I am FINALLY back home in LA. Oh LA how I love thee. I hadn’t been in my own bed for almost 3 weeks. I always say LA has a way of welcoming me back home with open arms. When I walked outside of LAX the beautiful non humid weather greeted me. As I opened the door to my home, I felt such a sense of peace and calm. When I finally got in my bed… my oasis, I drifted off into a deep uninterrupted sleep. But something interesting happened while I was back east. And I will have to be a little vague. Anyone who reads my blog on the regular basis knows my general rule of thumb; I do not go into detail about a guy I really like and am currently dating. But I am going to break my rule… slightly. While back east I reconnected with someone from my past (that’s all you’re getting). It’s been a while since I have gone out with someone that a) I really like and b) am looking forward to the possibility and c) makes some damn sense! I never want this blog to come off as a Bitter Woman rant because that’s not me. I believe in love. I believe in happy ever after and I truly believe there are good men out there. So I want to make sure I address the good dates as well as the bad dates. I also do not consider myself a dating expert. All I can do is tell you my stories and maybe you learn something from it and/or you’re entertained.
Fast forward to present time. Going out with this guy really had me taking a look at myself and how I date. Since it’s been a while since I have been out with someone that I genuinely like and the feeling is mutual and reciprocated this man really had me looking at myself and how I date. So here’s what I discovered:
Allow the man to be the man…
When we initially made plans to hang out it was raining heavily. I really didn’t feel like driving with all the crazy Jersey drivers. If you think LA folks can’t drive, in Jersey it’s coupled with non driving fools with major attitudes. And East coast rain is so different than west coast rain. It’s violent and has an agenda to fuck up your day. Whereas, LA rain is just about giving the flowers and the grass some extra sheen. So I sent the “Mystery Man” a text:
Me: What’s up with this weather? Did you still want to meet tonight given the monsoon that occurring outside?
Mystery Man: I can pick you up that way I can assure a safe return.
Wow! This man lived a good 30-40 minutes away from me. I didn’t want him to go out of his way. At first I was going to tell him not to worry I would meet him in the city. But then my Inner Loving Diva shook some sense into me and said, Um… Bitch! YOU always say how you want a man to court you. This man is offering to pick you up. Let him court you and be the man. Besides you already know him so it’s not like he’s some sort of sociopath! And that’s just what I did. I texted him my address, he picked me up, and we headed off to the city. This man opened doors for me, pulled out the chair, AND he made it a point to walk on the outside of the sidewalk. These are all things a man should do. These are actually things we should EXPECT a man to do. But sometimes either a) they man has no sense and doesn’t realize that’s what he’s supposed to do or b) we don’t allow him to do it. I know I am not the only woman who has made things easy on a guy at times, just so I don’t come off as being “too high maintenance” or I don’t want to “inconvenience” him. Well damn it, I AM high maintenance (with good reason) and when a man is offering to go out of his way for you… damn it let him. If you decide not to, don’t tell me there aren’t good men out there who do not know how to court.
Date your friend…
There’s something to be said about going out with a man who is really your friend. It makes things effortless. Now let me reiterate. I am NOT saying you should date a man who is your friend, who you aren’t attracted to, and settle. However, if there is a mutual attraction. Go for it. I have known this guy for quite a while. I have no idea where this thing is going and I plan on taking me time to figure the shit out so if for some reason it doesn’t work out we can still be friends. But there is something refreshing in sending a man a text and not having to worry about if I am sending it too soon or am I doing too much. There’s something nice about having a history with someone too and being able to relate to each other on so many different levels. We just get it.
Date like you did in college…
This does not mean to take me out to the Olive Garden or another college budget type spot. But remember before dating was complicated and you had all that baggage? Remember the innocence? Remember just going for shit without thinking too much about it? Remember not overanalyzing shit? Remember the times before your heart was broken? Before the broken engagements, the divorces, the custody battles? Remember the time when you just dated from the heart and whatever happened? Let’s go back to the age of innocence. I admit there have been times where I have let my hurt and heartache from the past dictate how I dated in the present time. What if we just lived in the moment? What if we took things as is and didn’t overanalyze shit? Do you think you would have a more successful time dating? Do you think you would give a brotha a chance before you were so quick to cut him off? What if we dated a man and didn’t write him off before the story even began? What would happen?
Ask the questions that you might not want to hear the answers to…
Sometimes you’ll be surprised by the answer you get and the honesty. If you are dating a guy who lives long distance. Ask him how he feels about long distance relationships. If you’re dating a guy who is 40+ and has never been married ask him why? Sometimes we are so afraid of being let down we choose to stay in the dark just so we can enjoy a few moments happiness. I have been guilty of this in the past. At this point in my life there are things I need to know before I move forward. And there are times where the answer will surprise you and give you hope that maybe, just maybe, this might go somewhere. When two people come into a situation with an honest and open heart the sky’s the limit.
Figure it out on your own…
Girlfriends…. We love them. They love us. But damn it, sometimes they can make you second guess a lot of shit, especially in the beginning of a new relationship. I love my friends. But I need to figure this shit out on my own first. When I decide to tell them what the deal is it will be when I am clear on where this is going so I do not let their opinions dictate my actions. This doesn’t mean I don’t tell them about the dates or my excitement. But I want to go along with this on my own. I think dating like a grown ass woman means having clarity on your own. One of the things I have learned is, you can pour your heart and soul out to some people and they will give you tons of advice but when the shoe is on the other foot they do shit completely different and your left thinking, What the fuck?! I’m doing shit my way moving forward. There are a select few girlfriends in my life that I know I can go to them and they will give me the unbiased advice.
Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop…
My goodness…. After all the years of disappointments and heartache, how often do you go into a new experience waiting for the guy to fuck up? What would happen if the man is innocent until proven guilty? Better yet, what would happen if you didn’t even wait for the guilty verdict. Why can’t we allow ourselves to enjoy the beginning of a new possibility? Do you know how many people miss out on the beauty of the beginning of a new relationship because they are so terrified of getting hurt? STOP!
Like I said earlier, I have no idea where this thing is going. Perhaps it is the past few months of really enjoying my singledom I have a new clarity and perspective. I have been forced to look in the mirror. So many times we are quick to blame the guy for relationship failure and your own insecurities. Now is the time to take a look at yourself and figure out what you are doing to fuck things up before it even starts. Not in a mean and judgmental way but becoming acutely aware of it so you can make adjustments when you find yourself falling into that trap. Ask yourself: Mirror… Mirror on the wall… Who lets relationship bullshit make a relationship fall? And allow yourself to learn from it so you can answer the mirror and say: I did but not anymore.
The last few weeks have been interesting. I have been back in New Jersey for almost 3 weeks. Being back home I have been removed from the hustle and bustle of life in LA and have been living in the burbs a.k.a The Suburbs Don’t worry, I will be back in LA soon… Time in the burbs as a single woman from the city of LA makes you acutely aware that you are single. The timing of this is quite interesting. For the last few months I have been embracing my singledom. I realized how much I enjoy my “me” time and dating myself. I can get up and go without having to consult with anyone or make arrangements. I can go out randomly on a Tuesday night. I can have cereal for dinner. I sleep in the middle of my bed and most importantly I can hold onto my remote control land flip through Lifetime, Bravo, Oxygen, and the Style Network. When I actually think about it, my TV’s have never seen the likes of ESPN. I think it might cause a power surge and cause my TV to become defective. I go out with whomever I want whenever I want. But most of all I am truly enjoying my “Me” time. At the end of the day, I recommend all single women take the time to “date” themselves. If you have no idea what you want on your own, how can you bring a partner in and be able to articulate all of your needs? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these bitter single bitches who are like, I don’t need a man…” Oh trust me, I definitely want and need a man (the right one) and embrace the idea of meeting my true life partner and living “happily ever after.” But until I meet the right guy I will not rush into the wrong situation.
Anyway, I digressed… For the last weeks I had officially become a New Jersey Housewife (minus the husband). I don’t know how single women who live in the suburbs do it! Damn, it’s rough. I went to the grocery in the middle of the day and it was packed. You would think it was a holiday weekend. It was a Tuesday at 1pm. I was looking all around the parking lot for a spot. I got excited when I finally found a spot close to the front of the store. Only to notice the sign in front of the spot that read: Parking for Customers with Children. What the fuck??? I noticed a parking spot on the opposite side and the sign in front of that spot read: Reserved for Expectant Mothers. Damn! So already I am being penalized for not having children and/or not having a bun in the oven. Thank goodness I have high self esteem or else that could have easily sent me over the edge. When I walked all around the grocery store, which was crowded with mothers and their children. Mostly bad ass out of control children and mothers with the biggest diamond sparkly rocks you could imagine. Oh how I missed the flashiness/borderline gaudiness of my home state. I still have left over remnants of the gaudiness. I was damn near drooling over the rings. You can take the girl outta of Jersey but you’ll never take the Jersey outta me! I quickly broke out of my day dream mode when I couldn’t find the wine section. I finally located someone who worked there. A young teenager who was probably using Pro-Active.
Me: Where is the wine section?
Teenage Worker: Uhhhhh… we don’t sell wine here.Me: Excuse me? (The thought of not having my wine for the week sent me into a minor panic attack. As a matter of fact the thought of not ending my day with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc caused a slight case of hives). Teenage Worker: You’re going to have to go to the liquor store across the street.
How could I have forgotten in my home town state (and a lot of other states) you can not purchase liquor and wine outside of a liquor store? It’s some stupid ass law. It’s inconvenient as hell too. I wasn’t about to lose my spot in Bumblefuck. So I bought my groceries and hightailed my ass to the liquor store and bought a case of Sauvignon Blanc.
Being in the burbs there are also the questions/ interrogations I get from well meaning folks about my dating life. If you are a faithful reader of this blog you know one of my biggest peeves is when people ask me the following questions which I was asked at least 3 times a day:
Are you dating?
Me: I’m dating everyone.
Are you seeing anyone special?
Is it hard dating in LA?
Me: It is. But I think it’s hard dating anywhere. The only difference is in LA you really have to be true to who you are so you don’t get caught up in the hype.
Don’t worry you’ll meet the right guy when you least expect it.
My Inner Monologue: Get the fuck outta here. All single women are constantly looking for the right man. They may not admit it but they do! How the hell are you going to find MR. Right if you aren’t looking.
Each of these innocent questions are always asked and when I give them my answers I feel the slight look of pity. What most married women do not admit is they secretly are terrified for their single friends because they know how hard it is to find the right guy. How do I know this? I was once married and please know and believe I had conversations with other married women at the time. Why do you think so many women stay in shitty marriages (myself was once included in this statistic). Some women are so afraid of being alone they would rather stay in a loveless marriage. What they don’t realize is being alone and married is far worse than being alone and single.
There is also going to a party or a BBQ in the burbs as the single woman. You are normally greeted with looks of Who is this bitch? You have to be keenly aware of the outfit you wear, who you talk to, and the amount of time you are spending talking to them. Some of these housewives (again, I use the word SOME) are intimidated by an attractive single women they do not know who suddenly shows up to a BBQ and is speaking to their husband. Even a simple request like, Excuse me, can you pass the mustard. Can get a side eye from the wife. 9/10 you aren’t even interested in the man even if he wasn’t married. But in their minds you are a threat. I typically stick to the rule of only talking to the guy in a group setting. If we innocently happen to be at the cooler at the same time getting a drink I immediately will get my drink and scurry off. For some reason in LA I am not typically as worried about this. There is a different mentality in a city verse the burbs. The housewives typically think there is a hidden agenda, and that usually doesn’t have shit to do with you. It is something that is an internal flaw or insecurity in their relationship with their husband.
After my 2 weeks of living the New Jersey Housewife life, I needed a break. Don’t get me wrong, it gave me a greater appreciation of my singledom. But as I drove over the Ben Franklin Bridge and parked my car in Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love. I went to Rouge and got a table in the window. I ordered a strong cocktail. I needed a break from my typical wine. My thoughts began to run rapidly. I think when we are single we spend so much time wondering what our life would look like once we are in a relationship. We envision what we think that will look like, how much “better” our lives would be. We imagine what our future children will look like (I know I’m not the only woman who will look through a magazine and see a picture of a cute baby with caramel skin and think, That’s what my son will look like). It is so easy to get caught up in the what will BE instead of living in the what it IS. Spending this time as a Real Housewife of New Jersey, I realize that I am not the suburbia kind of women. I definitely want a marriage and I most certainly want kids, but I do not want to give up the life I have for the life I want. Is there any way the two can co-exist? Am I being realistic about my expectations? I was once in a marriage where I attempted to become the person my ex husband wanted me to be and I lost myself and I lost who I was. Now that I finally found ME I embraced ME. I realized all my quirks, insecurities, and pet peeves made me vulnerable and I was loving that. I never wanted to lose sight of that. Being vulnerable is actually a good thing at times. Just when I was beginning to doubt the possibility of having the two things I most wanted (the present me and the future me) God always has a way of speaking to you. A couple who had to be in their late 30’s early 40’s walked into Rouge. They had a great style to them. They were casual but had an effortless style to them. The women pushed in a stroller and the man was holding the hand of his son who had to be at least 4 years old. I normally would have rolled my eyes when a couple came into a place like Rouge with children worrying that my moment of solitude would be interrupted by a loud crying ass baby but this time I was not annoyed. They sat at a table close to me in the window and the women put the baby into a high chair. The man put his son into a booster seat. The couple gave each other a kiss. He whispered something in her ear and she laughed and looked him in the eyes lovingly. When the waiter came over the man ordered a bottle of Cabernet for he and his wife. This hip couple sat with their kids and had their bottle of wine. They seemed to have such a connection between the two of them. They not only were married but they seemed to be… Friends. And that’s when it clicked. All this time I have been looking for something but not exactly sure what it was. At the end of the day when you look for someone who is your friend first everything else will fall into place. He won’t try to put you into a box and you won’t try to tie him down.
For a second I imagined myself with my future hubby and my kids chilling at a restaurant and enjoying our family time. Looking at that family made me realize it is possible for your present and future to coexist. In order to be who you are going to be, you don’t have to change who you are. It is possible. As I made my way back over the bridge in to the burbs, I had to make a pit stop at the grocery store. As I passed the spot that was right in the front that was reserved for the Customer with Kids and was forced to park in West Bumblefuck I didn’t roll my yes or get mad. Instead I parked my single ass there took my long ass walk into the grocery and embraced my temporary life as a New Jersey Housewife. When I was in line with my two items, a lady who was there with her three kids (all under 5) stood behind me trying to tame her wild out of control kids. I looked back at her, smiled and told her to go in front of me. She was so grateful and thanked me a million times as she unloaded her full cart and tried to gain control over her bad ass kids. You see, it’s also possible for the single city girl and the Suburban Housewife to co-exist as well.
©Monique Kelley and Confessions of A Serial Dater In LA, 2013-2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Monique Kelley and Confessions of A Serial Dater In LA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Copying my posts and changing some of the words is still plagiarism.