Posts Tagged ‘dating game

02
Feb
12

When TOEs (Terms of Endearment) Stink

Single Independent SistahI’ve heard it said that more than any other word on the planet, a woman loves to hear the sound of her own name, but I won’t deny that hearing a tenderly uttered and perfectly timed “baby” or “honey” from the right person can sometimes send a little chill up the spine.

However, I’ve always found generic terms of endearment (TOEs) to be a bit insincere. If you’ve ever met a romantic interest who quickly started referring to you as “baby,” and then soon realized that he used the term for everyone and everything from the hair-net wearing grandmother at the interstate tollbooth to the voice that alerts him that his voicemail is full, then you likely feel the same way.

Finding out that a TOE you thought was reserved only for you rolls off his tongue like swag oozes from the pores of Barack Obama, is like realizing the birthday gift that your BFF gave you three years ago—the one you’ve placed in a special spot where you can gaze at it daily, the one that reminds you how close you two are, the one you consider priceless—came from the dollar store.

It’s not that it’s completely unappreciated now, but maybe it wasn’t quite as deep as you thought.

To be clear, I’m not completely against terms of endearment. My parents each had cute names for me when I was a child. One love interest used to refer to me as Miss Styles ‘cause he was a fan of my fashion sense. (That was before the recession hit.) I could appreciate these little nicknames that were bestowed upon me specifically by people who had picked out a particular characteristic or skill about me that was unique and therefore used to distinguish me from all others.

Most would likely find that sort of personalization preferable to being called “sweetheart,” “dear,” “baby” or some other generic moniker by a guy whose overuse of the terms makes one wonder, “Does he remember my name?” or “How many women did he just send this, ‘Good morning, babe’ text to?”

Of course, I know several stable, healthy couples who use those clichéd nicknames with genuine affection and respect, but he only uses the TOE for his wife, and she only uses it for her husband.

That could be the most important part of using a term of endearment. It works better when it’s reserved for one person. That’s what makes it special, and isn’t that the whole point?

When someone starts referring to you with a little pet name, the assumption is that there’s a level of intimacy. You two are so close that you’ve suspended the formality of government issued, birth certificate names. Instead, you express affection just when addressing one another. How cute!

That’s all lost when the TOEs are overused. That’s all lost when they’re used too soon.  Basically, that’s lost when they’re meaningless.

06
Jul
11

Don’t Ask For a Smile

I consider myself a pretty reasonable person. I try not to let little things irritate me, but I’m human and like many, I have a few pet peeves. They may not seem like huge deals to others, but when confronted with these things, it’s easy to find me slowly counting backwards from 100 or repeating the serenity prayer to myself like an enraged Bruce Banner trying not to change into the Hulk.

So, I understand that I may be the only woman in the world who feels this way, but I admit that I get completely irked when a strange man asks me to smile.

For clarity, let me offer an example. I’ve parked my car at the local town center and am on my way into the dollar store. My stream of consciousness is something like this: “I wonder if Oprah still goes to the dollar store. Even if you have $1 million, there are some things that are just not worth more than a dollar. Like, I’d never pay more than a buck for a fly swatter. Does Oprah have flies? I mean, just ‘cause you rich doesn’t mean you don’t have flies. They’re not like roaches. If she had roaches, that’d be a problem. Can you imagine little roaches climbing out of Oprah’s bag when she gets to Harpo Studios? That’s some mess. Oprah got roaches, and Stedman says she brings her roach-infested lunches to work. That’s just nasty. Wait. Why am I at the liquor store?….”

So after leaving there, returning to the task at hand, walking two doors down and reaching my intended destination, some random guy who’s coming up the street loudly says to me, “Smile. Why you look so mean? It’s not that bad.”

Pause… Say what?

It seems like a small thing, and I’m sure the nameless fellow didn’t mean to offend, but let me explain what I hear when this is said.

Your Face is Whack: So, he didn’t directly insult my face, but then again, didn’t he? Basically, what I’m being told is that my face looks so twisted, distorted and unappealing that something must be wrong with me. I must be angry, having a bad day or maybe even contemplating suicide. The reassurance that things aren’t as bad as my face suggests just isn’t a compliment.

You Care What I Think: I don’t make a habit of asking strangers on the street what they think of me. The truth is that whether they think I’m fly or funky, it really doesn’t matter much. It’s true that you never know when you might bump into someone who may become a great friend, future employer or an otherwise significant part of your life, but more often than not, people whose paths you cross when running errands aren’t going to end up in your cellphone contacts list. So, the comments strangers voice about others reeks a bit of self-importance. However, responding with a, “Your opinion is worth less to me than this fly swatter I’m about to buy,” probably wouldn’t help the matter.

I’ve Got You Figured Out: Every human being is different. I do have friends who walk down the street showing off their pearly whites. I smile at strangers at times, like when people stumble on their own feet and try to play it off like they tripped on an invisible crack in the sidewalk. I smile at them so they know, “It happens to the best of us.” However, the absence of a smile on my face does not necessary indicate that I’m depressed or in a foul mood. The fact that someone I’ve never met would assume to know me well enough to interpret my facial expressions is just a bit presumptuous. No? That would be like assuming every random guy who requests that I smile at him is in desperate need of attention and validation from anyone who’ll entertain him.

As insulting as the delivery can be, I do assume the request is meant to be a compliment. However, if the goal is to solicit a smile from someone, in my unsolicited opinion, a simple “hello” would work a lot better.

11
Apr
11

Do I Love You for All I Know About You?

Following in the footsteps of Hill Harper and Steve Harvey, Tyrese Gibson is the latest celebrity to write a book and offer his opinions on relationships.

I’m a bit skeptical about taking advice from a man whose tweets are notoriously ridiculous and misspelled, but I’d be lying if I denied that I came across some interesting tidbits while perusing his “How to Get Out of Your Own Way” effort.

To be honest, Tyrese’s hyping of his own penned thoughts makes me wonder if his is the only book he’s ever read. I mean, he honestly comes across as though he’s offering up some life secrets never revealed to man before as if “What Is Your Purpose?,” a chapter in his book, is the first time anyone’s ever contemplated the question. However, he did have one or two interesting ways of presenting the already widely shared and accepted information.

At a book signing recently, I found myself nodding my head in agreement as Tyrese discussed the chapter, “Do I Love You More Than I Know You?”

In the chapter, he writes about falling in love fast—with an idea of a person—before actually getting to know who that person really is.

“When you love somebody more than you know them, you set yourself up to be disappointed when you discover the things about their personality that drive you nuts. If you love your man or woman so much, once their negative characteristics or the truth about who they are is revealed, the reason you’re so hurt is because you created the idea in your mind as to who you thought they were.”

I can feel where Tyrese is coming from. However, when I read the passage I couldn’t necessarily relate to not knowing the few guys with whom I’ve been in serious relationships. I do feel like I knew those dudes pretty well before things heated up. What seemed like a similar scenario to me, to which I could relate, was arriving at a point within a relationship where I had to come to terms with the fact that the guy who’d written me love poems, consistently called me daily and otherwise swept me off my feet, had up and switched the relationship on me after I’d fallen for him.

(I know what you’re thinking, and, no. His change in behavior was not a result of getting the goods. LOL.)

By the time he’d decided he no longer had to lay his jacket over a puddle for me, I was already emotionally attached. So the guy I thought was a romantic at heart was really just a guy on the chase. That’s not to say I didn’t know him, but I had to learn the “relationship” him—the one who was comfortable enough in us to finally just be himself.

That’s not exactly what Tyrese was getting at in his chapter, but I think there are parallels. In both scenarios, you have to then decide whether the person you’re now emotionally attached to is someone you still want to be with.

Is the real guy someone worthy of your love and devotion?

That’s where things can often get tricky. Was his best foot forward so different from the real him that he’s now a stranger, or are those charming characteristics still there?

If you’re lucky and he’s really the guy you fell for even though he’s stopped sending flowers on a weekly basis, then an annoying trait or two is not a deal breaker or cause for major disappointment as Tyrese suggests. Nobody’s perfect. If you find a guy who never drives you nuts, then you probably don’t know him that well. If he irks you from time to time, and you’ve found a way to somehow understand and appreciate that aspect of his otherwise great personality, then you’re learning to love him in light of all you know about him, and that’s ideal.

Check out my Sister 2 Sister interview and story on Tyrese here.

11
Feb
11

Does Chilli Have a Valentine?


Check out a few highlights from my interview with Chilli, and get the whole thing here, if you want. 🙂

Tracy: Do you find love on season two?
Chilli: I find some good things. (Laughter) Love takes a while. When you’re mature, it’s rare that you can find love quickly. When you’re young, you don’t really know. You’re just in love with the idea of being in love. So, you’re quick to say “I love you.” It’s too soon.

Tracy: I get it. We have to tune in to find out. So, you do have a Valentine?
Chilli: (Laughs) My favorite Valentine is my son, Tron. I kind of forgot about Valentine’s Day. I have really good ideas for Valentine’s Day. I’m just creative, and I’m a hopeless romantic anyway. It’s not always about buying the most expensive thing, but there are other great things you can do, too.

Tracy: So, you’re going to plan the evening and tell your Valentine where to take you?
Chilli: For me, what I’m doing for that person has nothing to do with what they’re doing for me. I’m the type of female, I don’t think Valentine’s Day is just for the girl. It’s for the guy, too. Women should do things for the person they care about, also. Unless you make a plan together to go on a weekend trip or something.

Tracy: What Valentine’s Day ideas do you have?
Chilli: I’m thinking… I’m thinking… (laughs)

Tracy: Since you mentioned expensive gifts, I have to bring up the Floyd Mayweather thing. Is it normal for him to buy you thousand-dollar items?
Chilli: That’s not an all-the-time thing. For Floyd, people have to understand one thing about him: He doesn’t have to be a significant other for him to splurge on you. Fourteen thousand dollars is like $400 to him.

Tracy: Doesn’t that confuse things?
Chilli: What could confuse things is if we made the mistake of sleeping together. Which, we’ve never done that. I tell chicks when it’s a platonic relationship, you don’t have sex. You don’t have sex with people you’re not going to have a committed relationship with. Sex should not be the thing to lead you to that commitment. It should be the quality of the person.

Read the entire interview here.

22
Jan
11

Steve Harvey: Thanks, but No Thanks

I don’t want to offend. I know he has a huge following of loyal fans, but the truth is that I feel some type of way about taking advice from Steve Harvey. It’s not really personal, but he is one of the few so-called relationship experts out there who has multiple divorces under his belt. Yes, he’s married now, but let’s be real. As a single woman, do I want his opinion on how I should go about building and sustaining a healthy, loving relationship? Maybe if he makes it to his golden anniversary this time around, I’ll change my tune.

One could argue that he’s speaking from experience. So, maybe his failed marriages have taught him how to make relationships work. However, from what I’ve read of his books and from what I’ve heard him preach, his shtick is more about telling single sistahs what to do to get a man than it is about instructing couples on how to maintain healthy relationships.

I know what you’re thinking. “Girl, you quote Hill Harper all the time, and he ain’t even got one marriage to his name!” True. However, there are at least two significant differences between Hill and Harvey: (1) Hill is the type of guy I might date. He’s attractive. He’s intelligent. He’s single. So, I care a little bit more about his POV; although, I still read his books with the side eye. (2) Hill’s book, “The Conversation,” included lots of other men’s opinions. He didn’t attempt to speak for every man.

However, let me get back to the point. When you’re single, you always have people offering unsolicited advice. Everyone who has somebody – and even those who don’t – think they have it figured out. They know why you’re single and what you can do to “fix” it. Few seem to just accept what you have: you haven’t met the right person yet.

So, you learn to decipher the good advice from the bad. For this SIS, the relationship status of the person and his or her romantic history help determine whether I bother listening. If you’re in what I consider a healthy, long-lasting relationship, I may take heed to what you’re saying. If you’re a man or woman who cheats on your significant other, constantly complains to me about your spouse or has only been with your partner for one or two years, then you fall into another category.

That’s where Harvey is. He’s in that category of counselors whose romantic situation makes me skeptical of what he has to say.

That’s not to suggest there are no tidbits of wisdom in his words; however, as a friend of mine put it, those things he writes that have you nodding in agreement are often just plain common sense.

Whether you’re on Team Harvey or not, I won’t judge. I have friends who’ve found his advice helpful, and he claims that many readers who took it to heart are now in happy relationships.

So, I won’t begrudge him that success (even though I question whether he’s exploiting the lonely black women out there by using their situations to line his pockets). If he’s helping women find happiness, then more power to him.

However, when I have questions about dating and relationships, I think I’ll turn to happily-married couples who’ve stood the test of time for advice.

The truth is that anyone can offer advice – and this blog is proof – but this SIS suggests we make sure to be a little selective about whose tips we follow.

Oh, and watch my interview with Steve. That’s me with the microphone!

20
Dec
10

Are Ugly Men the Answer?

For the record, I don’t actually believe in the concept of “ugly.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so even Boris Kodjoe is hard on somebody’s eyes, and the strongly unattractive probably have something beautiful going on: a nice smile, great eyelashes, healthy skin, etc…

So, my real question is whether or not dating a man who may be rating lower than you on the generally accepted scale of aesthetics is a good idea?

According to this article, which quotes a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, dating a less attractive man may lead to a happier relationship.

“It’s possible that a man who is less attractive than his partner feels so grateful to be with her that he works harder to maintain the relationship, amping up the amount of emotional support and kindness he provides,” says Benjamin R. Karney, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at UCLA. “Yet a man who is better looking than his partner knows he has lots of other options besides his mate, so he’s less committed to providing the emotional support long term relationships need to thrive.”

If you haven’t seen examples of this in your daily life, look at celebrity couples such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, Heidi Klum and Seal, and Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, who are no longer an item.

Sure, many men assume that these guys won the hearts of these dime pieces because of their money, power and respect. I’m sure that didn’t hurt, but I also have an inkling that these fellas, knowing they might be at a slight disadvantage in the looks department, decided to sweep these women off their feet and treat them like they deserved.

As quiet as it’s kept, that often outweighs attractiveness. If he’s outwardly cute, but treats you like his concubine, instead of his queen, then he turns inwardly ugly real quick.

If his working harder to support you emotionally and be the best partner ever aren’t reasons enough to consider dating that less attractive guy, the article offers another reason.

“…you may find that your not-so-pretty man brings his A-game in the bedroom. ‘What I’ve seen from my clinical practice is that women who are married to men less attractive than them often have happy sex lives most likely because their mate tries harder to please them sexually,’ says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D.”

Since my mom reads this blog, I’m going to leave that right there.

So, while I’m not at all encouraging any SIS to date someone she finds unattractive, the pros of dating a guy who is less than a 10 might actually outweigh the cons, and that might be worth considering if a not-so-bad-looking millionaire man with a broom arrives to sweep you off your feet.

08
Dec
10

Challenging the Stigma Against ‘Settling’

When it comes to dating, “settling” is as scary a word as “cheesecake” is to a SIS on her third day of a week-long diet. You’re warned by girlfriends and love experts that nothing good can come from settling. “Hold out,” they suggest, for the guy who makes your heart melt. Don’t marry a guy just because he makes himself available or because your biological clock is ticking as quickly as water transforms a press-and-curl into an afro.

I looked up the definition of the term, and admittedly, it does not sound attractive: “to move downward, to sink slowly to another level.” That’s not exactly the mental picture you want in your head when you’re standing at the altar with your future husband. No one wants to think, “I’ve settled.”

In most instances when people think of settling, they’re judging potential suitors based on a desired list of traits. We compare guys to our ideal. Does he have swag like Denzel, abs like Boris, intelligence like Barack, humor like a Wayans brother, sex appeal like Lenny Kravitz and drive like Diddy? OK. So, maybe that’s just my unrealistic list, but you get my drift. If the guy chatting us up at the Borders doesn’t have all these characteristics, he may be quickly dismissed. After all, settling is not an option.

However, I want to challenge the common concept of settling and submit that maybe settling is less about selecting whom we want and more about who wants us.

What the Fig Newton am I talking about? I’ll explain.

When a girl does meet that guy whose character and aesthetic traits are what she desires, it’s a rare instance that he feels the same about her. Let’s be honest. How many times has a SIS asked you, “Why can’t the guy I like, like me back?” That’s an age-old question I won’t even attempt to address.

So, what happens? Often times, a woman spends months or years trying to persuade that ideal man that she’s the right woman for him. When she’s done everything in her power and is completely tapped of the energy to continue on with a guy who’s doing more taking than giving, she finally bounces, and he’s married in less than a year to the next chick – the one he chose.

In this scenario, she hasn’t settled when it comes to her ideal man, but I think maybe she has settled when it comes to what she deserves as a woman. Instead of being treated like a queen by a man who’d “drink her bath water,” as Kwame so eloquently put it, she’s settling for a dude who wouldn’t even draw her bath. That’s not to suggest that the guy you’re longing for won’t treat you well, but if he’s not longing after you, is he treating you like you deserve? Does he make you feel priceless, or do you feel like you constantly have to prove your worth?

So, that begs the question: Is it settling to date the guy who doesn’t quite fit into that perfect mold, but who treats you like you fell from Heaven just so he could love you?

Isn’t that what you deserve? Surely, you can get with that program even if he’s a little shorter, older or less educated than your ideal man. For clarity, I’m not referring to the toothless, morbidly obese dude who may be sightly learning disabled, just the guy who’s cute, but maybe not your normal type.

I’m thinking it’s never settling to allow yourself to be loved the right way, but that’s my unsolicited two cents. What do you think?




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