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Why Some Men Never Learn

Here’s the scene: Brian (a friend) and I were on a road trip. I’m on my phone. His phone rings, a female’s face pops up on the screen, and he answers. Some time later we both get off the phone and the following conversation ensues.

Brian: I don’t understand you women.
 
Me: What are you talking about?
 
Brian: [scoffs] Calling me talking about another man.
 
Me: Hunh?
 
Brian: I don’t understand y’all. She called me to ask me about her relationship with somebody else. I don’t care nothing about that dude.
 
Me: Okay.
 
Brian: You can’t call me asking about somebody else when you still call me sometimes to tell me you miss me, you want me to come visit, and all that stuff.
 

This conversation went on for a while until, he hit me with the purpose of this blog…

Brian: I mean, as far as I’m concerned, until a woman gets married, I am the only man she has ever been with.
 
Me: Whaaat?!??
 
Brian: …or until she has a baby. [pauses] Nah, not even a baby. Until she gets married. I don’t want to think about her with some other man. Yep, until a woman gets married I am the only one.
 

There’s a lesson in this conversation. As nonsensical as Brian’s foolishness sounded to me, it gave me a clear view into the often twisted male mind. According to Brian’s rule, he will always and forever have an opening with any and every woman in his past, until marriage do them part. Unless some other man stakes an official public claim to her, he will believe that he has a chance to rekindle whatever relationship they once shared.

I have often wondered why some man who I haven’t spoken to, been nice to, or responded to in a length of time (sometimes months, sometimes years) would waste time (both his and mine) by contacting me and attempting to (re)connect. And this answers my question…probably because he’s too damn dumb to realize that he has no chance. Thus, it does no good to be rude or dismissive in hopes that he will catch a clue. The only way some men will leave is if you marry. And here I sit eternally single and apparently an option for any and every man with whom I ever spent time.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Dating, Marriage

 

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Getting what you give

A wise and insightful friend left a comment on my last post that has been on my mind ever since I first read it. Here’s what she wrote:

Maybe you find your self attracting men who are already attached/ somewhat attached is because YOU are attached to something or someone else in your subconscious. Perhaps an old flame or old idea of love. You know we only attract what we put out… So what are you putting out in the universe?

I think it’s a great question…and it’s probably exactly the reason (other than being mistress age) why I attract an inordinate number of married men. I attract men who are unavailable because I am also unavailable. In addition to the several standing commitments I have on a weekly basis, I am attempting to both write a dissertation and search/apply for full-time jobs. My schedule operates on the academic calendar, and on the scholarly schedule of my field. At any given point in the year, I am researching, writing, and preparing to submit or present one or more conference proposals, conference presentations, conference papers, or journal manuscripts. The point: my time is over-committed and unavailable and I’m usually much more tired than I am interested in leisure activities and outings.

It’s really amazing that I meet any men at all given how much my social activities are built to overlap with my academic and professional life…but it’s also not surprising that most of the men I meet also lead ultra-committed lives. There is a key difference between these men and me: a large portion of their commitments are to women whom they married, while mine are to my professional life. But at the end of the day, I guess we’re both unavailable…and I get what I give.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Dating, Marriage, Reflection

 

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2012 and Beyond

I had to dig back in the SBF Chronicle archives to see how this blog began just over a year ago. It began with one posting that recapped my experiences with dating in 2010 and one that gave a 2011 relationship resolution. Since this is my extremely overdue first post of the year, I figure that I should start the same way.

Last year’s recap and resolution noted that I’d had a year of ineligible men. Reasons for ineligibility ranged from age (too young to too old) to personality flaws (clinginess, lying, etc.) to unavailable (married, etc.).Those reasons led to a relationship resolution to avoid men who were in any way romantically attached to another woman. Well, if you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know that I had mixed success with that effort. So, I’ve decided to revise that resolution for 2012.

[places right hand over heart] In 2012, I will not entertain advances from men who are emotionally unavailable…and I vow to guard my heart above all else.

I just hope that I can remind myself of this resolution when I’m in the thick of the year and presented with the opportunity to spend too much time hanging out with some cutie pie who is semi-attached to another woman. So, I’m off to a new(ish) year with new(ish) marching orders and a renewed commitment to avoiding dead-end situations. Hopefully this will lead to new and worthwhile stories to share.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Dating, New Year's Resolution, Reflection

 

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The Talk

In almost every conversation I have with other SBFs about the men in their lives, there is one common thread: the talk. [Cue music: dun, Dun, DUN!] Oddly, we each seem to have some type of anxiety-inducing fear surrounding “the talk”. Often times, we are so afraid of “the talk” that the thought of it makes us revert to a passive, preteen version of ourselves that passes notes rather than engages in an adult dialogue.

For those who may not know what “the talk” is, it’s the conversation where two people (in this case, a man and a woman) explicitly state and work out the details of their relationship. In my experience, it most often begins with some version of the question, “What are we doing?” It involves a discussion about whether or not you’re exclusively dating someone and what you want or expect from each other.

What’s interesting about the women I talk to (including myself) is that we wait too late to have “the talk”. We only take the initiative to begin “the talk” after we’ve become too far invested in someone. By the time we’re sitting around with our girlfriends discussing whether or not we should have the talk, we’ve already been dating (or sometimes, doing) some man for so long that our emotions are completely tied up with him. We are so far into liking him that we can’t in good conscience date (or do) other people without feeling as if we are somehow stepping out on him (the non-boyfriend). In fact, by the time we pose the “What is this?” question, we already know the response we want is for him to say that we are in a monogamous relationship. And thus, it’s easy to see why “the talk” induces anxiety. The stakes are too high. Any conversation that has the potential to either end in bliss or heartbreak (because we’re so dramatic that we actually can’t see past these two extremes) is too risky. But what’s even riskier is never bridging the conversation and slipping emotionally deeper into something that can’t be easily reversed.

That said, it seems that it’s better to have “the talk” earlier on in a budding relationship. However, I should note that women just as hesitant to bridge “the talk” too early, usually for fear of scaring a man away. In attempts to protect a man’s ‘fight or flight’ reflexes, we sit back enjoying the ride…only the look up several months into an almost-relationship, emotionally-invested, and afraid to ask “the question” for fear that the response won’t be favorable.

Geez, my head hurts just thinking about it all. I do wonder, though, if most (not all) men who allow a relationship fester in neverneverland long enough that it needs some clarity aren’t truly ready to be in a relationship. I mean, honestly, should a woman have to be the one to begin that conversation? Shouldn’t a man be clear enough about his desire take a particular woman off the market that he steps up to the plate and exposes his feelings with the hope that she’ll reciprocate?

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Dating, Uncategorized

 

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Learning to be Open to All Possibilities

Summer 2011 has been an eye (and mind and heart) opener. As much as I would love to one day have a family all my own, I have been known to make the statement that I may never be married…and to believe it.

Somewhere along the years (maybe when I realized that I am the proud owner of a collection of bridesmaids dresses, maybe when I began quickly approaching my 3rd decade, possibly when I acknowledged the fact that my prospects are so dim that they leave me in the dark, or maybe when I recently entered my 3rd decade, I really can’t call it) I actually internalized the thought that a life of singledom may be what is intended for me. Though I hope and pray and pray some more that this is not the case, the version of me that I was in May 2011 did not believe those prayers could be effective.

So here’s what changed: I spent a summer being exposed to men who made me believe in the possibility of love and commitment. Some of these men are people with whom I spent time and some are men I’ve heard about through my girlfriends. The common thread in all of them is that they are grown up, eligible (imagine that! unattached men expressing interest in unattached women…novel, hunh?) black men who are educated, gainfully employed, and open to actually courting a woman. I clearly know that good(ish) men exist, but I was so shocked to actually finally run into them outside of my own social circle.

The result of my summer of overexposure: I’ve grown. I am practicing being completely open to entertaining conversation from eligble men who present themselves in a respectable manner. I’ve had some ‘getting to know you’ conversations and accepted some date invitations that a previous version of myself would not have even considered. I’m sure that I’ll be telling those stories soon and very soon.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Dating, Man Hunt, Marriage, Reflection

 

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Kappa Konclave 2011: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell

Continuing on with the guest blogging theme, my girl Jazzy Belle was ever so gracious to share a glimpse of what went down when the men of Kappa Alpha Psi made their centennial pilgrimage to their fraternity’s birthplace…with an extra special word of caution to any woman who has the pleasure of calling one of these men her boo, husband, plus one, boyfriend, jump off, maintenance man, or any other label with a similar meaning. Read on! _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Last weekend I had the pleasure of partying with the men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. during their Centennial Konclave in Indianapolis.  (First, let me be clear so that you don’t think I’m a Kappa groupie/sweetheart/diamond: I live in the Indianapolis area so there was no travel or major investment required on my part.) So, as I reminisced over the weekend with the Nupes I realized that my weekend can best be described by comparing to the three different types of afterlife experiences. Go with me on this.

Heaven

This is obvious. There were tens of thousands of Black men who attended college all crammed in about five city blocks. What’s more is that this is Indianapolis, Indiana. So unlike DC, Atlanta, or any other city that matters, there are FAR fewer women here. The ratio of men to women is like 5,000 to one. Okay not really, but there are Crimson and Creme men everywhere. Tall ones, short ones, skinny ones, fat ones, light ones, dark ones were there for the picking. For once in my life in a (mainly) heterosexual environment I could sing the song “It’s Raining Men! HALLELUJAH”

But it was great, because since Kappa Konclave was some weird Twilight Zone where women were rare, dudes were hella chatty without being annoyingly thirsty. All the parties were free for women and dudes just wanted to chat and flirt. All around wins.  Kappa Man Malcolm told me “I hope you’re enjoying yourself because you’ll never be around so many Nupes with so few women ever again.” I’m sure he’s right.

 In addition to the general abundance of men, I had a personal highlight. I was finally able to catch up with a Kappa that I met years ago. Let’s call him Kappa Man Tariq. I remembered that dude was cute but I didn’t remember him being that fine and sexy. Good Lord. Fortunately, he lives in the place where I’m relocating so it’s worth staying in touch with that one. I mean he was incredibly sexy… swoon

Purgatory

Okay. So there are tens of thousands of Black men roaming the three streets that make up downtown Indy. That’s the quantity factor, now let’s look at the quality factor. Three out of four Kappas were married. The fourth was gay or in a committed relationship. That means that 100% of the Kappas were unavailable to you for purchase. If you thought you were going to traipse the streets of Konclave and get chose, you may have been disappointed. My new friend, Kappa Man Corey, said it best, “if you came here trying to get chose, you gonna leave mad.” Well said, Kappa man Corey.

He’s right though. You’re meeting these men out of the context of their daily lives. Most of them left their significant others home to try and relive their undergraduate hedonism with their line brothers. Serious courtship and girlfriend recruitment is the antithesis of all of that. I was clear about this from the outset, so I enjoyed my window-shopping experience. Chatted it up, danced it up, drank it up, flirted it up, and then went home alone.

Hell

When I say “hell” I don’t mean it in the sense that anything about the weekend was torturous. I mean hell in terms of where people are going because of all the sinning they were doing! So there was daytime Konclave where you saw the brothers strolling the streets, gripping each other up, and hollering at cute girls. We get that.  That’s PG-rated. Everyday life experience.

But then…there’s Konclave after dark. Another friend, Kappa Man Antwan was telling me about strippers in hospitality suites and all kinds of adult recreation. Now while I didn’t witness that, I was out and about on Saturday night and suddenly that delightful ratio of 5,000 men to 1 woman seemed a lot more even. By Saturday busloads of prostitutes magically arrived in Indianapolis. And trust, I’m not assuming they were working women, I know they were working women. Girl crew and I witnessed transactions going down all around us! We even overheard a chick on the phone saying “Girl you need to get here and make some money cuz we fuckin & suckin everything this weekend!’ That’s whoa. By late Saturday night gone were the daytime Kappas and here were the nighttime Nupes.

Well that’s my recap. I had a pretty damn good time. Saw friends and family and bonded with my girls. It was an all around win.

Oh and ladies, if your man was at Konclave you might want to suggest he get tested before you let him stick his cane anywhere near you. I’m here to help.

Author: Jazzy Belle

 
 

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Sick.

This is the first guest blog for sbfchronicle.com. It was written by my friend NOLAgirl, and it tells her story of cycling in and out of relationships with the same man. The theme Song for this blog is “Lovesick” by Priscilla Renea. Enjoy!_________________________________________________________________________________________

When I was 19, I met a 6’4” chocolaty man that I KNEW would give me pretty babies. We had speech class right after lunch together. After that, I would usually speed off to Accounting class. That pattern changed one day when it rained. Thank God for rain! He wanted to use my umbrella to go back to his apartment, and in order to get it he had to walk with me to my dorm first. It was LOVE. I knew it was love, even though he thought it was just lust and the possibility of good sex. So we broke up because even at 19 I knew I was NOT that girl.

At 21 I saw him again; he was thicker and still fine, with a child in tow. I was so blind to the situation that I fell happily, stupidly, giddily in love with him…and I mean the kind of love where every song on the radio was about him and being in love with him. I graduated and went back home. He graduated and did the same. I lived in New Orleans and he lived in Dallas. So sure was I about our love that I believed the long distance would work. In the whirlwind of young love bliss, I was ready and willing to leave the comfort of New Orleans and my family to live in Texas (this was pre Katrina so my hate of the state was not yet formed). I just needed more than “I want you here” from him. I was 24, and I needed the promise or at least the hope of marriage and pretty babies before I was 27. But alas, he did not want immediate marriage, I did not want shacking up, he could not bend, and I would not break so again we parted.

This is where I should insert that Einstein said (at least according to other people) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Continuing on…when in 2006 I got a phone call of missed love fresh from the Air Force training, I assumed it was actually MISSED LOVE. Instead, it turned out to be that a person in basic training misses a companion with a soft body, full hips and apple bottom more than anything else. He came out of training on the prowl, and who was a comfortable go to girl? Me. It’s not that I don’t think I meant more to him than that, but I know that I did not mean everything I wanted to mean to him.

**side note: a man fresh out of basic training is FINE. I think the heartbreak was almost worth being with a man that had been around men for 6 weeks working out, perfecting his stamina. It’s the closest I will ever come to fresh outta prison sex (I hope)

We again embarked on the same relationship where very little changed but I somehow expected it to work out. This time the crash and burn was not a full year later, but a few months. Heartbroken and in tears, I knew this was our final goodbye. I was 27. It had been 8 years. I could not, would not, ever again in life…and yet, there was still a part of me that at least wished he wanted to.

So imagine my surprise, when for my 32nd birthday a week ago, I got a call. I was at the Essence Festival concert, dancing and singing/screaming to New Edition. Thus, I could not answer the phone, but I knew that I liked the name on the phone (yes, I updated him in every phone, though I did remove the lewd pictures). I have not had a conversation with this man since 2007, so my return call was first greeted with simple catch up chitchat. The conversation quickly moved to “you were always the one for me”, “I never stopped loving you”, and “I miss you”. Still aware of the reality, I replied with, “You miss having sex with me, you broke my heart, 32 year old [me] is not 22 year old [me] and I can’t do this with you again.” I know this man enough to understand that his “I miss you” is more about him missing one aspect of us. The difference between him and me is that I loved every aspect of us. He may want one thing, and in all of my weakness I want to give it to him fully, freely, and lovingly. But I know that I can’t or at least that I shouldn’t. There are some people in this world I can have sex with because they do things I like well, and it can be just that: consensual fun. With this one, though, I will not leave like I came. I will want more and fall in love again and get heartbroken again.

Jill Scott said, “me non-clairvoyant and in love made the coochie easy and the obvious invisible.” The thing is that I remember what it felt like to be with a person that I believed was the 10—my perfect vision of what I wanted in a mate, in a man, from a friend, from a lover.  But at 32 years old, I know where this is headed and I know it won’t end well. I would have to be clearly insane to run back to familiar. And I must be crazy, because I can readily admit to myself, if not to him, that I still want this man.

Cher had hits in every decade. I can’t let him break my heart now for my 30’s. He did it when I was a  teen, in my twenties x 2! But now?! When will I be the smarter person?

Author: NOLAgirl

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Dating, Future Planning, Reflection

 

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