When I walked into The Village restaurant in Studio City I realized I was a few minutes early. So of course you know I ordered a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I knew in my spirit that “Larry” just wasn’t right for me. But I wanted to be fair before I rushed into judgment. Earlier that week I was speaking to a mentor and a colleague of mine at a networking event. We got on the topic of dating.
Mentor: I think you’re too picky.
Me: Why do you say that?
Mentor: You only want to date black men, with college degrees, and who make just as much or more money than you. That drops you down to 5%. Then you want a man who is tall, that drops you down to 1%.
I found it interesting that he would have the audacity to say this to me given he was a tall, African American man, who was married to a homely white woman from Iowa. I wanted to grab his ear and twist it and scream, “You are 80% of the problem!” But I didn’t. Then my colleague chimed in.
Colleague: You have to realize most men do not make as much money as you. My husband does not have a college degree and he does not make as much money as I do. But he loves me and is a great father to my kids.
I found her statement interesting because her husband was tall and fine. So it felt like an even exchange.
Me: You all don’t give me enough credit. I’m not that picky.
I sat at The Village waiting for “Larry” and replaying this conversation in my mind. I started to second guess myself and the expectations I had about who my future mate should be. Maybe I was too picky. Then my inner loving diva chimed in. “Stop beating up on yourself. You’re giving this guy a chance. You do not have to settle to be happy. When it’s right you’ll know it.” Then I also thought about my girlfriend telling me to stay open. It funny how many thoughts run through my mind when I am forced to sit still in silence. “Larry” finally walked into the restaurant. He was a handsome man. Once again he was wearing a great suit. You know I can appreciate a man in a nice suit.
Larry: Sorry I was running late. It’s a crazy time of year for us at the office.
Me: No worries. I just got here myself. How’s everything going?
Larry: All is well. Business is just so slow these days. And you know I’m commission only so I need to get on my grind or else I won’t make any money.
For the love of God why did he have to bring that up again?! It’s only our second date, I don’t need to know about how business is slow and you only work on commission. That is a turn off. The waitress came to our table to ask us what to order. And I swear, I was looking at the price of each entrée because I was worried he couldn’t afford it since he was already bitching about how slow business was. Have you ever been out on a date where you are worried about ordering another glass of wine because you think the guy can’t pay?! Well if you haven’t you’re a lucky woman. Because here I was out on a date with a man who was almost 50 years old but I wasn’t sure if he could afford an entrée that was over $30 damn dollars! I mean really. Why was I here? That’s right… I was trying to be “open” and stop being so damn “picky.” I was trying to give the “1%” a chance. Side eye!
“Larry” and I continued our conversation. I settled on ordering a few appetizers off the happy hour menu. And he really was a nice guy. He was charming and funny. I thought to myself, “See, that’s what you get for always being a dismissive bitch at times. You could be missing out on a relationship of a lifetime!” “Larry” and I started talking about home decorating.
Larry: I still have some more things I need to do at my place.
Me: How long have you lived there?
Larry: I just moved there a few months ago.
ME: It’s always nice moving into a new spot and being able to fix it up from scratch. Where did you live before?
Larry: I was in San Pedro.
Me: Are you getting all new furniture or just updating the furniture you already have? I know a lot of great spots where they will customize pieces.
Larry: My roommate had most of the furniture before so I am starting from scratch.
Record screech to a loud halt. Did this grown ass 49 year old man just say “roommate?” No… that’s impossible. Maybe I didn’t hear him correctly.
Me: Your roommate?
Larry: I’ve always had roommates. This is my first spot on my own.
Me: When you say roommates, do you mean ex-girlfriends?
I said a silent prayer hoping this was the case. I could understand if he lived with girlfriends. That’s much more acceptable than roommates.
Larry: No. They were roommates.
Not only did he confirm it, but he said it like it was perfectly normal. That’s when I realized, I didn’t give a flying fuck about people thinking I was too picky, or if people thought I wasn’t being open. There was no way in hell I was about to date a man who is almost a half a century old who doesn’t have his shit together. I am willing to work with a man who is trying to build a dream… but at a certain age that dream needs to be fulfilled! I am even willing to work with a man who has been married before and is paying alimony and child support so therefore his money is going toward his former family. But what I “ain’t” gon’ do is date an old ass broke man! That’s just a deal breaker for me. I started to have a mild panic attack. Suddenly the sight of him was a turn off. I had to figure out a way to get the fuck out of there. I knew I wasn’t going to go out with him EVER again. But at the same time he hadn’t done anything drastically fucked up. I politely excused myself to the bathroom. I discreetly found the waitress. I gave her my credit card and paid for the meal. Maybe I was being a little dramatic, but I was over men acting like we women use them for free meals. So I decided to take the hit on this. At least, he can’t say I was trying to use him. I got back to the table and when he asked the waitress for the check I chimed in.
Me: Larry, this is on me.
Larry: Why did you do that?
Me: Because you were going on and on about how business is slow for you and I wasn’t comfortable with you paying for the meal.
Larry: I am a gentleman, I would never expect for a woman to pay for the meal.
Me: I understand that. And yes you are a nice guy. But I wasn’t comfortable with you paying for the meal. It’s been a long night and I’m exhausted.
I faked a yawn and we got up to leave. He walked me to my car and had the audacity to attempt to give me a kiss. I turned my head and did the 3 pat hug and got in my car. Perhaps I was being a little dramatic. Actually, I can admit I was being dramatic. But I was sooooooo turned off. I knew something was off. At this point in my life I am not interested in dating a man who doesn’t have his shit together at that age. I could see if I wasn’t bringing anything to the table. But, I just knew it wasn’t going to work. Not to mention, if a man hits a certain age and has never been married, engaged, or in a serious relationship, something is definitely wrong. And I wasn’t willing to waste my pretty to find out with “Larry.”
“Larry” called me the next day.
Larry: I’ve been thinking about our date the other night. And feel unsettled. I would never take a woman out and expect her to pay.
Me: I wasn’t comfortable with you paying for the meal when you kept stressing out about how slow business was.
Larry: Well I think you misunderstood me.
Me: Maybe I did. I think you’re a cool guy but I just don’t think you and I are a good fit.
Larry: Can you please let me make it up to you?
Me: Larry, it’s all good.
We talked a little longer and I realized that although “Larry” and I were not a love connection we could at least be friends. Not every man I date is an utter asshole. There are some men who just aren’t a good fit. It doesn’t mean that we will never speak again and be sworn enemies. But I am open to letting men in my life as friends too. But I know me, and I know when something doesn’t feel right in my gut then it’s not right. Perhaps that makes me picky, perhaps that means that my “1%” chance of meeting the right man is now lowered to .5%. But at least I know when I follow my heart and let me inner loving diva guide me through this dating scene I will have 100% certainty when something is right and I will not settle for less than what I need and desire.