Should “finding a man” be a New Year’s resolution?

Those of you who know me personally are very familiar with my dating woes, which I don’t believe in hiding in hopes that maybe one of you will take pity on me and set me up on a blind date.

With that in mind, I want to share with you an e-mail I just received from a female acquaintance, who wrote:

I think you are extremely talented and a very interesting human being.  It shocks me that you have been dateless in ‘o8.  I have a feeling that men are intimidated by you.  You will find the right soul mate.  An equally interesting and unique guy is out there waiting to meet you.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a male colleague who wrote:

What’s up with no dates in ’08?

Both wrote in response to my “Farewell to 2008,” where I mentioned that I didn’t have a date all year. After sending out that lengthy missive I heard from three female friends who wrote that they hadn’t had a date all year either and one whom hadn’t had a date in two or three years.  It wasn’t unsettling to them. I began to wonder what is going on. Here are four intelligent, attractive, successful Black women who are not dating and don’t care. I don’t know if they are in the same boat as me and only being hit on by toothless men in Harlem or if they are turning down dates from worthy individuals.

But it has begun to cause me concern and I rarely let my pathetic social life get to me. It’s only when I sit down to reflect on the year do I focus on it. Strangely enough, I was talking to my friend Nick on New Year’s Day and I mentioned something about my New Year’s resolutions. He asked if I included “find a man” on my list and I said no. He said he didn’t blame me because men were no good anyway. I don’t believe that. But the next night as I wrote in my journal, I wondered what was wrong with me for not caring. How come finding a man is not on my list of New Year resolutions along with drinking more water, practicing Italian two hours a week, exercising a minimum of three times a week and some other objectives that I have yet to work on?

Then I watched a sappy movie on the Hallmark Channel, which I don’t think I knew even existed. I happened to see “I Love Lucy” on the television grid and after watching Lucy and Ethel get jobs in a candy factory, kept the television tuned to that channel. The movie was about a woman who found love on the internet. As many of you know, I am no stranger to internet dating. I’ve paid my dues on match.com a few times, on blackpeoplemeet.com and J-Date. I signed up for eHarmony.com but found the process too lengthy so never completed it. Before computers, I answered personal ads in newspapers. After I got settled in New York, I even joined a moderately-priced matchmaking service, where I had to go in for an interview and matches are hand-picked for you.

I’ve met a wide range of men along the way, from a very successful man who started an anti-virus company named after his surname, to a man who worked out at the same health club as me, to a man who won an Emmy to a man who lived at home with his mother and had no plans of leaving. (The latter was in Italy, in case you hadn’t figured that out.)

On the spur of the moment I decided to give internet dating another shot. Every two or three years I rejoin for three months, then cancel my membership and run screaming into the woods. Last week I had a date. My first real date in two years. It went very well. The guy and I connected. We had a lot in common as far as having traveled to the same places and stayed at the same hotels. There was never a lull in conversation. He was confident, very good looking and well-groomed. I admit, I looked stunning. He was warm, putting his hand on my back a couple of times as he talked. I gladly let him tell his stories because he was interesting, funny and intelligent. I shared my stories as well but tried not to in a boastful way, yet just enough to show that I’m in the same league. I praised his smarts to make sure he knew that I appreciated his brains, laughed at his jokes, smiled and didn’t wear a desperate look. The date ended with him saying we should get together again and me concurring. I emailed him either later than night or the next day to tell him I had a good time and looked forward to seeing him again. I never heard from him.

I don’t have the energy to second-guess everything I said and wonder, maybe I should have acted like I didn’t know such-and-such. I am upfront in my profile (in hopes of turning off the oodles of losers out there) so he knew what he was getting. It could be a thing of he really isn’t available to date because he forgot to tell his wife of 10 years they are separating.

Regardless of why he didn’t call I still have a question in regards to me intimidating men:

How do I walk the fine line of presenting myself as an interesting person yet allow a man to feel like he can expose me to a world that I’ve never seen? I know men need to feel like they are going to bring a first-time experience to their mate, that they are the best thing that has ever happened to you. I also know not to run my mouth about I’ve been on this yacht and to this many countries and this suite and that event. I know to let a man talk. I watch Oprah!

I remember several years ago I had a telephone conversation with a guy I hoped to meet in person after we connected online. Because he lived in San Francisco and I in LA, we had a chance to talk on the telephone instead of rushing into a quick first-person meeting. One day he called me in my office at People and asked what I had done the night before. I made the mistake of telling him. Not in a gushing, breathless, oh-my-God way as I am too even-keeled for that. I don’t remember what I did but I know it involved something that sounded more glamorous than it was for the mere fact that  I covered celebrities and went to events every night. He said something to me like, “Your job is so exciting? What do you need me for?” I told him that my job was my job and I would like a simple picnic in the park. We never did meet.

I can’t help that I don’t have a mundane job. I’m not a pipe fitter. I don’t do nails. Thank god I’ve always had exciting jobs because lord knows my social life has been less than thrilling for what seems like decades.

A year ago, a man married to a now ex-friend, told me that I would always have problems because my height coupled with my race intimidated  men. Black women are intimidating enough for some men; throw in a six-footer and you’re asking for trouble, he said, adding if I were a tall white woman I would get more action. My height and race are not changeable.  For years I have had men come up to me and the first thing out of their mouths has been, “I’m not intimidated by you.” Well, obviously they are.

But here’s a message to men: don’t be intimidated by my height or what I bring to the table. Don’t people want to be a part of a power couple? I look at  Barack and Michelle, who had a high-powered position before giving it up to help her husband with his run for the presidency, Bill and Hillary Clinton, even Beyonce and Jay-Z. Don’t men see how a woman with a variety of qualities can be a complement, not a detriment.

I don’t get it. Can you help me understand?

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1 Comment

Filed under Dating

One response to “Should “finding a man” be a New Year’s resolution?

  1. You know, this is the million-dollar question: what about strong black women intimidates American men? And I don’t think it’s just BLACK guys that freak out when a woman is smart, well-traveled and well-rounded — I’m starting to think there’s something about many (not ALL, I hope) American men that just can’t handle it. Not that all foreign guys have it together, but I don’t find the same issues with men who aren’t originally from the United States. They don’t seem to have the same hang-ups on age, race, careers, etc. — but the problem is, we live HERE. I never have trouble meeting guys once I leave the continental U.S., and I NEVER feel I have to hold back or not share who I really am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done. I know the grass always looks greener on the other side, but over the past several years this theory has been confirmed over and over.

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