In many ways, I'm quite the typical guy. I like football, fast cars, and I love a good home-cooked meal. I quote Coming to America whenever I get the chance. And I love to turn things into a competition, just for the fun of it. Like I said - typical.
But because of my unique journey, I'm also very different. Growing up in Oakland makes you develop a little faster. As a young entrepreneur, swimming in an ocean full of sharks will teach you some cold, hard lessons about business. Searching for meaning in a world full of chaos tests your resolve. And getting your heart broken time and time again will challenge what you really believe about love.
Because of culture, media, and our experiences, we can fall into the trap of believing in myths instead of seeking the truth. If the truth has the power to set you free, myths can keep you stuck in patterns of dysfunction. This is especially true when applied to relationships between men and women. While men could stand to learn a thing or two about women, that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now. I’m here to help squash some of the long-standing beefs women have with men in the dating scene, and it starts with killing some of these myths that keep us at odds. I know it’s hard out there, but I hope these insights help you navigate your relationships with the men you meet.
Myth #1: All Males Are “Men.”
A Made Man operates under a different code than other men. He’s a leader that lives his life according to clear principles and values. Men like this stand out and you notice one when you meet him, not because he’s flashy, but because he commands your respect. And a Made Woman won’t be satisfied in a relationship if she’s not with this type of man.
Myth #2: If He’s Single, Either He’s Gay, Crazy, Or He’s Lying.
If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked me why I was single, I’d be waking up in that new Bugatti that Ace Hood raps about. I often talk to women who are puzzled by the single man that isn’t actively looking for a wife. They assume there’s something wrong with him or that he’s afraid of commitment. To me Phonte from the rap group Little Brother said it best: “A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life.” For a Made Man, to find a good woman is one of the best gifts he could receive. But the ultimate pursuit and prize lies in that man finding his purpose and passion, establishing himself in his work, and leaving his mark on the world. The great Steve Jobs talked about “making a dent in the universe.” All Made Men have this inherent desire to make an impact. It’s how we’re programmed. We don’t view women as less important than our passions. They are to be our companions and partners as we go on our journey towards meaning and significance.
Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing As A “Guy Friend,” And If He Says He Wants To Be Your Friend, He’s Lying.
This is a tricky one because there are a few ways guys can act when it comes to friendship with women. Many women can remember a time where they thought they had built a solid friendship with a guy who just genuinely seemed interested in being their friend. But in the end, it turned out that he was trying to figure out how to use his charm to get past her defenses and make his move. This cunning scheme has broken the trust of women around the world, and it has ruined it for men that value platonic female friendships. Some men are mature enough to enjoy the company and energy of a woman, and some men aren’t. It’s too bad that the wolves in sheep’s clothing ruin it for the good guys that just want female companionship.
But there are, in fact, some men that want to establish a solid friendship with a woman before taking it to the next level. These men need to get know the real woman before they consider them as a potential suitable life partner. They need to see the woman as she really is, and without the veneer that’s often put up during courtship. There is nothing conniving about this. In fact, with the divorce rate what it is, it's probably smart for him to do his homework in this way. Women need to be able to identify this man, and appreciate the fact that he cares about his future and his family enough to choose his mate wisely. The difference between this guy and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is that instead of just saying he wants to be friends he proves it over time by showing he cares about you.
Myth #4: Men Are Intimidated By Strong Women.
Men can be just as insecure as some women are, and strong women can scare them. But a Made Man is never intimidated by a strong woman. He’s excited about her. Because he’s secure in his identity, he isn’t threatened. Instead, he’s excited to see her grow and thrive. If you find yourself scaring off all the men you encounter, you could possibly be around a bunch of fragile boys in men’s clothing. Steer clear of them for now. But a word of caution: don’t confuse the word “strong” as a license for you to be disrespectful or insensitive. It can be easy slip into cynicism, but don’t give in to it. You might miss a Made Man when he appears.
Myth #5: Age Equals Maturity.
Just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he has his life together. I know some 40 year-old guys who look for a girlfriend that will take on the role of their mother. And I know some 20 year-olds that are ready to be the head of their household. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, some guys never leave the nest. They expect their woman to be compliant and always able to fix whatever mess he gets himself into. Every man wants a woman who will be his biggest supporter and cheerleader. But any guy who would rather have an enabler more than a co-pilot is not a Made Man. A Made Man knows that every power couple is made up of two strong individuals. He’s not looking for his mom. He’s looking for his match.
These are just a few of the myths that women believe about men, and we’ll explore a few more in the next column. But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think these are myths? Or are these realities that men will never be able to escape from?
Next Issue: 10 Myths Women Believe about Men (Part 2)
This article was originally published on Bauce Magazine and was written by Ahyana King.
I don’t know how the dating/sex/marriage conversation went for most of you. But for me, it was this dance between random guerilla education tactics by my parents and the church. Then, it was my human sexuality class freshman year, every Tuesday and Thursday, and church. Then, it was my work as an HIV tester and counselor, advice about relationships among my friends that had gone awry, and church. You get my point.
A pretty big influence on how or whom I dated was church. What impacted me most from the various church experiences was not so much “Don’t have sex while you’re dating, wait until your married,” but “Don’t be unequally yoked.” And whether you believe in God or soccer balls, I think there is something very practical about the idea of not being unequally yoked.
What does the saying mean exactly? Well, as a Christian, it means: if he or she isn’t a Christian, don’t get involved, and definitely don’t marry them. In a more practical sense: if he or she isn’t on par with who you are or who you are becoming, don’t bother dating, getting emotionally involved, and then being disappointed later and conflicted about how to end things because “We don’t want the same things.”
Ladies, we do this A LOT, especially when it comes to men and their ambition. We are eternal hopefuls, fully convinced that we can lead by example, partner with him, and encourage him. And when we have two degrees and he’s still struggling to get the one he was working on when you met six years ago, you’re baffled, and resent him and his good looks. Therefore, in the case of ambition, do not be unequally yoked. Here’s why:
1. You risk getting stuck. Slowly, but surely, you will find yourself re-adjusting your own goals to fit the comfortable space he is in. You will find yourself not looking for the dream marketing position at a firm in San Francisco because all he’s known is Prince George County, his family lives there, and you already moved there from New York. “Be stable with him,” is what you will tell yourself. That will sound good at first, until your ambitious friends are uprooting, globetrotting, and out living their goals.
2. You risk your happiness. I have yet to meet the who is truly happy with herself and accepting of her lifestyle, while being resentful and bitter toward someone. However, I have met the woman who has “sacrificed” her dreams to stay with a man in hopes of changing him, motivating him, and being his “ride or die chick,” so that together, they can become the next Barack and Michelle. When she realizes that he is not into the responsibility that comes with managing a team at his job, starting a business, owning instead of renting, or going back to school, she often becomes hurt and bitter toward him and disappointed and unhappy with herself. You can do bad all by yourself. No need to be in a relationship with a guy who is not interested in doing anything more than what he was doing before he met you or since he met you.
3. You risk not being in the healthy relationship you want and deserve. When his lack of ambition frustrates you, the dynamics of the relationship will change. The likelihood of you being less understanding and forgiving will increase. The likelihood of you continuing to value and appreciate what made you fall for him is likely to decrease. Granted these dynamics can happen for a variety of reasons, even if your man is just as ambitious as you, your frustration with his lack of ambition can hasten and heighten the intensity of such changing and challenging dynamics.
When I posted the question, “Why shouldn’t you date someone who isn’t as ambitious as you?” to my Facebook page, the feedback came pouring in. Most people were writing some variation of the three reasons I listed above. However, one responded with a reminder that I think is important to share.
While he may not be as ambitious as you, you may carry enough ambition for the two of you. Lack of ambition is not the same as being uneducated, incapable of being a supportive loving partner and provider, or having the other qualities that are important when considering a potential mate. If ambition is one of your non-negotiables on your list of desirable qualities in a mate, then don’t negotiate it. If it is negotiable, consider the three risks mentioned above, as well as all of the great (and they better be great - Made Women deserve great) qualities he has before deciding how important his lack of ambition is.
For more great content, check out Bauce Magazine.
Give me a “Hell yeah!” if:
- you want to have a drama free relationship.
- you want to euthanize insecurity.
- you want to end the dating exasperation you have experienced up until now.
Good. We agree.
Let’s start with a heart-centered strategy.
Because you are SO ready to have what you want.
The strategy begins with exposing some of the relationship falsehoods we’ve been fed by society. Somewhere along the way you have been misled about what it takes to create a legendary duo. And when you’re operating with faulty facts, it’s nearly impossible to manifest the results you want.
But no more.
Let’s clear up a few of those falsehoods, douse you with raw reality (ouch), point you in the right direction for romance + set you on your smoldering, love-making way.
Juicy, right? I guarantee that by following these two essential tips, you will extinguish 98% of your frustrations in relationships and pave the way to experiencing the kind of mutually rewarding + loving partnerships you not only crave, but deserve.
How’s that for a proposal?
I love going big.
Truth 1: Men Are “As-Is” Merchandise
Have you ever found yourself on a first or 22nd date thinking he’d be perfect if only he lost a few pounds, put on a few pounds, had hair, had a more impressive career, was wealthier, more affectionate, younger, older blahblahblah?
FACT: Men don’t want to be changed or improved.
But we L-O-V-E to tweak ‘em don’t we? The truth is, if you’re a woman and have ever dated anyone, you have probably wanted to change him. What if I told you that this behavior may be one of the reasons you’re single or unhappy in your current relationship?
Let’s meditate on this.
Men want to be appreciated for who they already are and you have got to give up trying to change his original packaging. One of the biggest mistakes women make is trying to improve a man into something he’s not.How would you feel if the man you were with was constantly trying change or “tweak” you? What if he suggested you lose a little weight, earn more money, dress sexier and learn how to cook? Would you feel attracted to him?
Imagine it’s date number one. Assess how attracted you are to him, understand what he can provide in a relationship and then decide whether or not you are interested in him. You must look at WHAT IS and decide if he is a good fit for you RIGHT NOW.
If a “yes” bubbles up, then keep enjoying his company. But if a laundry list of “tweaks” begin to stream through your dolled up, date-ready self? Let. Him. Go.
So if you’re not happy about some aspect of the man you’re dating, you have two choices.This is not to say if your honey of two years has suddenly packed on 35 pounds you should just accept it. Communication is critical in any healthy relationship. However, there’s an immense difference between communicating about what works for you and what doesn’t, and trying to improve someone.
1. To communicate clearly (and with compassion) what is concerning you + then wait for his response. It’s possible that you’ll be in agreement! At which point you can discuss possible resolutions + work together as a team. However, if not...
2. Keep it moving, sister. If you feel very strongly about your concerns and it’s going to burn a hole in your stomach + he doesn’t want to comply – you’ve gotta move on. He is just not the one for you.
Ultimately, your job is to simply be there and speak your truth about what is working and what isn’t. If he wants to adjust anything, he’ll need to pull up the strength within himself to do so.
If your priorities are misaligned, be courageous enough to move on. It’s ultimately selfish to stay in something that isn’t fulfilling. You both deserve to be with someone who celebrates you just the way you are.
Truth 2: A Relationship Will Not Save You
A man will not save you. Filling the void in your heart cannot be accomplished just by having a man.
You must be the administer of your own rescue.
You’re worth it.
Operating from the mindset that a relationship will save you, complete you or usher in the success you have been yearning is a guaranteed way to remain both single + unhappy.
I, myself, have made the mistake of believing that I needed a man in order to feel whole + emotionally and/or financially secure. In a way, it is woven into our genetics. Our DNA has a sharp memory + for longer than not, women have needed men for survival.
But! We’re living in a time when women have the choice of being with a man because we LIKE him – not because we need someone to pay the rent. However, our cultural morals haven’t necessarily caught up to reality and women are conditioned to believe we’re somehow incomplete without a committed relationship.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re looking for a sustainable sense of security and wholeness it cannot be found in any outside resource. A relationship will not rid you of the feelings of loneliness, fear or insecurity that are inherent in the human condition. There is no man, no job, no home or amount of wealth that can ever generate an ongoing, uninterrupted sense of fulfillment in you. You are already SAFE.
FACT: Holding back in your life is what’s keeping him away.
Stop waiting for Prince Charming to come along and make it all better.
Stop putting off your dreams.
Stop delaying taking action on the things you know you want most for yourself.
Invest, now, in your career.
Invest, now, in your education.
Invest, now, in your finances + health.
When you invest in yourself first and stop holding back all the neediness that drives men bonkers, it will evaporate because you have made the executive choice to stop using a relationship to fix yourself.
Instead of secretly waiting for things to get better once you meet “the one,” you begin living your life with authenticity + spunk. Understanding and acting on this knowledge will instantly make you more relaxed, sexy, and genuine to men.
Now. Go get him + keep him, honey!
It’s always hard to find yourself in that situation: it’s just not working out ... you and your boyfriend/lover/husband have come to the end of the road. We all cope with break-ups in different ways. When a relationship ends, regardless of how it went down, you may need some help picking up and carrying on. If you are having trouble shaking off your ex you need the Break-Up Tool Kit! Here are some suggestions from our Made Woman team about what you need to get through!
A new shade of lipstick ... nothing makes you feel more beautiful and reinvented than a bold new color! Lindsey E.
Well it's been awhile since I've had to break-up (I've been married for almost a year and a half!), but probably a kickboxing video and a punching bag so I could tape a picture of the guy's face to it and pretend to beat the crap out of him. Jessica
Bottle of wine (Skinny Girl). When newly single, it is best to be drunk and skinny. Beth
De-materializing machine a la star trek. It's so awkward to have to break-up with somebody, and if I had to be there myself, as the facilitator of the break-up or receiver, I'd like to be able to just say, "sorry" and dematerialize. No watching as the other person walks away, no uncomfortable "do I look back" feelings, awkward waves, feeling that I ought to pretend to cry ... Just "sorry" and *poof* I'm gone! Christine
An app that would permanently block my ex's Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn page. Deleting these pages off of my friends or follow list isn't enough because if their page isn't private, I'll still be stalking it no matter how much his face makes me want to hurl. Kiana
A sledgehammer. Amanda
Can I say a crowbar? Jk! I'd definitely need a nice music mix ... some Beyonce, Mary J, Adele, Stevie Wonder, Bilal, Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin would do the trick. Soul music makes everything OK! Lindsey D.
A plane ticket to somewhere foreign. A change of pace is good for the soul. Sometimes the best way to leave your troubles behind is to literally leave town! Serena
Phone numbers of cute guys who were interested but that I'd blown off. Brook
How many of these responses can you relate to? What are some items in your break-up tool kit? We are all taking notes from each other so tell us in the comments below. Just remember, you can get through it! You are a Made Woman after all!
Oh, the world of online dating…it seems every time we turn on the TV, there’s a Match.com advertisement. Click here to find true love and happiness!”
Yet, when (heaven-forbid) some of us try the online dating experience to meet someone new, it doesn’t seem to always end in butterflies and rainbows like we think it might. In fact, sometimes it ends in some ridiculously creepy story that you’ll always have as a go-to “OMG do you want to hear a crazy story?” story.
We all know the type of dates I’m talking about - those ones out of the Twilight Zone that make you cringe… those ones that make you never want to try online dating again.
I feel you, and I’m here to help you avoid such moments with some personal tips on the online dating front from someone who randomly and successfully met their ultimate match on Match (Yes, I’m one of those 3/5).
And while there are a million things to talk about in regards to this subject, I’ll start with perhaps my BIGGEST tip:
This includes the entire way you present yourself - from those oh, so imperative pictures to the words you choose to paint the picture of YOU. Be honest when you answer the profile questions. Take some time to reflect about your responses. We have reached an age where we can almost handpick our partners like we are doing some serious online shopping. Why not be real about what you want and who you are?
Question for you to ponder: Do you really think you’re going to get away with a 30 pound differential between the “you” in your pictures and the “you” on the real-life date? I’m pretty sure, with the exception of someone who is actually legally blind, that you’ll be busted, and it will end awkwardly. Why start off a relationship like that?
While we may have changed since five or ten years ago, and we may prefer those older pictures, it is mandatory to choose pictures that accurately reflect who you are in the present moment. You want someone to love you for who you are right? You, of course, want to pick photogenic pictures of yourself. I also suggest getting your friends’ opinions before putting them up on an online dating site! They can provide another point of view about what is valuable in a photo.
Lastly, pick the pictures that visually tell your story, so that your potential matches can compare the words of your profile to your photos. In other words, get pictures of you living your life out loud. If you are a free spirit and love traveling, socializing, animals, yoga, and are passionate about giving back (I may or may not be talking about myself here), choose pictures that show you doing these things: pictures of you doing yoga, traveling, attending a personal development event, hanging out with your friends, volunteering at an animal shelter, etc.
As humans, we are very visual creatures, so storytelling through photographs is a great way to help someone judge you more correctly. Let’s face it…we are going to be judged…so we want to put our best and most strategic foot forward.
Through being genuine online, and really assessing the truthfulness in others online, you can really increase your chances of success on an online dating site (and avoid those creepy moments!) if you are honest. So be YOU so that others can see YOU and value YOU.
Scrap your Mr. Perfect list.
What if I told you that when you annihilate the borders of restriction you allow in a tide of eligible men?
Would you be willing to release and let go of what you think will make you happy in a man?
Yes? Cool. Stay with me a minute.
Courage is key here.
Up until now, your checklist has been a self-erected barricade to love and probably held you back from getting precisely what you want – and more. Is it possible that your list has become a convenient excuse allowing you to dodge the challenge and closeness of a real relationship?
Often it can seem easier to remain single and independent, than to expose ourselves to the vulnerability and intimacy that is inherent in love’s blind faith.
So with fear at our backs – what do we do? Seconds after meeting someone, we compare him to our Mr. Perfect list and judge him as not “the one.” Sound familiar?
(I’ve been guilty of it too, ladies.)
Who is Mr. Perfect anyway?
He is an idealized vision you have of the man you should be with for the rest of your life. He’s an illusion – a fictional character you’ve created based on limited, crumbling, and faded information from your past. It will be impossible to find the right man for you now – in the present – while your check list is based on an old, less brilliant version of you.
Take notice of where you are anchored.
Is it in the past, in fiction, or in reality?
Get to the pulse of your consciousness.
Let’s use me as an example. I am 35 this October, and about 7 years ago, I sat down and wrote out my perfect man checklist. I sealed it in an envelope and put it in a wish box under my bed.
My Mr. Perfect looked like this: 6'2", sandy blonde/brown hair, and boyish, all-American good looks. Think Matt Damon, but taller. He would be a power executive at a major firm who had VIP meetings on his cell phone, while drinking a wheatgrass juice on the way to the gym. He had to live in the city, and have an impeccable sense of style.
Four years later, I still hadn’t found him. Why? Because I constructed this list based on old thought patterns, reactions, and judgements. I was unable to see that anyone else existed.
And I was lonely.
I needed to create a new normal for myself – pronto.
I set out on a mission to penetrate the present. I ripped up my perfect man checklist, and immersed myself in discovering what was true for me now. I began investigating the way I dated. I let go of the stale ideas of what I thought would make me happy in a man. I was petitioning the universe to bring me something completely new and fresh.
Today, I’m in love with an amazing man who brings me complete elation. He is 5'11", with dark and thick black hair, sexy ethnic eyes, hates wheatgrass, and has an obsession with coffee. He is passionate about his career, which is prosperous, but he’s certainly not wheeling and dealing major real-estate ventures. He owns his home out toward the desert, and to my lovely surprise, I enjoy listening to the rustle of the trees at night rather than honking horns.
See the contrast?
My ideas of the ideal man were so pale and so restricted compared to his shine.
Are you short-changing yourself?
Is it possible that your vision of the perfect man is way too narrow?
Why confine yourself to some fantasy idea of who you think you should be with?
Love is art, and art is risky.
Take a risk.
Torch self-limiting dating concepts.
Love is waiting for you on the other side.
And she is pure and she is encouraging.
Thirty. The big 3-0. Dirty 30. What exactly is it about this number that makes it synonymous the word “married” when mentioned in relation to a woman’s age? Who decided that the minute a girl is no longer a twenty-something, she must be, better be, should be married? It’s as if a secret memo was sent out to everyone in America stating:
Since most women are no longer getting married in their early 20’s, we’ve decided to increase the female marriage ceiling to age 30. Please make this information known throughout the land—from advertisements and word-of-mouth marketing to incessant Facebook posts from happy newlyweds—we need all ladies under 30 to be aware of this expectation so they can find Mr. Right prior to leaving their 20’s. So, if you happen to know a girl who is 27-29 years old, do pressure them to think about getting hitched for life ASAP.
The Powers that Be (Creators of social norms and customs that are rarely updated to reflect changes and growth within society. While some of these “rules” might not feel right or make sense, just go with the flow until otherwise notified.)
I live in LA, a city where both men and woman tend to marry a bit later in life, and yet I still spent the last years of my 20‘s feeling that somehow, I’d messed up. I had followed the wrong trail and thus, my “important-life-moments” timeline was off. It began slowly at first, when I was 27 ... an engagement post on Facebook, an invite to a wedding—it was happening. People I knew were beginning the next stage of life and saying “I do.”
For a minute, I too was part of the engaged-before-30-crowd. Nearing 28, I pushed the issue of marriage with my then-boyfriend of two years and he gave in, asked my parents for my hand and ... we waited. A year later when no date had been set and more importantly, I’d realized he was not my Mr. Forever, we broke up. Now, at 31, I look back and realize that while I was heartbroken, I was equally distraught thinking that I had just lost my chance to get married before I was 30.
But my 31-year-old self, still unmarried, knows something that my 27-year-old self did not. I am worth waiting for. My genuine happiness is worth waiting for. As fabulous MADE women, we deserve to get married when, and only when, we find the man who makes us glow from the inside and fits the detailed description of what we want in a life partner ... and then some. I’ve seen too many friends settle for Mr. Right-Before-30 and frankly, they are either not that happy, or worse—divorced.
Today, I believe I have found my Mr. Forever. We’ve been together for three years and because I am over 30 the pressure to get married is SUPER intense—my parents, my friends, my Facebook page now booming with babies and the little voice in my head asking, “When will it be my turn?” And let’s face it ladies—if we want to have babies, there is a real timeline—but, that should not change the fact that your dream life will never become your real life if you settle. So to the twenty-somethings who are panicking because there is no ring on the horizon and to the thirty-somethings who have yet to walk down the aisle, remember this:
1. MARRY BECAUSE YOU BOTH WANT TO - not because you’re about to be 30 and you force an ultimatum. Come on. We’ve all been there, girls! A nudge is fine, a subtle hint, sure. BUT DON’T BE THAT GIRL. If he doesn’t want to marry you, you DESERVE TO FIND A MAN WHO DOES.
2. MARRY WHEN YOU FIND MR. FOREVER - not because you’re turning 30 next year.
3. NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU WANT - in love, in work, in health, in life.
When you finally say “I do,” if you ever do, there is a good chance that you’ll only say it once. And you’ll be saying it to the right person, not just the person you found right before you turned 30.
What is it about Valentine’s day that brings out the haters in full force? I mean for real, it’s like as soon as the red boxes of candy and heart-shaped Hallmark cards hit the shelves everybody and their stank-faced aunty suddenly has a problem with the “forced commercialism” of the holiday. These people have never even said the word “commercialism” before in their lives and buy every new Chanel bag that comes out -- and suddenly they have a problem with it. Then there is the “I show love everyday so I don’t need to do anything special on Valentine’s Day” crew. I mean, I feel this. If you really are sending your sweetheart flowers just to say “I love you” every other week, OK, cupid gives you a pass. But I think this is highly unlikely. What’s more likely is you count the effort you put in for your significant other’s bday and your anniversary as enough work and then proceed to hate on V-day. My question is why? Why all the love-hate?
Cue the 5th grade book report intro: Valentine’s day began as a celebration for Saint Valentine who was supposedly imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers and ministering to Christians. Today, Valentine’s day is the most celebrated holiday in the world after New Year’s Day. And yes, for many it’s lost its meaning. February 14th causes more heads to ache than it does hearts to beat faster. There are dinner reservations to make, outfits to buy, gifts to give… But this holiday, like all the others, is only as meaningful as you make it. If all it means to you is “Damn, I better hit up See’s Candy on my way home from work” or “hmm… maybe I’ll get some nookie tonight,” then just go ahead and give up on V-Day. Because just like the original St. Valentine, the day should be about expressions of love for love’s sake. They say “keep hope alive” for a reason: values take work. It doesn’t even have to be about you, boo boo. Send your best friend and her new fiancé some expensive champagne. Hug your roommate and bake him/her some cookies. Bring candy hearts or chocolate to work and attach a note of appreciation for your co-workers. Basically for one day show the world you have a beating, bleeding heart in your chest and that you are capable of expressing love.
If you do want to keep the day romantic, maybe instead of going out to eat it would be better to, I don’t know, talk to your significant other about their hopes, dreams, and (dare I say it) future. If you V-Day haters out there are so against the superficial, then let’s get real! Light some candles, turn on some Sade and talk about feelings, damn it. Who is this person you are dating anyway? If it’s real, if you are going to go the distance, you should know each other and know how to communicate. Better to work out issues with V-Day dinner in your belly and a smile on your face than to wait until there are real problems.
Still not convinced? Consider the alternative. The other 364 days of the year when the main topic of conversation isn’t “love” but war/famine/Chris Brown /Real Housewives of [insert city]/discrimination/injustice. As anyone who watches the local news can attest, sh*t is real out there. Maybe if we loved ourselves up a bit more some of these problems (hopefully CBreezy) would go away. Maybe expressing love and light for a day instead of hate and shade might make you and those around you feel better. Maybe if we treasure this one day of love, the other days on the calendar will get a bit brighter. Love works. Love lasts. But I’m starting to sound like a Hallmark card. I’ll just let Stevie tell you…
“Love’s in need of Love today…” Stevie Wonder
The 1960s: the era of mod, The Beatles, beehive-shaped hair... and idyllic dating. Dates were formal affairs where guys picked you up, dropped you off and, most importantly, always paid. If you’ve seen the 1963 musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” you know all about “getting pinned,” which is where a boy bestowed upon his love a club or fraternity pin to indicate that the two were “going steady.” “Going steady” led to engagement, which led to marriage and picket fences and the pitter-patter of little feet. There was no hanky panky before there were rings placed on fingers. The rules were definitive and clear-cut. Oh, how things have changed…
Forty-something years later, there are no murkier waters than those of the modern dating landscape, and “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are no longer the only labels that today’s daters have to contend with:
1. “Hanging Out:” You’ve gone on three or four dates (probably only for drinks), you text every so often and you’ve maybe even hooked up once or twice, but both of you are keeping your options wide open, not putting all of your eggs into the other’s basket.
2. “Friends with benefits/Booty Call buddies:” You hook up on a regular basis but there are no plans for the long term. He’s never met your friends or your roommate, but you have him on speed dial for those after 11pm emergencies.
3. “Boo’ed up:” You’ve been hanging out for a while. You’ve been on several dates: dinner, daytime and otherwise. He’s your plus one but not quite your boyfriend. You talk often. There’s still been no discussion of exclusivity, but it’s becoming more and more clear that you like each other and enjoy spending time together.
4. “Exclusive:” You’ve had a talk, but not “the talk.” You like each other enough to agree to stop seeing/sleeping with other people, but have yet to DTR (define the relationship). An exclusive relationship looks a lot like a bf/gf situation. You’ve met each other’s friends and spend a lot of time together, but you wouldn’t necessarily introduce the other as “my boyfriend” or “my girlfriend.” Maybe it’s because this brings up thoughts of marriage (which may freak either one of you out) or you are just too cool for labels.
It’s not just the initial stages of dating that have changed drastically over the years; the later ones have transformed as well. Back in the day, engagement always came before cohabitation. Now, since “shacking up” is no longer socially forbidden, couples can “play house” for years before deciding whether or not they want to get married. “The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right” by dating coaches Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, published in 1995, stressed that no girl should date a man for longer than two years. If by that time she had no ring on her finger, the book suggested that she move on. The goal was marriage. Daters of today don’t feel the same way.
Marriage rates today are the lowest they’ve ever been in the history of the United States. While 72% of all American adults were married in 1960, only 51% are married today. Is this because daters have become so used to the lack of labels that they feel overwhelmed at the prospect of being someone’s “husband” or “wife”? Has our culture of hookups sans commitment conditioned us away from the traditions that used to be so important to us? And the real question: does it matter? We, the daters of today, define our dating landscape. Maybe it’s okay to leave labels behind and focus on connection instead. Because in the end, the path to love and happiness may have changed since the 1960s, but our desire for it has definitely remained the same.
Dinner plans, check. Appropriate manly-yet-romantic gift for the man you love, check. Candles and music for the...ahem...after party, check. But the day of love is approaching and you haven’t answered the million dollar question: What are you going to wear!? Here are some classy suggestions for outfits sure to make his heart beat a little faster:
This floral sheath from Aqua hugs you in all the right places. It is sure to brighten up any evening outing. And since it’s on sale for $75.60, the price is right to buy now for V-day and wear through spring.
Keeping your Valentine’s day low-key? Or just not the type to dress up? Then I recommend wearing your favorite love story. From the romantic Great Gatsby to the sensual Lolita, Out of Print clothing carries a variety of T-shirts, fleece, and totes featuring famous book covers. Wear one of these T-shirts under a blazer and pair with high-heels or boots for a casual look that is timelessly chic.
Planning a long walk on the beach? This jumpsuit is a stylish and cute way to strut on the sand. The red rose print is also very fitting for Valentine’s Day wear.
If you’re going somewhere a bit more formal, this dress by French Connection has great movement and is a fun but classic option.
These tanks by Haute Hippie are playful and perfect for V-Day. Wear with leather leggings to make a flirty statement.
These d’Orsay pumps by Jean-Michel Cazbat can be worn to work and to play. The mint and pink choices are perfect for making a V-Day outfit pop. Oh, and that back detail – walking sex!
I am not really a Hello Kitty kind of girl. But even I have to admit these heart-print Hello Kitty pumps I found on JustFab.com are quite cute.
Going somewhere glitzy? If you’re visiting a local hot spot or going dancing, these glittery sandals by Kate Spade will have you standing out and feeling good.
If your taste is edgier or you are looking to bundle up by wearing some cute booties, these studs are the perfect mate. The toes are capped with spikes and crystals, and the boots come in red or black. Who doesn’t love a hot shoe on sale? For only $70 you can have a trendy boot to wear with a LBD or some great skinny slacks.
This studded heart bag will win yours over. And for $48 this deal is no heart (or bank) breaker.
Jacquie Aiche shows us how to show our love: by wearing it on our ears. The ear cuff is a new, trendy way to wear jewels on the ears. I love how this piece peeks out at the top of the ear, so unexpected and fresh.
This necklace from JustFab.com is a true gem. It has every color on it, so it can go with anything! In fact, you may want to gift yourself with this beauty come V-Day.
Don’t wait for a guy to put a ring on it. You can do that yourself. Stack and layer this cute bow ring also on (JustFab.com) for a truly pretty sight.
Whatever your plans may be for February 14, show yourself some love and indulge in a wardrobe update. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about just lingerie. Buy something that you will actually wear on other days of the year and that you absolutely love.