Love’s Soundtrack

Love’s Soundtrack

I am very protective of a few things in dating relationships. For one, you must love football, and if you don’t, you must understand and be ok with the fact that from August through February, you aren’t dating me as much as observing my madness into College and Professional Football. Two, you must show some form of passion in your life. Whether it’s your job or your family or your love of Kitesurfing. Show me that there’s something that fuels your soul and gives you a thirst to wake up everyday.

I  have that kind of passion for one thing…music. For me, the soundtrack of a relationship is just as much a part of my dating life, as the other persons preference in whiskey. I can almost point with clarity, any particular part of my past significant relationships to a song. Or a soundtrack, or movie theme, or angsty 90’s rock ballad.

For a while, certain songs I held so sacred, to not tie them to a particular guy. That’s the power of music. The beauty in a love song. The joy in a rock anthem. The soundtrack of any relationship consists of four main components.

  1. The Song That Started It All
  2. The Song That Made You Fall In Love
  3. Pain
  4. The Immortal Classic

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The first, the Song That Started It All. If you’re like me, sometimes this song is as random as the circumstances around first hearing it . This isn’t nesscarily the song that played on your first date. Or even your first kiss. Sometimes it’s the song that plays on the way to the first date. The song that you hype yourself over to remind you that you need to get back out in the dating pool. Or maybe the song that was playing at the bar when you met with your closest girlfriends to talk about the date the night prior. Whatever it is, it’s the song the kickstarted the romantical hot mess that you’re about to enter

Number 2, The Song That Made You Fall In Love. For me, these are best left to fate. The melody that randomly pops in your head when you’re both out for brunch. You later wonder, what was the cause for the tune to just magically appear in your head, and why at that time? It makes no sense. Maybe just as much since for a football loving whiskey girl to end up with a baseball fanatic tequila drinker. Either way, this is the song that makes you smile because it later becomes “Our Song”. I love when I meet couples and I find out that they buck tradition for a more obscure romantic hit. This song should speak to who you are as a couple and what you both bring to the relationship.

Pain. Pain is number 3. I know it seems odd to think that “Pain” should find a place on a relationship soundtrack. But let’s be honest, pain and love go hand and hand. You can’t have one without the other. I think every relationship has that moment where you can stick it out, or you just cut your losses and run. When this pivotal part of courtship happens, it’s usually faced with a song that sums of the fear, pain, heartache and sometimes resentment, that comes with consensual monogamy. Pain for me is usually a classic R&B, B-side melody, that only plays on the radio on the artist death day. Whatever it is, Track Pain brings meaning to a relationship just like the love behind Track 1.

Number 4 is The Immortal Classic. Whether this relationship is “The One” or the one for now, this song is the track that lives on past both of you, and the gooey center of perfection that was your romance. Sometimes, this song is one that is recommened by outside forces. Friends, who mention it to you in passing and it seems to play out of the blue every time you’re out together. Or an undiscovered classic told to you by a parent. Either way, this is the song that at the relationships end, will forever hold that place of equal cherished hit and regretful melody.

No matter what the songs are in the 4 components, they should be songs that touch your soul. They should make you feel more than just the meaning behind the lyrics. They should bring joy and love, heartache and romance. Songs that remind you that the person is worth the fight, or worth their nasty habits to look past and see their big heart. No song is perfect, no love is perfect and perfect is an ideal that doesn’t really exist. What does, is a great melody, soul changing lyrics and a body of work that can bring two people in love like nothing else in this world can.

 

 

 

How to Fight Fair

How to Fight Fair

I have noticed that with age, comes a sense of clarity and patience. Who knew? You can actually “grow up” when you grow up. This point became very clear to me a few days ago when I was having an argument with my boyfriend. One of the things I remember doing a lot when I was in my 20s and early 30s in an argument, was, to be honest…a lot of screaming. I wanted to be the loud, agressive person in the conversation. Because everyone knows, the louder you are, the easier it will be to get your point across.

I also had a nasty habit of saying hurtful things. I even took pride in it. My ex-husband pointed this fact out to me one evening when we were fighting. “Just because you have a degree in Rhetoric, doesn’t mean you can just win the argument all the time!”, he said. But in my head, that’s exactly what I thought. I took classes in college about oration and arguments, and would use that knowledge to my advantage. And applying “Pathos”, I knew exactly what to say, that would cross the line, silence my partner and make my point, thus causing me to “win” the argument.

Fast forward to more than 10 years later. A marriage and several long term relationships later and I noticed one huge difference, I fight like a grown up. What does that mean? Early in our dating lives, the only fights we have experience in, are those related to our youth and adolescence. There’s a lot of name calling, maybe some throwing, some screaming and talking with no point of accuracy but more so to hear who can be the loudest. Whether we were fighting with our siblings, our parents or friends, these were the only real arguments we had that we drew experience from when it came to fighting when we started dating. But then one magical day, you grow up. Or at least, I hope you do.

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And what you realize is profound. A fight between a couple should never be about who will win. It shouldn’t be who can say the most hurtful thing or whos blow is the lowest. It shouldn’t be about pulling up past pain and hurt, to make a point in the present. To fight fair, and I think, to fight smart boils down to one word. Ready?

Silence.

Now I understand that sometimes this tactic can scare men. They have programmed in their relationship DNA, that when a woman is silent, she is at her most dangerous. And to be completely honest, you’re right. However, there is a way to be silent and engaging in an argument that won’t elicit fear in your partner. A few days ago, this point struck me while in mid-argument. My boyfriend was trying to make a point, which my immediate thought was “Well, that’s dumb, and I know I’m right.” But rather than act on that impulse, I took a moment and sat in silence. I remember looking at him and thinking “Don’t talk, just listen.”

For one, silence gives you the chance to listen actively. Take a moment to register and process what your partner is saying. It also prevents you from blurting out your first initial thought, which in some cases, can be hurtful. Silence also affords you time. Time to think about their point, think about your point, and evaluate if the argument is really worth the energy. I’m not going to lie, this is hard. It’s like some Jedi level mind trickery of the dating world. Especially for a black woman. We can’t just sit back and be quiet. But I will say, that the older I have become, the more I have sat in the moment of silence to listen, really listen. And I have been amazed at the results. Fewer fights, laughter in the middle of an argument and mostly importantly, fewer hurt feelings.

So the next time you find yourself in an argument with your partner, and you KNOW your points are valid, take a moment to surrender to the silence. Really listen to what they have to say, and before reacting, pause. Remember that the way you are feeling in the moment is just temporary, and you have just as much power as your partner, to change the outcome.

Partners in Love & Life

Partners in Love & Life

Sometimes when I think of my favorite couples, I think about the characteristics that I love about their relationship. One couple that I love spending time with, playfully give each other a hard time, but openly are each others biggest cheerleaders. Another, put God above everything. One couple are big sports fans, and their love and life revolve around how their team is doing at any particular time in the season.

I like to think that what makes a great couple are a variety of little things. But one big thing that I noticed in some of the most stable and lasting relationships, are couples that are true partners. Partners in life and in love is actually something I feel some relationships lack. If I look back at majority of mine for example, we had chemistry, similarities and fun, but few of them made me feel as if I had a partner. Someone who was on the same page as me and someone who saw the relationship for more than just an answer to loneliness.

What makes having a real partner in love so important is that, that person sees not only the good and the bad, but they can see and react to your needs, sometimes before you even mention them. A partner anticipates, hears your words and responds to your actions. You both flow and work together as one, as a unit. Not that I ever want to use “Twilight” as an example, but there is a line said in the second move that I love. When Bella brings Edward to meet her mom, her mother said “You two act like magnets. You move, he moves.” At first, I thought that was a bit creepy. And slightly teen age angsty. Then it dawned on me, Edward was her partner in every since of the word. He moved, she moved. He had a need, she fufilled it. And it was more than lust, or chemistry, or laughs or support. It was someone who added balance and wholeness to the relationship.

I think the older I become, the more the idea of having a real partner becomes something  of vital importance to me. Of course I want all the other things that are crucial to a great relationship: passion, humor, loyalty, trust, patience, love, Bourbon. But now, when I think of “The One”, I want him to be the person who literally has my back, because I will have him. He’s not my better half and I’m not his, we are each others equal. He is my partner in life and love.

 

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To Dick Pic, or not to…just DON’T!

To Dick Pic, or not to…just DON’T!

In this modern dating age of dating apps and websites, communication is often sped up or worse, muddy at best. Sarcasm doesn’t translate and sincerity is often laughed at. And when chatting for one day with a match can sometimes feel like two or three, people often throw out the rules of conventional conversation. Enter “The Dick Pic”.

I’m not sure when, how or why this became a thing, but it did. And I fear that as long as we have smart phones, there will be dumb guys who will send photos of their junk. Case in point. I matched with a cool guy on Tinder and we were chatting for several days. Due to work, we hadn’t had a chance to meet up yet, but we were working our way to that point. Our conversations were always simple and harmless. “How was work?” “Did you watch the game?” “What scotch were you drinking last night?”

We shared Snapchat screen names and our snaps were pretty mild. To be honest, they were mostly chats and no pics. So color me surprise one day when he asked me to send a pic from work. I happen to look AH-MAY-ZING that day, so I was happy to send one. I replied to him that I was curious if he still had his beard, since in some of his pics he has a beard and in others, he does not. That’s when it happened. Unprovoked, unannounced, unwanted, he sent me a picture of his erect Johnson in his boxer shorts.

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I took a moment to examine what I may have said that may have caused him to think “You know what, she may have asked about my beard but what she REALLY wants to see is this!” I didn’t reply to his snap and about a minute later he messaged asking “Not impressed?” Truthfully, no. I’m not impressed that you think that’s appealing. That your response to a legitimate question was to show off your member. I’m not impressed that you would think that I was the kind of women who WOULD find that impressive. No sir, I was not impressed at all. I replied “I’m curious what made you think I wanted to see a pic of your dick?” Silence. I gave him about five minutes to have the courage to reply. Then I blocked him on all social media.

I was talking to a guy friend of mine and we had a big laugh about it. “I have never wanted or sent a picture of my dick to a girl. Why do guys do that?”, he said. “More importantly…” , I started to say, then we both finished the same thought “WHAT GIRL WANTS TO SEE THAT?” But seriously, who is the woman who sees a random dick pic and thinks “I at least want to have coffee with this guy.” Or maybe “This will be a funny story to tell our grandkids one day.”

Rather than go into long details on why this is so off putting to women, guys, might I make a suggestion. If you really do have any desire to sleep with us, and if you truly want that desire to be mutual, might we first start with a conversation that happens in public? And perhaps, I don’t know, leave your dick in your pants? I’m sure there are women who go for that kind of stuff. And to you sexpots I say BRAVO. But for my piece of mind, my dating sanity and the risk of me not literally laughing out loud and telling my girlfriends about you, if you want to date me, leave the pics in your own damn phone.

Being Alone vs “The Lonely”

Being Alone vs “The Lonely”

I’m gonna be really honest. Well, not like I’m NOT honest here, but, you know what I mean. I’m not a fan of being alone. At least not for long periods of time. You’d think as an only child, I would be use to it by now. Don’t get me wrong. There are some real perks of being alone. I actually really like that I live by myself. Until I think about that episode of “30 Rock” when Liz Lemon talks about how she fears being a single woman alone, that she may choke on her dinner and there would be no one there to help her. This horror hit me hard one night when a particularly large piece of sushi decided to go down the wrong pipe.

Living alone means, I only have to worry about me. Cook for me, clean for me, walk naked around my apartment and not care what others think. But that kind of “alone” is fine with me. “The Lonely” is different. “The Lonely” is having a 12 hour work day and all you want is someone to massage your feet. Or crying at a movie that makes you think about your father, and wanting to be held. “The Lonely” is cooking a bomb ass Red Sauce and wanting to share it with someone, but realizing it’s gonna be stored in the freezer so it doesn’t go to waste.

I use to be embarrassed that I would ever say out loud that I don’t like being alone. Very few people actually like it. You get more things done in your solitary. But you also have a million little voices talking to you, making it a their mission to point out that you are in fact…alone. The more that I think about it, it’s the voices that I hate. They want to run around saying “You should be with someone.” “You should scroll through Instagram and see all your happy couple friends and lust over what they have.” “You are alone for a reason.”

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That my kiddlets, is “The Lonely” talking. The little gnat of a voice that points out that you can’t survive in your solitude. But one of the things I am learning and appreciating is that I can live in it, and survive and grow to love it. “The Lonely” is causing me to listen to the voices and rather than take pity on myself and my situation, but work on some shit. I mean real shit. Shit that scares me. And perhaps even admit a few things.

Case in point, I admit a big desire I have to be in relationships is to find validation in myself. I like the compliments and the looks a couple gets when they walk into a room together. It’s like you announce to the world, “See this….this is an US. Not just a ME!” And that need for validation, to understand WHY I need it comes from hours spent in “The Lonely”. Rather than running from it, I decided to listen to it. While I’m cooking, or taking a shower, or doing Yoga or meditating.

And that’s when it happened, I slowly became ok with it, because it didn’t define me. I wasn’t alone because I was without someone. And being alone wasn’t the end of the world. This time alone is making me, as cliche as this sounds, work on some crap that I needed to work on. So that one day, when there is “someone”, I won’t feel like I need them to be an US. I would have dealt with being alone, listened to “The Lonely” and come out stronger person. This also means I will be drinking severals bottles of scotch on my own. But I ain’t complaining about that either.

 

 

The Advice You Give

The Advice You Give

When I started my blog 8 years ago, it was because I wanted to work through some issues. A girl might look like a Power Ranger but I need help. What I never expected but has turned into a happy surprise, is my ability to give advice to others. You’ve heard that doctors make the worst patients. The same goes for those who write dating blogs. I may not always listen to my own advice, but the advice I give is darn good!

A few days ago, my college best friend called me. She needed some advice about whether to pursue dating a guy seriously or to let him go. We caught up for a few hours and I realized very quickly, a lot of the advice I give, sounds scarily…like my mother. I have to laugh especially since I don’t have kids. I don’t have many moments where I can go to my mom and say “I get it now”. It does, however happen several times when giving advice.

The advice that I give comes from a place that splits my head and my heart. Most of the time, when my friends come to me and I hear their concern, my first response is something that I’ve heard my mother say countless times, “It sounds like you know what to do, you just have to do it.” And in classic mother fashion, sometimes the thing we know we NEED to do, is the thing we don’t WANT to do. But why is that?

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Because deep down, even though we often seek out the advice of others, we already know what we NEED to do. Sometimes, we want to even be talked out of those things. We have our mind made and know what we WILL do. But hearing advice gives us insight one way or another.

I’m always happy to be a sounding board for my friends. Often, they do the same for me. And I will continue to give advice, whether they listen to me or not. Just remember, the advice you give is often the advice you need to take. Be a better patient, then a doctor!

2019- The Year of “Don’t Repeat”

2019- The Year of “Don’t Repeat”

I can’t stand New Year’s Resolution. Full disclosure, because I can never keep them. Who can? You make grand plans to stick by a resolution and by mid-January, you realize that that pound cake won’t eat its self. So instead of resolutions I try what I like to call “Don’t Repeat”.

Rather than a goal or a resolution I want to keep but know I won’t, I focus on things that brought me no joy or success and focus on not repeating them. The classic “Learning from Ones Mistakes” mantra.  I’ll admit, I am the Queen of screwups. And I wear my mistakes with a badge of honor. But even someone like myself has to stop and make an effort to not make the same mistakes again, hence “Don’t Repeat”.

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So if you are like me, and need a checklist to get you into 2019, might I suggest my list of 2019 “Don’t Repeats”

  • Tinder Dinner Dates- Sure, it gets you out of the house and yea, it’s a free meal. But it’s never just dinner, and it’s never worthwhile in the end. Let’s just say “Wanna meet for a drink and maybe make out?” I mean, let’s put the rules of the game out there before we enter the field.

 

  • Concern for your Ex- Yes, you have a civil relationship with them. There is no following on Social Media or even a saved phone number. And maybe they went through a hurricane. That doesn’t mean you have to be the one who reaches out because you were “concerned”. You’re not. Not really at least. You want to know that THEY know the f*&^ed up. Surprise, surprise…they still don’t

 

  • Looking Cute for Others- BITCH!!!!! Make the winged liner as strong as your personality and as sharp as your tongue for no one else, but yo DAMN self! Trust me…it won’t go unnoticed!

 

  • Cheating on Your Expectations- Earlier in the year I talked about how a friend was trying to set me up. When she asked me what I was looking for in a guy, I gave her a rather detailed top 5. She thought it was shocking and for a moment, I  began to doubt whether those things were really necessary. Then it hit me. If I had found any guy in 2018 remotely close to the characteristics in my top 5, I wouldn’t still be looking. This isn’t to say that my expectations are high, but I know what I want. And in 2019, rather than thinking what you are looking for isn’t realistic, ask yourself if it’s realistic to waste your time on what you AREN’T looking for.

 

  • Losing Sight on Me- Ladies, we all do it. We meet that guy, we click, we start dating and then we morph into another person. We know we’re doing it. Our friends, family and co-workers see that we’re doing it? But why? What do we get out of it, except an emergency trip to our therapist on New Year’s Eve. We know what makes us great. And we also know what makes us a hot F*&^ing mess! So why not accept that and accept that the person who will ultimately be your right match will love both…equally. Let’s stop playing the charade of the perfect hostess, the girl who’s eyebrows always match or the super excited hockey fan (Bitch, you know we ain’t ever been to a hockey game). Instead let’s take this kick ass chick into 2019 ready to make mistakes, learn from them, kiss a lot of frogs, meet a prince, challenge herself, fight for what she deserves and changes the attitudes of others around her with her smile. It’s not impossible, so let’s show the world how it’s done!