50 Shades of Cray- Part One
I “Ghosted” you all! But unlike the fool that stops calling you out of nowhere and then pops back up like nothing happened… I wouldn’t do you all like that. Unlike when I have gone Ghost on men that I have decided to no longer date. I couldn’t leave you hanging without an explanation. Sometimes a sista has to reinvent, revive, reflect, and regroup. To be honest, last year as a whole was pretty fucking shitty. I mean really shitty. You know those years when you try to be positive and upbeat but you just feel like life is constantly kicking your ass and telling you to have several seats. Here I was… the upbeat positive Confessions of a Serial Dater in LA. The person who gives hope to thousands of members on Singledom and I was losing hope on life in general not just love. I would open up my laptop to bring you some type of funny and enlightening story and I found that all I could bring you was nothing. I was empty. And it was pretty fucking scary because writing is what moves me, bringing you hope is what gives me hope. And I just couldn’t manage to find the silver lining. So I made the decision to get back to the basics and find me again.
I realized since my divorce that was final in 2011 I never took the time to just be still and sit with all that happened. I had been raised to keep it moving and never let them see you sweat. And low and behold, I found myself at a low point in my life. I was unhappy in many areas… not just my love life… but everything in life. And this time I decided to grab onto my destiny, listen to what my soul needed and I just took a damn break. A much needed break. I found me again. I found happiness in myself. And slowly but surely my creative spirit was reborn. I’m not trying to be all sappy but sometimes we ladies need to be honest with each other and allow ourselves to let people know that yes sometimes life can be hard and life can knock you down. And sometimes, you just gotta stay down for a while until you’re ready to get back up. It doesn’t make you weak it makes you human! Wow… I am already digressing! But I am baaaaccccckkkkk and full of many tales from dating foolery. And I promise I won’t leave you all hanging again. And with that I bring you 50 Shades of Cray…
As 2015 was coming to a much needed end, I decided to do things a little differently. If you are a loyal reader you already know I believe in the concept of Import/Export dating also known as long distance dating. Import the men in due to the low quality men that are here in LA. And export them out of town before I get sick of them. But after a lot of thought, I had an “Ah-ha Moment.” Was this Import/Export dating really just a defense mechanism on my part to avoid a real relationship? Perhaps… oh my goodness… yes I am about to go there… Perhaps the real issue in my dating life was … ME! What a scary thought! But I had to do something about this. I decided to switch it up. Around December 1st I made the decision to only date locally. This was a big deal because as you know, for at least 3 years I have not even considered dating someone locally. But I figured I would change things up. After all, how could I talk so much shit about LA men when in all actuality I was dating men who didn’t live here. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I was clearly in a dating insanity and needed to get it together. I must say, the moment I made that decision, I began meeting men locally everywhere. At the grocery store, the gym, the gas station. It was raining men! And I was loving it. It’s amazing what happens once you look in the mirror and change your attitude. I would make it a point to not walk around with resting bitch face or angry black woman pout. I would smile at strangers and give off a welcoming energy. Now let me be very clear. I have always been friendly and welcoming. But I think the difference was my internal energy I was putting out now that I made the decision to date locally.
The timing of my girlfriend’s holiday party was perfect. I was in the festive holiday mood. And I had a new found love of local LA men. I found myself heading to Baldwin Hills. I rarely went South of Pico unless I was heading to the beach. But again, with the closing of 2016 I was doing things differently. As I walked up to the party I knew I made the right decision. I was proud that I didn’t let my other girlfriend who cancelled at the last minute stop me from going. I figured I would know someone at the party and I would be even more open because I wouldn’t have the security blanket of my homegirl to keep me from being open to meeting other people. This was a down right old school house party. The music was jamming, there was great food and people were getting it in on the dance floor. It had been a longtime since I had gone to a good house party. And… the icing on the cake… there were men there. Lots of them. As a matter of fact, for the first time in years, there were more men there than women! GUUUUUUUURRRRRLLLLLL Santa had come early and I had clearly been nice! And because I was there by myself, or perhaps it was the new welcoming energy I was putting out, I felt like the belle of the ball. Men were asking me to dance, I wasn’t turning any of them down. My dance card was full. All those posts I had written about LA men not knowing how to approach a woman and east coast men being more assertive when it comes to asking you out was out the door. These were men that were not backing down. After dancing to 6 old school songs straight I had to sit my ass down. I started to sweat like Whitney Houston in concert (may she rest in peace) and my freshly done do was quickly becoming a “don’t.” As I was cooling off I looked to my right and there was a handsome, distinguished looking man standing with his friend talking. He was tall, chocolate, appeared to be in his mid 40’s, and was wearing a blazer, jeans, a button down shirt, and he had on a nice watch. I know I am not the only woman who checks out a man’s watch and shoes. He looked over at me and smiled. I smiled right back and did an air toast with my Sauvignon Blanc. I had finally cooled off, and was able to discreetly put on some more lip gloss. It would be a travesty if I met a fine ass man and my lips were looking dry! LOL! You all know I am still a mess by nature! That hasn’t changed in the last few months.
So I took a final sip of my Sauvignon Blanc, threw a stick of gum in my mouth and strategically made my way to the bar area on a path that “made” me have to brush past this distinguished man. As I brushed passed him he said, “Hello.”
“Well hello to you. I’m Monique…” I put my hand out and he shook it nice and firmly.
We figured out which of the hosts of the party we had in common, ended up talking about jazz, and other LA stuff. We even talked about dating in LA. Since I had recently “outted” myself as the real writer of my blog and was no longer just an illustration, I ended up telling him about my blog. And what I find so interesting is when I tell men that I write a dating blog, they are intrigued. I was always fearful they would run for the hills when I told them but it generates even more conversation and curiosity. And it opens up interesting dialogue for dating. The conversation flowed effortlessly. “Kevin” was an attorney for a non-profit organization. He was extremely intelligent, sophisticated, and he was slightly uptight but not in a way where I was turned off. I just figured he was a little older laid back and more observant. “Kevin” was originally from Indiana and had lived in LA for 22 years. We exchanged numbers and although I had enjoyed the conversation we had, I kept it moving. I was taking full advantage of the opportunity to be around so many single men, that I had not met before. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket after just one conversation. That was a mistake I made in the past. I meet a man and we have a great conversation and I am already creating the story in my mind of how we met and how I will l tell my friends. Scratch that. In my “new and improved” dating life, I was going to take things moment by moment. And at that moment, “Kevin” was at the top of the list of men I had met that night, but I was still being open.
Two days later I got a text from “Kevin”
Hello beautiful. I loved your down to earth and friendly personality. Are you available to meet me this coming Thursday for Happy Hour at the City Club in Downtown LA at 7?
Okay… So a few things stood out about this text. I do not have low self esteem… But it does feel nice to be called, “Beautiful.” I also liked how he complimented my personality as well. AND it was Monday and he was being respectful of my time and planning for us to meet later in the week. He assumed he had to plan ahead with me. And he assumed correctly. And last but not least, he had a City Club membership. That was next level class that I appreciated. To become a member of the city club, you have to have a certain income and/or status to even be invited for membership. “Kevin” was winning! So I responded…
It was great meeting you as well. And I am available. I look forward to seeing you…
I was actually looking forward to the date. I liked his style and his approach. He came at me like a man that was interested in courting a lady. And I appreciated that. But I wasn’t sure if I was becoming more mature, more cautious or just plain old cynical. I tried to keep it in perspective and not jump the gun on my excitement. I found my self saying “I don’t want to get too excited… Let me see what happens…” I was still hopeful. But I had to admit, and I am being completely honest. After so many let downs and disappointments, you get to a point where even the excitement causes you to be nervous. You find yourself preparing for the let down before the first date. Why is that?! Maybe with experience you learn to brace yourself for the disappointment. It’s like getting on a flight to the Caribbean. You know your destination is going to be beautiful… But the flight attendants still have to prep you on safety before you take off in case there are any problems or unexpected turbulence. Is this what my dating life had become? I know that ultimately whoever I end up with is going to be amazing. I know I will look back on the journey and know if was worth it. But lately I was prepping myself for disappointment. And I hate admitting that I was doing that. But you all know I am about transparency. I had begun doing the exact same thing I had gotten on other friends of mine for doing. But after the last major dating disappointment I was left with the question. How much more can I take? How many let downs? And at that moment I December of 2016 being completely honest I had become cynical! Yes me! Cynical, but at that time I disguised it by saying I am being cautious. But here was the beautiful thing… I was aware of it and was able to shake it off before the date with “Kevin.”
I found myself walking out of the elevators on the top floor of a high rise where the City Club was in Downtown LA. The lights from the downtown buildings were sparkling like diamonds. And the view of the city was spectacular. The people there had a certain level of sophistication. I was happy I had settled on my little black dress. You can never go wrong with that look. I looked around the room and saw “Kevin” sitting at a table by the window. When he saw me his eyes lit up and he stood up. I walked over to him and he gave a nice warm strong hug. And he smelled so nice. Okay… I was liking this so far. He pulled my chair out and helped me to my seat.
“Wow… You look amazing.” he sounded genuine. And sincere.
“Thanks Kevin. You don’t look too bad yourself. This spot is beautiful.”
The waitress came up and asked for our drink orders. I ordered my usual. I am so damn predictable! Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. And “Kevin” ordered an iced tea. Record screech to a halt. Oh shit… did I once again strike out with a non-drinker?! Shit. Turn off….
“Are you having a cocktail?” I tried to ask in a nonchalant way.
“No I don’t drink.” “Kevin” responded. “But I am fine with you drinking. It’s just not my thing.” It took everything in me not to roll my eyes. Why was God constantly sending me men that do not drink? I mean was this a sign that I needed to stop? That wasn’t going to happen. But it was certainly annoying as hell that this became the norm. Seriously… what the hell happens to men in their late 40’s. Did they spend their 20’ and 30’s partying so hard that they had to detox in their 40’s? I didn’t want to make it big deal, so I kept it moving and allowed myself to enjoy the date. Similar to our first encounter the conversation was easy and effortless. Then “Kevin” hit me with something a little different.
“I googled you…” he said it like it was nothing.
“You googled me? Really…” Now don’t get me wrong. Google has been my best friend on numerous occasions. So has Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. All women do investigative reporting aka stalking. That’s just in our nature. But we aren’t dumb enough to actually admit it. I had called hella men out on their bullshit and they were so damn stupid they didn’t realize everything is up on their social media and I wasn’t going to be the dumb ass to tell them and have all my information shut down. But the difference is we would NEVER admit it. Here “Kevin” was essentially telling me he had researched me. I had googled his ass too, but do you think I would tell him? Hell no. And the fact he was telling me made me slightly uncomfortable and annoyed. Before I could check his ass he said, “And you are an exceptional writer!”
Crisis averted… Ego stroked… all was forgiven. “Thank you ‘Kevin’ I’m glad you liked it.” And when I know someone has read my blog I am filled with so much pride but at the same time, that meant he knew a lot about my personality. Unlike most women, I did not have the luxury of presenting a representative on a first or second date. Because if a man reads my blog he is already privy to my personality, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. So knowing that I said, “I know I do throw out the ‘F” bomb a lot.”
“Yeah… You do, but it works. It brings the point home. I really enjoyed reading your posts and I’m looking forward to your next Cocktails and Confessions event.”
I really did appreciate the compliments. But he was about 2 compliments from becoming a date with a fan. Luckily he changed the conversation. “Kevin” was divorced and had 3 teenage kids and had a younger child from his most recent relationship. He was open and honest.
“How long were you married?” I asked.
“I was married for 26 years.” He motioned for another iced tea. I took another sip of my wine. And since he wasn’t a drinker I was making an effort not to drink my wine too fast. I didn’t want to look like a lush. But I did the math. If “Kevin” had been married for 26 years. AND he said he had gotten married at 25. That meant he was 51/52. WTF? I was very clear; I wasn’t interested in dating a man over 46.
“So, you’re 51?” I tried to ask like it wasn’t a big deal.
“I just turned 52… Is that a problem for you?” he looked me dead in my eyes. I wanted to say HELL YEAH it’s an issue. You’re older than what I am looking for. But here I was, sitting in the City Club across from an attractive man who was full of compliments and so far he had treated me like a lady and I was liking it.
So I lied, “No, you just look much younger. You clearly take good care of yourself.” Then I turned it back on him. “Is my age a problem for you?”
Kevin responded adamantly, “No way, I typically don’t date women my age.”
I wanted to say “What the fuck does that mean?” that would have been an appropriate use of the “F-Bomb.” But I was trying to be gracious and instead said, “Why is that?”
“I think I give off a young vibe myself. And I am just attracted to women who are a little younger.” I wasn’t offended. But I needed a little break. So I went to the bathroom to reapply my lip gloss. When I was walking back to the table. I noticed that “Kevin” had a shiny bald spot at the back of his head. You could only see it if you were looking over his head or walking from behind. I thought to myself, okay brotha that’s where his age was showing. And I immediately had to check myself. “You’re being an asshole Monique. Give this guy a chance. Be nice.” I still give myself pep talks.
We ended the date. “Kevin” walked downstairs to the valet with me, paid for it, and gave me a nice kiss good night. It was good kiss too. Okay, he’s not that bad. So what he’s 52, he looks like he’s 46. And I know plenty of women who date older men. I don’t have “daddy issues.” Let’s just see how this goes…
****** To Be Continued…********