Posts in Life

Milestones

On my way to work this morning, I saw a woman in her cap and gown. She was graduating from NYU, and I only knew this because her gown was purple and her father had an NYU pin on his lapel. Her siggie-o was with her ( boyfriend or whatever) dressed in his gown and extra shiny shoes. I only knew they were an item because they kept kissing and assuring each other that everything was going to be okay. His parents were there, both arguing about catching a cab uptown to where the commencement exercise was happening.  I congratulated the two and headed to my office where I sat my Black ass down and thought about them.

Straight people, arguably, have it easy. Hetero folks essentially have a timeline that they can abide by if they chose, you know? You’re born, there’s grammar school, high school, your first kiss, prom, college, first break up, graduation, dating, marriage, kids, purchasing a home, raising the kids, grandkids, retirement, and then it’s time for you to go on to Glory. I’m sure I’m missing some things, but that’s generally the course of action of straight people. There’s ages and milestones surrounding such that have the ability to gauge your quality of life. There are milestones that dictate if you’re “on the right path.” Of course, not everyone follows this path, but it’s not like people don’t follow that either. But I’m not straight, so what does that leave me?

You know what’s the best and the most fucked up part about being Black, Gay, and almost 30? Making this shit up as you go along — defining myself and making my own standard. It’s so much easier when you have things laid out for you, but when you reject that linear lifestyle and accept one that you’re the most comfortable, it’s frustrating. Sure it’s rewarding to create your own rules and reject societal norms, but life is hard on it’s own outside of you creating a new type of dynamic for yourself.

I don’t have any milestones to measure my life satisfaction or to assist in assessing I’m doing the “right thing,” because being Black and Gay isn’t as cut and dry. Kids (I’m sure I’ll talk about at some point here) are difficult to have because they aren’t something that just happens to us. Marriage is becoming more of a thing for us and that’s great, but it’s difficult when so many Black Gay men who are my age are hurt, refuse to get over past and societal pain, and who are career driven to the point where sex is only on the menu.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t think I’m lost but it’s easy to get lost, if that makes sense. I know what I’m doing to make me happy career wise, sure. I know I’m a good person and I do good business, and I know that should be enough. But at times, I wish there was a guide to tell me what’s what. I wish there was a Black Gay Timeline or archetype I could follow that was positive, uplifting, and attainable. I’m sure we as Black Gays have a long way to go before this is possible but…one can wish.

 

And So It Begins

On April 28th, today, I turned 29. For the longest, I would always tell people I was “almost 30,” never to reveal my real age because there’s always stigma behind age. “Oh, you’re too young to be thinking about this.” or “You’ll change your attitude when you get older.” In those moments, I always felt less than — despite the fact that the elder folks that would tell me this were right on the money. I woke up today with an idea, and a new walk, new purpose, and a new grievance. Several people have informed me that I was going to hate 29. “It’s a year of proverbial purgatory,” my mother said. “You’re going to hate it because you always like to get to the root of the matter, only to realize that there’s no root when you get older,” she continued on the phone.

She was right. I hate not knowing the answer to things. I also hate not knowing the answers to questions that I ask myself. And I guess that’s what this is all about.

Black Gay 30 is my walk through the last year of my twenties through the lens of a well adjusted Black gay guy. It’s also about the freedom of my 30s. This is about me working through the questions I ask myself to not get an answer, but a better understanding.

Today, it begins.

Happy Birthday To Me.

How Acceptable is Breaking Up Via Text?

Advancements in technology have effected nearly every way that we connect with one another. We can send a quick written message in the form of a text, a visual/non-verbal message with a picture, and we can even leave notes for one another through dozens of social media channels.

We have more ways to communicate with one another than ever before. As a result, however, we’re talking even less, particularly when it comes to the important conversations—like breakups.

Apparently breaking up via text is becoming a more common way for people to cut ties in a relationship. According to The Frisky, delivering the news via text is a tempting option for a lot of people because it relieves you from having to see the reaction in the other person’s face, or hearing the hurt in their voice that you could experience with a phone call. While they don’t recommend it, they do say that there are some circumstances when a text may not be so awful.

I think most people would agree that the only relationship where a text breakup would be acceptable is one that wouldn’t be defined as a relationship at all. Maybe you had a date or two, or just hung out with big groups of people—those would be the times where cutting ties via text would be acceptable. A simple, “I’m sorry…you’re really nice…. I just don’t see this going anywhere…”—or whatever works best for your situation—would suffice. Just be polite and friendly, yet firm, so you don’t give the person false hope.

Anything more than a date or two, though, and breaking up via text is pushing you dangerously close to asshole territory. After a certain amount of time, the person at least deserves a phone call.

But still, if you do decide to go this route, you should first take into consideration how the other person thinks of you. Remember, you may not think that the relationship warrants an in-person conversation, but the other person could. How would you feel if you were in their position? A text could either crush them, or they could shrug it off and move on. You never know how a person is going to react. Even if they don’t feel strongly about you, they could get upset just from the hit their ego takes for getting “dumped.”

Also you should have an idea about when the person you’re sending the text to will be receiving it. Avoid times where they might be at work or even early on in the day—no one wants to start their day like that. If they’re a typical 9-5er, sometime in the evening or after they get home would be best. Then they’ll have the opportunity to meet up with friends or spend some time alone and process everything before they have to put on a happy face again.

Since breaking up with someone over text is probably the most informal way you could go about it, you should be even more careful with your choice of words. Treat the situation delicately. In fact, the rules of breaking up with someone through a text message are pretty much the same as another textual portion of a relationship—sexting. Adam and Eve explained in a blog post that sending anything personal via text is risky, so before you type, consider treating the breakup the same way they suggest approaching sexting.

1. For a clear frame of mind, make sure that you’re sober. You want to make sure that your message is relayed in the right way. Don’t muddle things up with alcohol.

2. Remember that everything you send can be documented. If you get frustrated and start getting petty, every little comment you make can be posted on social media in a flash. Keep it clean and avoid mentioning anything sexual.

3. Make sure your battery is charged. Again, you don’t know how this person is going to react. They may want to talk, and you should be prepared and open to doing so. Some people just need to hear an actual voice before things start to sink in.

Personally, I would say that in most cases you should just put on your grown-up pants and do the thing in person. However, if you’re still looking for an excuse to do so, The Huffington Post released a pretty good list of 10 instances where breaking up via text would be acceptable. If you can’t find your current situation on there, than there’s probably some paperwork you need to be filling out as a new resident of Assholeville.

xsrbn

Why Are Bad Guys So Good In Bed?

This is a topic I have tried to avoid because I don’t want it to be true. I do not want to date anymore assholes. My heart has reached its douchebag limit. So, for my sanity, I am hoping that this has only been true in my life… so far. Here’s the thing about bad guys; we know they’re bad. We know they will hurt us. We know the relationship will go nowhere. I personally don’t shun bad guys because I know what to expect. When good guys do bad things it catches you off guard and hurts so much more. But that’s another post. The story I’m sharing with you guys today is by far the craziest thing I have ever dealt with after sleeping with a bad guy.

But first, a brief back story:

About five years ago, when I started sharing my dating stories on the interwebs, my friend X.D. shared a theory with me that changed the way I looked at men forever. I may have shared this quote in my blog posts on the occasions when there is actually magic occurring on my mattress, and then it all goes to shit shortly after. I was talking about the jerky things that guys seem to do, and how some of them don’t really make an effort to not be jerky. In those situations, the relationship would be in shambles and the only thing we had left was an awesome sex life. Somehow, they think that I should have no complaints because they make me climb the walls every once in a while. He nodded at me knowingly and said, “Guys with big dicks don’t apologize.”

Since my last relationship, I have been on a few dates. There was only one guy who was able to keep my attention. He was so right and so wrong. He was like chocolate and peanut butter. We went out for a good amount of time, and I was clear every time a kiss would turn into a full out make-out session that I wasn’t ready to go further. All the while I’m starting to see some cracks in who he said was and how he actually acted. When we would disagree on things he would tell me I was uptight and this was mainly because I was “backed up,” according to him.  Every time he got on my nerves, he would tell me that I wouldn’t think he was annoying if we were sleeping together. He would get up and dance around mimicking his trademarked sex moves and tell me that it would change my life and my attitude.

Finally, after he barely passed the probation period, I gave in. And dagnabbit he was right! I will go as far as to say that it was probably the best sex I have ever had. EVER! While I’m still catching my breath and asking The Universe how all this can be possible, his phone rings at 3am. His phone never rings when we’re together. He has an old Blackberry. He’s not on any social networks. He only uses his phone for work. So when he got up from on top of me to answer the phone, and he announced that it was work, I didn’t flinch. He DJs on the side and he was supposed to be at a party so I thought nothing of it. But then he runs out of the room to answer the call and I hear him speak way too smoothly for it to be one of his DJ friends.

I get up out of bed, and hear him not even trying to whisper while in my bathroom saying things like “I miss you too,” and “I wish I was there also.” Then he says goodbye by telling this person that his friends are calling him back to work. When he walks out of the bathroom and sees me standing there with my mouth open, he immediately gets a case of the “let me explains.” I didn’t want to hear it because it didn’t matter. He was talking to her with the same mouth he had all over me literally two minutes before he took the call.

He tried to make up a story that seemed so outlandish, that I had to point out all of the books in my apartment while scolding him for insulting my intelligence. Then he voluntarily shows me the texts messages between them to show that he just met her and that he only engaged her because he wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with him after one of our disagreements. I was supposed to feel better somehow because at least I wasn’t a side chick. Seriously?!

When I highlighted that he hadn’t even washed off the sex we had yet before he took a call. In.My. House. His response was like “Are you going to make that ruin what we just had?”  He was so assured about how pleased I was that he thought it could completely erase how displeased I was with his immediate actions.

So at this point, I start to tune him out. I don’t hear a word of the stupid explanation he keeps trying to sell me. All I can think about is that we indeed just engaged in a sexual experience that will change my life forever as he boasted during our courtship. He was trying to explain himself naked for heaven’s sake. I was between a rock and his hard place. At what point do we face the choice between our dignity and great sex? It’s not fair, and it happens more than we would like to admit. When you find out you’ve been cheated on after investing years with someone or after you are already deeply in love, we end up making this choice when we stick around. If it was presented to you as sex vs. dignity, we’d all choose dignity but when we think in terms of sex vs. forgiveness it doesn’t seem so bad. In this case, we have all experienced a  guy turning into an asshole after you  finally have sex…but immediately after? That’s a first for me.

He was still talking. I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about how to proceed. I started to gather his clothing and told him and that he needed to leave. But… like I said folks this was life changing physically and the chain of events afterwards definitely left an emotional scar. I thought, since I probably won’t see him ever again I might as well get one for the road. Before you judge me… refer back to lines about it being life changing.

Afterwards, I sent him on his way. Months of being the “good girl” didn’t change the outcome. I knew he was bad. Not that bad or even that bold. The truth remains that he was probably the WORST guy I have ever dated and I’ll never forget him because he was the complete opposite in bed.

To be fair, I had great “relations” with the only boyfriend I can put in the good guy file in recent years but I was so used to the “good ones” becoming bad that I didn’t appreciate him breaking out of every box I put him in. So I did the obvious thing; I sabotaged the hell out of the relationship and then gave my blessing when a nice girl came into his life shortly after. I hold on to him as a legend. A unicorn of sorts. We’re friends now, and every time we talk I smack myself on the forehead for letting him go. I wasn’t ready then. I am so ready right now. I have two examples of a really good guy and really good sex and I refuse to believe that this does not exist in one person.  Come on Universe, you cannot be so cruel.

All I Really Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

I was always confused with whom and what I wanted to be when I was growing up. I blame my mother for it. I love her to death, but the first day of kindergarten I wore a red sweatsuit with a rainbow dinosaur on it. Day two: she dressed me in jeans and a “Homie Don’t Play Dat” tee. Day three: Mama XD had me in a Mr. Rogers cardigan and some penny loafers. Mama XD just had no clue, but with love. I’m sure she subscribed to the idea that me being 5 years old I wouldn’t give a damn what the hell I looked like. Yeah no. Children are very judgmental. I know this because all I ever really needed to know about life, love, and the darkness of the human spirit I learned in Kindergarten.

My teacher Mrs. O, was a congenial lady with hair that resembled a birds nest. She sometimes smelled like bologna — a lesson I would take with me for a VERY long time. She taught us everything, well most of us. I already knew how to read so she would allow me and my best friend David to help the other students who needed extra help. David and I would help as much as we could, yet would get frustrated and call someone stupid when they couldn’t either spell or read the word “cat”. Kids are so cruel, but think about how often we berate someone on Twitter for their spelling and grammatical errors. Of course David and I would be sneaky about it so we wouldn’t get the green apples with our names on it turned over to the red side – the bad side. To top it all off, because we were the bomb at reading and spelling, we got first dibs on toys. Hell yeah! Excelling in education will get you some kick ass perks and some kick ass headaches.

I fell in love and was dumped in Kindergarten. Granted it was done all in the same week, but still. Whatever. Amanda just said we should just be friends and left me for Josh all the while Lindsay liked me from day one but I gave her no play. Love was complicated WAY before it needed to be. I should’ve learned then to steer clear of it, but I didn’t. I did learn not to trust blondes though –they’re heart breakers. Through it all I did learn tons about gender and race through socialization. I always had to be the father when LaKeisha wanted to play house. David wanted to be the father so bad but LaKeisha always said, “My Daddy ain’t White! This is not how it works!’ Yeah I know. Heavy right? I always wanted to go to the tea parties she would have but she said that daddies only go to work and come home…and that’s it. Regardless of how LaKeisha had the game full circle fucked up, she molded my ideas of having a relationship with someone of another ethnicity. I would always question why David couldn’t be the father, but LaKeisha, harshly, wouldn’t have any of it. Love and family should be for everyone I thought and I still do. She was the Mary Jones of my class. No one liked her anyway. She was hateful. She got held back.

The poster that my mother bought 20 years ago was right. Everything I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten. Everything from sharing to gender roles. Craziness how we never take a step to realize what an impact that grade had. Think back to your year in Kindergarten. Share your journey.

–XD