All my single ladies put your hands up…

I love to see happy, well functioning couples that love each other. I’m not one of those sappy love the idea of being in love ladies, but I’m all for people finding a companion. I have reached the coupling-age and an increasing number of my friends are making co-habitation plans or getting hitched. This leads me to today’s post. And it is possible that I have written about this before, but to engaged and married women please don’t forget the single lady struggle. I’m not saying dwell on it everyday, but don’t mistreat your single girlfriends now that you are all married, fianced and boo’ed up. I’m going to give you examples of some actions you may want to avoid so you don’t piss off your single girlfriends. 

Don’t try to tell me….
This is by far the most annoying thing that ladies who are married or almost married love to do, tell you what you are doing wrong in your relationship or search for a man. I do seek and heed advice. I try to avoid unnecessary chaos and grief in my life if I can help it. If listening to your cautionary tale or advice can help me avoid misery I will take it. However, that should not be confused with being given unsolicited advice on why I don’t have a man or a ring. Especially if that advice is given while you appear to be looking down your nose at me, and I remember last week before you had that engagement rock, you were asking if I could come with you to ride by his house or help you come up with names of super heroes cause you were trying to figure out the pass code for his gmail account. You have been successful in finding a mate and you get a gold star, but that doesn’t make you an expert on finding a man. You simply found the right one for you.

Don’t deny me my plus one…

I understand that weddings are expensive. Most of the expense is the dress and providing food and beverages at the reception. If you have invited me to your wedding and you allowed me a plus one on the invitation, you can’t take it back because your budget and guest list keeps growing. Contrary to popular belief there is a shortage of single eligible bachelors at weddings. Generally all the bachelors are either ring bearers (they may be adorbale and cuddly but they are under-age) or old uncles that recently had hip replacement surgery or fall asleep as soon as they sit down. I want a date at a wedding if I can help it. You also can’t deny me my plus one because you have never met the guy and don’t consider him to be someone of importance worthy enough to attend your wedding. It doesn’t matter if I have only known him for 24 hours prior to your wedding. If he has made me happy in those 24 hours you should be happy for me. You got a man so stop hating.

Don’t go all bridezilla on me…

I’m sure everyone has seen the show bridezilla or you may have your very own bridezilla story of how your sweet, soon to be married girlfriend flipped out on you, hit you, cursed you, screamed on you, demanded unreasonableness out of you, caught some unnecessary attitude with you and expected you to just take it like a man (completely forgetting you are a woman and have feelings). I don’t think any more explanation or details are necessary for this example. Just remember your wedding day is only about 6 maybe 8 hours long and the ugliness you dish out may not be forgotten in that amount of time.

Don’t have me looking suspect…

I think brides-to-be really need to think through and analyze the sizes, shapes and shades of their wedding party before picking wedding colors and dresses. I know it’s your day and you want to be the belle of the ball, but I don’t have to look ridiculous so you can shine. Ugly dresses used to fold nicely and neatly into closets and pictures used to sit in boxes, photo albums or in cameras, but now there’s this evil thing called facebook. That means that ugly orange dress you said was coral, that gave me birthing baby hips, will be viewed by people who weren’t even at the wedding. You can stop that from happening by being a good friend and picking a universally flattering dress shape, in a flattering color.   

I think the above tips should keep the love flowing between the have man and the have man nots and save friendships.

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Something New…

I know that love can come in all different shapes, sizes, sorts, but am I ready to cross the color line? This weekend I saw a movie called Something New on Oxygen that explored the topic of interracial dating. I know, I know it’s 2009, America is a melting pot, Obama is president and clearly race is becoming irrelevant, but I still see rainbow hues. 

I’ve always thought that culture, environment and upbringing determined a person’s color identity. This is how I explain for example “White” Asians, “Black” Whites and “White” Blacks. Despite embracing diversity I have never seriously considered dating anyone outside of my race. In college, I did go out with a few guys (all blind dates), but I’ve never really took them or the date seriously. I never even went on a second date with any of them. I must admit that I have always assumed I would be with someone of the same race. Up until recently it was not even a possibility because I was never approached by men outside of my race. I’m not sure what has happened, undoubtedly something has shifted in the universe, or maybe it’s because I smile more, but it has been a rainbow coalition of men approaching me.

I have not really been sure how to handle it. I initially felt uncomfortable, that word may be too strong, I initially felt suspicious, like maybe I was on some hidden camera show. When I have been approached I’ve always turned to look behind me to see if I was indeed being spoken to. Even though the experiences seemed odd, but flattering, it has made me very aware of the interracial possibilities. What is crazier is that in the past two months no one of “my kind” has approached me, so if I want to date right now I’m going to have to entertain the idea of crossing the color line.

But I have my concerns…

I do believe there will be difficulties. I know that people who don’t share the same cultural backgrounds may have trouble finding common ground. I think that is what concerns me most.  I also think there may be some barriers to understanding one another because we are from different backgrounds. I also wonder if the individual really finds me attractive. I don’t want to be exotic, I want to be what they truly desire no matter what the color. I also wonder if I will be self conscience of what I say. I am generally the least concerned with what people think of or assume about me. It’s my world and everyone else is just in it. However, when in like and in love, I know I would want to please and definitely not offend. I know I would have to watch my mouth. And if that’s the case, would I be able to truly be myself? I also worry about the identity of our children or should I say possible identity confusion. Although I’m sure well adjusted mixed race children do exist, as well as parents of mixed race children who do provide a culturally enriched childhood that draws on both backgrounds, but all the mixed race children I know have issues. Most of them identify with one side and it’s generally the one they look most like and aren’t some type of a cultural hybrid. They also tend to have identity crises that manifest themselves in college or during their early adult life, which causes them to shun the race they identified with before the crisis and cling to the one that has long been ignored. I know I shouldn’t be concerned about children when dating, but I am.

Despite my concerns I am really thinking about going on a test date. Plus I know being open minded will ultimately increase the number of suitable suitors, but am I really ready to try something new?

It’s me, it’s really me…

I have been in the dating doldrums, with absolutely no breeze. Nada. No guy that is currently in my life really makes me excited. Now there are those who are quite entertaining, but after I stop laughing I do need substance. Everyone is just so dull, so self absorbed, so not memorable, so stiff, so pushy, so needy, so sensitive, so intent on taking up all my spare time. I am not saying that I too don’t have shortcomings, but I’ve recently had a bumper crop of men that make me want to sit out a few quarters just to recoup the time. That’s not fair, they aren’t dull there is just no chemistry. If there was chemistry I could overlook the shortcomings. There have been moments of brilliance that glitter like gold, but when I reach out to grasp the little nugget it turns out to be brass.

I got a phone call yesterday from a guy who is by far one of my favorite men (if I were to have one), very charming and witty. We have known each other for a little over a year. We’re just cool. Do you remember your best friend from summer day camp? That person who you immediately click with, share your lunch with, share school secrets with, giggle uncontrollably with, sit on the field trip bus with, that one person you make fast friends with and you look for as soon as you arrive every morning. This is how I would describe us during the initial months, two peas in a pod. It was fun, but then we both became busy and I can’t say what happened. It’s just like when summer camp ends and despite promises to call and write your new bff somehow life gets in the way and years pass and you wonder what they are up to. When he called I smiled and picked up my cell. We decided to go to lunch. He said 2 and I said 1. So we settled on 1:30. I thought ah a breeze.

I arrived at 1:30 on the dot. I waited for about 15 mins than I sat down and ordered drinks and an appetizer. I called him, but my call went straight to voicemail so I texted. He immediately replied that he was in the city and on his way. He walked in at 2 on the dot. Exactly right on HIS time. I was irritated, but I thought be nice don’t be ugly. At least he will be stimulating and I’ll enjoy his company. The hostess brought him over to the table. He was all puppy dog eyes and I’m so sorry, I apologize for keeping you waiting. This melted any frigidness I had planned. He picked up the menu and asked what I wanted to order. Before I could even tell him that I had ordered the waiter came over with drinks and the appetizer. He picked up his drink and took a sip “Oh honey you remembered! You’re a real keeper. Why did we break up again?” I just smiled and then told him to figure out what he wanted because I was hungry and my stomach was churning. After we ordered the main entrees we settled into our booth and caught up. It had actually only been about two months since we last saw each other or talked, but he had a lot to fill me in on. He spent most of the time talking, but it was cool.

Then he stopped mid sentence, “I’m just going on and on about myself how are you?”

“It’s not a problem, I don’t mind hearing about your life because it makes me wish for psychotic co-workers and a running with scissors family.” I then took a sip of my drink.

“I don’t know if you are being serious and genuinely interested or if I should be offended.”

“Oh don’t be. If my eyes glazed over then you should be offended.”

“So how are you? What have you been up to since I last saw you? Did you paint that wall? I remember you couldn’t decide on a color.”

I started laughing because he remembered my insane project to paint my dining room wall the right shade of sun-burnt, golden orange. “YES!!! I found the purrrfect shade and it turned out exactly how I saw it in my head. Trust there was a method to my madness.”

“I just remember paint chips all over the wall.”

“And all that was necessary to figure out the right shade.”

He reached across the table and picked up my hand. “What happened to us?”

“Huh?”

“Why did we break up?”

“Uhm we were never together?” I was quite puzzled. I was confused and I know it was written all over my face.

“You were my woman and you know it.”

“I would hardly categorize myself as your woman.”

“Ursala, are you serious? I spent every weekend together with you for about 5 weeks AND in a row.”

“You never said you wanted us to be together. And correction we spent a day, one day, during the weekend together not the whole weekend. And if I remember correctly at one point you went on vacation with your ex.”

“I explained that I was going to Jamaica to celebrate a friend’s birthday and that my ex was going to be there. I was completely honest with you as to what happened while I was gone. I even called you from Jamaica.”

“I also remember that you dropped the ball more than a few times with plans. You tell me you want to see me. We make plans and you cancel hours after we were supposed to get together.”

“That happened twice.”

“Twice is more than once. It was cool, it was clear that you were dating other people. It wasn’t an issue I wasn’t trying to monopolize your time.”

“I wasn’t really dating anyone else. I had a few dates, but you were my main focus. You had to know that.”

At this point. I started to think back over us. I did like him a lot, but I checked my expectations because I never got the feeling that he wanted something serious or that he wanted to be with me. I go with my gut. Gut told me just enjoy it while it lasted. So I did. I didn’t invest any deep emotional feelings into it. I really just thought of him as a friend that I occasionally cuddled with. I mean I genuinely enjoyed his company. He also helped to keep me laughing with emails through out the day. Silly stuff nothing more than one or two sentences, but it kept the boredom from setting in on many a day. I started second guessing myself. Did I miss something? Did he want to be with me? Did I get him all wrong? “I’m sorry, I really thought we were just kicking it.” I looked down at the table when I said this because I really wondered if I had read the situation upside down. I don’t ever read between lines or delve too deeply into words that aren’t followed by actions. Men tell you what they want and then do it. I thought he was a great guy when I met him and I did envision us together, but after about three weeks I got the distinct impression that he just thought I was funny and amusing. I wasn’t upset about that, I  just enjoyed the moment.

“I don’t have time to just kick it. And I definitely don’t kick it with women.”

“Well you did with me.”

“No you don’t understand. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you? You never gave me any signs that you wanted to be with me so eventually I just fell back.”

“So that’s why I haven’t heard from you?”

“I missed you. I don’t miss anyone and I really missed you. So I wanted to see you, talk to you. See where your head is at now. Find out if you wanted a man now. Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Want a man?”

“What? I don’t really know how to answer that question. I guess it depends on the man.”

“I think that is the problem. You lack direction and so you don’t really know what you want.”

“Are you analyzing me now.”

“You date men and you don’t know what you want from them…you are just wasting your time and theirs.”

I will stop right there because I had an epiphany at the table. He was right. Well not completely right, but close enough for me to get uncomfortable. I think he is partially right because sitting there I realized that I don’t want to be in a relationship. I say that I want a man. I wrote out a list of things that I wanted in a man, but when it comes down to it my actions show that I don’t want a man. Even with him if I thought we could be together why didn’t I tell him why was I waiting on him? And when he did things I didn’t like why didn’t I call him out on it instead of blowing it off like it wasn’t a big deal? People need positive verbal feedback and if I receive it I should reciprocate instead of being vague. Plus men do things many times to get a reaction. I express no real emotions and I don’t react. I am closed. I am guarded. I am cold. I don’t show much affection. I purposefully send mix signals. I don’t share. I don’t give anyone a chance to really get to know me, the real me. It’s not that I am afraid to show the real me. I just don’t feel comfortable opening up and investing myself because I am afraid in the long run it’s not going to work out. I thought one day I would meet someone we would hit it off and I would be happy. This has happened more than once, but after the initial excitement I become concerned about the long term maintenance of the relationship. It frightens me and I feel inadequately prepared. I never thought that I had baggage, but I believe that I do. It’s just that I know how much a relationship requires for it to work and sometimes I am not sure I have that much to give of myself everyday. I don’t know what this means, but I do know that I am in the dating duldroms because of me. Although I want a breeze I am not sure that my sails are ready.

The Clintons

I was reading an article about whether Hillary Clinton would run for office again and it made me think back over the problems she has had with Bill over the years. It all started with Jennifer Flowers, that press conference was scandalously shocking. Do you remember Jennifer’s hair, it was a hair spray and teased creation? I doubt that Jennifer was the first and she certainly wasn’t the last, but it introduced us to Bill the philandering husband and Hillary the long suffering wife. Then it was Monica, the dress and the impeachment. Bill, come on now buddy. I was embarrassed for her and Chelsea. Hillary seemed to be unsettlingly calm about the whole affair, she probably had made peace with the fact that her husband wasn’t faithful long before we found out. She stood by her man, was cool and kept it moving. I think she was probably more concerned about the shame of it all and the distraction from the business of running the country. I don’t know if there were tears shed or if there were screaming matches in the secret recesses of the White House. I’m sure in their private moments she had ugly words for Bill, at least I hope so.

 

I know that at the time I thought she was insane for staying, but no one understands how a marriage works and why it works except for the two people in it. I understand now that people marry for many different reasons that may or may not make sense to bystanders. Bill and Hillary obviously aren’t concerned about anyone else and what they think. However, I thought that clearly their marriage was a sham and just a business arrangement. Whether or not this is right or wrong it works for them and that is all that matters.

 

My whole view was totally changed after watching the Democratic National Convention.  I sat down to watch Hillary deliver her speech, which was excellent, but I couldn’t help but notice Bill Clinton. They kept cutting to him before and during the speech. I describe it as an all out love fest. He was beaming the whole time, practically outshining the sun, just clapping and hollering it up. The pride, the adoration, the respect, the pain, the disappointment, the drama, the joy, the triumphs, the dreams and whatever else comprises their situation was all broadcast to the world. It was written across his face, included with his hand clapping, manifested in his smile and in his previously roving eyes that were locked only on her. The love in his heart gushed from every pore of his body and it twinkled in his eyes. I have never seen such sincere excitement and adoration from anyone’s spouse during a political speech in my history of watching conventions and speeches. He was like baby you did it and I love you. I believe that they truly love each other, or at least there is no doubt in my mind that he loves him some Hillary. She might just put up with him, but I am sure she knows she got em’ and that’s all that matters. She obviously is content with that.

the brush…

I became disenchanted with love at a very early age. I saw failed marriages, hearts broken after years of dating and the strange behavior of women in love. I learned that love was cruel and it disappoints. The situation that disillusioned me the most, made me question why any self respecting woman would put herself through unnecessary pain and grief, happened at the age of 14.

 

It was the summer of 1994. I was visiting Courtney, a good friend of mine who was home from college for the summer. I grew up with her in my church. She was smart, pretty, a fantastic dresser (before being a fashionista was cool), could sing and dance, and she was sweet as pie. She always knew the right thing to say, always had a funny joke and never had anything negative to say. Everyone loved her, including me. She even smelled lovely, she wore this gardenia lotion from Victoria’s Secret. She gave me a bottle of it for my birthday, I thought she was Miss IT, the end all be all of what a girl should be.  I always wanted to be around her. I admired her. I think secretly I wanted to be her, or the remixed version of her that was me.

 

We were sitting in her room along with two other girls she went to high school with. Everyone was in college except for me. They were talking about jodeci, makeup and summer jobs when the subject of men came up. All the chatter stopped and everyone kind of paused and looked at her. She had gone to college with her high school sweetheart. They sang duets in the choir, always sat together, went to prom and decided they couldn’t be apart so they decided to go to college together. Of course they were the perfect little couple or so they seemed. Not understanding the silence I asked. “So how is Chris?”

I will never forget her response and the events that followed. She responded, “That lying little son of bitch is fine sweetie, but he won’t be for long.”

Well apparently they had all gone to a party the previous night where he was way to friendly with some girl that none of them liked. Then he disappeared for two hours. This was followed by my friend confronting him when he returned. He laughed and basically told her to be easy and chill out. Apparently this was not the first time something like this had happened because she then went to a drawer and pulled out a brush, a hair clip, a bracelet, and a pair of sunglasses. These items had all been taken from either Chris’ dorm room or his car. She laid them on the bed and proceeded to tell us to whom she believed the items belonged. When she got to the brush, she picked it up peered into it and then shoved it into our collective face.

“Do you see this? Do you see that hair? This is not my brush and that is definitely not my hair. I found this in his drawer. When I saw it I snatched it up, threw it at him and asked him who it belonged to. Do you know what he told me? He told me it was his study partner’s. I wanted to beat his ass.”

She put her head in her hand and just stared at the brush and for a moment I thought she was going to cry. I saw tears well up in her eyes. She looked away and said,

“Everyone knows that is my man, but why does he have to do things right in my face?”

Everyone agreed that he was trifling and that she should leave him. She looked at all of us and said “Every time I think I am going to leave he tells me he loves me and he doesn’t know what he would do with out me.”

 

The friend who sat closest to her and was almost assaulted with the brush responded, “You are crazy. You are the one snatching brushes out of drawers and I don’t know what he would do without you, but I know what he does with you. Girl, would you get a clue.” Both her friends started laughing. She just sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes. I was, hurt, angry, sad, dumbfounded and shocked all at the same time. Here was my teenage hero confused, distraught and on the verge of tears all over a silly little boy. I couldn’t believe she had collected these items, and kept them, traveled with them, and could pull them out for show and tell. She held the proof of deceit and cheating, but didn’t have the strength to leave him. Cheating happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean break up, but repeat offenders should not be trusted. In my mind each item was just another reason to leave him alone.

 

Plus at 14, I was like duh doesn’t everyone say whatever they need to say to get out of trouble. If you are caught doing something wrong, you will say whatever it takes to rectify the situation even lie. He told her he loved her and couldn’t bear being without her. I realized that she believed him and sacrificed her happiness and sanity on this truth. A selfish statement from a guilty man that might have been true, half the truth, or not true at all, but she believed it.

 

Today I was at the mall looking for some stuff for work, when someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and it was Courtney. I screamed, she started laughing and I was all oh my gosh is it really you. She gave me a hug and held me at arms length so she could get a look at me. “Ursala, how have you been?” I gave her a quick run down of my accomplishments which I thought would pale in comparison to whatever fantastic life she had managed to put together. 

“I have someone I want you to meet” and she looked past me and said “Chris.”

I turned around and there was Chris with a little baby carrier and stroller. He walked over, and I must mention that he did not look particularly happy and even less impressed to see me. I said hello and gave him and the baby a hug. I cooed and gushed over her beautiful family. She then went on to tell me that they got married three years ago, they had just built a house, and where trying to have a third baby. She quickly whipped out her phone to show me more pictures of the family. The whole time Chris just stood there. He kind of smiled, and nodded along, but he didn’t talk, he was just there. She just went on and on, and he just stood there. We talked for about twenty minutes and then we said goodbye and promised to keep in touch.   

 

I couldn’t help but remember that brush in her hand. I hope she is happy, I hope she got what she wanted.

Hello Stranger…

This is the first installment of a three part series.

 

There are days when the planets, moons and stars align and the heavens open up a momentary window for celestial blessings to fulfill the unknown desires of our little hearts. It was on one of these rare days that I ran into the second biggest crush of my life. Let’s just say a crush from my youth. The first time I saw him I was in awe, unable to move or take my eyes off of him. The first time he spoke to me I thought I was going pass out from sheer glee. We dated briefly before I went away to college. Things didn’t work out, but I can’t even say what really happened, we just fell out of touch. I have always wondered what would have happened.

I was out one Sunday night, at a pool hall of all places, when fate decided that our paths should cross. I was chatting it up with an associate when he walked over looking like a young Hugh Hefner all smoking jacket, suaveness and smelling good to say hello. I liked his swagger, I didn’t remember him having such presence or style, but that’s what growing up will do for you. I was instantly enchanted with him, it was like a spell came over me and I was transported back to my youth.

He seemed to be genuinely happy to see me as well. We spent the next hour catching up with one another. When my friend reminded me that I had to go to work the next day, I snapped out of it. I was sad I had to go. However, he made it all better by asking for my number, got him, HaHA! I gave it to him and he sent me a text later on saying he was happy that he ran into me.

The next day we talked and it was senior year all over again with all the butterflies and giggles and heart flutters and blushes and sighs and sheer excitement. I can’t help myself, all of the emotions and feelings from before immediately flooded back into my mind and I was instantly in LIKE.

Our second first date was even better than the first one. We had thai which we both like. This has to be noted because recently I have meet people who don’t like thai. Anyway we talked and talked and then talked some more. I don’t think either of us wanted to leave the restaurant, I know I didn’t.  

I want to be around him all the time. I just can’t help myself he is perfect. It’s weird because I can’t explain it, but it’s as if no time has passed. We just picked up where we left off.

Problem. I just don’t know if it’s the old him I remember and therefore am into or the new him the one I just met. I mean I know it’s partially based on a familiarity of what I remember, it is new, but yet it feels the same. I am experiencing the same passionate emotions, but it’s been ten years and what makes me happy now at version 2.8 is very different from what excited the younger version 1.8, but I know he has met me where I am now.  I really need to determine who I think I’m falling in serious like with. I admit that I’m a little off but he seems to get me, with all my excitement, off humor, unfounded nervousness and whatever else anyone finds strange, but he just acts like its all normal. I have seen more than one raised eye brow so it’s refreshing to have someone not react to my little oddities. I know that he has changed and I will need to get to know the new guy. I am already so into him, so I know that I will fall hard there is no doubt in my mind because it’s already happening.