#1: Running Into An Ex When You’re Looking Extra Cute

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(from my blog Stuff That Makes Me Smile)

I had one of those moments today that all jilted rejected girls dream of having (and if you say you’ve never thought about this you’re lying).   I was in the grocery store cruising the dairy aisle, when I spotted a familiar face.

It was my ex-boyfriend Rick, the guy I was head over heels in love with. The same guy who had the courtesy of dumping me via a text message totally without warning.

Rick and I met in college and after we stopped seeing each other I ran into him one time on a morning when I’d overslept. I was running late so I threw on some clothes and didn’t comb my hair. I looked something like this:

It was horrible. I dreamed of the one day when I’d get a chance to redeem myself. It just so happened that, totally unplanned, that I put on a cute dress, with boots and leggings and a cute no ‘do.

I know exactly what it is. Its the secret wish that he will realize what a fool he was and want you back. Or it is the idea that he had a foxy chick and because he was a total jackass he lost out on the fabulousness that is you.

Redemption is so sweet.

Me on a Soapbox: Love advice from J-Lo

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 Jennifer Lopez  actually said something that got me thinking.

I wrote about this in my other blog Pop Culture Inspirations (shameless plug).

 On a lazy day off I was watching J-Lo’s Behind the Music on TiVo. They were talking about her life and many loves: Diddy and Ben Affleck, etc. They end on how she’s finally found lasting love with husband Marc Anthony. Then she said something so profound. I’m paraphrasing, but basically she said being with him makes her want to be a better person and thus being with him makes her better.

It was an a-ha moment for me. This is what I’ve been doing wrong. Find a person you love and that makes you a better person. She didn’t say find the guy with the most money or find the sexiest guy. She said find the guy who makes you want to be better.

 This woman has dated  all types of men from the rich and powerful (music  mogul Diddy and actor/writer Ben Affleck) to regular guys (waiter Ojani Noa and backup dancer Cris Judd). She has dated across racial lines (black, white, Latino).

 I’m by no means a relationship expert, in fact I’m the queen of bad relationships. I do however know this is a method I have not actively tried. I opt for the guy who is the cutest or the most fun or who has the best swagger. None of those things have amounted to diddly squat and here I am 30-years-old, perpetually single, and the only one of my siblings not to give my parents a grandchild.

 I guess the point I’m making is sometimes we have to go outside of our comfort zone to get something we’ve never had before. My most recent relationship was with a guy who was a teacher and was pursuing an advanced degree. He had a job where he was making a contribution to society. He was making himself better educated. It made me realize I could be doing more. It made me want to be more.

 Insanity is doing the same thing and getting a different result. Maybe finding love is doing something so totally different and being open to the possibilities.

My New Favorite Thing: Black Feminist Writer Joan Morgan

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“I did not know that feminism is what you called it when black warrior women moved mountains and walked on water. Growing up in their company, I considered these things ordinary.” ~ Joan Morgan

I’ve been suspecting it for a little while now, but Joan Morgan’s “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost” officially confirmed it for me.

I’m a black feminist.

I remember once in a job interview being asked “What am I passionate about? What motivates me? That was a year ago and I didn’t know. I remember BSing some answer that obviously didn’t work because I didn’t get the job.

In a year of unemployment, college, dating, loving, dumping, and being dumped by black men, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I can finally say with certainty I know what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about advancing my people. Particularly black women.  I find myself increasingly concerned with how black women are treated, how black women are depicted, and how black women are perceived. The older, wiser Brandy no longer hates on a young, black girl because she’s got a bigger ass than me, dresses a little more fly than me, or gets more male attention than me. I can’t hate on young black girls, because I’ve been a young black girl. I know how hard it is out there for us. We don’t need anything additional working against us. If anything we need more of us loving and supporting each other. We need to bond together, we need to create a network. And we need to love ourselves just as much, and in some cases, more than we love our black brothers. Only then, will we be able to get what we need from our brothers, our lovers, our communities, this country, and this world.

So Morgan’s addresses this issue in a passage from “Chickenheads.” She’s been ambushed by three black men upset by a pro-woman response to the racial implications of the raping of a white Central Park jogger allegedly by black teenage boys. Her defense, for me, addresses the dark secret of black relationships that is so rarely talked about:

“Whatcha really wanna know is how I feel about brothas.  It’s simple. I love black men like I love no other. And I’m not talking sex or aesthetics, I’m talking about loving y’all enough to be down for the drama — stomping anything that threatens your existence. Now only a fool loves that hard without asking the same in return. So yeah, I demand that black men fight sexism with the same passion they battle racism. I want you to annihilate anything that endangers sistas’ welfare — including violence against women — because my survival walks hand in hand with yours. So, my brotha, if loving y’all fiercely and wanting it back makes me a feminist than I’m a feminist. So be it.”

This sentiment is on point. It’s upsetting that black men sometimes look at black women as the enemy for expecting to be respected and loved the same way we respect and love them. I digress though.

The book is fantastic. Her writing is fantastic.Check it for yourself here, along with other works by Morgan.

Why chick flicks have screwed up my love life

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My sister was having some man problems and decided to ask me for advice. (Why, I don’t know since I’m chronically single). During this conversation I made kind of a sad discovery about my relationships.

 I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve remained friends with 98% of my exes. In fact, many of my exes are some of my closest male friends to this day. I think sometimes people are meant to be in our lives not as lovers but as good friends. Its just that I tend not to discover this until after I’ve rushed into the relationship with them.

 Well the convo with my sister made me realize that I’ve never in my entire dating life dated a man who was my friend first. When I look over my dating track record I’ve realized that all of my boyfriends were lovers first then friends. I don’t really  know what its like to have a friendship with a person and then have it develop into a relationship. That’s unfortunate.

 This is the point where movie romances have totally screwed me up in the real world of dating. I’m gonna blame every chick flick ever made for this. For two reasons, first my standards of romance are so unbelievably high that no man will measure up to them. I deem any man unromantic who doesn’t write poems like Larenz Tate in Love Jones or hold a boombox over his head like John Cusack in Say Anything because this is what I’ve grown to believe men who really like you are supposed to do. The flip side of this is movies like When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have this great friendship that they almost ruin when they have sex and then of course they fall in love and it works out in the end.

 I want to know what thats like. The only problem is the guys don’t become my friends until after we’ve become intimate and started hating each other. Its like I’m playing the movie in reverse.

 Could this be part of the reason I’m single? Can anyone else relate to this or am I riding on a boat all by myself on ths one?

Old Navy flip flops and the worst dates ever

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A pair of sandles like these play a big part in one of my worst dates ever

 My really horrible date this weekend inspired me to compile a list of my  most heinous dating offenses. These are all true by the way and in no particular order. (I’m currently single and no longer dating any of these guys)

  1. Surfing a dating site while on a date with me
  2. Trying to get me to buy you a pair of man sandles from Old Navy and lunch on our first date
  3. Telling me AFTER we’re already in line at the food court for our lunch date, the date you invited me on, that our meal is dutch
  4. Making a drug transaction while I sit in the car and wait for you
  5. Telling me your forgot your wallet AFTER we’ve already ordered and eaten dinner
  6. “Accidentally” ordering two appetizers plus your dinner and drinks for a dinner that you aren’t paying for
  7. Running into not 1, not 2, but 3 of your ex-girlfriends while on a date
  8. Invite me to a party at your family’s house and then you disappear for over an hour (this has happened twice with two different guys)
  9. Making a scene, yelling, and accusing the guy behind the counter of flirting with me because you think it takes to long for me to order our meal
  10. Getting drunk, stealing my car keys, and driving off in my car
  11. Waiting until I fall asleep and then stealing my cell phone and $27 out of my wallet
  12. Having sex with my roommate while I’m in my bedroom sleeping
  13. Calling your ex-girlfriend and getting visibly upset that she’s going on a date with someone else
  14. Trying to get another girl’s phone number in front of me and pretending that you want it for some other reason than to hook up with her
  15. Telling me after we’ve been on a few dates and hooked up that you already have a girlfriend
  16. Leaving me in a store while you talk to your friend, leaving the store to go to his house, but never tell me you left
  17. Loudly telling a hotel clerk, while we’re on vacation together, that we need a room with a single bed because it’ll be hard for us to have sex in a double bed
  18. Asking the clerk in a aromatics store for a scent that will make the room smell good for when we “knock boots” later (this is a different guy than #17)
  19. Almost run us into a guard rail while driving me home because you are texting and trying to watch rap videos on your dashboard TV at the same time as driving
  20. Pulling a knife on a guy at the club for having a conversation with me

…speechless after I saw this.

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Saw this on the magazine stand and literally stopped in my tracks:

My thought was, “Oh wow!” I don’t really follow football so I had no idea who this was (it’s Reggie Bush, BTW). Of course, I was looking at this purely superficially, but on some further research I found this was a controversial cover.

 Some Essence readers had a problem with Reggie Bush being on the cover of a magazine for black women when he’s been in a pretty long, very public relationship with a woman who isn’t black. (Bush is dating reality TV star Kim Kardashian who is of Armenian descent). One reader comment  claimed “Bush had shunned Black women.”

 I can argue for both sides on this. First of all I have not seen or read anything that says Reggie Bush is against dating Black women. For totally selfish reasons I hope that’s not true (no chance for me, not that there was one anyway). Dating someone outside of your race by no means says you’ve shunned your race. If he has come out against dating black women than I agree that he is not an appropriate person to grace the cover of a magazine dedicated primarily to Black women. Put him inside, maybe, but not on the cover.

 My belief is that Essence made an excellent choice of cover models. I have not picked up an Essence magazine in months and I saw that cover and grabbed it immediately. I took it to the checkout counter and the cashier had the same reaction I did. It gets attention. Plus the issue is a celebration of Black men and there is no question Reggie Bush is a black man.

 Let the man date who he wants. Its not our business. If we put that same energy into our own relationships I think a lot less of our relationships would be in trouble. Just saying.

 What do you think? Are you offended by Reggie Bush being on the cover of Essence? Does it bother you that he is not dating a black woman?

…thinking like a man.

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In an effort to understand the male mind a little bit better over the past few months I’ve read three relationship books by men for women. All three books attempted to put women at a dating advantage by allowing us to understand how men think about women. After a year of being single I applied some of the techniques and caught me a hot, sexy guy. Was it the books? Who knows, but if you’ll indulge me I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned over the next three blog posts.

Actor/comedian Steve Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” was a best seller. He was all over the place giving love and relationship advice. And for good reason, the book was an incredible insight into the male psyche. Steve’s book forced me to look at myself the way a man sees me. Once I understood how a man saw me I understood their behavior.

One concept that stood out for me was his sportsfishing analogy. He explained that men sometimes view dating and pursuing women like fishing. There are the women that they catch and keep and then there is sports fishing where they fish just to see what they can get and then throw it back. That’s sports fishing. I never realized it, but I was a sports fish.

I say that because I always thought of myself as the type of girlfriend who didn’t put pressure on her man. I was never the type that would hound you about your whereabouts. I’m a free-spirit and I take that attitude into my relationships. I was always carefree and fun, with very little rules. I was always open to trying wild and adventurous things. What I learned is that men like those kinds of women, but they don’t date or marry those kinds of women.

They need and want rules and restrictions, just not too many. Also, being too wild and free makes them wonder if you are capable of being serious as a mother or a wife. I thought this was fascinating. I wonder if any of my guy readers agree or disagree with Steve’s take on this? What do you think? Do guys like freedom or do they need rules?

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