A Life Deferred

I once read an article that cited studies that suggested that many women are foregoing relationships and marital bliss to pursue their careers.  The reason for this was because their chances of finding a mate were slim.  The article referenced two types of women in particular: unattractive women and African-American women.  Now, I’m not sure what standard of “attractive” these studies were using, but they concluded that women who realized that they were less desirable to men usually end up giving up on love and immersing themselves in their careers.  As for African-American women, the study suggested that the more educated a woman becomes, the less choices she has in “marriageable” men.  In other words, with more women at the same level or out-performing men, the chances of them finding a mate become more and more bleak.  I honestly don’t think this issue is an “unattractive” or African-American woman issue as I see many 30-somethings and even 40 and 50-somethings that are successful women that have never been married.

Now, that I think about it, many of my “smart girl” friends and associates are single.  I have never been a bridesmaid because these chicks are just not getting married yet.  In fact, rarely do we have the age old conversations about men, marriage and children over tea and cucumber sandwiches.  The conversations are usually about dissertations, final exams, new projects at work, and career changes.  Rarely do I hear any of my girlfriends or even myself talking about how that proverbial biological clock is starting to tick louder and louder.  I think the thoughts are in the back of all of our minds that we would all love to share our lives with someone and live out what society calls a full life, but realistically we don’t want to admit it and admit that something may be missing in our lives.  As long as we are achieving our goals, everything is okay.  In fact, I have even heard some of my friends say that they fear giving up their dreams if they seek out marriage and motherhood.

So, what’s a girl to do?  I know that I have put many parts of my personal life on hold to accomplish goals and I may have some regrets down the line, but choices are choices and this is the path I have chosen.  What I am wondering is why is it so hard for women to consider having it all: the great career, the fantastic husband and the beautiful children; all without letting the thought of sacrificing weigh us down.  I think there will always be women who can balance their own goals (with few sacrifices) and enjoy a great family life, but I also think there will also be more and more single women who may miss out on that one thing that they think they can’t have because of their own goals.  As for me, I will go on living life and if love finds me, score one for the “smart girl.”

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Rules to Live By

With each new year comes changes and reflection.  Many folks do and assessment of themselves and decide that life will be different going forward.  A wise woman whose name I can’t remember right now once gave me the following rules of life and I am now sharing them with you.

  1. Don’t gossip and stay away from those that do
  2. Talk less, listen more
  3. Love all, but distance yourself
  4. Feed people off of a long-handled spoon
  5. Keep your eyes open, antennas up and allow people with bad motives to expose themselves
  6. Be genuine to those that are genuine to you
  7. Seek to be worth knowing rather than being well-known
  8. Pray daily
  9. Smile
  10. Always give people enough rope to hang themselves
  11. Never share business thoughts; just do it because the enemy will stop their mission to disrupt yours
  12. Stay away from negative people
  13. Read daily

He Is Your Man, Not Your “Handler”

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No matter what race, economic status or level of education, I have heard women from all walks of life scream the words, “I need a man that can handle me!”  Now, let’s stop right there.  What do they mean when they say “handle?”  Do they mean that they need to be tamed, guided or subdued?  Not necessarily.  What they are trying to say is that they need someone that understands them and takes them as they are. So why don’t they just say that?

Ladies, we have to stop asking to be “handled” or making men think we are something that needs to be controlled.  The only thing that needs to be handled is a wild animal at the zoo or in the circus and we are neither of those things.  I do understand that as the generations of women continue, we will continue to become even more independent and self-sufficient, but this in no way means you need to be tamed.

When you do find that special man, the goal is that you are a whole woman and complete on your own.  That man that deserves you will complement you and pick up where you leave off and you will do the same for him.  In that, there is no room for anyone to dominate the other or anyone to be handled.  Therefore, choose your words wisely and perhaps you mean to say, “I need a man that compliments and appreciates who I am as a person.”

On the flip side, when a man hears a woman say, “I need a man that can handle me”, what you do you think is going through his mind?  He may be thinking that you are difficult and hard to get along with.  He may even think that you are telling him that he is not man enough for you.  You don’t want to turn off a potential suitor or lifelong partner because he misinterpreted what you needed in a man.

Again, ladies, choose your words carefully or use them at your peril and turn off Mr. Right.

Single Housewives: Stop Playing Yourself

This past Sunday I witnessed a chain of pictures on Instagram and Facebook of women who had cooked some awesomemeals.  The captions read, “Cooking for bae”, “cooking for my boo”, “making sure my man eats right.” What I quickly noticed is that these were all pictures posted by single women cooking for “boyfriends.”  All I could do is roll my eyes and shake my head thinking, “look at these women providing husband benefits to men that have yet to even think about committing to them.”  Now, before you start wondering what do I know and whether I can even cook or where is my man since I know so much, let me tell you that I have been proposed to three time by three different men without cooking one meal.  You will have to read one of my books to find out about what happened to those rings because it’s not relevant right now.

I am going to get straight to the point.  A man that is trying to build a real life with you and a possible “empire” is not worried about how well you can sauté some shrimp or fry chicken.  Chances are, he already knows that you are smart enough to follow a recipe and quickly learn to cook once he decides you are the one he wants to be with.  When a real man is choosing a wife, he is looking for someone who can have his back.  What I mean by this is if something should happen where he can no longer provide for the household, he wants to know that you have more to offer than a home cooked meal.  Your biscuits won’t keep the lights on.

When you provide a man with a “preview” of what he could expect if you were his wife, the preview quickly becomes a feature presentation.  It becomes something that he expects you to do and soon it’s no longer appreciated.  Men don’t want what seems easy to get all the time.  Believe me the anticipation of you being in their lives every day and caring for them will make a man who truly values you sit up and pay attention and feel as though he will lose something or miss out if he does not commit to you.  By the way, how was he eating before he met you?  Trust me, he’ll be fine without your famous pineapple upside-down cake.

This is only one example of some of the mistakes we make as women when trying to show a man that we are wife material.  A man knows when you are wife material before you even think about turning on the stove.  Just live and be comfortable and confident in your own skin and continue to do the things that make you an exceptional woman.  And, for goodness sake, before you put on the apron, just make reservations for dinner.

Lose The Entourage!

I recently had dinner with an old high school friend visiting Miami for his birthday.  We had a great chat, good food and I learned some new things about him that I never knew.  What was interesting is he had traveled to Miami to celebrate his birthday by himself and told me that was all part of the plan and he was happy to do it. I later realized how much easier it was to talk and catch up with him without anyone else around us to chime in.  I have traveled alone plenty of times.  In fact, I travel alone all the time, but many times I am meeting up with someone.  It is also not a problem for me to pretty much do anything by myself; movies, an afternoon at a coffeehouse, dinner at my favorite restaurant, shopping at the mall, hanging out a sports bar or lounge or even going to the beach.

So why do I do most things alone? For me, I have always been a loner and prefer to not have to make specific plans to be somewhere and love the freedom of less obligation when I have free time.  Coincidently, I have noticed that I have met some really nice men who had no problem approaching me in a respectable manner and striking up conversation.  Over the years, I have discovered that men feel more open to approaching a woman who is not surrounded by an entourage and vice versa; women are more comfortable chatting with a man that is not surrounded by his buddies.

It can be very intimidating for a person that sees you from across the room to approach you when they have to pass through layers of your friends; some of which could possibly “block” them from getting to you.  By blocking I mean either literally stopping someone in their tracks or serving up so much attitude or boisterousness that the person gives up.  To avoid this situation and stop missing out on potential mates, you need to lose your entourage.

I don’t mean that you need to ditch all of your friends and become a hermit, I mean that you don’t need to do everything with a group of people.  If being totally alone is terrifying for you, I recommend breaking down the group to just two of you.  This is still less of an obstacle for someone that wants to meet you.  What you will find is that the people that approach you will be less guarded, more genuine and less likely to put on a show for their friends.

Just try it!  Go to a coffeehouse, juice bar or neighborhood lounge alone or with ONE friend and watch how many more people make eye contact with you, smile at you, or even come over and introduce themselves.  My only caution is if you go out alone at night and meet someone at a bar or lounge, don’t allow that person to walk you to your car; valet or park in front of the establishment if you can.  Also, yes one more thing, don’t leave your drink (even coffee) unattended with a stranger or avoid drinking alcohol all together since your friends may not be around to watch your back.

Now lose the entourage and get out there and meet someone new!

IG Famous and Losing

Social media has changed society in ways that I never could have imagined.  My first experience with social media was Myspace.  Yep, I just aged myself.  It was cool because you could post your favorite songs, tailor your page to your personality, post pictures of your best moments and leave messages on your friends’ pages.  Sure you would have the occasional Internet gangster posting pics of dumb stuff like guns and drugs but it wasn’t running rampant.  Then came FB where folks could keep up with friends and family by interacting via status updates.  Twitter came along and you could follow your friends, family, celebrities, companies and news outlets in real time as they posted 140 character updates throughout the day.  But, then it happened.

Enter Instagram.  Instagram came along and allowed people to post their lives in pictures.  This is fine as long as folks are posting their real life and pictures that don’t make them look foolish.  As I joined Instagram and learned more about it, it was fun and I was happy to see all of my friends’ pictures of things going on in their lives.  I was also meeting new people online that were fun to watch.  But, then I started to see reposts of pics of half-naked women show up in my feed and on the “popular” page.  I don’t follow women that would ever post pictures like this so I was not sure why any of those pics were showing up.

After seeing a few of the same girls pop up multiple times, I visited their pages and I was shocked to see how these women were putting themselves out there for the world to see.  These were not well-known porn stars or celebrities known for being provocative; these were girl-next-door types putting on makeup and taking selfies.  All I could do is shake my head and wonder why a woman with any type of dignity or class would post such compromising pictures that can be seen by the world and will last forever.  I thought to myself that these women are living strictly in the moment and are not considering how these pictures are going to affect their future.  I won’t even discuss the comments that men leave under the pictures.  I don’t know how a woman could feel good about men leaving graphic comments about what they want to do with their bodies.

What’s even more disturbing is that some of these women are mothers and will post a picture of themselves half-naked, simulating sex and anything else that is just self-destructive and then will post a picture of themselves with their child.  Really?!?  Do they know that their child’s playmates’ parents may have Instagram or even their teachers?  Not only are they bringing themselves down, they are bringing their kids down in the gutter with them.  If they feel the need to exploit themselves, that’s fine, but why involve your child who has no say in the matter.

I guess being raised in a time where a woman’s modesty was a prize even if she was living a questionable style, I can’t get used to seeing women whose whole existence seems to be based on pictures of their assess and breasts on the internet.  It seems like quite the pitiful existence, but this is how they have been groomed to showcase themselves; by using their bodies.  Never mind any other talents or goals they may have because it is overshadowed by the shallow image they have put out for the world to see.

The internet is a hell of a drug and social media has bred a generation of people who no longer think before they post and live a life on the internet that could ruin them in the future.  They are literally getting high off of whatever attention they can get; negative or positive.  Pop culture as a whole has led many people to believe that they have to measure up to images that are not fit for them and, in the process, make them look foolish and confused. The bottom line for the ladies is that those half-naked pictures last forever and just when you feel you have left it all behind there is a strong possibility that those images will come back to haunt you and limit whatever goals you may have.

Complaining and Lonely

I recently went to lunch with a group of women; all in their 30’s and all single.  I was having the time of my life laughing and giggling with them all until the food came.  The complaints that these women had about the service, the food and even the damn carpet on the floor were almost shocking.  Not that I don’t care about the service, how my food is prepared or the decorum, but by concerns (when I have them) are normally valid because I have food allergies.  The service must be absolutely horrendous for me to make a fuss.  On this day, my food was fine which means I did not need to break out my epi pen, the waitress was very pleasant and my glasses and flatware were all spotless.  I was happy, that is, until the women I was with began to complain about any and everything they could think of to complain about.

It seemed to me that they were all trying to either out-sass or out-class each other in a restaurant that was barely a three star establishment.  They all seemed to just want to show how high their standards were instead of enjoying the time among their “sistahs.”  The complaints began to be ridiculous, the waitress was no longer smiling (even though I was trying to give her a look to show her that I felt her pain) and I no longer felt like breaking bread with these women.  It was both annoying and sad because I rarely have time to bond with other people in a social setting due to being a full-time law student and working and I look forward to times like this.

At some point, I started to wonder if these women complained this much when they were on dates.  I wondered if they spent half the date complaining about the food, the service and the carpet, torturing some man that was spending his hard-earned money on them so he could get to meet them and show them a good time.  I wondered how many of them had only one date with a guy after one dinner date displaying this type of behavior.  I wondered if they complained like this on all their dates.  I wondered if these woman were always so dissatisfied that they were turning off every man they met because they were certainly turning me off from ever wanting to hang around with such negative energy again.

As women, we sometimes need to learn how to just go with the flow.  When dating, we will sometimes be introduced to situations and places that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable to us.  What we quickly forget is that this man could have taken any woman out that night, but he chose you.  He is just as nervous as you are on the first date, hoping that you will have a good time and that you will like him.  There is nothing more crushing than putting a lot of thought into pleasing a stranger or someone you are trying to get to know only to have them complain and behave as if they are miserable the whole night.

There is nothing wrong with having standards but when you feel the need to shove those standards in the face of someone who is still learning about your standards, don’t be surprised when the first date is the last.  Even worse, don’t be surprised if the dating stops after he finally sleeps with you since that is all you are worth to him after he sees that he can’t please you outside of the bedroom.

Just go with the flow and take in as much of the chivalry as you can.  I didn’t realize how nervous men were about disappointing a woman until I went out a date with an awesome guy who kept asking me what I wanted to do.  I was in his city and very unfamiliar with what was going on so I told him that anything he chose to introduce me to would be fine.  He seemed so relieved and the night was perfect because I he took the lead, was a perfect gentleman and I was all smiles.   All you need to be concerned about is what type of shoes you need to wear on the date.  Other than that, just smile and enjoy getting to know this man that obviously thinks you’re special.