Friday, June 22, 2007

My dating woes continue...

Friday, June 22, 2007

The dating process really annoys me. Actually, I like getting to know new, interesting people that I click with. I suppose I should say the process of weeding and sifting through the losers and idiots annoys me, but isn’t that the essence of dating and finding the right one?

A few days ago, I went to a bar an was approached by a prospect: 30 y/o, no kids, lives alone, own crib, interesting career, goals/ambitions, own car, interesting convo, fairly attractive, currently obtaining MBA. We've been chatting on the phone each of the last three nights. Conversation had been going pretty well…until last night.

We were having one of those typical 'getting to know you' convos. We started talking about the dynamics of our respective office environments. I mentioned that my office is predominantly (read: 98%) white, that I’ve worked in both mainly black and white environments before and that I experience much less daily drama in my current office. “Well, I’m sure you have no trouble adapting. It’s cool. I can turn it on and off when I need to too”, was the response I got. Ok…that sounded a little pointed, but whatever.

We somehow started discussing which clothing stores we frequent. My list included Banana Republic, Express for Men, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and a few others. “J. Crew don’t make clothes for black people. They make clothes for white boys.”

Wait…you’ve already offended me with the ‘I’m sure you adapt well’ comment. I mean, what the fuck?!? Do you think I put on black face in my car, soft-shoe into my Director’s office and say, “Top of the morning, boss!” before sitting at my cube every morning?!? I already let one pointed ass comment slide, this had to be addressed.

“What do you mean J. Crew doesn’t make clothes for black people?”

“Well, I mean, they just don’t. The clothes don’t fit black people.”

“You can’t be serious. Clearly I’m black and I have plenty of J. Crew clothes that fit just fine. You buy the right size. No, they don’t cater to people with a size 40 waist and above, but if you’re overweight, you’re overweight. That has nothing to do with race.”

“A 36 at stores like that isn’t a 36 at other places.”

“Stores like that?!? Whatever.”

That exchange and the little remark about me being able to “adapt” really rubbed me the wrong way. The convo got real dry after that and eventually ended. I don't have time for that racist, 'crab in the barrel' shit.

Let me explain a bit about myself. I’m articulate and well spoken and I'm proud of that. I understand grammar and use it properly. I put prepositions at the end of sentences and use adverbs when necessary. In middle and high school ignorant kids often told me that I “talk proper” (note the missing adverb) or “white” (as if there is such a thing). I prefer varied, colorful language. During my college prep years, I was forced to learn lots of words for the SAT and IB exams in high school. They didn't go in one ear and out the other, so I use them regularly.

I should also mention hat nothing about me is disingenuous. What you see really is what you get. I’m me. I refuse change that for anybody and I take pride in that. I explained this twice obviously to no avail.

I really don’t get it. I would think most seemingly fairly successful and traveled 30 year olds pursuing a MBA would understand that everyone isn’t a chameleon. Not everyone changes and morphs to suit specific situations or cater to different people/demographics. Some people are who they are and refuse to compromise that. I happen to be one of those people.

'I’m sure you adapt well' my ass.

Needless to say, there won’t be any return calls.


kennyking78 said...

You know what? It is very interesting that you would write about that. I am taking a class on Contemporary Issues in African American Society and we were having a discussion on this very subject.

I am curious as to where you grew up as opposed to your potential suitor.

It is interesting to me that speaking properly equates to trying to be white. The problem, to me, is not the fact that someone thinks that you are acting white. The problem is that we, as a culture, through saying that, become advocates for "white is right" and everything else is wrong.

I apologize for my rant.

By the way, great blog.

Mr. Jones said...

Thanks for the response and the compliment.

We both grew up in or around Baltimore's Lake Evesham community. Its a stable, middle to upper middle class neighborhood. We actually went to the same high school.

I'm very interested in how I turned out the way I did. Both of my parents are very parochial people with limited global knowledge and aren't very cultured at all.

For the longest time, I thought I was adopted. Still do actually. It's weird.

Cocoa Rican said...

As long as you're being yourself, there's nothing wrong with "street-speak" or a more proper use of English. Personally, I share your friend's chameleon-like qualities and find that depending on whether I'm at the office, hanging with friends or speaking to strangers, I tend to take-on a different mode of speaking. I don't think it changes who I am OR establishes any sense of embarassment at any other aspect of myself...just makes me feel that I am communicating with my target audience more effectively. My MO has always worked, so I don't see the need to change it. Besides, I have a sense that my "Newyorican" accent wouldn't fair well in the office and my office-speak wouldn't make my homies let loose... so it's effortless to move from group-to-group. I should also mention that none of my dialetc changes appear plastic or phony.

yet another black guy said...

like Cocoa-Rican said, i tend to change depending on the company i'm in. certain people can't deal with slang and others are uncomfortable with the proper grammatical usage and enunciation of multisyllabic ($10)words .

as long as it's not done condescendingly, i don't think it's a sign of shuffling for folks, but rather trying to communicate with them on their (perceived) level.

i feel your pain, but i know what ol' boy is referring to. hell, i just recently stopped calling all those places 'white'. it had more to do with what i felt comfortable dressing in. being a B-Boy, it was hard to make the transition from baggy jeans and timbs to something else.

education never seems to be the top priority in the black community other than the "get yo' diploma so you can get out" or "oh, he going to college?" mentality. this is a topic much bigger than the dating pool, but contributes mightily to why it is so shallow for many guys on the intellectual end of the spectrum. kudos to you for being yourself.

LVEGAS said...

Being half Irish, half Spanish and livin in London I can't really comment, but get rid of that loser!!
By the way I've done yet another 180 and gone back to my original thoughts about you (pre your over 40 comments)
i.e. You're smart, sweet and sexy and if I put my matchmakin' head on I think you and *****(you know!) would make a great couple (I love U both lol)Pedro

LVEGAS said...

p.s. anyone who diss's Urban Outfitters deserves a kickin lol

Mr. Jones said...

Cocoa - I love NY Ricans. Esp women..they're the best. I'm not all stuffy all the time. I'm young , so of course I throw in some casual slang and local colloquialisms too sometimes.

Btw...I'm working to firm up a partnership between my company and MLB, so I'm in New York at least once or twice a month. Usually its just in and out for meetings, but sometimes I chill with friends who live there. We have to meet up one day. The US Airways Shuttle makes LGA a hop, skip and jump from BWI or DCA.

YABG - I agree. This issue is huge. I wish mmy dating pool were as big as this issue.

It's a shame education isnt more important in our community. Education doesn't have to be mean formal classroom training. Traveling and being exposed to other people in other cities across the country and world offers much needed education. When I travel to other cities, I refuse to go to the tourist traps. Point me in the direction of the locals and let me see how they do things.

Vegas - Thanks for the love. BTW, I'm really glad you changed your mind. I was driving when I got your initial response. I got the message on my blackberry. I read it and knew right away what I said was misinterpreted. Written language, as much as I love it, can leave too much up for interpretation.

It may have come across matter-of-factly initially. but I didn't mean it how it sounded or, I suppose I should say, read.

Anonymous said...

You are being waaaaay sensitive!

Dayne Avery said...

Good job. Many people think adaptation will get them further than the refusal to compromise. It may seem so, but in the long run what good is "success" if you've lost yourself.

Sometimes I dress kinda preppy too. And have had similar conversations. I was in Banana Republic yesterday and instead of saying they don't make clothes for black people, I said their clothes are just cut sounds less ignorant I think. (all about the spin

Kensilo said...

I seem to get that same remark when discussion about shopping comes up. When it comes to shopping in select stores what makes one store more "black" than another?? Size is size regardless of what race/ethnic background u are.

Continue to be u... always!

The tales of dating.

life said...

I hate that! You think someone is cool and they just ruin it. Do you my fellow blogger

D.LavarJames said...

People always gotta f#%$ it up by opening they mouths with negative banter. I just want folks to answer a question, what is acting a certain color anyway? That's some close minded old school bs, that our society needs to get over and stop using that as an excuse.

ReddMann said...

everyone's life experiences arent the same. i dont think you should have been offended by what he said but just tried to understand his perspective and explain to him yours.

with all the positives going for him it would be sad to end it over something like this.

Mr. Jones said...

Thanks for the feedback guys. I really appreciate it.

I particularly appreciate the opinions of those who disagree with my stance or think I went too far or was hyper-sensitive in my reaction. I've never denied the charge of being particular. I'm open to most things and pretty agreeable in nature, but some things I just won't deal with.

One of the things I really enjoy about blogging is that my core group of readers is open and honest and calls it how they see it.

That Dude Right There said...

I agree with ReddMann. You should try to understand his perspective. I don't think that I would have had an issue with either comments because on some level, I agree with him.

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