The Dry Run Date

I was feeling a little rusty. So I did what any normal gal would do, I went out with someone else to do a dry run for the real thing. You know what they say… practice make perfect!

I was feeling a little rusty. So I did what any normal gal would do, I went out with someone else to do a dry run for the real thing. You know what they say… practice make perfect!

As you probably guessed, I had to take a dating sabbatical.  Sometimes I have to remind myself I am not just a blogger, but I am also human.  Writing these reflective posts can sometimes take an emotional toll on a sistah!  I was just over it.  And I apologize, because I know my posts have been few far in between.  So I am making this one extra long and juicy!  This happens every few months where I’m just not in the mood to go out on any more dates.  But don’t cry for me Argentina… I’m BAAACK!!!!!

It’s interesting, there are so many media outlets, articles, and TV shows that give out this false illusion that it is so  difficult for women (African American women in particular) to meet men and go out on dates.  That is such a c rock of shit!  Meeting men and going out on dates has never ever ever ever been an issue for me.  Meeting the right man… well that’s another story.  But I do realize in order to meet the one I am going to have to kiss a few frogs to get to my KING.  I do not want a damn Prince; I want a man… a KING!  There I go digressing already!

I met a fine ass man at an event a few months back.  And we finally were able to coordinate our schedules for a date.  I was actually really and truly excited to get to know this brotha.  But I realized I hadn’t been out on a date in a few months.   I was feeling a little rusty.  So I did what any normal gal would do, I went out with someone else to do a dry run for the real thing also know as The Dry Run Date.  You know what they say… practice make perfect!

I met “Ivan” at another event in NYC a while back.  He had been trying to go out with me for weeks.  To be honest, I couldn’t remember what he looked like.  It was dark and he was wearing a baseball cap.  Not to mention it was towards the end of the evening and I had a couple of cocktails.  One of the beauties of partying in NYC, you don’t have to worry about driving so you can drink as much as you want.  I remember he was tall (always a plus), and he sounded like Busta Rhymes.  He had the raspy, New York accent.  But I also remember he was a little rough around the edges.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to date Carlton Banks.  But I’m also not interested in dating DMX!  I’m just saying.  “Ivan” was born and raised in NYC but he lived in LA.  Not only did he live in LA but he lived in my neighborhood!  I was already on a sabbatical so every time he called or texted, I blew him off, I came up with various reason why I couldn’t go out with him.

I’m out of town…

I already have plans…

I’m working late…

I’m not feeling well…

I’m babysitting…

But “Ivan” was persistent as hell.  (Why can’t the guys you are really attracted to be as persistent).  So when the other guy asked me out I decided to do a Dry Run Date with “Ivan” so I could be ready for the date with the guy I actually liked (deets on the next post).  A girlfriend of mine thinks this is so wrong.  Her theory is that is bad dating Karma.  If you don’t like a guy you shouldn’t go out with him.  Whenever she says that shit I look at her like she’s crazy.  First of all men have been doing this for centuries.  Second of all, as long as you are honest with someone and not leading them on I don’t see anything wrong with that!  Besides, how in the world are you going to be good at dating if you never go out one any dates?  Hey, you can choose to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs alone.  However, in my world, I’m going out on dates and putting myself out there.  There I go digressing again.

carlton banks

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to date Carlton Banks. But I’m also not interested in dating DMX! I’m just saying.

When I finally agreed to go out with “Ivan” he was extremely attentive.  He sent me a few restaurant suggestions to choose from.  He confirmed the day before that the time still worked for me, AND he even sent me a text the day of the date telling me how much he was looking forward to meeting with me.  For a second I had a mind to cancel.  I really wasn’t in the mood to go out, but that would actually be bad dating Karma to cancel at the last minute.  So I took my dress rehearsal seriously.  I put on some skinny jeans, heels, and a fitted wrap shirt, and set the look off with an oversized clutch and a chunky necklace.  I made sure my makeup was done to perfect and every hair was in place and I headed over to Katana on Sunset Blvd.

On my way there, “Ivan” sent me another test message.

I forgot we pushed the time back to 8.  I’ve been here since 7.  Really looking forward to seeing you.

I tried not to roll my eyes at the text.  After all, if this was a guy I was really into I would have pulled the car over and done cartwheels right there in the middle of Sunset Blvd.  My inner loving diva had a little lecture for me before I got out of my car and turned my keys over to the valet attendant.

Monique enjoy being doted on.  Don’t be a bitch without giving this guy a chance because you are letting your vanity rule over your rational thinking.  Enjoy this and allow a man to dote on you. 

With that, I took a deep breath, took the elevator up to Katana and walked to the host stand.  Katana is a Sunset Blvd. staple.  I have loved this spot since the first time I went there almost 14 years ago.  The food is excellent and the décor is relaxing and eclectic.  As you know, I am all about ambiance and beautiful people.  And Katana married these two aspects together perfectly.

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You can choose to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs alone. However, in my world, I’m going out on dates and putting myself out there.

The host walked me to the outside terrace and there sat “Ivan” with his Yankee baseball cap and Timberland boots.  I tried not to roll my eyes.  Timbs?  Baseball cap? Baggy jeans?  Really?  I haven’t been into rough necks since high school.  I used to date guys who lived in Trenton, New Jersey much to my mother’s dismay.  LOL!

When he saw me he stood up and his eyes lit up.  He took off his baseball cap and it revealed a freshly shaved bald head.  To be honest, he kind of favored a bald Busta Ryhmes.   He gave me a hug and handed me a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Me:  Awwwwww…. Thank you!

Ivan:  Beautiful flowers for a beautiful woman.

At that point it was easy for me to overlook his raspy voice, bad grammar, and resemblance to an unattractive rapper.  I am a sucker for flowers.  As a matter of fact I make it a point to go to the Farmers Market every Sunday and pick up fresh flowers for my house for the week.  I was really impressed and flattered that “Ivan” took the time to pick up some flowers.  Note to all of the nosey men reading this blog: It is not overkill to bring a woman flowers on the first date, as a matter of it is a turn on.  Women love this.  It is not too sappy, too pressed, or too feminine!!!!  Its grown, sexy, charming, and attractive!

Ivan:  Glad you finally gave a brotha a chance to take you out.  You’re a hard woman to catch Miss Monique.

Me:  I am so sorry it’s been so hectic lately.  But I’m glad we finally pulled our schedules together to make it happen.

At this point the waiter came over and took our drink orders.

Ivan:  I’ll just have a Sprite.

Me:  I’ll have a glass of your Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand… Did you give up alcohol for Lent?

Ivan:  No, I don’t drink.

For my loyal readers you already know this is a turn off.  You already know I don’t trust men who don’t drink.  But since this was just a Dry Run Date I didn’t care.  I was relaxed, free, and could care less whether or not he was a drinker.

Ivan:  But I smoke.

I didn’t realize my face was perplexed until he clarified the statement.    

Ivan:  Not cigarettes… Weed.

Now let me just put this out there.  I do not smoke weed.  I have never tried it, never had a desire to try, and don’t plan on trying it.  However, I do not judge people who smoke weed.  As a matter of fact it needs to be legalized.  Weed has killed less people than drunk drivers and I don’t see anything wrong with it.  And this is coming from a wine lover.  So “Ivan” admitting to indulging in smoking a little Mary Jane was not a put off.  But I always find it interesting when someone doesn’t drink but they smoke weed.  It is such an interesting dichotomy.  I guess it is comparable to someone like me who doesn’t smoke but drinks.  But again, whatever, I didn’t care.

Ivan:  Is that an issue for you?

Me:  Not really.  I don’t smoke but it’s not a deal breaker, if you were a cigarette smoker that would be a different story.  Black men have enough things to worry about than adding lung cancer to the list.

Ivan:  (laughing) True dat!  I’m assuming you don’t have kids with all the travelling you do.

I decided to have fun with “Ivan.”

Me:  Actually I have 2 kids.

His eyes bucked out of his head.

Ivan:  Two?!

Me:  Yeah.  Ab and Austin.

Ivan:  Wow!  I would have never guessed it.

“Ivan” actually looked disappointed.  All the air was let out of his balloon.  I decided to stop being an asshole.

Me:  I’m just playing!  I don’t have kids.

Ivan:  Thank goodness!  I don’t date women with children.

Me:  Really?  Why? 

Ivan: I want to experience having kids with my woman for the first time together.  I don’t want her comparing my pregnancy to another n**a’s kid.

Me:  I can certainly respect that.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  What if I was serious though.  Would have never gone out with me again?

Ivan:  I would have went out with you but I would have put you in a different category.

Me:  What category?

Ivan: The jump off category.

ME:  Really?!

Ivan:  Hell yeah!

Me:  So when if a woman is in your jump off category what does that mean?

Ivan:  Well I’m still going to wine and dine her.  But I’m going to tell her what she wants to hear, and say all the right things, so I can get it faster.

I had to admit, “Ivan” was quite entertaining.  I appreciated his honesty.  He was a true New Yorker.  One thing about these guys in LA they are so full of shit.  East Coast men tell it like it is and do not feel the need to sugar coat things.  I was actually enjoying this!

Me:  But you might end up falling in love with her and being a great step dad to her kids.

Ivan:  Nah.  I wouldn’t let that happen.  I’m not going to introduce her to my momma and my sistas.  Hell nah!  Besides my momma would get on my case for dating a woman who already ahs kids.  If ain’t got none she don’t need to have none! 

Me:  That’s fair. It’s not like you have a bunch of kids.  And I can certainly feel you on experiencing having a child for the first time together.

Ivan:  Would you date a guy with kids?

Me:  I used to be like you.  I refused to date men with kids.  But as I got older I realized a lot of guys do have kids.  So now, I am open to dating men with kids but no more than one.  And by some chance he has more than one child it has to be from a previous marriage.  I can’t be with a man who is spreading his seeds all of the damn country.

Ivan: Do you want kids of your own?

Me:  Absolutely.  But I want to be married first.  I’m not interested in being someone’s baby momma.

Ivan:  I’m surprised someone hasn’t snatched you up already.  You’re definitely wifey material.

Why do men always assume a woman who is single in her 30’s has never been snatched up before?  My goodness!  I took a sip of my wine and recognized this was my own insecurity and didn’t jump down his throat.  Another benefit of a Dry Run Date is you are uber sensitive to your own shit.  Things you might react to that has nothing to do with your date you recognize and make adjustments.

Me:  I was married before. 

Ivan: (laughing) There you go with the jokes again.

Me:  No I’m serious.  I was.

Ivan:  (laughter comes to an abrupt stop)  For real?

Me:  No, seriously.  I was.

Ivan:  I ain’t never been out with a woman who was married before.  Are you still married?

Me:  Of course.  I wouldn’t be out with you if I was still married!

Ivan:  You never know some of these chicks be scandalous.   

ME:  Well, no.  I’m not still married.

Ivan:  How long was you married for?

My goodness, his grammar was killing me.

Me:  Long enough.

Ivan:  What happened?

Me:  Damn!  That’s a lot to ask on a first date. 

Ivan:  I’m sorry.

Me:  No, no, it’s okay.  We just weren’t right for each other.  We never should have gotten married in the first place and luckily we got out of it without bringing any kids into the world.

The waiter then came buy and dropped off our appetizers.  The food at Katana is always excellent.  We ordered a bunch of skewers and sushi.  “Ivan insisted” that I dip my sea bass into the special dip he had them make for him

Ivan:  You gotta try this.

Me:  I don’t want to double dip.

Ivan:  I don’t care.  You been married before so I know you’re clean!

“Ivan“cracked me up.  Then our conversation turned to his work.  I thought he was in sports management.  But then he clarified with this round about story that didn’t make any fucking sense.  He talked about how he went to community college after he got his GED.  But then he was in the music industry, before he started working for an A List athlete (who will remain nameless).  I have always been accused of not being able to hide my non-verbal’s.  Clearly this was something I needed to work on before my real date.  I was obviously looking at “Ivan” like he had two heads.

Ivan:  Alright, can I be honest?

Me:  Sure, what would stop you now?!

Ivan:  You know, I‘m kinda of a hustler.

ME:  What do you mean “hustler?” 

Ivan:  Yu know I do my thing?

Me: Is it legal?

Ivan:  Well you know…

Me:  No I don’t know.

Ivan:  I do what I do.

Me:  What exactly is that?

I suddenly had a panic attack.  Was I in an episode of Law and Order?  I envisioned him picking me up taking me on a date, us getting pulled over, and cops finding drugs in his car, and my beautiful ass sitting in a prison cell wearing that hideous orange jumpsuit all because I got caught with an ass.    

Ivan:  Well… Like you said about your marriage.  That’s a lot to ask on a first date.

I then had another vision of a shoot out occurring out of nowhere in the restaurant and getting shot up as a victim of a drug war.  I didn’t realize I had tuned out until “Ivan” snapped me out of it.  I was practically writing my damn obituary.

Ivan:  You want another glass of wine?

ME:  I’m fine.  Thanks!  It’s getting kind of late.

The bill came, and “Ivan” paid with his credit card.  I guess hustlers have good credit these days.  He walked me to the valet.  When I went to pay for my car, he immediately put his hand out to stop me.  He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge wad of cash that was in a silver money clip.  He had to open it up and search for a $20 bill that was stuck deep in between his stacks of $100 and $50 bills.  At least he was organized.  He gave me a hug and asked me to go out again.  I told him I would give him a call when I got back in town, which I wasn’t going to do.  I hopped my black ass in my car and drove the fuck off!  Of course my paranoid ass took a roundabout route back home just in case I was being followed.

mob wives 2

I envisioned him picking me up taking me on a date, us getting pulled over, and cops finding drugs in his car, and my beautiful ass sitting in a prison cell wearing that hideous orange jumpsuit all because I got caught with an ass.

At least I wouldn’t feel bad when I never called him again.  And at least I got exactly what I needed out of the Dry Run Date.  It was great practice for the guy I Was actually excited about seeing the following week.  I was able to realize that I needed to keep things light and breezy.  There is no need to bring up divorce, kids, and serious shit on a first date unless you see real potential with a guy and he brings it up first.  I also understand there are certain topics I am hyper sensitive about that have nothing to do with the guy and I needed to keep those feelings in check.  And last and certainly not least, going on a first date is so much easier when you don’t have expectations.  The thing about a Dry Run Date is since you don’t have your feelings vested in the guy, and you know you are not into him. You can relax and just be yourself.  What if we approached all guys like this.  Even the ones you really like and are super duper attracted to.  What if you were so relaxed and carefree you could actually enjoy the date?  I was grateful I had an opportunity to do a Dry Run.  Not every guy is marriage material, or even multiple date material.  But sometimes, a girl needs to hop into the pool before diving into the ocean to catch the big fish!
Monique K.Bradley



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