Category Archives: Dating

Today’s Word is… SWIPING

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In a distant (maybe real distant) future, it’s my wedding day. There I stand, hopefully hairline still intact, beside my best man, probably my best friend Shizz, who I’ve known since I was 6. One of us asked the other to play one day and we been friends ever since.  Even as our lives took different paths over the years here we are as men, his hairline not intact. It’s been gone since we were like 20. My brothers would probably complete the roster, what’s a man without his family. Most importantly, they would all know the golden rules, that it’s swing on sight for anyone trying to Dwayne Wayne my wedding. Swing on sight for anyone trying to propose at my wedding. Weddings ain’t cheap, B. Across from me would be her wedding party, her best friend who at this point is more like a sister. Maybe it is her sister. Her homegirls, her council, maybe her line sisters (God if you’re listening, don’t send me no more Greeks). They’ve been there from picking out her first date outfit in the group chat, talking her down when things got tight, and now we all here.  Then comes my beautiful bride to be, who I saw on an app, liked her pictures and swiped right.  That’s just how we do things now.

I’ve spoke before about my dislike of dating apps (then I met someone not on a dating app so maybe this is just part of the process).  More appropriately I’d call them swiping apps with not much dating to be had. It’s a necessary evil because where are the single people? On apps. As of this year, there are 50 million people on Tinder. 50 million people finding love (or otherwise) via swipe, perhaps the most primitive gesture the human body can muster. An endless deck of cards and no matter how unimpressed you are you can’t help but keep swiping because maybe this one is the good one. Whether you swipe left or right, the immediate reward of a new profile releases dopamine and encourages you to keep going through the oddly satisfied pile of potentials waiting for one that actually intrigues you. Nope, okay that one…Nope…hmm this one looks interesti… Nah, never mind. Why does she take pictures so close to the camera, why are hers so blurry, is she black or tanned? Septum piercing? Pass. Don’t I know her? I wonder if she swiped right on me already. (Ok, so this did happen once, I had swiped right we matched but I hadn’t messaged yet.  I get to work the next day and I see her in the cafeteria.  I may or may not had unmatched her after that.  I’ve seen her around since then but we haven’t spoken. It’s a little weird)  And you swipe away without giving much thought to the actual people depicted. Maybe you’d like him if you had met at a concert because 5’9 is taller in person, maybe she’s just bad at pictures. You’re looking to meet someone but just casually rejected 25 people in 2 minutes with a thumb motion so how serious are you really?

No surprise, studies show that swiping apps are incredibly ineffective in finding relationships. 18%, about 1 in 6 people. It’s a slot machine. You won’t get what you’re looking for but the addictive simple nature of the app will keep you engaged, and advertisers just trying to advertise without any regard for your cuffing season dreams.  Hell, they’re incentivized for you not to meet someone. They can see you tend to swipe right on a certain type, so why not spread THOSE ones out and put them behind an ad?  Not much unlike the casino, the game isn’t for you to win, it’s for you to play. Which is why the first thing you see when you open Tinder the first thing you see are not your matches, not even yourself, it’s a new face to swipe on.  Happy swiping.

Not to go all Black Mirror about it, I’m sure with the proper level of expectations, it can be fun.  I think take a flattering photo, I’m quick witted and not a creep… theoretically I should clean up on there.  But I go on for a few days, play the slots, most of the time I’m swiping right on women just to see if it’s a match or not (I attract a type) and then deactivate until the next time I get bored.   I also think that maybe I’m just too old for this shit.  The median age of Tinder and other swiping apps is 26, while the median age of more traditional dating sites like Match is 40+, which leaves me kind of  in the middle too apathetic on swiping and too young to be dating y’all divorced aunties on E Harmony.  Which leaves me, going back to the basics.  Link with the squad, find a wave, and ask the cute girl at the bar what she’s drinking? That looks good.  Or, maybe I’ll just get a puppy.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HEADASS

April 23, 2016. I, like many fellow members of society had turned it to HBO because Beyonce was doing a thing. No one knew what the thing was, but she was doing a thing. That thing would be Lemonade, a visual album of emotional, personal…yeah yeah, Hov did WHAT?!? was largely the takeaway. In the time since, he done told his side of the story (4:44), and they done wrapped it all up in a neat but not great bow (Everything is Love) but publicly, at least for Hov, it was different. Now, for better or worse any and everything he does is linked to that moment everyone watched Lemonade. From the new hairstyle (which I personally believe he’s only doing because her MCM, LeBron cannot. Also, his hair is waaaay too dark for someone who is damn near 50 and we just don’t talk about it), to the awkward looking photographs, to getting washed on APESHIT, Jay Z who has always carried himself as cooler than thou has been humbled (except when he’s talking to and about anything other than his wife. This nigga told us to “enjoy our chains” like, last week). It falls into all the cliches of happy wife happy life, ball and chain, etc. where a man simply loses himself to a woman. To quote Young(er) Hov, me give my heart to a woman? Not for nothing never happen, I’ll be forever macking.

Big Pimpin’ was nearly 20 years ago (feel old). It’s what you say and think when you’re damn near 30. (Granted, I’m not at a Big Pimpin phase in MY life , but rappers and athletes typically act about 6 years younger than they are anyway). Holding Jay Z to that standard is ridiculous. We grow, we change, and contrary to popular belief it’s not because a woman is forcing us to. It’s time we disabused ourselves of this common myth that men are being forced out the game like that one dude at the Y who swears he was going to play ball overseas before his MCL sprain. Jay Z was in bed holding ankles long before he got caught cheating and exposed on premium cable. I’ve definitely canceled plans with friends to go lay up and watch a bad movie. All men have, no matter how too cool they want to come off.

And so, it got me thinking of other “couple” things that men need to stop lying about enjoying. It’s not just sex, blunts and Power, my guy. Nothing wrong with being a little headass with the one you love. Let that toxic masculinity go. Let’s be saps together…

Headass things couples do that men love more than they care to admit:

Watching terrible reality TV

Watching terrible Christmas movies

Carpool Karaoke

Gossip

Shopping

Dressing alike*

Let her steal your clothes

Share Shade Room posts

Take pictures

Post aforementioned pictures

Let her pop that pimple

Drink wine

Have company over

Actually celebrate Valentine’s Day

Paint Nite

Let her dress you

Bring her to the barbershop**

Go apple picking

Go ice skating

Lunch break phone calls

Double dates**

Sit in the same side of the booth

Plan out but never follow up on a podcast/YouTube channel

PDA

Celebrate month anniversaries even though anni- clearly implies a year

Go to IKEA

Meet family members

Give Pet Names

Use Bitmojis

Miss the game

Let her leave stuff at your place

*I will say that I will always be too cool to dress alike and judge couples who do. I don’t even like matching by accident. Someone gotta change. We can complement; red/black, blue/yellow. Even same color different shades is too close. Someone gotta change.

**It’s only cute the first time.

To quote Hov again, you’re too old to be frontin when you’re feeling Denzel
and acting like she ain’t appealing. That was 15 years ago (feel old again), 4 years after Big Pimpin, 1 year into the relationship because being too cool is lonely. You gotta lie to kick it. Love is fun, silly and kinda headass. Embrace and enjoy it for what it is.

Just don’t dress alike, that’s still corny.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PILLOWTALK

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There’s just some spaces where a black man feels safe to be…vulnerable. There’s the barbershop, the unofficial country club for black men, where on a good day you’ll leave with a fresh cut, about 3 wild stories, and 4 absurd sports hot takes. There’s groupchats, which are essentially the digital barbershop. There’s the basketball court, where the fatigue of a few pick up games will get the teammate you played 4 games with and don’t even know their name will get a text from a girl and be ready to tell you the whole life story. (This has happened on 3 separate occasions). I’m sure plenty of tea is spilled in a smoke session but that’s not really my ministry. And of course, there’s the ultimate tea house…in bed, laid up next to bae. Don’t let there not be a TV in the bedroom. (you get better sleep when there’s no TV in the bedroom #themoreyouknow) So when Pusha T decided to give an interview about an interview about a 5 month old diss song and drop the plot twist that he got the silver bullet from none other than Drake’s best friend, 40 pillow talking some woman it sounded completely plausible. (For what it’s worth, I don’t believe it, that’s TOO convenient)

We’re all guilty of pillow talking, yes you too Mr real niggas don’t gossip and ladies y’all talk too gon brush your shoulders off. When you factor in oxytocin, the hormone released during orgasms and most closely related to trust and bonding feelings in the brain, it makes sense that after sex one would find themselves feeling most vulnerable and most willing to talk intimately. (So maybe if they aren’t pillow talking, get your bars up). After (good) sex, your body is literally yearning for some more connection such as well, more sex, cuddling, and of course intimate conversation. Boom. Science. I’m well aware that I’m guilty of it, it’ll start off as just a funny story, and then you’re giving backstory, and then weeks later you’re giving follow ups and next thing you know y’all are at dinner and she just blurts out some shit. (I was dating one girl who couldn’t hold water worth a damn smh). It’s almost like dude at the basketball court, we can be laid up I get a text from a friend and I go from quickly explaining what the text was about to telling the story about that time we almost got arrested.

For actual couples, pillow talking is almost essential to the health of the relationship. Just taking some time out to learn something new about each other, Lord forbid you fall in love with someone and find out they eat candy corn or they never listened to Jay Z. It’s an opportunity to be completely vulnerable with each other and you have actual brain chemistry helping your cause. Pillow talking isn’t talking about what you got to do later, rehashing an old fight she lost 3 nights ago but now her groupchat gave her some new points to make or bringing up how you like them but you still seeing other people (be honest they said, she’d appreciate it they said), the bed should be a safe space. Sex, sleep, secrets. A place where you can gossip about your friends and assume it doesn’t come back and bite you in a diss record.

Yet and still, there’s rules to this shit. Such as, watch what you’re saying; there’s of some things you need to keep to yourself no matter who you’re sleeping with. Deep personal things, illegal activity, anything you absolutely don’t want to come out. Then there’s watch who you’re saying it to; know the difference between a spouse where y’all share everything (seriously, you tell a married friend anything assume its a 2 for 1), a significant other where y’all share a lot, and well, what allegedly happened with 40 and ol girl. If we are to believe Pusher Terrence, 40 was coming off that oxytocin high and just spilling his soul to this woman who wasn’t even feeling him like that. Major violation on his side and hers. He should’ve knew better than to be telling an outsider all his business and while she doesn’t owe him anything, it’s still a shitty thing to do. What happens in bed should stay there anyway. You’d like to think you can trust the person you’re having sex with but in this age, nothing is sacred. At least when I be learning entirely too much about her homegirls and their drama it never leaves the bed. (Even if after we fall out and they friend throwing shots on social media, I could return fire but won’t because God is working on me). What’s shared between us stays between us. I say that even as someone who literally writes about his life fairly often. Pillow talk is still inadmissible. I could only wish for the same in return but for all I know I have an ex talking to some new dude about some shit I told her. This game cold, B.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GHOSTING

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Gather round boys and girls, it’s storytime…

It was a typical February night.  I was talking to my boo about my day, the Celtics were on the TV on mute, I had suggested we go to a game together and started looking up tickets.  It had gotten late and I was headed to bed, and I ended the conversation like I had ended so many before, I ask for her to tell me something good, I share something good and tell her goodnight (written out, I sound headass).  However, this night was no ordinary night, little did I know I would never hear from her again.  Little did I know, I was about to be…    ghosted.  The next morning, I reached out like I usually did, a few times throughout the day.  No response, but I thought nothing of it.  The day after, more of the same.  I call her and there’s no answer.  Suddenly I’m Mr Biggs in the Contagious video (speaking of, it’s completely ridiculous HE came home late, didn’t hear her home, rode around calling her mama probably scaring her half to death only to find her in their damn room…Mr Biggs must’ve been lit).  I don’t even know what I did but I apologize anyway and again not even a word.  I decide to give her some space then (like I had a choice).  A week turns into a month.  I may or may not have had some Crown one night and wrote an email letting her know how I REALLY felt about her and still no response.  Word?  A few months go by, it’s my birthday, I mean she gotta reach out on my birthday, give a nigga an HBD at least?  Nope.  At this point, it’s safe to assume that she’s dead.  I know I can still see her on IG on my other account but still, she’s dead.  Got mauled by a bear. Sad.  I used to love H.E.R.

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(Spoiler Alert: She comes back a few months after that, she says that *redacted* and she just couldn’t *redacted* and she’s sorry.  I forgave her for a month and then ghosted her.  God’s working on all of us.)

Ghosting has been a discussion point lately, largely thanks to Insecure aka Black Twitter: Civil War.  Ghosting has always existed in dating; break ups are awkward, it’s easier to just fall off the face of the earth and wait for her to get the message.  Back in the day, a man will go out for a pack of smokes and just never be seen again.  (Meanwhile millennials and swipe apps shoulder the blame for this trend).  These days, you just block, delete and they no longer exist, unless you’re like me and tend to run into them after the fact.  Karma stay getting at ya boy.  (Not that I would ever do that anymore, I’m saved.)

The argument against ghosting; it’s inconsiderate, rude, immature and a shitty thing to do to someone you know at least likes you like a little bit.  It’s not easy to tell someone you’re done here but it’s also not that hard to do.  If ol girl had broke up with me that night, it would’ve sucked.  I would’ve been hurt, but not as hurt as I was all those months feeling like I was nothing more than words on a screen.  (Studio audience awwwws).  When she came back I was clearly still hurt by the ghosting more than I even thought I was.  Then I think about times where I did get that call, text, conversation and turns out, still sucked and maybe I was better off thinking they were mauled by a bear than knowing why they don’t want me anymore.  It’s a double edged sword and the point remains that they don’t want you and there’s no nice way to stomach that.  Ask Cavaliers fans.

The argument for ghosting; we’re adults, life sucks, and no one owes you an explanation why they don’t want to speak to you anymore.  You can post all the memes and tweets about how it’s emotional underdevelopment but that immature person still left you on read and you’re sick about it. Bloop bloop and shit.  Sometimes you just…can’t anymore.  You’re tired of not being heard, you’re tired of explaining yourself, maybe they just need to feel your absence.    I think in an era where connections are made through an app it’s easy to block, delete and forget.  These days people ghost because simply they can, they got bills, Trump is President, and y’all just been on a few dates they don’t even know you enough to like you, take those abandonment issues up with a therapist.  It’d be nice to have closure, but sometimes you just got to eat the L.

As someone who has ghosted and been ghosted, I would say my final verdict is…it depends.  You know who you’re dealing with, you know how serious or otherwise your relationship is.  You shouldn’t explain yourself to everybody but you shouldn’t explain to nobody either.  You also have to look at yourself, if you find yourself getting “ghosted” often you might be overvaluing your place in people’s lives or misreading signals.  Most “ghosts” aren’t from left field no matter what you try to tell friends in the group text.  If you are a serial ghoster…well, just stop being an asshole.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PICK

Now, we all know the “pick me” girl aka “This generation” girl aka “Y’all females” aka “not me, tho” aka the princess of the patriarchy. Pick me’s place all their stock in being better than the alternative, instead of what they actually want. Pick me’s tend to boast about cooking, sex, and being low maintenance because that’s what they think men want, without much regard for their own identity. By and large, pick mes are typically harmless, their sirens are met with groans and eyerolls as the men they are bending over backwards to impress are a) usually dudes no one was even competing with you for. Or b) pick hes.

Now, we all at least know of the “pick he” dude aka “These girls want thugs” aka “employed, no BMs, no arrests” aka “Favorite artists are Drake and Bryson Tiller” aka “I live just outside of DC” aka “I learned rape culture in the last 2 years so I’m basically a feminist” aka “I make 75K and have a car how dare you swipe left on me, Ma”. Pick He’s are productive, functional members of society, but that’s not good enough… They are also entitled to a baddie. They lament being undervalued and unappreciated for simply not being that terrible.

So if pick mes have low expectations and pick hes have low output, why don’t these two people simply find each other and leave everyone else alone. But that’d be like Drake and Nicki Minaj finally getting together because they really are just vapid facsimiles of each other. The answer is because the pick he doesn’t want to pick, the pick he just wants to be wanted. Men being the traditional pursuers, the pick he can easily go get that good nerdy low maintenance girl he claims he wants. He could just stop seeing where things goes with the girl he’s been kinda dating for years. Maybe stop being the 145th “hey” in the same IG models inbox and maybe be the 5th in someone else’s. Pick me’s are sitting by the dock at the bay, hoping and wishing to be picked; pick he’s are just circling around being indecisive about something they swear they want.

I’ve had pick he moments. I think it’s natural to make a few shots and feel like you’ll never miss again. I’ve had what I said I wanted right in front of me only to be like…am I sure sure, I’ve been hurt before, I just need more time, you know all the Drakeisms. Instead of actually picking, you long for someone who just ain’t checking for you like that. No matter how much of a good man™ you are. So while pick hes think they’re being indecisive, ironically enough they are just waiting to be picked too.

For what it’s worth I don’t think there’s anything wrong with actually wanting to be picked, even if I roll my eyes and judge them. I just be judging and shit. However, the common thread between pick mes and pick hes is entitlement and entitled people can be insatiable. Pick mes get picked and now they need you to know that they have the best marriage, they are the happiest family and now they are just as annoying as their thirstier days because all they truly wanted was validation.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… INDISTINGUISHABLE

I have a confession to make that may forever change how you look at me or SFW again. I can already sense the judgment, I can audibly hear the “yo, who’s mans is this?”. But it’s time I live my truth; I like turkey bacon. I might even prefer it to real bacon. I know it’s not really bacon, to even name it bacon is appropriation, but give me the choice, I’m possibly going turkey bacon. Bacon ain’t got no meat, especially at restaurants they gonna give you salty bacon shaped crackers. That being said, if someone ordered bacon and got turkey bacon, someone might be attacked and no one will say they were wrong for it. If you ordered bacon you want bacon. If you ordered turkey bacon you want… kinda bacon. It’s one of those cases where unlike New Amsterdam and Ciroc, most white actresses and all these new R&B singers who look like Denise Huxtable and do bad Amy Whinehouse impersonations, some things are truly indistinguishable.

Two things I also thought was indistinguishable, enter two people recently out of relationships but just enough time has passed where they’re supposed to start acting like they want to date again. Both of them probably a little too woke, both incredibly smart and fluent in sarcasm. They have great chemistry and make each other laugh. Both of them kinda hate dating, it’s trash. They like each other so they date, except one person is dating for companionship and the other is dating to be with someone. On the surface it would seem like it’s the same… but it isn’t. Bacon. Turkey bacon.

Dating to date vs dating for purpose; I’ve been on every side of these. Dating aimlessly to purposely, dater to datee. Of all, just dating to date is the simplest. Dating because there ain’t shit else to do, dating because I like you but I kinda suck at relationship stuff so let’s keep it right here in the safe zone, dating because a fly outfit is a terrible thing to waste. Dating is social, dating is networking, it’s troubleshooting. How do you know what you want if you don’t try some shit. other people and feelings involved so being open and honest about intentions or lack thereof is key. Then there’s the fact that people who date to date aren’t completely opposed to something more… Maybe something happens, maybe it doesn’t but ultimately they are in it more for themselves than anything.

Then there’s dating for purpose, where you have or think you have a good idea what you want and now it’s time to just find them. A trap I had fell into jumping from relationship to relationship because that was what I thought I was supposed to do. I look back at my college years and my early 20s and wonder about the people and friendships I’d still have in my life if I didn’t force the issue. “They just wasn’t ready”, I would tell the next one, looking at her with the same level of naiveté and ignorance. The reality was I didn’t even know if that was what I even wanted yet I was just following a recipe without any idea of what I was making.

Two date to date people can get along great, just enjoying each other’s company and most importantly managing expectations. Two date for purpose people will gladly pair off and get out of the wretched dating game. One of each? Well, its bacon and turkey bacon. You have one side ready to cuff up and delete their Tinder while the other just wanting them to enjoy what this is. Maybe one side concedes what they want for a moment, or two, or three but eventually they’ll come back to that fork in the road and someone will have to choose between what and who they want and it doesn’t end well. C’est la vie.

Whether you’re dating casually or really trying to be chose, it’s far easier to just find someone else who is also bout that life rather than trying to tell yourself that turkey bacon is just like the real thing and vice versa. You want what you want…as long as you own it. Like turkey bacon.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PREDATE

We hold these truths to be self evident; dating is trash. No one knows what they want, everyone is in a rat race to get the most out of a person with the minimal amount of effort, and then getting to the money? Now, everybody mad. So, I was chilling out maxing relaxin all cool when I saw the Twitters were abuzz about this exchange

The reaction was split between “that’s real” to “that’s broke” (cuz everyone’s rich on Twitter). My reaction, is that’s dumb. For one, there’s already a way to see if you vibe with someone before a date, it’s called a phone call. Second, a date is entirely on the asker’s terms, you can find free shit to do, you can pick a spot in your price range, you can schedule the date until after the direct deposit hits. Hell, you can “pre date” without even calling it a pre date which I would advise because this is beyond stupid. (Also, don’t be trying to use homeboy anecdotes, articulate your point like an adult, Jalen.)

It’s what everyone loves and hates about millennials, a “won’t be me” generation. Trying to find new ways to do old things is definitely millennial shit. I almost get his sentiment, who wants to waste, money and energy on someone they don’t even know they like yet. Or more apropos, don’t even know likes you yet. They may have swiped right, gave you a number, always answer your texts but at the end of the day this is still a complete stranger. They could just be in this for free food and entertainment, they could be stuck on an ex, they could like chitlins. And you’re a complete stranger, precisely why she isn’t trying to sit in your car listening to ad supported Spotify to see if y’all “vibe”.

So while pre dating is stupid, the conundrum still exists, how do you date without getting played? Some will say and do all the right things and not even like you, others will sit back and let you waste your own damn time with no remorse. People are selfish and don’t owe you anything. And no one wants to hear men cry on Twitter, it’s just an entree and some drinks, you’ll live. Get your bread up. There’s also an emotional investment if you believe in that whole men have feelings thing but most don’t so it turns into I never heard a man with money complain. So to circle back, dating is trash.

Asking for a pre date is like going into a job interview and saying, let me work here for a few days and see we click. (Actually, there might be something here…*adds to list of ideas I never finish*). Hanging out without expectations sounds good in theory, except… That’s what first dates are already. You don’t know if they’ll like you or not, and that’s the risk. Pre dating is trying to watch half the game and then go back make a bet, it doesn’t work like that. If you find yourself being consistently played on first dates, perhaps it’s time for reflection. Are you actually holding conversations with this person? Do you really look like those pictures? Are you even interested in these people or just going through the motions? Maybe slide in less DMs and slide to more events where you can “vibe” the first time. Just don’t be like Jalen. No one likes Jalen.

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