* Since I am on vacation this week, I am bringing you 3 posts in one! I’ll be back next week with more Confessions. But I figured this one will tie you over until then. This is a long one so enjoy it!!!
I think every woman dreams of the day when they can run into a guy that did them dirty and have a “Look at me now moment.” Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
2000 was one of the toughest years of my life. My brother had passed (not ready to go into details on that). I was 23 years old and in a very vulnerable state. Enter “Kyle,” “Kyle” was a 28 year old up and coming photographer I met at a gallery opening. He was experiencing a career high. His latest exhibition had opened to critical acclaimed. He was pegged “The Next Gordon Parks.” “Kyle” was originally from Indiana. He and his college friends had made the move from the mid west to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Nearly 3 years after moving to LA he was on the rise. When we met in the crowded Downtown LA Gallery I felt like I was in the scene from West Side Story where Maria and Tony laid eyes on each other and suddenly there was no one else in the room.
“Kyle” and I had the best conversation. His creative mind was so intense. He was brilliant and his photography made a statement about the world. It felt like I was tapping into his inner being as I looked at his photography. I have always connected with artist and photographers. As a matter of fact when I need to clear my head, I will go to an art museum and lose myself in the world of art. “Kyle” and I made plans to hang out the next day. At the time he and his college friends were sharing a car. Let me explain that in greater detail. 4 grown ass men were sharing 1 damn car in Southern California. Not New York City where you can get away without having a car because there is great public transportation system. Los Angeles was and still is a city where you absolutely MUST have a car. So “Kyle” gave me his address and I went to pick his grown ass up. Keep in mind; this is me as a young vulnerable (a.k.a stupid) 23 year old. Back in the day before I Had truly found my stride and wanted to make sure I “made” “Kyle” like me by being accommodating. LMAO! Growth is a beautiful thing. When I got to his home in the middle of the HOOD I was scared to get out of my car. This man lived in the for sure for sure HOOD (The Jungle) and that’s with a capital H. Yes I am from New Jersey and yes I have a smart ass mouth. But I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, the beautiful suburbs. I used to apologize for being bourgeois. Now I embrace and own up to it. As I got out of my car I bee lined to his door and knocked. As I waited for him to answer the door, I prayed, “Lord Jesus please let this man hurry up and answer the door before gun shots are fired. I am too young to die. My obituary cannot say I died in The Jungle. That’s not the legacy I want to leave behind. I want to live!!!!” As usual the Lord is always on time! “Kyle” answered the door and invited me in. It was a small apartment. It had a lot of African Wooden sculptures of naked women with pointy breasts, lots of black and white photography (unframed hung on the wall by thumbnails), the typical bachelor pad black leather (or perhaps pleather) couches and glass coffee tables. His 3 college roommates were sitting on the couch watching a basketball game eating Cheetos and drinking Heinekens. “Kyle” gave me a hug and invited me in.
Kyle: You remember my roommates.
In my mind I heard the record screech to a halt. Did he say, “roommates, with an S?
Me: Which one is your roommate?
Kyle: Both of them. Did you want a beer?
Me: No. I’ll take a glass of wine. (even back then I loved my wine)
Kyle: We all live here together.
I looked around the apartment and I only saw one bedroom. How in the world did 3 big ass grown men live in a one bedroom apartment? As I pondered this question “Kyle” came back into the room and handed me a glass of… White Zinfandel. WTF? He had to be kidding me. White Zinfandel. I might have been a 23 year fool but even at that age I knew White Zinfindel was comparable to drinking Boone’s Farm. But I really really liked “Kyle” so I decided to be a good sport and chill out.
Me: So what did you want to do?
Kyle: I figured we could hang out here and watch the game.
Me: Ummmmm… okay.
So I sat there for 2 hours on his pleather couch watching a fucking basketball game. Did I mention how much I hated basketball? Did I mention the White Zinfandel was stale? Picture me on the couch in between 3 rowdy guys watching a Laker game. After the game ended “Kyle” walked me to my car.
Kyle: I had a great time with you. I like how you can just kick it and hang out. You’re so different from these bourgeois LA girls.
Kyle: Can we hang out again?
There goes that word. “Hang out.” I still liked him but I had a slight attitude. I didn’t want to cuss him out just yet. This was before the baggage. This is when I still had hope and looked at the silver lining.
Me: We can. But next time I would like for us to go out somewhere.
Kyle: That’s cool, kid.
“Kid.” WTF? Who was he calling kid? Did that mean he was looking at me as a friend? Talk about confused. “Kyle” and I made plans to go out to days later. Lucky for me it also happened to be a day when he had the car. He picked me up and before we reached the restaurant he stopped at the ATM machine. He was there for a few minutes. It was taking him unusually long. He started making his way back to the car. He had his hands in his pockets and his great posture he had when he walked to the ATM was replaced with slouched over shoulders. He got in the car. Took a deep breath and said.
Kyle: We have a problem.
Me: What’s wrong?
Kyle: I can’t access my account.
Me: That is a major problem.
Kyle: I was really looking forward to us going to hear the spoken poetry at my spot. (Back in 2000 spoke poetry was VERY popular)
Me: Don’t worry about it, let’s just go and I’ll get us a round of drinks.
My inner loving Diva that guides me through my love life now wasn’t awakened until I hit my 30’s. Back then I didn’t have her to shake me back into reality. What the hell was I thinking? I barely had two nickels to rub together at that time and here I was taking a grown ass man out for drinks?! So “Kyle” and I headed to the spoken word spot that was in Leimert Park (not one of my favorite spots in LA even to this day… don’t judge me, but I much prefer going to Beverly Hills or Manhattan Beach.. just sayin’). “Kyle” had no problem throwing back a few rounds of drinks that I bought! Back then, being a young fool, I saw so much “potential” in “Kyle.” I looked at him as the photographer that would change the world. We still had great conversation… so I thought. Looking back on it I don’t remember anything about the conversation. At that time, I think I needed a hole to be filled. Then I thought meeting the right man and falling in love would fill that hole. Of course now I am fully aware the only person that can fill the void in your life is you. In addition to paying for our dates I did every single stupid thing that a young girl would do to “make” a guy like me. Ultimately, “Kyle” stopped returning my phone calls (this was prior to the text messaging days). I even called from a friend’s house and he actually answered the phone because he didn’t recognize the number! I felt like a damn fool!
I ended up going out to Reign (THE hot spot back in the day in LA before Keyshawn Johnson sold it in order to have to pay less in alimony when he and his wife got divorced). My girlfriends were trying to cheer me up. I had never been dissed like that before. “Kyle” dissed my ass! Big time! I was hurt, devastated, and mad. After throwing back quite a few cocktails. I noticed my girlfriends face lose color.
Me: What’s wrong?
Girlfriend: Oh….. Nothing. Guuurl, we should get outta here….
She attempted to pick up my stuff and scurry out. That’s when I realized her eyes kept looking over my head. I turned around and there was “Kyle” sitting at a table holding hands and locking eyes with another woman. The waiter had come to the table to give him the bill and he quickly reached for it and put his credit card in the bill envelope. I was LIVID!!! I literally saw red.
Girlfriend: Monique, do not give him the power. Do not cause a scene. Let’s just go.
Me: Go, but I am having such a great time. We are going to stay here and order another drink.
With that I signaled to the bartender and ordered another cocktail. My girlfriend was nervous as shit. I think the sense of calm that came over me scared her because I was normally such a firecracker. I waited for my signal and it finally came two more drinks later. I saw “Kyle” go to the bathroom. I applied a fresh coat of lip gloss and I made my way to the restroom area when I realized his date was waiting for him at the table. Even back then, I had the theory of never approaching the other woman. First of all it makes you look crazy and it’s not the other woman’s fault that the man she is out with is a complete and total asshole. “Kyle” came out of the restroom and when he saw me he looked like a deer in headlights.
Me: Hello Kyle.
Kyle: Ummmm…. Monique… uh.. Hello… how are you, kid?
Me: If you picked up the phone to answer my calls you would know. (I didn’t realize how tipsy I was until I felt like my words weren’t coming out of my mouth as fast as they were rolling around in my brain. Not to mention when he called me “kid” again it certainly hit a nerve)
Kyle: I’ve been busy…
Me: I see. I also see you have gotten a bigger paycheck and can afford to pay for dates now. You cheap, broke ass fuck! (that certainly wasn’t the sophisticated line I had practiced in my head when I Was walking over to confront him)
Kyle: What do you want from me, kid?
Me: I don’t want shit from you! You could have been a man and been honest instead of avoiding my calls.
Kyle: I figured you’d get the hint.
Me: Oh I did.
Kyle: So why are you sweating me?
Me: Nobody is sweating your broke tired ass. I’m glad you had the car so you could actually pick up your date. (there was really no rhyme or reason to my 23 year old ass going off on this man. Looking back on it I looked a total jack ass myself. But in my mind I was going to get this man told!)
Kyle: Have a nice night kid.
Kyle started to walk off. And me needing to get the last and final parting blow and being tipsy and 23 yelled back at him.
Me: By the way your photography sucks!
Oh yeah! I showed him I was the shit. LOL! More like a big dumb shit. I always looked back on “Kyle” with absolute disdain and horror. I would have nightmares for months to follow after that outburst and wake up and re-run what I should have said and how I should have said it. There were times I would pray to run into him and say, “Look at me now.” I would play various scenarios in my mind of what I would say when I ran into him again and what I would do. When the run in did not happen it eventually faded off into my mind as a bad memory that I grew from.
Fast forward to present time. 13 years later. 13 years of growth. 13 years of bad dates, a bad marriage, a shitty divorce, and the rediscovery of ME. 13 years of finding out who I was and discovering an inner strength I had no idea existed. 13 years of the evolution of ME. 13 years of realizing and recognizing my growth. 13 years of loving myself more than anyone else possibly could. 13 years of knowing exactly what I wanted and not apologizing for it or reasoning with myself why I didn’t deserve to have it. 13 years… I had finally reached my stride and become a true, bonafide, unapologetic WOMAN.
A few months ago I was at a networking mixer for work. I had been none of the organizers of the event. It was one of the typical Hollywood executive power mixers. I was wearing my purple DVF power dress and some killer heels. I was working the room making introductions, hugging people I knew, and really having a good time. It was coming towards the end of the evening and the event was finally winding down. This meant I was finally ready to have my first glass of wine. I have a rule of thumb, at work events I do not have more than one glass of wine and I typically wait until the end of event. Anyway I digressed… As I walked over to the bar there was… “Kyle.” The long dreadlocks had been cut off and he was now sporting a neat fade. His bohemian chic attire was now replaced with a sports jacket, matching slacks and no tie. He turned around and spotted me. He did a triple take. You know those moments when someone sees you and is trying to place where they know you from. How funny, here was a bastard who had taught me one of the most profound and hurtful lessons (outside of my ex husband) only 13 years ago and this motherfucker couldn’t even remember me. I wanted to take my 6 inch Jimmy Choo and poke his eye out but I remembered I was at a work event. Not to mention my inner loving diva slowly relaxed me, “You’re no longer the “kid” he used to call you. You’re now a grown ass woman. You finally get the proper closure.” With that I took a deep breath and smiled at him. That’s when it clicked. He realized who I was. I walked up to “Kyle.”
Me: Well what a blast from the past. Hello “Kyle.”
Kyle: Wow. I can’t believe my yes. You’re all grown up.
Me: Yes I am.
Kyle: You look great.
Me: Thank you. (I didn’t feel the need to return the compliment. I hadn’t evolved that damn much.)
Kyle: How have you been?
Me: Wonderful. Yourself?
Kyle: I’ve been good. What are you doing these days?
I told him that I was now an executive at a studio and told him a little about my job. I kept it brief and very professional.
Me: Good seeing you Kyle.
I started to walk off. Kyle practically ran to me and handed me a card.
Kyle: Here’s my card. Please let me take you out to dinner so we can catch up.
Me: That’s not necessary. Like I said, it was great seeing you.
Kyle: Listen, I know I wasn’t right back in the day and I hope we can move past that.
ME: That’s water under the bridge. We were both young and I was wide open then. But I must thank you for the lesson you taught me. You truly changed my perspective on dating and how I approached things moving forward and for that I am so grateful.
Kyle: I was fucked up.
Me: Yeah you were. You were a true bonafide asshole. But again, that was so long ago and I have moved past that.
Kyle: I look forward to hearing from you. Do you have a card on you?
ME: No I ran out. I’ll call you.
With that, I gave “Kyle” a kiss on the cheek and strutted off. As I left the restaurant I looked at his card and threw that shit out. Of course I wasn’t going to call that bastard. Yes I had moved past it and I had evolved but I had no intention of reconnecting with a man who had already shown me who he was. I opened up my purse and looked for the valet ticket. It was in between a stack full of my business cards I had brought with me to pass out at the networking event. There was no way in hell I was about to waste a card on his ass either.
When I got in my car I suddenly started cracking up. Not just little giggles either. I had a case of uncontrollable laughter. I laughed at the woman I was and the silly mistakes I made and the dumb shit I did in the name of love. I laughed at how life is truly a series of full circle moments. And if you don’t truly allow yourself to live in the moment and be perceptive to life’s little and big lessons it will pass you by. Talk about Boomerang! There were so many times I wished I could run into “Kyle” and give him a piece of my mind and say “Ha-ha look at me now.” I even have those moments with my ex husband where I would love to run into his ass and scream on top of a mountain, “YOU DID NOT BREAK ME!!!” I realize in life things happen when they are supposed to happen. They do not happen on your on time, they happen at the right time. Who knows if I will ever have a run in with my ex or if I will have another run in with a dumb ass I have dated in the past. But I can say with full confidence whatever happens I am ready.
Every year these bullshit articles/blogs come out about single black women and the struggle of finding good black men. As of late I have been bombarded with these various articles and blogs. In the first blog a single woman of 40 writes about how she has made herself okay with the fact that she more than likely will never have kids or a marriage. She is beautiful, successful, and smart but she has not been able to find her significant other so she has made herself okay with the idea of having no kids and being by herself. The next article a woman in her late 30’s discusses her research on post feminist women (herself included) who are successful and should accept that more than likely they will have to end up with a man that is either not as successful as she is or a man who is successful but is a playboy because statistically speaking that is the best society has to offer. She even went into all the research she did for the article interviewing women with the same perspective! Then there is the annual article about how black women should consider dating outside of their race in order to find happiness since their options for black men are limited. It goes on to addresses the increase of black men who are in prison, gay, or not dating black woman so therefore a single black woman should either a) make themselves okay with the idea that they will never find true love, b) date outside of their race, or c) date beneath them. Throw out the idea that there is a perfect man out there for them and reside themselves with the idea of settling.
This is absolute total bullshit and women are starting to believe it. Not only are they starting to accept this foolery but they go as far as sending these ignorant articles out to their friends on Facebook and then have people liking the status or commenting on it. Do not get me wrong, if you are interested in dating outside of your race. By all means do so. Hell, when I was in Paris over the summer I saw some fine ass European men that definitely had me reconsidering my ideal man. And every time I see Henry Cavil I have a few minutes of imagining what our mixed children would look like. I see my future children the coloring of café au lait with wild curly blondish brown hair. Okay I digressed… My point is I am not against black women dating outside of their race if they chose to not as a fall back plan because of a false belief there isn’t a black man out there for them. I also have friends who are dating or married to men who do not make as much money as them. And again, that is fine as long as that women isn’t settling for something she doesn’t want because she thinks it is not possible to find it.
It is already bad enough I have friends reading this crap and posting it but now MEN are reading these articles and starting to believe their own hype. So you have successful, single, black men who happen to be on Facebook reading these posts and the comments and believing that they are a rarity and therefore bringing this into their dating life. I remember reading one of these articles during the aftermath of my divorce. (These articles tend to emerge when you’re already at you most vulnerable place). I was questioning everything about myself. My future as a newly divorced woman back on the dating scene, would I ever be able to love again, was I deserving of a real and healthy relationship. Any dating self doubt I had was right on the surface. And I just so happened to read one of those depressing articles.
Enter “Edward” a hotelier from the east coast. We met years ago when I had first started dating my ex husband. He tried to ask me out and I was in a relationship so I of course I refused. I am sure I was one of the few women who had ever turned him down. As fate would have it, when I went to South Beach for a post divorce weekend of relaxation with the girls I ran into him at a pool party. He was looking good. Tall, chocolate, and rich. He had just opened his second hotel in Atlanta. Granted I lived in LA and he was on the east coast we exchanged numbers and started talking everyday over the phone. He was in the process of opening another boutique hotel in LA and was spending more time on the west coast. It was a perfect introduction into dating after the divorce. The distance was great because it allowed us to really get to know each other and gave me the space to take my time. “Edward” was one of the most arrogant men I ever met in my life. In the beginning his self confidence was a turn on. The arrogance I found extremely sexy and charming when I first met him was beginning to get on my damn nerves. If he wasn’t talking about his latest project, he was talking about his Maserati or his latest painting he bought for his house. Everything was about “Edward.” I was merely an audience in the “Edward Show.” And I was really trying to work with him. Then he started making little comments that rubbed me the wrong way.
Edward: What are you doing tonight?
Me: I’m going out with my girlfriends to a birthday party.
Edward: You’re going out again? Did your ex-husband let you go out as much?
Me: What do you mean “let” me go out? I don’t need anyone’s permission to go out. What’s your point?
Edward: Calm down, I was just asking. You’re always out. You should stay home and relax.
Me: Edward, I’ll call you in the morning.
Then there was the time he was in town for MY birthday weekend and he took me with him to his tailor where he spent 3 hours (literally no over exaggeration) picking out shit for himself! Custom shirts, suits, ties, cuff links. You name it he bought it. Did the bastard even ask me if I wanted as much as a handkerchief?! Ummmm… no!
The straw that broke the camel’s back was one night when we went out to dinner at Boa Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. This is one of my favorite spots. I do not eat red meat but I find steakhouses usually have the BEST sides. I have no idea how we got onto this conversation about SBF. But somehow he managed to bring it up.
Edward: I know a lot of successful single black women out there.
Me: I know a lot of successful single black men too. (trying to hide the annoyance in my voice)
Edward: I know, but it’s different for men we have more options than y’all do. I think the problem with successful single black women is they don’t know how to let the man be the man. Y’all are always trying to control shit.
Me: (taking a sip of the $200 bottle of Caymus Cabernet he just ordered) What do you mean?
Edward: I think women who make a lot of money no longer know how to be submissive. And that’s why it’s hard for them to find a good man.
Me: What makes you think it’s hard for them to find a good man? I know a lot of white women, Asian women, and Latina women who are successful and single as well. So what’s your theory behind them? (Right as a I said this, in walks Kobe Bryant with Vanessa Bryant holding hands)
Edward: (tilting his head towards Kobe and Vanessa smirking) Well that’s different because they have their pick of men. Black women don’t.
Me: You’re single. Why haven’t you landed a woman yet?
Edward: Because I can be selective. I have a lot of options. Besides I’m a man. My biological clock isn’t ticking. I talk to women all the time about how it is hard to find a good black man. I also read those articles that my homegirls post on Facebook. I’m not the first person to state these facts. (Swirls the wine in his glass and arrogantly takes a sip).
Me: I wouldn’t necessarily call them facts. I don’t subscribe to that.
Edward: I think a lot of you successful single black women need to lower your standards. Or else you’ll find yourself 40 and alone.
Me: That’s absolute bullshit.
Edward: Look I’m not the one who made this up. Talk to your girls who post the articles. I read all of them and I know I’m a rarity… Finish your food babe.
I sat there and visualized myself stabbing him with my fork, getting up and splashing my wine in his face, but decided against it. The thought was refreshing. After leaving dinner I was disgusted, annoyed, and I even had a moment of thinking he might be right. There I sat across from an arrogant asshole who thought he was God’s gift to women and the person I had to blame for that was the women who fed into the bogus articles. Hell, if I’m honest with myself, I ended up marrying the wrong man because deep down inside, I thought he was the best I could get. I was tired of the dating scene and I was ready to settle down. I chose to overlook that we had absolutely nothing in common but he had the right criteria on paper. That belief had me in a shitty relationship. I do have a lot of beautiful and successful single friends who are looking for love. And the dating scene is a struggle. And it is at moments like this when I began to question all aspects of being a single black female (SBF). I began to think that perhaps being in a shitty marriage was better than being alone. At these low points, these stupid ass articles come out and I begin to fall for the hype. And for a mere second I question my decisions and my concept on love and finding a true soul mate.
Then my intellectual inner loving mother smacks me into reality. The reality is it is far better to be single and alone than married and alone. I have such a full and great life that anyone I allow to enter into it has to enhance it and bring something to the table. The bigger reality is we as women must STOP reading and supporting these articles. And even more so, we MUST stop sharing them. What’s happening is some men are reading them and believing the hype and thinking that single black females are desperate and will put up with anything when that really isn’t the case. How can we get men to respect us and honor us if we put out there that it is so hard to find a good one? I want to start a movement. Moving forward if there are any of these articles out, do not comment on them, do not post them, do not believe them, and most of all STOP telling men how hard it is to find a god man! You’re fucking it up for the rest of us!!!!! You must ask yourself what is the purpose of these articles? What good does it do? Why not post articles about women in their 30’s and 40’s finding true love because they did not settle and believe the hype? We must support each other in our search for Mr. Right. I did the settling leg work for you and I can confirm it is not worth it. There are good black men out there. Think of it, at this very moment there is a man out there who is searching, praying, and hoping to find his soul mate. It could be you. Do not give up hope and do not settle. In the meantime, enjoy your time as an SBF…
©Monique Kelley and Confessions of A Serial Dater In LA, 2013-2018 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.