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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Impressing the Impressive

As you know, I mentor teen girls. Last Saturday, after the mentor meeting, one of my favorite girls, Kyra, told me that she wants to take out her braids but is scared to because she knows that boys like girls with long hair and her real hair is short.
"What does it matter what boys like? What do you like?" I asked my 15-year-old friend.
"I want to cut all my hair off," she said, honestly. But we both knew that that wasn't going to happen. It takes a very brave teenage girl to go bald.
"Well, you should do what you want to do with your hair because you want to do it, not because you want a boy to like you," I advised, something I wish someone would have told me when I was 15 during my black lipstick and cornrows faze.
Fast forward a day to Sunday. I woke up early before my writing group to put on eyeshadow because I noticed that New Ryan talked to two women after the last meeting that had on makeup. And if New Ryan likes it, I love it!
It was only after I saw myself in the mirror putting on pink eyeshadow that I hadn't used in over a year that I realized that I was no different than Kyra, only I was sadder because she is 15 and I am less than a month away from 34. I should know better.
Do you ever outgrow wanting to impress someone you find impressive? At the rate I fall for dudes, I don't think I have enough eyeshadow to take me into the next phase of my life. I hear that after 50 you stop caring as much. By then, fingers crossed, my armpit hair will be growing out of the top of my wool turtleneck and I can finally be free to be me. Until then, eyeshadow it is. But if anyone asks, I'm not wearing it because I'm thirsty. I'm wearing it because I want to.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Tale of Three Ryans

Okay, okay, okay. I have a crush on yet another man. His name is Ryan. I met him at a writer's group. He is cute. He is kind. He is employed. He is 40. He is out of my league like you wouldn't believe. He is very much coffee and Miles Davis while I'm Snapple Apple and Boosie Badazz.
But as you know, he is not the first Ryan. There was, of course, Sickles, the physically and emotionally unavailable boy slut who gave painful massages and had a baby with a lady when I assumed we were dating. You know what they say about assumptions...
And who can forget Ryan from college? The man I fell for that I literally tried to FORCE to love me. I mean, I offered to cook him food, and, at the advice of my sweet yet misguided friends, even attempted to press my hair and wear heels. As I am sure you have guessed, it didn't work out.
New writer's group Ryan and I vibe pretty well. He thinks I'm funny. I think he has common sense. And with every conversation, I can feel myself sliding ever so beautifully further into the friend zone. God the friend zone. I have been there so many times. Let me tell you a secret: there are no friends there.
For 2019, let's make an agreement not to fall for any more unavailable men, okay? No more men in their late 30s dedicated to their rap careers. No more men who need to borrow $20 dollars to take their main chicks on dates. No more! We will be accountability partners.
Now, I hate to end this post short, but I have to go fantasize about being married to New Ryan now.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Friendsgiving

Amanda invited me to a Friendsgiving cookoff that the single's ministry from our church was putting on. There was going to be tons of food and fun so, of course, I was excited to go. Now I know, I know. The last time the single's ministry had an event I was desperately overdressed and disappointed. But that is only because I had expected to become engaged while I was there.
I had never been to a Friendsgiving before, but this one was awesome! The house was packed with young singles eating and having a good time. There was even a high-stakes game of Jeopardy. I was surrounded by people who were enjoying being single.
Years of having watched a trillion of my friends get married, of taking myself on Valentine's Day dates, and of attending baby showers where you have to play that stupid toilet paper game had me convinced that being single was an affliction. You know, like a lazy eye or a clubbed foot. And the only cure for this affliction was to try to find someone to love you as fast as possible. It's kind of like a game. The winners get the possibility of a life of bliss with a mate and the losers, like myself, get to plan their own birthday parties and tape pictures of Idris Alba on their vision boards. While watching everyone mix and mingle it dawned on me: maybe being single isn't a terminal illness. Maybe it's just the life you live while you're waiting for love or while you are in between romances.
I have decided to adopt this way of thinking, especially as the holiday season rolls around. Nothing reminds you you're alone like wrapping Christmas gifts to yourself. But maybe next year there will be a boy toy sitting next to me, listening to me complain about the ever-increasing price of wrapping paper. Oh, to finally be in love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Not So Smart

Can we take a minute to talk about Black, scholarly, womanist, community-minded lesbians for a sec? I got to meet some last night because my friend KT invited me to visit her at her hotel. She was in town for a women's conference. She wanted to hang out and introduce me to her colleagues; the Black, scholarly, womanist, community-minded lesbians.
These women were where Black feminity went to get its best life! I'm talking bald heads, fades, afros, colorful lipsticks, huge earrings, Black history lapel pins, and dripping confidence.
And their conversations. YIKES! They were going in on gender and their cool professor jobs and balancing children (or not having children) and career.
"Where do you teach?" the one with the big afro puff in a beautiful wrap dress asked. This is a hot button question, seeing that I am a writer with no publisher and a publicist with no clients; a grownup with allowance money and a childlike desire to run and hide.
"I'm a publicist," I answered. What the hell. I have a website.
This answer triggered some type of conversation about how people identify on the sexual spectrum and I had no idea what this woman was talking about. I could tell that I was the only one that didn't. I felt so dumb. I have always considered myself to be pretty smart and in-the-know but look at my life: I'm broke and alone. Maybe I'm not so smart.
I decided to just listen and not say anything. I couldn't risk looking like I didn't know what I was talking about. I had tried to steer the conversation towards something I was comfortable with. I really wanted to address how poorly Trina Braxton is being styled on Sister Circle. Everything they dress her in makes her look 40lbs heavier than she is.
"Who is Trina Braxton?" the one with the short, blond natural asked.
I clutched my pearls. Who was Trina Braxton? But I guess I couldn't be too upset. I didn't know what gender binary meant.
"I can't believe you tried to talk about Trina Braxton with those women," my aunt remarked during a grocery store run. "Those women are at work when that show comes on. You are the only one at home watching that trash."
Ouch.
Isn't it funny how your insecurities just pop up and say hello at the oddest times? I am insecure about the fact that I don't have an advanced degree and had almost forgotten this fact until I had dinner with college professors and saw the difference between them and myself. It's actually something I would like to explore further but I can't. Wendy Williams is coming on.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Hershey's Kiss of Death

I got the most inspirational call the other night from one of my oldest friends, Julia. I mean oldest literally. She is in her late-60s.
She called me to update me on a mild romantic saga she had been engaged in the last time we spoke. She is a little in love with an international playboy that she met through her job. During their last meeting, he told her how much he enjoyed American candy, particularly Hershey's Kisses. She then did something that I know for sure that none of my 30-something friends would have had the guts to do: she sent a box of $300 worth of chocolate kisses to Africa!
"What?" I asked. I had been lying down and sat straight up. Talk about a bold move! Not only was she opening the door for him to think she was nuts, but the shipping from Atlanta to Ethiopia had to have been steep!
Once he received the box, he wrote her a handwritten, heartfelt letter about how he loved the candy and thought it was the nicest jester.
This story was amazing to me. Out of all of the relationship rules, I would have thought that sending a man an unsolicited box of candy overseas would be the Hershey Kiss of death! It's such an honest, heart-on-your-sleeve move.
I don't have that much dating experience, but from what I have seen and experienced, honesty has always been treated like the enemy of love. You can't tell a guy you love him first. That is the cardinal rule. You have to look unbothered when you see your ex with his new girl, even when you want to cry.
However, I was feeling inspired by Julia and her huge set of lady balls. It made me want to slide into the DM of my Sigma crush. Let's call him Blue Wave.
A couple of years ago I wrote him a poem. I read it to Gia Tortilla and she told me this exactly, "Don't ever send this to him. Ever. When you feel like you want to, send it to me and I will respond like I am him."
But if Julia has taught us anything, it's that honesty could, in fact, be the best policy. Late one night, I sat in the dark and began to type a line of the poem:
Asked the vixen of her prey:
Where do you want me to 
touch you?
Said the prey to the vixen:
touch me where you touch yourself. 
I could hear Gia Tortilla screaming in my ear, so I erased the message immediately. I am not nearly as brave as Julia. Plus, I wasn't sure how Blue Wave would feel about my little poem. It's way too honest. 

No Room for Love

Tuesday night was one of those nights that just felt sexy in Atlanta. I looked super cute in a black dress and peach jacket and sat with my girls Keleche and Kaye at a chic downtown hotspot enjoying soul food and live music. But at the skeleton of the scene, which included laughs and cocktails, was the usual story: three single Black women trying to figure out why they are single.
"My guy friends have told me that I can't get a man because I go out too much," Kaye explained. Wow. In college, it seemed like guys liked girls who liked to go out. Now, having a social life is a minus?
"What are we supposed to do, sit here?" I demanded. At that moment, a 40-something-year-old single woman got up to dance to the music...alone.
Apparently, that is exactly what single women are expected to do: sit pretty and look available. Kaye said that her male friends told her that because she is such a social butterfly, it looks as if she doesn't have time for a man in her life.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that I have heard this. My friend Amanda from church told her brother-in-law that she can't wait until she gets married one day and he was shocked. According to him, her life is so full, that she seems content and not looking for a man.
So now for the new equation for love: too busy=no interested.
Of course, I discussed this with P. He didn't disagree and had more to add.
"Black women are single because they don't want men to lead in the household," he began.
I turned my ears off. Finding out that I have to be a homebody and a pushover to get a man in the span of three days was overwhelming.
I choose to believe that no matter how often a woman goes out or what she is involved in that the right man won't care. I'm choosing to believe this, I have no idea if this is the case. I guess we will know the answer if we are in our 40s, dancing alone. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

BoyMenBabies

This past weekend I put on a teen love and relationship panel for a girl's organization that I volunteer with. I invited teen boys to come and answer the girls' deep, burning questions about dating and what boys their age really think. The panel was fun! I got proof of what I had suspected as a teen: that boys are emotional messes too that just don't show it. I also confirmed something that I had been suspecting since I was about 20. Allow me to explain.
One of the questions that the girls had for the boys was about friends with benefits.
"Boys who want you to be a friend with benefits are just trying to be a player," one of the 15-year-old panelists said.
"I'd like to add to that," Ron, the sexy male chaperones the boys brought with them said. He then proceeded to say, in college words, the same thing that the boy said. It then dawned on me: men are just tall boys!
Back when I had the energy, heart, spirit, emotional steadiness and low self-esteem to date, I was always left hanging cerebrally. Then I had to check my ego. I mean, could it have been possible that I was smarter than all these guys?? I see now that I was not. I was just ahead of them. You know, just like how they say that girl toddlers learn to crawl and use the potty before boy toddlers do? I was discussing politics with men who sure, were my age, but really didn't have anything to say about anything outside of Naruto and basketball.
This was proven again recently at church. This hot, seemingly smart guy that I have met there told me how he had not heard back from a job he interviewed for. I asked if he had sent a thank you email after the interview.
"No," he said. "I would send them a thank you if I get offered the job."
"No, that's not right."
"Yeah it is." He was giving me the same pushback that my 6-month old nephew gave me a few weeks ago when trying to give him his ear infection medicine. This guy is 37!
Maybe I am late to the party on this, but I feel like, in my season of manlessness, I am getting even wiser. Stay tuned for my next love epiphany.