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Archive for October, 2009

An Extremely Important Thing A Woman Must Do

October 16th, 2009 11 comments

I may seem like the type of guy who has a lot of demands. Certainly I have already gained some notoriety for listing an unreasonable list of things women do to turn me off and those who have been reading me or know me personally may think I am too picky for my own good.

But on the contrary, I feel I don’t demand much from a woman. As a matter of fact, there’s only one thing I ask of any woman I am dating or with whom I am in a committed relationship. It’s simple, but it means the world to me. It costs her nothing, only a little bit of her time and patience.

Here it is.

Read . My. Work.

Read the drafts.

Read the final.

That being said, click on the links below to read two of my latest pieces I wrote for The Root and The Wall Street Journal’s new culture blog, Speakeasy.

“Bill Cosby’s New Rap Album”The Wall Street Journal

“Will Smith is No Frank Williams: An Interview with Michael Jai Parker aka Black Dynamite” The Root

Remember that and enjoy those.

Many thanks.

Categories: dating, things a woman should do, women Tags:

Debates Men Have: Hitting A Woman

October 15th, 2009 12 comments

The argument for and against laying hands on a woman is never black and white.

Women get out of pocket, sometimes in extreme ways, and I’d be lying if I said I never took it, you know, there.

When I was in first grade, a girl came up to me and teased me while I was standing against the wall all the bad kids stood against. I kicked the girl in the knee and told her to get away from me. She told on me, the teacher told my mom, my mom told my Pop, and he subsequently whooped me so bad, I’ll put it like this:  I was in first grade when I received the butt whooping. I’m 28 now and as I am writing this, I just winced.

Needless to say, it set me straight, but what really made me understand just how wrong it is for a man to lay hands on a woman is when I saw it occur in my own family.

Without saying too much about those I love, and out of respect for  their privacy, I won’t get into details of the things I saw. But for years I have wished for a hole deep enough for me to bury those memories in because they have scarred me for life. Yet sadly, they have not been enough to keep me from making two more small mistakes of my own.

I pushed two women who were my girlfriends at the time, once in college and once post-college. No marks were left and it doesn’t matter why. What matters is I should have remembered those moments I witnessed those I loved most being hurt by bigger, stronger men. Instead, in my own moments of rage, I acted like those men who to this day I still hate. Even if what I did to those two girls wasn’t nearly as bad, I sure acted just as idiotic as they had.

I am speaking on this now because of an article I read  the other day on The Root, written by Sherrilyn A. Ifill. The piece, — ‘Nobody Really Knows What Happened.’ Yes We Do — used the Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal to speak on the much larger issue of domestic violence. (For those who did not know, October is actually Domestic Violence Awareness month.)

The gist of Ifill’s piece is how even though people like to say women are often times the catalyst for such events to occur, it doesn’t make it right. To prove her point, she cites some well-qualified hard data and that’s what truly saddens me.

I understand why men like writer Jimi Izrael want people to understand domestic violence is a two way street, and I’m not writing this piece to change anyone’s mind, but I need to speak my own.

No man who defends hitting a woman should be ridiculed for his point of view. All of us, women and men alike can imagine some extreme circumstance in which the fairer sex might deserve a fresh one. But that’s all just good old fashion table talk.

For me, No amount of statistical evidence needs to be given to understand how wrong laying hands on a woman is. The stats I have compiled in my own experiences are just fine and they go like this:

One hundred percent of the time I or another man lays his hands on a woman, a woman is hurt physically or emotionally, and sometimes both.

One hundred percent of the time I or another man lays his hands on a woman, the man ends up the bigger idiot.

This is what I told myself the last time I felt like I had a justifiable cause for laying my hands on a woman.

The same woman I pushed last, is the same one who for other reasons I will not get into, completely and utterly trashed my apartment. The damage was so extensive I actually had to call people in for repairs and clean up, both of which cost me a pretty penny. Never before did I want so badly to inflict physical pain on a woman. Never before did I have a better reason. But by then I already learned my lesson. If I did so much as push this woman again, I would be doing nothing more than acting like a first grader.

Even I know that last fact is 100% true.

Categories: debates men have, guys, women Tags:

Phone Numbers

October 14th, 2009 11 comments

In grade school, I’d ask a girl to write her phone number on a scratch piece of paper or if I didn’t have any, on my hand. At dinner time, mom would tell me to go wash up before I ate dinner, which I did, but not before writing down my new phone number on a piece of binder paper.

My first play-by-play memory of getting a girl’s phone number is in seventh grade.  We were both in our county honor band. All of us sat together while the honor choir performed and she sat behind me. If I recall correctly, she asked me for a pencil or a pen, and because she was pretty much the cutest girl I had ever seen in my life, I gave her whatever I had on me and some jokes to make her laugh. When she gave me the writing instrument back, it came with her phone number. We’re actually still in touch to this day, but no longer on the phone. We use Facebook.

When I got to college, I didn’t have a cell phone for the first two years, so I would always carry a pen with me to the club, only to get it confiscated by a bouncer. “Can’t bring in sharp objects,” they would tell me. That was fine, I would just ask my boy to put the girl’s number in his cellphone, then when I got home, I would write it down on a Post-It.

For a while I got a lot of numbers on the back of receipts.

There was the time the woman at the check cashing place asked me if I wanted my receipt and I told her that was fine if she put her number on the back of it. She did.

At a summer internship in Detroit, there was a cute woman who worked in my company’s cafeteria (Detroit has cute women everywhere), and she always smiled whenever I came to her register. One day she gave me a receipt, and I handed her a pen. “Write your number on the bottom,” I said. I can tell she never really traveled anywhere because she didn’t include an area code. She wasn’t used to meeting guys from out of town like me.

During my senior year of college, I worked as a waiter at Applebee’s. The hostesses knew I wanted all the parties of cute girls who came from neighboring colleges in my section. This way, I had the entire meal to work my magic and by the end, I usually got a tip and a phone number. I would determine whether or not I called her by the amount she tipped me.

Now I have a cell phone. I no longer use ink to write phone numbers on the back of napkins, inside my palm, or receipts. I punch them in my phone, where they usually get lost in an oasis of  other numbers I either always dial, will never dial, or only dial when I’m drunk. In my cell phone address book, I don’t ever have to be burdened with memorizing a woman’s number, because if it’s one thing I hate, it’s that some numbers in my head will take years to forget. They’re like tattoos.

Sometimes though, a woman’s phone number is worth memorizing.

One time I chatted up a woman I had known for ten minutes about how technology has affected our memorization skills and some people can’t even remember their own parents phone number. Of course I was boring her, and from the looks of things, she was closer to ending the conversation than keeping it going. But I was just getting warmed up, so I made a deal with her.

“Look, the night’s still early,” I said. “How about we make a deal right now. Tell me your phone number right now and I won’t write it down or anything. At the end of the night, if I remember it correctly, I keep it and can call you so we can get together sometime soon.”

She agreed. I remembered it. We dated for a couple months.

Even as the technology and circumstances have changed, phone numbers remain the classic get; a math of new possibilities, the sum of which is to be determined at a later date.

Sometimes the number adds up to a relationship, others are the sum of a one night stand. I’ve had phone numbers turn into nothing more than phone sex; others  the combination straight to a woman’s voice mail.

Whatever the outcome, those ten digits (or sometimes seven) are like Lottery numbers: Get the wrong combination, nothing changes, I just play again. But if I get the right one…jackpot, baby.

Categories: guys, women Tags:

How Men and Women Roll

October 13th, 2009 14 comments

I never went on a Spring Break vacation in college, which will always be one of my biggest regrets. The rest of my boys, on the other hand, never missed their annual trek from Washington, D.C. to Miami’s South Beach in the Spring. And every year they arrived back on campus with legendary stories, filled with the kind of details I can only describe using the 24th letter of the alphabet.

As for my female friends, their Spring Break stories were PG-13 at best, and it always boggled my mind. Maybe the girls I talked to weren’t the same girls involved in the stories my boys told me, but they had to be involved in somebody’s story, right?

The question is rhetorical because I already know the answer. Of course the girls who said things like “GREAT” and “OH MY GOD! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!” to describe their Spring Break were doing the same things my boys were doing. They just didn’t want to admit it. After all, a real lady never talks about the times she didn’t act like a real lady. Instead, women lie by omission, describing a weekend filled with fun, sun, and alcohol. But bad decisions? They speak of no such thing. Unless, there’s a possibility they really did no such thing at all, which I have come to realize over the years, is very likely.

The debate between which gender enjoys sex more will always be disputed, but men definitely want sex more than women because whenever we go out, the possibility of sex is omnipresent.

Though most of us learn not to chase or put too much pressure on ourselves to go home with a woman the same night we meet her, all men would like the opposite outcome to occur. Trust me, if a man had a genie lamp he could rub on every night before he went out one of his three wishes would be a random sexual encounter with an attractive woman, and I bet the lamp would have more fingerprints than a police department.

Women on the other hand don’t often go out with the same mentality. Notice I said often. I understand some women go out with the mentality of a man, but across the board? No way. For most women, a great night for them doesn’t end in another man’s bed or another man in their bed. It ends with a bunch of men giving them gobs of attention.

To wit: Over the weekend, I asked three different women to describe the best night out they ever had. Below are some of the highlights.

Girl 1: “My girls and I were leaving an open bar and there was this limo driver who was parked in front of the spot. When he saw me and my girls, he let us ride in the limo for free for the rest of the night and took us to all the best clubs. Then he drove us to the train station at the end of the night and we laughed about the night the entire train ride home.”

Girl 2: “We had no money, me and my girls, but we went to the club anyway and for some reason, this club was crazy that night. We just danced all night, and guys were buying us drinks and gave us money to get home…”

Girl 3: “My friends and I just partied all night, dancing on tables and speakers. It was so much fun! Then we went home at like 6 in the morning and passed out.”

Hardly a scientific survey, but to make my point, three is all I need.

For most women, a good night is two drinks in both their hands, both bought by two different men, and a third man up in their face saying, “When you get done with those two drinks, I’m going to buy you your third one.”

After the women, I asked three different men to describe the best night out they ever had. Below are their highlights.

Guy 1: “We did it at her place.”

Guy 2: “We did it at my place.”

Guy 3: “We just did it at the club.”

Hardly a scientific survey, but to make my point, three is all I need.

Categories: dating, s#x, women Tags:

Drinking With Feelings

October 9th, 2009 12 comments

Tonight the liquor gave my aggressive side the cold shoulder, and instead decided to dance with my sensitive side. I’m up against the wall, already drunk and reflective, which means I’m going to do something no man should do: I’m going to vomit my feelings all over someone.

Tonight, I miss everything about my ex. I miss her smell, her touch, her kiss, and her hand in mine. Everything. Her laugh, her smile, her voice, and her company. Everything. Her good morning, her good night, her coming, and her going. Everything.

But I can’t call her, no checking in to see how she is doing. Those are the rules of our breakup and I have followed them for like the past six months. I’m not making any phone calls, not checking in to see how she is doing.

Repeat to myself over and over again for emphasis because being drunk will not be an excuse.

If I do see her, cool. No problem. I’m just going to say, “What’s up.” Then keep moving so quickly I don’t even hear her answer.

Wait until I see her again.

But it won’t happen tonight, that much I know. Tonight, it’s Halloween and I’m in Chicago. Good thing too, because this  random girl grinding on me right now without permission is just what I need.  She is helping me more than she knows, giving my mind a 15-minute recess from my ex-girlfriend.

I keep thinking: Well done, random girl. Well done. Keep going, random girl. Keep going. If you stop, my mind starts. So don’t stop, random girl. Don’t stop. Any other night, random girl, I’d know what to do next. But no aggressive drunk tonight, random girl. No aggressive drunk tonight.

Music shuts off. Club empties out. Liquor’s consumed. Recess is done.

I’m walking back to my boy’s car, it’s 2:15 a.m. here. That means it’s 3:15 a.m. in New York City. But it doesn’t matter which time zone I’m in. It’s late everywhere.

Check my phone. No phone calls from my ex tonight. Damn, for some people,  Halloween is a special occasion to call loved ones. Isn’t it?

Why did my boy have to park so far away from the club? Doesn’t he know I need to pass out in the seat and get rid of my ex’s cobwebs stuck in my head? The more we walk, the more I talk about her cause I am someone-get-that-man-some-water drunk.

Turning to my boy I say, “Man, I don’t even miss the sex with my ex. I mean, I do, but you know, what we had was more than just sex. We lived together. I miss after the sex just as much as I miss the sex itself. I miss the way….”

My phone is ringing at 2:15 a.m. Chicago time, 3:15 a.m. New York time and it’s my ex. And it’s late everywhere.

Count to three then say sober, Jozen:

1, 2, 3 SOBER!

Answer the phone now.

“Hello?”

“Hi, are you home?”

“No, I’m in Chicago.”

Long pause. Fill it up.

“I’m drunk. I miss you. What are you calling for? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Long pause. Her turn to fill it up.

“I wanted to come over. I’ve been having dreams of you.”

“Oh man, I’m so happy to hear that. Tell me about them.”

Long pause. Her turn to fill it up again.

“I wanted to come over tonight. I’ve been having dreams of the sex we used to have.”

Long pause. My turn to fill it up.

“Oh, you do? I miss that too.”

We talked for a few minutes then, about the sex we used to have. When we got off the phone, I was still drunk but pissed. She called because she was having dreams about me; missed sex with me. She called because I am a man, and she thought a man would love to hear her say such things.

I am a man, I acted like it was exactly what I wanted to hear, when the fact is, I missed everything about her. Everything.

Instead, I kept it all in. I am a man, and men don’t vomit their feelings.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Stories: "32"

October 8th, 2009 27 comments

Katelyn and I just met three days ago and I’m tearing off the wrapper of the condom already. Preventive measures are important, seeing as we barely know each other, which is why once the condom is on I have one more question to ask her before we get down to business.

“How many people have you slept with?”

Katelyn, completely naked, looks at me for a moment, puzzled, and says, “Two. You?”

“Four,” I say. Then I kiss her, and the fun begins.

I wasn’t lying. After all, I was still only in my first semester at college. I had no reason to think Katelyn was lying either. She was a freshman too. So as far as I was concerned, Katelyn — easily the finest girl I’ve ever dug, who’s dug me in return — and I had a deep connection.

That was the feeling I left her dorm room with. I wanted this to get serious quickly and I think she did too.

Back at my dorm, I told a few of my boys about what just happened. I explained to them what went down with Katelyn and broke down how in just three days we were probably going to end up together.

Katelyn felt my energy.

Katelyn understood me.

Katelyn is special.

Damn that college freshman naiveté.

Back when we were freshman at Howard, my boys didn’t know much more than me about the opposite sex. We were like the blind leading the blind. Even when we weren’t asking each other for any advice, my boys and I wasted no time doling out our  takes on the opposite sex. I think it was because we wanted an excuse to talk about our individual experiences. Limited as they were, we looked for any reason to rehash a story about a woman from our small pasts, but cloaked our boasts in faux-pearls of wisdom. So naturally one of my boys responded to my Katelyn story with skepticism, and because I saw it coming, I knew exactly how to reply.

“Oh man, you’re just a hater,” I told Jake. “Besides, you all don’t even know her. She doesn’t go to school here.”

“I’m just sayin’ homie, how do you know,” Jake asked. “I mean, how do you know you’re the only one she’s done that with? One time, I was with this one girl and I thought I was the only one. Turns out mad dudes had been up in it!”

“Dude, I just know,” I said, continuing to plead my case. “She ain’t like that! She said she only been with two people before me!”

“You catchin feelings,” Jake asked.

“Naw,” I said. “I’m just sayin, what we had was on a different level.”

My other boy Rob chimed in, “Hey, if you feel that way. Do you. I was with you the other night. She’s fine.”

“Tell him that,” I said, pointing back to Jake.

“Fine or not,” Jake said. “You never know. These girls…”

“I know, these girls, whatever,” I interrupted. “I’m going back to my room. I’ll catch you all later.”

Back in my dorm room, I picked up my phone and gave Katelyn a call. She picked up on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” I said.

“Who’s this,” she asked.

For a moment, I looked at my phone. Did I have the right number? What is this who’s this business?

“Umm, it’s Jozen,” I said.

“Oh, hey, how are you,” Katelyn asked. Her skeptical tone melted away to the familiar, sweet sound I heard a few hours ago when we were in her room.

“I’m good,” I said. “I was calling to see if you wanted to get together on Saturday.”

“Umm, yeah,” she said. “We can do that”

“Dope,” I said. “So how are you?”

“I’m good, but umm, there’s something I wanted to ask you.” Katelyn’s voice slipped back into a more serious tone.

“Okay,” I said. “What is it?”

“Why did you ask me how many people I slept with before we had sex?”

“I know, that was stupid, I shouldn’t have done that,” I said.

“Well, when you said four, were you telling the truth,” she asked.

“Yeah. I was,” I said. “Were you?”

“You were? Four people? That’s it,” Katelyn was now pressing, for what, I didn’t know.

“Yeah, four,” I said. “Four. Why do you ask?”

“Well, when I said two, I wasn’t being completely honest.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, thinking this lie isn’t so bad. After all, she felt my energy. She understood me. She was special. “So how many is it, like four too or five?”

“Umm, I don’t think I want to tell you,” she said.

“I mean, it can’t be that bad,” I said. “You can tell me. I want to know. Is it five?”

“Umm, no, it’s more,” she said.

More! I thought. Right as she said this, I could hear Jake laughing in the other room, and even though he was laughing with the rest of my boys about something completely unrelated and couldn’t hear the conversation Katelyn and I were having, he might as well have been in the conversation on 3-way. Katelyn already had to use her second hand to count the number of sexual partners she had. How could that be? I was being lied to and emasculated at the same time. Emasculated because in my immature mind, a man was always supposed to have more sexual partners than a woman.

“Umm, okay,” I said, my voice reeking with suspicion. “Well, just tell me. I promise, I can handle it. Is it like 10?”

“More.” She whispered.

“More!” I yelled.

“Why are you yelling,” she asked.

“I’m yelling because I can’t believe you lied to me and said two when it’s been more than 10! Even if you weren’t telling the truth, you can’t lie by more than like five people.”

“Well,” she yelled back. “Who asks how many people you sleep with before you’re about to sleep with them?”

She had a point. I don’t know who ever did such a thing, but I wasn’t about to let her get off the hook by shifting the argument towards me.

“Okay, but still, now you have to tell me how many,” I said. My voice was now calm, but my heart was anything but. “I mean, I thought we had something special here. I still kind of do, I just need to know how many people you’ve been with.”

“Well, okay, I’m going to tell you, but promise you won’t judge me,” Katelyn said.

I promised.

“No judgement,” I said. “Just keep it real.”

“Okay,” she said. Then after a deep breath, she hit me with it.

“32.”

I slammed my cordless phone back down on the base, and with my arm, swept it off my desk, the battery casing sprawling out from the phone in slow motion. I couldn’t believe this.

Katelyn felt my energy.

Katelyn understood me.

Katelyn is special.

Special indeed. 32! 3! 2! TOGETHER!

For the next two weeks, Katelyn called every day at least once a day, but I screened all my calls just so I wouldn’t have to speak her again.

Turns out, Jake was right. You never really know. But what I learned the hard way is I don’t really want to know anyway. The girl might be lying to me. Like Katelyn did. But if she tells me the truth, there’s a chance she could prove Jake right again. Like Katelyn did.

Categories: s#x, Stories, women Tags:

On Dining Out

October 7th, 2009 32 comments

Last week, my Top 5 Email crew and I were coming up with a list of the biggest turn-offs a man or woman can commit on the first date. One foul the men kept calling women out on was ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.

Apparently, it’s a common occurrence, this ordering of such things as Surf & Turf or Foie Gras. But as I explained, it’s only this way if  we make it so.  If a man takes a woman to McCormick & Schmick’s on the first date, what is she supposed to order? The chicken salad?

The reason no woman orders an item like Surf & Turf with me is because I never take her to a place where Surf & Turf is available. Wendy’s doesn’t serve Surf & Turf.

But I don’t really take a woman out to eat at Wendy’s. Matter of fact, I don’t take a woman out to eat at all on the first date, because if you ask me, making plans to take a woman out to eat on the first date shows a lack of imagination.

We have done this thing before, her and I, just with other people, and the only reason we’re doing it with each other is because we’re bound by tradition? Nonsense. The menus, the candlelight, the risk of food poisoning all peppered with superficial conversation; for the first date, I try to avoid it like the plague.

To be honest, there have been times where taking a woman out to eat on the first date was unavoidable. When those rare occasions occur, I keep it simple and when I say simple, I mean affordable.

For instance, Thai restaurants are a perfect inexpensive first date meal. The food is good, cheap, and they usually use linen napkins instead of paper ones. Always a nice touch.

The other alternative to a nice, inexpensive restaurant is dessert on the first date, which means making plans for no earlier than 9:00 p.m. If the woman hasn’t eaten by then, it’s clear she was depending on me for a free meal. Meanwhile I arrive on a full stomach. At the most, I only pay for her meal and because she can’t seem to eat something as simple as a grilled cheese before 9:00 I know I won’t be seeing her again. To avoid the added costs of drinks, I will show up on the date a little tipsy or even drunk. Once a woman sees I got a head start, she either wants to catch up or suggest we take a rain check. I’m fine with either one.

If I have it my way, I will not take a woman out to eat until date number three. As for date number one, I don’t know what we do. Just don’t show up hungry.

Categories: dating, on something, women Tags:

Stories: "I'll Make Love To You"

October 6th, 2009 5 comments

Inspired by Rob Sheffield’s book, “Love Is A Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song At A Time”

About ten of us were in the group, members of a program called T.O.P (short for Teenage Outreach Program), who got together every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Some of us attended Seaside’s King Middle School, while others went to Colton Middle School, located in the neighboring city of Monterey. All of us were good kids, with parents who just wanted us to have a faith-based after school program, which T.O.P. essentially was.

For the most part, everyone in the group got along just fine, especially me and Layla, my girlfriend at the time, who was also in the group. Back then, T.O.P. was the only place we could really act like a couple, and when I say act like a couple, I mean run off and hide in certain spots of the school where the T.O.P. meetings were held to go sneak in five minute make out sessions.

Eventually, like all great teenage couples who don’t have the privilege of parents with night shifts and have to hide to make out, Layla and I were caught by the program director, Ron. Make out sessions be damned, Layla and would remain together because for some reason, we thought each other to be the one. In our eyes, everything about the other person was perfect and if anyone disagreed, they would be checked with the quickness.

This was a lesson I and Sonnie, another girl in T.O.P. learned when, one day, the song “I’ll Make Love To You” came on KDON, 102.5 FM, our local radio station.

In hindsight, we were all entirely way too young to be singing “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men. I was only 13 going on 14; Layla, 14 going on 15 (yeah,  I had it like that). The rest of the group, all the same age, all virgins (I think), but we didn’t care. This was 1994! When “I’ll Make Love To You” came on, you sang that song with the passion of someone who made love over and over and over again, even if you hadn’t so much as kissed another person.

Just imagine, a whole van filled with pubescent teenagers singing these words at the top of their lungs: “I’LL MAKE LOVE TO YOU! LIKE YOU WANT ME TO! AND I’LL HOLD YOU TIGHT! BABY ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT!”

Of course, because I was with my girlfriend and didn’t care what other people thought, I sang the song too. I even caught Ron mouthing the words once or twice and this particular day was no different. But I guess my voice carried a little bit more than the others because at the end of Shawn Stockman’s first verse, Sonnie turned to me and yelled, “Jozen, stop singing! You can’t sing!”

“Oh no she didn’t,” my girlfriend said.

Oh, she did.

Sonnie was right I couldn’t sing, but no way was my girlfriend going to let Sonnie talk to me like that. “Shut up!” my girlfriend snapped. “For your information, he can sing, he’s just playing right now.”

“Well he needs to stop,” Sonnie snapped back.

“You need to stop being jealous that you don’t have a man who sings,” my girlfriend retorted.

Oh no she didn’t.

The next thing I know, “I’ll Make Love To You”, everyone’s favorite song, was cut off, right in the middle of Wanya’s ad-libs.  Ron pulled the van over, and my girlfriend and Sonnie were separated until they both cooled down.

From that day forward anytime “I’ll Make Love To You”came on the radio in the T.O.P. van, Ron changed the station. And if any of us wanted to sign the song ourselves, we kept it in our head.

Boyz II Men, “I’ll Make Love To You”  from the album, II (1994)

Categories: Stories, women Tags:

A Case for Looks

October 5th, 2009 8 comments

Looks matter.

The biggest lie we tell ourselves and others is they don’t. That lie is right up there with the devil doesn’t exist and the one about a fat, bearded white man who lives in the North Pole and jumps down chimneys every year on Christmas to give gifts while we sleep. As a matter of fact, that lie is more believable than the one about looks not mattering.

I, on the other hand, will never tell such a lie to myself or anyone else.

Growing up, I had the good fortune of having a mother and sister whose looks stopped traffic and I always noticed how people would respond to me whenever I was around mom and sis. Women in the mall would take a second glance at me, female classmates of mine disguised their interest in me by complimenting my “beautiful” mother and sister. From a very young age I saw firsthand how people responded to a man who had a beautiful woman around him, even if those women were family.

The attention I received from being around my mother and sister when I was younger has influenced my attitude about beautiful women today. In short, I always want to be around them, no matter the circumstances. If I’m on a bus or train and there’s open seating, I might leave my backpack on the open seat next to me until I see a woman I find attractive looking for an available seat. Whenever I’m waiting for the next available teller at a bank, I’m always hoping the cutest one will help me (even if I won’t say anything). And it all sounds so superficial, but it comes from an honest place.

Maybe it’s different for men and women. In my experience, women are a little more willing than men to make concessions for a man who may not be their physical prototype. Such was the case for an ex of mine: When asked what type of man she usually went for  for she replied, “Blair Underwood.” The number of underlines it would take for me to emphasize how much I do NOT look like Blair Underwood is infinite. But, what my ex did not say, nor did she believe is I wasn’t attractive at all. I don’t even look like Blair Underwood’s cousin, but to her, I looked good and at least she understood that much.

We all have our own idea what kind of people we find beautiful. As I always like to say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It just so happens I want to be holding the most beautiful woman in the room, but then again, who doesn’t? Even if it’s not true to others, let it be true to ourselves because here’s what happens:

Stay with a person long enough and eventually the things we found most beautiful about them when we met — whether it be their eyes, their smile, their body  — fade. I  want to get as far out in front of this inevitable happening as I possibly can by dating a woman I find most attractive. It’s like my favorite joke: I never laughed harder than I did when I heard it the first time, but that’s not why it’s my favorite. It’s my favorite because even after I say it or hear it a thousand times, at the very least, it makes me grin.

The other thing about a beautiful woman is the feeling I have the first time I see her; it sticks to me no matter how brief or long the encounter. If it so happens the beautiful woman I see becomes a woman I get involved with, the feeling is like a life jacket for the times I’m drowning in her bullshit.

Ideally, I will end up in a relationship with a woman I can call my best friend — a woman who’s my intellectual equal, spiritual, and compassionate — but she has to make me weak in the knees too. As Chris Rock once said, when we get married, we got to love the ugly in our spouse. All I want is to be with a woman whose ugly is most fine.

Categories: dating, women Tags:

The One Who Got Away

October 2nd, 2009 23 comments


Two years
.

That’s how long it will take for me to make her mine. I play the friend role, occupying myself with other women, allowing her to confide in me about other men. Our friendship has an aroma of something more and continues until one night we can taste it. We find ourselves on the phone drifting away from conversations of others to conversations about us. Together. And then, it all happens so fast: We become a couple, she moves from her Oakland home to be with me in my New York City apartment, and we go through the ups and downs most people must endure when they’ve made a move too quickly.

Ten months.

That’s how long it will take for us to break up, messily, and her to move out. This is how I know life is not fair.

I never knew my ex-girlfriend was the one who got away until she went away and didn’t come back. Strange how when she was in my life, I acted like she wasn’t the one, and how in the end, that is probably the reason why she left me. After all, if I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn’t be writing about the one who got away on a blog entitled, Until I Get Married because she would still be with me and yes, we might have been married.

But that was then. This is now.

The details of our journey from the rich hills of love to the slums of resentment aren’t nearly as important as my final destination – a dead end of sorrow, where I learned all the lessons of losing the one.

This is the first: She is the one who got away for a reason; she goes away for good. She is not the one who goes away and comes back a little later. As badly as we want to be back with the one, we can’t, and no amount of words will make this possible, which is lesson number two.

No woman wants to be the one who got away; she wants to be the one who stays. Of course I told my ex I regretted all that I did to make her leave, but it was too little too late.  As a matter of fact it gave her even more reason to keep it moving. A woman knows she’s the one who got away; it’s something they believe in their heart. So when a man tells her this, she has even more incentive to move on much like my ex has, with a new man and a new life.

Finding out my ex moved on was what brought me to my last and final lesson, which is this: I put my ex where she belongs, in the past, and though the scars are still there, I refuse to let them be nothing more than evidence of my experience. All of us can have one who goes away (we should be so lucky to ever have loved like that in the first place), but in the end, we must back out of sorrowful dead ends, make room for the one for us, and make sure that one doesn’t go the way of the last one.

It’s taken me two years to learn these lessons.

Categories: women Tags: