Love is, Love Ain't

Posts Tagged ‘single

In the spirit of Independence Day and just the recent reminder that we all need to be free no mater what our relationship status, I thought I would celebrate my independence as a single woman.  I don’t celebrate it just for me, but for every woman or man – single, booed-up, or married – who may be bound by the idea that being single means being insignificant.  Two things recently collided to make me want live an even more empowered, celebrated life of singleness.  One – I joined Twitter and was introduced to the fantastic tweets of The Single Woman.  Two – My really good friend called me discussing the same ol’ deadbeat boyfriend of hers whom she shared wants to “take a break.”  For her, every time he wants to take a break it’s devastating.  For me, I’m happy, because I hope she will stop changing herself – physically (I mean physically if you follow) and mentally – for a guy who’s been working on the same Bachelor’s degree for the past 12 years, has no car or house, and is very selfish.  I called her randomly as I always do last week, and she answers the phone to share that she had just been sitting on the floor in her closet crying and how grateful she was that I called.  I’ve learned to tread lightly with her because she’s not like me – I’m a give-it-to-me-straight type of girl.  I listen as she goes on about how he wants to “take a break” for the millionth time.  Then she goes on about how they are meant to be and he will need to figure all of this out – with a lot of crowding from her and interfering from her mother.

All I could think is she can’t be free with all of that.  I need her to know that she is “significant without a significant other,” as The Single Woman tweeted one day.  I can’t say it to her though.  Every time I try, she interjects with several excuses as to why he hasn’t graduated, why he doesn’t have a car, and why the “breaks” might be good – continually strengthening the chains that hold her in the position that she is in.  And as she does that, she ridicules my “solo glow,” and sometimes politely reminds me of my patriarchal duty as a woman to be married to a man that I can cook for everyday.  So I’ve decided that maybe if I walk my talk and practice what I preach, she will see the freedom that I have as a beautiful, smart, silly, loving single woman.  And I won’t be single always, but I will make sure that I am always empowered, strong, happy, and significant – with or without the significant other.  And yes, I will fall from time to time and call and whine about how my ex just won’t give up and be judged because I keep answering the phone for him, but I won’t let him or any other person control my happiness, joy, or freedom.

I hope that all of my men and women who are significant whether with a significant other or not will join me in celebrating the love that we have for our Creator, ourselves, our families, our friends, our husbands/wives, girlfriends/boyfriends, and enemies.  And within these loves let’s pledge to be honest that singlehood does not automatically mean insignificance and relationship-hood/marriage does not automatically secure our significance.  Happy Independence Day!

And my number is 28. And I just found out that I have the potential to be a big pimpin’ cougar. Don’t laugh out loud because this is a burden and a blessing. Let’s start from the top. I work/study at a university with about 25,000 students. I meet a lot of them through the classes that I teach and the jobs that I work at, but when I find myself in places where a large body of undergraduate students gather, I become Waldo. I’m serious – try to find me – the 28-year-old grown woman with 2 degrees, 2 years of serious career related experience – and you won’t be able to find me. And this is my blessing. I look nothing like what I have been through.

But recently I realized I have to start asking for identification from the young men who ask me out. I laughed when the young guy at the grocery store ran to catch up with me and ask to take me out. He was a cutie pie – tall, caramel skin, short hair cut with the line to match – but when our eyes met, I knew he could not be any more than 17. “How old are you?” I asked. He flashed me those beautiful, straight teeth and said, “16.” As I walked away, I smiled ‘cause I will look like I’m 30 when I’m 70, but I realized I have got to be like the liquor store cashiers and start asking to see some ID.

I began to wonder if I was going to ask for ID so that I can keep things legal at all times or if I was just interested in dating only guys in a certain age range. Well, the other day as I sat at my office desk, a handsome young man came to the door and said, “How you doing?” I reacted like the police and said, “Can I see some ID?” He laughed and explained that he just wanted to get to know me. I asked if he played football, and when he said yes, I named my little boo boos on the team. He said he knew them. I told him to ask them why we don’t really need to get to know each other. He insisted that I tell him instead. “I’m 28.” His jaw (and his friend’s) dropped to the floor, and he screamed, “You look like a baby!” I thanked him, and he gave me his billion-dollar smile (I mean he had a gorgeous smile!). He paused for a moment and said, “We can’t be Facebook friends?” I laughed.

My colleague that witnessed the whole thing thought it was hilarious. But she said, “What’s wrong with maybe grabbing lunch or hanging out with him one day?” I said, “If he knows my boos, then he’s no more than 19.” “So,” she replied. That “so” has stayed with me. And no, Sistaoutsider (who I can hear saying “I’mma need you to stop”), I’m not interested in 19 year-olds no matter how handsome they are, but I do discriminate on the younger men a whole lot. Instead of revealing my standards, I reveal my age first. I’m 27 and you’re 23, we’ll never work. I’m 28 and you’re 19, we’ll never work. I need to practice more on making my standards show the maturity because age sure doesn’t. I’m interested in my career, and you haven’t chosen a major yet, we might not work. I could get married right now if the person designed for me asks me, you can’t even decide which young lady you want to kick it with tonight, we’re not gonna happen.

Don’t be like me and laugh in every baby face. They might be 28, 30, 33 – you just need to see some ID.

I find What Chili Wants on VH1 interesting.  The one thing that intrigues me about this show is that this TLC group member is a beautiful, successful woman with specific standards (nit-picky standards but standards nonetheless). Well, in the last season, Floyd, her rich, athletic “best friend” would pop in and out, and I began to believe that he (and probably Usher) was the real reason she could not find her life partner or was not available for her life partner to find her.  Now, yes, let’s remember this is “reality” TV, but a lesson can be learned from Chili and her “best friend.”  In a recent episode, pretty boy Floyd comes to visit and goes with her to get a facial and buys her $14,000 13k diamond earrings (no typos there, yes he bought that) and took her out to dinner and talked about how he loves her and etc. etc.  Chili’s matchmaker interjects in the commentary portion of the show and asks a valuable question, “Ladies, how many of your male friends buy you $14,000 earrings??”  Most of us would say none of our male friends have.  But take a moment and ask yourself, what are some things that your male friends have done that suggest something greater than friendship?  What have they done that leads you to be emotionally connected to them in an unusual way for people who say they are “just friends”?  What do they do that makes it difficult for you to genuinely date someone else or be available to the possibilities of dating someone else?

About a year ago I had to ask myself some of those questions.  I have some fantastic male friends.  They treat me like a lady.  They look out for me.  They check up on me.  They make sure I’m good.  I’m baby girl, and they treat me as such.  But one day a close male friend of mine said the strangest (at least to me) thing.  He had recently broken up with his girlfriend of over 2 years, and he was just not feeling the dating scene.  He said, “You know what, M-boogie, I want to marry but I don’t want to put forth the effort to meet anyone.  We should just get married – I won’t have to do much with you.”  Yes, I think we should all laugh here.  Now you may believe I was being overly sensitive to his idea, but he was serious.  And that was not cool with me.  I immediately shared this with a few of my close girlfriends, and they all felt the same.  My close friend, Sistaoutsider, broke it down for me.  She told me to evaluate my male friends and see who were truly friends and not someone using friendship as a way to keep me as an option.  I remember it clearly when she said, “Think about it.  Are any of them trying to put you on?”  And by put on she meant were they introducing me to eligible bachelors, were they inviting me to events that would broaden my social circle that may lead me to meeting eligible bachelors.  Now she didn’t mean that they had to be active matchmakers, but she wanted me to consider their actions to see if they were trying to hold the monopoly on my companionship, you know just in case they didn’t want to put forth the “effort” anymore.

This was some of the best advice I’ve gotten.  I ended up separating myself from a couple of guys who had been doing just what pretty boy Floyd had been. No, they weren’t showering me with ridiculously priced diamonds, but they were always talking about how much they adored and loved me.  We never went to dinner or other events with other people.  We always had intimate dinners and dates.  Yes, dates.  I was dating my friends and didn’t even know it.  They had a friend with benefits.  No, not sex, but everything but that.  In some cases, I would not go on a date because I could hang out with my friend.  He was going to make me feel like I was the only girl in the world but with no commitment.  But don’t get it twisted, he would still be dating and would tell me about the dates and like a fool I had passed on two or three dates just to “hang” with him.

These guys were beneficial as I dealt with issues I had at the time with my old boo, but if I had continued to let them put my “love in the layaway,” I would have not met new boo.  And though I don’t know what new boo and I will ever become, he stands as proof that when you remove the blockers you can meet a great guy.

Recently at a party, a friend of mine and an associate got on the subject of how hard it is to date because of their past dating experiences.  Here’s how this conversation went:

One said, “You know, when you’ve been hurt, it’s hard to deal with the next man.”

The other cosigned, “Yeah, because I refuse to be mistreated by the next guy.  I’m not going to fall into the same traps like before.”

A male friend (I’ve never dated him before, but I think he’s a great guy) interjected and said, “Whoa, you all have got to stop allowing the hurt from the past men influence how you approach the next guy – you’re not going to find anyone that way.”

I sat there silently saying to myself, “Amen to that!”   My friend yells out, “But I refuse to be naive!”

Folks, this is where I had to jump in.  “Well, he’s right, you can’t let the liar, cheater, scumbag, jerk, asshole, or whoever you’ve been dating negatively influence how you approach the next guy…”

My friend cut me off before I could finish.  I guess she thought I was not qualified to say that.  I mean, I was sitting next to my date, whom everyone affectionately calls “boo” behind his back, and I obviously wasn’t having a shortage of men (in terms of quantity more so than quality) to choose from.  But the “boo” sitting next to me was all the reason I needed to be qualified to speak about how to deal with the next man.

Before I met “boo” I had spent way too long going back and forth with a wonderful man who I thought I would marry, share my life with, and start a family.  One day he decided that he no longer wanted to be my wonderful friend but a jerk and sperm donor.  I mean, really??  After that, I just wanted to not deal with men for awhile.  When “boo”asked me out (and my friend made me accept), I had to really make a conscious effort to give him a fair chance and use my unfortunate experience with my last potential husband to know what my standards will be and not become an expert at finding people’s faults.  And this my friend is where I think we should join Kanye West and have a toast – a toast for the jerks, the sperm donors, the assholes, the men who pretend they want marriage just so you will stick around but they never intend on marrying, oops sorry, had a flashback on the last one. 🙂  So here are my toast speeches – feel free to steal them and tailor them to your encounters in your previous experiences with like or love!

For the jerks…

Thanks for making me feel like something was seriously wrong with me.  It made me take time to personally reflect on who M-boogie is and realize my self-worth.  Otherwise I would have been OK with just being good enough.  But no, I found out that your insecurities, self-hate, and unresolved issues had nothing to do with me.  I am actually beautiful, smart, sweet, and caring.  I know these things for sure, and I believe it so much in my very core that the men I share my time with will remind me that I am all those things and more.

For the sperm donors…

Thanks for your continuous requests for me to be your baby’s mother (not wife, just baby’s mama).  I must be sexy as hell!  I must have taken such good care of you that you wanted to not only have beautiful babies but you also wanted to entrust your legacy (and your paycheck) in my care.  At first I thought you were trying to trap me to be your love machine and to have court orders that require us to see each other when we exchange the babies for visitations over the next 18 years, but after trying to look at the bright side of our lame encounter, I see you just didn’t know how to communicate to me how sexy and caring I really am.

For the assholes…

Oh, assholes, I really want to thank you.  Your ignorant, narcissistic, hateful, cold-blooded, downright evil existence is worthless.  However, had I not met you, I would have been unequipped to…well, actually I can’t even sarcastically thank you because I don’t want to thank you, but cheers to me running away from any future assholes (and men with asshole-like tendencies) as fast as I can!

These toast are really all about taking our experiences and using them as foundations to become better people equipped to interact with those who are worthy of our time and attention.  So many times we take our bad dating/relationship experiences and become better at figuring out what is wrong with the next person instead of figuring out what we truly want for our lives of love.  Sometimes the hurt can seem too much to bear, but pop some bottles and make some toasts because we will share our lives with some amazing humans who won’t be perfect but who will be perfect for us in the stage of life that we are in.

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