Monthly Archives: March 2010

Public Service Announcement: Never take love advice. Ever.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know of the Adventures of Friend Boy.  If you’ve never read this blog before, let me sum it up for you so you don’t get confused.  There’s a guy that I like and, as though I’m in seventh grade instead of a 38-year-old woman who should know something about something, I don’t know if he likes me back.  My age has progressed past the “Do you like me? Check yes or no” note passed in study hall, but my emotional life is stunted and I remain trapped somewhere between a John Hughes flick and Basic Instinct.  Take that exactly as it sounds.  I sensed some kind of interest from Friend Boy but I don’t know how to act, whether to jump his bones or not talk to him.  Suffice it to say, there’s a fair amount of internal struggle involved, and I’ve never asked anyone for their take on the situation.

Flash forward to last night when I’m eating some dinner and chatting with my aunt.  A few weeks ago I mentioned to her that I’d met someone I’m interested in dating. I’ll take an aside here to note that the family grapevine has morphed “someone I’m interested in dating” into “I’m dating someone new”; they want to marry us all off, and I think my godmother wants to plan my non-existent wedding because she had 3 sons and probably needs some girly wedding-dress shopping time.  Anyway, my aunt asks me what’s going on with Friend Boy, and I mention that I haven’t heard from him in a while.  Her first words, “Well you better call him!”  She suggested that I call and say, “Hey, baby, what’s up?  Whatchu doing?  Why don’t we get together?”  According to my aunt’s thinking, if I didn’t think a man was interested in me, I should try as hard as possible to MAKE him interested.  Oooooh-kay, but I don’t think it works that way, Auntie.  I spent a lot of money in therapy to learn that I can’t control other people or their behavior, but I can control my own reactions.  I’m gonna say that again because that lesson cost me thousands of dollars:  I cannot control the behavior of other people; all I can control is my own reactions.  You can’t “baby, baby” someone into caring about you, which I mentioned to my aunt.  I also offered that if Friend Boy wanted to take me out on a date he’d already have called me up and we’d be dating.  Apparently my ideas were very 1920’s, and my aunt finally said something to give me pause:  “If you don’t call him, I bet there are a whole lot of women who will.”  Point taken.  I sent a text.

I’ve heard many men – including my Dad, who is really good with all advice – say that if a man is interested in you, he will go out of his way to contact you.  I’m gonna have to believe them, because last night I had a text exchange with Friend Boy in which I suggested we hang out on a night he wasn’t free.  I suggested another day to which he replied, and I quote, “LOL..I can’t say yet…”  We all know what that means.   At this point I should admit that Friend Boy and I are working on a work-related project together, and my offer to get together involved some socializing followed by some work.  Still, no plans.  Which is exactly where I was before sending that infernal text.  Actually, I’m in the “I feel like an idiot” hole for having my plans brutally rebuffed.  So the rebuffing wasn’t exactly brutal since it was tempered with the ever-friendly “LOL”, it’s still a no.  Which goes back to the whole idea of someone making time for you if they want to see you instead of seeing you if something better doesn’t come along.

I shouldn’t have taken my aunt’s advice, because I already knew it wouldn’t do any good.  I’d already come to the conclusion that Friend Boy wasn’t really interested in me.  First, he doesn’t read my blog, instant tip-off.  If he wanted to date me, he’d be reading my words right now in an attempt to get to know me better before the next time we see each other.  When combined with the years-worth of my Facebook photos he’s already pored over, this blog would form a pretty good representation of my personality.  Also, he hadn’t made a move, and believe me I know moves when I see them.  Today, after taking the unsolicited advice, I have gained no new information but have likely incurred the penalty of making a pest out of myself.   All with someone that I would at least like to keep as a friend and blog collaborator (that’s the project we’re working on together).  So I tell you that you should never take relationship advice from anyone. If you’re at the point where you need advice to get a relationship to go a certain way, it’s already too late.  If your question for someone else is, “How can I get my boyfriend to propose?”, you should really be asking yourself, “What am I gonna do if my boyfriend doesn’t propose?” because you already think he won’t.  See what I mean.

Now, if only I could get a VH1 reality show for all this wisdom…

You’re nobody til somebody hates on you

Congratulate me; I’ve MADE IT!!!!  I am officially a member of the Blogosphere, the Twitterati, the Social Media Movers and Shakers.  And to what, you may ask, can I attribute my rise to fame?  Twilight fans and hateration.

A few months ago, I wrote an innocuous post about how Black folks don’t like the Twilight movies.  In case you don’t click on the link, I will describe my post as brimming with my trademark sarcastic wit.  The blog entry in question was also based on my reading of all 4 books in the Twilight series, watching the first movie, and trolling the legions of gay men,  middle-aged housewives, and screaming teenagers pledging their internet love to Edward and Jacob.  First, I just couldn’t see why throngs of grown-ass women were all twisted over it, other than the sexual frustration and lack of romance in their lives.  Second, I didn’t see a lot of color in my research, unless you count the Native American werewolves.  Third, even with my lifelong geekdom and overall interest in the vampire genre, even I couldn’t get with all the vanilla in Stephenie Meyer’s work.  And if I, the nerdiest of all Black girls, couldn’t see the draw, I looked for a cultural angle to my distaste and wrote about it.

Enter Black Chicks Love Twilight. This month, I’m their biggest hater target (even though I got most of my site traffic from them this month, but no comments on my post about how hateful I am…thanks girls!) because of my “stupidity”.  I love it!  The beauty of user-generated content is that average people are free to say what they want, when they want, about whomever they want.  Unlike a lot of people, I’m happy to be an internet target, mostly because I understand that idle insults are par for the course; if thousands and millions of people come across a small part of you every day, someone is bound to misunderstand you.  You can either take issue or let it roll.

This is not the first time I’ve been maligned electronically.  Last year I wrote one of those “Complaint Box” pieces for the New York Times where you complain about inane things and they’ll print it.  I was glad the editors like my writing and kept it moving.  Also, my biggest pet peeve is seeing guys’ underwear because their pants are below the equator.  Anyway, hundreds of people commented on my little essay, which means I struck a chord with Times readers.  Journalistic success!  A bunch of the comments were overwhelmingly negative and lashed out at me personally.  The “me” they had in mind was a snobby (sometimes), old (not yet), White (uh, NOT) woman from the suburbs (yo, I’m from Queens – ya heard?) who didn’t understand “urban” culture.  Again, I thought it was fantastic because the readers parsed my identity from a few words with no photo, and no context for who I really am other than the fact that I read the New York Times.  I can’t really find fault with that because my haters don’t really know me, just an image based on what I say.  That I can perpetrate as a stodgy member of the majority makes me feel pretty good about my literary skills.

I’m glad the girl from Black Chicks Love Twilight went after me.  She clearly understands what this social media business is all about:  namely, that she can express her feelings any way she chooses.  I’m also glad she points out to her readers that it’s OK for Black girls to like certain things without being accused of “acting White”.  She probably doesn’t realize that I heard that phrase for longer than she’s been alive, otherwise she’d be asking my advice instead of criticizing. And speaking of advice, if she’s reading this I do want her to check spelling and grammar before publishing her pages:  if Black Chicks are doing anything in public, we need to come correct!

*picks Angela Davis Afro and throws up Black Power fist*

Taking the lid off Pandora’s Box: #WetJamesFranco and celibacy

Blame it on #WetJamesFranco, an entity that I created solely to deal with my reaction to photographs from the actor James Franco’s new Gucci campaign.  One of my friends posted a link to Facebook or Twitter or something like that and I haven’t been able to stop drooling since.  Or thinking about sex.

Ordinarily I ogle photos of near-naked celebrities for sport.  Just because I’m celibate doesn’t mean I’m dead and/or blind.  And everyone needs eye candy, particularly during the winter months when all you see are people’s bulky outwear and the tips of their noses.  Except for the young fellows in my neighborhood who still insist on showing their thermal underwear under extremely low-slung trousers.  Looking at them isn’t appealing; it just makes me feel cold and sad.  Enter #WetJamesFranco at exactly the right time, all cheekbones, pouty lips, sinewy muscles and clingy t-shirt.  To be perfectly honest, writing this blog with the photo on the left visible is raising my blood pressure.  I’ve always thought the actor James Franco was pretty, and he was very funny on SNL making fun of himself in the very ad campaign currently getting my knickers in a twist.  But there’s nothing like a wet shirt clinging to a man’s perfectly formed pecs to move him from “aw, that’s pretty” to sex on a stick.  #WetJamesFranco has become, to me, an entity completely separate from the actor from whom I’ve never gotten such a strong reaction.  Ok, so his skin looks a little too airbrushed, but the contrast in the black & white film, the textures of the dripping clothes and, well, the wetness have made me a little obsessed with #WetJamesFranco.  Since seeing the photo shown on the left, I have rediscovered a host of feminine stirrings, yearnings, and urgesI am horny!!! Gulp…

I haven’t seen a naked man in a while, and it really didn’t bother me much. Until now.  I should probably let #WetJamesFranco off the hook a little bit because my brain has been focused on sex, or at least on the connection between sex and dating and relationships.  I’ve got to contend with my attraction to Friend Boy, who I haven’t even kissed let alone seen naked.  Ok, I have seen pictures of Friend Boy in cycling gear – which doesn’t leave much to the imagination – but I don’t think that really counts for much.  My interest in his spandex was much more to rule out unseemly physical defects than to acquire positive visual stimuli, if you know what I mean.  Nevertheless, I’d completely rejected the idea of coming on to Friend Boy, as that behavior has always been the point at which my relationships go all pear-shaped.  I’d convinced my conscious mind to conjure nothing more than a hand-holding situation with Friend Boy. Then I see #WetJamesFranco’s photos and all of a sudden I’m dreaming about Friend Boy and I rolling around on a couch, unable to keep out hands off each other.  If I had cigarettes when I woke up from that dream, I would’ve smoked them.  Yeah, more than one!

You see, here’s what I think is going on:  my brain and my body are actually working together.  I’ve opened up my rational mind to the possibility of relating to someone romantically.  More amazingly, my rational mind doesn’t associate positive emotions with fear and rejection, as has happened in the past.  I can acknowledge that while I may hope for a romantic outcome in my relationship with Friend Boy, I don’t expect it to happen so I can focus on the enjoyment of actually getting to know him without getting all hemmed up in subterfuge.  And because my brain is enjoying itself, and my heart is a little more open than it usually is, my libido is getting ready to follow along.  Thankfully, the libido is not leading the discussion these days, so I can relegate my x-rated activities to REM sleep while maintaining my actual celibacy.  At least for a while.

It has come to my attention that if Friend Boy actually reads this blog, and our relationship takes an undesirable turn, I may no longer feel so positive about myself.  Perhaps, but a therapeutic breakthrough is a breakthrough.  And I’ll always have #WetJamesFranco.

Honesty is NOT written all over my face

Sometimes I meet my blog fans and Twitter followers in person, and they remark that my social media personality is exactly the same as my real personality.  I’m a firm believer that “what you see is what you get” should apply to people as well as to computer programming and The Flip Wilson Show.  I’m the most honest and upfront person you’ll ever meet.  I am incapable of faking an emotion because my every thought comes across on my face and, eventually, out of my mouth.  You always know where you stand with me.  My proverbial balls are always to the wall, no holds barred.  Except for the fact that I’m such a liar and I’m full of crap.

Before I lose all credibility, I should clarify what I mean by that last statement.  Anyone who knows me has been privy to the beauty of my trademark honesty.  Ask me for an honest opinion, I’ll give it. Even when nobody asks, I’m still compelled to give it.  “Yes, those jeans make you look fat, that lipstick makes you look dead, and if you don’t take off those shoes I’m going to take them off you and burn them.”  A friend from college used to brush her hair when I came to her room because I told her one day that her hair looked like a haystack or something.  Happily, we remain friends and she still makes a point of brushing her hair before she sees me.  My seeming disregard for other people’s feelings extends into my professional life as well.  “That layout is crap even though you spent the better part of the week working on it:  are you lazy or just incompetent?”  “These concepts make it look like you’ve done a lot of work, they’re all off-strategy and only half of them mention the brand name above the fold.  Did you even READ the brief?  Start over.”  An advertising agency creative once told me that while my words were harsh, my voice was so pleasant that nobody realized I’d chewed them out until, like, 30 minutes later.  Call it a gift.  But my verbal gift does not apply to dating.  There I usually clam up like…well, you get what I’m trying to say.

Mind you, I’m not actually dating Friend Boy, but I like him.  As previously stated, my feelings, and the thoughts and feelings regarding experiencing said feelings, give me agita.  Then I obsess slightly because I’m still figuring out how to live in the present without letting my old patterns ruin the moment.  The good news is that I have clarity on the behaviors that made me unhappy in male relationships.  The bad news is that because I spent so many years trying to orchestrate other peoples’ reactions, I never learned how to interpret them them.  To put a fine point on it, I feel like I’m 13 years old again and I don’t understand boys except to get nervous when they talk to me.

Here’s what I mean:  Friend Boy and I talk and email and communicate on Facebook pretty regularly.  He told me the other day that he’s spent much time looking at my pictures on Facebook.  And then he said something about seeing me smile and knowing me, something like that.  What exactly is that supposed to mean?  Was he: (A) just making conversation; (B) interested in me romantically and, as such, fond of looking at my smiling face when he can’t see me in person; or (C) currently amassing a shrine to me that covers one entire wall of his apartment.  Sometimes there’s a fine line between “adorable” and “a door ’bout to get slammed in your face, restraining order to come”. I ruled out the psycho option because Friend Boy and I have a mutual friend, whom I trust.  But when he made his confession, I was torn between two reactions.  Half of me wanted to say, in my best sarcastic tone, “Stalker much?”  The other half of me searched for some combination coy phrase/flirty gesture as perfected by various female protagonists in 1950’s romantic films.  What did I do?  Nothing.  When I think of it, I’m pretty sure my face was absolutely blank for the first time in my life.  Uncharacteristically, I didn’t say anything either.  That never happens.  Help!!!!

Perhaps its best that I’m caught off guard with Friend Boy.  If I’m just cruising along without a relationship map, then I won’t be able to concoct any self-defeating reactions (good), or use my defense mechanisms to diffuse my insecurities (better).  This is probably what they call a breakthrough and, if it is, then I’m probably on my way to my best reactions ever: the kind of emotional honesty and sincerity that lead to a healthy relationship with myself, and with whatever “Boy” comes around.