Archive for November, 2010


Giving Thanks For Your Jacked-Up Love Life

Your dating situation isn’t at all what you had hoped it would be this holiday season. Instead of gazing lovingly across the Thanksgiving dinner table into the eyes of your significant other as he passes you the pig feet, you’ll have to reach for those ham hooves yourself ‘cause the man in your life is either unavailable or just nonexistent.

However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to be thankful for this Turkey Day. There’s usually a silver lining to every cloud or in this case, gravy for every helping of cornbread stuffing. Either way, remembering to count your blessings and focusing on the positives of your current relationship status – no matter what that may be – is essential for enjoying the holidays.

So, whether you lack a romantic relationship or are just struggling in one that’s not ideal, here’s help looking on the bright side.

Recently Broken Up: What’s good about being dumped right before the holidays? The obvious answer: you can shorten your gift list by one. That money you were going to spend on nose-hair clippers and anti-fungal foot powder for your man, you can put toward a spa day for yourself. Plus, be glad you’re not carrying all that dead weight to family functions and holiday parties where potential suitors and strategically placed mistletoes may be exactly what you need. While some suggest that the holidays are an awful time for breakups, the built in distractions can help soften the blow.

Still Single: Last Thanksgiving Day, you declared that you’d have a date when the holiday rolled around again. Here it is 12 months later, and during the one date you did have you were convinced a short, little man dressed in a red devil suit was going to pop out with his pitchfork at any second. At least that would have made the evening interesting. So, what is there to be thankful for?

First, be thankful that you have the freedom to do whatever it is you want to do. While some coupled folks have to always consider their significant others, you have the liberty to make autonomous decisions about how the thermostat is set and what Lifetime movie to watch for the umpteenth time. Second, be grateful for your circle of support and love that exists even without Mr. Right. The holidays are a great time to gather your friends together for some Beyonce-style Single Ladies celebrating. Finally, be happy that you love yourself enough not to settle.

No matter what your present love life is like, the bottom line is –  make the most of whatever that situation may be. That’s the message this Thanksgiving holiday. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and find reasons to celebrate where you are now while looking forward to the future.

If you’re in a long-distance relationship,
find out why you should be thankful here.


Waiting for Him to Pop the Question

The word “single” can be used to describe a few different relationship scenarios. You have those who don’t have a significant other and rarely date. There are singles who are too busy dating to even realize that they’re single, and there are those who are in a situation, but are technically unattached, according to the IRS.

Over the summer, it was reported that actress Zoe Saldana was engaged to a man she’d dated for 10 years.  That made me wonder about the latter group of singles – many of whom are with someone, but don’t have a commitment toward marriage.

If you’re a SIS who wants to get married, how long do you wait for your man to pop the question?

I don’t know Saldana’s situation. It’s quite possible that she was the one putting their relationship progress on hold, but most women I know who have boyfriends, would be less than enthused to wait a decade for a bona fide commitment.

However, in the case of Saldana, it seems patience paid off.

So, where does that leave the average SIS? Do you patiently wait and remain faithful to your man until he’s ready, whether that is five years or 15?

In the meantime, you’re fielding questions and skepticism from family and friends who are regularly interrogating you like a suspect on “Law & Order” and wondering what the holdup is.

Some would argue that it doesn’t take men that long to decide who they want to spend the rest of their lives with, but marriage is an important decision. So, maybe a decade worth of getting to know one another is warranted.

On the other hand, I personally know of several marriages that took place only six months after the two met, and the unions were long lasting. So, maybe a 10 year courtship is being overly cautious.

As with most issues within a relationship, only the two people in it can really decide what’s right for them. The problem comes when one person wants a commitment before the other is ready, and that’s when something usually has to change. That may mean compromising or just ending things. 

Being on the same page about how well you know one another and when walking down the aisle is appropriate, could very well be an indication of your compatibility and how you will work together when married. If seeing eye-to-eye on when to wed is a point of contention, then that may be a sign of something, too.

For more on this topic, click here:


Terry McMillan’s Message on Forgiveness

If you’re a SIS who has gone through a bad breakup or two, then you’ve likely had a “Waiting to Exhale” Bernadine moment and at least contemplated torching a car, shredding some clothes or even pulling back a shower curtain while wielding a knife. (OK, that last one wasn’t from the aforementioned star-studded flick, but I think it still applies.)

While we’re on the topic of “Exhale,” I recently attended a book signing featuring author Terry McMillan, a woman scorned who ended up in a court battle with her ex-husband whose questionable affinity toward lip gloss served as an obvious indicator to many that something was amiss.

By her own admission, McMillan’s very public romance (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and subsequent dramatic breakup left her just a bit angry and bitter. However, she has also been vocal about her ability to finally forgive her ex for what she endured once he finally admitted his homosexuality.

How has she been able to move past that anger and pain? McMillan told her fans at the book signing that she started to focus on the good times she had with her ex and stopped dwelling on the bad.

I definitely know a SIS or two who are still focusing on the negatives of their past relationships. Of course, you don’t want to completely forget what went wrong because (1) you don’t want to relive past mistakes and (2) you want to remember why he wasn’t good for you. However, I agree with McMillan that it’s a lot healthier to reminisce about the summer BBQs, weekend trips and family game nights than it is to keep mentally replaying that day you found a random pair of red undies in his sofa cushions and had to quickly determine whether you knew enough about forensic science to get away with premeditated homicide.

Ideally, we’d probably prefer not to think of past, failed relationships at all, but if we must walk down memory lane, why not walk on the sunlit side instead of in the shade?

Everyone’s situation is different, but if this “look on the bright side” mentality worked for someone who endured the betrayal and public spectacle that resulted from McMillan’s breakup, then maybe it’ll work for those of us who experienced less harsh ends to our relationships.

Besides, the whole murderous shower scene thing has been done to death.


Tweaking the Girlfriend Rules for the 30-Somethings

Whether they’re de facto laws, verbally stated or even written down, most people are aware that there are certain rules when it comes to dating. For instance, it’s a violation to bring bridal magazines on the first date, so you and he and begin picking out colors the members of your wedding party will wear. Even if the periodicals are in your purse, don’t actually bring them to your date’s attention. Wait for the second date.

The dating rules between men and women are sometimes convoluted and often depend on the individuals involved and the specific circumstances, but when it comes to rules between friends who are both hunting for potential mates, the rules are hard and fast.

For example, if your best buddy is dating someone, you can’t date that same person.

That seems like a simple enough rule to follow. However, as you get older, the dating game gets tiring, and the pool of potentials shrinks. That’s when 30-something daters start to question whether those friendly rules of engagement should be broken?

Let’s examine a few of these dating rules and determine if they should be revoked.

Rule No. 1: Whoever Sees Him First Has Dibs – So, you’re out at a bar with your regular group, and you see a gorgeous potential spouse walk through the door. You’re mid sip on that drink you just ordered. You’re just about to gulp it down and verbally mark your territory, when your BFF declares, “He’s cute. I want to talk to him.” Now, you not only have a mouthful of martini to swallow, you also have to swallow that lump of disappointment and regret in your throat. The saddest aspect of this scenario is that even if he doesn’t seem too interested in your friend, the line has been drawn. Sadly, you can’t even flirt with him.

Rule No. 2: Approval Is Required – When you’re younger, your friends’ approval means a lot. You need that confirmation. You want to know they’re behind you. However, by the time you’re 30-something, you’ve likely questioned the influence you’ve allowed your friends to have on your life decisions, especially when it comes to dating. Let’s face it. These are the same girls who persuaded you to go out with the cute panhandler who flirts with you daily outside your office building.

What’s rule No. 3? Read the rest of this article here: 


Tips From the Hook-Up Handbook

So, I am sort of in the midst of getting hooked up with a random guy. I describe him that way ‘cause so far there’s little to suggest we’d be compatible. I consider it a compliment that the girlfriend responsible wants me to meet this fellow. However, this reminds me of a past situation where I was encouraged to go out with a guy solely based on the fact that we were both single. Honestly, that’s not criterion enough for me to want to meet a guy. So, for future reference, here’s my “I have someone I want you to meet” checklist.

1. We must have something in common (other than being single): Does he like to write? Does he like museums, too? Do we each possess a dry sense of humor? Did we both shock you with our vast knowledge of ‘80s hip hop? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then maybe I’d like to meet this guy. If the only similarity between us is that neither of us has plans for Valentine’s Day, then I’ll pass.

2. He has to meet your standards: If you know you’d never date this guy, even if you two were the last two living beings on the planet, then please don’t pass him my way. If he’s still living at home, has six children by four different women, and you have cause to question his sexuality, I take back my earlier sentiment about considering the hook up a compliment. I’m now insulted.

3. He has to be 100% single: My life is pretty drama free. Don’t introduce me to the guy who saw me on your Facebook page and asked for a hook up even though he’s still in a situation. I don’t want to create any love triangles or get involved with any guy who’s not only carrying around baggage, but is struggling trying to make room to stuff more crap in. I’ll stay where I am where it’s nice and roomy.

If the guy stands up to these top 3 criteria, I’ll be more than happy to take it from there.

At the risk of never being hooked up again, I’m posting this for every SIS out there who has been set up with a guy only to sit there wondering what in the world your friend was thinking when she decided to match you with him! The truth is that, she probably didn’t give it too much thought. She saw two pleasant single people, and decided to channel her inner Chuck Woolery. Don’t look at it as a personal reflection on you. Just send her this entry to help guide her if you think she might try it again. She’ll get the point.


How Many Dates Does It Take?

How long do you date somebody before you determine that you’re not really interested? A lot of women I know spent years hanging around with the wrong guys in relationships that went nowhere. As a result, many of them are now quick to kick potential suitors to the curb at the first sign of incompatibility. However, we’ve all heard stories from wives who admit they weren’t exactly feeling their now-husbands when they first met.

So, given that chemistry sometimes builds over time, how many dates and phone conversations are necessary before a SIS can truly determine her romantic interest in a guy?

This question came to me as I watched Sheree of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” date a guy she clearly was not feeling. He seemed to think he had it all together, not realizing that she wasn’t impressed. As he offered her unsolicited relationship advice (mainly about how she needed to loosen up), invited her to a dinner that she had to help prepare, and stuck his cookie-dough-covered thumb in her mouth, I wondered, “How much longer is she going to put up with this dude?”

I can only assume that Sheree was (1) bored and had nothing better to do (2) going out with him primarily for the sake of the show or (3) being a great sport and really taking the time to find out if there were sparks.

The season hasn’t ended yet, but if sparks fly, they’re more likely to come from Kandi’s microphone committing suicide after another studio session with tone-deaf songstress Kim. If Sheree and the guy she’s been dating do end up together, it will definitely be a lesson for every SIS out there who’s quick to dismiss. Maybe enduring a few awkward, uncomfortable moments is worth it in the end, if it leads to years of friendship, love and romance. If you have to sit through a couple bad dates and lick a relative stranger’s finger in the process, that’s a small price to pay. Right? LOL. Maybe.


For Colored Girls Who Aren’t Defined By Relationships

“Tyler Perry hates black men.” That’s how a random dude responded when I told him that the images of brothers in Perry’s “For Colored Girls…” were less than flattering.

I previously shared that I think Lifetime Movies do nothing for healthy male-female relationships. 90% of the men in the made-for-TV movies are murderers, abusers, polygamists or embezzlers.

“For Colored Girls…” was no different, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse again.

What else struck me about “For Colored Girls…” was that Perry created each character and interpreted each poem to focus on how men shaped these women’s lives.

Why don’t TV, film and other media offer more stories about women outside of the realm of romantic relationships? Black women don’t always have to be defined by their relationships with men. Now, that I think about it, this is probably what initially irked me about being labeled “single.” I am more than who I date, or who I choose not to date.

True, Perry’s adaptation reflects the topics of Ntozake Shange’s poems, which deal with abortion and domestic abuse. One can’t ignore the male presence and responsibility when these issues arise.

However, in “For Colored Girls…” there was only one character who didn’t have a man (or men) in her life, and hers was the least developed storyline. One could argue that Phylicia Rashad’s unwed character’s weak development results because she was not represented in Shange’s original poems, but if you’re going to take creative license, use that freedom to offer something more balanced and positive.

I guess I should be pleased that the most well-adjusted woman on the screen was single (actually, she was widowed), but she lived right next door the promiscuous SIS who was mistaken for a prostitute by a married man she picked up at a bar.

For a movie Perry said would leave me “lifted,” I was anything but. What’s uplifting about women who endure abuse and disrespect in the name of love? That’s not inspiring. OK. So, they kind of, sort of come out of it in the end, but not to a point where you feel they’ve won. They lost so much in the first two hours of the movie that you doubt they’ll ever really be able to rebound, let alone soar.

For me, if there was any silver lining to the film, it’s that it reminds women not to be so desperate for relationships or intimacy that they accept anything that comes their way. As the movie suggests, being with the wrong man usually doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. So if you are a SIS feeling empty, find ways to fill up that don’t depend on romantic relationships. Who knows? Once you’re full, you might realize that what really makes you happy was in your grasp all along, and you didn’t have to endure abuse or misogyny to find it.

November 2010
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