Monthly Archives: September 2018

Relationship vs. Companionship

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When I started this blog, it was an attempt to document my experiences with online dating. Some good, some bad, and some indifferent. I sat down one evening and I frantically wrote down the names of all the men I had talked to and/or when on dates with since breaking up with my ex. When I was done I had filled up almost 15 pages with names and descriptions. This blog has become not only therapy but a visual catalog of the last three years of me trying to navigate the complexities of dating. I’ll say it again- like I said before; when I finally made the decision to end the relationship with my ex, I figured it wouldn’t be long before I met someone I deemed worthy. Fast forward to three years and countless dates later I am still single. In the post “A Look in The Mirror” I removed the blame from the men and placed a bit of it on myself. Not all the men that crossed my path were bad; some men were actually decent guys, but I found something wrong with them. The something I deemed wrong could’ve been as futile as him walking like a duck. Everything else about him could be perfect; but the chance of those feet being passed down to our offspring and them being picked on because of it, automatically disqualified him. So, last week I was in a debate with a former man I started talking to from OKCupid and he claimed that I was “disagreeable” and it was “no wonder” why I was single. This was not the first time I had been told this. But it pushed me to, once again, explore that uncomfortable place. I already know my standards and expectations are high; but could the reason that I found myself still single be because, deep down I wanted to be single?  

During the middle of my last relationship I had begun to start taking care of myself. I started taking Zumba classes with my mom, 2-3 days a week. My boyfriend, at the time, had an issue with my sudden change of availability. He was used to me being available when he was, and now that there were days I couldn’t make time for him he was not happy. We planned many dates that, if he was no longer in the mood, he would just cancel on me and say, “Don’t worry, we have time”. Lastly, there were countless weekends that I spent home alone whenever we would cancel or change our plans. When I finally got tired of being constantly let down, I ended the relationship.  

I had just started a new job and my co-worker introduced me to ClassPass; so, I plunged into working out. I didn’t work out for the revenge body bull shit. I truly fell in love with working out. I love to sweat, I love the challenge, and I loved meeting these new people from my classes. Working out really became food for my soul. I also started training for the marathon, so I was constantly running. I took writing classes and fell in love with that as well. I started hanging out with my friends and family more. And lastly, I became an avid planner. With all this new found free-time I filled my days and nights how I wanted. I didn’t have to consider and/or plan around my boyfriend. If I wanted to go to the movies- I went. If I wanted to go out to eat- I got dressed, found a place and ate. If my friends wanted to go on a trip- I paid and went. The feeling of doing what I wanted, when I wanted was extremely liberating.  

Do you ever realize that when girls get into relationships they disappear but men still find time to be with their boys. We as females lose who we are for the sake of keeping our man happy. We become so attached to the identity of “we” that when the relationship ends, we have to re-find ourselves. After I broke up with my ex I began to despise the “I have to check with my man and/or husband” girls. The idea of planning my life around a man became asinine to me. After what I went through with my ex, I never wanted to be that girl again.   

With this mentality, I walked into this new round of dating. Any man that came into my life would have to be flexible to what I already had going on. You couldn’t call me for a date on Friday night and expect me to be available (after work I had Zumba with my mom and then we would often go out to eat after) You would have to let me know well in advance you wanted to take me to dinner for me to consider making time for you. My time had grown very valuable to me, so even with the most amazing guy the thought of and having to adjust my already existing schedule seemed as painful as having a tooth pulled with no anesthesia.  

When people would ask me what I looked for in a partner I would try to avoid answering; because the honest truth was like chasing the horizon. 

For example: I had an ex that loved to speak on the phone; we would talk and text constantly; morning, noon, night- it didn’t matter. We would also see each other every weekend; he would sometimes tag along with me and my friends or family; we were inseparable. This was all fine, until… 

  1. I got tired of talking to him in the morning when I wanted to be in silence or listen to my music or read. Some evenings I just wanted to lay in bed and watch TV. I didn’t want to talk on the phone about how my day was and I didn’t want to hear about his day.
  2. I began to hate texting him; words and phrases between he and I were often misconstrued. I was often required to do damage control because of a simple misunderstanding.
  3. I wanted my weekends back to myself. I got tired of always being with him every Friday-Sunday. He barely had money so most of what we did was cheap or my mother, because she liked him, would often pay for us. On Sundays he watched soccer- which I hated. I simply grew fed-up.

I eventually realized that; with all my relationships, at some point I always approached this familiar bridge. The behaviors I once loved about my partners I began to loathe. Three years later, I finally asked myself; Do I really want a relationship or just companionship?  

The effort one puts into a relationship, the need to care for someone else’s feelings, the needing to coordinate plans- none of that seems like fun to me. If I’m really honest: I can count on one hand the times when I really want a relationship: 

  1. When the weather starts to change (cuffing season)
  2. When there are plus one events and I have no significant other to bring.
  3. When I don’t feel like paying for my own food or drinks.
  4. When I want sex and cuddle sessions.
  5. After each bad date.

I wanted a relationship because I knew I wanted to be a mother. In my mind, a healthy relationship would elevate to engagement, then marriage, then family. And at 28 my biological clock had started to tick. You only have X years left Carolyn! You have to find a man Carolyn! Make it work Carolyn! Be the girl he wants to marry Carolyn! And have his babies Carolyn! Then, one day I thought; what if that man never comes along? Do I settle for average dude from the block? Do I settle for a guy that has some good qualities and know that I will never truly love him?  Do I give up my hopes on being a mother all together? I could always freeze my eggs, but that requires money- money that I do not have. People also say, women are having babies at later ages these days, but I don’t want to be a 40-year-old mother with a one year old.  

I gave myself 3 options and a cut off age of 36. If I’m still single with no possibilities in sight; I’ll be like Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan (artificial insemination). Befriend a gay couple and we’d join forces to create a 3-parent family. And my last option- I’d hop on a plane to Italy have a romantic excursion and return with a belly (joking- or am I) 

I’m still not sure if what I want is a relationship or just a romantic companion. I am now taking the time to explore that possibility. At this point- I’ve stopped looking for a relationship. I just want to continue enjoying my life. I’ve joined various social and activity groups to force me out of my comfort zone. It’s fun doing things you love with people that have similar interests. There is no pressure to be your best or put on a façade. I am allowed to be as loud or as quiet as I want to be. If I meet someone on a special trip or at a group event- that’s great; if I don’t meet anyone, that’s fine too.

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BUM MAGNET: THE LAST STRAW

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I started talking to J_OKC this past spring (2018). His picture came across my profile. His profile indicated that he was black, lived in Brooklyn, had no kids, had a job, and my same age. I wasn’t totally enthusiastic about talking to him because he looked a bit rough around the edges. However, when he messaged me I figured I should take a chance. He seemed genuinely interested and I openly welcomed his enthusiasm. He called me a few times; his conversation was playful, nothing too serious; and definitely no red flags. He seemed quite intrigued by me and couldn’t understand why I was still single (a question I often ask myself). He mentioned that he would often sabotage his relationships because they would seem too good to be true. I told him that I refused to settle into a relationship just for the title, but without the substance. We spoke for about two weeks; when he asked me for a date I agreed.  

We agreed to meet up one afternoon at Union Square. I confirmed earlier in the day that our plans were still on, which they were. By the end of the day, I was running late. I called to notify him and he seemed to be ok to wait. I got off of the train and I saw him across the street. He had a multi-colored decorated shirt, heavily destructed jeans, and Jordan sneakers (do not wonder which version, for I had no idea- I am not a sneaker head or Jordan wearer). It was obvious he put effort into his outfit but I prefer a less ghetto-fabulous look. Walking down the street we looked like we came from two different walks of life. He was decked out in his Dr. Jays/ Jimmy Jazz apparel and I looked business casual in my fitted dress, duster sweater, and sandals. Yes- I said it! I can be superficial at times, and I do not care! 

We walked for a few blocks trying to decide where to go and eat. I kept asking him what he wanted to eat and he kept asking me the same, in return. We ended up choosing a small local Mexican restaurant. We got a seat for two and sat across from each other. I was finally able to get good long look at his face. He was a decent looking man with only two major visible flaws; the obvious being his skin. His skin looked patchy- like he washed his face but forgot to lotion; it was also obvious that he didn’t get a hair cut. We proceeded to talk as we glanced over the menu. We each ordered lemonades and rice bowls. He kept asking the waiter if the bowls came with rice. He must have asked that about 5 times. Slowly but surely all the charisma he had over the phone seemed to have gotten lost on his train ride from Brooklyn. He refused to make eye contact; which is very important to me on a first date. He kept looking off to the side and/or down at the table. His lack of eye contact screamed one thing to me. That he had done time in jail. So- of course, I asked him and he confirmed what I already knew to be true. He had been locked up two times on separate occasions. In my mind I thought… A-fucking-gain! But, nonetheless, I continued with the date. He talked about being a chef and how he liked to create food. We talked about hobbies: my running, working out, writing etc. He was very much a homebody; he didn’t go out much unless he had a reason. He wasn’t big on family gatherings but did on occasion doing things out of the ordinary. We finished our food; overall was decent but, nothing to write home about. Truth be told; Chipotle would have tasted better and been more filling. When the check came I glanced at the bill, it was just under $40. He paid, didn’t leave a tip and we walked out. Once we had exited the restaurant I mentioned to him that he did not tip the server. He claimed he didn’t realize, said that he would walk back but, then changed his mind and we kept on walking.   

We sat in Madison Square Park and continued talking. I will give him credit the conversation got better. What we spoke about, in detail, I honestly do not remember. We touched on his family, his few friends, and how he liked to be the man with the element of surprise. He enjoyed doing things a typical hood dude would do; which was admirable. The conversation was going decently well again. There was eye contact and the conversation didn’t feel forced. I was sitting beside him and I couldn’t help but notice a funny smell. The smell was nauseating; I thought it was a garbage truck but every time he laughed the smell got more potent. I realized that what I was smelling was his breath and the rotten teeth there were inside his head. What The Entire Fuck!  

Side Note: I’m well aware that dental work is not cheap, but taking care of one’s teeth should be a priority. Over crowding and yellowing I can tolerate; rotten teeth though- is now and will forever be a NO NO in my book. The average working adult with a job is now eligible for some type of insurance. And, if you don’t have insurance there are many dentists that will put you on a payment plan for dental work. From my perspective there is no excuse for horrible dental hygiene. In the very least carry some damn gum or breath mints to mask that odor.  

As I sat there and he went on and on about how he liked my vibe and wanted to see me again I interjected the conversation. I asked him about his teeth. He said he planned to get his teeth fixed once his insurance kicked in. That seemed ideal but I thought to myself, if you allowed your mouth to get that bad I had no faith you would take care of it in a timely manner. I made it clear that I would not move forward until his teeth were fixed. I couldn’t see myself laughing at the sight of dark grey teeth from a mouth that smelled like garbage; I just couldn’t do it. 

We sat down for a few more minutes then I had to go home and he went to look for his shoes.  

We never spoke again.  

After that date I came to grips with the reality of what I already knew. I am picky and I often give chances to those that I have no business considering. I like what I like and there is no changing that. I don’t want to date a man that looks too hood, is a homebody, has been to prison, and has bad teeth. 

 It is what it is and I make no apologies for that.

BUM MAGNET PT 2: I CAN SMELL THE CELL BLOCK ON HIM

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I had always a found luck on Badoo; this particular dating app had crossed me with two very significant and long lasting relationships (well- long for me). Badoo was always my go-to when I was single, so when I found myself on the market again I went revisited my old faithful.

I started talking to G_Badoo in 2015, not too long after my breakup. I didn’t want to jump into anything but I wanted to get out of the house and meet new people. You see; my last relationship put me through the ringer. I had decided that I’d rather be single than be in a relationship where I was sad and feeling alone majority of the time. I’m not going to dwell into the details of that relationship yet; that will be a totally different post to come much later.

After my breakup I was starved for romance, compliments, and someone nice. When G_Badoo came across my profile he had a sweet look; a little rough around the edges but in the very least, I was open to getting to know him. Through phone conversations I found out that he lived in my same neighborhood and that he had actually saw me around, since he hung out around my pops. He said he tried getting my attention in the past but I was never responsive. So one morning he volunteered to meet me at the train on my way to work. I saw it as a sweet gesture so I agreed.

Monday morning I was walking to the train. I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing but considering I was going to work and that I work in fashion, I’m quite certain I looked extra pretty. As I walked in his direction I heard my inner conscience screaming at me to, run away! Tell him something suddenly came up and that I had to go back home. Ahead of me stood a man; 5’9” (maybe 5’10”), wearing a dirty Yankees cap that covered his messed up ponytail, an oversized dingy jacket, oversized baggy pants, and busted up Timberland boots. My insides were immediately pissed that once again I was a magnet for a jail bird.

Now, before people jump down my throat- allow me to explain. I have, on more than a few occasions, dated men that were once behind bars. I am fully aware that the judicial system is not the same for a man of color, in comparison to a white man; and the smallest infraction can land a man of color behind bars; the same is not true for a white man. So, for a moment in time I would, if approached respectfully by a man that had once been in the system, give them the benefit of the doubt. Hell, I once went to bail my ex out when his crazy baby-mama got him locked up. I did not want to be one of those women that looked down on a man (especially a man of color) because of his past. We all make mistakes and the goal is that we learn to not repeat them again.

So, I proceeded to walk ahead and greet him. It wasn’t like I could just walk by and not say anything- that would have been extremely rude. And my assumption was only based on his looks; maybe he was having an off day, so I greeted him kindly and we walked to get on the train. On the train we spoke about what we liked to do. I discovered that he not only lived near my brother, but he also socialized with my pops. I figured in the very least, as my pops is an intimidating man, that he wouldn’t change face and become a dick. I asked him had he been locked up and he confessed that he had. To myself I said, “I knew it!” There’s something about a man that has been locked up. They move different, talk, and dress like they’re still inside. I swear sometimes I can smell the cellblock on them. But nonetheless, there I was riding the train with the 5 years out jail bird, that also had kids. (I was really batting 100%).

Why he got locked up, you may wonder. He claims he interfered with a domestic dispute- sounds chivalrous- I know. But there was a second time that he didn’t want to go into detail on. He kept showing me screenshots of romantic quotes about love and accepting people for who there are, etc. I would have eaten it all up had it not been for: his appearance, record, kids, etc. The entire train ride was awkward. He kept trying to get close to me and I kept trying to make space. I allowed crowds of people to come in between us because I just did not want to be seen with him. Finally when my stop had come I ran off the train with a quick bye.

He texted me many times after that, I was not interested, but he wouldn’t get the hint. Then one day my pops comes home and asks me about him. I assume he asked my pops about me and I guess my pops told him to leave me alone, as I never heard from him again. Thanks Pops.

*Fast forward*

Mid July; my mother, pop, brother, and sister-in-law were on a cruise. I’m at dinner with my friends and I receive an unknown call, I normally wouldn’t answer, but I thought it was my nephew. I answer the phone thinking the worst and it turns out to be the cornball. He asks me if I remember him and I’m completely at a lost for words. Of all the people in the world he could’ve called; to call a person you rode the train with one time? Did he burn all his other bridges or was I that great of a train ride? He was trying to jog my memory and see how I was doing. I was at the dinner table looking like a dear caught in headlights. After a few minutes I wished him well and hung up the phone.

From this and other examples I started to become more detailed with my vetting process. Of course this wouldn’t be the last time I got caught out there with a Bum though. So be sure to check out next week’s post.

BUM MAGNET

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I started talking to Moe (OKC) in the fall of 2015; actually our virtual paths crossed earlier in the season, more like end of summer, but I started talking to someone else so I paused our communication. Naturally, as my luck would have it, that relationship didn’t pan out so I reached back out to Moe. He was black, was a vegan, lived in Brooklyn at the time and worked in something in the manual labor field but wasn’t totally happy working under someone else. In the end he wanted to be his own boss because he wanted to call the shots.

We communicated often and the conversation was easy and smooth. He asked to take me out on a date to lunch one Saturday and I agreed. I found a restaurant on the Upper East Side that was vegan, Candle 79. I was running a little late to the date. When I arrived I saw his appearance and immediately regretted my decision to meet him. You’ve ever seen a couple walking down the street and wonder; how did they end up together? – That was he and I. I should have turned away right then but that has never been my style. I like to give people a fair chance to show who they are; I wish more people did the same, but that’s neither here nor there.

We went into the restaurant and were seated immediately. We each ordered a cocktail, we split an appetizer and we each ordered an entrée and split a dessert. The food was delicious and the conversation was fun. He expressed that he and his friend were trying to get into fashion by reselling merchandise. I thought the idea sounded optimistic but lacked details to actually make it work- but I kept that to myself. The date was actually going well until we got on the topic of politics (how we got here I do not remember- but here we were); and he mentioned that he didn’t vote. Anyone that knows me knows that I am an extremely liberal Democrat. With that being said; I have no problem considering dating a person that is Republican, if love really does conquer all. I do however have a problem with a person that chooses to not participate in the act of voting; especially considering all the fighting that black people, men, women had to go through to have the ability to vote. That should have been a clear indicator that rocky roads were ahead but I dismissed it.

The bill came and he put down $80. I had glanced at the check before he paid and I noticed the bill said $75.50; so I asked him if he intended to leave a tip, at which point he replies that was all the money he had.

Who goes on a date, to a restaurant, with only $80? I’ll wait! I asked him if he had a card; at which he replied he didn’t use and/or have credit cards. I took his cash, put the bill on my card, tipped her accordingly, and then we walked to the MET Museum. He scoffed at me paying $10 to enter the museum; at which point I should have ended the date but, again, I wanted to be a nice person. We checked our coats then headed in. In the Roman wing we threw coins into the water. He made a wish and we shared a single kiss. We continued to look at the exhibits and eventually we left the museum and parted ways.

A few weeks had passed and it was now around Christmas. For the past 10 years, around Christmas I always walked to visit the store windows; I started to call it Holiday Store Tour. It’s such a magical experience seeing how all the Christmas cheer can transform any Grinch and, since we were trying to establish a connection, I invited him to come along with me.

Initially his response was yes, and then it shifted to ‘I’ll have to see what my money looks like’. Now, I didn’t say we were doing anything other than visiting the stores; so his inability to answer with a simple yes or no seemed illogical to me. About a week later, a few days before Christmas I asked him again. He complained about his check not coming on time and that he had no money. As a solution I said we could keep it simple and go Dutch; normally on my Holiday Store Tours the most I would buy was a hot chocolate and keep it moving. I thought that by offering to go Dutch it would be seen as a good option; he wouldn’t have to spend any money and I’d have a person to walk the stores with me. Boy- Was I Wrong!!

He ripped into me. Complaining that I was being spoiled and selfish. He complained that I’d be single forever if I continued to be such a pest. He complained that he didn’t like going out when he was broke and that he didn’t have money to even get on the train. At which point I responded that I was not a pest but an idiot. I was an idiot for giving you a chance.

I proceeded to say; “Maybe you should reconsider your life decisions. If you didn’t spend all your money on weed and got a real job instead of trying to play like a boss that you’d be able properly date a lady. Foolish of me for even considering a cornball like you.”

Needless to say; that conversation was the last.

This wasn’t the first time I dated below my level and it sure wouldn’t be the last. I’ve noticed that over the years I’ve given many chances to men that I had no business considering. Recently my friend sent me post showing the average cost of a first date over the US and New York had a cost of over $297. I was surprised. I thought to myself how? Call me crazy- but I tend to be a fan of meeting for coffee or maybe a bar for the first date. I’ve never been a fan of movie dates or dinner dates, since I like to talk and get to know the person. When I told her this, her response was; “Oh no girl… Whenever they hit me with coffee dates or bs dates I hit them with “I’m busy”.

I realized then, that I had to step my game up. Aim higher to meet a man worth my time and/or a worth his weight in salt type of man. I come across assholes both broke and better off- I might as well get better dates and experiences if I may end up with the same drama.

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