The Dating Landscape Today
WARNING: NSFW Language
In a day in time where we have “Slut Walks” (more here: Lord Jamar Scoffs at Amber Rose Doing Slut Walks) we do not have to wonder why meaningful and fruitful relationships are on the decline. Nowadays, relationships and marriages resemble business arrangements, or what one can get out of the other and vice versa, with a set of conditions in place that if not met, the relationship quickly dissolves.
The human condition is such that an inherent move that any human being does is to look to preserve self and seek one’s own best interests; often to the detriment of others — and particularly detrimental within the realm of friendships, committed relationships and marriages — which is a recipe for calamity. To make matters worse, social media, messages delivered by popular culture via television, music and movies only reinforce these practices. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs illustrates the need for self-preservation, security and some of these basic desires that many lament when the person who they are in relationship with seeks these desires to the partner’s detriment.
Friendships are relatively easy, because they can be left for periods of time, there are times where the friends are not sharing the same space at the same time, and, in purely platonic friendships, much like grandparents to their grandchildren, you can merely enjoy the superficially fun and enjoyable aspects of friendship and leave most of the rest of the tenets and effects of a relationship at the door. When entering into a committed relationship, there is more of an onus on both parties (if they have any expectation of the relationship lasting long-term) to be more altruistic, conscientious, respectful and supportive of the other. When that balance gets out of whack — and it can happen quite swiftly and easily, if not careful — then problems can begin to mount. This is an important distinction to make in and of itself, because it is something that is lost on many people as they enter into many relationships with selfish motives to begin with. However, for those who look to salvage what became broken relationships; whether this is through professional counseling or working out matters themselves without outside help, when they boil matters down to their simplest form, they realize that this balance is tenuous and one that has to be given attention on a consistent, if not daily basis. This is what makes committed relationships (including marriage) “difficult” to those who readily volunteer that it is “hard work.” Most people know marriage is difficult, but fail to realize the core reasons that cause the difficulty.
FRIENDSHIPS VS. COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS AND MARRIAGE
Regardless of the era that you want to point to, dating, committed relationships and marriage have all been complicated exercises; often exercises of futility for many. For centuries, women lacked any real authority, as they were viewed as chattel by men and families, and did not have voting rights, equal pay (and still don’t, in most cases), along with other things. However, there is an important distinction to make here, and it isn’t the double standard that many depict it to be: when women are sluts, perception shifts to one extreme versus when men are sluts (or whatever superlative you would prefer to describe such men). Patriarchal attitudes do play a role, and negatively in some aspects, but when you really examine this dynamic at a deeper level, you realize why perception matters one way versus the other, even if you vehemently disagree with its existence.
There is an axiom which states, “A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.” Women are locks. Men are keys, in this analogy. Think about it. You are 100% entitled to disagree along moral, ethical or personal ideological lines, but this is a succinct analogy for why perceptions differ when women are sluts versus when men are sluts. Moreover, women — even unattractive and unsavory — do not have to go on the hunt to have sex. They merely need to be receptive to the innumerable amounts of cat calls and propositions that they receive each day when they leave their homes. There is no skill or prowess involved in doing this; merely availability and willingness. Men, however, must possess personality traits (humor, wittiness, intelligence, the ability to hold conversations about things beyond sports, sex, and sophomoric behavior, etc.) to get through a woman who is worth anything beyond letting her legs fly open at the drop of a hat.
Furthermore, men who flash money to get women belong in the same pod as women who “sell their pussy to the highest bidder” (more on this later). Neither one of these requires any skill or character depth. And these are often sluts. Both men and women.
There is a deeper issue to address in 2016, however. Women were not treated equally in marriages (nor viewed as such, even by states for decades) until the past few years. And in doing so, the pendulum has almost swung to the other extreme in order to bring that balance (ask any man who has failed to secure custody or alimony in a divorce proceeding in the past 15 years; even if his wife cheated on him and he had been faithful, the courts often still find in favor of the divorcee in both custody AND alimony, absent a pre-nuptial agreement). Some suggest that this was necessary, and it may have been. Then you have men who point to being cheated on by women who now — armed with radical feminist ideals, which are pervasive in 2016 — and get the burnt end of the stick in family court, as a chief reason why they shun marriage, and, when you really get down to it (short of those who use that rationale to justify doggish behavior), you cannot blame those who share that sentiment. Why bother, if you know there’s a 90% chance that you are going to get the worst of it in a split, even if you did right by your now ex?
Once upon a time, not too long ago, there were fewer leverage games being played and, despite some of the archaic laws on the books regarding marriage, if two people formed that common ground and agreed to move forward to marriage, they did so; whether it was a mere justice of the peace officiating, a small family-only wedding, or a large-scale elaborately themed layout. Generally speaking, aside from celebrities and others who look to leverage each other’s success and parlay it into their own, the “average” people’s wedding did not feature this “come up” angle.
DATING AND MARRIAGE IN 2016: A MINEFIELD
Fast forward to 2016 and where do we sit? (Although we should not have to preface generalizations by reinforcing that said generalizations mean “true for a good number, if not many, but not ‘ALL'”, we shall capitulate here and offer the disclaimer) Men only marrying — when they do — for looks, or on a come up, if the woman he marries out-earns him financially. Or even worse, foregoing women of substance who may not have ass injections, plastic faces, breasts, buttocks and what not, for those who have completely transformed themselves into an entirely different creative via those means. We see this often. Furthermore, we see men putting known prostitutes, strippers (we are not making moral judgments on women who do exotic dancing, because we know there are levels and different reasons for engaging in that activity) and women who are known to “get around” on a pedestal, while putting down women who actually want to be wives; who want marriage for the right reasons, who are looking for a man worthy of being submitted to (submission goes both ways, but control freak men fail to realize this when preaching at — not to — women about submission). It is totally out of whack.
Women, on the other hand — again, generally speaking — are enjoying new levels of success. Success that was not afforded to them, because women were denied the opportunities to gain an education, develop and further careers separate from a husband, and could not earn a sizeable wage either from a job or her own business. With that has come a highly materialistic age, one in which both men AND women are guilty of wallowing. We have discussed some of the many superficialities that men project onto women. Trick Daddy’s recent comments are another instance of a guy who has no business making such statements — while engaging in the tired practice of putting down Black women — as he isn’t the most upstanding of men. And even if he were, he should feel no compunction to do so in the first place. Men who would otherwise have the “right” to make such statements are generally lamenting that their options for virtuous women are dwindling, but would still rather focus on finding such a woman, versus preaching at a subgroup to “up their game” and “tighten up” so that these women are doing what HE wants, not what these women see fit to do with their lives.
This is another important point to make: we do not cast aspersions and dictate what is moral to an entire group of people. Mores, beliefs, standards and values differ individually, and are to be respected as such. If you do not align, move on.
STANDARDS: WHAT ARE THEY, REALLY?
However, in increasing fashion, we see more and more women effectively “selling their pussy to the highest bidder.” That is, always looking for what the old heads called the “come up.” Naturally, not all women are doing this, but more and more are. Whether they are hoes from the block with no ambition other than having 7 kids by 7 different men, and disputes of the exact paternity of all seven, while gaming the public assistance system thereafter, or aspiring to make something of themselves later, but are currently broke and bring little to nothing to the table, while demanding the world from any man that they get with, i.e. a chick who works in fast food at $8/hour only entertaining propositions from men who earn six figures or better, or they’re well off on their own, but make silly demands such as “he has to be 6’7″ and drive this car, live in this house, and be doing this, that and third” when such men only comprise less than 5% of the population and have women clawing at them everywhere they go. This is not only a ridiculous “standard” to possess, but it is futile. Even those who have actually managed to pull this off are angry, bitter and regretful after what predictably occurred once they became bound to one another.
Men, conversely, are not allowed to have standards, lest he be labeled “too picky.” A man can merely want a woman he finds attractive to himself only (regardless of how the woman is perceived by others), someone who he can grow, learn, and build with, and can envision having a family with, and still be “asking for too much.” Double standards are not created equally. The “lock and keys” analogy is a double standard that is never going to go away, but this sharp dichotomy in acceptability in standard-setting, however, will. Unless there are a large swath of women who are prepared to be gamed and left alone until they can’t get by on looks anymore and become insufferable Cat Ladies down the line, that is.
We do not excuse men who chase skirt for 45 years and suddenly want to “settle down” when they’re broken down, graying and only have pension money and dick to offer. Likewise, men who actually want marriage for the right reasons aren’t interested in getting with women who are down to their last two reproductive eggs, and one is on its way to rotting, with the increased risk of chromosome disorders and the like lurking. Additionally, who wants a woman whose looks have gone into full fade mode, when there are women half their age who garner men’s attention quicker than one whose face looks like a Rand McNally or Hagstrom traffic map of Los Angeles’ roads? Nine times out of ten, the man will go with the younger, supple-skinned woman. Yes, looks fade, but you want someone in their aesthetic prime, not after they’ve begun to lose it, or lost it altogether. This is not superficiality, this is reality.
A lot of people do not know their value for a myriad of reasons. It isn’t just the woman with “daddy issues” or the “mama’s boy” who doesn’t know how to let go of his mother, or either one who didn’t have either or both parent integrally involved in their lives. There are people who come from two-parent homes who struggle with knowing and ascribing value and worth to themselves. It is these who bounce from relationship-to-relationship looking to fill infinite voids with people who cannot possibly withstand the task.
For others, it is about making the wrong choices in who they get “booed up” with, realize quickly that the person does not truly value them, and refuse to cut their losses and move on. The biggest travesty that comes from failed relationships is the regret over time wasted most of the time, more than anything else. Even getting cheated on. This is exacerbated even more when the person being cheated on knew the person was not trustworthy and stuck around long enough for that unfortunate situation to occur. Knowing one’s worth means foregoing relationships (beyond platonic friendships) long enough to know themselves, know what they can and cannot put up with, knowing who they truly are internally, and knowing their value and worth in the eyes of the person who will most cherish it. Too many people fail to do this, and when either or both people in a relationship fail to do so, hide the women and children, because it will get ugly. One or both conforms to what the other is, and loses him/herself in the process.
Sometimes it is just best to develop platonic friendships and let that become the basis of a foundation for something potentially later. Going straight from meeting to romance is not generally a recipe for relationship or marital success. Take time to get to know the person without complicating matters by allowing emotions (and sexual interaction) enter the picture too soon. Some think they cannot do this for lack of impulse control, but unless you are a masochist who loves being hurt and repeatedly let down, you’ll try this method.
Relationships and marriage are tenuous minefields nowadays. Numerous Black men, whether they are well off in their communities, or are professional athletes or entertainers lament how when they were coming of age, they couldn’t get a second look (or even a first) from Black women while they were “just a guy” and hadn’t “made it” yet. After a while, those guys give up trying and entertain the less tenuous offer from non-Black women — which, of course, the self same Black women will verbally lynch him thereafter, when these women effectively had a right of first refusal, refused, and now resort to calling him a “self-hating ass nigga” because he chose to (gasp) get with someone who appreciated him for who he was, WHERE he was at the time they met.
With a recent major Recession, many men felt the pinch — and as always, whenever the nation feels a pinch, Black men get it worse than anyone, by construct — while women of all ethnicities were able to rebound quicker across the board. There are Black men (and we’re just speaking about Black men for now in this space) who took a bit longer to rebuild from the Recession years than others, have made career changes, academic changes and advancements, and struck out on their own to start business ventures. These things obviously take time. We have seen many women (Black, in this case, and this is not to assail Black women on the whole, but there is a population that exists who does this) say that they don’t want “potential”, they want one who is already in the midst of what they have purposed to do. Again, this is a right that such women have to have such standards, but must also be open to the ridicule that comes along with it. One of the chief tenets of marriage is support for one another. That includes the building process. It is easy to come alongside a man who is a finished product, and reap the rewards. However, you were not there in the building process, so how can you consciously eat from the fruit that you had no hand in sowing? Unfortunately, this is the mindset of many today. Not all. But many. And without qualms, which is galling. The destination is great when you arrive at that zenith together. When one scaled the mountain alone and you get teleported in on a helicopter from a lower mountaintop (follow me from the “selling pussy to the highest bidder” section), you don’t get to reflect upon the journey to the top, so where is the shared experience? Anyone can do that, and it requires zero virtue. Virtue, a foundational tenet of any lasting relationship, we might add.
Speaking of shared experiences, this is something that varies in value from person to person, but in today’s global society, we are able to bridge gaps in geography, age and other barriers which existed in the past. Of course this has benefits and drawbacks. We can all point to the obvious benefits, but the drawbacks are plentiful and far more pervasive and potentially devastating. Worse yet, the drawbacks are esoteric in nature in some regards, and most of us do not recognize them until we get burned. Everyone has their preferences, whether it be about looks, age, personal style or what have you. It is easier for an older man to get with a younger woman (and it be meaningful, that is), versus an older woman to get with a younger guy. We are not here to buy into the fallacy of “women mature quicker than men” because it cannot be substantiated to any degree, and it is purely subjective when one even attempts to do so. Some do not care about age differences, because they have some other tie that binds. Some value being able to “take it back” with someone who is their age, which is an important bond that can be built upon, as well. It is really about preferences, and those cannot be stated on social media without ridicule (for those who do not fall within the boundaries of those preferences, that is).
Women generally gravitate toward where they can find strength, security, humor, emotional support, effective communication — for those who aren’t know-it-alls who have to always be right when even they know they are dead wrong — and deep relationships (women value relationship, not just romantically, but deeper relationships in general, whereas men value deep relationships, but not from as many sources as women) and sexual satisfaction. Not necessarily in this order, because again, everyone is different. The way the pursuit of these needs and desires manifests varies from woman to woman, but we see how women vary in pursuit of strength from a man: whether it is physical, emotional, intelligence or what have you. We also see how the pursuit of security manifests in both positive and negative ways which we have already highlighted. There are hardly no women who do not like to laugh (interestingly enough, though, for women who actually possess a strong sense of humor, many men are turned off and rendered feeling insecure somehow, as an aside).
But that last point, sexual satisfaction, is one that puts women at all parts of the spectrum. We won’t delve into this too far, because it could be an article unto itself, but women generally want a man who is experienced. Generally. We all know how this is obtained. Your past is your past as long as it’s your PAST, that old saying? Men, on the other hand, expect the world from a woman sexually, but expect her to gain this ability innately or through osmosis. The same axiom about one’s past should hold here, but men’s perceptions of women (which are not necessarily wrong, even if radical feminists are determined to declare it as such) differ for a myriad of reasons. Without interjecting personal ideology, generally someone’s past (as long as they do not have STDs or HIV), provided it IS their past, should be left there, and if she gained experience through being with a couple dozen guys, then so be it. If she was a hoe before, leopards do not change spots. Nor do cheaters.
CHEATING: ON THE RISE, WOMEN DO SO MORE SO THAN MEN IN 2016
My final point for now is this rampant and pervasive phenomenon of cheating. Cheating is not new, and men have always done it, because they controlled their wives for centuries, before women began fighting back for equality, as was needed. Along with that fight for equality came the desire to be able to do everything a man could with impunity, and then some, and we see that in 2016. As previously mentioned, you have men who have actually been faithful to their wives (despite all the talk, not nearly as many men cheat as angry, bitter and scorned women would lead you to believe, although a good number of men do, and have no remorse for doing so; and we do not cater to such scum), do right by their wives, help build a home, are good fathers to their children, and the wife cheats not because she is lacking at home, but merely because she could, go to family court, get full custody and alimony, and move on to the next guy. We’ve seen it in startlingly increasing fashion in the past two decades. There is a story about this every few weeks on shows like Dateline NBC, 20/20, 48 Hours and others. With examples like this in mind, why would a man in his right mind want to get married? Regardless of what the woman looks like, how she comports herself or what she’s got going for herself career-wise.
ASIDE: Many men are turned off by braggarts who want pats on the back for doing what any respectable adult should be doing; this is too often written off as men being “insecure” or “intimidated by a strong woman.” This is a falsity of the highest order, generally speaking. Obviously, there are men who fit that mold, but the majority who get written off as insecure or intimidated (for any number of reasons) are not intimidated or insecure at all. In fact, many are supremely confident men who are disgusted by superficiality and materialists who don’t have any substance other than talking about virtually meaningless college degrees and material things. This should be noted.
When you have a man who is “too friendly” with women (whether engaging in dalliances with them or not), how is he perceived?
When you have a woman who is “too friendly” with men (whether engaging in dalliances with them or not), how is she perceived?
Perceptions count for a lot, especially when you bring in the social media aspect. People “front” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, et. al. 24/7. Some do it, knowing the people who truly know who they are sit home reading their posts like, “This motherfucker is full of shit, but I ain’t gonna blow up his/her spot.” You have people in failing marriages acting like all is well.
No, it is not wise to air our your home life on social media, because it is full of miserable people just dying to make you even more miserable with them. You have people who have a “public” profile where they front and a “private” one that is a virtual den of iniquity where they engage in all forms of debauchery, and then play the victim role when those sown oats come home to roost. This is men AND women in 2016.
You have men who have kids all over the place, but expect a woman who has none and wants to build a family to be accepting of it (and if she is, then so be it, but she has every right to veto this). Conversely, you have women who have kids all over the place, and will besmirch a man who has none (but wants his own) who has the veto right to not get with a woman with kids, to be accepting. Men, as long as their vesicles and prostates function, can have kids. Women have a finite number of eggs, and some run out sooner than others, while we know that women after a certain age, even if possessing eggs, are at a higher risk of having kids who don’t deserve the fate that may meet them. Furthermore, you have women swearing off marriage and kids in their 20s and 30s, only to wake up one morning and expecting it all to happen overnight. The ship will sail if you don’t recognize the right man for that role in your life, which presents yet another segue…
Last, but not least, there are two points that are chiefly important: DISCERNMENT AND TIMING.
How often have you been in a relationship that you knew (truth serum) deep down was not sustainable, you knew the other person wasn’t supportive of you — even scoffed at the very things that drive you and are your passion in your life, and make it clearly known that they’re just with you for one or two reasons — and someone else entered your life who you developed an inextricable bond, a deep bond that is virtually impossible replicate elsewhere before or afterward, and you risk passing on that to stick with someone who you will hate in two years. We’ve all done it. Some of us who never cheat have done it, because we would rather not cheat than to go “test it out” and be the jerk in the relationship. Others will see that person, start petty fights to have a justification for breaking off the relationship and slide off. Others will do the respectable thing (either or both parties) will agree to break it off and move on, and not miss the boat.
Sonny from “A Bronx Tale” told C that the good ones only come around maybe three times in your lifetime. If you are in your 30s, 40s or 50s, and you think back, whether you are batting 1.000 and got that “right one” and grateful for them, or passed on two or three of them in the past, while you pursued folly that left you empty, only to wake up one day saying “Okay, I’m ready” and expecting suitors to just drop at your feet as your looks have faded and your overall appeal (as you are beaten up by life) faded along with the looks, which then makes you bitter, or whether you’ve missed on one, but determined to be in position to not miss the next one of the three, you know how this feels.
POLL: How many people reading this can honestly say that they’ve a) BEEN that “right one” for someone and the other person didn’t realize it until it was too late or b) thought someone else was the right one, but stayed where they weren’t fully appreciated, knew the relationship would not last, and knew they would regret passing on the person that was truly right for them, and still did? BE HONEST.
This is where we are in 2016. This was not a major theme in previous generations. Oh, you had those Erykah Badu, “Next Lifetime” thoughts, but when you really sat down and thought about it (back in the day, that is), you knew that the 80% good that you got with the person you’re with beat out the 20% you don’t have with them that you MIGHT get elsewhere, and regret it later.
Nowadays, those regrets aren’t there. People make foolhardy decisions every day, and the byproducts of those faulty decisions affect their lives in labyrinth fashion.Timing is everything, because when you meet someone, where you meet them, and under what circumstances you meet them can go a long way to determining whether you utilize the discernment necessary to decipher what their role is in your life. We can bring this back around to friendships versus committed relationships and marriage. Some are in your life for a specific reason and a time, some are in your life for a season, some are to be your life/soulmate. It is up to you to discern. You cannot place lifetime expectations on people who were only supposed to be there for a moment. Conversely, you cannot go through life treating everyone as a lesson to be learned and missing out on the lifetime best friend who was designed specifically for you at the appointed time. Discernment plays a huge role in recognizing this, and we will all fail at this, because there are fine lines everywhere. But when you know that you know that you KNOW you have a unique bond with someone, do not run the risk of losing them to someone else who will appreciate them in that regard (unless you just don’t give a fuck about marriage — a meaningful and fruitful marriage, that is — then it is immaterial) while you fraternize with someone who, for all you know, is cheating on you, doesn’t value you fully, and doesn’t support you, all things that point to them not being there when the smoke clears.
And for all that is sacred, do not try to turn hoes (male or female) into housewives and whatever the male equivalent is. You’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but those who will come along and have to put up with your bitter ass later. The person who is right for you may — and often does — come along when you least expect it, while you think you may be unprepared, and may not be packaged the way you probably dreamed. Some of us have learned that lesson the hard way.
Choose wisely and stop sending subliminal memes and captioned pictures to people who you went out of your way to get with, knowing they weren’t shit. How’s that for some “raw” advice?