Stuck (Part II)

I sat and stared at that piece of paper for hours before I finally worked up the nerve to use the telephone number written on it.  Even though I give guys a lot of lip about relying heavily on text messages, it seemed like a text would be less awkward than a phone call.  And, so… I sent a text.  Just told him my name and that the doorman gave him my number and because I didn’t know what else to say, I wrote: “Um… I’m not sure what else to say, lol… :-)”

Then I waited.  But I didn’t have to wait long.  He wrote back almost immediately.   His response: “Lol, well, there’s nothing much to say obviously I’m interested here a start my name [his name]”

Hmm…

See anything wrong with that message?!  Mega typos or… just poor grammar?  Either way, my nerves were completely grated.  In the first message.

Most of you don’t know me personally, so you wouldn’t understand why this was such a major disappointment.

Allow me to reintroduce myself.  “Hello, my name is [Me]… and I am a grammar snob.”

Here’s the thing about texting and email communication and even Facebook status updates and tweets… all these media that require writing uncover the closet illiterates very early on in your relationship. I assume that before the days of the Internet, it was conceivable that you might meet someone and never discover that they couldn’t write until after you’d already fallen for them and by then their writing challenges would be secondary to the love you might be feeling. But these days, particularly when you are dating online, these issues present themselves a lot sooner, resulting in interesting questions.

Questions like what job/career could you possibly have if you can’t even string a few words together to construct a simple sentence? Most jobs (except maybe those that involve manual labor?) require some sort of facility with email, which means you’d have to be able to at least write in a way that sort of makes sense. But maybe some employers have lower standards than I have for my employees… Maybe?

I didn’t want to “throw the baby out with the bath water” so to speak. (That’s a “Daddyism” a.k.a. Shit My Dad Says.  I’ll frequently share Daddyisms as we go along.) Because I’m in a place where I’m trying new approaches to dating, I figured that perhaps I should try to give this guy another shot. Maybe he was just distracted and that’s why his message made no sense.

But… No.

I continued to exchange messages with him and they were progressively worse than the first (if that’s possible!). It got to the point where I had to read messages a few times before I could even get the gist of what he was saying. It was awful. And I was embarrassed for him. Illiteracy — even functional illiteracy — is one of my deal breakers. And, so, despite My Buddy’s (the doorman) effort, there can be no love connection between me and the cute guy from the building.

Eventually, we moved from text to telephone and the conversation wasn’t forced. He is much more article verbally than he is in writing (thanks be to God!), so we were able to make small talk and that was cool. He asked if I’d like to go for happy hour one day, which is one of my most favorite activities, so I agreed. There’s no date set in stone, but I’m always down for a drink with a guy who seems cool. That said, that’s as far as it will go.

My friends will roll their eyes when they hear this story. Sure, the guy was cute and made decent small talk, and maybe to others (perhaps even to YOU), grammar, punctuation (or lack thereof), improper word usage, and typos are minor. To me, they’re quite major. Even when I see my Facebook and Instagram friends botch there/they’re/their and to/too/two or here/hear, I’m driven to the point of distraction. I don’t know if I could accept it in my mate.

And there’s a life lesson here, too. Everyone… And I do mean EVERYONE… Including me, including YOU (yes, I know we’re perfect, but humor me here) has shortcomings. The man of your dreams WILL have shortcomings. There will be things he can’t/won’t do at all or things that he can’t/won’t do very well. Some of those things will be no big deal. Other things will totally set you off and jump all over that one nerve you have left.

Don’t let anyone else convince you that you have to deal with some stuff that you know you can’t stand. Get to know yourself well enough to identify your deal breakers and do not be shamed into lowering your standards for the sake of a full dating calendar. It’s okay to be discriminating and it’s also okay for you to discriminate based on things that other people find trivial. Those people won’t have to live with your partner, but you will. Keep that in mind…

Back to the cute neighbor. Even if he had been everything I wanted him to be, I’m not sure that dating someone in the building would’ve been the best move. I am ultimately looking for a partner but until then I am dating in the purest sense of the word, which means there are a number of guys in the mix. I’m not sure how homeboy would feel if he saw me getting dropped off by some other guy or even how I would feel if I saw him bringing another girl back to his place. It seems like that could go all the way south under the wrong circumstances, so I think things worked out for the best.

On to the next one…

Advertisements

HAIR: 5 Tips for New (or Frustrated!) Naturals

I have been natural for almost five years.  In January of 2010 I decided to stop relaxing my hair. The last time I’d seen my natural hair was when I was 12. A full 19 years had passed since my hair had been allowed to just be. I had never considered that I could wear my hair natural.  I always thought it would be too kinky, dry, unruly, unprofessional to wear in public, and never thought I’d be able to swing it at work.  But in 2009, when I relocated to New York, I made two close friends and they both had natural hair that they completely ROCKED! Going natural was a HUGE decision for me. I was one of those women who had a standing appointment with my hairstylist for a relaxer touch-up every six weeks – without fail. But one day, inspired by my natural friends and the other fly naturals I’d encountered in NYC, at my standing appointment, I made the decision to just get a deep conditioning treatment in place of my relaxer.  My stylist was stunned, but she did what I asked.  Seven months later, after struggling with two textures for too long, I went in to the salon for a deep conditioner and chopped my hair off instead.  I’ve been natural ever since.  Looking back on it, I only have one regret: that I didn’t do it sooner.  I LOVE my kinks, curls, and coils (I have about a million textures going on in my hair)!

The natural hair thing is definitely a “journey” and I’ve learned so much along the way.  I have gone from a TWA (teeny-weeny afro) to a huge head of fluffy hair, and people often ask me how I did it.  I have so much to say about this aspect of my life that I could, literally, write a book about it, but – to start – here are a few tips aspiring naturals (or frustrated naturals) might find helpful:

1.    Develop a regimen that works for YOU.

A hair “regimen” is your own personal hair care procedure. The bad news is: when your hair is natural, it requires quite a bit of attention and care.  The good news is: simple is always better than complicated.  When I first went natural, I watched about 200 YouTube videos – tutorials, product reviews, regimen recaps, etc.  I’ll admit that the tutorials were helpful, but in the end, those vids turned me into a product junky.  If I could get back all the money I’ve spent on hair products over the years, I would be a rich woman.  Maybe there are some people who’ve got the discretionary income to drop a couple bills per month on hair products, but I don’t.  And if I’d been paid for all the time I’ve spent on my hair care, I could retire about 30 years early.  There could be some folks who have nothing better to do than sit around and play in their hair, but I do.  So, after A LOT of trial and error, I found a regimen that works for me.  It’s quick, and the products are simple and – best of all – cheap!  You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on your hair for it to look good. Following someone else’s regimen won’t necessarily solve your problems. You’ve just got to figure out your priorities, budget, and hair type and work around it until you find the thing that works for you.

2.    Be gentle.

On the natural hair journey, it’s important to be gentle to both your HAIR and YOURSELF.  If you want healthy hair, you should treat your hair as carefully as you’d treat your favorite silk blouse or most expensive cashmere sweater. Hair is a delicate fiber. If you don’t care for it properly, hair is prone to break, snag, etc., and you’ll have to be extremely careful with it if you want a healthy full head of hair. My advice is to be gentle with it.  Never brush or comb your hair when it’s completely dry. Cover it with something silky or satiny when you sleep.  Protect it when it’s cold outside. These are just a few things to consider when it comes to being gentle with your hair.  If you simply keep your hair protected, you’d be stunned at how much length you will retain and how quickly it will grow.  But the most important thing to remember on this journey is to be gentle with YOURSELF.  Patience is indeed, a virtue.  Your hair WILL grow, but don’t compare your growth to others.  Don’t get frustrated with yourself or your hair.  Your hair is an extension of yourself.  Embrace your hair and, in turn, embrace who YOU are.

3.    Remember that curls don’t come in a jar or bottle.

Once I finally nailed the regimen that works for me, I was stunned by the attention my hair got.  A day didn’t pass without me receiving a compliment from someone about my hair.  When my hair was relaxed and freshly done, I often received compliments on it.  It was so thick, people thought it was a wig!  But those compliments did not compare to what I heard from people about my natural hair.  Once, a woman on the subway turns to me  “I want my hair to look just like THAT,” she says while pointing at my wash and go.  “What did you do to get your hair that way?” she asked me.  I started to explain and she says, “Wait!” and pulls out a notebook.  She wrote down every word I said.  She wanted to know products and techniques.  I started off with this disclaimer: “I will tell you what I did, but I can’t promise your hair will look like this if you do it.”  My wash and go is mostly the result of my natural curls.  The products I use only enhance the curls and coils that I already have.  If you don’t have the same curls and coils, the products I used on my hair will not help you to get them. It took me awhile to understand this, but curls and coils don’t come in a bottle or a jar.  I mentioned before that I watched a TON of YouTube videos when I first went natural.  The reason I became a product junky is because every time I saw a video that made me envious of someone else’s hair texture, I went out and bought those products hoping my hair would turn out similarly.  But it didn’t.  My hair can only do what it was made to do and no potion in a bottle is going to change that.  The sooner you learn your hair’s texture and learn to love it instead of fighting against it, you’ll become a lot less frustrated with your natural hair.

4.    Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

The key to healthy and beautiful natural hair is moisture.  When my hair was relaxed, I was terrified of water because I didn’t want my hair to revert.  What I’ve discovered since going natural is that my hair absolutely LOVES water.  I mean, it gets happy when the first drop hits it. So what do I do?  I use water-based products every day.  I also mist my hair everyday with a water/coconut oil spritz that I make myself.  My hair soaks it up!  Maybe your hair doesn’t need or want water everyday, but I would strongly suggest at least applying a water-based product to your hair at least a few times per week to quench those thirsty curls.  The more moisturized your hair is, the less likely it is to tangle and break, resulting in optimal length retention.  Moisture also makes your hair look healthier and feel healthier.  Bottom line, dry natural hair is simply no bueno.

5.    Werk it… with confidence!

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, figuring out your natural hair takes a lot of trial and error.  You will try things and they won’t work.  You will try some other things and they’ll be a success.  I promise you will have some bad hair days along the way.  But be gentle with yourself when this happens.  The wonderful thing about natural hair is that it’s a lot easier to play off a bad hair day.  Many times the public will be totally in the dark about your hair “fails”.  Your hair might not turn out the way you pictured it, but nobody else knows that… so just go with it!  You can try wraps, hair jewels, hats, headbands, scarves, chandelier earrings, makeup, etc., and they can all add that extra flair to your hair.  But the most important accessory of all is confidence!  No matter what your hair looks like on any given day, remember you are beautiful… and you better WERK!

The Gratitude Party

There was a period in my life that wasn’t pretty.  I was going through some things.  It may not have shown on the outside, but inside, my emotions were raging.   I felt lost, unsure of my ability to make decisions about myself and my future.  I didn’t understand why it seemed like other people had so much going for them and I still felt like I was struggling to find my place in the world.  I wasn’t happy with my job, wasn’t happy with my outward appearance (I wanted to lose weight and was frustrated that I didn’t seem to be able to stick with any real plan), and was smack-dab in the middle of a very tumultuous romantic “relationship”.  (I put relationship in quotation marks because, in actuality, it was never confirmed that we were IN a relationship, but we were definitely more than friends.  Precisely why the “relationship” was described as tumultuous.)  More than anything, I just wanted to be happy, but true genuine happiness seemed to elude me.

But then, in a conversation with my parents, one of them (I can’t remember which one!) said something profound.  My parent said “Did you know that happiness is a choice?  You can CHOOSE to be happy.”  Well, that turned my world upside down.  It was so simple, yet life-altering.  You mean, I could be happy just by making the choice to be happy?   So did that mean that all this time I’d been choosing NOT to be happy?  Why would I do that?  Why would ANYONE do that?

Well, if all I had to do was CHOOSE to be happy, then I’d get started right away.  It was then that I decided to begin my Happiness Project.  The Project was uber-simple.  No matter my circumstances, I would just choose to be happy.  I tried it out for one day just to see how things would turn out… and it worked!  So, I kept trying it and… surprise, surprise – it kept on working!  To quote a clichéd proverb, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.”  Now, there are a lot of ways to interpret this quote, but the way I see it is like this: always think of the glass as half-full.  Your outlook on life can literally change your circumstances.  Instead of seeing stuff as happening TO you, think of stuff as happening FOR you.  That means even if things aren’t going your way, it’s for a reason.  And that reason is meant to benefit you in some way.

It was during this time that I noticed a Facebook friend of mine – one of the few Facebook friends that I haven’t ever met in person – faithfully completed a daily exercise expressing gratitude for 5 things that she experienced every day.   She called it her “5 Grateful Things” and it’s how she signs-off Facebook for the day.   So many of us focus on all the things that went WRONG in a day.  In essence, we make it a habit to have a “pity party” everyday.  But what would happen if, instead, we focused on all the things that went RIGHT in a day?  Sometimes, we focus so steadily on the negative parts of our day, we don’t realize that something – even the most infinitesimal thing – went right!   With that in mind, I decided that rather than having a “pity party”, I’d have a “gratitude party” and give thanks for everything that went right for me in that day.  So, picking up where my Facebook friend left off, I began to post 5 things for which I was grateful each day.  Being grateful is a great way to end (or to start!) the day.  It reminded me of how blessed I really am.  And it was probably the most significant and effective aspect of my Happiness Project.

At some point, I stopped the Gratitude Parties.  I don’t remember why, but I did.  But my Facebook friend kept going with hers.  Everyday I’d see hers and think I should start again.  I decided maybe I didn’t need to write them anymore, but I’d just have them in my head at night before I went to bed.  Then, during the holidays, one of my cousins – who also happens to be my Facebook friend – said that she missed reading my 5 grateful things.  I was so touched that she had even noticed that I was writing them, and that I had stopped.  Maybe my expression of gratitude brought something to other people.  Maybe I’d found a way to use Facebook for good instead of for evil (as so many people do).  So I made a vow that I’d have Gratitude Parties more regularly this year.

On Facebook, my Gratitude Parties are concise.  After all, Facebook statuses are not blogs and nobody is trying to read the details of my Gratitude Parties.  So, I keep them short and sweet for Facebook, but I’d like to expand on them a bit here.  I hope you will enjoy reading about the things for which I’m grateful.  And I hope you consider having your own Gratitude Party… because – no matter our circumstances – we all have something for which to be grateful.

Happy New Year!

#message!

So, Kim Kardashian got a divorce from Kris Humphries. *clutching my pearls* I’m shocked! I just knew that they married for love! And the money they made on their televised wedding was just a perk that came along with marrying the person of your dreams!

… Okay, so, if you  relate to anything I wrote above, just stop reading now ’cause you’re an idiot! Kim is a dimwitted “celebrity” clearly being pimped by her mom/madame! Poor thing, she didn’t stand a chance. The second her mom realized that she, or her sisters, were remotely interesting to an audience, she started to put in work to ensure that the whole family could get fed off their shenanigans.

Apparently, Kim’s fans are in an uproar about her short-lived marriage to Humphries, saying that they “cheapened” the institution of marriage. But are they really surprised? I mean, this IS the same woman who got famous ’cause she recorded her seksi times with Brandy’s Brother, no? And you’re surprised that her actions might cast a negative light on marriage? Seriously?

C’mon, son.

Lemme put you on to something – the new synonym for “cheap” is “Kardashian”.

On the same day Kimmy Kakes filed for divorce, Jessica Simpson announced she was preggers by some NFL player she’s been dating. I remember the Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson reality show. They were the “Newlyweds” and they were in love. Part of their schtick was that Jess had saved her goodies for her wedding night. And Nick’s excuse for trading-in his bachelor card was that he gets to “bleep” Jessica Simpson every night. But, then, Nick and Jess went to Splitsville, population: 2. And Nick was linked to Vanessa Minillo and Jess was alone. Then, Jess started banging Romo and eventually ended up with some NFL bench-rider. Purportedly, they got engaged and now she’s preggers.

Soooo, lemme get this straight, girl. You skipped sex til you were mid-20s so your hubby would be the first to sex you. Then, you get a divorce, bang a couple pros only to end up fertilized out of wedlock?!

Mmmkay. Makes total sense, boo!

You should’ve just given it up to the first dude that set your loins ablaze — like the rest of us! ;)

I’d like to believe that Jess is just a victim and that nobody gets married intending to get a divorce. Unless, of course, your name is Kardashian. :)

Moral of the story: reality stars live in an alternate reality! And, as such, they should NOT be considered role models. I hope we all had this message memorized prior to Kim and Jessica’s shenanigans. But, in case we didn’t memorize the lesson prior to all this nonsense, take note… #MESSAGE!