confidence problem because he knew I was a hard worker and creative and can read people. He said you always deserved more. You can think bigger, you should have been thinking bigger a long time ago.

So just days ago, I was dealing with someone who said I was too much, while someone else is saying I should go harder.

Days ago I was dealing with a person who said I could only be taken in small doses (even when I’m letting him do all of the talking), while someone else wants to plan trips and didn’t want the night to end.

Ok. It’s taking me a minute to see the light, but I see it.

Dating fails are an illusion. All dates don’t lead to relationships. That in itself is not a failure. It’s a tryout. And not everyone makes the cut, nor should you just give someone points for participation or attendance.

Why I Like “He Don’t Exist”

I like a song by R and B singer Jahiem called, “He don’t exist.”

I think it perfectly and realistically states the very thing that women don’t really want to hear, nor do most want to believe. That we keep waiting and waiting for the perfect guy but he doesn’t exist.

There’s no such thing as the perfect person.

Some folks think it’s odd that I like it so much, or that I agree with it. Actually, the song has been helping me mourn the loss of the perfect man I keep hoping to find. I think once you come to the conclusion that the man you think you are supposed to be with will be nothing like you imagined, and actually mourn and grieve that loss, you’ll be better off.

Yes, I’m grieving the fact that I’m not going to get the good-looking, gainfully employed, never married, childless, intellectual, spiritual, artsy, passionate man who can read my mind and be on call to listen when I rant, give me a hug when I need one and put down some epic loving in the bedroom and will bring me a glass of water and wipe me down with a moist, warm towel after the deed is done. Ok, that was a long list. But I do think it’s more healthy to grieve and mourn this loss and move on to acceptance, than to keep thinking he’s one more bad date or awful relationship away.

I’m not telling anyone to settle. But when you think about the fantasy of the person you made up in your head, or that fake person you keep comparing everyone else to who, can’t compare, you are doing yourself and anyone who wants to care about you a major disservice.

So that’s why I like “He don’t exist.” Jahiem basically says, the perfect man doesn’t exist. However, love can be what you make it with the willing mortal offering up their heart to you.

I told a friend that at this point I have a better chance of getting a Ph.d in the next 10 years than getting married.

Sometimes I wonder if I am mature enough to be married. Yup, I’ve said it.

Because at this point, I’ve really been concentrating on me and my feelings. I’ve admittedly said that I don’t have the time or energy to fix anyone or constantly be a motivational speaker, that I need my man to be an emotional self-starter and also be able to pick me up when I need it.

A friend of mine asked me very seriously, “Isn’t that what marriage is?”

Well that was a slap in the face. I hold marriage in high esteem. But marriage is really about imperfect people just trying to make it through life together, supporting each other.

Oddly enough, I feel like I can accept the flaws and forgive my friends like nobody’s business, but when it comes to men, I have the toughest time really accepting them. I give them a much tougher criteria and very high expectations that they have to be secure and confident and be able to be fully supportive of me and all my ups and downs.

It’s very selfish. But these feelings come from me being on the other extreme where I did nothing but give and show support, thinking I can hold it together for the both of us.

So really, what it boils down to is I need someone I can trust and believe will be supportive and loving to me when I need them. I don’t want to be left holding the bag, I don’t want to be the sole person responsible for the happiness, sanity and well-being of myself and the person I’m supposed to be in love with. Whew. That feels better.

Here are the lyrics:

“He Don’t Exist”

Girl I hate to have to be the one to ruin your plans
It’s unrealistic what you’re looking for in a man
I may not be perfect but I can love you perfectly
You know what you want but you don’t know what you need
Go text monogamous, keeps all of our promises
No kiss, I think you wanna share a psychiatrist
Bank account got a figure 6
Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent
The only problem is, he don’t existI think you need the invisible man
So you can never see his flaws and mistakes
Better come get this loving while you can
We’re gonna it the jackpot rail sweet 6
With sentimental friends wanna drive and tell you how you feel
Making you believe there’s something other
And the perfect man you’re waiting for, he don’t exist
Oh, la la la aySorry to shatter your perfect picture of love
This ain’t no movie, ain’t no director, you’re in guard
You gotta stick to the script
You want a fairytale but they just don’t exist
You want a knight in shining armor
Hero that come to save ya
Red cape, baby let me set the record straight
You lose it all
Cause it just don’t

I think you need the invisible man
So you can never see his flaws and mistakes
Better come get this loving while you can
We’re gonna it the jackpot rail sweet 6
With sentimental friends wanna drive and tell you how you feel
Making you believe there’s something other
And the perfect man you’re waiting for, he don’t exist

All that time that you’re spending, looking for happy ending
Babe we can start with that
Subtract all of the baggage and maybe we can manage
A life that equals up to love
We’ll never know the visions up in my position
Baby no need to rush…
Cause he don’t exist

I think you need the invisible man
So you can never see his flaws and mistakes
Better come get this loving while you can
We’re gonna it the jackpot rail sweet 6
With sentimental friends wanna drive and tell you how you feel
Making you believe there’s something other
And the perfect man you’re waiting for, he don’t exist


I was involved in a really interesting conversation this week with a friend of a friend. He was talking to a group of us women and we were sharing or man and lack thereof problems with him. He gave his brutal and blunt assessment from the male perspective.

The thing that stuck out most in my mind that he kept asking one of my friends who said she keeps getting involved with the “wrong” men.

So he responded, that women actually have choices. We can simply say no.

If someone comes to us and doesn’t have everything we want or need, we can say no. We can turn them down. We choose.

Now what makes this thing so complicated is we say yes to people who we know can’t give us what we need or want, and we decide that that’s acceptable because we don’t want to come off stuck up or too picky or unable to accept people for who they are.

More often than not, when men decide to pursue a woman, they aren’t thinking as deeply about it as we do, or even trying to gauge potential.

They see something in a woman. They desire it, they want it. They go for it and wait for us to make the choice to even bother with them. If we say no, they may keep trying. Or they just may keep it moving without much of a fight.

But here we are as women, two weeks, two months and two years in knowing full damn well the situation isn’t working, but deciding to continue to entertain the wrong folks because we don’t want to be mean, or hoping the person will magically change into the person we wanted them to be.

The male friend gave a great comparison.

He asked my friend if she ever had sex unwillingly. He said that he hoped her answer was no, because if the answer was yes, she was a victim of rape.

So if in fact her answer was no, she made the choice and consented to the sexual encounter. She was in full control of her decision to get something she wanted.

So, if she could make that kind of decision with that much accuracy and confidence, why couldn’t she do the same in selecting which relationships she was going to get into and put work into maintaining?

I sat there dumbfounded.

It made a ridiculous amount of sense. As women, we’ve become super empowered in terms of our sexuality and even being more casual in our encounters. We can tell a man how we want them, where we want them and we can surftboard all night long.

But we cannot articulate that we need to be supported. That we are weary and need affection and kindness and strong arms to hold us. We! can’t seem to find the courage to hold men accountable to what they say and do in terms of how they treat and love us. We let a lot of things slide and because of that, we want to blame them and accuse them of not acting right.

Should they just do the right thing? Sure, they should! That’s what decent people who actually care about you do. But until we find the right person, we have a lot of folks in the training program on how to treat us and we have to enforce it. I’m not saying rule with an iron fist, but there are ways to emotionally stand your ground, have standards that you won’t bend from or amend when it’s convenient. You have to be real. You have to be consistent and I think a lot of that hangs on how much we love ourselves and how much confidence we’ve accrued. We want people to like us, so it’s easier than we realize to change up from who we really are to gain other people’s acceptance. But it’s false. Real acceptance and real love comes when you know who you are and you give people the opportunity to love you for it and if they don’t, you can rescind the offer and keep stepping.

As I get older, I’ve learned a long time ago that the quality of my relationships have always trumped the quantity. That sometimes long stretches of no dates was far better than several dates in a row that went absolutely no where, or dates I accepted because I was bored and just lonely.

We can articulate everything that person does wrong to our girlfriends, but when it’s time to do the work and speak up, we freeze. We give second, third and fourth chances.

And the giving of second, third, fourth and millionth chances are actually perfectly ok and fine because it’s your choice to give those chances.

But when you continue to complain about being taken advantage of and give another chance instead of simply saying no, it’s like you totally forgot you actually have a choice in the matter.

The result of your choice may be something you don’t like, or something that is uncomfortable, but you still have a choice to opt out and say no thanks.

The male friend said that it is actually simple. We laughed. He described a scenario where if he was a woman and could sit back and choose men he’d say, “no, no, no, yes, maybe, no, yes, you and your brother too.”

He said as a woman, no matter who you are, where you are, what you look like, someone is going to try to get with you. Now, sometimes and a lot of times it may not be the guy you want to talk to you, but men will always try and you have the choice to give them a chance or simply say no.

But it’s just difficult to say no to the guy who has that smile who makes you melt, but won’t return phone calls in a timely manner.

It’s hard to say no to the guy who you’ll move your schedule for, but will break plans last minute and will still call you at 1 a.m. to see if he can come over.

But we do have a choice. We can deal with the temporary disappointment of not answering that booty call, or feeling alone that night. Or we can accept the little they give us for the little they give us. But it truly is on us.

Am I A Jerk?

The older I get and the longer I’m single, I really struggle with whether or not my reactions to dating and relationships are unreasonable.
After all, there’s compromise and give and take and thinking of others besides yourself.
But after moving my very hectic schedule around for a potential date with a handsome guy who says that I “talk too much” (see, I let that one go) “But sometimes you say really interesting things. I love that about you” I decided since I needed some handsome male energy, I’d stay up til the wee hours to write a paper that’s due tomorrow. A girl needs a little fun.
Welp, after confirming our date, he asks me if any of the places I had to suggest had televisions. I told him they did.
Then I told him I was hoping his focus would be on me.
“I will focus. But I really want to watch the game.”

For some reason, handsome or not. That text made me livid. I rushed to text my best male friend to help me react or not react, but he took too long. So I told my date we should postpone.

He hasn’t responded.

And that further shows me he’s not really that interested in me. Even though he claims he is.

If I’m going to move my schedule around and stay up all night to get my homework done, it needs to be worth it, for someone who values me and my time. I’m not playing second fiddle to the NBA Playoffs today. I forgot about this guy’s obsession with basketball. But I’m in no mood to compete for his attention tonight. I enjoy sports, but cmon, man. I do feel my reaction may be knee-jerk and I may be a little inflexible, but I also feel like I put a lot of effort into even taking time to go out with him. So looks like I’ll be in my sweats working on my paper tonight.

I hate fighting with myself about not taking this L and possibly ending up alone for the rest of my life because I couldn’t accept a little basketball with my dinner and drinks.

Oh well.

Silencing the Noise

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have already heard that I quit Plenty Of Fish.

Like, I quit for real, for real. I didn’t just hide my profile and take a little break from it, I took myself out of the game completely.

There were a few times before where I thought about deleting the profile, but I’d get pulled in by another message from a new guy showing interest. Even if I wasn’t interested in them, it still made me feel wanted. So for that reason alone, even though I was getting pinged all day and all night because I had the app on my phone, it was a form of validation that I had been wanting that I, was indeed desirable.

The trouble with Plenty Of Fish is I’m not the only one.

If I don’t respond, the person on the other end really isn’t going to be heartbroken, he’s just going to click on another profile and try again. A catchy profile and some cute pics didn’t make me special. Inboxes full of faux admiration didn’t either.

I actually hated when dudes off the bat would call me sweetie, or love or gorgeous. It felt so… ugh. It felt so phony.

This weekend, I had a bunch of crazy revelations.

Somehow my good ex hit me up again on Friday night when I was doing absolutely nothing. So I started talking about dating and how difficult it’s become. I complained that it’s at a point where everyone is dating like robots, following a script.

Simply he just said, “You ain’t gotta. Do you.”

I don’t know why what he said seemed to just shoot through me like lightning, but it was so simple. It made so much sense. I don’t have to keep going on date after date. Introducing and reintroducing myself to men I’m really not that interested in, but trying to be “open-minded” too.

That message kept ringing true at not one, but two church services this weekend. The focus was on women in both. Both talked about loving yourself and giving things up so you can receive God’s blessings which may or may not include a man.

I had a thought today about Idols. I posted on twitter that “One way or the other, God will remove your idols. You determine how drastic He has to be in order to get your attention.”

Plenty Of Fish was becoming an idol. It was consuming a lot of my brain space. It was causing me to either be excited about people I knew nothing about or completely aggravated with people I knew nothing about. I was expecting people to be accountable and ready-made after one date. I’d be surprised if I didn’t hear anything from certain guys with whom I had great conversations. I’d replay what I’d done or if I wasn’t attractive enough.

But it all boils down to this, we are all out here doing the same thing. We are evaluating people on highly superficial levels and not taking the time to build. The possibility of the next, better person that you may be missing out on always seemed on the horizon and one click away. But that’s not real life.

I’m about to devote two years of my life to a master’s degree. I devoted four to college and 10+ to being a writer and reporter and editor. Cultivating anything takes time and effort. I have friends of 20 years. I know everything about them and they know me. It’s scary, but look at all the time it took to get to that level of mastery in my friendships, and I’m still working on them and giving to them and nurturing them.

One year of online dating and the revolving door of men wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. It was a great social experiment in what’s out there, but I realize right now, it’s not where I need to place my focus or my energy.

So I deleted my page.

My mind instantly got quiet again. I wasn’t turning over in the middle of my sleep when my phone started to buzz, or checking messages at a stop light. I wasn’t spending time “man shopping” when I was bored, looking at profiles hoping that there was some coded language my Mr. Right used so he could find me.

I didn’t have to be disappointed anymore.

I could focus.

Even today, I’m realizing the dating site was taking a lot of my good energy and brain space.

My good ex did remind me of how confident I used to be. He told me things like putting on weight or how I wear hair was not going to matter. And I was confident. I just have to get back to that again. I knew the first place to start was silencing the POF noise.

I’m not knocking the site at all. I think it does open the door to help you meet people you may have never otherwise met. But as I review the last year of online dating, people are either not quite serious at all, or they are so serious, they come of desperate and scary. Online dating pushes you to the extremes of non-committal or super clingy. You can’t even truly be you. You are always on, you are always auditioning for someone’s affections.

And nope. I don’t want to do that. Not anymore.

So I said a prayer. I said I wanted to give this up and not look back and whoever is for me, he’s already out there. It’s time to stop worrying about it and it’s time to let it go. It’s time to let go of my insecurities and shut up the NOISE, most of which I’ve created in my own head that has been limiting me.

Noise was making me settle and noise convinced me I was widening my net and not being picky or stuck up. But noise was causing me to entertain folks I really didn’t see any kind of future with at all. I tricked myself into thinking it was a numbers game and that it was science. The right guy would have to come around if I kept putting myself out there.

Well, putting myself out there made me lose valuable energy. Putting myself out there led me to making rash decisions.

I need my head space. I need it for things like work, and school and my family and friends. So right now, I honestly don’t feel like I took a loss, deleting my profile. I reclaimed space in my mind and soul.

I decided that if there were men in my phone who managed to have my number and we still keep in touch, I will be nice. I won’t press them to ask me out, I’ll let them ask me. If I feel like sending a text or saying hello, I’ll send one.

Sometimes you have to lose to win, as Fantasia said in one of her songs. I’ve never found myself leaning so much on God and my faith, or praying as often or looking at the little things to help me see other things more clearly. God is in the details.

When I was at EssenceFest and heard Iyanla Van Zant speak, she kept saying, “Do the work.” “You’ve got to do the work, beloveds.”

She is right. God didn’t let me marry the wrong person for a reason.

I’m single right now for a reason, not just to work on myself or take on bigger goals I would have never considered if I was someone’s wife right now. I’m made for a purpose and I’m working all of that out. The pain I’ve felt makes me more compassionate to others and it makes me qualified to love folks in a more real, mature, honest and even non-judgemental way. In the way a grown woman has to decide to love HER man. The one.

I used to pride myself on loving people through stuff even if it took all of my energy.

I was doing it wrong.

I had to learn that I had to put on my life-preserver first before I started helping others and that it is perfectly ok to do so. You aren’t supposed to deplete your entire energy loving somebody. Giving and receiving love in itself should energize you. The person you’re loving should love you enough not to allow you to do that. And they won’t allow you to do it. People who love themselves for real can recognize love in a number of forms. And they can recognize when and if they aren’t pulling their load and they want to pull their load. People who love themselves want to pull their load because that means they are living up to their own expectations of themselves and how they want to treat important people in their lives.

Maturity. Self love. Wisdom. Discernment. I want all of these. I continue to pray that the man I’m supposed to be with, God give me the vision to see him clearly and not get bogged down in the noise. I want to hear God in my choices. This is no exception.





Going Back Out…

I’ve come to this conclusion. It’s time to hang up the online dating for a while. I’m toying with erasing my online persona from a dating site, but I just don’t think I’ll log on for a while. Who wants to start over?

I’ve made this decision because It’s frankly becoming a rote exercise of empty discussions, false starts and first and only dates. No real followup. And that’s happened on my end too.

So it seems you can’t depend on going out all of the time to meet someone and you can’t completely depend on the internet either. You have to do both.

Online dating was making me impatient and lazy. I was reading one blogger who said, sitting at home in your sweats trying to talk to someone and be sexy and charming and interesting, feels like a lie. You aren’t really trying. You are in your sweats on your couch. You subconsciously aren’t giving your best.

Now that doesn’t mean you should dress up to exchange messages, but it made me think of the benefits of going out. Which I was adamantly against once I started online dating. I was over it. I was tired of it. I wasn’t having fun anymore.

As I thought about things, I noticed that when I met men while I was out and about, I went on multiple dates with them, and some of them, I still get a phone call or a text from now and then.

I do think when a man meets you in person, it’s quite intentional. He made up his mind that he found you attractive and interesting, and decided that if he doesn’t take the chance now, he may never see you again. Urgency aids the process. Scarcity aids the process.

With online dating, Plenty of Fish, in particular, some men do see you right away and they want to speak to you and they do.

Some men add you as a “favorite” like a bookmark to be circled back to later when convenient. They know short of you quitting the site, you’ll always be around. The urgency to get to know you or not let you slip away, no longer exists.

So, while my recent complaint has been that I can’t stand DC nightlife, the posing, the posturing, and pageantry of it all, there is some merit to putting on your freakum dress, high heels and looking and feeling your best and dancing around.

Simply put, men like that.

I’ve had a number of conversations with men about when they first saw me. They saw me laughing, smiling, politely turning someone else down, being cordial to strangers and they said they had to get to know me. They remembered what I was wearing and my confidence in that moment. Or if I seemed deep in thought, which led them to want to know what I was thinking. With online dating, it’s mighty hard to convey any of those things.

My problem was, I was, in fact using online dating as a crutch then getting mad things weren’t working out. I think the men on the online dating sites are officially bored with it too, and if you meet one person and they aren’t what you wanted, you can go back into the fray, immediately and see if someone else fits.

It really feels like the lost and found. People are trying on things, putting it back, someone else is picking it up hoping it works.

So I have resolved to spend a little more time on going out. Doing my old thing of stopping at a bar or restaurant after work for dinner and a drink, looking like I tried and seeing if I can strike up some convos.

Men I’ve met in person, seem to be more inclined to keep in touch and want to know more about you. They’ve already seen what you look like and the immediate attraction is real.

Unlike online dating where a person may be disappointed in the real thing in comparison to the photograph online.

So there is a music festival coming up in North Carolina, that I’m strongly considering attending. One because I love music and the line up is going to be dope, and two because I need to be seen. Will I meet people from other places that will contribute to my chronically long distance attraction? Sure. But oh wells. It’s time to just get out there.

I’ve been staying in the house long enough. I have one friend, who I know will read this and say she’s been saying it for the longest. Yes, you are right. It’s time to go back out. Fine.

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