“I haven’t been in a relationship for 5 years,” I explained.
As the daughter of a single mother, it’s not the most difficult thing to do. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, a business of my own and an artistic outlet. I got a dog for that “mothering” thing engrained in me. “I don’t get close to people, so I’m going to push you away,” I went on. I was sincerely trying to to hurt his feelings but as we waited on my train, he kept patting his chest saying, “Come here, come close.” It took all my strength (and a reminder of a tentative 50% off at Louis Vuitton) to turn my “You need to back the fck up,” into “I’m gonna need two feet of space,” as I literally held my arm outstretched, touching the tips of my nails to the knot of his scarf. You’d think he’d be offended, but there’s a bizarre breed of man who is determined to own you, if only at least for a little bit. They love the challenge.
“You’ve known me two days,” I said plainly.
“It feels like forever,” he bullshitted. His last relationship “ended” this passed February. He’s an Aquarius who’s dated two Aries’ in the past, but I’m not sure he quite learned his lesson with us (Aries folks vibe with Leo’s and Pieces’ the best). He works two jobs, goes to school and lives with his parents, but I don’t fully understand the story because in the first version, the parents weren’t around, and I looked like I was taken care of. He likes to make music and hit on girls in the subway as he leaves work. He always brings them to Benihanas on their first dates, and that’s where we ended up;. “I would love to get to know you, but you have to relax,” he held my hands in the downstairs lobby. If you walked by, you’d have thought I broke his heart. I sat, wide-eyed, trying to figure out what fck was going on. “I like you,” he said moving only his lips. “I like you,” is what it looked like… but “like” is easily and often confused with “love”. Here I was,wined and dined as I “deserved”, trying to figure out how to say, “keep your hands to yourself or I’ll cut them off,” in the nicest tone possible.
“You don’t know me.”
“I love you,” he repeated the same.
“You met me two days ago.”
“Do you know my middle name?”
“Do you know my mother’s name? My siblings? My favorite color? What school I went to?”
“That’s a city, not a school.”
“University of Baltimore?” He wanted so badly to be right.
“No. You don’t know me.”
“Play this game. We need this,” my best friend was my worst influence in the moment, sending along descriptions, sizes and his budget for the scheme.
The truth is, I can never do it. If I ever turn someone on, or they find me remotely “sexy” it’s either on accident, or in the middle of one of my performances. I don’t really know how to flirt. I smile because I want to laugh. And when I laugh, it’s usually at people. I’m actually not even nice. I like to be alone, or with exactly who I want to be with. I don’t really deal in people. “You don’t want nothing from him anyway,” CJ coaxed me. “It’s about passing time. He’s just enough. Tell him you guys can get to know each other,” sounded like a fabulous plan until I realized that he didn’t like me at all and didn’t want to get to know me. He wanted someone he could proudly take out in public and claim as his own. I really don’t have the patience. “And what else would you be doing?” CJ asked. Well, I’d probably at home, with a jay in hand, making dinner & watching my novellas. That might sound like some young girl’s nightmare, but I realized, that’s where I prefer to be. “They like you, you have to use it,” I’ve been told but I’m simply not well versed in being around people I’d rather not be around. I’m also from a predominately male family. I was raised to be pretty & sit down somewhere. This is exactly why I got another job. It’s always a headache. It’s never worth it. Fck that discount. I’ll just get more checks.
The most challenging obstacle with being single is the self-financing – especially in New York City. (The rent is still too high.) You could save a hell of a lot of money if you find someone to shack up with and split bills. And if you want to party anywhere in Manhattan, a cocktail can cost you a meal, leaving men feeling like they’ve purchased more than just a drink, and leaving the city’s finest ladies rubbing up on middle-aged tourists for vodka & linguini. Being single is also challenging while you’re out, because you’re competing with Instagram models who, in real life, wear Rainbow and Conway like they have an exclusive contract and wear weave because it does make them look better. In the city of style and fashion, you spend whatever is left on hair, nails and a Brazilian to compete with women who aren’t worth competing with you get a look at them up close, or if you take the time to wait and notice that she only deals in men who are willing to open up a tab — and after all of that, the guy you wants ends up wanting her. So you watch him drool & serve up until his open bar ends, and then watch him sulk while she rubs everything he wanted to touch on someone with a little more cash flow. Welcome to the world where the cashier at Forever 21 is #Winning.
So I spend my time and my cash on myself. I walk Italian and drive German and no one understands how I do it, nor do they do anything for me. Yes, I’m a woman with needs like any other but I don’t feel the need to “try” everything or every one. I hated that date for so many reasons. First, because it wasn’t supposed to be one. I dropped by his job while he was at work, while I was still under the impression we could be friends. But, if you want to take me to eat, I suppose I’ll go. Do we need to frolic and fondle so immediately? I didn’t want to touch, maybe that’s rude of me. I feel like I often have to remind people, when you sign that receipt, the pay for the food, not the company. I’m tired of people doing things for a reason. “I was going to go home & make spaghetti,” I assured him I was still very much willing to do so. I actually never ask anyone for anything especially not men. I sometimes assume I deserve the nice treatment or maybe they are just kind, but that’s a lie we women tell ourselves – men spend to get and will take what you give.
My dilemma: I met a guy who told me he loved me on the first date. He calls me his “princess,” and asks me if I want anything before we leave the store. Luckily, I pay attention to other things: “Love” comes with a ring, if he doesn’t want to marry me, it means nothing. Every princess story I know, she’s locked in a tower or someone is trying to ruin her, many people come disguised as saints. & I never believe anything about a purchase until the receipt prints.
We’re all single for one of 5 reasons:
you just got out of a relationship
you’re not ready for a relationship
you’re not qualified for a relationship, or
you don’t know what a relationship is
you know what you want
You never know why someone is single.
Sometimes, we don’t even know ourselves. Most likely, once you’re single and “just got out of a relationship,” after you rebound, you’ll probably feel all of these reasons. The “not qualified” is the most difficult to see. It takes us so long to develop as successful individuals, you never really know what a person expects of you. Even if you have your finances in order, there may be other personality or compatibility issues you haven’t tackled yet. For example, it’s difficult to gauge how upset you get at dishes left in the sink until someone leaves them there. Another obstacle would be a man who gets a women just to do those dishes. Granted, I believe in gender roles, but men tend to forget that a woman who keeps your home in order deserves to be spoiled. Sometimes, we haven’t learned to play our parts and we disappoint our partner (I was there once). Eventually, you learn what you want and the game becomes more difficult because no one is fit to play. So what do you do?
“Because if you give a hoe space, she’ll be herself,” I had told CJ. “It would be you to feel that way,” he typically responds. Yes, a woman sits around and waits, she doesn’t go out and leave her man sick like that. You look out for his pride, you don’t do sht like that. But that’s hard when a man isn’t doing everything you’d want him to do. Is it a sin to sit through dinner? With thoughts of a Neverful? I do regret it. The truth is, I once closed me eyes and wished it were someone else. Needless to say, I wanted to teleport home. But I do need more… more than I’m willing to ask for. I’ve realized I’m less willing to share how I really feel when I care what the other person will think. I try my hardest to be “the realest” but… I’m human. The waiting, I’ve learned, takes longer than one might think. During this process, you get used to a personas they are . Things change faster than we think, and sometimes we perceive changes that actually never took place. Still, whatever’s meant to be will happen, right? So let it happen naturally. “What do you see in your perfect man,” he asked and I realized we’d never be friends. “God,” I responded, hoping he’d run. “That’s not something I’m worried about.”
Live genuinely. The fck do I look like lowering my standards for Louis Vuitton and grilled shrimp? People will force themselves into your life and loneliness will call you to oblige. Yet, as those finger pry themselves to lie between yours, take note of who you wish that would be. People don’t always react the same… they also might not express their preferred method of displaying affection. But if you express that concern to a person and they aren’t sympathetic, that person might not be for you; you don’t interact well. One should also take note of what you’re really looking for. There are men who will take you out to eat and buy you all kinds of things with labels on them, but they won’t pick you up when your car breaks down or help you move into your new place. I just started this part-time job for two reasons: I wanted to afford the things I want from someone else, and I need less free time so I can note if what I need is actually needed or if I’m bored and actually have too much free time. I felt like this guy was rushing to lock me down for no real reason; I could be crazy. He didn’t ask me about anything that mattered, he wanted to ignore as much as he could. Some people are far too lonely.
So, I’m single because of God. I’m still learning. It just ain’t my time & I’m okay with that. Meanwhile, I try to make the most of my time until then. I hope I am who I need to be before my time comes. I hope I don’t hold back from someone deserving, but that I don’t give more than they’ve earned (which I’m likely to do). Cross my fingers and hope everyone who doesn’t appreciate me or wants to waste my time will leave me alone. More so, I pray I can pinpoint those folks before they get the best of me…
The most telling detail of if someone wants to be with me is if their interested in what I do. If I painted, I’d want him to frequent my gallery. If I played a sport, I’d want him there cheering me on. But I’m a writer… and what I do is I turn my heart into words in hopes that someone will understand. A man who doesn’t read this, who doesn’t know where my heart it, doesn’t keep up with me, and I don’t want him. I’m not that hard to figure out.
Anyway. All he did was hold my hand and it was terrible. I still want to throw up.