Saturday, February 11, 2012

So, What's the Magical Key for Two Really, Really, Ridiculously Busy People to Be Able to Date Each Other? Hand It Over, ASAP

by Meredith Turits

And on this installment of "Meredith Injudiciously Live-Blogs Her Brand New Relationship," I'm talking about...oh, wait. I have to run. No, no, maybe I have, nope. Too busy.
Like, really. What did people do before phones and syncing and stuff? Write by hand? Perish the though
So, that's basically what my conversations with J are like while we're trying to find time to actually see each other. Watching both of us with our iPhones in our hands, flipping through our respective calendars for that golden mutual white space is actually kind of funny (you know, in that kind of funny-but-I-really-feel-bad-because-this-is-awkward-so-I'll-just-keep-nervously-laughing way).
I already told you about how insane my schedule is—which is why I ended up meeting J online, the only method for which I have time—but comparatively, J makes me look like I spend my afternoons lounging poolside with a cocktail or nine. He's finishing a Ph.D, kinda sorta curing cancer, running a company and literally going to the gym at midnight— and that's the condensed version of it.
So how are two Busy-with-a-capital-b people supposed to date? So far, J and I have just sort of let whatever works happen, which means we see each other once or twice a week. For a new relationship (or whatever this is), that's OK, but what does one do from there? I see only two options:

1. Still approach things chilled-out, and understand that the amount of time you'll be spending together ebbs and flows, and that's just the nature of the relationship.
2. Put a little more pressure on him to make sure you're consistently one of those slots in his calendar, especially if you're trying to grow the relationship.

I didn't even think number two was an option, because I'm not comfortable with putting pressure on someone to spend regimented time with me (in fact, I think that's what some guys like most about me). But last week, J mentioned how me being relaxed about our scheduling was something different for him, and that usually women have to be a bit more forceful, which he knows he needs at times.
So, hm. All of a sudden, I'm faced with a choice I didn't know I had. On one hand, leaving things be might be smart—we haven't even talked about what "what we are," plus, if we're both going to continue to be crazy-busy (we are), I should get used to this situation. On the other hand, am I short-changing our potential by not putting more of a priority on finding time for each other, despite how uncomfortable and forced it feels?
What would you do in my situation? Do you think one choice is clearly better than the other?
More on guys and dating (because who can get enough?):
6 Signs He's a Serial Dater
*3 Ways to Avoid Breaking Up Before the First Date
*Here's How To Kiss In 11 Simple Steps

Read More 
So, What's the Magical Key for Two Really, Really, Ridiculously Busy People to Be Able to Date Each Other? Hand It Over, ASAP  

Do You Really Want A Stripper As Your Girlfriend?

What guy doesn’t like going to strip clubs?  Even married guys like it; in fact, it’s why strip clubs exist.  The girls there do the things ordinary women won’t do.  They’re fantasy girls.  However, there is bound to be that one guy who actually wants to date a stripper.  It seems like the greatest idea ever, but there are a whole lot of minuses to balance out any plusses that might be involved.  If you honestly do have any aspirations of making that woman sliding on the pole in the 6-inch heels your girlfriend, let alone want to be seen with you in public, how would you go about doing that?

The decision to pursue a stripper is primarily a sexual one.  Men see naked women frolicking about, and he wants to take one of them home.  It’s natural.  It’s like chasing the dream that you have no hope to attain.  However, many men have successfully turned a stripper into a stripper girlfriend.  One approach that has worked is to become one of her regulars.  Pick out your favourite girl and give her what she wants—money.  Buy a few lap dances and let her do her thing.  Yes, this will cost you, but you’ll be able to spend some quality time with her.  However, if she enjoys seeing your wallet rather than you personally, you’re in for some trouble.

If, through the course of your lap dance exploits, you’re able to learn her real name and maybe get a phone number out of her, it’s time to go into action.  You have to treat strippers differently than ordinary women; in fact, you’ll have to conduct a test.  As you probably already know, strippers act a certain way in the club in order to get patrons to part with their money.  Therefore, ask her if she wants to meet you somewhere outside of the club, preferably in the daytime.  If she makes up excuses or just wants you to come by the club when she’s working, you’re in for some trouble.  Sense a pattern here?

If you’ve gone through all of that, then the chances are pretty good that she actually wants to spend time with you and not just with your money.  However, do not fall in love with her too quickly.  Yes, you’ll probably get sex on a regular basis and be able to tell your friends about the really hot girl you’re dating, but remember that she still has to grind on other men’s laps and work the pole for her cash.  She still has a job to do, and you have to be cool with it.  If you’re not, you’re in for some trouble.

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Crazy Girlfriends - A Risk - Reward Proposition

What is it about crazy women that men find so attractive?  You’ve probably met one or two in your adventures in the datinggame.  They’re usually really attractive—in fact, very attractive—but they come with lots and lots and lots of baggage.  They have “issues” if you will.  They tend to be clingy and unpredictable, with lots of mood swings.  When they’re happy, they’re really happy, and when they’re happy, then you’re going to be really happy.  However, if you somehow screw up or if they just don’t feel right that day, you’re in trouble.  They’re wild in and out of bed, and dating a woman with this kind of personality is definitely a risk-reward proposition.

The rewards are rather enjoyable from a man’s perspective.  She’s spontaneous and very passionate about almost everything she does.  She will do a lot of the things you’ll want to do, and she probably has a few crazy fetishes that she’s just been waiting to try out.  Yes, there will be sex-a-plenty, and she might be extremely flexible, if you know what I mean.  So being crazy in that sense is perfectly fine; in fact, not too many guys out there will complain about that.  I know I wouldn’t.

The downside of the “psycho” girlfriend is that she’s, well, psycho.  Each one is different, of course, but some common traits are seen in all of them.  If you’re able to deal with the issues, that’s fine; however, if you plan on continuing to play the field, hopefully you’ve made that clear from the beginning.  Otherwise, prepare for the worst.  She might get extremely clingy.  She might do odd things like cut up your clothes, or follow you around to see where you go during the day.  Please, oh please, don’t cheat on a crazy girl.  Whereas another girl might forgive you and try to work things out (notice the word “might” in there), a crazy girlfriend will most definitely become a crazy ex-girlfriend, which is also something you want no part of.

To sum up, if you can deal with all the external activities surrounding a so-called “crazy” girl, she can be the type of girl you can stay with for quite some time.  More often than not, the relationship will fizzle out on its own due to the head games and drama that she causes, but for the time you’ve got her, have as much fun as you can.

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I Love You - There Are Times When You Don't Say It

Those three little words are the hardest words a man can say; on the flipside, three of the easiest are, “More Beer Please.”  Why are men so difficult when it comes to the “L” word?  Saying it implies commitment, and if a woman is interested in commitment but the man isn’t, saying “I love you” doesn’t make things any better.  A man should absolutely, under any circumstances, not say those three magic words unless he’s planning on being in it for the long haul.  Women take that sort of thing seriously.

One of the absolute worst places to say “I love you” is in bed.  Of course, a woman who is freely having sex with you would like to hear that.  While there are women out there who will take your word for it, others are savvy enough to know that you’re lying.  In fact, she might be angrier at you for saying it—especially if you said it first.  If you have a pattern of saying that, each time will be a bit more disingenuous than the rest.  Then again, you’re telling her what she wants to hear, so if it’s working, keep going for it.

Also, don’t tell her “I love you” as an instant response.  It might be an instant response to her, but it means a whole lot more.  Just firing it back without meaning it might cause a scene if you’re in public, and just about everyone wants to avoid that.  Now, if you’re in a longer-term relationship and she opens up the conversation by saying those words, don’t make it an automatic response.  Trying to sidestep the idea can come in handy.

By limiting the places where a man might run into trouble if given the opportunity to do so, men can continue to have great times with the women in their lives.  It’s not really considered lying and the big guys that are routinely sought after can still have their time in the spotlight.  Many men have run into problems by doing things this way.  Instead of just saying “you too” or “you know that I do” when faced with the “L” word, you can make a true impact by cleaning house and not talking.  That being said, it’s easier to come up with material for this situation than some of the others mentioned already.

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Spiritual Partnerships

By Gary Zukav

Is a spiritual partnership the same as a marriage? It could be, but usually it is not. First things first: A marriage is between two people who promise each other to stay together no matter WHAT happens. This can be a very comforting thing, and it can also be a license for either of them to abuse, disregard or disrespect the other. Some marriages can continue a long time this way. Perhaps you have seen one. A spiritual partnership is between people who promise themselves to use all of their experiences to grow spiritually. They use their emotions to show them how to create constructive and healthy and joyful consequences instead of destructive and unhealthy and painful consequences. Can you imagine using a horrible, painful, can't-get-any-worse experience to grow spiritually? Those are among the best kind. Spiritual partners don't squander them by exploding in rage or dissolving into depression. Any number of people form a spiritual partnership: two people in a live-together, have-children-together, monogamous relationship; six people in a family; or co-workers who want to use their relationships to do more than complain, compete, gossip and judge. Of course, co-workers can appreciate one another, be grateful for one another and cooperate with one another, but when they set their intentions to do that all the time, they are already experimenting with a spiritual partnership.

When two people in an intimate-couple relationship look at their interactions as opportunities to learn about themselves instead of change each other, they are infusing their relationship with the energy of spiritual partnership. If they are married, they infuse their marriage with the energy of spiritual partnership, and eventually it will become a spiritual partnership. A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. Spiritual partners use their delightful experiences together as well as their power struggles to learn about themselves and change themselves. This is a new way to live. A new way to create together. A new way to evolve together.

Do you know people who want to become more aware of their emotions instead of avoid them? They are potential spiritual partners. Do you know people who strive to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices instead of blaming others for them? They are potential spiritual partners. Spiritual partners commit to their own spiritual growth. If this is attractive to you, you are a potential spiritual partner.

Watch Gary talk more about spiritual partnerships with his wife, Linda Francis, and Oprah this Sunday, February 12, at 11/10c on OWN's "Super Soul Sunday."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Girl's Best Friend: If You're Waiting for Him to Change, It Could Be Awhile

By Nathan Hale Williams

One slow Saturday I was watching one of “those” shows. You know the shows intelligent people hate to admit they watch, but your bored and nothing else is on television? The culprit was Love & Hip-Hop,” and one woman was telling the other woman (I really don’t know their names) that she should hang in there with the rapper guy she was dating (I think Fabolous), because he would eventually “change.“ I immediately turned the television to the Food Network. Bored or not, I couldn’t take anymore.

Ironically, I’ve heard this same “wisdom” given to one of my sister-friends who was dating a basketball player. After a string of discovered infidelities, one of her so-called friends told her that she should basically suck it up because he was going to eventually stop playing basketball, stop being on the road, and settle down and be faithful. I could not disagree more.

As I told my sister-friend, it is illogical and unfair for someone to wait for a change in his or her partner’s repeated bad behavior. First of all, it sends the wrong message; one that makes bad behavior acceptable as long as they plan to change. Just think about what it says about the person waiting on this miraculous change; their somehow inferior or desperate enough to wait around. Lastly, “waiting” takes the burden off of the perpetrator and places it on the victim. You could easily find yourself waiting for years, and change never comes.

I encouraged my sister-friend not to put her life on hold and demand that she be treated the way she deserves to be, right now. Tomorrow is not promised. And, suffering today for an uncertain tomorrow is not good living at all. Instead, if your partner can’t live up to your expectations, it’s time for a new one.

You would never hear a guy telling another guy, “hang in there dawg she’ll grow out of it and get tired of cheating on you.” Never going to happen. It baffles me that women give this advice to each other about sticking it out, when the men in their lives consistently fall short of expectations. 
Unfortunately, it goes straight to the imbalance between women and men in our society. I believe, women are socialized to think they are less than without a man. No matter how successful, happy, or fulfilled they are in their single lives, if they don’t have a man, they feel that something is wrong. This is false, ladies. If you believe it, it leads to women letting men get away with the unacceptable. Ladies, it’s up to you to even the scale, and demand that the man in your life met your standards, or else. The only person you can truly change is you. If you find yourself saying to yourself, I’ll hang in there, he’ll change, it’s time ot reevaluate his position in your life.

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter

Read more: ESSENCE

Real Talk: 5 Valentine's Day Gifts for Your Man

Don't know what to get him? Skip the stuff we like — though a sexy new lingerie set for you may be the gift that keeps on giving for him. But no, really. Don't buy that man chocolate, roses, flowers, or anything else girly! Your man wants a man-gift, and I have the list of items that will make him break out a for-real smile, not a fake one as he wonders, “What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is this?!” Keep in mind: My list is general, and gifts are best when they have a personal touch. Tailor your selection to your man’s likes — you should know them well since you're his lady.
Men are basic. Load an iPod shuffle with a playlist he'll enjoy (updated version of an old-school mixtape), or head to Home Depot and see what's new in stock. If it has an on/off switch, and especially if it goes vroom or bang or pow, you can't go wrong. Even if he hates it, his thrill in going to the hardware store or a Best Buy will redeem you plenty.

Sports Paraphernalia:
It doesn't matter if football season is over. His love for his favorite team still lives on, and basketball is still in session. Get a hat, a jersey, or a tee with his favorite team's logo or just get anything with the team colors. He can wear it with pride to the sports bar when he bonds with the boys over a beer and the next big game.

Many men take their shoe collection very seriously, as serious as we take ours.  Head to to create an exclusively designed shoe just for him (consider adding the colors of his favorite team). Or, if he's really picky (like my dude), get a gift certificate so he can create a pair himself.

Your man takes pride in smelling good. Check his supply to see what he's running low on and re-stock it for him. He’ll appreciate that you’ve been paying attention. Also, don’t be afraid to add to his collection with a scent for him that drives you wild. Even if he doesn’t love the smell, he will love your reaction to it.

Let's not front. Valentine’s Day is a day of romance! And there’s no better way to end the night than with a lil’ somethin’ somethin,' as Maxwell called it. Out of the thousands of men I've interviewed about romance, the ideal went something like this: spending a nice time with their lady, having a nice conversation, and then some luvin' to top it off! It's a gift for him, and a "gift" for you. Put it on him, ladies!  And enjoy!

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

Read more: Essence

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five Reasons to Love Valentine's Day.

By Meredith Fineman

 I know it's on your mind already, and has been since it turned February/Groundhog Day/Homigod it's almost Valentine's day.

 Let's be real here. So, guys mostly dislike Valentine's Day, am I right? (Amirite?) I think that they probably think it's a silly, made up holiday like Reindeer Day and Dress Up My Intern In a Clown Outfit And Make Her Walk Through Bloomingdales Day. (My personal favorite holiday!) It's not.

Gentlebutts, girls care about it, and so should you. Blame it on marketing, or the chocolate industry, or Hallmark, or Cupid. We all want to feel loved and cared for and needed. That's it. That's the reason, and as stupid as you might think it is, every woman, regardless of her level of independence and shunning of gender norms, wants. it. If you'redating someone, this doesn't mean a dumptruck full of chocolate roses and sprinkles and surprises, but just do something little for your lady. It doesn't have to be expensive, or over the top, or like popping out of a limo with a rose in your teeth (I'm worried about your gums). Just do it.

I love Valentine's Day.

And as ridiculously cheesy as this sounds, I see it as a fun, celebratory, kitchy day to celebrate all of the love in your life, not just in your dating life. I know, you're reading this at your desk or on the toilet and you are like, "this girl, really, is annoying. who the hell loves Valentine's Day?" ME. And I've always been single for it. For 100% of my life. (This is the first year, ever, I've had a real, live, breathing Valentine.)

Below are a few reasons I love this holiday, and ways you can celebrate no matter if you're single or not.

Let's be real here. The displays went out in like December. Candy hearts, Dora the Explorer Valentine's (that in my opinion, know no age limit), what have you. It's a fun holiday to give your friends, family, boyfriend/girlfriend small tokens of affection, homemade or not. One year I made "Bee Mine" cards with bumble bees on them. I clearly have a full social life and definitely NOT sixteen pairs of specialty scissors with different shapes.
I also love sugar. It's also close to my birthday (February 16, AHEM), which means that I get all of the 75% off candy and heart socks on the 16th from the 15th. All in the name of savings. (Go to CVS on February 15. Or after any major holiday. Send your dentistry bill to Constance.)
Dressing Up.
Every year, on Valentine's Day, I am that toolbag in red and pink. I love me a good excuse for a theme party, too bad CEO's and Office Hoe's isn't a holiday! Get in the spirit, you Grinch.
Celebrating Other Kinds of Love in Your Life.
I think that's potentially the cheesiest (lactose-free) sentence I've ever written. But really, every year, for 23 years, I've been single on Valentine's Day. And I either go out with my single friends, or I hang out with other people I care about. It's not really about the whole dating aspect of things, although 90% of promotional material will tell you otherwise. Get together a gaggle of girlfriends and oggle and giggle at Gosling. Find anyone you love, and love them harder on Valentine's Day.
Do you understand how good your odds are? 99.9% of people at a bar or restaurant not in a couple are single. The .01% are in a text message fight or on a business trip. It's like a perpetual, set-up-for-you, red light green light party WHERE EVERYONE IS WEARING GREEN (pink/red). You'll be a kid in a candy store. 
Couples Instructions.
Make out. It's my first year with a Valentine, so that's all I've got. 

Read more of TheFFJD.

Flirting Tips for the Tongue-Tied, or the Simply Shy

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