Tonight, I got dressed up and took myself out to dinner. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but I knew I needed to shake things up and get out of my comfort zone. I’m ready to get out in the dating world in full-force and be noticed and seen, but it’s hard because sometimes my self-doubt and worry causes me to stick to the tried and true method of spending my day alone, in safety and comfort of my own home. But, this summer is about experimenting with the new, sexier, fun, happy, grounded side of me that I’m trying to grow and nurture and bring out into the world. How could someone who has traveled to Italy and Ireland on her own get nervous going out to eat in her own town? But, I did feel nervous, and really vulnerable. Yet, I went in anyway with shoulders back and a smile on my face.
As I sat on the patio of a local restaurant, I made the decision not to check my phone once while I was there. I didn’t want to use it as my crutch and pretend people around me didn’t exist or pretend that they didn’t notice me. I ate my meal slowly, savoring each bite. I drank my wine slowly, letting it meld with my dinner. I watched elderly people on a date, a family gathering of 10, and listened to the dynamic and vivacious women at the table next to me. I listened more closely as the evening progressed, picking up sound bites and trying really hard not to laugh at their remarks to one another. I didn’t want to eavesdrop or be rude.
They were five black women, two of them were single and they were all in their late 30s, early 40s. The married women were trying to put some sense into one of their single friends and convince her the guy she met online was a player and had a wife or another woman on the side. And, the single lady kept saying, “I know. There are red flags. I know. But, he’s so cute. It’s all so complicated. I just don’t know what to do.” She kept giving an excuse for all of his excuses and bad-behavior.
All the other women chimed in with “Mmmm Hmmms” and rolled their eyes and laughed at her naivety while the poor single woman said, “I don’t know. But, look at his picture. He’s cute, right?”
The others passed her phone around and looked at his picture and found all his flaws and pointed them out to her, just to remind her that he’s shady and is lying to her and he’s probably got another woman on the side, or worse, he’s married. And, I had to admit, the red flags were there: texting her a message that was obviously meant for someone else; missing a few of their dates and then making up excuses afterwards; not returning her phone calls or text messages; and telling her that he has to go pick up his daughter, and then she runs into him at a local bar later.
One of her friends teased her and asked, “What kinda music does he listen to?”
She hesitated and said, “Rap.”
“Girl, rap’s good. If it’s old school rap. Is he one of those men that pull up in his Lexus and got his windows rolled down and blaring his shit rap music of today? ‘Cuz I’ve seen those guys, and they look stupid with those bad lyrics and curse words going. The only one worth listening to with those curse words is Tupac. These old guys drive up in their Lexuses with their windows rolled down playin’ this new rap music is just plain stupid. I just wanna tell ’em ‘You old! You old! You probably got back problems! Turn that shit off and go home!'”
I nearly choked on my pizza and started laughing. They noticed me and I apologized for having overheard their conversation. They started laughing with me and we shared dating stories, good and bad. They all got really excited and asked me, “Don’t you think he’s married or got a girlfriend? C’mon! We know you’ve been listening.” I laughed some more and tried to gracefully bow out of giving my judgement. I asked, “How old is he again?” And the woman dating him said, “45.” I hesitantly asked, “What kind of rap music does he listen to?” And her friends started laughing and clapping. She hung her head and sheepishly said, “The new kind.”
I jokingly replied, “That’s reason enough to stop dating him.” She laughed and said, “Yeah! You’re right. I know. You’re right.” I chimed in about one of my dating stories where a man hurt my feelings by leading me on and dropping me cold turkey when his emotions got too hard to handle. I added in the latest date when a man insulted me by telling me that no man wants to be around a woman that is too outspoken. It’s a miracle that I’m still out there in the field looking for the right one who wants to be with a strong, opinionated, passionate, funny and intelligent woman, just like the single woman next to me tonight. She and her friends lamented, offered their opinions and advice. It was enough to be in the company of sisterhood this evening. They were my entertainment, mentors, sounding board and support. Cute guys are fun and complicated to date and can easily break your heart or shatter your dreams, but strong women have your back every time. They’re the ones that help you find your self-worth so you can value yourself and be ready for when the right one comes along. And if he happens to like Tupac’s music and can have a conversation with you over a bottle of wine, more power to him.