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Archive for June, 2014

Everything Will Be Okay: The Feeling of Losing A Job

June 30th, 2014 5 comments

To this day I haven’t received a more cryptic text message than the one I woke up to on this day five years ago.

First message:
Hey man, just want to tell you tomorrow is going to be a day, be ready.

Second message:
Just do your normal routine, make your breakfast, and come to the office at the usual time.

Third message:
If it helps, just know I’ve already cried about this several times, but we’re going to be okay.

The messages were from Ben, my editor and boss at VIBE. At the time, I was an articles editor, but my main duty was online editor. I had just started working under Ben after reporting to Danyel, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, and Ross, the head of digital, for the better part of a year. Ben was not a new employee, he was one of the more senior people on staff, but we never worked as close as we had within those last couple of months.

Reading those text messages from Ben made my heart sink straight into my stomach. At the time I received them, I wasn’t home. I was at the apartment of a girl I was seeing. During that time, it was customary for me to wake up an hour before her and quietly step out to go home and get ready for the day. But on that morning, I was too scared to even move. I woke her up instead.

“What do I do about this?”

She was half-asleep, but attentive enough to calm me down. “It might not be as bad as you think,” she said.

“But it’s definitely not good, right?”

“Well, yeah,” she said. “If he said he cried, it doesn’t sound good.”

I sat on the side of her bed and just stared at the drawn blinds covering her small bedroom window. The fear that I was going to be fired paralyzed me momentarily. The time was 6:30 AM, and it would be at least another three hours before I found out anything.

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Categories: Life Tags:

The Talk About Having Kids Now

June 19th, 2014 2 comments

There was no one single conversation that led me to this point, it just happened over time, I grew tired of talking about kids I did not have.

Some women might be surprised to know, men talk about the idea of having kids just as much as women. No we don’t have to worry about the biological makeup of our bodies one day putting the kibosh on our ability to make a baby, but I’ve heard plenty of men say they’re not trying to be some old ass dad. They want to have kids too by a certain age. But even before that time in their life, I’ve heard men talk about what kind of kids they want, how they want to raise them, since those men were boys. I too would partake in the conversation innocently.

I remember in sixth grade, one of my classmates had rules by his parents that were so strict my friends and I constantly made fun of him until one day he said, “You know, I’m going to raise my kids the way I’m being raised.” A reminder, this was sixth grade. We all laughed at him, but then it led to this conversation about what kind of rules we were going to enforce, whether or not we were going to spank our kids, and all that other stuff that is fun to talk about. Only a few years ago, the only men in my life who were receiving a Happy Father’s Day were men much older than me. Guys my age would only say it to one another as a joke, sort of like a prank call to one another that would go like this.

HOMIE 1: Yo, happy Father’s Day.

HOMIE 2: Man, get out of here.

HOMIE 1: What? I know you got a kid out there somewhere.

HOMIE 2: Yeah, you’re my son.

We would then laugh, because we knew the idea of us as fathers was a joke.

This past weekend, on Father’s Day, I called some of those same men to wish them a Happy Father’s Day because they are indeed fathers now. The men who still aren’t, I don’t play that prank with them anymore, and nor do they with me.

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Categories: Family Tags:

We Need To Stop Telling People What Age They Should Get Married

June 10th, 2014 3 comments

Yesterday I made another appearance on Huffington Post Live to discuss the pressure men feel to get married by a certain age. For the sake of yesterday’s show, we used the number 30, an age that is two years behind me.

If you watch the clip, which I have embedded below, one of my fellow panelists entered the conversation with a very aggressive take on this subject. Evan, the guy you see furthest to your left asked my fellow panelists and our moderator how old we all were. Then he proceeded to tell us how our ages have given us a better chance to know thyselves and what we want. His suggestion was based on a statistic that says people who get married before 30 are more likely to have their marriages end in divorce, and people who wait until their thirties (or even late 20s) to get married are more likely to stay together.

These are the kinds of statistics people like to spew when defending their decision not to get married before a certain age or when they’re upset that they haven’t found a reason to get married at an age they thought they would be. I know this because as I was creeping up on 30, I was very fascinated with the fact that it was shaping up to be something very different than I thought it would be when I was growing up. I would have bet all the money I made at my part-time jobs in high school and college that I would be married by the time I was 30. When I realized I wasn’t even close, I began to explain away why that wasn’t the case with statistics just like the ones Evan wanted to mention.

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Categories: Marriage Tags:

A Guide To Making It Known You’re In a Relationship

June 5th, 2014 7 comments

*“I don’t have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who’d be mad at me for saying that.” – Mitch Hedberg

It was like most Saturday afternoons at Sons of Essex. I made a quick lap around the place, dapping up folk I knew, exchanging pleasantries, taking a welcome shot while my boy Doc went straight to the bar to open up a tab. The entire place was well into party mode, people who were seated at tables were getting up from them and dancing if their jam came on, the pit was a sea of people. She was one of the first people I saw when I walked in the restaurant, sitting down with one of her girlfriends, mimosa in hand. Cute, I thought. Then I kept it moving back to where Doc was seated.

I received a text from Gina that read, “I’m probably going to be there in an hour or so.” This meant she wasn’t getting there for at least another 90 minutes, so I got comfortable.

That girl, the one with the mimosa in hand wasn’t the only attractive woman I saw. Saturdays at SOE are usually crawling with eye candy of all shades and varieties, but, for some reason, she was the one I noticed; the one I knew, if my circumstances were different, I would have approached her and introduced myself.

My behavior when I go out without my girlfriend is only slightly different now than it was when I was going out as a single man. My default setting is social. I will talk to women whether I am attracted to them or not. A large part of this has to do with my job, which as I’ve explained before, requires me to net people who might be willing to participate in my column. Seeing as I have that built in excuse to talk to women, even my girlfriend knows her boyfriend will talk to other women. She also knows she can trust me to draw the line somewhere.

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Categories: Gina Tags: