The Misadventures of Dating in Your 30s Part 2

As some of you noted to me in your e-mails, comments and Facebook posts, dating in your 30s (40s and even 70s) can be rough.  Part I of this series stirred up great dialogue about lessons learned, the importance of communication and questions about who should pick up the tab on a date?

My intent in writing these dating chronicles isn’t to dissect who is right and where things went wrong.  The goal is to find the humor in a situation that wasn’t so funny at the time.  But I always welcome your comments and opinions on these scenarios.  For those of you who are curious as to which of these were my experiences—technically they all were.  Because as my friends recanted the stories, I felt as if I was experiencing it alongside them.

Recreational Activities

I’m taking her out on our third date.  If I calculate all the money I’ve spent on this woman since our last two dates, she’s close to $250 (not that I’m keeping count). I order the chicken; she orders the steak—go figure. We make more small talk. Our food comes out and she uses her fork to penetrate the steak.  She asks the waiter to send it back–oh no not again! She now wants the fish instead. She has returned a portion of her meal during every date so far. Red flag? The waiter politely obliges. I’m not going to let it bother me this time because I’m focused on the big picture–my steadfast rule: if I’ve been spending money on you, I’m getting some by date number 3!  We enjoy the meal and have a fairly decent conversation. I like her smile, she’s pretty and she’s smart.  Despite her restaurant etiquette I’m starting to dig this woman.  We share a few laughs throughout our meal and I help her with her coat as we depart the restaurant.

We arrive at the front door of her place around 11:30PM.  I’m gazing into her eyes to see if she’s giving me a signal to park and come upstairs.  Before I could make a determination she asks, “do you want to come up for a little bit?”  I don’t hesitate and quickly demonstrate my superb parallel parking skills.  She lives in a five-story walk up—no wonder she stays in shape.  Out of breath I step inside and am greeted by a high-pitched howl—damn she has a dog!  I have a seat on her couch and she brings two glasses of patron and cranberry juice and asks, “do you smoke?” I reply, “nah, I don’t fool with cigarettes, you?”  She responds, “I mean weed silly!”  Feeling a bit goofy, I respond, “oh I tried it a couple times in college.”  Before I could say anything else she was back on her feet.  She returns with a contraption (I later find out it’s called a vaporizer) and two grams of weed.  She lights it up and passes it to me to take a hit.  I hesitate at first, but I tell her I’m good and decide to pass.

It’s 1:00AM and I’ve managed to position my hand on her leg.  She’s high and snuggled into my chest.  With one arm wrapped around my waist and the other hand holding tightly to the vaporizer, in a whisper, she asks, “have you ever tried coke?”  Okay I was just talking myself into getting used to the fact that she blazes on a regular basis.  But she does coke too? Weedhead is one thing, but cokehead?! Is it an occasional thing? Am I overthinking? Should I give it a try?

Little White Lie

I am ready to call it a night after being out at a club.  Since my car keys are in my friend’s car, I can’t leave until she gets in her last round of bootie shaking.  As I impatiently stand against the wall, out of nowhere he approaches.  We exchange pleasantries and he asks me whether (1) I have a boyfriend, (2) I’m single, or (3) in an undefined situation. I’ve never been asked the third option but I like his thoroughness.  The club is dim so I can’t get a good look at his face, but I can tell his body is attractive by his silhouette.  He tells me that he wanted to come over and say hello despite the very serious/mean look on my face.  I’m flattered. Mental note: stop mean mugging. Before he leaves, he asks for my number.  Should I give him my Google number or the real thing?  I will give him the real one since he seems polite, pleasant and pleasing on the eye.

He sends me a text message the next morning.  Damn, what happened to the 3-day rule? After a few exchanges, he calls.  In this new world of text messaging and tweeting, I appreciate a man who still picks up the phone to have a conversation.  We speak for hours on a variety of topics.  His peppering of questions demonstrates his keen interest in getting to know me.  The questions continue and I’m happy to answer honestly to give him insight into who I am.  I’ve already surmised by the many questions that he must have be a lawyer because I am feeling a bit interrogated—in a nice way.  We talk about his short term and long term personal and career goals.  He hopes to get married within the next five years and wants to land a job in the White House.  For a woman in her mid-thirties, his marriage trajectory is music to my ears!  I also like that he is ambitious.

As we’re talking on the phone I decide to search for him on Facebook to see whether we have mutual friends—DC is small, he may have dated someone I know.  He doesn’t come up in my search.  As I am logging into LinkedIn, he asks, “are you a big social media user?”  I tell him I use them sporadically, and ask him whether he uses social media.  Then I notice he has searched for me on LinkedIn. I’m not surprised, the internet makes it so easy for us to be nosey.  “No I’m not really much of a Facebook and Twitter user” he responds.  I ask, “so you’re not one of those who runs a Google search on people you meet?” He replies, “nope.”  I follow up by asking, “would you search someone on LinkedIn?”  He also responds “no”.  “Then why does my LinkedIn account say that you searched my profile a couple of hours ago?”  Damn damn damn! Did I just say that out loud?! Awkward silence.  He calmly says, “I didn’t search for you on LinkedIn.” Side eye. Did he just lie?! I said, “really? That’s’ not what LinkedIn indicates.” More awkward silence.  I switch the subject.   There goes my idea of him being amazing. Was I wrong for asking? If he can lie about this, what else will he lie about?

Inverse Relationship

I leave my favorite Thursday night happy hour spot feeling optimistic about the women I met tonight.  My swag was on 100, resulting in six phone numbers from some very attractive ladies.  The next morning I send them all the same text message: “good mrng. hope u had a good night. great meeting you.” Four out of the six respond. One of them follows up with a text message asking, “when will I see u again?”  After a few more text message exchanges, I focus my attention on her and she becomes my favorite of the six.

Our first date a week later was to see John Legend in concert.  She purchased our tickets and also treated me to dinner. Damn, I could get used to this! We sleep with each other on the first date.  Now that is what you call a new-age woman! Sex was aight but it didn’t last as long as I would have liked. A week later, a card with a gift certificate to my favorite men’s store is delivered to my office.  The card has no name attached.  Nah, this can’t be from her.  It is from her! We spend more and more time together. Within a month, I find myself calling her “baby.”  She’s not too clingy and she doesn’t ask me questions about trying to commit.  I’m feeling her style.  She laughs at my corny jokes, and constantly finds ways to do nice things for me.  She could write a book for all these chicks who are waiting on a man to spend a ton of money on them before they give the man some attention.

Six months pass and she still has the same ride-or-die personality.  But, I’m not sure I want to ride for her the same way.  Why am I hesitating? I’m ready to settle down.  I still frequent my Thursday happy hour spot and I am still talking to women and taking their numbers.  Some of them are slightly more attractive than her and they pique my interest.  I sleep with some of them. I should probably tell her that I don’t know if I can give her what she wants.  But she isn’t asking for anything–yet. I’m ready to settle down, I’m ready to find that woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.  She seems like the right person for me.  She caters to me.  She loves me.  Sometimes I can see myself with her long-term, and other times, I would be indifferent if she stopped speaking to me. She’s not it. How am I going to tell her? She likes me too much. I’ll just ride it out and not say anything.

Forgive. Trust. Love.

I recently came across this quote: “Look back in forgiveness, look forward in trust, [live] now in love.”  At first glance I considered it yet another ordinary quote. But like most things I read/hear, I stored it away and processed it later.  As I was flying home, sitting quietly with my thoughts, I started to think about those 12 simple words and realized that it surmised how I try to live my life.  Admittedly I am far from perfect, and oftentimes struggle with the forgiveness, trust and love actions. But If I could live according to those words life would continue to bring me an abundance of happiness.
Let me take a moment to break down these three acts.

Forgiveness

I try not to look back unless it’s to remind myself of previous life lessons.  But at times, I reflect on the past with a bitter heart–to remind myself of when I’ve been wronged. Healing begins with forgiveness. An apology isn’t necessary before we start to forgive (and oftentimes that apology may never come).  We don’t forgive to let others off the hook. Rather, we forgive to allow our broken hearts to mend. A bitter heart will not trust nor can it receive love.

Trust

I battle with these five letters on a daily basis. I trust two people in the entire world–that’s myself and God. Well maybe just God–sometimes I can’t trust myself when left to my own devices. Okay, if I’m really going to be honest, at times I’ve questioned my faith in Him as well.  Bottom line, I have trust issues.  For some, trusting is easy, but I’ve tried a couple approaches: trust until the person gives you a reason not to trust him/her; stay weary until you have built up trust in a person.  None of these have been 100% effective. I am not going to try to proffer advice on something I may never master.  But I do know that being able to trust and to be trusted is a fundamental requirement to a happy life.

Love

Live now in love. Can someone love if he/she hasn’t learned to forgive and trust?  The answer is likely no, but I may have found a loophole! Living in love is what maintains my happiness. I love to see others succeed, I love to see others happy, I love to find the best characteristics in everyone.  Okay, maybe I’ve redefined love. But like I mentioned above, I have trust and forgiveness issues, so this is my workaround.  If we’re talking about love–like handing over sharing my heart–then I still have some work to do in that regard.  But I’ve tried to demonstrate my love to those who matter the most to me, in the best way I can.

I told you those twelve simple words packed a big punch. Take some time to reflect on what the quote means to you and whether you live your life accordingly.

Chucking My Deuces Up!!

Last week it started to become really cold in DC, but the weather has been unseasonably warm this weekend. I was trying to decide what to do this morning when I had a video chat with my bestie who lives in South Africa.  After doing our usual lamenting about our lives,  and proffering our unsolicited free advice to each other, I decided that it was time to do some fall cleaning.  Nope, not of my apartment (though that also needs to be done), but of some of the people men in my life.

I explained to her how I felt as if my life wasn’t together.  Like most of my friends, she couldn’t understand why I would say that or I would have this feeling of unhappiness.  Here I am living out my dream….doing all that I have always set out to do.  I have the career that I have always wanted to have, I am living the life that some might envy, yet still I was chatting to my bestie complaining about being unsatisfied.  I guess to some extent we are all a bit unsatisfied with our lives–it might be what causes us to challenge ourselves and aspire for more.  But this type of dissatisfaction I have acquired had become unnerving.  Could I ever attain happiness, completeness, and satisfaction in my life?  I started to realize that if I had ever reached that point, then the challenge was over and I might as well roll over and die.  In other words, life is always filled with challenges.

It hit me then that the root of my recent unhappiness dissatisfaction was the fact that I have men in my life who either have hurt me in the past or provide no added value for my future.  Now we all know people that fall under these two categories in our lives so why am I focusing on cleaning out the men you might ask?  Because I realize that as I continue to fulfill my professional aspirations, it is more fulfilling when you have someone to enjoy it with.  I am sick and tired of my tumultuous love life.  So I have a new fall anthem.  I’m clearing out the men clothes that’s been hanging in my closet for a few years knowing I don’t ever plan on taking them off the hanger to wear them again.  To prevent myself from going in the closet to try on those pants which I know no longer fits me or just isn’t a good look, I’m clearing them out and getting a new wardrobe (peep the analogy).

So I turned on my new theme song–Deuces (un-edited version).  I am not a fan of Chris Brown but I heard the words to the song the other day (yes I’m falling behind on staying up on pop culture) and it was talking to me like one of those good church songs that causes you to stand up and catch the spirit.  With a glass of one of my fine South African wines in tow (which I only open on important occasions), I began writing The List (no pun intended).  They won’t know that fall cleaning is coming, I won’t say a word.  I’ll just slip away unnoticed.  I’m flipping the middle finger up and the index finger follows…Deuces

Res Ipsa Loquitur–Taking Your Spouse’s Lover to Court

Dear Other Woman:

You have been summoned to appear in court to answer to this lawsuit and pay me for the pain and suffering you have caused me by sleeping with my husband.

Sounds crazy?  Well it’s not if you live in the state of North Carolina.  As I was getting ready for work yesterday morning I heard on the news that the singer/actress Fantasia Barrino attempted suicide on Monday after reading the complaint filed in a North Carolina district court by the wife of the man she had been carrying on a public affair with.

North Carolina is one of the few states which allows a spouse to sue a third party who interferes with a marriage.  Thus, the wife of Fantasia’s loverboy could sue her for restitution.  Is this law fair?  I recently found out that this law existed (they didn’t teach this useful tidbit in my family law class) but I never gave it much thought until now.  Could this law preclude married men and women from cheating?  If a man knew that he could be sued by the husband of the woman he is sleeping with, would that man think twice?  Would a woman reconsider before hollerin’ at a man with a wedding ring on his finger if she knew his wife could take her to court?

The law is a powerful tool and oftentimes it dictates our actions more than our morals.  One may view our laws, not as a way of keeping order and protecting citizens, but rather, as a tool which guides our moral compass.  Therefore, more states should join North Carolina in this Criminal Conversion law.  The law gets even better—a paramour cannot use the defenses that he/she didn’t know that the plaintiff’s spouse was married, or claim that the plaintiff’s spouse consented to their sexual relations (similar to statutory rape laws).  Therefore, the primary defense to a claim of criminal conversion is that the defendant believed that the plaintiff and his/her spouse were separated with the intent to divorce.  Anyway enough of the legal lesson…the bottom line is, you mess with another person’s spouse in North Carolina and you may find yourself in court.

Many people, myself included, may think this is a newly enacted law.  Wrong.  North Carolina has been putting down the gauntlet on cheaters as far back as the 1920’s.  In 1926, a jury awarded $12,000 to a wife who sued her husband’s lover.  In 1990 a jury awarded $300,000 in punitive damages to a spouse, and another jury awarded $1.2 million against a husband’s paramour as compensation to a jilted wife (seems like the women of NC know all about this law).

To all those bitter, angry soon-to-be-divorced men and women out there, due to adulterous spouses, petition your Congress person to adopt North Carolina’s anti-adultery alienation of affection and criminal conversion law.  Even if you’re not married, call your Congress person—you could potentially prevent an affair by your future husband or wife.  Although greater awareness of this law may cause the marriage rate to decline, the law may also facilitate in decreasing the rate of divorces.

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