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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hungry Damsel in Distress

So, I know I'm supposed to be talking about polygamy (one date's idea as a possible solution to the weakening of the African American family), but I'm going to start with tonight's date and work backward.

I was an hour late. He waited. Perhaps evidence that he is an amazing human being. If my dates could not get more bizarre, 10 minutes into leaving for Francesca's (an Italian joint I've wanted to check out for years), a storm like I've never seen before hit Chicagoland. Garbage cans, chairs, tree branches all down Ogden and Cermak and 19th (I kept trying to find streets not lined with trees--inclement weather an understatement). He OFFERED TO COME GET ME. WHAT A GENTLEMAN. To make matters worse [than having no visibility at one point], sirens went off--yes, the "There's a tornado in the area so get in a bathtub" siren. I was really confused for a minute; the only time I had heard one of these was in suburban Cincinnati, where my parents live, but also where deer have enough open space to frollic meters away from my parents' house.

So, I took cover in doors. My date, having received an email at work about the looming weather, took precautions and was right on time, while I was coaching my Bball on the Block team, hadn't seen tv or heard radio all day, and got blindsided--and finally arrived an hour late (rushing to get to my waiting date, I didn't feed the meter and ended a perfect evening with a FIFTY DOLLAR TICKET--I can't tell you the last time I got a parking ticket).

So, I really don't know why this gentleman and I haven't had dinner before. He says it's all about context. It's kind of forward at best, and maybe professionally or politically unsavvy at worst, to meet a woman at a fundraiser and ask her out. He and I share friend and colleague after friend and colleague--WE EVEN HUNG OUT WITH THE SAME MEXICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST IN MEXICO--BOTH STUDYING THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN MEXICO AND HAVING ROLES IN THE EXHIBIT THAT CAME TO THE MEXICAN FINE ARTS MUSEUM. SMALL WORLD.

I'll spare you the details, but conversation was lively and insightful. He shared that we, generally, as Americans, have not recognized how the urgency of our lives and professions actually are not conducive to the long term matrimony that seemed to come to our grandparents so easily. The pressures of the economy, role changes, family demands, lack of communal support actually seems to work against easy and sustainable pairing--so he told me that my life as a "perpetual single" is actually a sign of the times and quite normal. I think we both still hold to the ideals of faithful, enduring partnerhips, but we recognize the many demands that pull at them. Very interesting conversation....and the fried calamari was only a bonus (I can't stop eating it since my sisters and I came back from Spain last April).

The pleasant company helped ease the pains of new home ownership and landlordship, as my tenant called during dinner to inform me that his basement had flooded with the storm.

I'm telling you ladies, there are some awesome men out here. Happy dating Chicago.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Polygamy

Tonight's conversation, at Simone's bar, was about polygamy...and how it may be an option? Intriguing right? Don't brush the brother off? Some good and interesting arguments, but by brain is too tired tonight to delve into...polygamy? Tomorrow.

A white lie

So, today, walking home from the gym at 7am, one of the biggest "D" (drug) boys in the neighborhood started following me...even cut through an alley to talk to my nasty, sweating, spandex clad self. I was highly annoyed. "Do I look like I'm the 'next one'"?

Temporarily forgetting about the 30 dates, I told him "I don't date"...and then rambled something equivalent to "I'm a nun for God". He responded, "I respect that" and drove off.

This is what I gotta deal with, America. If it weren't for my 30 dates, I'd still think that this was the only option for a woman like me. It ain't so.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicago's Finest

Tonight's date was at Webster's Wine Bar--to see 2nd City actors perform monologues. After being at Menard's for hours and working on home repair, I was running late and thought, "Great. You don't have this man's phone number, not an idea of what he looks like, and you definitely won't be there at 6:55." However, what felt like a miracle of "parting the red sea" magnitude occurred. I breezed down the Eisenhower and Dan Ryan in NO traffic during RUSH HOUR, found FREE parking (in a city that has a private company grossing 1M/week due to our car addictions) IN FRONT of Webster's and walked up to my date at 6:55. That almost feels like the best part of the date. Almost...if it hadn't been such an interesting and creative experience.

As all of the previous dates, this was easy breezy, and I was feeling "beautiful Cover Girl"--again, the key--no pressure--just enjoying a new person. A bit into the date he confessed that he had just gotten into a relationship--shortly after he agreed to go on a date with me (he was the first volunteer a few weeks ago, and clearly Cupid had been working on his behalf during the last few weeks). His girlfriend was cool with it, so he was my delightful company for the evening.

We listened to amazingly hilarious monologues, one in particular took me to blissful nostalgia. The first story teller told a coming of age story through constant allusions to Prince's Purple Rain album, accented with actual tracks fron the album. It was HEELARIOUS. My date and I reminisced about the 80s and how great the music and movies were.

There is, more than likely, no chance of anything more than "platonic" developing, but we had the chance to talk about why we are both ecclectic and hard to pair romantically (he's an "airforce brat" and I have fantastical, creative parents who raised us in 3 different cities). We had an excuse to have strange conversation; I explained to him why I like interesting teeth (he laughed at this new category of "interesting"--neither good nor bad--"interesting"). We ended the date, and we probably at least have another Facebook friend out of this. I also received the epiphany of what color my dining room should be painted, and I have one more Chicago venue to share with my parents and friends.

This weekend's dates were equally interesting. Saturday morning's was challenging and invigorating. I played tennis with a spry, energetic, beautiful soul (he really is a beautiful soul), who reminded me of the excitement and joy of living in faith--not having everything figured out, and walking by the SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR. He, as I, intentionally lives in what others may call a "rough" community, and is looking to open a beautiful and creative space for neighbors to convivir. Our conversation, by far, has been the most sharpening and refocusing for me. I hope to be able to support his vision and endeavors.

I also spent time with a laidback, intellectually and artistically brilliant man who graciously allowed me to visit him while fighting a cold. I took him soup, he bought me wine and we hung out in his gallery space, which was filled by work that fills me with awe. We had a couple of visitors, the most interesting and comical being a 50 year old looking hipster with a dog named "BAY BAY"--I thought, "Is he for real? Dude, you're in the wrong neighborhood with a dog named "Bay Bay" .

Not one date has been a negative experience. In fact, I really feel like I'm meeting some of the more quality men that Chicago has to offer--each has been generous with me, kind, humble, funny, talented.

When I turned on my car to leave Webster's tonight, Luther Vandross was singing: " And I was hopin that one day there'd be a chance for me to get the Love that I've been missin',
sometimes Love takes a long time,
but wait for love and you're gonna get the change to love, Wait for Love, Wait for Love".

Amen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

How does a single person choose?

So tonight's date required that I remove some clothing....ay cochinos, get your minds out of the gutter. My creative date (who looked a tad like Buddy Holly--absolutely adorable guy) arranged for us to meet at the airport. He was flying out to see his family in another state. When we met, he handed me a ticket for Denver and we proceeded through security--hence removing my cowgirl boots, and a few other articles. I wasn't really flying to Denver; he had connections to get me in to the innards of an airport--expired passport and all. :)

I just got back from a stoop party, and one of the women there made fun of a date being held at O'Hare, saying she'd never go out with that guy again, but it's the uniqueness of this date that made it so exciting for me. Again, I'm not the girl who's impressed with fancy dinners and movies (I enjoy them both, but I like simple).

While I've been excited about the airport date for over a week, my mother was not too keen. "Hold up, you're meeting a white man at the airport?" C R I C K E T S. Now, if I would have said my date was African American or Latino, she would've thought too much about it, but I think Scott Peterson and that profile of man flashed quickly into her mind. She, in her vivid imagination, imagined me being caught up in the human trafficking ring or cut up and shipped off in boxes. ..or something. I assured her that all of the men who I'm meeting have been highly recommended by friends and colleagues who know me (and them) well.

So I'm 3 for 3 and wondering where all of these great men have been. Women, don't lose hope. Monday's date was an ambitious, incredibly loving single father. Tuesday's date an uncanningly gifted sensitive artist, and today's, a package of laughter, wit, and commitment-phile (REALLY BELIEVES IN AND IS LOOKING FOR COMMITMENT--they do exist). On top of these great qualities, all three of them are very good looking (black, brown and white).

The goal, again, is not to find (I believe in putting forth the effort in "MAKING THE ONE") the "One" necessarily, and even if I don't regularly see any of these men again, my hope is stirred knowing that there are great, mature, funny, creative, artistic, committed, loyal, ambitious, thinking, spiritual, loving men in this world--and if not for me, for some very privileged woman.

Tomorrow is tennis.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A new look at Dating: Trading in EROS for AGAPE and PHILEO


I've heard about the different types of love since I was a young teenager. Yes, at 14, I knew the Latin roots for different types of love--agape, phileo, and eros. Looking back, I've always been a sucker for love and very intrigued by it. My childhood pastor taught on love, and I've never forgotten the definitions of at least three types of loves experienced by humans. Agape--which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King describes as "disinerested" love is an unconditional, divine-in-nature love--perhaps the love a mother has for her child. By "disinterested", King is not describing this kind of love as "aloof" or "detached", but he defines "disinterested" as a love which characteristically does not seek selfish gains as a RETURN on one's investment of time, attention, energy, and other expressions of "love". This love imputes love onto another "just because". It does not ask, "What's in this for me?"


Phileo is root from which the city Philadelphia, the city of "brotherly love", derives its name. Phileo is the type of love one has for a friend. It's not romantic or sexual in nature; it's the kind of love that I feel for my best girls.


Lastly, eros is the love that America seems to be enchanted by. It's the kind of love splattered all over Cosmo magazine ("How to make him WANT you! in 2.5 pages! Read inside!!!), in almost every Blockbuster film, on billboards, in songs. It's the kind of love that we idealists are often disappointed by. It's the love confused by pheremones and hormones, it's announced by butterflies and sexual attraction. It seems to die after 6 months, when hormonally, the newness of butterflies wears off.


So, after today's date (#2), and reflecting upon these first two dates, I felt honored to have been allowed into these two men's lives. They both shared very personal things with me (not too much, yet vulnerable things). They showed me their creativity, personal uniquenesses; I even met family members. I felt privileged to have shared space with very remarkable human beings, and I was content just being in their space and hearing their personal narratives. I left them both just wanting them to be well and blessed in their lives. I was feeling phileo, or perhaps even agape, for these men.


What if we, as Americans, approached dating differently? I celebrated the Hawks victory late last night with two friends/acquaintances, and in the conversation, discussion of expectations about sex and exchange of "goods" surfaced. But what if people stopped expecting any type of reciprocity from a date ("because I bought you dinner, I want sex--or at least a kiss", "he better not be cheap or he ain't gettin a second date", "this girl is perfect eye candy to parade in front of friends")? What if we didn't try to impress? What if we weren't obsessed with being attractive enough or wearing the right clothes or having the perfect body, and we could just enjoy the moment with another soul who was generous enough to open up and let us see just some of their unique humanness? Of course our sexual nature impedes this kind of pure exchange, or at least it challenges it, and often complicates things, but I'd like to believe that we can see ourselves and our dates differently and not in the sometimes exploitative ways that we often do.


I think these first two dates were fun and free because we just "were"--there wasn't the pressure to see if "eros" would happen. We just exchanged our narratives and enjoyed laughter in shared space, broke bread together, sipped coffee, talked our interest...we "phileo-ed" each other, and the LOVE WAS GOOD.

A very promising start

Admittedly, I have been my characteristically overzealous, overly ambitious self--thinking I would have enough energy and time to blog every day about every thought, fancy, and experience. Alas, readers, I am a new homeowner and high school teacher entangled by all of the trappings of a culminating year, and most importantly, I AM ACTIVELY DATING. :)

The first of the 30 was yesterday, and as I've already promised, the identity of these brave and adventurous men will be protected, so no details about them or their lives. Additionally, I don't want to set up a competitive dynamic (too late probably--men love competition), causing men to feel the pressure to "out do" the other 29.

I will say date number 1 was a great way to embark. He was fun, funny, generous, and didn't seem overly preoccupied with himself or how to impress me--so it was fun. I probably rode in the nicest and cleanest car I ever have in life (though I'd be just as happy on the back of a scooter or CTA), we talked sports, trash talked about how good we were at sports and how we felt confident we could beat the other in basketball or tennis.

I enjoyed today's date just as much, though the two men could not be more opposite; in retrospect, their polar differences are quite humorous. One an ambitious, go getter business type, the other a laidback, "take in every moment" artist. Both special men who I feel blessed to have spent time with.

Tomorrow's date is at the airport...no seriously. Can't wait.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let's Hear it For the Boys

I remember playing on the swingset outside our apartment building with KK, Latisha, and an assortment of other brown and black LA tweens. I remember wearing coolots, whipping my jerri curl and getting stinging curl juice in my eyes, and singing "Let's Hear it For the Boys" by Denise WIlliams. I still occasionally bust this classic out on a night of karoake.

I'm a little tired. It's late, and though I feel inspired by so many conversations to pour my heart out about love and men and dating and singleness, I'm just spent.

I did, however, feel inspired enough to send a praise out to all of the courageous and FUN and COOL men who are agreeing to embark on this journey with me. I just think men are cool. I love the sense of wreckless abandonment, the WILD and BRAVEHEART of a man that would be willing to meet a stranger and hang out with her for one hour without a chance in hell of getting "lucky". Hehehe.

I think I may be close to 20 men--bout to go census on you--Asian, WHite, non-Hispanic, White-Hispanic, Black-non Hispanic, Black-Hispanic (a PR cutie), guys who work in the Loop, professors, a musician, and "unknowns". What a cool group of adventurous men.

I'll be sending a calendar out this weekend to start scheduling. In the mean time, please send date suggestions. I'm a sporty girl (grew up with my dad taking us to batting cages, teaching us how to make lay ups, and a couple of trips to the tennis courts), like tea and coffee, loud places, Matilda, biking, deep conversations, etc,etc.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Public Service Announcement: What Confident Men Know


Yesterday, I scheduled 8 dates--within hours. All afternoon I felt strong, confident, and pretty excited. I even played tennis with extra gusto--hustling at a different intensity and taking some daring shots. I still got wooped by Castleberry, but I definitely played on a high, telling my married male friend (who is amazingly excited for me), between shots, about my numerous conversations with men throughout the day. I shared with my friend all of the responses, how some complained that they didn't want to be "1 of 3o" or "Why do I have to be number 10?" or "Why wasn't I introduced to you before these 30 days?" Exhilarating and exciting! I did, however, got rejected by one guy who seems averse to the "experiment". Ask me if I thought twice about it....big grin.


Which brings me to the point of today's entry.


In the midst of tennis, an epiphany emerged. Men who have an active dating life don't "sweat" any woman. They have the mindset of the popular Hip Hop song that says something to the effect of "On to the next one". Confident and actively dating men don't spend time wallowing in rejection or analyzing why a girl no longer wants to date him or what he did wrong (though I definitely would advocate more instrospection and self reflection for those chronic serial daters who lack personal evolution and growth in the love and commitment arena). Hello sisters!!! How many times have you had tea or a glass of wine with your girlfriend, talking for HOURS about what you can't figure out that you did to make him stop being interested. Honestly, WHO CARES!?! Unless you have experienced real, unexploited, mutual and reciprocal unadulterated love, MOVE ON. Don't give rejection a second thought (unless the rejection is connected to some huge character or personal flaws). Men who actively date and have FUN doing it are keenly and accutely aware that there are many more "fish in the sea" (as our parents may have said). There's always a girl who has a better laugh, who's more athletic, who has just a bright of a smile, who's got a nice pair of legs, a nice personality...there are plenty of them, so in their LOGIC, why waste time crying about ONE who doesn't like you? Duh!


Now that's logic. Unfortunately, the human factor often enters and can wreck havoc on this logical and methodical method of "meeting and greeting", resulting in love and , sometimes, tragically, broken hearts. We must all tread softly and wisely and in integrity so that people don't get hurt. Sometimes love comes--even for the serial dater.


With this in mind, I think it's appropriate to clarify the point of the 30 days, as I have seen that there is room for interpretation and misunderstanding. The men who I will date in these 30 days are not "lab rats", they are not "variables". It's important to understand that I, nor any man involved, should enter this thinking that they are going to spend the next half hour with "THE ONE". These dates are not meant to be romantic, AT ALL. They are meant to be fun, intriguing, stimulating...did I already mention FUN. An important caveat to note, however, is to re-emphasize the human factor and the risk of "falling" for someone. Though "love and commitment" is not the objective of these 30 days, it COULD COME. All participants should be aware of this possibility. That's the risk involved--but not the objective, so I'm not playing with love or manipulating hearts or relationships. I am simly creating conditions under which I can meet 30 VERY different men, "test the market" of what's really out there in terms of "dating material", and to learn as a single woman who is definitely open to finding su media naranja in this life. Happy, fearless, intentional connecting today readers!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A good start--It's raining MEN!

This is fun! One guy has already made me laugh (very promising), while another has been very thoughtful and has already taken the initiative to plan our date (I like that; one of the things I often talk to friends about is how I, as a firstborn, teacher, Type A personality--I'm generally taking care of others and initiating and making the plans). I think I have 8 dates already--in less than half a day's time. I'm off to play tennis. More later.

The Variables/ Date Guidelines

Okay, so every experiment has variables. The following are a list of controlled variables (aka, guidelines) to help you, recommend men for the 3o days.

There are no height, weight, race, creed requirements. The following, however, must be true of a potential date.

  • single and/or LEGALLY divorced, not in any type of committed romantic relationship
  • must be a nonsmoker (inspite of how cool Obama is, inspite of being a smoker, I just can't do a regular tobacco smoker)
  • has to speak English or Spanish fluently. Yeah, my Farsi ain't too good.
  • must not be confused about his straight sexual orientation
  • can never have spent one on one time with me before
  • age range 28-40 (may be flexible for exceptional men)
  • shouldn't have multiple baby mommas--sorry

Other than that, wide open! Send me names and contacts of your single coworkers, colleagues, siblings, cousins, uncles, friends. :) Think hard! If you think a guy is a "little off", please just don't.