The Ghosts of Dates Pasts…

sad-black-woman1

The Ghosts of Dates Pasts…

I recently attended a party and had an interesting thing happen.  It was the typical LA Industry party.  The location was great, the people were beautiful, the drinks were flowing, and business cards were being exchanged.  It was a typical Wednesday night in La-La Land.  I rolled to the event solo but upon entering the door I ran into other industry folks I knew and worked with.  I was feeling good.  You know how you have those moments of looking in the mirror before you leave home and doing a double take at yourself.  My recent no carbs, no sugar, no cheese, no diary diet was working.  And my three day 2 hours of work out per week plan was making my recent weight lose and muscle gain evident in the dress I was wearing.  I was finally able to wear the damn thing without spanx or control top panty hose!  I went to my hairstylist the day before and got the mini afro that was growing on the back of my neck relaxed and my haircut was giving Halle Berry a run for her money (in my own mind).  So needless to say I was at the top of my game.  I was currently experiencing what my dad refers to as my “hay day.”    My first stop at any party is the bar.  I went to the overcrowded bar and waited patiently for the bartender to pour me a glass of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.  She handed me the bill and I was reaching into my clutch to grab my credit card when a familiar voice came from next to me. “I’ll get this round.” I looked to my right and there stood “Corey.”  “Corey” and I went out 10 years ago.  We met through a mutual friend and we went out on a few dates.  At that time “Corey” had a propensity to date women who had blonde hair, blue eyes, and wore a size 0.  The few times we went out he made comments about his preference for those women.  And at one point when we were hanging out at his house watching a movie, when he went to the bathroom, my nosy ass decided to take a look at his photo album which was loaded with pictures of him and these blonde haired beauties.  I think the straw that broke the Camel’s back was when he made a comment about my short haircut being too short.  This was shortly after I had finally taken out the Hollywood Starlet weave and decided to follow in the steps of Halle Berry and wear a short sassy do.  That was when I made the executive decision that “Corey” was not the one for me.  Let me be very clear.  “Corey” was not an asshole or a jerk.  He really was a nice guy.  But there’s nothing more uncomfortable than being out with a man when you feel like you aren’t his type, especially at the ripe age of 25.  Fast forward 10 years later.  And here “Corey” and I were face to face at the bar having a cocktail.  He looked GOOD.  He looked accomplished (as I always knew he would be).  He recently left his job at one of the biggest Hollywood talent agencies and opened up his own talent management firm which was thriving.  He was wearing a European tailored suit.  His teeth seemed to be sparkling white when he smiled at me.  I looked down at his left ring finger and saw a wedding band.  “Corey” finally settled down and got married.

Me:  I see you finally decided to settle your ass down.  Congrats Corey.

Corey:  (chuckling as he took a sip of his scotch on the rocks) at a certain point a man has to settle down.  We also just had a baby. 

Me: (giving him a hug) that’s wonderful Corey.  I am so happy for you!

Corey:  I promised my friend I wasn’t going to be taking out my phone and showing pictures.  I’ve become one of those guys!

Me:  Of course you have.  You have every right to show off your new family.  I would love to see pictures.

As “Corey” took his phone out, I took a sip of my wine preparing myself to see a picture of his blonde haired, blue eyed, supermodel wife and his curly haired bi-racial daughter.  He handed me his phone.  And there I stared at a picture of a beautiful chocolate sista, with long hair, beautiful teeth, and elegance that radiated from the picture, holding a gorgeous brown baby and “Corey” with his arms around both of them with a beaming smile.  It took everything in me not to spit out my drink in shock.  “Corey” not only married a sista, but a chocolate, classy sista at that.  I couldn’t believe it.

Me:  What a beautiful family.  I am so happy for you!  Wow!

Corey:  You look happy too.  Last time we ran into each other you had just gotten engaged.  How’s married life treating you?

This happened more times than I wanted to mention when I ran into people who hadn’t seen me since my divorce.  And I answered with my usual PR crafted response.  Then I prepared myself for the look of pity and the uncomfortable response to the breaking divorce news.

Me:  Oh, that didn’t work out. 

Corey:  I’m so sorry to hear that.  You look great.  You actually look really happy.

Me:  I am.  I really am.  And seriously Corey, I am really proud of you.

We gave each other a hug and I walked outside to cool off.  For some reason, talking about my divorce typically gave me a hot flash.  I called them mini-panic attacks.  On my way outside, I wasn’t paying attention and bumped into a muscular man wearing suit.  When he turned around I realized it was “Vincent” a former NFL player I dated a few years back.  His once muscular build and thick neck was now stocky.  He had on a three piece suit and looked like he could be a Reverend of one of those southern mega churches instead of what the sculpted Michael Angelo he used to be.  That sexy football build was no longer in existence.  Instead of his body being ready for those tight pants and football jersey, the long robe of a Pastor would have been more fitting.

Me:  Vincent?!

Vincent gave me the biggest hug and kiss on the cheek.

Vincent:  What’s up?  Long time no see.

Me:  I know.  How have you been?

Vincent:  I’ve been good.  I actually live out here now.

Me:  What?  You live in LA?

When I was dating “Vincent” he was a diehard east coaster.  As a matter of fact he told me you couldn’t pay him enough to move to LA.  That was one of the reasons the relationship didn’t go any further along with the fact that I hated football.  I knew he had gotten married to a former video vixen and had a baby.

Me:  How is the baby?

Vincent:  We actually have 3 now. 

Me:  3… Wow.

At this point a woman came up to us who had to be a good size 16 with a bad weave hanging down her back and way too much make up.  She looked me up and down and said very dryly, “Hello, I’m Vincent’s WIFE and you are?”  This was nothing new to me.  I had ran into a lot of wives and I understood their insecurity if they saw their husband talking to a woman they didn’t know.  I had mastered the art of putting their mind at ease.  So I gave her a hug and said:

Me:  HI!  IT is so great to finally meet you.  Vincent was just telling me about you and your 3 beautiful children.  Congrats.  You don’t look like you’ve had any children!  You look great.

That lie put her at ease immediately.  She instantly relaxed and had a genuine conversation with me.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I barely recognized her with all the recent weight gain and I dare not tell her she looked like she could stand a few more hours of sleep.  And in the future to PUT THE FOUNDATION DOWN!

I left that party and thought to myself, “What the fuck just happened?”  Suddenly that extra boost of self confidence I had when I walked into the party was deflated as I waited for my car to pull up from the valet.  Here were two men from my past one who didn’t even like black women who was now married to a damn Ebony Goddess and the other who told me he would never move to LA that was now living there.  I was thrown and confused.  I went to bed that night feeling alone, sad, and regretful.  Perhaps I didn’t give either one of these men a chance.  Someone recently asked me, how would I know if I met Mr. Right.  And I honestly couldn’t answer them.  I had no fucking clue.  I will never pretend to be an expert on dating.  It the blind leading the fucking blind.  I was one marriage down and numerous dates in and I still hadn’t figured it out.  Clearly, maybe I didn’t give these men a fair shot.  Especially “Corey.”  The next day I woke up thinking I would have slept off the mini depression that was sinking in.  But no, I hadn’t.  I decided to make a run to the grocery store.  When I was checking out I was stuck behind a woman who was in her late 40’s/early 50’s.  She was unloading at least 50 cans of cat food.  She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.  She looked tired and drained.  And it hit me.  This could be me.  I could become that 50 year old single woman in the super market buying cat food for my 3 cats.  I quickly left the line and ran to the wine aisle and picked up a bottle of expensive Pinot Noir.  Normally when I was in one of these single girl funks, I would call up a friend and go out.  But on this particular day, I decided I wasn’t going to run away from these thoughts.  I was going to face them head on and just let the feeling come up and not try to push them down.  But I was smart enough to know that I was going to need a bottle of wine for a little company.

waiting-to-exhale-cast

I no longer looked at these women as disgruntled….

I got home, sat on my couch and turned on the TV.  And low and behold Waiting to Exhale Came On.  I remember the first time I saw this movie, I thought these were 4 of the most disgruntled bitches I had ever watched on the silver screen.  But as I poured my third glass of wine, I found myself relating to these women now that I was 35.  Perhaps it was me.  There certainly had to be a reason why I ran into these former men I went out with.  Was it my past trying to tell me what a fuck up I had been?  Perhaps, if I had hung in there instead of running away at the first sign of conflict I would be sitting in the picture with “Corey” holding our beautiful baby boy.  Perhaps I had made his desires of wanting a blonde haired, blue eyed, super model a bigger deal that it was.  With “Vincent” I could have made myself like football and moved back to the cold ass east coast.  All I needed was a good fur coat and I am sure I could have learned to love sitting in the football stand in the winter time cheering my man on.  By the time I poured the last drop of Pinot into my glass, and Waiting to Exhale was over.  I turned off the TV sat on my couch and for the first time in a long time.  I cried.  I mourned the loss of my marriage.  After all, I thought I was done dating.  It would have been nice to be at that party with a husband.  Then I mourned for the bad dating decisions I made.  It’s not always the guy who fucks things up.  I look back at some of the times I was so quick to cut a man off without giving him the benefit of the doubt.  I allowed myself to cry at the fear of ending up alone.  Granted I will NEVER get a damn cat.  But the analogy, I cried over the fear of becoming that lady in the grocery story who only had cats to take care of instead of a shitty baby diaper to change.  I literally cried myself to sleep that night.  It’s amazing what happens when you stop running from your thoughts and allow yourself to be alone and think those scary thoughts.

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Sometimes it’s okay for a single girl to have a good cry….

I woke up the next morning.  My eyes were puffy and red.  I didn’t realize in my wine induced state I hadn’t even made it upstairs to my room.  The sun was shining on my tear stained face.  I sat up and took a deep breath.  I couldn’t remember the last time I allowed myself to be by myself and just cry like a baby.  It actually felt good.  You see, at the end of the day.  I always knew I was not destined for an ordinary normal life.  I wanted it all: the career, the husband that adored me, the beautiful children, the house, the vacations, and the great friends and parties.  I didn’t just want a job or just a marriage I wanted something special.  I tried to settle for the ordinary life and it wasn’t for me.  The reality is, here I am at 35 years old recognizing there might have been relationships in the past that I fucked up and I could have done things differently.  I am sure if I would have hung in there with one of my Ghosts of Dates Pasts I could be standing by their side being introduced to their exes or being showed off to a woman from their past on their iPhone as I held my baby.  But for whatever reason that wasn’t the case.  And NO I wasn’t like the women in Waiting to Exhale.  And don’t get me wrong, I love that movie.  Just like many women out there, the scene where Bernadette burns her husband’s clothes and car is one of the best moments in cinematographic history.  However, I would never have an affair with a married man like Bernadette, Savannah, and Robin did in the movie.  And no I am not like the cat lady in the grocery store.  I just know what I want.  I am not sure if when I meet “Mr. Right” I’ll know right away.  But what I do know is when I meet “Mr. Right for ME” that everything will fall into place.  What I do know, is that it is okay for a single girl to have a little pity party and cry every once in a while.  What I know is that sometimes it’s okay to admit when you’re lonely.  But the most important thing when you are haunted by your Ghosts of Relationships Pasts is to always remember that the past is best to be left right back where you left it…. In the past.

Monique K.Bradley

 

 

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Case of the Dating Vapors

Stood Up

Is this thing working?????

There is always something going on in LA. If you don’t pace yourself you end up running yourself ragged trying to go from one event to the next. It was one of those nights for me. I had just watched a performance of Cirque du Soleil for a work event and after the show attended a cocktail reception. From there I had to head straight over to the W Hollywood Residences for another networking mixer. Why I do this to myself at least 3 days of the week I will never know. In addition to my diagnosis as a Serial Dater I also had a self diagnosed severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Seriously, I can’t expect to meet anyone if I am sitting at home twiddling my thumbs reading a book. For people who try to keep up with my schedule they will find themselves in a corner passed out by Thursday night. I get it. I’m intense. Life is just too short to miss out on new adventures. So l left that great performance exhausted as hell, made a pit stop at Coffee Bean to grab a vanilla latte, and high tailed my ass over to the next event. It was worth it. I walked into a star studded chilled back mixer. Jamie Foxx, Shaquille O’Neal, Megan Goode (pre- Devon Franklin), and other members of the who’s who of black Hollywood were in attendance. There was an abundance of food and drinks and we were on the top floor in a fabulous penthouse that over looked the city. I decided to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the party and went outside on the balcony where it was quiet. LA is a sight to be seen at night with all the twinkling lights. The reflection of infinite possibilities. I was enjoying the view and sipping on a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc reflecting on how far I had come. Only 2 years prior I was in the midst of a bitter divorce battle, depressed, and wondering what would become of me. Now here I was, at an A list party, not as a Hollywood wannabe starlet but as an actual power player. It was moments like that when I thought about how ordinary and boring my life would have been if I stayed in an unhappy, unfulfilling marriage to a man who had no idea of what dreaming big and stepping out of your comfort zone meant. I was finally at peace. I took a deep breath closed my eyes and exhaled. That’s when I heard a voice from behind me said, “Do you mind if I join you?” I was slightly annoyed because I was really enjoying having a moment to myself. I didn’t want to be rude. But I had a long day and I really just needed 15 minutes of solitude. I turned around about to give my typical I’m just taking a moment to MYSELF speech. I mean seriously, can’t people tell when you’re not in the mood to be bothered.

Me: I’m just taking sometime to myself. I’m really not trying to be bothered….

Then I turned around and saw what was in front of me and quickly changed my mind. “Gary” was a 42 year old recently divorced (what’s up with 42 year old recently divorced men. I’m beginning to see a pattern here), former MLB player turned producer. And before you get all excited about the MLB part he only played for 3 years and that was many many moons ago. He had that Blair Underwood clean cut look. He came to the party with a friend of his that he lost somewhere in the party and was taking a breather from the party as well. Gary had no kids, and he actually lived in LA but travelled often for work. He had a corny sense of humor. He was one of those guys that laughed at his own stupid jokes. But I found that cute. It gave him a certain amount of vulnerability and humility. He didn’t have that typical arrogant LA in the know attitude. He was genuinely a nice guy. As we talked the more I started to think this might be a sign. Everything happens for a reason. When we exchanged numbers and I left the party I was intrigued by “Gary.” I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I couldn’t remember the last time I was really excited to get a call from a man. The next day I tried to keep myself busy at work. I updated my profile picture on Facebook in case he tried to do a cyber investigation for info on me. Every time my phone would ring I would hope it was him. Seriously, I was really acting like a total clown over a guy I barely knew. Around 9pm that next night I finally got the call from “Gary.” We talked o the phone for hours. We made plans to meet 3 days later at Bodega Wine Bar in Pasadena. You already know he got a gold star on that one. I love wine and I love old Town Pasadena charm. The day of our date I changed my outfit at least 3 times and settled on a short flowing belted dress with stilettos. I walked into the restaurant and there he was sitting waiting for me. He gave me the warmest tightest hug. And things just seemed so right. One of the things I appreciated about dating a man who has been married before is they have such a different perspective on relationships. They typically have learned from their mistakes and the things they did and didn’t do in their marriage. And generally, if they have an ounce of sense, they try to do things better. Afterwards we took a stroll down Colorado Blvd. When we crossed the street he gently touched my lower back to guide me along and he took my hand and we were walking hand and hand. We went into Pottery Barn and the sales lady thought we were married. I had to fight off the vision of him waiting for me at the end of the aisle as I took my last and final stroll down the aisle to be his wife. He walked me to my car. And there under the same twinkling sky that we met a few days earlier he gave me the softest and sweetest kiss. I drove off and was in a daze. Within minutes I got a text message from him.

Gary: I had an amazing time with you. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Me: Ditto. Thanks for a great night.

Century-City-at-night
The next day I just knew I would hear from “Gary.” By 9:30 that next night I didn’t receive a phone call. I called my best friend and gave her the run down on the date and we both agreed most men don’t want to look too pressed so I should hear from him in the next day or so… 2 freaking days went by and I still hadn’t heard from him. I thought to myself, what the fuck is going on here? Just when I was picking up my phone to call him, my television flashed a preview of the upcoming movie He’s Just Not That Into You. I put my phone down and began pacing back and forth. I hated that damn book. I hated that book even more than I hated Steve Harvey’s book. That book should be re-titled The Best Way to Fuck Up A Woman’s Self Esteem. But it’s true. I hated to admit it. When a man is into you, he’s going to call and he’s going to show his interest. Call me old fashioned but I am not chasing after a man. The way you start a relationship dictates the way the relationship will flow. If that asshole “Gary” was interested in me he would call me. This is why I hated liking a guy, because I didn’t know how the hell to act. I begin to get too much in my head and lose the upper hand. Just as I was about to file him away into the ASSHOLE category, my phone began buzzing on the table. It was a call from “Gary.” I did my hallelujah dance, jumped up and down, and took a deep breath and answered… calmly.

Me: Hello

Gary: Hello beautiful. What are you up to?

Me: I just left the gym. (A blatant bullshit lie. But I wasn’t about to tell him I spent the last 4 hours obsessing over why his black ass hadn’t called me yet)

Gary: I’m so sorry I’m just getting back to you. It’s been a crazy week. But I would love to see you. Are you free Friday?

Me: That will work.

Gary: Okay. Cool. Let’s plan on meeting around 8. I’ll text you that day once I figure out the location.

Me: Sounds like a plan.

I hung up and did another “Hallelujah, I got a second date dance.” Friday couldn’t come fast enough. But I had to sit myself down for a heart to heart. If I continued down the road I was going I was going to go bald stressing myself out about what was going on in his head. After all, I was the catch here. Any man who wants to be with me had to realize that. Sometimes we as women forget what we bring to the table when we get excited over a man who has so much “potential.” I think I was just excited because this was the first time since the divorce that I met a man who a) lived locally, b) was attractive and smart, c) who had the qualities I was looking for in a man. So I settled on the mantra from The Help but with a twist:

I is kind… I is smart… I is important… I is beautiful… I is successful… And if this man fucks this up he is a fool!

The Help

I is kind… I is smart… I is important… I is beautiful… I is successful… And if this man fucks this up he is a fool!

Friday finally arrived.  When I hadn’t heard from him by 1 pm I figured he had a busy work day and was in meetings all day. When 6pm rolled around I called my phone directly to make sure it was working. By 9pm that night it sank in. I think I have been stood up. Me… Stood up at the ripe age of 35? I know I hadn’t lost my dating touch. I tried to call him, because I assumed he was in the hospital on his death bed, or he better had been. The phone rang and rang and rang. I left a message. I didn’t say what I really wanted to say which was, “What the fuck is your problem, where the fuck are you?” Instead I said:

Hey Gary. I was just calling to touch base with you. Give me a call when you get a chance.

The next day came there was no return phone call and there was no text message. There was nothing. “Gary” was an official case of the Dating Vapors. My ego was deflated and I was so upset. I thought I had a connection with him. I thought I played everything just right. Dating really is a gamble. You are playing Russian Rolette with your emotions and putting yourself out there. Some women would have taken this and became bitter and taken the “I hate all men” attitude but I couldn’t allow myself to do that. The one thing I always had even after my divorce was the belief that true love really does exist. The second you lose sight of that and become a bitter woman is the moment you miss out on the possibilities that lie ahead. Yes there will be disappointments in dating that make you question everything you ever believed and even question yourself. But as Shakespeare once said, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.” The same thing goes for dating. You have to be willing to take chances knowing that you might lose. But you always have to be willing to be a player in the game. And when all else fails, remember the mantra… I is kind… I is smart… I is important… I is beautiful… I is successful… And if this man fucks this up he is a fool!

Monique K.Bradley

 

 

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+