Who Do You Meet In the Club?

Last week my girlfriends dragged me to a popular club in the area so that we could catch up over drinks.  I hate going to this particular establishment because I think it’s the most high-end thirst trap venue in D.C.  Despite trying to get out of having to go, I showed up and immediately regretted simply not standing my friends up.  As we sipped our drinks and rocked to the DJ’s 90s set, I decided to make the best of it and ended up having a great time catching up with them.   But as I people watched, I made an unscientific observation of the following crowd of characters in the room:

The Undistinguished Gentleman: He walks through the door wearing his semi-tailored suit. He presupposes that every woman likes a man in a suit.  But he wasn’t expecting that so many guys would have the same approach as he did–most of the men are wearing suits.  The color of his pocket square is the only distinguishable feature he possess from the other suit-wearing men in the crowd.   He now wishes he wore his bow tie instead.  Disappointed at this realization, but undeterred, he remembers that his sock game is always on point.  So he finds and leans against the nearest chair causing a slight elevation in the foot of his pants, enabling him to show off his well-coordinated socks.  He hopes his look says that he is a classy man with a decent job and style.  As he leans against the chair surveying the crowd, his power suit gives him confidence to find a lady to strike up conversation and buy a drink.  He gets lucky with the first woman he approaches; she engages him in conversation and he is hoping to get her entire life story.  He doesn’t hesitate to give his usual elevator speech of his background.  She doesn’t hesitate to give him her number.  Tonight will be a great night for him.

The Groupies: Unlike men, women oftentimes don’t go to a club/bar by themselves (I do it and I think women should do it more often).  They tend to arrive in a group of 4 or more.  Each of them is hoping to draw some attention to herself but with such a large group, a guy doesn’t feel like he has an in. Walking into the group would be like offering himself up to a firing squad while hoping no one will shoot him down.  The women talk and dance amongst themselves never creating an aperture sufficient enough for a man to approach any of them.  They dance and laugh seemingly having a great time, but each of them is secretly hoping that one of the men in the club will take notice and ask her to dance or strike up a conversation.  She thinks, if he’s really a gentleman, he’ll offer to buy drinks for her friends as well. And as they prepare to leave for the night, a guy stops one of them on their way out.  Her friends, annoyed that they received no attention tonight hurry her to leave because they have spotted a cab waiting outside.  She leaves with her friends never exchanging numbers with her new friend.

Mr. Rabble Rouser: As soon as he steps through the door of the establishment, you know he has arrived.  His voice is one octave higher than the music that is blaring through the speakers.  He waves and kisses the waitresses as they pass by, he gives a handshake to the bouncers and bartender as he strolls to his usual spot—a table behind the makeshift velvet rope.  The table, which contains a bucket of ice and a carafe of orange juice and cranberry juice, is perched 3 feet higher than where most of the crowd is standing.  He sits down alone at his table, wishing they would convert the establishment into a cigar bar so that he can smoke the Cuban in his jacket pocket.  A few minutes later his 8 friends arrive making their way behind the velvet rope.  Their two waitresses make their way toward their table holding bottles of Moet, Belvedere and D’usse with sparklers around them.  The Rabble Rouser leads his boys as they scream “turn up” in unison.  Using the shackle grab, they begin pulling ladies up from the dance floor to join them at their overly crowded table.  Most of the ladies happily oblige and within minutes, they have a drink in their hand.  They are now all ready to turn up for the night.

Ms. Spotlight Grabber: It’s happy hour and most people are arriving directly from work, yet she is dressed as if her day job is working at a gentleman’s club.  Her sequenced dress reaches about mid-thigh; but with the 5 inch platform heels, the dress fits like she last wore it when she was eight-years-old.  Whenever the DJ plays a song, she goes wild as if it’s her favorite. Until the next song is played and she gets hype all over again. With each song and each drink, she gyrates her back and waist with extreme emphasis and bends over slightly in hopes that one of the men will come over and match her rhythm. It will be a disappointing night for her if her attention-grabbing outfit and Kama Sutra dance movements don’t grab a man’s attention.  The men smile awaiting the right opportunity to approach her while the women stare at her with disdain.  She’s used to smiles and stares—nothing can ruin her night.

The Pusher Man: Like every other weekend, he has his game plan down.  He buys drinks for himself and every beautiful lady that he meets.  Most of the time, he walks away once he hands her the drink.  He doesn’t want to come across as the guy purchasing drinks to get a woman’s attention–even though that is exactly his intent.  He surveys the crowd and finds the ones who look like his type.  He hands drinks to three different women throughout the night and none of them seem to have taken the bait–the second woman refused the drink. When he brings a glass of wine over to the fourth woman, he adds, “I hate to see a beautiful woman standing around with an empty glass.”  He gets a smile.  As he walks back over to where he was standing she’s well on his heels.  She taps his shoulder and says, “thanks for the drink, are you from here?” With a smile that says, ‘time to reel her in’, he responds, while thinking, “fourth time is always the charm.”

Ms. Cold Shoulder: She walks into the room prepared to break every man’s ego.  She constantly gives men eye contact and flashes her beautiful smile to lure them into her web. Men misread her stares as “come hither.”  And before they know it, they are met with her scornful reproach as they attempt to strike up a conversation with her.  None of them are ever good enough to be worth her time. But the reality is, to avoid future disappointments, she convinces herself that none of her suitors are nice enough to date.  Idris Elba could walk through the door and he wouldn’t make her cut.  She has dealt with a few fade away types so she tries to ensure her attitude is a turnoff.  As one man walks over, she prepares her screw face which causes him to divert his path and walk past her.  As the next man strikes up a conversation with her, she implements the belly button rule (when a person speaks to you, notice where their belly button is facing.  If it isn’t facing you, he/she’s not interested).  She has no doubt in her mind that the men who didn’t pay her any attention must be gay.  She leaves the club always disappointed that she never meets anyone that she likes.  Nevertheless, she’ll be back next week to try again.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “be your [best] self, everyone else is already taken.”  I am sure these crowd of characters that I oftentimes notice in the club are beautiful people who have a lot to offer.  However, when they walk into the matrix, that is the club, all bets are off and they lose the essence of who they truly are.  Wait!  Who am I kidding?  Sadly, these people are probably just as self-centered, insecure and rude in their daily lives.  Let’s just say, next time I go out with my girlfriends, I’ll be choosing the location.

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Feminism: My Paradoxical Struggle

I had a recent conversation with a friend, which turned into me being forced into self-identifying as a walking contradiction. Let me first say that I was born during the end of the second-wave of feminism, and was raised during its third waive.  I bopped my head and twisted my neck as I sang U-N-I-T-Y along with Queen Latifah.  I constantly struggle to seamlessly adhere to society’s characteristics of me as a woman, and my feminist beliefs.  I’m not sure when being a feminist carried with it a negative connotation, but it only takes me saying a few female-empowering statements before I am given looks of fear and disappointment.  This is primarily because feminism has been redefined by extremists.

My definition of feminism is similar to Webster’s version—the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.  However, in some aspects of my life, I adhere to a less literal meaning of the term “equal”.  I guess this paradox makes me a quasi-feminist? My conversation with my friend left me with three puzzling questions: (1) what does it meant to be a quasi-feminist; (2) are my contradictions a bad thing; and (3) when it comes to classifying someone as a feminist, does it have to be all or nothing?

For the purpose of this piece, I  define quasi-feminist as someone who believes men and women should be treated equally in most, but not all, aspects of their lives.  As a quasi-feminist, I find it difficult at times to reconcile my feminist views with my desire to fit into society’s social norms of what my role should be as a woman and a future wife and mother.

Are my contradictions a bad thing as it relates to my role as a woman?  As feminism has evolved over decades, so have my sentiments as to what it is to be defined as a woman. I oftentimes say that chivalry is dead, and receive the response that feminism killed it.  But why can’t chivalry and feminism co-exist?  There are many things that are distinct about a man and a woman that should not be lost on feminism.  Yes, I know how to open a door for myself (and for a man), but it is the sweetest gesture when a gentleman does it for me.  Yes, I could learn to change a flat tire, but if a man offers to do it, even better!  I’m not the only person struggling with this notion.  There have been many recent discussions on whether Beyoncé should classify herself as a feminist as she prances around on stage and in videos in her underwear.

My inconsistencies become more prominent when the conversation changes to the role of men and women in the household.  I become a complete feminist with the expectation that my partner will equally share almost all of the household and child rearing duties.  Like feminism, the roles of men and women in relationships are evolving and the manner in which my partner and I redefine these roles should not cause the feminism gatekeepers to shun or exalt me.  For example, I prefer that my partner take out the garbage, mow the lawn and do more of the backbreaking chores around our home.  But in return, that does not mean he should expect me to cook and clean daily without any assistance.  I am on the fence about whether I would be comfortable with him being a stay-at-home-father even if it made economic sense for our household. Something about me being the sole breadwinner makes me uncomfortable.  And when he wakes up with our child at night he will not be awarded an extra badge of honor for doing so. I can see the jaws dropping as you read those seemingly selfish words.  Will I cook him dinner and wash his clothes?  Yes.  But not because society says it’s my duty as a woman, but because that week, I happen to have more free time than he did.  Would I take out the garbage or mow the lawn? If necessary.  The point is, in my household, no expectation will fall on either my partner or me as it relates to societal mores.  If our primary goal is to keep each other happy, then we will have to nix then it will take a team effort.

Finally, is it all or nothing when it comes to being a part of the feminist movement? Is it possible for a feminist to co-exist in a world where a man’s use of the term b*tch insults her, yet use it loosely amongst her girlfriends? Can she ask for chivalry to stay alive while being unwilling to define her role as a woman in a relationship? Can she ask for equality in her household yet prefer for her partner to take the garbage out and mow the lawn?  Yes she can.  The key to making any relationship work is communication and compromise.  Will I struggle at times in feeling like it is my duty as a mother to rock my child to sleep instead of her father while I’m still in the office? Will it pain me to conclude that my husband knows our children’s favorite foods better than I do?  Yes, because my innate nature and societal influences whisper to me that as a wife and a mother, it is my job and not his to know and do these things.  But despite those feelings, I will not concede to societal beliefs that I have fallen short as a wife and a mother if my partner takes the lead.

Does this make a walking contradiction?  Perhaps.  I am simply a woman with the paradoxical struggle of finding her place in the new wave of feminism—simultaneously trying to sing along to Beyonce’s “Cater 2 U” and “Run the World (Girls)”.

South Africa Adventures–The Dichotomy

On our second day, I made a reservation for mom and I to tour the wine areas of San Francisco–Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Raymond, our driver, had taken me on a similar tour four years ago. RaymondHe is a very nice Coloured (the name given to South Africans of mixed descent) man who lives in a nearby township. I left it up to Raymond to determine which estates we would visit. As we drove into the winelands, mom had the opportunity to ask Raymond cultural and historical questions from the perspective of a local. Raymond was very patient and provided us with a rich history of the area. He started from the beginning of South Africa’s colonization and provided us with detailed information up to his perspective on the reported corruption of South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma.

We arrived at the Fairview Estate for our first wine pairing. We sampled eight wines with an assortment of cheeses that are made at the estate.  Since our sommelier failed to provide us with a spit bowl, Ace (mom) believed it was obligatory to drink the entire glass (did I mention she isn’t a drinker?). By the time we left, Ace was complaining that her “eyes were turning”–a Jamaican terminology for when one is becoming tipsy. We stopped at a few more wine estates before heading to lunch at Le Petite Ferme. Before eating, we enjoyed a beautiful view of the mountains from the estate’s vineyard. I have kept mom happy with our 5-star dining, but my clothing is already beginning to fit tighter. imageAfter lunch, we visited a few more estates then headed back to the flat. It was a fun-filled day, but on the drive back to the flat I could feel the wine kicking in and I was beyond tipsy (but I wasn’t drunk).
imageOnce we returned, we could do nothing else but take a nap. After sleeping for a few hours, we decided to explore an open-air market that was located within walking distance. During the festive season, there appears to be a party occurring in the streets every night. The market was crowded with vendors, and people walking around contemplating what they would purchase. The majority of the vendors and customers appeared to be Muslim.  They sold everything from toys to food.  We stopped at a stand with a man selling figs. Mom decided to take a taste of the figs–one and a half days in Cape Town and she already wasn’t afraid to try food from street vendors. I happily passed on tasting it. She decided to purchase a handful then realized she forgot to bring her wallet. How convenient. Of course I gave her a side-eye as I pulled out ZAR10 to purchase her figs. IMG_3523

As we explored the marketplace we noticed that most of the vendors and people walking around were Muslim. At this point, we were getting comfortable with feeling somewhat out of place in South Africa. One vendor sold Beats by Dre headphones for ZAR150 (the equivalent of $15).  For Christmas, I purchased similar headphones for my sister for $150! Chances are the vendor’s headphones weren’t real, but I contemplated buying hem for my sister and returning the ones I previously purchased .

IMG_3557On our walk back to the flat, we snapped a picture in front of the former slave lodge which was turned into a museum (despite it being next door, we didn’t get an opportunity to explore the museum).

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The previous day, mom and I had a wonderful adventure driving through the majestic vineyards of the Cape while sipping some of the best wines in the word.  But, it would be a spurious claim to believe that all of Cape Town consists of fine dining, great wines and open air markets.  So, on the following day we took a tour of two of the most famous townships in Cape Town–Llanga and Khayelitsha Townships.  As mom got dressed in the morning, she prepared to wear one of her cute sundresses and her expensive jewelry. I immediately advised her that today, we (really her, because none of my clothing looks as expensive as hers) should wear something a bit more unassuming.

 After heading to Long Street to have breakfast at Rcaffe, we boarded the tour bus headed to the townships (similar to the term “projects” in the US).  imageTandis, our tour guide, brought us to District Six Museum on our first top.  There, he explained the history of District 6 and other townships where non-whites were relocated.  Mom was enthralled in the story and walked around the museum soaking in as much information as possible.  After the museum, we headed to Llanga Township (the oldest township in Cape Town with over 50,000 residents) where Luyolo took over as our tour guide.  As we walked through the area, the children ran up to us and grabbed our hands.  They were all so adorable, yet as we walked along, we could see the poverty-ridden homes.  We walked into one of the hostiles to see how many people lived.  Mom, stopped in her tracks, paralyzed and shocked that people lived this way.  The common area was filled with flies and was as clean as it could be.  There were up to 4 families living in one room.  The hostile had one kitchen area and no living room.  In one of the rooms was a lady who I met almost 5 years before.  We took a picture similar to the one we took previously.  Since this was not my first time through the township, I was not as shocked as mom, who was afraid of touching anything.  Mom grew up in poverty in Jamaica, but she said this did not match anything that she had experienced first hand.  It was a sobering experience relative to our wine tasting the previous day.  At this point, mom peppered Luyolo with many questions about the standard of living.

One of the ironies of our visit was as we walked by some of the shacks the entire home was smaller than the size of my mother’s bedroom with holes in the zinc roofs.  However, many of them had flat screen televisions that were bigger than televisions owned by mom or me.  We entered a makeshift bar where Luyolo explained that many of the men in the neighborhood would stop by to have homemade beer.  Since none of the women on the tour were willing to take a sip, I stepped up to have a try.  It was served in a pail that everyone had to drink from in the spirit of Ubuntu–human kindness.  The beer was warm and had a bitter aftertaste–not something I would take more than a sip of).

imageAfter Llanga, we drove through Khayelitsha Township–the largest township in the western Cape.  There are over one million people living in the township.  In Khayelitsha, we stopped by Vicky’s Bed and Breakfast.  When I visited years prior, I met met Vicky and learned about her Zagat rated B&B in the township which raised money for the local school.  But during this visit, Tandis informed me that the tour would be conducted by Vicky’s eldest daughter because Vicky was killed by her husband two years ago (her husband is currently in prison).  As we left Vicky’s, we saw children “swimming” in water along the road that contained tons of garbage.  It was very sad to watch, yet we left them behind and returned to our affluent area of Cape Town and continued our vacation.  Nevertheless, the memory of the townships were forever etched into our minds.

Our South Africa Adventures Day 1

We’re still not over the jet lag (we’re 7 hours ahead of EST) so we had a slow start to the day.  Since our flight arrived after most stores were closed, we had a few errands to run in the morning. Ace had to decide which one of her glamorous outfits she would wear today.  After much contemplation she settled on purple jeans as she was disappointed that the temperature was merely 62 degrees (it later rose to a high of 75).

imageWe had an itinerary with various activities on tap, but of course nothing ever goes as planned. Our first stop was to the V&A Waterfront.  It is somewhat of a tourist hub with stores, restaurants and a great view of the mountains. We needed to visit a foreign exchange bureau and purchase adapter plugs that enabled us to charge our phones.   The waterfront was crowded with tourists and other visitors walking around on the beautiful summer day.  We also stopped at Woolworth’s (similar to a Target/Walmart on a much smaller scale) to pick up a few snacks for the flat we’re staying in.  On our way back to the car, the strap of mom’s shoe broke. Oh boy.  Of course the fashionista would not take another step until we mended her shoes.  We walked into a store at the waterfront and mom asked one of the workers whether they had crazy glue.  Undeterred by the blank stare she received, mom moved on to asking another worker for crazy glue.  After her 3rd attempt, I realized, they had no idea what she was talking about.  I imageexplained to a worker that she needed an adhesive to repair her shoes. The store did not carry an adhesive so mom was left to purchase a new pair of shoes.  Being the practical one, I recommended that she purchase a comfortable pair of shoes, but mom was having no parts of it. “I need a cute pair of shoes that is obvious that it is from South Africa.”  After much back and forth, she settled on a pair of shoes she could be semi-happy with.

Our next stop was the Old Biscuit Mill for lunch.  It is in an open air market where merchants gather and set up make-shift restaurants and sell various goods.  Unfortunately, mom’s shoe purchasing experience took longer than we anticipated, so by the time we arrived, the merchants were closing. Disappointed but undetered, we returned to the waterfront to have lunch.

imageIn addition to being a shopaholic, mom also likes to fine dine.  After perusing the menus at a few locations, we settled on Oyo.  We sat alongside the water and enjoyed a great meal while we people watched and relaxed. Our server Tapiwa (pronounced Ta-pee-wah), was very sweet and patient.  Mom and I discussed the interesting racial group distinctions in South Africa and the classification of called Coloureds (Coloured is loosely defined as man and women who are of mixed race). The waterfront was filled with many tourists and people from various areas of the continent.  We were trying to distinguish who among the passer-byes would be classified as Coloureds.  We were also admiring the interesting attire worn by women.  the passer-byes also stared back at us (we would learn why I few days later). Mom was taking it all in.  Hands down, the most beautiful natural women of the world live in Africa!  On our way out, we met an older couple from Switzerland who struck up a conversation with us.  They asked where we were from and later asked whether I was married.  Ace wasted no time in responding for me and letting them know she wanted to find me a husband (a statement she has made about 10 times during our trip thus far).  The gentleman replied, “you are looking for a chief?” To which his wife responded with disgust, “here in South Africa, you must be looking for a thief!”  Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. She is starting to learn the dynamic do race relations in this country.

imageAfter stuffing our faces, we were exhausted. This did not deter us from experiencing more of this beautiful country.  We returned to our flat for an hour then headed to Camps Bay for sundowners.  Mom, the fashionista, could not wear the same outfit to dinner that she wore all day (plus she brought enough clothing to last a month).  Therefore, she she had another wardrobe change before we left.  Not to be outdone, I borrowed her leather jacket to spice up my own look.

imageWe drank and ate at Tuscany Beach Restaurant.  Mom was shocked to see a server who was not black. Since arriving, she wondered why she only saw black workers at the airport, in restaurants and in stores. This isn’t actually true she just hadn’t been paying close attention and she hasn’t adjust to being in a country where blacks are the majority.  She was also saddened to see homeless people for the first time in the country. We watched street children hustle people for money as they walked to their cars.  As we left the restaurant, two children approached us aggressively asking for more money despite the 4 Rand I handed to them.  Mom was much nicer to them as I got into the car and drove off.  Exhausted after a full day, we returned to our flat and passed out.  Our first full day was now behind us.

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.

The Misadventures of Dating in Your 30s Part I

My friends and I have experienced some of the craziest dating stories over the years.  I have decided to share these comical moments with everyone so that we can all have a laugh at how difficult it is to date in your 30s.  Names have been omitted to protect the innocent.  I hope you enjoy:

Long Distant Dating

While living abroad I met the most amazing woman. We hung out often and shared great personal conversations. I thought about how wonderful it would be to kiss her, but I always respected the boundaries that she never indicated that I could cross. I returned stateside but never stopped thinking about her. A few months later, she also moved to the States. I lived in NY, and she lived in San Francisco. I was so happy to reconnect after almost a year but when we spoke on the phone or via Skype our vibe didn’t seem the same. Was it my imagination? Why was she being so distant? I invited her to visit me in New York so that we could reconnect. I also decided to pay for her flight to New York. A month prior to her arrival, I hadn’t heard from her. I called, sent text messages and e-mails to no avail. Just when I thought I should call to cancel her flight, I receive a text message saying “Sorry I’ve been MIA; been a busy and hectic mnth. Looking fwd 2 seeing u!” The smiley face at the end of her statement melted away any frustrations that I developed from her absence.

I could barely contain my excitement as I drove to the airport to pick her up. As much as I wanted to share some great conversations with her, I was really looking forward to sleeping with her. A brotha been in a drought in NYC! She arrives. After dropping her bags off at my place we go to dinner. She’s still on west coast time so we have drinks back at my place and talk until 3 in the morning—I’m exhausted. She slips into something more comfortable as we prepare to go to bed—wait her idea of comfortable is a hooded sweatshirt and flannel pajama pants?! That’s okay it doesn’t change my desire for her. It’s time to go to bed. Wait…what?! She’s uncomfortable sleeping in my bed?! Why? She doesn’t really expect me to sleep on the couch? Hold up?! She has a boyfriend?!!! Why didn’t she tell me this a month ago? This is going to be a looooong weekend. Ain’t this a…… Should I tell her to leave now and get a hotel? Nah, I’ll just put her ass on my couch now and tell her to leave in the morning.

Who’s Going to Pay?

My girls and I are sitting at the bar having drinks at the W hotel. A gentleman walks over and offers to buy drinks for us. I coyly accept as I admire his finely tailored suit, monogrammed cufflinks and perfect white teeth. After sharing a few pleasantries, we exchanged cards and he walked away. A few days later while at work, I receive a call from him. He wanted to know if I had time to get a drink or maybe dinner. Once I described my hectic work schedule, he realized he had to act quickly or the opportunity for us to meet may pass. Despite having tons of work, I figured I could meet him briefly at the restaurant around the corner from my office and return to my office afterward to finish up the work I had.

He’s dressed as sharply as he was the first time I met him. The waiter arrives to take our order and I ask for a glass of water. He requests a bottle of wine and orders the sea bass entrée. Who’s he going to drink this bottle with? He did hear me when I said I had to return to work after this? “Are you going to drink a bottle of wine by yourself,” I ask. With a smile he responds, “no, you’re going to join me.” Okay this dude must not have heard what I said. The waiter brings his entrée along with the bottle of wine and two glasses—he proceeds to pour wine into the glass he placed in front of me. I sip it slowly as I listen to this man talk about himself. And talk about himself some more, and even more. Did I really give myself another 3 hours in the office just to listen to this?! The waiter eventually brings the check over. The gentleman dude acts as if he doesn’t notice it and continues to ramble on. “I’m sorry, but I really have to get back to the office so we should get going,” I said. He says, “okay” but continues to talk. WTF is he deaf?! I reach for my purse and take out my wallet. Maybe this will be the jumpstart to help him realize I really really need to go. He continues to talk. I place my card in the bill. He doesn’t move. The waiter comes by and picks up the bill. Wait….WTF?! I sit there frozen and stunned. Am I being punk’d? He’s going to stop the waiter right? Why am I paying for this dinner!?! The waiter returns and puts the paid bill on the table. Did this dude asshole really just have me pay for his meal!?!!! As I sign the $125 bill in utter bewilderment, I try to make sense of the situation. I leave the restaurant and as I walk back to my office, he steps into his 2014 BMW 7 series.

The following afternoon, my assistant stops by my office with an envelope. In it is a note and a check for $200 saying “thanks for dinner and the company.” I’m never speaking to this asshole again.

Have A Seat Where It Matters

I walk into the room with my notebook and pen in hand.  In the center is a large mahogany table.  A quick scan of the room confirms my assumption that there more people in attendance than there are chairs around the table.  I’m wearing 4-inch heels.  This meeting is likely to last at least an hour.  Standing is not an option.  Against the walls are chairs.  I take seat.  At the table.

lean inBefore reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, I gave little thought to what impression I was giving when I entered a meeting with my colleagues and immediately grabbed a seat on the peripheral.  It was common practice for the directors to occupy the seats at the table.  However, the day after reading the chapter titled “Sit at the Table” I was determined to abrogate the Division’s unwritten rule.

In this chapter, Sandberg continues to expound on her belief that women hold themselves back by personally choosing to watch from the sidelines.  Sandberg explains that it isn’t a lack of seating at the table that draws a woman to the side of the room and glued to her chair, it is a woman’s sense of her insecurities.  Despite her accolades, a woman is oftentimes plagued with self-doubt—this is characterized as the imposter syndrome.

When I began my new job, it was important for me to learn my environment by observing the behaviors of my peers.  I quickly observed that when meeting in a conference room, only senior staff sat at the table.  The rest of the staff sat on the periphery while glancing at the unoccupied seats around the table.  On the day I walked into the meeting wearing my 4-inch heels, I remembered Sandberg’s story about Tim Geitner’s staff when he served as Treasury Secretary.

Sandberg recounted a time when Secretary Geitner arrived at Facebook’s office with four members of his staff (all female) to discuss the state of the economy.   Despite her coaxing to have the women sit at the large conference table, they sat off to the side of the room. To emphasize the purpose of the story, Sandberg noted that sitting on the side makes you a participant a spectator rather than a participant.

Despite my colleagues’ apprehension to have a seat at the table, I know I earned my right to be there and I wasn’t going to wait for an invitation–so I decided to lean in.  After taking a seat and reassuring myself that I wasn’t a fraud sitting at the table, my confidence began to increase and I decided to also give my opinion on a topic that was discussed in the meeting.  I am still a victim of self-doubt from time to time but I remind myself that if I don’t recognize my value, I can’t be disappointed when no one else does.

Sitting at the table is symbolic to having self-assurance and knowing you have a right to be acknowledged.   In order to reach for opportunities we have to feel confident or pretend that we do until it becomes our reality.  I have adopted Tina Fey’s mantra of how she overcomes her lack of self confidence: “seriously, I’ve just realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”

Never miss an opportunity to sit at the table and eventually we’ll have more boardroom meetings that look like these:

business-woman-meeting

Board Meeting

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