Happy New Year, Suzyknew! Sistas.
Hope 2019 is full of orgasms, laughter, moolah and living your best life!
I want to start the year off with a question: Would you date a guy who was significantly older or younger than you? Or do you have an existing rule about the age range you’ll consider? For me, the rule was my age minus three, plus ten. So, not less than three years younger but at most ten years older. More than ten might not seem like a big issue at the beginning of my relationship with a dude. But as we aged, the differences in health and vitality would get really real really fast. I would be stuck taking care of an infirm eighty-year old man when I was still a vibrant sixty-five. As for more than a couple of years younger? Couldn’t do it. I was already too grown for the guys my age, how much dumber would a twenty-something-year old be? Did I really want to get it on on an air mattress in an apartment shared with two roommates? I had seen How Stella Got Her Groove Back as a kid, and melted for Ween-stun Sheks-pee-yerh. But I had also seen how that turned out, and cringed along with everyone else as a whole Terri Macmillan had to go on Oprah with her soon-to-be-ex-husband and cry about the fact that the young hottie she had met on vacation, who inspired her book and the Angela Bassett movie, had confessed that he was gay. If even Stella’s groove couldn’t stand the test of time, then that was Jesus talking to me. Big age difference? Nah.
Another question: Would you ever marry someone with children? I would. But only one child. My mother was a step-mother and she and my half-brother were the same person in different bodies. I mean, they were closer than close. So, I knew loving and co-parenting another woman’s baby wouldn’t be an issue for me. I wouldn’t disqualify a man because he had had a life before he met me. But I only wanted to birth one child of my own. I saw myself raising one child. If a guy had a kid, I would have two — which was not the plan. But, hey, I loved him: I would deal. And I’d be the best mother to this child I could be. But let’s be real, going from one to two is different from one to three or one to four. I mean, what if it was one to five, or six? Nuh-uh. I had met a rather nice gentleman who had four children and I had been glad when he turned out to be a bit of a douche, because I had written him off anyway. How would I split my time among so many little humans? How would I get along with an ex-wife when the logistics of co-parenting exponentially multiplied with every additional child? What if four kids meant two baby mamas? Three baby mamas? Kill me now. Guy with a kid? Fine. But kids? With an ‘s’? No thanks, I’m good.
Third question: Would you ever date a guy who drove a school bus? Who hadn’t been to college? Who was struggling financially? Personally, I didn’t care about money or a guy who could take care of me. So… low-paying job, very little disposable income, hmm, I could live with that I guessed. But would that mean bad credit? Didn’t that mean you were irresponsible with money? Maybe, you didn’t pay your bills on time. Maybe you were financially illiterate. Maybe you lived large on credit cards. The dude I needed didn’t have to be liquid but he had to have ambition and a plan to get financially stable. He had to be responsible. And he had to have no sexist ego stuff happening. He had to be the kind of man who would be totally cool that I made more money than him or was more educated than him. The kind of dude that wouldn’t demand that I atone for his bruised masculinity by making myself smaller. How many of those dudes were there, realistically? Not many. How do you find out if a dude is gonna be a nightmare until you are already in it? It’s hard. “Yeah, girl” I told myself when I was making my list, “Just stick to people who have their lives together.” Construction worker? GED? A man like that would eventually resent me. It wouldn’t be worth the risk. Better to just get my American Idol Randy Jackson on and say “Issa ‘No’ from me, dawg.”
How about looking for love online? I’m not just talking Match.com or Eharmony, I’m thinking more Tinder, Craigslist, Blackpeoplemeet.com, Bumble. The ones that don’t have ads on TV. I mean, my bestie from college was getting married in a few months to the man she had just had the most beautiful baby on earth with. They had both swiped right on Tinder. But that was an anomaly, as far as I was concerned; she should just say they met on Twitter or Facebook. Me personally, I wasn’t down for meeting anyone romantically on the internet. A guy I don’t know and can’t verify? On a website that’s known for one-night stands? That’s the quickest way to end up in a body bag at the bottom of a river.
I mean would you date a guy from a hook-up site? Or a guy who is significantly shorter than you? Who has health problems? Who has cheated on an ex before? Who is bad in bed? Who is covered in tattoos? I’m talking two full sleeves plus chest.
You already know my answers. I think y’all have also noticed the trend. I recently realized that I’ve spent so much of my dating life saying no. And all of my friends are the same. In a world that has always said black women are nothing and will amount to nothing, sistas have always had to prove that we were a good thing, we could identify good things, could work to achieve good things, were worthy of good things. Doesn’t that include a “good” black man?
Successful black women get the message that living a life that shows the breadth of black excellence includes meeting an awesome person who matches you and loves you. A Barack to your Michelle. There’s nothing wrong with that message. But, somehow, we are never taught that this person could be younger than us; less educated than us; have money problems because they paid for their mom’s hospice care; have children from a prior relationship (and maybe a dramatic ex or two); be from another culture; have been a player in the past before they learnt to do better; need tutorials between the sheets; be anything less than what society expects us to end up with. Somehow, we are taught that making our list and checking it twice, sticking with the required, perfect match is a foolproof method for not choosing people who don’t end up being the one. Somewhere we learnt that though most relationships are a roll of the dice and trifling niggas exist in every specter of the universe, getting your heart broken is less shameful if the asshole is an investment banker, not a carpenter.
But what if for the next eleven months we put all of that conditioning aside? We looked for people we genuinely connected with. We knew our worth and insisted on being treated with respect and affection. We required support, acceptance and love, but we also made getting those things a bigger priority than our preconceived notion of who we should be getting them from. What if we called that guy from high school whose Facebook friend request we were ignoring because he was kinda weird back then; smiled back at the fine-ass UPS delivery man; nodded at the compliment that pretty young thang at the gym gave us about the “Sarcasm burns calories” slogan on our T-shirt; asked that Asian guy at the farmer’s market where he was from? Wouldn’t that be dope? Just giving things a chance? Seeing where life and love takes us this year?
Photo credits: Mashpo.co.ke, Jay Harold, Bustle