Category Archives: Romantic Relationships

Plate Politics

Screenshot_2015-05-19-20-37-13-1I was scrolling though Instagram last night and the scenario to the left was posed. As I expected, there were varying responses, primarily from women, regarding how to handle a situation of a woman offering, then actually fixing, another woman’s boyfriend/husband a plate at a social function. The answers mostly stayed along the lines of 1) An ass whoopin’ for disrespectfully and shameslessly flirting with another woman’s man 2) Shame to the girlfriend/wife for not making her man a plate in the first place because clearly, this is what women are made to do 3) Asking the woman if she would be so kind as to prepare both a plate since she is feeling so damn helpful and 4) Expecting the man to simply say, “No, thank you” to the offer of another woman overstepping her boundaries with him in front of his woman. Truthfully, these were answers I expected and though they ran the gamut, none of them were quite the answer I had.

Why Is This Even A Question?

One issue for me with this scenario is the idea it might be a problem or fodder for such detailed discussion. In my mind, no man I’m with would accept that offer, but most importantly, no man I’d be with would announce his hunger then automatically look at me to take action to remedy his pronouncement. What about my existence as a woman makes folks think I’m predisposed to diaper changing, cake baking, and plate making? What is it MakingPlatesabout testosterone that enables some men to feel sitting in a chair waiting for food to magically arrive in front of them is all they have to do when they are hungry? And who the hell set the precedent for any of this? Who are the folks perpetuating these ideas simply based in gender? Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve made a few plates in my day and I know plenty of folks who subscribe to traditional ideas of gender roles of their choosing. I think that’s just fine, providing it’s what both parties want and believe, but that isn’t how I believe and it isn’t what I want. Every kindness I extend to folks I like and love comes from a pure desire to do something nice. It’s an extension of my love, not an obligatory action based on my possession of ovaries. Sometimes, I might make a plate and other times, I might not. Sometimes, I might ask him to make me a plate, and that shouldn’t be a problem because putting food on plates is not, and won’t ever be, a gender specific action. I’ve met a lot of different people in my day and outside of literally missing limbs, I haven’t met any adult incapable of holding a serving utensil and using it to dish up food for a plate.

If You Don’t, Cousin Faith Will

In all the fussing and laughing, I was the only woman who wondered why his significant other making him a plate would be the automatic option. In the good old movie, Soul cousin-faithFood, the main characters’ cousin, Faith, seemed to step in and fill some sort of void one of the husbands felt his wife wasn’t filling. As a result, they had an affair. Several women spoke the perspective of it being the girlfriend’s/wife’s fault another woman made her mate a plate because she didn’t fix it herself, therefore creating the opportunity for “Cousin Faith” to step in and do it instead.

*Imagine me letting out a big ole’ sigh right here.*

Listen, I can’t speak for any other woman’s relationship or how she handles it, but I have absolutely no belief in existing within a relationship under constant fear of “losing” my significant other. My assumption is a man is with me because he thinks I’m awesome (I am pretty damn cool for real) and if my entire existence with him is spent worrying about him leaving me if I fail to cook dinner, don’t feel like making him a plate after I failed to cook dinner, gain a pound, get a pimple, or express my beliefs one too many times, then I need that man to go on ahead and leave me immediately. My actions within my relationship are always true to who I am and again, my shows of affection are at-will, not based on some crazy antiquated ideas about what I “better” do lest I be left. Besides, if Cousin Faith comes through and he leaves with her and her plate makin’ ass, it is not because of me but because of that man’s choice. We ALL makechoices.

I suppose I can file my feelings on this in the Why I’m Single folder, along with my disinterest in cooking everyday or most days, my mostly covert but sometimes overt ratchetness, my disinterest in backing down when I’m talking about something I really believe, and the idea I should actually enjoy the sex I’m having, and I’m ok with that. I make plates when the spirit of love moves me and if Cousin Faith wants to try to plate up some food for my man in front of me and he allows it, I’m just going to ask her bring me back an extra fork – to stab the man who doesn’t know when to tell a broad to exit stage left. Bon appetit. ©

 

Will Moo for Marriage

free milkA few days ago, I had a conversation with my mother about unmarried couples living together. She immediately poo poo’d the idea and gave me the typical, “Oh, no. A woman shouldn’t move in with a man. Then he will never marry her. Why buy the cow…?” I put up a quick protest, but the thought of arguing any further made me tired. The milk and cow argument is old and no matter what kind of facts one may have to refute it, those who subscribe to traditional ideas of relationships and gender roles generally shut down before there is a chance to present a logical counterpoint.

I mean, we’ve all heard it, right? A mother, grandmother, aunt, or good friend tells another woman what she should and should not “give up” sexually in a relationship lest the man take complete advantage and cease to think of her as long-term relationship material. “Dress down, pants up” is what my grandmother always said and it seems to be the general rule to which women are expected to adhere. Prim, proper, pious, pent up, and pitiful is the way to go if a woman wants to marry herself off – at least, that is what the popular school of thought says.

I have never liked the cow saying. What woman wants to be thought of as a big, fat, boxy, and sometimes smelly, cow? Who wants to be a lowly heifer slowly moving along with the sole purpose of providing nothing but fresh milk to the masses? On a more serious note, I have a problem with the way the saying implies a man is buying something when he marries a woman and he is ultimately paying for the right to access her vagina with his marriage vows. I mean, is this really how we want relationships to be? I can’t even conceptualize relegating myself to a vagina for sale to the highest bidder willing to pay with a lifetime commitment to monogamy with me. I would like to think a life with me would be worth a whole lot more than some sex.

I also have a problem with the saying because it implies sex is really some gift women give to men for marrying them as opposed to it being a mutually agreed upon and enjoyable experience. Granted, there are men who want sex and nothing more and are willing to be dishonest to get it. I certainly do not refute that. However, there are women who want the same. Women who are not sitting at home on a Friday night hoping, wishing, and praying for a nice man to come along and marry them so they can finally use their vaginas for something other than a place for their panties to live during the day.sausage

I’m not advocating a whole bunch of random sexual encounters based strictly on physical attraction and availability, though I’m not exactly knocking those either. I just have trouble understanding and finding it acceptable the way women’s bodies and their decisions about those bodies are held to a higher standard than men so they never have to really be held accountable for what they do because, after all, they really are just men but a woman should know better.

Most sexual exchanges require two people. There are some exceptions to that rule, but for the most part, two consenting folks get together and decide to share their bodies with one another. Unfortunately, what should be a simple verbal and physical contract has more fine print than the contract for any vehicle I have purchased. For the man, he is just agreeing to spend some time feeling great, nothing more, and nothing less. A woman, on the other hand, is making countless life decisions when she decides to sleep with a man. In her mind, she sees plans, actions, consequences, and ways to gain redemption should the whole thing go south. She has to consider her reputation, how much the man likes her, how many dates they’ve been on, if any, how often he calls as a measurement of how interested he is, or isn’t, whether he will deem her a ho, lose all respect for her, and never call again as a result of having sex with him, if she will end up in the “smashable only” pile with the other half-discarded/on-call vag’s that came before her, etc… It all seems like too much. He’s wondering if he has some unexpired condoms and she is contemplating her entire life’s reputation and relevance. This can’t be right.

From early on in life, girls are told they shouldn’t “give up the goods” because men won’t respect them if they do. At the same time, boys are told they should get as much sex as they can from as many women they can get it from because other men will respect them as much as the amount of sex they can get. Is anyone else seeing the problem here? From a young age, women are expected to place their value with not having sex and men are taught to garner their self-worth from how many women with whom they have sex. How exactly is all this supposed to work?

Even the way society describes sex as “scoring” for men and “giving it up” for women are indicators it is usually a lose-lose for women before anything happens. I wonder if there will ever be a time when teaching boys and young men they can’t ever get back what they give out sexually and they should respect their bodies will be the norm the way it is told to young girls and women. I doubt it will ever be the norm, but I can dream.

I realize this may shock some, but women love sex. Unfortunately, our societal norms of values and morals lend to the school of thought we don’t enjoy it, don’t really need it, and really only do it to keep our men happy. However, this isn’t true. It isn’t really that women don’t like sex. It’s that we aren’t really allowed to concede we do without fear of being misjudged, erased from the “good girl” column, and rewritten in the “side piece/used up” column instead. Will there ever be a time when women won’t have to hide their sexuality? A time when they can cop to being sexual beings without fear of ruining the rest of their lives as a result? Is our milk all we really have to offer?

I guess in this day and age, the only option for women is to connect with men who have a realistic understanding of women and recognize the unfair double standards under which we live so he can see past the stereotype of the buttoned up prude and learn to respect the real woman underneath the buttoned up surface. This is definitely no easy feat, but it is well worth it if it means a woman can take off the cow costume and simply wear herself.stab

 

I Just Don’t Like You. That Is All.

We have all heard it, and most likely, we have all said it a few times; nice “girls/guys finish last.” And I FriendZonesuppose to the uninformed eye, it seems that way a lot of the time. We see a good friend who seems to have all the right qualities on paper linking up with some pathetic nare-do-well and we wonder how many “good” men or women were bypassed to get to the world’s worst boyfriend or girlfriend. I know I am guilty of this thinking from time to time, BUT it is time put it to rest. Friends and I have discussed this recently, and there are a few things single people need to realize about this relationship business.

Disclaimer: Because I am a woman and hear these complaints most often from men, I’m addressing them for the most part, but this is just as much for women because we are equally guilty.

  1. Being nice is a choice to live well, not a key to hearts – I see rants, memes, tv shows and movies in which men complain ad nauseum about how nice they are but still end up in the “friend zone.” I am going to shock the world by informing people being nice does not make you entitled to a show of interest, a phone number, a romp in the sheets, or a promise of marriage. Be nice because it is who you are. Be nice because you were raised well. Be nice because it benefits you as a person. Be nice because you enjoy it, but for the love of everything sensible, STOP being nice if  you are just doing it because you feel it will entitle you to a woman’s affections. Mastering the art of common decency is not an all access pass to every woman you decide you like. Get over yourself.
  2. No one owes it to you to like you back – After the initial indignation caused by rejection wears off, there are often laments about not understanding how a woman/man isn’t interested. People go through the checklist: 1) I’m NICE 2) I’m smart 3) I have a job 4) These are my original teeth 5) I have my own place to stay, etc…You get the picture. It is as if we are programmed to believe if we cover the basics of responsible adulthood, whoever we like will be obligated to like us back, but this is absolute manure. All these behaviors are part of being grown up, they are not guarantees for relationship action. Being smart, employed, and housed all while maintaining one’s original set of teeth has nothing to do with the presence of mutual attraction. Seriously, get over yourself.
  3. Disinterest in YOU does not equal interest in an abusive relationship – This is, by far, my favorite and the most commonly used flawed logic when one is rejected altogether or placed in the friend zone. A man expresses his interest, the woman passes on his advances but let’s him know she digs him as a friend and would love to maintain that platonic connection, but because he is convinced she is required to like him back, he automatically assumes she is not interested in him and all his “niceness” because she has her eye on a handsome man who will punch her in the eye, take all her money, and leave her pregnant with quintuplets while he is wooing his next victim. Really? Now, I will be fair and say sometimes scenarios like this happen, but logic should tell that man he avoided unwanted drama because the woman who likes that kind of man is probably not the type of woman he should have wanted to date anyway. Consider it a bullet dodging of sorts. But the majority of the time, the woman doesn’t pass on the man because she would rather be abused. She just plain isn’t interest. Maybe his breath stinks, maybe they have few or no common interests, perhaps she isn’t physically attracted to him. The reasons can be numerous, but whatever they are, she has a right to them and that “NO” doesn’t imply she would rather be slapped around, spoken to disrespectfully, or robbed of her hard-earned dollars. Really, everyone, let’s get over ourselves.

Despite our quests for rationalizations that fit our ideas, there are times people who we like  just aren’t going to like us back. No one likes rejection, but it is real and it happens to everyone in one area of life or another. The most important part is to avoid internalizing it and lashing out at a man or woman who is simply trying to make the most sensible decision for him/herself. If I am amazing in all the important ways, I maintain that whether the man I care for likes me back the same way or not. Someone else’s “NO” never changes my awesomeness and there is no way I should let it. So people, get over it and get back on the grind.

I’m So Happy For You!!! Now, Shut Up.

It usually starts out the same way; giggling, blushing, random fits of smiling, and a bevy of friends granting well wishes. Unfortunately, it’s usually followed by gushing, incessant bragging, monopolizing conversations, and an instantaneous knowledge of all things relationships. Yes, I’m talking about what it’s like when a friend is in a new relationship.

I’m sure most people have experienced it at one point or another. A friend comes across the love she has been hoping for, friends are thrilled for her, then, the other shoe drops and she becomes too obnoxious to bear. When she has time to hang out, she hogs up all the time talking about “him”, how great he is, how she never thought she would find anyone like him, how happy he has made her, and the very best one; she knows how much her friends want relationships and how it will happen for them one day just like it happened for her (GAG).

Logic implies good friends should be able to speak earnestly to one another, even if it isn’t pretty. Unfortunately, that isn’t really an option with “new relationship friend”. The moment one ventures into the conversation, the response is either the least damaging, but most patronizing speech about how she understands how her chatter may feel overwhelming, but there is no reason to feel left out. She then pats your knee and reminds you she will always be your friend despite her new found love. After all, she understands because she was once alone just like you (feel free to vomit here).

If it isn’t the patronizing response for pointing out a newly “boo’d up” friend’s annoying behavior, jealousy is cited as the real problem. After all, there is nothing irritating, obnoxious, or infuriating about going on ad nauseam about one’s new beau, so the only reasonable explanation must be jealousy, right? Not only is this insulting and presumptuous, but the majority of the time, it’s far from true and serves as nothing more than a way to excuse behavior that borders on, and often teeters into, “douchedom”.

After the patronizing insults, there is usually some unsolicited relationship advice to round out the irritation. She will tell her friends “the right one comes along when you stop looking”, “it will happen for you one day if you’re just patient”, and “you’re such an amazing person, it won’t be long before you’re happy like me”. All of these comments will make it difficult to avoid resorting to physical violence and insults. It no longer matters she didn’t know ONE solid thing about relationships beforehand or couldn’t even get through a first date without blowing it because what she learned in the all of ten minutes her relationship has been official will undoubtedly be enough to help all her poor single friends find their true loves. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink – or start slapping the perpetrator.

SO, in the best interest of any friend, coworker, and family member who is or has been subjected to such nonsense, I want to clear the air:

  • Though people who care are definitely happy for you, none of us are jealous. We just want you to shut up because you are hogging up the words we need to make our own conversations.
  • Just because some of us are single, it doesn’t mean we are interested in, desperate for, or suicidal over the lack of a relationship. Single generally means unattached, nothing more, and nothing less. This means we don’t need your special “reassurances” about how it will happen for us too one day. We didn’t even ask you in the first place.
  • You don’t know a stitch more about relationships now than you did before you got into a relationship. You couldn’t figure out how to maintain a man’s interest past the phone number exchange, make a relationship last beyond the first coffee date, or even catch the attention of a fully employed man before the relationship, so chances are, you just lucked up on a good one who understands your crazy and maybe has a little crazy of his own. Get over yourself.

Look, I love love. As a matter of fact, I’m even happy for people I don’t particularly like when they come across a little piece of love for themselves. Connecting with someone, enjoying his/her company, and perhaps making some serious future plans are all wonderful experiences to me. However, dragging everyone else along for a ride on the obnoxious train is a trip one’s friends can do without. Enjoy your relationship, revel in the newness, and bask in the beauty, but figure out a way to keep the endless chatter to a level that keeps friends from wanting to choke you. It’s the least you can do for love.

 

 

Damn You, Facebook

The popularity of social networking seems to be at some sort of crazy all-time high. I knew there was something to Facebook when my mother actually started a page and told me she follows my status updates via notifications to her phone. People use Facebook to annoyingly chronicle every single event in their lives, connect with distant friends and loved ones, join groups that focus on their interests, maybe make a love connection, advertise their products and services, and who knows what else. However, despite these benefits, people always seem to find a way to blame the very sites they depend on for the demise of their relationships.

Countless times, I’ve seen status updates about people using Facebook to further their evil causes and ruin the lives of everyone who dares get in their way. Yep, the rhetoric is just as dramatic as my previous sentence. I have read cries of how Facebook causes men and women to cheat, provides the type of temptation that leads folks astray, and is nothing more than a place for homewreckers to wreak their relationship havoc on poor innocent couples just trying to make it. I even had a friend tell me her marriage ended because of Facebook. So, in lieu of all these gripes, I’d like to take a moment to burst a bubble; Facebook DOESN’T ruin relationships, people do.

Since the beginning of time, folks have sabotaged their romantic relationships. Lying, cheating, withholding important information, close-mindedness, overspending, lack of interest in one’s partner, bad communication, etc… have all contributed to the demise of relationships since the very first relationship went wrong (of course, I have no idea who those people were, but I feel safe in assuming neither had a Facebook page).   As seems to be common to human nature, there is an ongoing search for an easy scapegoat so people grasp at relationship straws and blame the internet instead of themselves.

To me, the first step to understanding what happened in one’s failed relationship is to consider one’s actions. Even if social networking played a part in a romantic break up, one has to think about who pushed the buttons, who read the words, and whose idea it was to share what, by all intents and purposes, is entirely too much personal information with the cyber world. After all, how can anyone get in my business if I opt to allow it to remain just that – my business? I really only have myself to blame if I share the most intimate parts of my life with a bunch of people who probably don’t care much about me and subsequently lose my relationship.

Aside from personal responsibility for what one shares, it is imperative to consider the relevance of personal choice. If one party decides he/she doesn’t want to be in a relationship, no amount of blame-passing, scapegoating, and internet bashing is going to change an already made up mind. Sure, saying it was Facebook, Twitter, or some other social networking site is an easy explanation, but it really doesn’t do justice to the truth that sometimes one party in the relationship just wants out.

I am a huge fan of keeping some things private. Just as telling everything about one’s life isn’t a smart choice in person, it’s equally, if not more, paramount to apply this theory online. Though it’s nice to think everyone one befriends on Facebook is a true and loyal friend, it simply isn’t true. It also isn’t true we aren’t responsible for what we do. The more we disclose about our personal lives via social networking, the more we lose control of our own lives and who needs that?

So, by all means, people should enjoy social networking and all the wonderful benefits that accompany it. However, people should also accept the need to base their lives in truth and personal accountability. I mean, how much sense does it make to turn and point accusingly like Evil Monkey from Family Guy at a laptop when confronted with a question regarding one’s indiscretions? It makes no sense at all and frankly, it’s kinda lame.

Ultimately, our present state is dependent on the life choices we make. If a relationship tanks, it’s most likely because the parties involved got on the boat with entirely too much luggage. Sometimes that luggage is the need to share every nuance with the virtual world and it is that impulse one needs to quash. It isn’t Facebook, it’s you.

 

Ring-A-Ding-Ding

I’ve never been one of those women who has been planning her wedding, down to the color scheme and floral arrangements, since childhood. I didn’t think about who would be in the wedding, what my mom would wear, or where I’d get married. When I did get around to the deed, we went to Reno and moved on (in more ways than one). Now, as a thirty (cough) something divorced woman, I STILL don’t think about such things, but you know what I do think about? My ring.

I don’t need a bunch of hullabaloo over a ceremony. Weddings can be really nice and posh, but for me, if the space is filled with people I like, love, and respect; I’m good. For me, that may only be about 25 people, but I’m ok with that. What I’d mostly want is to start my life with that guy with a ring I really like on my finger.

I recently had a conversation with a male friend who told me I was shallow for not wanting anything less than a carat. While I thought I was low-balling it, he thought I was being terrible. I explained to him for me, it isn’t really about what other people will think. I just feel like after the guests have eaten all the cake, danced to the expensive dj, eaten all three courses of the dinner, and left us with a gift one quarter of the cost it took to accomodate their presence, I’ll be over the wedding itself. The ring, however, is a representation of the relationship I’ll have forever. Well, that AND the fact I think they’re pretty and look great on my finger. 😉

Aside from aesthetics, I also believe it’s best to get the ring I want early on before other priorities prevail. Car and house notes, childcare/tuition for my hypothetical step-children (I definitely won’t be having any), emergency repairs on the aforementioned car or house, etc… Life happens and it usually costs people so I think it best to strike while the diamond iron is hot.

I also figure by the time that guy and I get married, we’ll probably be paying that bill together, and I don’t mind. I don’t think a ring is proof of how much a man loves a woman. People don’t even need a ring for that. I just see it as a pretty thing that represents my marital commitment and I do like pretty things.

It’s kinda unrealistic to walk around with a miniature wedding album in one’s purse for day to day viewing. However, a really great reminder of the time, the day, and the life is often on one’s left hand ring finger. Why not have that reminder be something sizeable and I like?

Timing

Years ago, I went to visit a friend. The weather was beautiful, a cool breeze was blowing, and I drove to her house with the windows down and the music playing. We had a wonderful visit that involved good food, good drinks, and plenty of giggles. By all accounts, it was a lovely evening. At the end of the night, I got in my car, turned the key, and got NOTHING. I tried to start it multiple times, but to no avail. After I had the car towed home a day or two later, my mechanic told me my timing belt broke. I kept wondering how everything was running great the day before but completely broken down the next day.

No, this post isn’t about cars, but it is about timing. That belt was responsible for controlling the timing of the engine’s valves. Before I get too deep into it- suffice it to say, all automotive hell breaks lose when the timing belt breaks.

Recently, I was dating someone who I thought was pretty cool. It was  early in the “relationship”, but we both thought things were going well. We saw each other 2-3 times a week, texted and talked throughout the day, and expressed our growing fondness for one another. Mistakenly, I grew accustomed to his presence. We were cruising along, relationship windows down, lovely music playing, and enjoying the ride, until, one day, our timing belt broke. For various reasons, he told me he had to back away from me to work out some things in his personal life. I was diplomatic and said I understood, but really, I was annoyed and kept wondering how we were running great one day but completely broken down the next.

The situation made me consider how relevant timing is to everything in our lives. Academic endeavors, professional success, friendships, and even romantic relationships, seem to all be based on timing. It doesn’t matter how much one wants something to happen, it never occurs until the perfect maturation period has taken place. Although I know this to be true, it hasn’t stopped me from shaking my fists at the sky countless times and questioning fate.

Sometimes, timing forces relationships and goals into breakdown status. When my belt broke, I called around for repair quotes from shops, contacted several auto parts stores, and most importantly, prepared myself financially to have my car fixed. I think a similar pragmatic approach can be applied to bad timing in relationships. I asked him some questions and asked myself some too. I looked at all the angles that came to mind, then prepared myself for the “getting over it process”.

I had to save some money and wait a few weeks, but I eventually got my car fixed. Starting it up, and pulling out of the driveway felt good. I was sad when it broke down, I missed it while it was away, I came to terms with what I had to do to get it fixed, and I did what I needed to get it right again. The same happened with my heart.

I was sad when I found out time wouldn’t allow the relationship to continue, I missed him when it was over, I came to terms with what I had to do to move past it, and I did what I needed to heal my heart. From my car, I learned that timing controls it all. It had gas, oil, four tires with the right air pressure, and everything else it needed. However, all of that was irrelevant because the timing wasn’t right. It just goes to show sometimes all the right things aren’t enough if one of the most important factors is missing. Whether it’s romance, work, or other endeavors, it’s all about the timing.When timing is off, no amount of work is enough to solve the issue. Sometimes, one simply needs time.

Order of Operations

http://atlantapost.com/2011/08/30/how-beyonces-baby-bump-is-being-used-to-look-down-upon-single-mothers/

I could scarcely read this article without sighing myself into hyperventilation. Is this woman kidding me? As one who has never been a big fan of Beyonce’s music, I think I’m fairly unbiased when I say the sentiment of this article is absolutely ridiculous to me. For a few years now I’ve been seeing a trend of celebrity types getting pregnant by a boyfriend then getting married soon thereafter. Though I understand not everyone touts the virtues of marriage and many people are perfectly happy in a long-term committed relationship, I have to say I find the pregnancy thing a little cart before horse. If folks don’t want to be married, that’s fine but could they at least be in a viable relationship before deciding to change crappy diapers together and spend a lifetime paying some sort of tuition? I don’t think marriage or the decision to raise children is to be taken lightly and I certainly don’t see it as something that should be done strictly for appearances or for the alleged benefit of an unborn baby.

The growing rarity of the old school, love, marriage, baby carriage way of life is probably what leads people to be surprised and even excited by the idea of someone choosing that path. However, praise or acknowledgement of such a life choice does not automatically mean disparagement to those who have chosen another path. If single women with children feel as if they are under attack because Beyonce got married then pregnant and society bothered to notice, there are probably some personal issues they should consider solving. I mean, when did it become okay to be angry with someone who chose a more traditional route for her life?

When kudos for one person makes another feel crappy about her own piss poor life choices, it is time to look inside and get a grip on oneself. It is also time for women to stop kidding themselves as if a life of singlehandedly dealing with parent teacher conferences, sporting practices and events, medical appointments, and homework helping is a thrill a minute. I’m not knocking single moms and I know they have a tough time of it but I don’t know a single mother who wouldn’t appreciate the parenting teamwork that comes along with a viable relationship. I haven’t EVER heard a woman talk about how much fun it is to raise one or more children alone. Granted, experiencing children is a blessing but doing it alone is more than a minor undertaking and I don’t see one thing wrong with encouraging and celebrating the two parent home. Have we gotten so far off base we ridicule and resent married couples who have children after the wedding? Say it ain’t so.

I suppose when I really look at this article, I just see some sad and bitter women with chips on their shoulders about life choices that have made their lives exponentially more difficult. Seeing someone else on a different course and witnessing the accolades he/she receives shouldn’t be taken as an insult to those who chose differently. Perhaps more women should consider the marriage then the carriage instead of trying to shoot the messenger.

Whole In One

Over the past few months, I’ve been pondering the meaning of the word, “whole”. I thought about whole numbers, whole chickens, whole milk, etc… No matter what object I considered, they all seemed to have the same attributes; they stand alone and are sufficient in and of themselves. Nothing is taken away and nothing needs to be added because they are already complete. I believe the same thing about being a whole woman.

At my age, I hear a lot of women I know talking about how they can’t wait to get married so they can do any number of things like travel, buy a home, or save money. I always wonder why they aren’t already doing those things. Granted, those activities may be even better when shared with a significant other, but why discount one’s life and live in a box because of a single status? Time has taught me life is far too short to sit and wait for an uncertainty when one could be doing everything she can to live well in the present.

I’ve also spoken to men. Several of them have told me they felt the most “complete” once they were married and if they were divorced, they told me they didn’t feel whole the way they did as a husband. For them, something about being married made them feel validated as men.

I must admit, all of this baffles me. I can’t disregard anyone else’s feelings but everything in me believes one can’t be a good girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband without first being whole. I think a good relationship is made of two wholes who become a sort of “superwhole” when they get together. I don’t think a valid relationship can take place between two halfs. If just doesn’t seem to work well that way. Each person is looking for the other to turn him/her into something he/she should have been already.

I don’t want to look at a relationship as the beginning of  my life. That started thirty-something years ago. I see relationships as the start of a new phase of life. It’s like an enhancement. Cake is really good but when there is a nice butter cream frosting on it; it’s excellent. I’m already a delicious cake. I’m just waiting for someone to come and put on the frosting.

Like the whole items I mentioned, I stand alone without the need for any additives. I’m self-sufficient, well-rounded, educated, funny, witty, smart, adventurous, etc…and I have been able to accomplish all this without a romantic relationship. I didn’t become any of these things because I am with someone. I became these things from life experience and a desire to cultivate my interests and attributes. Now, I would love to share all of those things with someone and also reap the benefits of his amazing aualities. I think that would be the best kind of frosting there is. However, I plan to enjoy it with my whole self.

Po’Tential

America is ripe with rags to riches stories. Some poor man or woman has humble beginnings and after years of strife, struggle, and proper planning, what he or she worked so hard for comes to fruition. Like most people, I love that story. It sounds great and it embodies the American dream that has been a part of life lessons from an early age. It shows what grit and a “go get it” nature can get and let’s face it; it’s pretty damn impressive. However, though I admit loving the story, I don’t love the way the story has been tainted over the years.

Since President Obama’s election, I have heard many men tell the story of how he and Michelle became a couple. Repeatedly, I’ve heard about her being uninterested and taking a chance on him anyway despite his raggedy car with a holey floorboard. And, repeatedly I’ve heard about how women should take a chance the way Michelle did and give some “poor” guy a chance because he just may turn out to the be the next POTUS. Yep, I’ve heard that story more times than I care to remember and it gets more annoying and misconstrued each time.

Though I believe in seeing the best in one’s mate, I am totally against dating potential alone. Potential is promising and dreams add dimension but those things alone do not make for a well-rounded man ready to do his part in a relationship. Dating a dreamer without a real plan is the perfect way to go nowhere fast. I mean, how many times can one hear the plan about the business he wants to start, the house he wants to buy, the car he can’t wait to own, or how he is going to live when he retires? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t wish to live in future text. Instead, I want a partner with whom I can build. After all, I’ve never sat down to a dinner plate full of potential, attended a movie in a potential theather, or lived in a potential home. Now, back to the Obamas.

I don’t think a guy with a Harvard law degree is as high risk in the dating realm as some would like to think. Though it doesn’t guarantee a man will end up as POTUS, it does imply he is not likely to end up as a couch potato with a remote in one hand and a notepad to write down his dreams in the other. A hole in the bottom of a Harvard Law School graduate’s car usually represents a stepping stone not a way of life. Now, this is not to say I need a Harvard Law School grad to be happy. However, I do require a man to have a plan just as I have. I need to know the ride in the holey car is temporary and not an implication of things to come. Potential rocks but not when it ends there.