The Former King Of The Small Things
I used to be good at doing the little things to make a woman smile, and looking back on those days, I think it was because the little things were all I had. Yes, I had a career from the moment I graduated from college. And even in college, I was busy juggling two or three different things at a time, but back then, I think what also helped me focus on these “smaller things” was a lack of focus on the bigger things.
I think from a very early age, I understood the risks of the career I have chosen for myself. I knew I wasn’t going to be some hot shot lawyer making six figures and I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor who could afford to have a summer home. I just wanted to be a writer who was ambitious in his pursuits, and maybe one day make it to the top of a masthead or become so in demand, my talent would be handsomely compensated.
Meanwhile, my appetite for women never went away, and not just any type of women, but women who chose careers the exact opposite of mine. I admired the sharp wit and intelligence of lawyers, so I dated a few of them. I loved the way a woman who worked in medicine knew exactly what to do whenever I got sick, and knew it because she spent years of her life studying, so I dated a doctor from time to time. Oh, and business women? Don’t even get me started.
Being with these career-focused women never gave me a complex or made me question what it is I do. If I got involved with these women, I wasn’t going to let them think for one second that I lacked for anything just because I chose a career where the biggest reward was notoriety. My goal was always to show them, a good man who does these small things was priceless.
And so I became the king of the small things. Remembering the little things she said she liked when we were out window shopping, and then turning and buying them for her, so long as the price point was within my budget. I painted nights spent inside as the most romantic evenings and attempt to prove a long walk in the park was hands down the best way to spend quality time together, largely because it was free.
To some degree, these things worked (and I say some degree because if they worked to the full egree, I’d still be with at least one of them, right? Right). But I think what I have realized within the last couple of years in bachelorhood is that back when I was doing all these small things to keep a woman happy, I wasn’t really challenging myself to accomplish certain big things for myself.
I used to believe my talent would suffice. But right around the time my ex-girlfriend broke up with me, I became the online editor at VIBE, and I started to work around all these talented people who also hustled their tails off and I realized talent was only half the answer. I needed to hustle more, and so I did, as I attempted to juggle the same dating life I always had.
Turns out, that wasn’t going to fly.
Since April 2008, I don’t believe I have let one woman come before anything work related. With the exception of my boys and my family, all of my focus has been put on this career. I’m always choosing time to nurture a relationship with my readers over time to nurture a relationship with a woman.
And that is why a lot of women I have spent time with lately have accused me of not caring. As if to say, I met them, got to know them, and decided, I didn’t like them enough to continue getting to know them better. When the truth is, I met them, got to know them, and decided I like them enough to give them this oh-so-rare spare time I have. This is not to say they should just shut up and accept my time as some sort of gift, I would never think my time is more valuable than theirs. It’s just to say, I actually do care, but unfortunately, there’s work to be done too.
Ever since I read that post written by a woman I dated when I was unemployed, and how my “unemployment” status frustrated her at times, this whole “you don’t care because you don’t do the little things” line I keep hearing has been bothering me. When I did have time to do the little things, a woman was frustrated I wasn’t doing “big things”.
So now I’m back to my regularly scheduled program of being so busy, the small things are treated as such, and thus, almost forgotten. And I know this may sound a lot like the post I wrote a few days back about being too busy to be in a relationship, but hey, let this post serve as a reminder. These days, I’m so busy writing and trying to take my work to the next level that all I could think of to write for the past few days are posts about being too busy to do anything else but write about how busy I am.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I remember very well the man I used to be. Every single ex girlfriend of mine will tell you I was all about the little things; how good of a job I did caring about the details. But that man right now is busy doing other things, so busy he’s forgotten how to do the small things and lately I have been wondering if he will ever let up. I wonder, should I just take it upon myself to slow down like I took it upon myself to speed up or should I wait for a woman who keeps up or slows me down? I don’t think a woman is a distraction, but sometimes, being her man can be.