I am a walking, talking cliché.
Unfortunately, I had this rude awakening awhile ago. Yet and still, up until this point, I have done little to change it.
Real talk: I am the cliché good girl who likes bad boys. Well, I guess a good woman who chooses (keyword) bad men. While I argue with my guy friends about the theory that women don’t like “good guys” or “good guys just don’t win” until I’m blue in the face, I guess my dating record doesn’t do much to disapprove their theory.
Here’s the thing. I’m not much of a dater. I will literally go years without a date to the movies or out for dinner or coffee. Years.
Don’t feel bad for me. I have never really seen these “droughts” as concerning, especially when I was younger. I’ve more seen it as better suited for my personality. I’m a very independent person, but I am also a commitment type of gal. Like a serious relationship type. Like all or nothing. I’m not up for hookups, one-night anythings, or flings. I want the real thing, that four letter word. I want all the cheesy and corny things of Rom-com magic, the holding hands, the witty back-and-forth banter, and the best friend turned love. I want the hard stuff the movies don’t always show, the honest conversations, the sacrifice, and the work of adult relationships.
I’ve been content waiting until I find it, which is why I don’t really date. (Let me tell ya- There’s a lot of frogs out there!) I’ve been busy working on me, and my oh my, has that felt like a complex and at times disastrous construction site. I’ve been focused on building my career, taking care of my body (first half marathon done!), traveling as much as possible (I just got back from Italy a few weeks ago), navigating the ups and downs of friendships, working on my relationships with family (specifically my momma), and most importantly, the relationship with the person in the mirror.
It’s been hard, but I don’t think the waiting is in vain. In the last few years, I’m so much wiser, stronger, and smarter, as well as humbled by life’s hardships. I think all these things will make me a better woman and hopefully, wife someday.
But then, I got restless.
Or maybe, a better word is distracted. Or bored? Maybe, I got a little angry with myself or God and how he wasn’t meeting my expectations in my timeline. So I had an internal screw it moment (or several months rather), and I got a bit reckless.
To my surprise, guys started asking me out. I felt like for awhile I was being punked and a cameraman was going to jump out and scream, “You’re on candid camera!”
Literally the number of guys who asked me out (in person not on a dating app or online) right before I left L.A. for Italy was sheer madness. This isn’t to toot my own horn. It’s just to point out the humor in it all. My friend Jade and I always joke about how we never date and the difficulty in meeting genuine men in L.A. We have spent many a number of weekend date nights together in Target! (I literally asked Jade if she paid these guys as some sort of joke.)
So when this unicorn dating experience happened, I thought why not? I kissed a lot of frogs (figuratively), but it was fun, and I had a lot of great stories to share with friends. The note on my windshield last Christmas with the bad grammar. The guy who followed me in a coffee shop parking lot. The guy with the really nice car and a big ego to match. We had some good laughs!
Then, I took this free-spirited dating mentality with me to Italy and met my share of frogs there, too. (Note: Frogs are not exclusive to America.) It was a whirlwind, a mix of fairytale and adventure. Dates to vineyards, coffee shops, fairs, tours of small, Italian towns, and fancy restaurants with Italian men were exhilarating and fun!
I don’t regret it (well maybe a few things), but I definitely got caught up in just casual or “loose” dating, knowing that this isn’t who I am nor what I want. I made some compromises and settled for treatment that did not line up with my expectations and wants, and now that I am back in America, I’m having to do the work of dealing with the repercussions.
Why do we women settle? Why do we sometimes make love from someone else the highest goal and, in the process, compromise love for ourselves?
I know this idea of settling not only applies to women but men too. There are plenty of instances where women play “the bad guy” in love. It’s not just men.
I am having to wrestle with the “why ” at the moment (Why exactly do I gravitate toward the “the bad boy” type?) and that maybe the men I have dated reflect a bigger disconnection and chasm in my relationship with myself, in how I value myself.
“The men I have dated reflect a bigger disconnection and chasm in my relationship with myself.”
I don’t wholly blame the guys. Real growth comes when we can be honest with ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. Most of the frogs I have encountered are up front about their intentions (or some instances, what their intentions are not.) Men tend to be simplistic creators (unlike women.) They say what they mean and act accordingly. I have been guilty of wanting more than the frogs have been willing to offer and that’s my fault.
Twenty-Something Advice (for Anybody): “Real growth comes when we can be honest with ourselves and hold ourselves accountable.”
What I have learned: It is unfair to yourself and to another person to try to change them and in the process, you set falls expectations that can’t ever be met.
I’d like to note out of all the guys I met in Italy and all the dates, there was one amazingly kind, dorky, humble and gentlemanly guy. He was a keeper. I told him before I left that whomever he marries will be a lucky lady.
I think I need to remind myself that too. Whatever man I end up with is lucky. I need to remind myself of my value and my worth. Because I know the love I get from others is a reflection of how I love myself.
I just want to encourage you reader to not settle in love. I will be here with you doing the work of self-evaluation and growth. I am hoping that we can prove the stereotype wrong. Women do indeed like “the good guy.” I think the good guy can win. I hope to find one someday (but if he’s got a little bad boy swag- I’m OK with that too!)