Just Say No

Over the years, I have been in numerous weddings.  I have so enjoyed celebrating my friends as they decide to embark on their journey to become wives.  Most recently, I will be in a wedding this weekend.  And even though the bride and I haven’t known each other long, she and I made a real connection.  I often refer to her as the little sister I never had.  We have a lot in common, hang out on a pretty regular basis, and now we are neighbors.  I definitely learn from her and her groom, and I hope that they learn from me.

Not to sound too cliche’, but when you get a number of women together, things don’t always work out the way you want them to.  Now, I have prided myself on not getting caught up in the petty/insignificant/crazy things that groups of women sometimes get themselves into.  I’m pretty good about letting things roll off my back.  Not to mention that I don’t have those type of women in my circles.

But let me back up and offer some sage advice.  When someone asks you to be in their wedding, it’s MUCH more than just buying a dress (or renting a tux) and standing next to your ace while she/he exchanges vows.  It’s a time AND financial commitment.  At minimum, in addition to your dress and shoes, you’re also going to have to chip in for a bachelorette party and/or bridal shower.  And with the way society is now, the bride may want to do a trip.  And it is the one time (aside from you being married and/or having children) that you have to be unselfish and put someone else before you. Like you can’t complain, can’t whine, can’t say you don’t like your dress/hair/nails. Why?  Because it’s not about you!

In addition to you being unselfish, you have to put up.  Not put up or shut up-just put up.  Celebrating the bride isn’t cheap. You will most likely have to get a hotel room/airfare ticket. Not only do you shower the bride with gifts, but you also have to support her last days as a “free” woman.  When you don’t contribute, you put undo pressure on the other members of the bridal party.  Let me tell you a story…(don’t worry, it’s short)

A few years back, I was my cousin’s Maid of Honor. Her bachelorette party and bridal shower took place over one weekend in Atlanta.  Why?  She was the only person that lived there, and everyone was traveling to attend.  Out of 8 bridesmaids, only 1 contributed to her weekend, which consisted of dinner, clubbing, drinks, bridal shower, and dance class.  I never told my cousin.  And even though she and my aunt offered to contribute, I didn’t take their money.  Why?  Because it’s her day and she shouldn’t have to worry about that.  And that wasn’t her job.  Her job was to enjoy being celebrated with no worries.

With the wedding I’m going to be in this weekend, I won’t go into too many details.  I’ll just say one person still owes me money for events that have taken place and another told me that she can’t contribute anymore (we have one last event scheduled with the bride and groom) as she is in a wedding next weekend as well and is tapped out.

All of these instances have told me that I need to learn to say “No”.  From now on, if a family member/friend/loved one/soror asks me to be in her wedding, I’m going to decline.  And it’s not because I don’t love them; it’s because not everyone in the wedding party realizes the commitment that she is agreeing to.  And just because someone didn’t plan properly (or because they’re a slacker) does not mean that I should make undo sacrifices. I’m not here to take care of grown people.

Now, I’ll admit that this blog may not be the best way to communicate that, but….yeah, it is the best way to communicate this.  Because I’m here to share my story.  And I feel that people who are involved in my life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) unofficially sign up to become a part of that story.  It is never my intent to embarrass or call out folks; I don’t name names-that’s messy.

Oh, and my own wedding (when that day comes)?  I’ll be on a beach somewhere with my boo and our parents. The few people that I have shared this with in the last 12 hours think I’m crazy, and I’ll change my mind.  Not to mention it totally goes against the next to last line in this post.  The older you get, you realize what’s really important.  And me stressing over somebody else’s wedding because people can’t contribute is not at the top of my list of priorities.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I’m An Optimist

Earlier this week, I had a discussion with a co-worker that focused on relationships, but it wasn’t a conventional relationship talk, if that makes sense.

He (late 20’s, in a relationship) was stating how he was having a conversation with his sister, and she said that “there are no good black men left.  Most are taken, in jail, or gay”.  Well, let me back up.  I can’t remember if his sister in fact made that statement or if his sister said she heard another woman make that statement.  (My memory’s bad.)  In any event, I told him that I don’t subscribe to that notion.  First, I don’t want to think negatively, because I truly feel that when I do begin to develop a relationship, the thoughts I had pre-relationship will follow me once I get into a relationship.  And I do not want to enter that with negative thoughts.  Second of all, I know a lot of great black men-I’m related to some, and my friends married others.  Of course, I said people only show you what they want you to see, but from my point of view, these were men who loved their wives and children and took care of their families. (Yes, you have dudes who are jerks out there, but that’s not limited just to black men.) And I truly believe that there is a man out there that God has made just for me.  Not sure where he is yet, or if we’ve even met, but God made Eve for Adam, so I don’t think that He meant for us to be alone.  And by us, I mean my future husband and me.

(So…as I look back over my statements, I can see how some can seem negative…maybe we should call Elle a realist; I take a realistic view at things.  No one has time to sugarcoat stuff-I’m getting too old for that.  Maybe you can compare me to your 70 year old Aunt Edna, the lady who never bites her tongue and says EXACTLY what’s on her mind.  But I’ll still practice a little tact.  😉 )

I’ve always looked at things with the glass being half-full.  And I believe that thinking has boded well for me.  Even in situations that were not so great and where things seemed dire.  For all of my single people, men and women, who are out there and think that there are no good women or men, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We just have to make sure that we can be a benefit to our mate when he finds us or when you find her.  Meaning, we have to make sure we are bringing our best selves to the table.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Revamping My Dating Habits

Man and Woman Drinking at Bar

I have a friend, we’ll call her Michelle, who loves getting to know new people. When you talk to her, she’s so engaging that she makes you feel as if everything you said is the most interesting thing she’s ever heard. She’s confident, not cocky, and has the ridiculous ability to connect with people she just met. Not surprisingly, this girl has no problem in situations where she doesn’t know anyone. Her congeniality and charisma has gained her a great group of friends and helped her receive an offer for every job she’s ever interviewed for. But arguably more impressive, this girl has never had a bad first date.

I know.

Granted, it’s not like Michelle has a revolving door of men in and out of her life, but I would think even hitting 5-6 first dates and they’ve all been good is pretty damn impressive.

I have to admit, I held onto a little contempt for her since I’ve had my fair share of bad dates. But then I started thinking about some of the reasons she gave for why she thinks that they usually go so well, and admittedly, I realized there are a few things that I could be doing to make my dates better too.

One thing I learned I need to work on is giving people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone wants to put on their best impression during a first date. But there are plenty of things that could cause people to be off their game on a first date. Of course there are nerves, but sometimes, there are other things that might be making them uneasy. For example, my co-worker once told me that he had to leave a date early because he had horrible gas after eating a Fiber One bar. Apparently these things are no joke. There’s even a message board dedicated to the topic on My Fitness Pal, and the comments span over three years. The poor guy had no idea the bars caused such “unpleasant” side effects. He simply couldn’t stand it any longer, and had to cut the date short. His date left thinking he was a squirming weirdo and declined his invitation for a rain check.

When your date seems to be a little on edge (hopefully from nerves, not gas), Michelle says she’s tries to reassure them by saying something along the lines of “I was a little nervous but I’m having a great time!” or she compliments them on their restaurant choice or wardrobe.

And it’s not just Michelle that thinks it’s a smart idea.  A blogger over at “Adam and Eve” said that, “Most ladies will try and make an anxious date feel more comfortable,” in a recently shared dating guide for guys blog post. I tend to be more passive and I suppose I usually just absent-mindedly hope that the guy will make me feel more comfortable. I guess I figured that because he asked me out, he was confident and didn’t need reassurance. Now I’ll be more conscious about being just as complimentary to the guy as he is to me.

She also said that if her date’s nerves seem to be getting the best of them, she tries to take the reigns a little throughout the night. To engage her date, she asks them questions about things that they’re passionate about. She’ll also suggest something fun to do that won’t interrupt the night, like stopping for ice cream or popping into an interesting shop that they pass. Not only does it help take the pressure off of the other person, but it also gives you a sense of responsibility for having a good time throughout the night.

Finally Michelle said she always tries to keep an open mind. There are plenty of guys that turned out to be amazing once she got some one-on-one time with them. Even now she’s dating one such guy, and is still great friends with another. Obviously a lot of men and women are guilty of not giving the other the time of day if they don’t feel that “spark” right away. It seems like a waste of time when you don’t feel anything from the get go. But like the “Huffington Post” says, if you’re still single, it’s obvious that your past type hasn’t been working for you.” You’ll never know if there’s something better out there for you unless you give someone new a shot.

Maybe I won’t have a spotless dating record like Michelle, but by changing my own behavior, hopefully I’ll set myself up for some better first dates in the future.

lyf40

The One That Won’t Go Away

Some people cannot take a hint.  Guy A from this post is one of those people.

I didn’t go into details about all of the things wrong with this guy, so I’ll elaborate slightly.  He felt that I should cancel/change plans so we could go out.  He felt that I should respond to text messages IMMEDIATELY after he sent one.  He was jealous and insecure (oh, I think I mentioned that in my previous post).  After I didn’t respond to a text message quick enough on my way to church one Sunday, he sent a snarky reply.   That is when I told him to lose my number and have a nice life.  (Oh, he still sent me a message on G-Chat that afternoon; I quickly blocked him.)

That weekend is when DC was hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Two days later, he sent me a text to “check on me” and “make sure I was ok”, to which he got no response.  A week later, because I deleted his number, I answered a call from him.  He totally heard the shock in my voice.  After that call, I saved his number as DNA (Do Not Answer).

A year and a half later, he has popped back up.  A few months ago, he sent me a request to connect on LinkedIn.  And just this week he requested to follow me on Twitter (on my private account).  You would think that after not speaking with someone in almost two years and making it PAINFULLY obvious that you have no desire to speak with or be involved with a person, he would go on his merry little way…but alas, that is not the case in this situation.  In 2012, TyAnthony made sure to ask me if he knew where I lived, to which I was all too happy to state “no” and that he had never been to my house.

So what do you in this situation?  Do you continue to ignore this person that won’t go away?  Do you reach out and once again state to leave you alone?  (I won’t be doing that.)  On the flip side, what makes someone not go away?  What keeps making him reach out?  To see what I’m doing?  To try to make sure he stays in the forefront?  In any event, I wish he would crawl back into the hole he went in in 2012…and stay there.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

On The Come Up

Earlier last week, my friend…we’ll call her Miss Chi-Town and I were having a discussion about men and women and babies.  Specifically, we were talking about men that get women pregnant on purpose.   Because we live in a “man’s world”, every bad thing that happens is the fault of women.  And I have heard ad nauseum about women who get pregnant on purpose to trap a man.  But what about men that get women pregnant on purpose?

Let’s be honest.  I live in a city where people are educated and have pretty good jobs, or they are on their way to getting a pretty good job.   But, just as there are women doing well, there are men that are looking for a come up, which essentially means they would like to find a woman to take care of them.  Or least lay up in her house for a while.  And what seems to be a surefire way to make that happen is to have a baby.

After reading this article about Omarion, where he got his girlfriend pregnant on purpose, it really just brought this to life for me even more.

If  can be transparent for a minute, I recently met a guy who seemed like he’s cool.  He’s in his late 20’s, divorced, and is a dad.  But, he seems as is if he has no real ambition.  He works at a bar, where we met, 3 days a week.  When I asked him what he does when he’s not working, his response was, “Chill”.  -_- Say what now?  You all may be thinking I’m jumping the gun a little and should give this dude the benefit of the doubt but…I don’t think so.  And I’ll tell you why.  A few weekends ago, homeboy (let’s call him A.J.) asked if I had any plans.  I told him I was free until around 6 pm.  He stated he and his homeboy wanted to watch the Wizards game.  I asked where they were trying to go, thinking he wanted to meet and hang out with me.  He said, “We wanted to come to your place.”  SAY WHAT NOW?  Now, A.J. and I had yet to go out (due to my going home for a few weeks), and we’ve only talked on the phone.  Not to mention I’m not letting two strangers know where I live.  Not mention I care about my safety.  I told him, “Yeah…I don’t let just anyone come to the Batcave.”

Needless to say, A.J. and I never did have that first date…and we may not ever have it.

I totally think men use women for come-uppance ALL the time.  I think it was shown on “Being Mary Jane” with Avery and Andre, and I have read stories about this happening in real life.   So, to all of you in this crazy dating world, good luck to you!  And be wary of people looking to use you to advance themselves but not offering to bring anything to the table.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!