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Archive for the tag “friendship”

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…

Work, School, Book Club Too?

On top of everything else going on in my life, working full-time, being a graduate school student, I’ve added a book club to the list.
It started off innocently enough. Some very smart, sweet, creative and conscious women from my former job had been meeting with each other to discuss books and art and culture and to just unwind and share goodies (hand-made and store bought) for some time.
A dear co-worker of mine mentioned that they were reading one of my new favorites “Americanah” and I was very curious about the perspective of this very diverse group of women. So I crashed the party.
After having a very wonderful time– they were excited to see me since I’d recently left that job– I was invited to return anytime and to read the next book.
So despite homework, assignments, class and work, I took on the next selection, which was massive “The Goldfinch” and although I stayed up all hours of the night to complete it in time for the next gathering, I enjoyed the book a great deal, and enjoyed talking about it with this group even more.
Our next meeting is coming around the first of the month and have I started the book yet?
Of course not. I plan to this week for sure.
Should I be taking on any other extra activities, common sense says no, but my intellectual and creative side says yes.
For some reason, it’s worth it to me not only to read these books, that I may not have otherwise selected for myself and voluntarily spend a Saturday morning being the youngest in a group of women of different backgrounds and cultures, married and single, mothers and childless.
It enriches my soul in a time where I’m racing to get things done. It allows me to slow down, and be nurtured by other women who’ve been there and done that and who get my yearning for education and beautiful things and humanity.
I enjoy how they show pride in all of the things I’m trying to accomplish and encourage me that I can in fact, pull it off.
They are like doting aunties who want me to find Prince Charming, but are relieved it’s not an obsession. They understand how important the expanding of my mind is to me and they share that vision in their own personal lives.
I appreciate their honesty and confusion about issues of race and sexuality and what it is to be a woman in the world. It’s refreshing to discuss these things in a civilized way with people who are outside of my usual circle.
What I appreciate the most is knowing how different we are, but seeing just how similar we are too. We are curious, we love sweets, we appreciate art and music and culture, we love books and we love talking about them.
The most wonderful thing about a great book is the tangential life discussions and real anecdotes that arise from a fictitious character’s struggle or triumph.
As a black woman, I’ve often stayed away from book clubs because many black women want to read books by only black authors. I can understand why. When you escape, you want to be in a world that looks like you and talks like you and thinks like you. For me, I only want that sometimes, and not every book by every black author is good. So what excites me about the book group I’m in is the value the non-black members place in reading books about black people as well as people of all races, genders or sexuality. Their acceptance of Americanah, made me more interested in their book choices that involved non-black characters because I was confident, they were simply picking really great books, period. When they suggested books by international authors, I knew I was in the right place.
Reading great books makes us smarter, makes us critical thinkers, exercises our imagination and gives us access to worlds that may be impenetrable in real life.
The book club is just as essential as my studies or my job because it feeds my soul. Staying up later to do some extra reading is only a small sacrifice to make for what I’ve gained in return as a human.

Love From A Distance: The Girlfriends Edition

I want to go out this weekend and watch a highly anticipated boxing match.

There are events going on in various parts of the city, but I don’t want to go alone even though I’ve said on this blog I don’t have a problem with going out alone.

However, because I’m human and appreciate company, sometimes going solo does bother me. Since the recent beefs I had with two of my friends with whom I often went out on the town with, I’ve found myself feeling locally lonely.

I could either round up a male friend to go. One of my favorites is heading out of the country yet again. So jealous. So he’s out. I love hanging with him most because he is like a brother to me. It’s so comfortable being around him. He is always meeting interesting people and open to doing something new. That’s why he’s always gone traveling. We can’t go anywhere without someone knowing who he is and feeling the same way about him that I do.

I could enlist the male friends who are interested in me, but I don’t feel like giving the this is not a date speech. My hunger for companionship hasn’t sunk that far down just yet.

I could also enlist the male friend who may or may not show up. I’d rather not bother. It seems I scare him when I ask him to something planned more than an hour in advance. I don’t feel like cussing him out for disrespecting my time or being inconsiderate. But on the rare occasions we do get together we have a blast.

I will not hang out with people at work and I told you all why before.

Making new female friends at this age has to happen organically (through work, class, a volunteer group, or any place where you have shared interests and relationships build naturally). If it doesn’t, you’ll look like you are a lesbian trying to pick a girl up and send the wrong message.

Or I can enlist a satellite friend, who is a friend I hang out with on rare occasions, (because usually they have an insane schedule or live just far enough I won’t catch up with them that often) but always have a great time with them because our encounters are practically annual.

When I was writing my blog, “You’re Too Local,” it hit me as I was having struggles with my local girlfriends (Friends I’ve Had to Let Go and Faking the Funk), that maybe I’m not cut out for close-proximity relationships of any kind.

I have friends out-of-state who visit me or I visit them for a weekend, and much like my out-of-town paramours, we have a blast and we go hard all weekend. No time to fight or pick at one another, because we spent time and money to see each other and it’s special because we don’t spend time together often.

Instead of having idealistic, hot steamy sex and romantic dinners like the out-of-town lovers, with my out-of-state gal pals, we shop, we visit museums, see shows and plays, stay up well into the night making drinks, having funny and deep discussions and watching our favorite dvds. We’ll check out farmer’s markets and bookstores or check out local festivals and go to our favorite restaurants.

Upon making this realization, I asked a dear friend who lives in the Midwest: “Is it me? Why can’t I get along with people in a 20-mile radius of me? What’s wrong with me?”

The friend pointed out, that for almost two years we lived about an hour’s drive apart, and we saw each other quite often, but we had the great sense to know when to leave each other alone and give one another space. We knew that there were some weekends the other person just wanted to do their own thing.

Usually the friends I’m closest to are the same friends I can travel with. If I enjoy traveling with you, if you don’t complain when the trip takes an unexpected turn and if you travel prepared and believe in leaving when we say we will and not making too many stops, we will get along famously. Also, if you understand every waking moment does not have to be filled with discussion or noise, especially in the morning or when I’m hungry or tired, we gonna be cool.

*Wait, I sound like a picky jerk, but I do have friends who get this and agree with me!!! I’m not a mean person. I swear!

My closest, closest friends are masters of giving me space even if we have to share a room, or the same zip code. But they also tend to be people who need to have me time, and they don’t compromise it, because it’s a priority to them.

Ironically, this is when I miss being in a relationship (albeit usually long distance). When I really want to go to something, I have the benefit going with someone I love, who I’m comfortable with, who I can laugh and joke with and who’s going to pay for dinner and then give me some lovin after. That’s why I’ve always made it my business to be friends first with whatever guy I end up with.

My parents live out of state and so does my sister. I have no family, really where I live. I’m sort of used to it, so by not having to deal with my family on a regular basis, once again, when I see them it’s all about enjoying the moment. The longer I stay, the more prone I am to becoming nuts and then mean.

So what does this say about me? Am I some grumpy, unlovable person? I truly hope not. I’m sensitive, and I love the people in my life very, very much. Have I gotten used to going it alone to the point it’s affecting my relationships with people I have to see on a regular basis? I really hope not.

For now, the satellite friends are looking real good for this weekend. Unless I can round up money to go visit my favorite people who live far away…

Pop Quiz: How Well Do Your Friends Know You?

I’m about to find out how well my friends know me.

To make my birthday after party a bit more fun, and even more about me, I have drafted a 30-question (30 years, 30 questions) quiz all about me.

I have a range of friends from different parts of my life showing up to celebrate my 30th birthday, and I think my questions are fair for everyone. To make it even easier, its multiple choice and some questions are true/false.

The questions range from what young me wanted to be when I grew up, to correctly naming my five exes in chronological order.

From childhood friends, to college friends to colleagues-turned-friends, if they’ve spent enough time with me and actually paid attention when I ramble on, they should be able to answer most of them.

Yes, I’ve even gone through the process of getting first, second and third prizes for the people with the three highest scores.

As an added bonus, if you are invited to my party and you read my blog, I’ll let you in on what the prizes are.

One is a universal memory card to store photos (hopefully from my party), a snuggie and an amazing portable chair you can fold up, put in a purse/pocket and take anywhere. Shout out to Five Below!

My hat will go off to the person who can correctly answer all 30, but I’m not quite sure if any of my guests will be able to pull that off.

I’m going to enjoy seeing them try.
Aight, ask em “21 Questions” 50!

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