It’s Not At All Different…Except it Totally Is

A week or so ago, one of the young fellas I follow on Twitter asked about the difference in dating after you’re 30.  It was perceived as a soft launched missile, but it made me think to myself, “Yeah…what is the big damn difference?  Wait a second…is there a difference?”  And the answer is yes.  Dating as a 35 year old woman is far different than dating as a 25 year old woman.  But not for the reasons you think.

Though I didn’t expect a grand revelation on my 30th birthday, I thought that my experiences would improve.  I’m older, so I will meet older, more serious-minded fellas.  Sounds good, right?  Allow me to introduce you to two facts of life:

  1. With age comes experience.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that with this age and experience will come the insight to benefit from what one has learned.  In certain aspects of life, age really is just a number; and,
  2. There is a large segment of the 20-something male population, who enjoys nothing more than getting his smang on with a “seasoned vet.”

So here we are, right back where we started.  We’re not only dealing with the 20-somethings we THOUGHT we abandoned in our 20s, but we’re also dealing with the less than mature over-30-somethings.  Adding insult to injury, these are the same immature over-30-somethings that our younger 20-something selves laughed at for being “too old to act that way.”  Now he’s your peer.  And was quite possibly your prom date.  Awesome.

But, what about the differences I mentioned?  Well, here they are:

  1. “Do you have kids,” becomes a polite and perfunctory question.  It’s code for “How many kids do you have?”  It’s not that everyone in their 30s has kids – it just seems like it.  It takes the strength of Sampson to stop your eyebrows from lifting in shock when the answer is no.
  2. Everybody has advice for you.  Suddenly, dating has become a team effort.  I know for an absolute fact that I managed to date successfully for years without a tribunal.  Now everything requires a decision by committee.  And no matter what you do, the committee is against you.  Girl where yall going? Oh I wouldn’t have gone to that restaurant. How did you meet him? Oooh…there? Who paid? He did? He probably wanted to get some? Did he try to get some? He did? Ugh. You gon’ give him some? No? Why not?!  Well why ain’t you talking about him? For someone you just met, you don’t think you’re talking about him too much? Are yall doing okay? Seriously.  They’re all well meaning, but it’s a bit much.
  3. The dudes in your age range either never want to get married, or they want to get married three weeks ago.  The happy medium is rare. One the one hand, you’ve got the dudes who have been hurt/are fearful of commitment and flat out don’t open up.  Often, there’s some chick out there that still has her hooks in him, whether he wants to admit it or not, and it prevents him from establishing new attachments.  In the other case, a dude may have enough self-awareness to know who he is as a person.  That’s fine, but he still doesn’t know me, or how he will react/relate to my brand of shenanigans.  “We ain’t gettin no younger, we might as well do it” doesn’t even sound good in that “Let’s Get Married,” song, let alone real life.
  4. The night of your most awesome date ever, the one where you abandon all of your hangups and decide that you are going to give him all the goodies on the first night, your period is going to start.  It doesn’t matter what the calendar says.  Your body starts staging little mutinies around 31, letting you know it gives not one solitary damn about your plans, goals, happiness or (largest of all) sex life.  It’s gonna happen. You will deal.
  5. You have to combat the urge to over-think EVERYTHING.  Well what did he mean when he said see you later?  Later tonight?  Like tomorrow later?  I have things to do tomorrow!  Wait…my schedule just freed up! Did I allude to being busy?  What if he won’t call because he thinks I’m busy?  Did he call? What if he calls?  Is Sprint tripping?  Am I getting all of my text messages? What if he doesn’t like receiving texts?  Can he read?  I never asked?  OMG AM I OVER-THINKING THIS!?!?!  Yes, fool.  You are, now chill out.  Things are going to be what they are going to be.  Be yourself, not your representative, and if it doesn’t work out, then you know that it’s a compatibility issue, and not something you created in your mind.

Whether you’re dating in your 20s, 30s, 40s or beyond, people are people.  Neither the players nor the game have really changed.  The only thing that does change is your perspective of them.  I’m not here to tell you how to score your next boo.  There doesn’t seem to be a true formula for that.

Here’s what I do know:  If you view dating as this horribly tragic activity, then you will always attack (and attacking is NEVER a good thing, unless you are a mother lioness eying the last antelope on the plain) dating with a sense of desperation.  If you see it as a meaningless thing, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you make a bunch of meaningless connections.  But my experience tells me that if you go into it open-minded treat people like humans rather than assembly line numbers, at the very least you’ll connect with some great folks.  Honestly, who doesn’t have room for decent, fun people in their corner?

Splendored Things

“Love is most successful where there exists both the freedom to be who you are, and a willingness to temper it.”
– Beauty Jackson (Yeah. I know things.)

You probably don’t want to talk to me about rules.  I see a lot of grey areas.  Looking at, and at least attempting to understand both sides of things is a habit of mine.  One of the biggest things people try to control, is the thing over which we have little to no control:  love.

Love is not completely devoid of effort, but natural attraction is a large part of it.  There’s something about that person that stands out and makes us want to learn more.  We let them get away with things that most people can’t, because the whole of them is greater than their faults.  Love is that thing that other people can neither understand, nor get between.  Love seals the cracks.

Conventional wisdom would have us make rules for something that is at its best when it’s organic.  I feel best loved and most content when I am allowed to be who I am. When I am enjoyed, it makes me want to bring joy.  I’m more willing to rein it in when I’m not boxed in.  I willingly offer that to my partner as well.  Being in a relationship with someone who is comfortable with themselves is of the utmost importance.  That can’t happen if they are rigidly following arbitrary rules that I set up.

Of course, we’re human, and we each have boundaries in place to cordon off our most vulnerable parts.  When love is earnest, our loved ones take the time to be considerate of those vulnerabilities.  I also believe that it is very important to love people in the way you are allowed to love them.  It’s important that we show love to them by being open about our heart’s needs, and be receptive to hearing theirs.  It is equally important that we show love for the bond we share with that person, and honestly assess how love should proceed.  Not every loved one can, will or should become a lover.

You can’t control people.  At best, you can hope that the love and regard they feel for you will aid them in controlling themselves.  Additionally, be honest and realize that mistakes don’t automatically make someone a bad person.  We all fall short daily.  If what you have built is greater than the hurt, then progress from there.  It doesn’t make you weak.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Overcoming obstacles makes you stronger.

Bearing that in mind, I gave up rules a long time ago.  All except one:  If you want to love me, then be loving toward me.  I have faith that everything else will fall into place as it should.

Necessary Uneasiness

When you turn and walk away, don’t look back
I wanna remember you just like this
Let’s just kiss and say goodbye
– The Manhattans “Kiss and Say Goodbye”

I despise long breakups.  Few things are as horrible as that slow, painful descent into apathy, when you look at a person and feel nothing.  Not hate.  Not love.  Just, “Damn, you’re still here?”  When it comes to breakups, I just want it to be over.  Allow me to process the hurt and begin to heal.   Extended breakups not only tear at the couple, but everyone in their circle.  Onlookers sit on eggshells as you snipe and barb your way through the evening, for no reason other than a desire to torture the other.  The question hangs in the air like a mushroom cloud:  Why are they still together?

Mostly because nobody wants to be the bad guy. (I’ve spoken on that before here.)  But what’s the underlying cause?  Why does ending an incompatible relationship make someone “bad?”  Why do people believe that somehow, this breakup will thoroughly destroy everything their significant other holds dear? Nothing is farther from the truth.

This is not to discount the work that goes into relationships.  Couples are not 100% in love with one another every day.  I think the whole part of building a life together means growing, and rediscovering that person from a new perspective.  There will be times that suck.  A certain amount of fire refines a relationship.  There will be great times as well.  If the good outweighs the bad, at least in quality if not quantity, then you’re onto something.  To expect 24/7 365 elation is unreasonable.  (That people approach relationships with this exact notion is a post in and of itself.)  But if the entirety of your relationship is spent wishing for your significant other to disappear into a bottomless chasm, it may be time to move on.

There is nothing that offends me more than someone who is no longer into me, and tries to fade into oblivion.  “We’ve grown apart.”  No homie, you checked out, and that’s okay.  We don’t mesh.  There’s no law against that.  I’m astute.  If you’re not digging me anymore, I already know.  Guys have broken up with me before.  It hurt.  A lot.  I cried.  A lot.  But check it:  the next day the sun rose like an MF.

Do you really believe that parking your unhappy, unfulfilled heart in the personal space of another, is somehow better than freeing BOTH of you to pursue gratification?  Seriously?  I’m sure there are some can’t-let-go types that will exist in complacent ignorance.  But, miss me with that.  Love me fully.  Or don’t, and go about your business.  I’m reasonable and can’t begrudge anyone the right to seek what makes them happy.  But what I won’t accept is being loved out of some sense of reluctant obligation.  Part of wanting to be loved means being loved wholly.  If it’s not there, bye.  Just bye.  Find your happiness.  Your ex will be alright.

So will you.

Searching for Bobby McGee

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.
– “Me and Bobby McGee” as sung by Janis Joplin

I’m a firecracker.  My personality is kind of huge.  Explosive laughter, tight hugs, large smiles – and occasionally, epic cuss outs.  But with all that, my needs are actually quite small.  Defined, but small.  I’m not quite a diva, or high maintenance.  I’d prefer cold cereal and cartoons with folks that matter to me, than a fancy dinner with people who I believe to be “alright.”  Don’t misunderstand, I think acquaintances are very important, but core people in your life are priceless.

So we arrive at the part of the blog where I express what I need or want in a partner.  It’s quite simple, really: them.  Not in an all-consuming, “I can’t breathe without you” sense; just that person’s self, without the pretense.  Additionally, We live in a world that is so noisy.  Someone who is down to get together and allow themselves to briefly become overtaken by quiet?  That’s the good stuff right there.  I don’t need to be in constant contact with my significant other, nor do I need them to constantly check in with me.  But after being apart, I want that need to reconnect to be something serious.

I want intimacy; which, contrary to popular belief, is not the brass ring that comes with sex.  Intimacy is being across the room, noticing something, and immediately searching for your partner’s eyes to share a private joke.  It’s conversations about personal dreams, fears or frailties that belong strictly to the two of you.  It’s the good feeling that swells in you when you see your partner enjoying something that is totally separate and apart from your own personal joy.  Sex is the tangible manifestation of all those good feelings, which takes you to where words and glances simply can not.  And for real, it’s not the type of thing you want to rush.  When you’ve taken the time to establish intimacy with your partner, the “goodness” of the physical act is truly not far behind.

My thoughts on that?

More, please?

That’s not the kind of thing you find at Big Lots, and that’s why I don’t spend a whole lot of time worried about being single.  It’s why I don’t throw my lady parts around like Mardi Gras beads.  Sure it’s a “search,” but it’s not a search of desperation.  I’m keeping my eyes open.  I’ll know it when I see it, and will not force it if I don’t.  It’s going to come when it comes.  It will be welcomed happily.  I believe in holding out for the good stuff.

I ain’t saying you CAN’T blow it out though…

That I’m trying to be the sex police, I feel I should clarify my position regarding yesterday’s post.

What people do in their bedrooms is their own damn business.  I have friends that range from the extreme of not doing oral (and yes loves, THAT is extreme) to…well, I’ll direct you to Knob-Slobbing Feminism (which is NOT solely about knob-slobbing, but she is a self-professed kinkster and dear friend).  Whatever floats their boat and keeps them happy, I implore them to stay true to self and sail on.

Further, if a partner hits me with some futuristic I’m all this:

and none of this:

101 dalmations,side-eye

It’s not about not wanting the good time.  It’s not about not enjoying and appreciating (the hell out of) the good time.  I guess to a certain extent, what I said could have been construed as not endorsing a person to have any regard for their partner.  Or maybe I sounded petulant. “The hell he thinks he is…coming in here to give me orgasms.”  Neither is the case.  Great sex is muy importante.  And as with any good partnership, there will be times where their enjoyment takes precedence over your own.  Seriously,

HOWEVER, we’ve all had that partner(s) who have seen one too many flicks.  Or maybe they are missing a little something within, rendering them oblivious to the fact that they are worth more than the sum total of their genitalia (or whatever other fancy cliché you deem appropriate).  I’m sure every woman can think of an experience where their entire reproductive system was treated like an enemy combatant in the name of back blowing; more for the sake of ego than any shared experience.

Feel free to share your thoughts.  I actually await them.  Yo, I SEE the tallies.  I know yall are reading.  So holla at a sister. Let me know what you think!  Even if you think I suck, tell me that so I can get better.  Just please note I may or may not say unflattering things about your mother, but that’s just the hurt talkin.

The Sex That Ain’t Sexy

Sex is some good stuff.  There are countless reasons and ways to have sex.  It’s pretty much like chicken.  Sure it can be bad, but you have to go out of your way to mess it up.  I’m slow to dismiss a fella as wack in the sack, simply because I’m not picking up what he’s putting down.  Sometimes, things are a matter of style and preference.  What’s toe curling to one person, is puzzling to the next. For example, I don’t want “it done to me.”  I also don’t want to “do it to” anyone else.

Allow me to explain.

I believe that when I have met an individual with whom I have embarked upon a mutual agreement to share naked time, I don’t want him to turn into a one man show of turning me out.  Conversely, this is not Magic City meets the Bunny Ranch.*  I feel a lot of us get so caught up in being remembered as spectacular, ground breaking lovers, we forget why we’re there in the first place.  I’m all into the sharing of energies and being present in the moment.  I can’t be concerned with whether or not you’re going to mark me down in history as the premier fellatio artist of the new millennium.  Plowing me into the next room through the headboard AND the wall in the name of “blowing my back out” is also quite unnecessary.

Quality is certainly Job One in my camp.  I gets down for my crown, and I expect my dude to do the same for his. The porn star fixation is lost on me.  I find it to be contrived, insincere and frankly, insecure.  Homie, if I’m already sharing sexual space with you, it means I like you and want you to have a good time too.  If the neighbors knowing your name is more important to you, be my guest.  Just understand that I’m not the girl for you.  As far as blowing my back out – let’s don’t and say we did,* and focus on having a good time.

*I mean, unless we agreed upon…nevermind.

Flirting, Friending and that Other ‘F’ Word

They say prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, but I think flirting is the world’s oldest diversion.  Flirting stems from attraction, whether it’s attraction to a person’s sense of humor, affable personality, or the very primal desire to ride it like a rodeo.  In it’s place, it can be fun.  (I’m hesitant to attach the word “harmless,” but we’ll address that later.)

Enter The Dragon.

By Dragon, I mean, The Internets.  Dare I say, it has revolutionized flirting, dating and relationships.  People from all walks of life and corners of the globe can interact in ways that were once impossible.  Of course, as with every new thing, there are high and low points.  Once taboo, meeting people from the internet is now the norm.  You’re “meeting” a person in a very sanitized, controlled environment. We quite often become very comfortable opening up to objective strangers.  So yes, on the internet, a person may well reveal the sensitive part of themselves they rarely share with friends.  However, you may not realize that they are rude to wait staff (sounds like a small thing; it is NOT).

Myriads of people are connecting romantically via the internet at an increasing rate.  The pull to do so is all but irresistible.  So we poked and threw sheep on Facebook (you should NOT be doing this anymore).  We send thinly veiled suggestive “@replies” on Twitter.  We comment on pictures and blogs.  We laugh our virtual asses off.  We roll on the floor while laughing said asses off.  We IM.  We text.  We call.  They take too long to reply to our text.  They don’t call back.  We go to their Facebook page and don’t say anything.  We stalk their pictures and blogs.  We’re not laughing anymore.  Our asses are safely in tact, and the smiley faces are replaced with makeshift side eyes.  You know the ones: O_o.  We wonder why the hell so and so always “likes” his/her statuses?  What’s to like about “I’m on my way to the grind?”  Oh snap son! They’re e-creeping.  Ultimately, onlookers get to witness the passive/aggressive coup de grâce:  “Well maybe you’re getting me confused with one of your other girls/dudes.”

In my years perusing these here internets, I have lost count on how many times I have actually witnessed that progression.  Particularly the final blow.  I can tell you that I was originally inspired to write this piece, after witnessing some variation of e-player accusations/hate crimes three times in one week, and it was only Wednesday.  Infatuation makes us crazy.  Not everyone knows how to flirt, and some people have either never been the object of flirting in real time, or it happens extremely rarely.  When that’s the case, those people simply do NOT know how to act.

I can speak from my own experience: there is NOTHING harmless about my flirting.  If I take my time to send a couple of flirtatious key strokes, that means I have at least entertained the possibility of a dry hump.  (Do people still dry hump?  I don’t know the rules. I’ve been in emotional seclusion.)  Reason, however, prevails.  There are a million reasons that you should not become physical with every person you flirt with.  I do it almost subconsciously at times, so if I were to engage every object of flirting, I would quite possibly be a veritable Ground Zero of ho shit.  With that said, I can flirt with you, and though I might entertain thoughts, I have no intention whatsoever on doing anything.  Lots of people are like that.  We’re trapped in offices all day and we need something fun to do.

But we’re grown folks, and sometimes sex DOES happen.  Not everyone is going the marriage, 2.5 kid, white picket fence route.  People aren’t even always going the shack-up route.  Some people really, are just trying to have sex.  Ideally, these people should hook up with others of their ilk. Since I love you like play cousins though, I’ll acknowledge this:  There are people who just like to be players.  Having “just sex” isn’t enough for them, and part of their hunt is getting a person to be attached to them, whether they plan on sustaining a relationship or not.  Mentally dog-ear those pages where they let their true intentions seep out.  (I promise you they will.  People ultimately want you to know who they are so they can absolve themselves of guilt if necessary:  But I told you…)

If you are looking for something more, or just getting yourself through the day, govern yourself accordingly.  I’ve seen far too many people create, or fall victim to, what I like to call “Fantasy Monsters.”  You create these virtual romantic situations, yet one person is too invested, the other is not invested enough, and neither of you are equipped to deal because your communication is nonexistent.  Simple words on a page become this fire breathing dragon that makes you stalk pages and wonder why Person X is tagged in not one, but two pictures.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for the people you let in your cipher.  Govern yourselves accordingly.  If you’re an emotional person and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a player, you must exist with the knowledge that you will ultimately be benched.  If you are a player and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a Stage IV clinger, you must exist with the knowledge that your spot can and quite probably will be blown up at any given moment.  It’s crazy in these internets.

Govern yourselves accordingly.