Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Want to Feel...

The good
The bad
& the ugly

I want to know what it's like to care so much and love so hard it hurts. I want the kisses, the fights, the pain. I want to be near the brink of breaking up and make up all over again.
I want it all.

It's been years since I've been in a relationship, and that one was short-lived; I'm getting to the point in my life where I feel like I've really missed out on something by being so single. And it doesn't help that I'm not a serial dater. I'd much rather get to know someone and form a unique, lasting bond with them than waste energy by collecting pieces of men here and there without ever completing the puzzle.

I want to find that person I can uniquely bond with. That person I can get so mad at that I want to scream at them one moment but then be held by them the next. I want to create new memories and lay the foundation for a future.

I want to feel the endless possibility.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Question For the Guys*

This question may not seem very serious but it's something that comes up every now and then when I'm talking to my girlfriends. I often wonder if things we dwell on and overreact to as women are things that guys even care about.

When chatting with some friends a couple weeks ago during a conversation about hair, the topic of what we do with our hair when we go to sleep came up. Most of us admitted to either wrapping our hair in some type of scarf or putting our hair up in ponytails/buns. It was only natural that the topic would progess into asking whether or not we wear our hair wrapped men there is male company prsent. One of the women who was a part of the conversation admitted that even though she is engaged and has had over night stays with her man on many occasions, he has NEVER seen her with her hair wrapped. I actually think my face dropped, I mean never??

Having been a serious fan of A Different World, I instantly thought back to the episode where Whitley and Dwayne were newlyweds and Whitley would rise at the crack of dawn before Dwayne woke up just to take out her curlers, brush her teeth, and apply makeup/perfume. All this to give him the impression that she woke up looking just as perfect as she did before she went to sleep. Now this may be extreme, but I think most women do some form of this practice.

My approach; however, has always been to keep it 100. Whenever I've had male company over, friend or otherwise, I ALWAYS wrap my hair. I feel like there's no need for me to pretend like my hair just naturally lays down. The idea of laying down and waking up the same way is cute, but not realistic. I figured waking up with tangled, matted down hair just for the sake of looking cute while we're both supposed to be sleeping is borderline ridiculous lol. Am I keeping it too real?

So my questions for the fellas out there is whether you all actually care how we look when we go to sleep? Do you want us to leave the scarves for nights we're sleepign alone, or would you rather learn about us now before you put a ring on it and all formalities fly out the window?

*I know you guys are out there reading this. You've either told me, or someone else that you do so I would appreciate some participation here ;-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Settle? No. Compromise? Maybe.

The other day one of my co-workers clipped out an article for me, from our morning paper. I really love how helpful people have become now that they know I'm writing on this blog :-). The article was a review of the new advice book "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" by Lori Gottlieb.

Essentially the book recommends that women who are single and looking to be married should go for Mr. 8 rather than Mr. 10. Maybe the good guy doesn't have the perfect face, hair, body or personality but that doesn't mean he can't be the one for you. Gottlieb argues that women are less likely to be happy with the idea of settling for someone who possesses 80% of what they're looking for than men are. Which isn't surprising in the least to me. I've always thought that men are more likely to live in the reality of their optons, while women are caught up in our childhood days of watching Disney movies and thus are looking for our fairytale Prince.

While I agree that looking for Mr. Perfect will more often that not, leave you lonely, I don't think anyone should "settle". Maybe it's my interpretation of the word settle, but I feel like settling = future unhappiness. All I can imagine are the arguments that will end up centering around you letting them know that they were never the one you really wanted to be with in the first place. This is why I think it's much more reasonable to say that we should all be willing to compromise instead.

So maybe the guy you find doesn't make 6 figures, but he has a good job that he enjoys, great benefits, and visions of upward mobility... a compromise but definitely not settling. But ladies, let's not think we're the only ones making a compromise. He honestly wanted to be with Halle Berry or Beyonce but since they're both out of his reach, he compromised and was able to realize that the positives in you outweighted your flaws enough to still be able to make him happy.

But honestly, when you're so insistant on getting married that you're willing to end up with someone you don't really want, aren't you just a little too pressed to get married? Good things come to those who wait. Right?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

85 Years and Counting

Reading about this couple, Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, I couldn't help but share their story as well as their words. The Fishers have been married for a record breaking 85 years.

In honor of Valentine's Day, Twitter set up a Q&A with the world's longest married living couple. Having been married for 85 years, I'm sure there are quite a few things we can learn from them.
1. Q: What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
A: H & Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option - or even a thought.

2. Q: How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
A: We grew up together & were best friends before we married. A friend is for life - our marriage has lasted a lifetime

3. Q: Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
A: We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other & our family.

4. Q: What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
A: Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith
5. Q: What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
A: Respect, support & communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest & true.Love each other with ALL of your heart

6. Q: What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
A: Zelmyra: A hard worker & good provider. The 1920s were hard,but Herbert wanted & provided the best for us.I married a good man!

7. Q: What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
A: Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day. Herbert left work early & surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her & she could relax - the look on her face & clean plate made my day!

8. Q: You got married very young – how did u both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
A: “Everyone who plants a seed & harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.

9. Q: What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
A: Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.

10. Q: Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
A: The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs - together.

11. Q: How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
A: Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.

12. Q: At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
A: Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.

13. Q: Is fighting important?
A: NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, & fight for what really matters. Learn to bend - not break!

14. Q: What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
A: We are both Christians & believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with & for each other every day.
This definitely warmed my heart. Where are the people who think this way today??

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why Does Valentine's Day Matter Anyway?

But then again, why shouldn't it?

For over a week I have heard various people lamenting over the coming of Valentine's Day and what it means or doesn't mean to them. Many people I hear who are anti-VDay, say it's a Hallmark holiday, created just for us to spend, spend, spend. But seriously, what holiday(including birthdays) isn't? What's wrong with choosing to celebrate those people that you love and care for in your life? My theory is that people who are seriously anti the day of love fall into 1 of 3 categories; they are either:

1. alone and don't want to be
2. cynical
3. just plain 'ol cheap

I haven't had a valentine in 5 years and don't have one this year, and still the hopeless romantic in me can't turn my back on VDay. I love the idea of there being a day set aside just to celebrate love. It's like you go out on this day and you can just breath in the happiness as couples of all ages show their appreciation for each other. It's unfortunate that people get so caught up with thinking that to show someone they care, they have to go out and spend a lot of money, that we forget what the day is actually about. It's not about who gets the biggest bouquet or gets taken to the nicest restaurant, but making sure that the special people in your life know just how much you appreciate them.

VDay can be especially complicated for us ladies. No matter what we may say out of our mouths, if we don't have someone to share this day with, we feel some type of way about it. I've already had 2 guys ask me why I don't have a valentine and you better believe I almost snapped on the last dude lol (I mean come on. Why would I know why I don't have a date and secondly what kind of question is that anyway??).

So to my guys out there, let the the women in your life, especially the single ones(even if she really is only a friend), know that you're thinking of them. It could be as small and simple as a text or e-mail saying "Happy VDay, I appreciate you". You never know how much the little things matter. :o)

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Stories - My Inspiration

With Valentine's Day just a couple days away, I figured I would take time this week to share some stories of love. I don't know many people who are in loving relationships but the ones I do know, I'd love to share their story with you all. I get so tired of hearing and even writing about the negative side of love and relationships that I definitely think these stories will provide a breath of fresh air.

The first tale of love is from my parents. They are truly my inspiration. Enjoy!

My mother and father have been married for what will be 35 years this November. My mother was born in Alabama, and my father in Cleveland, but as fate would have it they would wind up becoming next door neighbors. There is a pretty significant age gap between them, but having been around them for the past 25 years, I think this is what helped their relationship survive in the first place. When they married, my dad had just completed grad school and landed his first real job while my mother was just beginning college. Having a clear idea that being with my father was what she wanted, she chose to leave school and move away from everything she knew to be with him. And that is where their life together began. Thirty-five years, three kids, and one granddaughter later, their love continues on.

I spoke to my dad tonight and asked him what it was that helped him to realize that my mother was the one for him. After all these years, I have never once asked my dad how he felt about my mother and their relationship. He unlike my mother, is not the openly emotional type so I wasn't sure of what type of response I would get. When I asked him what it was that drew him to my mom, his response was, her independent mind. She wasn't afraid to be her own person and voice her opinion. And not only did she have an opinion but it was an educated one; and since my dad was older and more mature this was important to him. He also told me that many of the other women he was surrounded by were too busy trying to dumb themselves down just for the sake of catching a man and that wasn't what he was after- granted this may have appealed to some men, but it obviously was not enough for my father.

Hearing my father's response made me think back to the heated debates I would witness my parents get into from time to time. They wouldn't be going back and forth with petty arguments about who left the toilet seat up or why she wouldn't stop nagging him; but instead about topics surrounding politics and worldly affairs. Eventhough the discussions could get heated, we all knew they were harmless. Their debates were more like embers to keep the flame burning than cracks within their foundation.

If nothing else I have learned from my parents that love is about taking chances, especially when you know that the person you love is worth the risk. It is also about realizing that relationships take work and patience. There are going to be times where my man may get on my nerves because we disagree on something, but at the end of the day I should still be able to say that I love him. And if I can't say that, then he isn't the one for me.

I'm not one to throw out Bible verses like I attend church on a regular basis, but thinking about my parents' love story made me think of this one:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
- 1Corinthians 13:4-8

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do You Have the Key to My Lock?

This week I had a different agenda for my blog, but before I get there I have to talk about an experience I had this week.

Last week I made plans to attend a social event I heard about through a blog I read that is penned by Essence relationship editor, Demetria Lucas, who would also be co-sponsoring the event. It wasn't until I was all committed to going that I took a look at who else was sponsoring the social gathering. Low and behold it was a match making site. Instantly I broke out in a minor sweat. What had I gotten myself into?? Having already invited a friend along, there was really no turning back. I decided that instead of getting all nervous, I would see this as a challenge. Honest moment: being in a situation where I'm "forced" to meet new people, especially men, is just nerve-wrecking for me.

As I and my nerves arrived to the event I found out why it was called a "Lock and Key" party. Every woman was given a lock and every man was given a key, or two and throughout the night you are supposed to get to know someone of the opposite sex and see if their key opens your lock. The first 10 "couples" to find each other to be a match won a aproze. There are definitely some sexual undertones here, but I found the concept to be super cute.

As most situations would have it, the women outnumbered the men, naturally setting the tone for men to be the choosers. What a surprise right? But what was actually interesting was the dynamic between men and women, which I think may have a lot to do with why we have such a disconnect. Many of the women were there in groups of 3 or 4 and were huddled in corners laughing and talking amongst themselves. Most of the men on the other hand came alone or if they came with a friend, still chose to mingle solo. I'm not a guy but if I were one, the sight of 4 women with arms folded talking amongst themselves would make me a little nervous and maybe even cause me to decide to approach someone who at least appeared more available. Is this how you men out there feel when you see women in groups like this? Definitely makes me think twice about the way I present myself when I go out.

Having observed this early on, I decided to be the antithesis, if you will, and set out to at least appear as approachable as possible. My friend and I stayed close to each other but not so close we could be mistaken for Siamese twins. And after ordering a lemondrop for the bar, that had more drop than lemon(as my friend put it) I puffed out my chest and put on my best smile. Hey, I've always been told you attract more bees with honey than with shyt. And maybe this philosophy has some truth to it because by the time the night ended, I had a couple more numbers in my blackberry than I arrived with. Does a smile really make that much of a difference?

I guess you all will have to stay tuned to see if anything comes of this, but if nothing else I got in some good practice :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sex: To Wait or Not to Wait

Let's talk about sex for a minute. This may be the first time, but it surely will not be the last.

I think sex is one of the most important aspects within a relationship. When you're with someone that you really care about, I see sex as being the physical manifestation of all the emotions you have for that person. For women, sex can be so emotional, even when we don't want it to be. It's like something you can deny, deny, and deny some more but no matter what once you have sex with someone there is an attachment that is formed; it's just in our chemistry. This attachment is what makes me question when is the "best" time to decide to have sex with someone? Yes, I know, "when the feeling is right". But what I'm trying to figure out is if sex should come with stricter guidelines and rules to decrease the chances of having things end poorly?

I know that there is no definite answer but it's something that I have been thinking about lately. In Steve Harvey's book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man", Steve suggests women stick to the 3-month rule. No sex, nookie, cookie, none of that for 3 months. While this may be difficult to do, I don't think it's such a bad idea. I'm sure we all have known someone, if not ourselves, who jumped into sex too quickly and ended up getting burned (either figuratively or literally). Waiting can help you build a stronger foundation and really allow you to get to know someone without having the complications sex can bring all up in the mix. But is putting a definite timeline on sex an archaic, out-of-date notion? In this era of instant gratification, it seems like sticking to the 3-month rule may be more difficult than it would have been 20 years ago.

Hill Harper takes a somewhat more modern approach to the idea of putting a timeline on sex. In his most recent book, "The Conversation", Hill recognizes that delaying sex has worked well for some while he has also seen relationships where sex occured on the first night and still blossomed into marriage. It's kind of like you just have to take each situation on a case by case basis and hope the decision you make turns out to be the best one.

I agree with both of these concepts, but what I really want to know is how men feel about this? If you have sex with a woman early on in the relationship does it effect the level of respect you have for her? And what about the women who make you wait, does it all boil down to how interested you are in her whether or not you choose to stick around? And lastly, ladies do you prefer to make 'em wait to see if they are really in for the long haul or do you just go with your gut?

Comment, comment, comment! I really wanna hear from the fellas on this one.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Independence Will Leave You Lonely

Ladies, we have become far too independent. For all my "I don't need anybody", "I can do it on my own", superwomen out there, I need you to hear me out.

For many of us in this generation of 20somethings, we grew up in single parent households spearheaded by strong women. More than likely she made it very clear to you that you don't need a man for anything; anything he can give you, you can get for yourself. And from this, many of us have taken to heart the idea that dependence upon a man is a hinderance to our success and well-being. Why can't you be successful in life and also find comfort in knowing that you can find someone who you will be able to rely on that won't take advantage of you? Life to me is a two person job. Sure you can do it alone and people do, but do you reeeeeally want to??

Too bad we've become so busy with asserting our independence that we forget that men actually like to feel wanted and even needed. If we were meant to be totally indepedent, self-sufficient beings; we'd all be asexual and feelings of loneliness and longing wouldn't even be a part of our psyches.

I really have come to think that so many of us are single because of our own doings. I doubt that there are many men who want to hear you tell them that you can do bad all by yourself and that you don't need him. If that's the case, you should be perfectly content with being alone for the rest of your life. There is no reason for you to have to climb the ladder to successs alone. We can all benefit from a helping hand or nudge especially if it's from someone who genuinely cares.

I don't think women are the only ones guilty of this though, I think men can be the same way.

Am I on to something here? Or am I 100% wrong? Somebody let me know...