One day I was speaking with a woman about the dating game and she had plenty to say about being disappointed by men, black men, as she is African American and they are her preference for dating. When I asked her why she cited a specific example and gave me way more detail than I asked for or expected. The following is what she explained to me:
On Monday He [her current man] called her up at work to make plans for Friday — a dinner date.
She got very excited and began planning from the moment they hung up.
On Tuesday, She planned out her outfit: shoes, nails, and began deciding on what was She going to do with her hair by Friday.
On Wednesday, She was skipping lunch to go to the mall (maybe not even the one near her job) to pick up something to wear maybe a new top, maybe an accessory or two, and of course new shoes…
I interjected: “And you’ve got to call your girlfriends to let them know you’re going out.”
She countered: “Honey, I did that as soon as I got off the phone with Him on Monday.”
I decided to remain silent for the remainder of the lecture.
Wednesday came and went in a blur and Thursday was oddly quiet.
Because She had high hopes for Friday she called on Thursday night just to make sure things were still happening — just to be on the safe side. Most wait until the day of…
He didn’t really recall making plans for Friday, or at least not serious ones. Something else came up, maybe His money wasn’t right. Who knows? Either way it’s not going to happen and He was hardly contrite about it, not to the degree that she would expect considering She had been anticipating spending time with Him all week.
She became “emotional.”
He insisted it was no big deal. It’s just dinner. They can go any day, another day, another time. He probably thought he was calming her down but he was only making matters worse.
Then She got angry and started saying things She normally wouldn’t say to someone She really liked and really wanted to spend time with. She’s cursing too.
He said, “You see that’s why I can’t deal with you…you gotta make a big deal out of everything.” He went on to admonish her for Her attitude and Her mouth.
But He didn’t know about the week She spent investing in the few hours she expected to have with Him away from the hustle and bustle of the work week — the rat race that keeps most of us prisoners, the worry and anxiety of bills and the unknown impending future or whatever it may be. It was to be time well spent, spending it with Him.
For Him, it was just dinner.
Then She told me, remaining ever so cool and collected but now with fire in her eyes, “Then We [women] get slammed for being “emotional” (she puts up her index and middle fingers of both hands to mimic quotation marks), especially Black Women, and so many of us are stupid enough to accept the blame for something you’ve (men) caused. And you all go on about your business and move on while we’re sitting around somewhere blaming ourselves for being this way.
I sat there with my mouth hanging open. In a flash, I remember at least 6 times I’ve done the same thing.
And then the light bulb lights up so bright above my head it explodes.
I told her: “What you’re speaking of is an emotional investment versus just being emotionally reactive.”
“Preach,” She responded, seeing that I’ve turned to the page that she is on.
I continued “So you guys get ’emotional’ after investing your emotions into something and being disappointed…you’re investing in an emotional [I pause to find the words] letdown. And no man would ever invest money into something and remain calm when they lose money, so why should women be any different when it comes to their investments?”
“You are so lucky I’m not charging for this session,” She said with a smile.
I laughed but I wasn’t sure how much truth was in her joke. I instantly feel the levity and the power that comes with enlightenment. In less than fifteen minutes a complete stranger I met at a networking event gave me the keys to understanding nearly every other woman walking the face of the Earth and specifically, my wife.
When I first wrote about this on my blog nearly three years ago, many of the comments, from men and women alike, spoke to the fact that it wasn’t this unsuspecting guy’s fault that this woman went way off the deep end with her plans and then blamed him once it didn’t work out. And of course, the above scenario doesn’t apply to all women or men, but it created a very healthy debate around dating, expectations and most importantly, communication. And it wasn’t only singles who spoke out on this. Married people who believe in the benefits of dating their spouses had plenty to say as well.
BMWK — What do you think? Using the example described above or examples from your own experiences, what needs to be done and/or done better to build love, not strife, between women and men in relationships?