The World According to Humphrey

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Archive for the ‘dating’ Category

Tightrope

Posted by humphreysworld on October 8, 2011

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some of the most incredible women in my life. They are artists, writers, cooks, musicians, business owners, designers- I am often in awe as to what my friends have accomplished in their lives. And yet, for some of them (us), there is a piece missing. It seems as though they (we) are willing to do whatever to get it- even if it means compromising them(our)selves.

I’m talking of course about relationships.

I would like to say I can’t relate, but that would be a boldface lie. There have been a few times in my life that I took more bullshit than I should have/would have, turned  a blind eye when things were so blatantly out of place, sacrificed more of myself than my partner was ever willing to do- with each experience ending with disastrous results.  I made a number of excuses for my behavior to myself and to my friends, not willing to accept the truth that confronted me every time I was stood up, lied to, made to be the fool. The fact was that I wondered whether or not I would end up alone. And I told myself that if I bent over enough, I would be able to convince this person that I was in fact worthy of their attention and love. Needless to say there were no happy endings to come from an existence like that.

I often wonder if men go through these same conversations with themselves. Do they feel a level of insecurity when it comes to relationships that makes them act out of character for love that may not be worth it? Do men feel a sense of urgency as time goes on that they may end up alone like some women do? I look at the women in my life, as well as my own experience, and it seems as though women seem to be the only ones making the sacrifices.

I am so grateful that I came out a survivor on the other side of those relationships. Because I am stronger and wiser because of it. More importantly, I have learned once again to love myself and recognize my worth, thereby truly being open to giving and receiving love. No longer will I spend energy trying to convince someone that I am worth their time, energy and love. I know I am. But it’s a fine rope I walk, because I’m in a place in my life where I want to shift my priorities from career to family. As I get older and prince charming hasn’t surfaced, it’s easy to let the old habits sneak in. I often wonder of some of my girlfriends are walking that same fine line.

The late Johnny Cochran once said. ‘if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit’. I like to use this term a lot for just about anything, including relationships. I’ve learned a long time ago that forcing something to be just because you think it should doesn’t make it right; no matter how hard you try it doesn’t fit. Relationships are a balance of give and take, no question. And it’s in the nature of some (myself included) to sometimes give more. But when you seem to be the only one giving, the only one giving up, the only one giving in, it seems like it might be a good time to to take your ball and go home. It can be a weird feeling to be alone, particularly when society places more value on you when you are not. And women tend to place value on ourselves based on the very same criteria (been there, done that). But some quality alone time with yourself can be refreshing, enlightening, and life saving- an experiment worth trying if you ask me.

Posted in dating | Leave a Comment »

The Fix for Black Marriage?

Posted by humphreysworld on August 8, 2011

While I have never questioned my blackness, I can’t say it was fully realized until I became an adult. Sounds a little nutty from a black woman but let me explain. I grew up in the burbs in California. From early on, my friends were diverse and, being in free-loving northern Cali, no one made a point to remind me I was black. I remember once being called nigger by my best friends dad in a fit of anger, but honestly at the age of 7 I didn’t really understand the power behind that word. It wasn’t until I became an adult did I realize my blackness was in reality my first identifier. Blatant racism will do that do you.

Over the years, my consciousness as a black woman continued to develop and the importance of creating and maintaining that sense of community even more focused. As loved ones have passed on and my sense of family, community and pride continued to swell, my commitment to the idea of black love and family has never been stronger. So imagine my shock/surprise/disappointment/fill-in-the-blank when I came across a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that suggested the way today’s black woman will find happiness is to date/marry outside of our race.

The article began by profiling a woman named Audrey who was 39, single and living in the D.C. area. By all accounts she seemed like a good catch- smart, educated, yadda yadda.  What Audrey was missing was a partner.  According the article (and personal experience), Audrey is not alone. Nearly 70% of African American women are not married. The answer, the article intimates, is to open ourselves to relationships with men of other races.

I felt a range of emotions after reading this. Except for the difference in age, I am Audrey. I live in the D.C. area, am a month away from being 37, single, successful by most accounts (working for social change doesn’t pay for a mortgage in this area but I do ok) and I am in a place in my life where marriage and family is something I am open to. To be specific, I want a black family and a black marriage.  According to the article, and many other books, papers, etc. I’ve read, the odds are stacked against black love. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before: black women are too aggressive/angry (what black person hasn’t heard that before. When it comes from within however, it’s something different). Black women are gold-diggers. Black men like to ‘marry up/out’ when they become successful. Black men are less educated. Black women nag. Black men are incarcerated in large numbers (very true, a problem that is so much bigger than this conversation), on and on. What community doesn’t have their own challenges? What relationship doesn’t have their own set of bullshit? Are these reasons to date/marry outside your race because you feel there is no other option?

I spent 2.5 years of my life being dragged on an emotional roller coaster by someone who in the end was an emotionally immature asshole. And I a fool. A black ass and a black fool. He didn’t fit any of the challenges outlined above, and neither did I. WE simply didn’t fit. And it wouldn’t have turned out any different if he was white or Hispanic. Without question the external issues we have with race as individuals is something we end up bringing to our internal relationships with each other. All of the above can be attributed to our economic status (or lack thereof), and how we view ourselves through what we learn externally also plays a role in how we relate to and treat each other. This is something that needs to be addressed in order for black love to survive.

A friend pointed out to me that race shouldn’t limit who you find happiness with. I’m sure he’s right. But I hope we (the collective) don’t give up on each other. I’ve been through some rough patches with my brothers, as I’m sure they would likely say about me, as I’m sure our community can say of each other. But even still, that isn’t reason enough for me to give up on the idea of black love and family. Love is a beautiful thing, no matter who you end up with.  To find love these days, true love that can withstand everything that is thrown at it, is rare across all races.  In spite of the odds, many of my brothers and sisters have found each other so I know it’s possible. Nothing in life is easy, and if it is, it’s probably not worth fighting for. Sometimes you have to pick through a lot of rotten apples to get to the shiny one on top. And that apple will taste like none other, it will nourish you like nothing else and it will behold beauty compared to none because of the work you put in to get to it. That’s what love is like. I can’t speak to other experiences, but for black women (including your girl here) there’s no question it isn’t easy. But to me my happily ever after is worth fighting for so I’ll take my lumps and wait for my brown prince charming*.

*I recognize the topic of race, particularly interracial dating, is a touchy subject. I welcome any and all thoughts on this, although I have zero tolerance for ignorance and racist bullshit. So keep it classy, y’all.

Posted in Culture, dating | 2 Comments »

MTV’s Big FAT problem.

Posted by humphreysworld on January 19, 2011

August 1, 1981. I was there when MTV aired the first video. The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star. I know it’s hard to believe, but once upon a time MTV played music videos(the ‘m’ is for music, you know) . Nowadays however, MTV is filled with alleged reality shows. Shows about Jersey Shore’s drunken crabs-filled antics, dating people’s moms, and let’s not forget how they’ve managed to turn a sad tragedy like pregnant teens into celebrities. But a new show debuted recently called ‘I Used to be Fat’, and I happened to come across a preview for the next show one very bored and particularly lazy Saturday morning.

caption courtesy of MTV

Now I don’t have a problem with people going through their weight loss ups and downs for the camera. I’ve seen marriages break up, births, mental breakdowns- this is the state of television today. However the message of this particular episode struck a cord with me.  Mackenzie, a recent high school graduate felt she was ugly because she was fat and that no one would want to love her because of it. And I have a bone to pick with that.

You see, I’m fat.

And as a single girl who happens to fall in the above category, I take exception to Mackenzie assuming she is doomed to be alone.  EVERYONE deserves love.  Mackenzie was not only pretty, but witty, smart and ambitious. Admirable qualities anyone would adore. Yet even her own father was convinced that she couldn’t have the fairy tale wedding of her dreams because she wasn’t pretty (a.k.a she was fat and therefore gross). Being healthy should be a priority for everyone, no doubt. Could I stand to shed a few pounds? Absolutely. Judging from the preview of Mackenzie’s eating habits she could certainly stand to incorporate some healthier foods into her diet. I’m willing to bet we all could. I take exception to people who assume that because you fall into the category of plus you are lazy, eat shitty foods and don’t care about your health. I personally work out 3-4 times a week, eat 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies almost every day and take care of myself. Not only that, but I have a good career, friends who I enjoy and I date. Don’t get me wrong. I, and I’m sure countless others have felt like Mackenzie. And I know I’ve gone out with some men who have treated me like shit because they assume I could get no other. But those men treat most women like shit and are not worth my, Mackenzie’s or anyone else’s time. There are many men and women in the world who are skinny and are thieves, liars, cheats, lazy- being skinny does not mean you are good and therefore deserving of love, any more than being fat means you don’t.

Mackenzie should get healthy because she wants to, not because she won’t find love. Americans eat a lot of shit. And it needs to change. Sugar and crappy, low quality foods are everywhere. If you’re poor, eating healthy is even less of a reality. I am not defending eating poorly, being unhealthy, or anything of the sort and I dare anyone to challenge my position otherwise. But what I am challenging is the notion that you have to be a size 4 to find love and happiness.

And if you don’t like it you can kiss my fat ass.

Posted in dating, pop culture, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Surviving the winter with your dignity intact.

Posted by humphreysworld on December 7, 2010

Damn it’s cold out!! Morning walks to metro are unbearable. And don’t even remind me of how cold it is when I get in bed. But what to do? Now I know what you might be thinking- time to secure yourself a winter bunny (also known as a winter boo) to help warm up the feet (and other parts) to get through this winter. BUT WAIT!!! That bunny is  tempting, don’t get me wrong. And with the drop in temperature having direct correlation on lapses in judgment and higher tolerance for B.S., this may be sounding more and more like a good idea. But before you put yourself out there, remove your winter blinders (and hat, and scarf, and gloves…) and take a minute to heed my warnings before you end up wishing you could have the next 3 months (or 3 hours, I’m not passing judgment) back.

The New Bunny
Dating feels very much like interviewing for a job. It’s time consuming, you always have to look your best, and you must showcase your best qualities at all costs. It’s fucking exhausting if I can be frank. You meet people, you exchange emails, you go out, blah blah. Or you don’t. Sometimes you don’t click, he or she changes their mind, they have no manners, etc. etc. I don’t have to tell you this, folks. But in the winter, reasoning tends to go out the window. The end result is you may end up exchanging info with someone you might not otherwise talk to. Or go out on that second date because it’s warm in TGIFriday’s which is where he wants to take you. Stop right there! Consider this bunny very carefully; he or she might be a dud. Case in point: some joker who I just met told me yesterday that he wanted to ‘whisper something in my ear to make me feel better’. Ewww. Had I not used better judgment, I might have given that troll my number, and lord knows that he would have been hard to shake. It’s bad enough he’s got my email. But google is really good with getting rid of spam so if my response didn’t get rid of him, spam blocker will. I fully support dating at all times of the year, but if alarm bells are going off, don’t shrug them off. You’re probably right.

The old, familiar bunny
I know you all know who I’m talking about. Your ex. The one who told you she hated your guts, the one who told you he couldn’t commit, the one who revealed a quirk too creepy, even for you. But its like your old pj’s from college (yes, I still have mine, don’t judge me!): they are cuddly, familiar, and seem to do well in the wash no matter how many holes they have. But one call or text to him or her- particularly if it’s a recent breakup- could end up in disaster. I’ve been there. If you are feeling like you need to hear a familiar voice call up a friend. Better yet, call a parent. No one has the ability to make you feel completely idiotic and at the same time a little better than your parent. And if that doesn’t work, turn off your phone and retreat under your covers. Trust me, this is the best decision.

The energizer bunny
Oh boy.  Stay. Away. Believe me. I know how tempting this one is, for many, many reasons. But you will end up with a one trick pony (or multiple tricks, if you were blessed) with no brain who couldn’t hold a conversation to save a life. Not that I know any of this from experience… Don’t. Buy a toy. Buy a dog. Buy an Xbox. Just don’t pick up that phone. Delete the number, and walk away. Period.

The random bunny
See energizer bunny. Walk away.

I am all for finding love with the right person at the right time. Animals do it in the winter, and the result is cute baby animals at the zoo that make me squeal with delight. But ladies and gents, just proceed with caution. In the meantime, buy an electric blanket! Drink lots of hot totties! Borrow my cat (he’s very cuddly) or get one of your own! Snuggies are also very popular, and they come in a variety of fashionable patterns.  Follow my advice and you’ll find the right one when he or she is ready to come along, whatever season it is.

Now where did I put those bunny slipppers…

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