30 Day Writing Challenge
Day Eleven: Your Current Relationship (if single, discuss that too)
When I saw this topic listed for Day Eleven of the 30 Day Challenge, I was delighted! I don’t have a relationship to discuss, so I will instead share my post-divorce experiences and outlook on love and dating in the 21st century.
From the time my divorce was in 2009, I’ve spent more time single than I have involved. Indeed, my stretches of singlehood and celibacy have been so long that others are more perturbed by it than I am. In my early twenties, being partnered in the hopes of getting ‘the ring’ was an immediate goal. After turning 30? Not so much. In spite of all the propaganda that tells women they are worthless and defective without a man in their life, I’ve matured enough not to see being single as some curse.
With that said, the desire to share my life with a worthy man still arises. The idea of a relationship where we build and maintain intimacy appeals to me. In the hopes of finding this, I’ve left my state of hibernation a few times. Armed with both a deeper awareness of myself and understanding of past mistakes, I thought I was ready. Dani, you got this, I told myself. I was “willing and able” to invest myself in a man who was down to do the same.
Knowing that I wasn’t going to meet any men sitting at home, I braced myself to wade back into the dating pool. But each time I’ve encountered such high levels of foolishness that left me thinking I shouldn’t bother dating at all, for I’m just unable to deal.
To this day, my most appalling and baffling date was with a man I nicknamed ‘Taco Meat’ due to the abundance of chest hair spilling out of his white v-neck. Over dinner Taco Meat disclosed that he was the father of a three-month-old son. That disclosure required a moment of silence from me.
When I asked him to elaborate it went even further downhill. He insisted that the mother of his child was ‘hoe’ who ‘tricked’ him into pregnancy though they both made the conscious decision to have intercourse without a condom or hormonal birth control. Taco Meat then complained about having to pay $300 a month in child support, which is quite little considering the cost of diapers and childcare alone for a baby that young. If all that wasn’t bad enough he then called his child a little N-word for whom he felt nothing.
Never in my life had I had the displeasure of meeting a man who was that uncouth. That was the first and last time I saw Taco Meat. And though I (thankfully) haven’t dealt with anyone who was that repugnant since, there is something Taco Meat and others have in common: the expectation that their trifling behavior should be accepted.
For me, however, the struggle just ain’t that damn real! I understand that there are going to be certain compromises made in a relationship. But having a relationship with someone who is messy, and lacks integrity and values not one of them.
On multiple occasions, I’ve wondered what happened. Whether swapping notes on dating life with my friend Dexter or having wine-fueled conversations with friends on girls’ night in, the same questions come up:
- When did it become so hard?
- Are we crazy for setting certain standards?
- Have the standards hit the floor?
- Should we blame social media and online dating sites for facilitating a hookup culture?
But as much as I would like to point a finger at others, the fact remained that I was constant in each situation. So perhaps it was necessary to examine the role that my personality and idiosyncrasies played in how I relate to men. My mother once described me as high maintenance and prissy. Rejected suitors have described me in less favorable terms:
- Expects too much
Given the era that I live in they may be right. Thinking of what I’ve been told to accept causes me to feel out-of-place, like a relic, a throwback to another time. And I’m forced to confront my truth. I never jettisoned all of the ideas that my family and former religion implanted in me about my position as a woman, how I carry myself and the type of men I should entertain; and these ideas are now part of who I am.
“Netflix and chill”does not work for me. Even during the height of my reproductive years, casual sex held no attraction. The meat market feel on online dating sites is a turnoff-I haven’t had a profile on one in almost two years. The receipt of a “wyd” text after 10 pm on a Friday or Saturday night elicits nothing but an eye roll from me. And when I see alarming red flags, boundaries are crossed, and I learn I’ve was deceived, I leave the situation and don’t look back. I’m not content to just be one among many women that a man juggles (and I also don’t seek to manipulate partners). A man being an uninvolved father and having a trail of children with multiple women isn’t just a minor issue that I can overlook.
I’m disinclined to deal with any of these scenarios, and this earned me the titles of stuck-up and the like. But I can live with that. I’ll wear proudly rock labels like siditty, bougie and spoiled before I ever deign to go along with the new normal.