Relationships 101

November 10, 2008

This is one of my favorite essays. I’m re-publishing it here.


June 13, 2008
There is baseball season, basketball season, football season, and hockey season. People pay good money to watch grown people play with balls and pucks.
At our house, it’s wedding season. Time to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon sitting on the front stoop, watching the marches in the park across the street.There is a garden with gazebo in our section. Perfect for wedding photos. And every year, stretch limousines park along the rail. Then bridesmaids in dresses of every shade pile out, complaining about their shoes, or the breeze messing up the hair. The groom exits his car and struts into the park. He and his "boys" yuck it up and pose for "candid"pictures.

Next are assorted relatives, friends, wedding planner(who next to the bride always looks the most pissed off), occasional pastor, and people who can’t find the reception on their own and need to follow the limo.Finally, there goes the bride. I’ve seen happy brides, angry brides, young brides, second-time-around brides, and senior citizen brides.

We’ve critiqued poofy dresses, straight dresses, too long and too short(mini dresses for brides should be illegal-especially if they have thunder thighs).But the one thing they all have in common: love. I’m not a big believer in vibes, but when the limo doors open, my mom and I just start smiling.
Sure it may not last. A lot of marriages end in divorce–my parents have been for over 30 years. But for those moments, love is in the air. The laughter and giggles. The groom sneaking a kiss, with his arm around her, protecting her. Momma of the bride showing all her teeth in her smile while wiping joyful tears.Would it be nice to have a day like that? Sure.

But finding the person to have that life with is not the be-all end-all. Relationships are luck and work.A month or so ago, I read a very insightful book Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much, by Finesse Mitchell. Finesse is a comedian, and columnist for Essence Magazine. He provides insight into the male school of thought when it comes to relationships.

Here are a few goodies:

1. Why Black men wait so long to get married…black men in their early twenties are probably some of the most confused humans walking Earth. Black men need time to grow up mentally and socially. We know nothing in our early twenties other than we think we are invincible and the world owes us something.That makes sense. Black women don’t always know what they want in their 20’s either. Heck some of us hit 40 and we’re still talking about setting goals and getting ourselves together.

2.Good First Dates:Coffee, breakfast, brunch, lunch: Quick meals give an out if things are going bad. If things go good, then you have the rest of the day to spend together.
Bowling:You get to watch each other concentrate and bend over at the same time. (My personal favorite. And a game of pool accomplishes the same thing.-RB)
Arcades..talking trash while playing games that require physical exertion can be downright sexy. Plus you can leave whenever you want. (Hmm, never thought of that-RB)

3. Guaranteed turn-offs:Miss Too Independent – "If you can do it all yourself, pretty soon your man is going to wonder why he’s there…"

This is so true. I’ve seen my friends do this to guys. It’s not working sisters!! One time a friend of mine pulled this stunt on a fellow she just met, and the poor guy looked like he’d been slapped! I apologized on her behalf. Yes, I shouldn’t have, she should, but it was a decent thing to do. And I got a free drink. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I like having a guy I can lean on.
Getting a hug after a bad day.
Being comfortable talking/emailing about something on my mind knowing I won’t be judged.
Heck, when I can disagree on an issue without worrying about his ego is way cool.

Relationships take work. Each person has to know themselves before looking for someone else. A partner enhances your life, not fills in the blanks. I broke things off with my last boyfriend for several reasons. Some were things he wasn’t doing for HIMSELF that he needed to do and I saw that. Some were things I needed to take care of for MYSELF. It was an amicable breakup. No hatin’. I learned a lot from him, and hopefully he from me.Dating is overrated. Did the blind date thing twice. One fellow had possibilities, but lost his job. Needed to get back on track. And I respect that.

The other wasn’t my type. He was nice, but just didn’t click. And that’s okay too. A lot of my sisters don’t get that. One told me she is looking for a man with a net worth somewhere near $1million. Or at least the potential to reach that. Uh, girlfriend, hate to break it to you, but NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. She will have to find a guy out west somewhere.How do I feel about money & men? Listen, any man I’m with has to be legally and gainfully employed. I earn my own money, so if our incomes are the same, I can deal. If he earns more, that’s cool too. I don’t mind treating a guy to dinner & a movie, or splurging on a present for him.What turns me off is possessiveness. I am NOT your property. God and my Mother own me (and she’s even let go), that’s it. If you start saying I should cut off my friends and family, YOU are cut off. Possessiveness is a sign of bad things coming. That relationship is guaranteed to become abusive.

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