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...or why some of you lazy lions need to quit nibbling on mangy squirrels.  This is based on a true story conveyed by my friend Aletheia Silcott, who gave a whole lot of thought to this whole Serengeti analogy - I love her for this.  :-)
*inserts tongue semi-firmly into left-cheek*

I've been away for a while, dating, relating, socializing, living. It's been fun and an adventure. And with adventures, come....stories.

So here's the scenario: some friends of mine & I hit up a local sports bar to watch one of the playoff football games a few months ago. I join them late, and realize there's a bit of a ruckus at the bar. They soon catch me up, and it turns into a great analogy for the animals of the Serengeti. So allow me to paint the picture, illustrate this with inline references to the Animals of the Serengeti.


The story:  My friends get there before I do - both are beautiful 30-somethings, with a focus on staying fit, as well as being career-oriented, upwardly mobile, traditional values/morals and for any brother they'd be an asset. A gazelle, if you will.  Although they're open to dating, they really are at the sports bar to watch the football game -eye-candy is a bonus for them. So there they are, grazing and observing the goings-on in the dating wilderness (the Serengeti), and....

mangy_squirrel.jpgIn walks a mangy squirrel.  A visibly drunk 40+-something woman, with a blonde-streaked wig that was slightly askew, House of Dereon jeans that don't quite hide her muffin top, and her radar fully engaged in her search for a lion (didn't know that squirrels hunt, did'ja?). *author's note:  My generation, I tell ya - some of us let that "30 is the new 20" Jay-Z lyric really go to our head.*  She orders a drink, makes conversation with her bar neighbors, and then sets her sights on some sort of furry mammals at the other end of the bar - about 10 feet away.  With her beer-goggles fully on, not sure she can even SEE the other end of the bar, but neverthelesss...she goes in for the kill.  Or to at least acquaint herself with her future prey.

 

English: Grant's Gazelles (Nanger granti), Ser...

English: Grant's Gazelles (Nanger granti), Serengeti National Park, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My gazelle friends observe all this in amusement, as they try to snag a seat for me.  The mangy squirrel gets a bit territorial about the neighboring barstools, as she moseys over to the male mammals at the other end of the bar.  They look kinda lion-like in her view, so she relinquishes the bar stool, and heads over to mark her territory with said lions.  Eventually, I get there and try to snag a barstool in the now crowded Serengeti. 

 

This is where it gets kinda interesting.  My gazelle friends catch me up, as the mangy squirrel returns to her seat, with a drink that the "lion" has bought her.  They'd had some time to chat and get to know each other, to procure drinks and (apparently) size each other up.  Not sure if there was an agreement on who was prey, and who was going to be preyed upon, but nevertheless the seeds of a vibe are shared. She returns to her seat, downs the drink the lion procured for her, then...she....in...slow...motion...begins...to...sag... slowly...down...onto...the...bar... and......passes out.  Head on hands, hands on bar.  She did finish that drink first though. #trooper

Ever watch something like this go down, and think - did that just happen o.O? Me, my fellow gazelles that are next to her, as well as the bartender watch this slow-motion-pass-out in awe. No drink spilled, no falling on the floor. I gotta give it to the squirrel - she passed out as gracefully as a mangy squirrel could muster.  The bartender, bar manager and staff kick into damage control mode.  We get free shots from the bartender for our "inconvenience" - aptly named "the crack ho" in the mangy squirrel's honor".  The bar manager attempts to wake her up, then he and some female staff members walk the mangy squirrel to the ladies room.  Squirrelly is now insisting that she can drive home (uh, no can do) as the manager calls for paramedics and police. 

IMG_4997.jpgAll this activity leaves a barstool next to the gazelle crew open. And the other bar mammals observing. Including the lion-looking mammal at the other end of the bar, who notices the empty spot next to us and decided to come over.  The lion-looking mammal introduces himself as a Dr. and proceeds to strike up a conversation.  And buy us a round of drinks.  And ignore the fact that the mangy squirrel is passed out on the ladies room floor with the paramedics checking on her and the police on their way.  And ignore the fact that the drink he bought her was her tipping point. So, being a gazelle and observing the rest of the jungle animals thus far, my friend had to ask:

Gazelle: "So um...you're not concerned with your friend's condition at this point?"

Lion-like mamal: "Oh, you're talking about the woman that was sitting here before?  I don't know her..."

Gazelle:  "Wait, didn't the two of you just spend the last 30 minutes or so talking?"

Lion-like mamal: "She came over and introduced herself, but I never met her before in my life..."

Gazelle: "So, um...the fact that y'all were talking...and you thought enough of her to buy her a drink and continue the conversation doesn't play into her current condition at all?  You don't want to check on her or anything...?"

Lion-like mamal: "Look, she's a grown woman, who should be able to handle herself.  We talked, but she came over to me...I don't know her.  It's bad that she's in there passed out, but the manager & paramedics are taking care of her...what more can I do?"

Gazelle:  "Hm.  Interesting" *sips the drink the Lion-like mamal bought for her.

The Lion-like mamal continued talking a bit about himself, complimented another of my friends, gave us his business card (yes, he's a Dr. for real), then proceeded to leave.  He had to walk past the ladies room on his way out, but I'd be lying if I said he actually glanced towards the passed-out mangy squirrel. 

 

Ever notice how much a hyena looks like a lion - when you have your beer-goggles on?

collage2.jpg

 

I'm sure Dr. Drink-procurer thinks he's a lion.  He wasn't an unattractive brother, upwardly mobile, possibly affluent, educated, and I'm sure he's got all the accessories (house, car, income, etc) that all that affords.  But it's funny how quickly a self-proclaimed "lion" can start resembling a hyena, once he bares his teeth - when his character is actually revealed. Is he actually a lion?  Remains to be seen.  However, at best - he was a lazy lion since he swatted that squirrel down & started gnawing on nit, before he realized how mangy it actually was...

 

Serengeti_2007 036

Serengeti_2007 036 (Photo credit: El Toñio)

Animals in the Serengeti as a dating analogy? Even if you never really bought into the whole dating being akin to the hunting/gathering metaphors, the Serengeti analogy kind of works.  Take an environment (the Serengeti - or a sports bar/nightclub/dating website/party/etc.).  Add in the locals (wildlife if you will - whether it's animals in the Serengeti or humans interacting at a party).  You'll come up with a cast of characters - some common attributes (they're all furry, warm-blooded and looking for...sustenance...lol).  And some differentiators (what they're actually looking for - love - lust - breeding ground - prey).  You can start seeing how the characters take on certain characteristics...beginning to resemble certain species.  There are lions, tigers, panthers, cougars....gazelles & antelopes...zebras, giraffes, hyenas & dingos...bushrats and squirrels.  All kinds of wildlife...lol.  And some of those folks are a bit, er - confused about whether they're a predator or prey, and which type of predator they actually are ;-)

 

The moral to this story:  Meh...there's isn't one...it's continuing to play out in social venues everywhere.  Well, maybe if you're a lazy lion - or a hyena  -you want to refrain from nibbling on mangy squirrels if you really want a gazelle (no self-respecting gazelle wants to deal with a lion that will actually eat a mangy squirrel).  Or maybe you should figure out if your actions are that of a lion instead of a dingo.  Or a mangy squirrel instead of a gazelle. Or....

 

...bump it.  I'm suddenly hungry for some red meat...more later... *toodles* ;-)

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author's note: feel free to play this with the rhythm only version of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" playing in the background. Go get it...I'll wait...

young-black-couple1.jpg... the more I think about dating, relationships and what I want, the more I think...

I want someone who wants me.

I started writing this with the thought "I don't want to be objectified anymore" firmly in my mind, but that comes off really negative. Even if it is accurate. My lovelife is a series of unfortunate events, but one commonality is that the men I've dated love/like PART of me. As an object. But not all of me. The cute part. Or the smart part. Or the sexy part. But not always all of the above. Objects, not the totality. And I don't want to be objectified anymore.

However, even as that's true - I don't want to be negative.

So here's what I'm positive about.

I want someone who wants me. All of me. Good, bad & ugly. I want someone who wants me sexually, but also wants the intelligent me. The me who analyzes almost anything/everything. The me who pays way too much attention to detail, and still manages to see the big picture. The one that makes change in their head when she checks out at the grocery store.


The snoring me. The me who likes to stay up/out late and sleep late on weekends. The me who thinks she's sexy in your old holey t-shirts me. The me that volunteers because she's blessed and feels that service is our duty. The me who believes in community and the "talented tenth". The me that has a tattoo on. her. neck.

I want someone who wants the me that cannot make grits to save her life. And the me that likes Marvel Comic books. And the me that thinks chitlins are disgusting - even if he personally eats chitlins. He has to understand that I will never learn how to make them for him. But I will make him salmon croquettes, even tho I don't eat them. And my salmon croquettes are pretty awesome.

He has to like the sensitive me. The me that cries every time I watch Shug sing "God is Trying to Gell You Something" to her father in "The Color Purple". Or tweaks the thighs of fat babies. And routes for the underdog.

'nuff said. #truth #life #scandal #love #beaut...
I want someone who appreciates the driven me.
The one who's really competitive and ambitious, but not at the detriment of her "circle". He has to be comfortable that I don't want to compete with him. He has to know he's "in" that circle. And not get freaked out if/when my driven side rears its competitive head. And he has to like the me that drives > 30mph OVER the speed limit. At least enough to tell her to slow the hell down ' cause he want to love her for a whiiiile.

I could go on, but you get it right? I am c-o-m-p-l-i-c-a-t-e-d. And imperfect. And more than just a phat ass, an education, a decent job and a hoopty. I'm more than an addiction to fashion, a penchant for reality TV shows and a healthy addiction to Kerri Washington's lips.

I'm more than just a pretty face. More than just an icon to be idolized from afar. And I need that someone to know THAT in his bones and love all of that. Or at least have an appreciation for the parts of me that aren't easy to like. I'm human. Imperfect.

And constantly evolving. People change. When he signs up for "me" I need him to also understand that "me" is an ever-evolving entity. He has to want that too.

Because ...see...that's what I want. I don't want to fall head over heels for a monolith.

I want...him. Someone awesome. Human. Imperfect. And deserving of my penchant for X-Men, Norma Kamali, passport stamps, Goodwill runs, RHOA and $5 matinees at AMC.

Yes, I want someone that wants me.

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In answer to the

Image via Wikipedia

Preface:  this is probably the main reason why I got my "voice" back.  This idea isn't solely a case of perception; the glass being half empty or half full is semantics at the moment.  More relevant is what's in the glass, and whether I want to drink what's in it.

 

Yes, I'm considering throwing in the towel on dating, relationships, marriage, partnership and happily-ever-after, completely.  I've been considering it for quite a while, actually.

A bit of background:  When I was 37-ish, I had a frank conversation with my older, wizened gynecologist, about my fibroids.  One of the tumors was inoperable via less invasive procedures, and he recommended a hysterectomy.  I was holding out the hope that the guy I was, er, boning on the regular, would pony up to commitment, so I could use 1 last egg to have another child.  2 years later, when that didn't happen, I held an emotional funeral internally for my unused eggs.  I mourned them for a long time, thought a lot about missed opportunities and whether or not the decision to hold on to my uterus was wise, given my statistics:  single (never married), black, woman, parent, resident of Atlanta.  The odds were never exactly stacked in my favor.

What the heck does all that have to do with dating, exactly?:  I have that exact same feeling again.  The mourning feeling.  The odds not being stacked in my favor feeling.  Compounded with the feeling that I haven't enjoyed "dating" in this century.  The funeral hymn is playing in the background, but wait I'm jumping ahead...

I'm Not Feeling You

Image via Wikipedia

The idea of dating has lost its appeal:  It has become more chore than fun. The same stats that suggested I probably wouldn't have another child seem to suggest that I should settle.  Compromise.  Lower my standards.  Drink what's in the glass being presented to me - if I buy into statistics that is.  Or, if I buy into what men, black men specifically (can't speak to others, since I don't date them) are presenting me with.

A few recent cases in point:

  • The brother who refuses to "date" because he "doesn't want to waste money getting to know me".  He'd rather get to know me by putting his proverbial feet on my proverbial couch (double entendre intended).
  • The brothas completely lacking creativity, inspiration or even thought in their approach.  Typically, the approach is: "Hey, I'm not busy so if you're not busy, maybe you can come up with something for us to do?  Just watch the budget"

  • The brothas looking for instant-
    16.06.MMM.WDC.16oct95

    Image by ElvertBarnes via Flickr

    relationships:  men who "claim" they want to settle down either the instant they lay eyes on me, or when they realize I fit their mold of the "significant other" they're looking for.  They have a square hole...I'm a bit round, but I guess I look like I might fit...
  • The brothas looking for someone to upgrade them:  'nuff said
  • The brothas looking to upgrade themselves:  you're a solid 5 on a scale of 1-10. but as a single, black man of a certain age, with a job, all your teeth and a health plan, you're looking to date outside your weight class.  I get that.  But that does not get you a dime, unless you're willing to pay for it.  And that doesn't ensure that I'm going to date a 2, because the odds are against me.  I don't care how many 2s try this logic.
  • The brothas lacking in social graces, the brothas lacking in manners/etiquette, the brothas, the brothas, the brothas...

I don't mean to let women off the hook (them being "thirsty" and "doing the most" and all).  And I have, at times, been that exact woman.  But it's the brothas I date, and the brothas are presenting me with the glass that's full of, frankly, shyt.  I simply have lost the taste for it.

Don't get it twisted:  I love black men, still.  But I am losing the desire to date one, in any way, shape or form.

And on relationships:  I haven't had one in over 14 years.  Next topic...

African American couple sunset engagement port...

Image by Ryan Smith Photography via Flickr

So, what to do?:  I have thought about this, prayed, slept, worried, talked to a counselor, talked to friends and have read (and continue to read) self-help and relationship books.  Not the Steve Harvey kind either.

I'm attending a webinar with a clinical psychologist about dating black men later this week, and hope to pose this as a question.

But seriously, and this question isn't rhetorical - what do you do when you're ready to give up?  When the funeral hymn is playing in the background, and the idea (body) is laid out on the casket, ready for viewing?  Is it at this point you call a doctor for a cure?

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