Favorite sound: stepping on autumn leaves.
Least favorite sound: text messages and phone calls not coming through.
The sound your heart/soul makes after finally listening to Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes”: …
Favorite sound: stepping on autumn leaves.
Least favorite sound: text messages and phone calls not coming through.
The sound your heart/soul makes after finally listening to Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes”: …
I would call myself a pretty well-seasoned first dater. I have been on a lot of first dates. Which may say something about myself or the people I’ve gone on dates with, but nevertheless, I think I am an amateur expert on them. And I’ve gathered a lot of stories about what not to do, and the ain’t shitness of people on first dates. And thus, I’ve compiled this list for you to help you be a better first dater and ultimately, a better human being. Because these are things you should not do in order to just not be a complete asshole. Ok, let’s begin.
Please DO NOT…
1) Show up late without letting the other person know, and anything over 15-20 minutes unless it is an extreme emergency, like your family is dying or something (in case of extreme emergency, please just cancel) is charting into rude territory. Especially if you picked the time. I once had a guy show up 1.5 hours late (I am way too kind, my ass should have left after 30) and looking like last night. Which brings me to point number 2…
2) Put a little effort into how you look for the date. Like, you don’t need to be movie star-ish, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed and that you just dgaf about life. Like this is someone’s time! It’s respect to look decent. Again, I’m not saying anything about brand names, make up, dresses, slacks, etc… but looking like you took time to shower and dress (unless you agreed on meeting after the gym or at the gym or at a mud race), is kinda important.
3) Order for the other person. Just don’t do it. Just don’t. It was sweet maybe 60 years ago when women had no rights and we had to eat what you wanted us to eat. Now if either person does it for the other person, it just seems you are insulting their ability to read a menu or know what they want. If they ask for a suggestion or for you to order them something, that’s different. But if they don’t. Just don’t. Like never. Like do I seriously have to tell you this? Apparently, cause it has happened to me.
4) Not talk at all or very minimally. There is no rule saying you have to like the person you are with. But if they are a decent human and you decide to finish the date, be nice and polite. If you can’t stand the thought of spending another moment with the idiot across from the table, excuse yourself from the date politely.
5) And if someone excuses themselves because it isn’t working for them, accept that. Let them go. Either they are delusional and completely wrong, and why would you want to date them? Or you’re an asshole. In which case, why would they want to date you? Get over it. We are adults.
6) Mention your money hardships on the date that you invited the person to and you picked the place. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. If you’d like to go dutch, mention it before the date, in a nice and polite way. Or suggest a free date, like a walk, a movie in the park, or a local festival. Research fun, inexpensive or free things to do in your town. It’s a Google search. You use it for cat videos and memes, use it for this. Put some effort into it.
7) Make any comments about a person’s appearance that is not positive. You do not have to be attracted to a person. And in the world of online dating, it `happens – people don’t look like their pictures sometimes. If it’s a true catfish – use your back up plan (a friend who knows where you are, your exit strategy) to get out immediately. But if it is the more common, you kinda look like your pictures, but you took them in shadows, and I was drunk swiping anyway, or my friend does not understand my taste in people and this blind date sucks big time, don’t tell the person they are fatter, uglier, thinner, *insert any physical adjective* than what you thought. You are a completely awful human being. We all are humans. We have insecurities. You are not expected or required to find this other person attractive and date them. You are expected to be a decent human. Finish the date. Make it short. But be fucking kind please. Dates are nerve wrecking for most of us, especially those aren’t super models like obviously those who are throwing stones.
8) Pretend like you’ve been dating the person forever and claim they are yours. This is weird. You also don’t know if they like you. Also, don’t tell bartenders wait staff, other people around that we have been dating forever. This is annoying on a first date and not cute. Why are you embarrassed to be on a first date? Also, I will call you out.
9) Feel obligated to take this date anywhere beyond where it is at the date. You are not obligated to sleep with this person (but you can if you want to, forget what society says), have another date, talk to them after the date, kiss them, like them, or anything else. It’s totally ok and quite normal to feel absolutely nothing, even if they are generally nice and you had a nice time.
10)Pressure someone else to take the date anywhere beyond where it is. If you think they are feeling you and you want to know if they would like to go for a slice of pizza, coffee, drink, cuddles, or sex. Ask how they feel about it in a non threatening way that allows the other person to say no. If they say no, don’t blow up or get sad. Communicate you understand. Also, read #8, they may not be feeling you. It’s ok. Your ego will be hurt. That’s ok. You will be ok. I promise. Go eat ice cream, drink wine, or be those weird people and work out to deal with it. And then go swiping again. Or go meet people however other people meet people, but I don’t know how to do that, so just do you.
11) This is related to #9. After the date, the person may not like you like that. They may think, well, he/she/they would be a great friend or not like you at all or want to marry you. It’s ok to attempt to gain clarity around that. RESPECT their decision. Again, get ice cream/wine/exercise/vent to a friend if you need to. But don’t lash out against them, especially if they were kind enough to let you know. If they avoid you, you can try one more time maybe, but then move on. It becomes stalking. Some people don’t want to tell you in person. And I used to feel strongly that they should. But now I don’t anymore, and I’ll tell you why. After attempting to be a mature, kind human, and tell people how I feel, I have gotten a lot of aggressive responses when I say no. It’s scary and a headache and you feel like shit for just being human and not being attracted to them. I still try to practice this, but I get how that can be really damaging for folks and even, scary. Hence why I say, respect what folks say or do. Similarly, if they are ignoring you or giving you short answers, boo boo, they just ain’t that into you.
These are some of the top offenders from my and other people I know experiences. Bottom line: be a good human please. Are there any I’ve missed? Drop them below in the comments.
I love to cook and bake. It is usually super relaxing for me and it is healthier and cheaper than most food in NYC. Most Sundays, I turn up the slow jams, pour a glass of wine or bubbly, and take my time to make something delicious. This week was Mussels and Hot Sausage in a tomato garlic sauce with veggies and shirataki noodles (mostly no carb noodles – great for diabetics). This meal was quick, easy, and flavorful! I’m gonna share it.
I love Aldi, the grocery store. It’s super inexpensive, Trader Joe’s sister store, and carries tons of gems. Like frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce for 2.99 and hot italian chicken sausage -3.71 for 6, waiting to be transformed into a dish. Find it. Buy it. Make this dish.
Frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce
Hot Italian Sausage – in the casing or already ground
1 Green Pepper
About 10 Cherry tomatoes give or take
2 cloves of garlic
Dry white wine (optional)
Rice, cauliflower rice, noodles, OR shiratiki noodles (pick one)
Next, remove the sausage from the casing, and put their insides right into the pan. A pan that can also go in the oven. Just make a little slit all the way down and peel off. Easy peasy. I did three of ’em, put the other 3 in a Ziploc bag, and froze the rest for later (single girl moves). Now, turn on that heat, brown that sausage. Aye, look at you doing the things. Go ahead and pre-heat that oven to 400 degrees while you at it.
Ok now, chop up some veggies. I used a whole bell pepper cut into strips and then cut the strips in half. Also cut some cherry tomatoes in half, add them. Mince up some garlic. If you’re not a cooker, this just means, peel garlic (2 cloves), cut em up really fine and chop it again. Just throw it in the pan (in my Dream voice). Put the garlic on top of the veggies, helps it not burn. But then stir it. It’s weird. It works. Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. A dash of each, except maybe a lot of italian seasoning.
Ok, everything is getting a little saute, add a little splash of white dry wine if you dare, maybe a bit of butter, like a little pad. And dump the frozen mussels and the sauce into the pan. It will be frozen and stuck together. That’s ok. Then transfer the dish to the oven. Let it cook about 15 minutes, until mussels open up. Take out of the oven. Roll up some fresh basil into a cigar, chop thinly. Boom, you just did a fancy cutting technique that I don’t know how to spell. Sprinkle on top.
I recommend serving this with rice to soak up the juices. I did not do this. I used those gluten free, carb free, vegan shiratki noodles (that are actually quite good despite those descriptors). You could also use cauliflower rice. That would be good.
Now eat. I recommend a glass of that white wine you opened for this dish. Thank me for making you happy.
Puff Daddy & Mase, Brandy and Monica, Missy Elliott and Nicole Wray.
Those are names that come to mind when you think about the late 90s and early 00s Hip Hop. Who doesn’t remember jamming out to these songs when they played on the radio? Out here trying to avoid the DJ voiceovers because you were trying to record your favorite song on a cassette, and when they did mess up your song, you called back into the radio station to request the song later to try and record it again.
This week, I present to you!
First off, you should know that I have very recently begun attempting to get my life together. Meaning eating right and hopefully losing weight. Today was my first day adding in the dreaded excercise to the combination which makes what I’m about to talk about even more entertaining to me.
So today, on my very first walk in a very long time, I learned one valuable thing. Apparently I am causing men all over the world, or at least within my vicinity, to commit iniquities in their heart and mind because I wear…yoga pants.
Confused yet? So was I. So let me fill you in.
I’m walking. Minding my own business. Feeling healthy AF because I’ve been eating right for like three weeks. Today was, for some reason, a bad mental/emotion day so instead of eating my feelings I said “self” and self said “yea” and I said “let’s try this excercising for mental sanity thing and see what happens.” So myself and I put on some comfy clothes, my old sketchers, found my head phones and turned on Beyoncé Radio to get this walking party started.
While still minding my own business, the first signs of an issue appear. Black car slows down, with black man in it giving me “the look.” If you are a woman you know exactly what look I’m talking about. If you are a man you know what look I’m talking about and have probably given it to someone. Car stops, rolls down window, and because my music isn’t loud enough I can hear him trying to get my attention. Against my better judgment, because I’m trying to work on being open to the universe and not coming across as a bitch, I take my head phones out and stop. I make sure to stay far away from the car so as not to get snatched.
Here is the conversation that ensued:
Guy: excuse me. Are you an American?
Me: ummm yea (mind you that’s a pretty loaded question right now so my mind is already on 100)
Guy: what’s your nationality?
Me: I’m mixed. Black and white (oh lord here we go)
Guy: ok. Let me make a statement
Me: *to myself* ahh hell.
Guy: you know you cause men to commit iniquity when you do this right.
Me: *to myself* what the absolute heck is he talking about
My face must have looked confused because he said
Guy: iniquities. You know. Sin
Me: yes I know what you meant
Guy: ok. Do you read the Bible?
Guy: a little
Me: I said yes
Guy: *holding up his bible* see I study the word. And when women (not saying you) walk around and men see you, it causes us to think lustful thoughts and your yoga pants (not saying yours) are….
Me: let me stop you right there. I’m just trying to go for a walk. Bye.
First of all…I can’t.
Second of all… sir don’t come for me today!
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this encounter but here are just a few thoughts I have about it
1. This is rape culture at its finest. Rape culture disguised as religious concern. If you can’t handle a woman wearing yoga pants because it might cause you to have lustful/sinful thoughts. That sir is your problem not mine.
2. This is why women are afraid to go out in public alone. This is not normal, healthy or safe. Who does that?!?! It didn’t help that he looked like that man who shot the old man on social media and went missing for a few days.
3. Clearly I am doing something right. When I said today was a bad emotional/mental day it was. I was getting stuck in my head and upset about no one wanting me. But apparently I was wrong. Apprently I am a literal walking thirst trap causing men to fall for me with every footstep.
4. I wonder did he stop the two Older Latino women, or the white woman I crossed paths with a little down the road or was this just an attack on black women and an inability to appreciate and respect without oppressing.
So the walk continued and the way it ended was such a beautifully ironic contrast I can’t help but think the blog gods created this moment specifically for me to write about it.
I get back to my street (after checking multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being followed). My neighbor, who is also a black male, comes out of his house. I wave and say hello. This conversation ensues:
Neighbor: what about me?
Me: any time you want to come go right ahead
Neighbor: well I don’t like to just pop up. I was waiting on my invite.
Me: any time!!
Me to myself: must have been the pants.
Moral of the story: Sir in the car…you don’t want these problems. Neighbor, you don’t want these problems either!
Now this is a story all about how my life was flipped turned upside-down….
I’ve always lived this life. Nothing has changed, and the new normal, has always been for me, in a sense, just like every other african american in america. This is nothing new! That’s the first thing that america should understand.
All my life I have been known as the “good boy”. The one who you shouldn’t be “scared of” because of the way I carried myself (i.e. my mf’n personality). I’ve been called “white boy” more times that I could count growing up and at that time, I only took it as a playful gesture. I was called “white boy” though because of my skin. I was really really light skinned. Already being taught the importance of appearance in society before I even knew how important it would be. My family and friends used to call me this all the time, so when strangers decided to as well as I grew up and went to different schools, I didn’t think much of it. I just went with it. They were just playing, right? Unbeknownst to me, I was being called that because of how I acted.
An Oreo: “To be African-American in appearance, but to have interests that align with those of Caucasian people.”
Which brings up the question of “What is acting black/white” anyway? This is probably another story for another day.
Anywho, growing up I had minimal influence from others. Elementary school, I had two good white friends, and one indian (south asian) friend and the rest of the people I hung out with were family. All black. I’ve always loved hip hop and r&b growing up and literally had more rhythm that I could deal with (still do, but I’m just tall and awkward now), but just because I didn’t act a certain way growing up, I wasn’t considered african american by my peers. Funny thing is, I probably still am not considered “black”. Obviously my skin color states otherwise, but nope, stick me in a class with the AP and Honors kids (which weren’t even predominately white either so…wtf) and don’t hang around with a certain group and BAM. You’re caucasian.
One of those white guys was my great friend. All the way up until high school. But once we got to high school, he said one thing to me that I will never ever forget. He says “you know that we aren’t going to be friends when we get to high school, right?”. Me, being the ignorant son of a bitch I was at the time was like what? Why? What’s going to happen?
All of a sudden….Immediate disconnect of conversation. I lost my best friend from years 2 to 8 just like that. It was because he didn’t want to be associated with a black guy. I know most of you are thinking, “how do you know that?”. Well you just don’t throw away 6 years of constant friendship, you know?
I will ALWAYS be a black man. I can’t change that. No matter how proper I talk, and what crowd I hang around. I could be the most non threatening man in America, but I will still be seen as a BLACK MAN. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of non black people can’t seem to understand. You know me, sure. You understand my personality, and how I carry myself, sure. But when I’m in a situation where someone who doesn’t know me, the first thing they see is a big black aggressive male. Essentially, a threat.
I remember my mom giving me “the talk”. No, not the birds and the bees one, but about how I should “act in public”. My dad was a cop and sheriff, so I already had a grasp of the bullshit happening even back then. Luckily, I was more worried about embarrassing my mom (who was a teacher) and my dad that I didn’t really get into too much trouble. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I had to hear about my blackness being a problem; Even though I was called “white boy” on multiple occasions.
“But Malc, how could someone like you be seen as someone like these other guys out in america who are breaking the law and that shouldn’t have been causing trouble in the first place.” “You’re seriously the nicest black guy I know and you wouldn’t hurt a fly”. (Yes, I have heard these quotes VERBATIM on multiple occasions). All of these quotes from well-intentioned Caucasians, of course, but because you don’t have to deal with this on a regular basis, there is no way that you could could imagine.
Don’t believe me….Here’s a small example;
Many of you who know me already probably already know this story, but I was down in the “dirty” Myrtle for a random friends trip, and me and my friend were on our way back to our hotel. Mind you we’ve been drinking, as all of america in Myrtle Beach that night. Ocean Blvd was literally backed up with cars full of drunk kids. Even kids riding on the back of pickup truck yelling out obscenities and who knows what else. The point I’m getting across is, me and my boy were not the only ones out and about at this moment.
I bump into one of those trees that these cities always think is good idea to place in the middle of the sidewalk walking back to the hotel, and a police officer decides to stop us. Mind you, my friend probably looks like he’s about 11 at this time, so the officer lady probably thought she was stopping an underage drinker. Whatever, that’s not the problem I have at the moment.
So she stops us. Asks us where we were going, asks us how old we were, and we tell her. She doesn’t believe us and asks for ID. We show her, and boom, legal. This should be the end of the conversation right? No. She decided to roll over to the fact that my boy was too drunk and he was bumping into trees (which she was wrong, that was me) so we need to chill out before we go anywhere. We were about 3 blocks from the hotel at this point. I tell her that, and she’s like no, you need to call a taxi. Me, being the slightly drunk irrational person I am, asked her why we couldn’t walk (since we were literally 3 blocks away). Woman told us that she would arrest us and take us in for public intoxication if we didn’t call a taxi. Again, ALL of ocean blvd was probably two times more drunk than myself and my friend at this point. We look at nearby taxis….TWO HOUR wait. We tell her and then she calls her little cop friend. Idk what she said, but she was like “as long as you go back to your hotel, you can go back”. Like bitch, I didn’t break the law, I can go back regardless.
I know this story isn’t a “bad” as other stories you’ve probably heard from other people, but to be stopped and almost arrested, even after proving your age AND being coherent enough to have AND remember a conversation. There was no reason for us to be stopped when there were clearly other people more drunk than us around.
This is how the average black male lives their life. You might not believe it, but things like this happen more often than you realize, and THIS is what needs to change in america. This is why we say BLACK LIVES MATTER. It’s unfortunate that we have to “censor” ourselves. It’s unfortunate that I have to review EVERY. SINGLE. EMAIL. I send because I don’t want to sound like the angry black man even though I’m asking a simple question. It’s unfortunate that we have to actively ensure we aren’t being a threat for fear that we may be arrested, or fired, or even KILLED.
And you have people caring more about how they feel like people kneeling is disrpecting a flag when Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and every other male or female who were taken from us, by someone who felt they were the Judge in each situation. That could have been me, arrested because I’d rather walk and save money than call a lame ass myrtle beach taxi.
I recently read that the brain shows similar reward responses to matches on Tinder, Soul Swype, Bumble, pick your poison, as it does to crack (which, interestingly, is the same as being in love). That we are basically addicted to matches, especially since they are on unknown and varied schedule system (basically it’s gambling, but for love or lust). I disagree my brain works this way. In fact, I’ve come to realize my brain is terrified of matches.
Perhaps, it isn’t in response to the match or app itself, but rather to what it represents, or actually fails to represent for me. Every match, every convo, every date so far, has been a failed attempt of my ability to build meaningful romantic connection.
Before you tell me something clichè or bad advice, like “wait until you least expect it,” “stop expecting anything and something will happen someday,” “God is working on your husband,” “and have you tried *insert everything I’ve tried, only short of wearing a sign around my neck every day and changing who I am completely to be with someone,* please first, try to listen with your heart and hear the hurt in my words. Imagine the pain that I (and many others) may feel from constant rejection or failed attempts at love. The days where we wish we could just give in and choose the good enough person, because that’s better, or the times we refuse the great person because deep down, we aren’t sure we it’s real. But mostly, remember what it feels like to always be picked last at recess, to not be liked, to try to do something and do it right, and yet, each time prove to be another learning lesson or outright failure. None of these things will kill you, they teach you character and resilience, but no one would deny that they hurt like hell to be repeated for several attempts. And then, perhaps, you can understand why this isn’t an appropriate time for a clichè or advice.
A match means another time to not get it right. To move too fast, too slow, to be not the right pretty, too fiery in wit and attitude, but too boring for nightlife, to not be enough, to be too hopeful, but obviously miss every yellow flag, to be jaded and completely unhopeful, for first dates with no sparks on either or both sides, to let down guys not for you, but with good hearts, to be potentially mentally abused, to be too hopeful (repeated twice), to let down everyone rooting for a relationship for you, to have to explain why it didn’t happen.
Most people say I put too much pressure on it. The reality is, I honestly don’t. I no longer swipe looking for love or something, I learned you can’t build homes out of people. Recently, I’ve been swiping with a dull numbness, occasionally feeling a spark, but not expecting anything, and that kills me at least as much as, if not more, than expecting nothing and going with the flow (which is a phrase I hate… not a dead fish, although I try). It kills me, and I suspect at least one other sensitive person like myself, reading this blog, because it removes the hope that has always sustained humanity from the equation, removes the hope of connection, which, that desire for connection, is a precursor for, building connection, removes the hope that things can always be magical and unexpected things can happen… and instead replaces it with a somber feeling that love and connection are not real or you must settle, and that you are wrong and silly for ever believing these things, or in the magic of life.
I have never, ever felt that I needed a man to complete me or make my life better. In spite of my many flaws, I consider myself a complete and whole person (perhaps a little bruised, but aren’t we all). But I do yearn for romantic love. (Spoiler alert: these two things are not mutually exclusive). And although matches, talking to someone I find attractive, and dates terrify me, I must not give into temptation to go with the flow… I must hold onto hope.