Friday, December 31, 2010

Be the Change You Want to See!!

It is officially the last day of the first year of the new decade. As we pause to reflect on the events of the past twelve months and begin to focus on the hope for the new year and all the joy it is set to bring, let us make a small plan to ensure that 2011 will become the very best year of our lives… so far!Champagne

I wanted to make a post about NYE resolutions, but didn’t want it to be campy. I didn’t want to tell you about how to keep them. I mean, I see NYE resolutions like the In case you missed it… at the end of The Dr. Oz Show. They are just things to try to do to make your life less stressful, more meaningful, and longer. So, I thought I would do something relevant: a top 11 list (in honor of 2011, of course) of things that we can all do to help lighten the loads on ourselves. I would’ve done a Top 10 list, but like another blog I love says: “Top 10 lists are for cowards!”

Off the top, I want you to take inventory of your life. Your family, your friends, your job, your money, your relationships. I’m sure you will see that one (or more) of those areas are lacking in your life. If you are honest with yourself, you might agree that you are (in)directly responsible for that which is stifling your happiness. So, in 2011:

1) Don’t settle for less than you know you deserve. With most improvements, the only one who can make them a reality is you. If you want better relationships with your loved ones (suitors, friends, and family), you have to be the one to initiate that change. If something sucks in your life, get rid of it! Please do your best to cultivate the flower as best you can, but recognize a dud when you see one!  …and what do we do with duds? Flush ‘em! Right along with the Christmas goose, I invite you to do a big number two!

2) Take a Christmas dump! While initially gross, I recently read that according to some psychologists, when something is stressing you out, you should write it (or that person’s name) on a sheet Toiletof paper and flush it down the toilet. The theory is that much like a big number two when the food that pains you heavily stuns you, expelling and releasing the past into the land of the forgotten can bring peace and relaxation. My suggestion for all of us within the month of January is to review your phone and your BGC and your Facebook, and eliminate those whom you haven’t spoken to in two years, can’t identify from name alone, or can’t name from photo alone. Send them the way of the Tidy Bowl man! Those deletions should put you in a state of serenity, and ultimately make things easier for you to:

3) Make time for love. When I first met one of my dearest friends, we were having a conversation about our singlehood, and the avenues we have tried to meet someone. He asked me rhetorically where all the single, attractive, employed, young, Black men (like us) were. I told him I believed that they were at work. He laughed, before I explained: “How many times has this happened to you? You’ve been working all day, ready to go home, and your boss comes to you and asks you if you can stay late. Then, you THINK (you don’t say), ‘Well, it’s not like I got a man at home.’ So, you stay…” My friend then politely asked me to stop reading him. I told him that I was simply stating that too many of us try to take our minds off our loneliness by working overtime, only to come home to an empty house and a cold bed where we can hear the silence. Make an attempt to use more of your free time to date! Breakfast at Waffle House, an afternoon movie at Atlantic Station, or dinner and the Falcons at Hobnob are all great ways to spend all that money you have saved up shutting yourself off from the world by working so much! Until you can make these dates happen, however, you may want to:

4) Find a dating partner (or two). For the record, I am not talking about people to whom you are attempting to become romantically linked. I am referring to two or three people within your circle of friends with whom you could double or triple date. Group dates tend to be more relaxed, and your friends can ask your date questions you might not think of. Afterwards, your friend might be able to help you better analyze a situation on the date that you are still mulling over. While you may not want to exclusively use group dates, they may work for initial dates to help your suitor get a fuller picture of who you are by how you are with your friend. Once you decide whom these dating partners will be (I suggest a minimum arsenal of three), you may decide that you need to:

5) Take up a hobby. Initially, it is to strengthen the bond you have with your friend, but it may also serve as a topic to draw from for conversation! Photography, cooking, acting, fitness, archery, or anything that makes you a more well-rounded individual. So, with your new skills intact, now it’s find to hit the sites and find someone to tell about your new hobby!  You can start that new journey by attempting to:

6) Write a real profile. All I really mean by that is to be honest with yourself, and others, about who you are, and what you want. Start with your numbers: age, height, and weight. It’s alright to stretch the truth…slightly, but remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. So you should add a picture…of your face, and not your ashy parts. I promise I will discuss this again at some point, but suffice to say: we are all anatomically correct. There is generally no need to feel compelled to prove it. Aside from the photo is the text, and some of us could serious benefit from 15 minutes of reflection. You have approximately 500 characters to tell us why we should want to date (or relate to) you…as opposed to the plethora of other no-name men on this site. Start with something interesting about you, but don’t write a composition that makes you look dumb, desperate or disconnected. Many men are too quick to use buzzwords like “masculine, educated or attractive.” Since nobody else is you, I implore you to:

7) Define your definition. Could you be more specific? If you asked 10 men what one thing makes a man feminine, you’d get 20 different answers. So, when you say “masculine,” does that mean “quiet,” “athletic,” “mean,” or some combination thereof? Does “educated” mean “a Masters?” What about “attractive?” When you describe yourself as “cool” and “down-to-earth,” how do you know? Then, once you’ve gotten a bit closer to your word limit:

8) Stop waiting on other people to hit you up. It is a social network, after all…in one form or another. So, be social! Click on other people’s profiles, and see what they have to say. Maybe those pictures are indeed all they have Waiting1to say, and in turn, might be all they are good for! We can’t all be philosophically deep. Some of us are just empty vessels, waiting for passers-by to deliver whatever they care enough to deposit, but I digress… Completing profiles enables other men to have something to say when they approach you. You will see how remarkable this concept is once you give it a try, but that’s also why it is important to put something few other people might have in their profiles! After a while, you will begin to enjoy the benefits of having become more conversational online, but be careful of roadblocks (one-word answers). When you encounter a roadblock, remember:

9) Don’t chase! Hopefully, you’ll remember my post from a couple of months ago about this. If you don’t, here it is. I know some of you enjoy the pursuit, and that’s great, but don’t forget that some returns aren’t worth the investment! That will keep you from overloading your phone or the friend list of your local social networking site with random aliases again (which should keep you from having to repeat item 2 next year!). If you insist on it, however, maybe you should:

10) Develop a filing system for your phone. The symbols and other denotations in your Android, Blackberry, or iPhone are there for your assistance, you know. It can be very confusing to remember which of the 7 “Mikes” in your phone is your sister’s boyfriend, your barber, that guy you met at the bar the other night, or your roommate. Don’t send that naughty picture to the wrong one! I encourage you to learn someone’s last name, attach pictures to the contact in your phone, or find another way to denote them. Some phones will allow to add work information. So, in that space try “(site)/(screenname).” That’s gotten me out of a jam a couple of times before when I couldn’t remember who “Jay” was…but we’re not talking about me.

I know I said I wouldn’t do anything on how to keep NYE resolutions, and I promise I won’t stay long, but I can guarantee you that the answer is simple. In the end, we all should learn to:

11) Develop self-control. I know it is monumentally easier said than done, but still very necessary for us. So many of us can’t resist: sleeping in/eating out instead of exercising, purchasing that second item for equal/lesser value, or sleeping with that guy on the first meeting. Just keep this in mind for 2011:

“Impulses lead to regrets.”

I wrote this list to help some of the backsliders to stay focused. I promise I understand how difficult this rat race can be sometimes, but much like those sad travesties of women on Maury who wind up staying with men who have lied to them to various degrees, I think some of us don’t let guys go once their time with us is over. It’s like Maya Angelou stated:

When someone shows you who they are, believe them!

Appropriately, in less than 24 hours, we will all be welcomed (in one form or another) to 2011, and it is my fervent hope that we start it off as best as we can. Try to be more cautious of the people that you surround yourself with, and begin to remove those that seem less than trustworthy from your presence. As Susan Boyle will ask us in the “official” song of the New Year, Auld Lang Syne:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to light?”

Yes, they should!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Date to Mate: 5 Questions to Ask

This winter season, many people are looking to get “boo-ed up,” as the kids say. It is unfortunate, however, that too many of these “relationships” are simply carnal in their true nature, and are devoid of the substance through which the involved portray a rather sad and transparent façade. Perhaps a few of the pretend couples this season are looking to solidify something with this person that they originally considered to be a stand-in until their dream date finds his way to them. Date1There may also be a reader who will be taking this Saturday night to date someone to whom they feel they have nothing to say. I’ve known quite a few individuals who have gone to dinner with a treating suitor only because they were hungry…(but that’s another post!)

In any event, I thought I would bite from this article I read in Yahoo!. You can read that article, also. For the ones of you that are going on a date, you are probably aware that getting the real information out of a date can appear to be a daunting task. I know too many men who know how to ask what they want to know, but don’t happen to be too versed in subtlety. There is also a pocket of men who end up dating a man, and even after five dates, still do not feel as though they know this person with whom they are considering becoming exclusive. Their questions tend to be too bland or basic. In short, people on a bus can talk about the IF and the THAT. People on a date talk about the HOW and the WHY.

It’s easy for many of us to ask about the menial things some of us tend to find “important,” like zodiac sign, job title, and nearest major city of origin. However, facts don’t make a man. You don’t marry profiles. After you ask the basic questions to determine physical compatibility (many of which helped to initiate the desire to date in the first place), you must learn to follow-up with questions to determine intellectual or ideological harmony. I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask your potential mate for you to get through a few dates if you tend to be more introverted or shy in your romantic pursuits.

1. What is your favorite scene from your favorite book or movie or TV show? – Again, initially, it is easy to ask someone about their favorite source of media entertainment, but the WHY may lead you to true insight about your date’s personality or values. For example, one night, a friend of mine had come over to watch Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. We were already watching TV, and Tabatha wouldn’t be on for at least another hour. So, my friend asked if he could watch wrestling. I agreed. However, after about 60 seconds of what I found to be the cradle of idiocy, I had to ask him what drew him to this particular spectator sport. He replied, “I like to watch people talk shit…because I like to talk shit.” Knowing my friend for as long as I had, it made complete sense to me. I also discovered that I myself enjoy shows such as Kitchen Nightmares, Tabatha, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Millionaire Matchmaker, and Tough Love because I like to tell it like it is. So, I want to watch shows where people are saying what I’m thinking. With proper analysis, you can discover something possibly fascinating about your potential suitor!

2. What do you love about your job? – As we all know, in the current economy, you should consider yourself lucky to even find someone who has a job in the first place! On a more serious note, a job title may not do much to tell you someone’s aspiration, especially if you’re dependent on what might be a “stop-gap job” (a plan B that came to fruition before plan A). Plenty of us have had a job in  retail, fast food, or a call center while we waited to complete our degree in psychology, law, or IT. This question could reveal key items like how someone handles conflict, their willingness to try new things, or possibly their preparedness to enter a relationship. …which leads me to…

3. What’s your definition of a relationship? – Personally, I think this question should be placed on the back burner until at least your third date, and you two have given yourselves ample time to become comfortable around each other. You are simply asking this question to find out if you are dating someone who wants to be a normal housewife, or a Real Housewife! There is a difference, not that there is fundamentally anything wrong with either one, but remember that a relationship is defined by the people in it. So, you may have someone who is generally docile or meek and may act like they are glad you made it home from work safely, even if it is after midnight. You might also be dating someone who expects gifts “just because,” a condo in the clouds, and takes you and your wallet for granted. This question may lead you into your date’s fundamental beliefs about male-male romantic relationships, and could tell you more than you may be prepared to receive!

4. If money were no object, what would you do with your life?This is another great question that would give you fathomable insight into your dates ideals, dreams, and regrets. I think it is fairly common knowledge that you can learn a lot about a person by how they spend their money! Perhaps answers will reveal philanthropic desires, educational pursuits, or an attempt to revive (and star in) the now-defunct MTV’s Cribs. Let me reiterate that there is nothing fundamentally wrong about those responses or the men who give them. You are seeking compatibility. Don’t forget that!

5. Will you share an embarrassing moment with me? – In his 1999 comedy special, Bigger & Blacker, Chris Rock commented on how people tend to meet someone else’s “representative” in the initial stages of courting. Despite the uproarious laughter, Rock had actually made a genuine point about the force fields that most of us construct within the first year of dating someone, including denying our virtual idolization of a certain song or TV show, suppressing certain bodily functions or smells, or possibly “butching it up” to convince this guy whose last name we don’t yet know that we won’t be an “embarrassment” to him…the Pygmalion effect, if you will. Asking someone to share an embarrassing moment is only to “humanize” both them and yourselves. It takes you out of that ethereal dream state, and reminds you that (although it can be difficult to remember or recognize within ourselves):

Nobody is perfect!

Just take things slowly and remember this:

Dating is about determining compatibility according to the hierarchy by which the people in that couple agree to abide.

You’re simply asking questions like this get an idea if their insides will make a figurative fit with yours. The literal fit usually goes without saying… To help you relax and reflect on that, maybe you should take A Long Walk! Here’s Jill Scott with her second single…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Squeaky 8th Wheel Gets the Oil

Last weekend, in celebration of my sister’s 25th birthday, I went to a rented cabin in the north Georgia mountains. The guest list, as it was told to me, included quite a few friends of hers from as far back as her high school days. In the end, there were only eight of us in total, including my sister and me. The roster of attendees included my sister and her boyfriend, two other friends and their significant others,7th8th and Marcus and myself, the proverbial seventh and eighth single, gay wheels.

While I would like to make it clear that my sister and her friends made every attempt to ensure that Marcus and I felt like a part of the group, the weekend inevitably turned into a couples retreat…similar to Why Did I Get Married?…plus two! Marcus and I spent the first night talking about our prolonged and unfortunate singlehood. Although neither of us has had a boyfriend, the sight of these young and in-love pairs does tend to make one slightly envious. So, since Thanksgiving is the first event in the string of winter season holidays (the others being Xmas, NYE, and V-Day…), I figured I would write a short guide on how not to let being the only single one at the house, aside from the people sitting at the children's table, get to you.

Certainly, an American conditioning leads us to believe that it is necessary to have a companion to enjoy the holidays in the first place. Unfortunately, like many customs one learned through adaptation, it is very difficult to break free of such beliefs without a conscious effort to break the mindset. After all, most of us are not accustomed to eating alone in general or on Thanksgiving, and although it’s not difficult to spend our own money on ourselves for Christmas, we definitely cannot give ourselves a NYE or V-Day kiss. I suppose some of the more vain of us could “technically” show the others of us how to romance ourselves, but I digress…

The first thing you should understand, as the winter season sets in, is that a change in attitude is paramount. …and since it is Thanksgiving, develop an attitude of gratitude. At least you have people to celebrate with in the first place. Many other people aren’t so lucky. Even if you attend the dinners that some good Samaritans hold for the gay children who are wayward, exiled, lonely, or otherwise unable to go home, don’t get stagnant in your own situation. You might be able to find someone with whom you might find worthy of engaging, in more ways than one!

Also, in this selfless time of year, don’t forget that people can’t help a situation they don’t know about. If you fear being alone for the holidays, ask your friends, family, and colleagues about their plans. Enjoy the relationships that you currently possess with other people you love, even if you are by yourself. You might want to take it upon yourself to host your own event, with other single people. You could create your own Island of Misfit Toys! (Thank Marcus for that analogy!) The winter holidays are a time for gratefulness, togetherness, reflection, inspiration, and love. If you are inspired to help others, perhaps volunteering at a soup kitchen might be more your speed. You’d be amazed at the self-worth you attain when you help others who really need it…

Finally, when you are alone, you’ll notice that the time you might otherwise be investing in someone who doesn’t always appreciate you in your true authenticity could certainly better be spent improving or stabilizing yourself. Take this time to reflect on some of the items we have discussed before. Maybe meditation, exercise, or chatting with a friend might be long overdue. Enjoy an old hobby, or begin a new one! Remember that mental health is largely influential on your physical health. So, you’ve gotta keep your mind healthy!

Additionally, if you’re not focused on your lack of a partner, you can devote your time to other things that do make you happy. …and when you feel good, you look better! Your positive attitude will make you more attractive to potential suitors. Then, you won’t need this article next year! (It always comes back to that, huh?)

Let me just reiterate that being single is fine, but I know there are entirely too many of us who are not single by choice. So, articles like these are written with those people in mind.

We know that being the single gay friend is not easy, neither at the dinner table, nor the couples’ retreat, nor the gift-giving exchanges. We also know that altering your mental conditioning is not an overnight feat. However, you have to maintain that it is possible, and you can start today. Besides…

If you adjust your outlook tonight, you might just find someone to look out for under the mistletoe!

This winter season, take a little time for self-reflection and the truer, more philosophical discoveries of life. I know (more than a lot of other folks who may try to convince you of the same) that life has a way of making you wonder if it will all work out. Of course, as Dianne Reeves will remind you in this song from 1990, you’re Never Too Far from home…

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Best Part of the Chase…

I know I haven’t written anything in quite some time, even after I said that would make an effort to do better. Meanwhile, I figured I should write my readers to let them know that I will be updating further as I go along because I, too, am becoming very reacquainted with the frustration that initially inspired me to start this blog and the journey to change our mindsets and stigmas and lives through KNQ.

Very recently, I was exchanging emails with a young man, who I will hypothesize, has very little experience interacting with other men Chaser1online. There was initial email exchange, which progressed into text messaging, at which point he explicitly expressed his apprehension in meeting. He was taking all of the “textbook” precautions to ensure his safety: i.e. wanting to meet during the day, in a public place, etc.

I applauded his efforts, but was also taken back a bit by his casual attitude. He seems very flippant about keeping his word that we would eventually meet as his responses to my texts got more and more spaced. Ultimately, we decided not to meet because I grew impatient feeling as though he thought of me as some sort of pedophile, and I suppose he was just timid and out of his element.

Meeting men offline is no strange thing to me. That has always been my preferred form of contact anyway, especially since I’m always on my computer, working on business plans, watching TV shows I missed earlier, researching other things of even menial interest, or just playing The Sims. I suppose as experience chatting online grew, so did my level of comfort with making a more personal connection with the men with whom I conversed.

Perhaps I did move a little fast in trying to meet this recent acquaintance, but I would like to point out that the plan was indeed dinner (my treat). In any event, I would like to offer this little piece of advice, that I somehow forgot:

Don’t waste your time chasing someone who doesn’t want to be caught.

Here’s Fantasia with that same message in song: “If you don’t want me, then don’t talk to me… go ahead and Free Yourself!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Break Free!

On Friday’s “Oprah,” Oprah did a show which was the reaction to the  very new movie Waiting for Superman, Cory Bookerabout the failure of the American educational system. In one of the first segments of the episode, Oprah invited the mayor of Newark, NJ to come and speak about a project in which he will collaborate with governor Chris Christie.

In answer to one of Oprah’s questions, Mayor Cory Booker (the very attractive man pictured here, by the way…) described the current consensus among many Americans as “sedentary agitation.” The simple concept being that while many Americans claim to be displeased with the status quo surrounding various situations and controversies in our country, too many of us are waiting for someone else to step in and do something.

Personally, I thought him very poignant for that phrase. I thought that such “sedentary agitation” could be blamed for our current situation with a lot of things that we think are unfair…because we sit around and talk in our huddles in our living rooms and church basements (which is great), but we don’t head out to the streets and march, or picket, or vote, or even donate a dollar or ten to someone who is trying to make things better for us and our children (whom by the way, most of us still cannot adopt)!

Many of us are very anxious to see the day when we will be able to go to the tuxedo store…or bridal shop (I’m not judging) to marry the man of our dreams…or at least one of them! Some of us may also have the desire to have kids of our own, or adopt, or both. I’m sure there are even others whom may not desire either marriage or children, and yet more people whom may not feel it necessary to acquire a husband or children in that order!

My point is that Mayor Booker largely motivated me to (or at least attempt to) be more active in changing the world I live in for the folks that are already here, but more importantly, for the folks whom haven’t yet arrived. I’d like KNQ (and another top secret project I’m working on) to be one of the emerging beacons of light for us. I hope to instill pride, practicality, and perseverance in we whom are creating a “developing” demographic.

Gandhi urged us to “be the change [we] want to see in the world.” In the same spirit, I encourage my readers not to succumb to “sedentary agitation.” If you believe in your heart that there must be more upright, professional, engaging, intelligent, and handsome men other than you, support Kings ‘N’ Queens! Ask what you can do for the company, and I promise you, the company will do more for you!!

The unfortunate truth is that Kings ‘N’ Queens is a tiny particle of fresh air in a sea of smog. I truly believe that the people I aim to assist exist out there somewhere. I think that they are excited about what I’m doing and the efforts I’m making. However, I wish I could be sure of those things, instead of just hypothesizing. Maybe some of you could assist me with that perception. I know you want to eventually attend a KNQ mixer. So, follow Mariah Carey’s advice from ‘92 and help me to Make It Happen!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Myself Through Losing Myself

I know it’s been some time since I have written, and I know that I was supposed to have written something on the first, but you may be a little surprised by what has been occupying my time.

Last summer, I began a…shall we say, “distant” relationship with a suitor. Shawn was very handsome, about 30 years Unsureof age, with a nice disposition, and was very comfortable with my slight and reserved femininity. I thought we were getting along fairly well, and despite the fact that although he had spent the night with me numerous time, we never did anything. Seriously…when I tell you I didn’t get so much as a hi-five from this boy… (sigh). In any event, we dated for a few months before he completely went AWOL on me. I mean, it’s a good thing I don’t have abandonment issues, or else I’d need to be on somebody’s couch for hours of my time, not to mention the hundreds of dollars I’d be paying them for the privilege!

So, I had kinda moved on, until he finally hit me up towards the beginning of this summer. I decided to give him another chance because I really liked him. Besides, nobody else viable was occupying my time, …or asking for the opportunity! This time around, he invited me to his place, and we had this long drawn out discussion about what happened, and his feelings, and what led to a complete unspoken withdrawal. Wine was involved, but despite a visit that lasted until 6:00AM, again…nothing happened. It was just as it had always been…

After a while of trying to reconnect, I began wondering what was stopping us from making anything official. I wasn’t trying to pick out bridal tuxes, but at the same time, I was ready to devote more and more time to him to foster something, and it didn’t seem like those efforts were being matched, in my humble opinion. :-) I had asked him about that, and he responded by telling me that we should be taking things slowly and not rush into anything. I also was feeling like there was no compromise…certainly with regard to issues that are very black-and-white. For example, as far as the labels…either we have them, or we don’t. (boyfriends, potentials, suitors, etc.) Either we are “just friends,” or we’re “something more.” I just wanted to know what exactly was going on in his head, and his lack of explanation made things very difficult.

In the most recent weeks, discussions about a broken car, a new house that he had just bought, and a new job transition, in addition to his relatively recent 30th birthday, led me to believe that I was the final piece of that puzzle. Yet, somehow I sensed that he felt that the picture might be just as satisfying, sans the final piece.

Quick sidebar: I read a very interesting article about “emerging adulthood” as a new stage of life, similar to the recognition and adoption of “adolescence” in the 1970’s. The article discussed how a large majority of 20yos feel like they aren’t quite “adults” by the same sense in which they regard their parents. The author goes on to explain that what makes us 20yos cross that threshold is the accomplishment of five “milestones” which were:

  • Completing school
  • Leaving home
  • Becoming financially independent
  • Getting married
  • Having children

The author makes the point that these days, more and more people are using their 20’s to make decisions regarding these five items, and certainly they become more frantic in their need for completion (in one form or another), and the accompanying security as they reach the age of 30.

In my mind, I felt that the only reason he was trying to get me to be a part of his life was because he had turned 30, and much to his chagrin, I was the best of what he had found…although I wasn’t what he ultimately wanted. So, in essence, he was settling. …and I’m nobody’s silver medal!!

That revelation helped me to better deal with the demise of this relationship. I think he could be a really nice guy for someone else. With all of the discussions that I had had with him, I just felt stifled in my growth with him because I felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells with him. I was scared to ask him for what I wanted after a while for fear of being made to feel like I was rushing him into something he wasn’t sure about.

Maybe I will someday delve into more of the specifics when I am trying to make other points regarding relationships, but I just wanted my readers to know where I’ve been, and that the dream is NOT dead! KNQ is something I could see myself working on tirelessly until it comes to complete fruition. I want to find someone for ALL of us. We ALL deserve to be happy! Even Shawn…

Finally, I would like to leave you with a song that helped me get past the hurt I felt when I realized Shawn would not be someone I might someday marry… Here is Karyn White (Yes, I took it back to 1986…what of it?) echoing my sentiments about men like Shawn, which are that I’d Rather Be Alone. Listen…

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fall Back to Spring Forward

Most people would argue the the return of most things is more logical at the beginning of the chronological year. We celebrate the New Year in January; the Chinese do it in February. Autumntree1People also closely associate the beginning of Spring in March with freshness, as the flowers and trees we know and love blossom beautiful colors and shapes.

This is just a quick note that in the past months, I experienced a new growth within myself that took me the entire summer to eradicate. I am so glad to have received such encouragement, prayers, and support from my friends and family members while I was fending off death. Now that I am going to be around for a little longer, the journey has been revitalized.

Contrary to popular usage, I believe fall is also a time for new beginnings. School begins in the fall, fashion designers premiere their new lines, and trees reveal their new colors to accommodate and welcome the tourist season in various regions of the world. So, beginning September 1, come back here for new posts regarding the rebuilding of this house of cards I affectionately call my business, Kings ‘N’ Queens!

Meanwhile, I thought everyone, including me, could use this word from Wilson Phillips, reminding us to Hold On. The song may be a bit dated, but it’s still true.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You’re Out of Order!!

A few days ago, I met a guy online [We’ll call him “Rob”], and things were fine initially, as they usually are. We’re chatting. I find out that he is a front desk attendant at a hotel. He seemed to be a really nice guy. He’s 27, and fit my formula well: “tall, thin, and light-skin[ned]!!”

This morning, I got up and started talking to him online again. He had been really excited to get to know me since the first message he sent me. Conversation resumes, and he suggests that we go to lunch. I was completely fine with the idea. Besides, it’s just lunch, right? So, I start to ask him a few more relative questions like where he lives and what he would like to eat. He tells me he lives about one street over, and for lunch, he can eat anything. …but right before I suggested a place, he tells me that he has something to ask me. I agree, having no reason to object. Then, he asked me…

“Are you a top or bottom?”

My ears almost bled from the screeching of the tires. Really?! Did you just ask me that?

For those of you who think I’m making a big deal of nothing, I’ll try to analogize it with the example of asking the salary when you are on the first job interview. While this may need to be “need to know” information, there is a progression to these types of “sensitive” topics. Similar to the employer not hiring because they feel you are only after the money (not the professional development), a date may think you are only after sex (not the possible plutonic or romantic developments). In short, it’s a complete turn-off (for more people than you think).

I gave a very evasive answer, which he misread anyway. After I helped him understand the ambiguity of my answer, I stopped responding so enthusiastically, until the conversation itself died entirely.

Now, there is a basic principle here that I am trying to illustrate regarding a very debatable concept. The salary analogy should suffice, but I am trying to relate this to us, dating, and more importantly, KNQ. In any relationship, there are certainly things that you may find it “essential” to know about your prospective boyfriend before you go purchasing real estate together. However, as you can see by the clock in this post, if the order is transposed, you make things confusing for everyone.

In a related story, in my original business model for Kings ‘N’ Queens, I was talking with two of my co-workers back when I worked for a tuxedo shop. Now, originally, when I told them of the idea of the speed dating and the subsequent consultations for my clients. They asked me about the setup of the speed dating, given that our straight counterparts don’t have to wonder who sits on which side of the table. One was a strict top; the other was a bottom. They were both very adamant about ensuring that the men seated across from them were strict bottoms and tops, respectively. My main counter argument was this example: “How many times have you seen ‘I’m a top, but I’ll bottom for the right person…’ on a profile?” So, in a situation like a KNQ Quick Draw (Speed Date), designed to find you that “right person,” why be restricted to one side of the table?

My original solution to this conundrum was to design two types of Quick Draws…one for the men whose positions are “fixed,” and the other for those whose positions are more “variable.” However, this caused quite a stir from person-to-person when I asked about this idea. It signified that KNQ would be responsible for asking that information, and gave an underlying current of being perceived as some sort of hookup venue. Never mind all of the men who don’t know yet, don’t participate in penetrative sex, or even (wait for it)… those who are looking for MORE! While I think it’s insane to pay fifty bucks just to come and try to pick up some boy-toy for the weekend, I know people have gone to much greater lengths. As you can see, this advice is something even I need to keep in mind.

For those of you who claim to be looking for more, (and consequently want other men to believe that), remember: You should not ask any questions about sex until it’s highly likely that sex is the next step. Show a little restraint! Besides, (with minimal effort and within a slight margin of error), usually we can tell just by the feeling who would end up where, right? It wouldn’t take too much to at least wait until after the first date. (My own personal rule is between dates 3 – 5, depending on vibe, but that’s for me and MY men… you should find your own rhythm! :) )

My point is this: There’s a time and a place for everything, and frankly:

Dinner is neither to be discussing “dessert.”

I know it can be difficult because it can be a bit of a turn off sometimes when you incorrectly guess another’s guy position…but maybe Missy, Beyoncé, Free, and MC Lyte can keep you on the track to love by Fighting Temptation…