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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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:

This Is How Arguments Start

May 29th, 2014 4 comments

People ask me if Gina and I have argued yet, and I’m proud to say we actually have. Thus far, they haven’t been over anything deep, but of course, they have been caused because one of us or both of us were being petty. Below is an example of what I’m talking about. This actually happened and I’ve rehashed it as accurately as I can remember.

BACKGROUND

Like most New Yorkers, Gina and I travel around the big city mostly by public transportation, but every couple of weeks, she travels out to her parents place in New Jersey to pick up her old car and use it for a week.  Save for an easier trip for a grocery store binge, going on day trips out of the city, and moving large items from one place to another, the convenience of a car is minimal. As much as I love to drive, doing so in New York City is a hassle not worth the time or the energy, which kind of doesn’t matter in this instance because I can’t drive Gina’s car anyway. She uses a stick shift and I only know how to handle an automatic.

But that is not where the inconvenience lies. The biggest frustration with driving in New York City is a bitch named parking.

In New York City, the more residential neighborhoods have alternate side street parking. On Monday and Thursday and Tuesday and Friday, you must move your car and park on the alternate side of the street generally before 8 AM until 11 AM (Wednesdays and the weekends are exempt in most areas). This means finding parking the night before or in the hours before the alternate side rule takes effect is  like trying to find a spot in a mall parking lot the day after Thanksgiving.  Imagine feeling that anxiety and frustration four days out of the week.

Now try to picture two people in this situation trying to get along.

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Categories: Stories Tags:

Overrated Argument: Phone Passwords

May 28th, 2014 1 comment

“Why the hell do you have a six-digit password?”

My boy looked at me with sheer confusion on his face when he asked me this question sometime last summer.

“I mean, aren’t you single? Who are you hiding from?”

I didn’t have an answer to his question as I was looking up directions for the next place we were going. He had a point. I had a long password to get in my phone and at that time in my life, the only one who was going through it was me. Sure, I had to account for a crazy girl or two who may be prone to want to see if I received any nudes from anyone but them, but back in those days, I considered snooping a huge no-no in my relationships with women, and the only way to teach that lesson was letting them discover things they really weren’t ready to see on their own. So if they found something, lesson learned.

Considering the strong point my boy made, I decided to take the password off my phone and I noticed the difference immediately. No longer did I have to worry about keeping it steady in my hand as I typed in my password to check it in awkward positions. Sure, it didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to get through my phone security system, but I noticed how much more efficient everything became once I shaved those seconds off by opting not to have a password.

When I got into my current relationship, I didn’t bother putting a password back on my phone. I thought about it, but only in the sense that I noticed I never felt compelled to do so, which was always the case in prior relationships. Even in the past, I can’t say I was always hiding something, but having at least something to hide became such a habit, well, I ended up having a password on things even when I didn’t need them.

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Categories: Relationship Facts Tags:

Not All Girls Will Like You and That’s Okay

May 27th, 2014 5 comments

I had my first kiss in fourth grade. That week, rumors were circulating that the girls in our class had a meeting and decided each of them would kiss a boy on the schoolyard, with no warning beforehand. The boys in the class only knew basic math, but it was all we needed to figure out that because there were more girls than boys, a couple of us were going to be left out of the attack of our dreams.

When I was 17-years-old, I lost my virginity. According to this recent study by the Center for Disease Control, that is the average age for American men and women, but you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t late to the party. Prior to when it actually happened, if a baseball teammate of mine or one of the other boys I hung out with asked me how old I was when I lost my virginity, I would lie and say 14. When I was 14, I said 13.

Both my first kiss and losing my virginity happened years apart from each other, but I distinctly remember feeling the exact same way up until the moment they occurred. That week of my fourth grade year, I remember being worried I wouldn’t be one of the lucky ones to get a kiss. Before I lost my virginity to my high school sweetheart, I remember praying to God that I wouldn’t die a virgin. Considering I had no idea what either of these experiences actually felt like, on a physical level, I never understood why I wanted them to happen to me so badly.

It would be years before I realized what I was so anxious about: I wanted girls to like me.

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Six Months Later, How I Feel Now

May 22nd, 2014 3 comments

We have more time in front of us than we do behind us, but when our future comes, I want something to be on the public record that states how I felt after being with you for only six months.

When I realized I was in love with you, I told you I felt this way before. I know it wasn’t the most romantic thing to say, but sometimes we have to sacrifice the sweet talk for honesty. My larger point was, my feelings for others never stopped me from being self-destructive. I used to think if I loved a woman enough, I would change. As it turns out, that old saying about love not being enough is true. But eventually, change came from within, I changed on my own, so when you found me, I was ready in some ways.

I was ready to say I love you when I did because I was sure. I was ready to tell my mother about you when I did because I was sure. I was ready to bring you around my friends because I was sure. I was ready to be public about you to those who follow me because I was sure.

What was I so sure about? It wasn’t only your love for me, but your faith in me too.

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Categories: Life Tags:

How To Use Groupon On A Date Without Her Knowing

May 21st, 2014 2 comments

It’s always a point of contention between team thrifty and team ball-so-hard: To use Groupon or not on a first date.

If you’re on Twitter, like I am, you will see this debate pop up every six weeks or so. Some men and women agree their should be no shame in using a Groupon or any sort of discount available to them when out on a date. The opposition feels differently, with women thinking it’s tacky, and the men who are on their side saying if he really cared about the girl, he’d pay full price.

I fall somewhere in between both of these groups.

Do I think Groupon is acceptable to use on a first date? Yes.

Do I think it’s tacky? Yes.

Do I use it based on what I feel about the girl? No.

Did I use it on my first date with my girl? No.

But on our first date, we had Ramen at a glorified food court called Gotham West Market, and before you judge, even the sophisticated palate of Chrissy Teigen digs it.

I only bring up my first date with Gina to make a point: You don’t need to use Groupon to have an affordable date. Most places offering Groupon deals are expensive and giving you an option for it to be less expensive, which is not necessarily the same as affordable. Ivan’s Slurp Shop was a good deal without a Groupon, and if you’re trying to save some money on a first date, I highly suggest you seek out the charming yet budget-friendly places instead of deals on the high-end place.

Nonetheless, I understand some of you have a penchant for real tablecloths and linen napkins. I also understand the dilemma of having champagne tastes, or maybe that’s not you, but those are the type of women you like, and you have an orange juice budget. In your case, Groupon or companies like Groupon such as LivingSocial, are a game-changer, a life saver. I get it, and I encourage you to thrift on, kind sir, but must you be so reckless with it?

Absolutely not.

Let me show you how to pull of a Groupon without getting caught.

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Why Single People Should Hang Out With Couples

May 20th, 2014 1 comment

First, a story:

I was 13-years-old, and everyone in my crew had a girlfriend. Everyone, except for yours truly. I did not notice this at first; it took me a while before I realized I was an outcast even though I was plenty welcome to hang out. My friends did not treat me differently than they had before, their girlfriends were plenty nice to me as well. The feeling, at first, was nothing more than a larger friend circle. But after awhile, even with my group’s good intentions in play, I began to feel like an outcast. Over time, that feeling carried itself from the school grounds into my house, where I came home sulking noticeably in front of my mom and Richard.

My mom pressed me to tell her what was wrong, but I knew even back then, as much as it sucked to be the only single person among my boys, it was a really silly reason to be moping around looking like Eeyore. When I finally confessed to her why I was sad, she was nice enough to let me have my moment, but also reminded me that it wasn’t important. I too would have my day with a girlfriend of my own, but my focus should be on my studies anyway. I knew what she meant, even though it didn’t ever make sense to me why I couldn’t study hard and have a girlfriend at the same time.

Then Richard came in, and he saw my face, still pouting. He looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong?”

I already had a hard enough time telling my mom, so I damn sure didn’t want to tell Richard that I was a little sad over the fact that all my boys had girlfriends and I didn’t.

He turned to my mom to ask her, “What’s wrong with him?”

Now I thought my mom had my back, and wouldn’t out me to Richard, but boy was I wrong. She probably thought I needed someone else to tell me how absurd I was being, so she snitched.

“Oh, he’s sad because he doesn’t have a girlfriend while all his friends do.”

There was an awkward silence in the room. I think Richard understood like only men could what I was feeling. It’s not so much I wanted a girlfriend as I wanted what a girlfriend represented: Approval from the opposite sex. I was young, pubescent, and I liked girls, which meant all I really wanted was for girls to like me back.

But my Pop thrived on teachable moments. He never wanted to see me fail at something, but he knew if I wasn’t successful there was an opening for him to teach me a lesson. Me tripping over the fact that I wasn’t the flavor of the month according to the girls at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School was that kind of moment.

“Boy, you actually have two girlfriends,” he said.

Confused, I looked up at him, “Huh? How?”

“Put your right hand out,” he said.

I did as instructed.

“Now keep that out and put your left hand out too,” he said.

I did as I was told to do.

“Those two hands, those are your girlfriends, and when one of them gets tired, you have the other one right here.” He then made a half circle with both hands and started moving them up and down through the air.

My mom was shocked and yelled, “RICHARD!”

“What,” Richard said. “I’m telling him the truth.”

Then he walked away, while my mom told me not to listen to him and go do my homework.

Again, I did as I was told, but Richard’s advice was still lingering in my head. I had no idea what he meant, but at 13-years-old it didn’t take me long to figure it out.

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How To Talk About A Broken Family

April 24th, 2014 1 comment


I grew up in a family that could be termed many things: Non-traditional, blended, broken, or dysfunctional. Whatever you want to call it, for the past 50 years, Doyle was there. He was Doyle, he was Dad; throughout those years I referred to him either way depending on my mood or his. More so as dad in the later years and when speaking of him to others I always said, “My dad.”

Today, those words will be spoken by mother at my grandfather’s eulogy. Doyle died last Monday, April 14 at the age of 81 after a short battle with leukemia. The funeral will be in California. My mother and I talked briefly about whether or not I should fly out to attend, but times are lean these days, and we both quickly decided it would be best if I stay here, so I will not be attending. This was not an easy decision, but it also hasn’t been hard to accept.

Though I loved my grandfather (a man who I also referred to by first name and family title whenever it suited me), his death has not affected me deeply. I have cried, yes, but not over the loss so much as the toll it’s taken on my mother, on my grandmother. I was told my niece, who is three-and-a-half years old, and who did have a relationship with my grandfather, woke up in the middle of the night the night before he died and told my sister she doesn’t want “Grandpa to be an angel.”

That has been the only time I broke down.

Outside of that moment, even my closest friends are just finding out about my grandfather’s death as they read this post. I haven’t told my co-workers because there is no need for me to take off work nor has his death affected my performance. I am not “going through it,” as they say. Of course, Gina knows. I told her, and I’ve talked at length about things I feel during this ordeal, but opening up hasn’t been challenging, because as evidenced by this blog, expressing myself emotionally has never been an issue.

The biggest challenge for me, personally, is talking about the dynamics of my family in talking about my grandfather’s death.

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Why I’m Not Attending Church With My Girlfriend

April 15th, 2014 3 comments

On our very first date, Gina and I were already talking about our faith. She is Catholic and I am a former Catholic who now identifies as a practicing Baptist church goer. Even though we attend different churches of different faiths, I appreciated how both of us had a very similar outlook on the way we felt about our religious activities. Like me, Gina doesn’t evangelize to others nor sees a need to do so. Like me, she sees her faith as a personal thing that she keeps close to her chest. Like me, she doesn’t need to debate with other people who disagree with her faith, nor justify it to anyone, and she doesn’t need other people to attend church every Sunday with her.

Only two or three weeks had gone by before Gina started asking me if I wanted to go to church with her. This was right in the middle of the football season, and for years I have a tradition of going to my brother’s every Sunday to watch the games. It is he and I’s quality time, and I never have any qualms about choosing to be there instead of a service. Gina understood this, but to her credit, she never let it detour her from asking week in and week out. The one time I agreed was because the church she attends is literally around the corner from my brother’s and she was joining me to watch the Super Bowl at his place (and to meet him for the first time), so we went to a 5:30 mass that was so quick, Gina was convinced they ended it early because of the game.

I did not attend the mass kicking and screaming. There was no hesitation in my accepting her invitation, but if I’m being honest, I did feel like I was being put on the spot. I know that wasn’t Gina’s intent, that her timing was more a matter of circumstance than trickery, so I went, because if I declined, I knew it would send a message I was not entirely comfortable sending: Going to church is not important to me.

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