Tag Archives: dating

The Homie Box

On Tuesday, I was a guest on Kareem Taylor’s live radio show “PillowTalk” discussing “The Homie Box,” that friends with benefits-type of situation women sometimes unknowingly get mixed up in without realizing that they’re not really benefiting from the pseudo-relationship at all.

On the show, I talked about what the homie box is, the difference between that and being friend-zoned, and how to avoid getting yourself caught out there in one of these types of situations.

Listen to the show here and tell me what you think!

Getting Out Of The Homie Box

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Men: Selfish or Misguided?

Saturday night I attended another Together Apart event–Straight Talk No Chaser—featuring a panel of six males (four single, two married) and an all-female audience.

The goal of the live convo was for men to give women some real answers to the questions they often ask their girlfriends about the men in their lives. There were four rounds of discussion, moderated by co-hosts Demetria Lucas of Essence Magazine and abelleinbrooklyn.com and Chris Kazi Rolle, the mastermind behind Together Apart. Famed Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere gave a clinical wrap up after each round.

While round 1 was pretty straight forward regarding what goes on in a man’s mind during the dating process—basically if you’d like the relationship to go beyond the first date, then its best you not give up the panties that same night–round two asked the question, why are men such selfish lovers? I wasn’t quite sure which of the many possible routes this discussion was headed down, but the focus was selfishness in the bedroom—as in why are men not concerned about pleasing their partner.

The question operated under the assumption that men don’t want to please their women, which the panelists, for the most part, said wasn’t true—except for one who noted that if he’s not really interested in the woman then he could care less whether she enjoys herself or not—but nevertheless, men actually receive enormous pleasure from knowing that they’ve satisfied their woman sexually. Call it ego or whatever you want, just be glad it works in women’s favor.

Now whether the man actually pleases the woman is a whole different story, and if the answer is no, it really may not be his fault. Something that’s been on my mind since the last Together Apart event, Divine Intercourse, is the fact that women don’t take responsibility for their own sexual pleasure.

The first issue is the fake orgasm, as one panelist pointed out. How is a man supposed to know that what he’s doing isn’t working if a woman is screaming in what is perceived to be ecstasy, when she’s really thinking, oh God when will this be over.

The second issue is not speaking up. This stems from the Divine Intercourse convo as well where the resounding message from women during the open forum was that they didn’t communicate their sexual needs to their partner. Truth be told, this seemed to have less to do with being scared to hurt the man’s feelings and more to do with a lack of comfort with verbalizing their own sexual desires.

Women have come a long way in terms of sexual liberation, but we’ve still got a ways to go. A man isn’t necessarily being a selfish lover if he’s been led to believe that he’s handling his business. If that’s not the case, then it’s time to let him know. One panelist suggested that discussions about sex actually be had outside of the bedroom, and of course, the male ego has to be taken into consideration, otherwise he’ll just hear that what he’s doing is wrong, and you’re not pleased, and all hell will break loose, and then he’ll go cheat—oh wait that’s round three. Anyway, the point is that women can’t only blame men if they’re not pleased. And if all else fails, Dr. Gardere shared this takeaway: men, always make sure the lady comes first (literally).

The last round of discussion before women were allowed to fire back dealt with commitment. Though the dialogue drifted from the ideas of being selfish and misguided, from my view, they still apply.

The question was asked, why do men cheat if they have everything at home? It was pointed out that having everything at home is a big if since people tend to cheat because they’re relationship is not fulfilling. But just to let you know, not being fulfilled could involve something as simple as a woman starting an argument with her man, he leaves the house, another chic pushes up on him, and there’s nothing but space time and opportunity. In that scenario, there’s a good chance ol’ boy may just smash, hit, beat it up, etc and not feel guilty about it. Scary huh?

Then there’s this other issue of men always wondering if they’re missing out on something better by committing to one person. One panelist noted that one woman he was involved with sort of pushed him into a relationship that he wasn’t ready for, but since she was a part of his stable (I was praying he stretched that out to stability but no, stable) and he didn’t want to lose her, he just kept her in the rotation amongst other women. One vote for selfish please.

Luckily the married men had a little more insight into the fact that most times cheating doesn’t have anything to do with the woman. This is not to let women totally off the hook for their antics, but they recognized the fact that cheating is an internal issue. Even when things are right at home a man can still step out because of some inner demon that he doesn’t even realize or think is a problem (he’s just being a man) which is why I say the idea of being misguided applies to cheating as well. If men are looking for sexual satisfaction as a means to solve a deeper issue that they may not be totally aware of, the idea that they’re just “being men” is a false one that shouldn’t be given a pass.

It was added that the more things put at risk by cheating, the less likely a man is to cheat—his relationship with God, children, family ties etc. I struggle with this one because I’d like to think the commitment to the woman would be enough, along with the awareness of how hurt she would be, but here is where I have to bring in the ladies again. Only the married men said that they might be able to forgive their wife for cheating, while the remaining panelists vehemently said that they would leave. When the men were asked if they thought their woman would leave them if she found out he was cheating, without hesitation they all said no. Selfish and misguided. In response, Dr. Gardere used my favorite term—zero tolerance. When it comes to being cheated on, it’s up to women to have a zero tolerance policy for it. If a man thinks that there are no consequences to his actions, then there’s nothing to stop him from doing who he wants to do.

Moral of the story? Men are sometimes selfish and misguided (and need to stop writing books trying to tell women what to do and focus on themselves), and women also need to stand up for themselves and the things that they need in the relationship. Until we do that, we can’t point the finger at anyone else for our lack of satisfaction.

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Would You Date You?

They say physical attraction is half the battle when it comes to dating, so if a guy you’re interested in asks for your number, you usually feel pretty good about the outlook since women typically feel most insecure about their looks. The truth of the matter, though, is that looks won’t keep you around long if you don’t have much else going for you (or you’ve got a few major things you need to work on).

One day I was mentally rehearsing my answers to the typical first phone conversation questions a man asks (yes, I sometimes do this) like:

What do you do for a living? I work in medical publishing.

What do you do for fun? I don’t really get out much because I work a lot.

But when you do get out, what to you do? Happy Hour, shop?

That’s when I realized I was boring, plain and simple. I literally laughed out loud and thought, I wouldn’t even be surprised if I didn’t get asked for a date after that type of convo (did I mention that I’m also a pessimist? Read More

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Doing Too Much

I met a guy last week. He was beautiful—Puerto Rican and Columbian, gorgeous lips, perfect teeth–let’s just say my confidence nearly tripled when he approached me for my number, which I more than gladly gave up.

First convo was spent with him basically trying to make me laugh which I already found slightly annoying. A few jokes sprinkled throughout the convo is good, but when every statement is a punchline it can be a bit much. Still, I realize this is a popular male strategy so I proceeded with the normal questions you ask a man who is trying to get to know you—how old are you, what do you do, do you have kids, do you live alone, oh, and are you married (if you don’t ask, they won’t tell.)

His answers to every question were pretty much unfavorable (except for the married one), but he was fine enough to look past a few flaws for a casual liaison. Plus, he’s a personal trainer and yea, I could use those services ASAP. By day 3 I think I’d pretty much decided that his looks and what his training skills could do for my extra flesh no longer mattered. If there’s one thing I can’t stand from a man that I’ve just met, it’s doing way too much.

First issue—constant compliments. Asking me for my number let me know you thought I was at least decent, texting me “I’m so fine” after we first meet lets me know you still think I’m attractive after our brief interaction, but telling me every day that you were mesmerized by my caramel complexion and my brown eyes and my long black hair and my nose, yes, nose, is doing too much. I see myself every day. I don’t need to be reminded of my features or how “amazing/captivating/extraordinary” they are every.single.time.we.talk. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. Like jokes, compliments should be dished out sparingly.

Which brings me to the issue of calling (and recap texts). There definitely was no opportunity to have a “he’s just not that into you if he’s not calling moment” with this one. Every morning I woke up to a text along the lines of “Good morning, I hope I get to hear your angelic voice tonight. Last night talking to you was sugar to my soul.” What? The level of overthetopness is just too much for me to handle. Thinking he was operating like most men who think they have to butter you up endlessly when you first meet, I texted him, “You do know that you don’t have to stroke my ego just to talk to me, right?” He replies, “Everything I say is from the heart. Muaaa.” (Gag me)

If these were isolated incidents, I may be able to write them off as “sweet” but when you call throughout the day and say you just had to hear my voice, I start to get worried. However not as worried as I was when he called seven times on Friday simply because I didn’t answer a random let me spill my artificial guts out text. Can I be busy?! (Truthfully I was just sitting listening to my ringtone and wondering how many times he was going to call, but he didn’t know that!)

He also didn’t know that after telling him I was out Saturday night, I put his number on my auto-reject-straight-to voicemail-list because one text saying “hey” is OK, although he hadn’t known me long enough to text me at 2:26a. But at 2:28a asking, “am I ok?!” followed by “JUST LET ME KNOW YOU ARE OK,” in all caps one minute later is just too much! Although not as much as the 12 missed calls I received between 3:46a and 515a. Please tell me one, why you think you can call me at those times; two, why you think you can call me with that frequency; and three, why you’re acting like my man (or is that just a pyscho).

The thought is nice but he doesn’t know me well enough to be that worried that I’m chopped up in a garbage bag somewhere in Bed-sty after leaving the club. Plus I‘m pretty sure the harassment had less to do with my safety than it did him thinking I was actually going to text him, as he requested, when I left the club so he could “just give me a hug” So glad I had the forethought to add him to that reject list (and that Samsung had the forethought to create it) I knew he’d be calling because he wanted to see me Sunday. No thanks.

And please stop acting like not seeing me is the equivalent of being tortured in a Japanese internment camp. “If I see you tonight I’m going to do cartwheels” excuse me? “I just really wanna see you. I’ll pay to see you, that’s how bad I wanna see you.” The school loan slave woman in me was dying to ask how much, but that whole statement was just wrong. Pay me? What do I look like? And if you want to see me how about you ask me on a date?! And preferably one that doesn’t involve watching Monday night football (which by the way we never made it to, funny how a man finds the perfect time to disappear isn’t it?).

A couple friends seem to think I’m just being mean and that he’s sweet and all that good stuff, but I disagree. The level of attentiveness screams Lifetime Original Movie, better yet it screams disengenuine. Why are you suffocating me, a complete stranger? That’s the real reason I’m so annoyed. There’s no reason (or way) that I could seriously affect his mood/day as much as he claimed talking to me did, it was non-specific BS, meaning he must act that way with every woman he meets because he didn’t know me well enough to seriously feel the way he said (unless he’s crazy) and I don’t even engage the conversation enough for him to think I have this amazing personality.

Bottom line, stop behaving the way you think women want you to or the way you should to keep me from talking to the next man I meet grabbing Chinese on my way home from work. If his goal was really to get to know me then he would’ve asked more than how old am I, what do I do for a living, and do I live alone? I need some substance here because so far this entire relationship is running on his photographic memory of me on a Tuesday night.

This is exactly why I can’t date for martinis-some men just do too much. Plus, I guarantee all this stalker-like behavior will fall off once he thinks he’s got me. I can’t deal with the antics. Here’s hoping Samsung comes up with a way to block texts soon.

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Love: First Off, It’s Not a Game

photo courtesy of Simon Howden at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404

Just about every day I come across a post attempting to school men and women on the “rules of the game” as it relates to love, sex, marriage, and anything else concerning intimate relationships. As soon as I see the word “game,” I pretty much disregard the advice that follows, because if the author is looking at relationships as a game, their perspective is already off, and most likely their advice will be as well.

I get the metaphor. It’s applied in many different instances (like the game of life) but there is power in words and I believe if you look at relationships like a game, you are going to treat them like one.

The object of a game is to win. How can you go into something with two people with a mindset that only one of you will come out on top? You can argue that some people approach love as a team sport, but we all know that is idealistic and most likely nonexistent.

The whole idea behind approaching a relationship like a game is to ensure that you make the moves that ensure victory with the least fouls (hurts) on your end. But if before making every move you attempt to strategize and anticipate the other person’s position, aren’t you being untrue to yourself, in the sense that you aren’t revealing who you really are, just attempting to be the one who doesn’t lose by being too heavily invested?

Every step you take is about protecting yourself, which we are all guilty of in relationships because there’s a need to establish a comfortable level of disclosure, but at the same time, when deciding whether to pick up the phone and call the other person, or tell them that you miss them, or punish them for an indiscretion is more about proving who cares about the other more rather than getting to know or grow with one another, there is a serious problem.

A game approach is based all on assumptions of how one expects the other person to be—you anticipate the plays and create the proper defense—the figure of speech makes complete sense, if only relationships were that simple. In any sport or board game there are only a certain number of moves and the only facility involved is logic. Logic is usually the last mental faculty applied in relationships—emotions take over and emotions are messy, which is why no one wants to show their cards too early on so to speak.

There’s a reason that board games establish an age appropriate level for players—at some point you’re too old for them. The same is true in male-female interactions. There’s a time for playing around and there’s a time to get serious. The game perspective reeks of manipulation because the only needs that you have in mind are yours, and the person on the receiving end is most likely oblivious to this because the self-serving behavior is masked by the pretty façade of genuine interest.

If the interest truly is genuine, then the games have got to go. There is no set playbook for approaching a relationship because each person is bringing in a unique set of experiences. Most people like to call that baggage, but that term has a negative connotation. Not every life experience is bad and not every woman is going to take her past relationship out on you, nor is every man going to be like the last.

Assumptive behavior has no place in relationships. Red flags, signs, and intuition—yes, assumptions, no. Open your mouth and ask why someone is behaving the way that they are, don’t assume it’s because of this, that, or the third, and then pull out your rule book which tells you to respond in a particular way.

Open, honest, upfront communication is and always has been the key to a successful relationship, but if the goal isn’t to have a meaningful, open connection, then by all means, play on!

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Dating for Marriage or Martinis?

I accidentally gave my number to a guy last week. I know, there’s no way to really accidentally give your number to anyone, but sometimes after I get off of at my train stop, I forget that my name is Rosa and I have a boyfriend (unless of course the guy is cute, in which case I’m Brande Victorian, single, and free this weekend).

            When the guy called the next day and asked if I wanted to hang out this weekend I was annoyed—the ones you want to call never do and the ones you don’t want to call always do so within 24 hours and have a premeditated plan for your “date.” I told him I was at work, which I was, and that I would call him later. I never did.

            My think tank told me to go out with him, as they always do whenever I find myself in this sticky situation, and for different reasons. My sister thinks he might be a great guy (I roll my eyes), my best friend thinks that I should get out of the house, and my other friend is a proponent of free food and drinks. But I’m not interested, it’s too hot, and I hate for a man to come out of his pocket for no reason.

I hear advice all the time encouraging women to date for fun, which I think means don’t expect every man that you go out with to be your husband, but the idea of having to entertain or be entertained by a man that I have no interest in for 2-5 hours just never appealed to me.

The thing is, when you agree to go on a date, you’re giving the other person the green light of interest. Even if you preface the acceptance with a “I’m not interested in dating anyone” speech, the fact that you said yes means you didn’t say no and the other person thinks there is a chance that you can be convinced otherwise. Is a drink or two worth that? (If I didn’t get paid this week, maybe, but I just never felt right basically making a man spend money when I knew my level of interest was below zero—shout out to all the other non-golddiggers—and I’m not going dutch for unwanted company.)

The joy of going out with someone you’re not interested in is that there is no pressure to impress them. The downside of going out with someone you’re not interested in is that there is no pressure to impress them. Part of the reason I leave the house is just so I can dress up and there is something equally nauseating and exhilarating about going on a date with someone you actually think you could have a future with.

There were a few times when I’ve reneged on my stance and accepted some date offers reluctantly, at which point my hair was stroked and I was asked, “is this all you,” or I was nestled in the armpit of the foul-breathed stranger in a too-small comedy club. But then again a guy I really liked kept me waiting for two hours in front of Penn Station, so what is that saying?

Yesterday, I contemplated calling the guy, whose name I can’t quite recall, but for ill reason—I thought it might make an interesting blog post. However my conscious got the best of me and here I am writing anyway. Part of me sees dating as an opportunity to “test the waters”, find out what you like and don’t like, but then again I already pretty much know what I want and the fact that I’m not accepting the invitation to hang out lets me know that it isn’t him.

Anyway, I’m curious to see how some of you approach dating. Is it all or nothing, as in you want a proposal at the end of the night, or just for fun (and martinis)?

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Happily Ever After: The Psychology of Settling

Friday night I attended a relationship forum titled, “Happily Ever After: Courtship, Wedding Costs, and the Joys of Marriage.” Put on by Together Apart: The Live Convo, the purpose of the forum was to facilitate open and honest dialogue between men and women about relationship issues. The hosts were Malik Yoba of the Why Did I Get Married series (and New York Undercover–that was my show!) and Egypt of WBLS. The panel of go-to experts consisted of Essence Relationships Editor and author of ABelleInBrooklyn.com, Demetria Lucas; power couple Anthony Morris and Thembisa Shaka, who have been married for 13 years; and psychotherapist and minister Shawna Marie.

Through three rounds of discussion, the audience and panel tackled the subjects of how you know that the person that you’re with is “the one,” whether the wisdom of your parents should override your feelings for a mate, and the psychological costs and financial burden of a debt-ridden wedding. The take-home message from each dialogue boiled down to self-awareness, with the premise that if you are mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially fit, then the reflection that you ultimately seek has to show up. Furthermore, deciding who you want to spend the rest of your life with is a process and marriage is not a final destination, but simply a stop on this journey through life. OK cool.

The point that resonated with everyone, though, was a statement made by a newlywed woman in the audience who said, to paraphrase: The reason that we settle in relationships is because we really don’t believe that we can have happily ever after, that we deserve abundant love, and that we can get the love that we desire. (ding, ding, ding)

I realized this about myself years ago—not that it necessarily changed my behavior, unfortunately, but I had the AHA moment when I recognized that I tolerated the majority of the men in my past because I thought “this is as good as it gets.” While it was comforting to hear other women express similar sentiments, the kicker for me was when the man behind Together-Apart, Chris Kazi Rolle, admitted that he’s dealt with that very issue himself.

His way of not believing in happily ever after showed up in the form of trust issues with his mate whom he said gave him every reason under the sun to trust her, but because he didn’t believe that someone would actually love him the way that he needed, he’d kept women on the side “just in case”—women who were in their own relationships.

Rolle was openly emotional about how he’d hurt his girlfriend and at that moment I thought wow, men actually care. (I come from a long line of men-just-don’t-give-a-damn thinking.) Second, I was amazed at the idea that some men might believe that they won’t get the love that they want from a woman, and the fact that that mindset might manifest itself in the form of cheating was eye opening. (I also come from a long line of men-cheat-just-because-someone-walked-by-with-a-big-butt thinking.)

To me, it always seems that men don’t really care if they find “Mrs. Right,” and they certainly don’t doubt that they deserve a good woman. Aren’t women the only ones who cry themselves to sleep at night, haunted by nightmares of never finding true love and believing that something is wrong with them if they don’t? Maybe not. Could it be that we (meaning those of us who aren’t in a successful relationship) are all just settling out of fear of being vulnerable and an unwillingness to be alone? You tell me.

Are men just as fearful of not finding the love that they want? Do men settle because they don’t expect to find that love? And furthermore, does that lack of expectation show up in the form of cheating when a man is in a relationship?

[Originally Published Here]

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