Right now, at this precise moment as I’m typing this, the people in the flat above me are, shall we say, enjoying each other’s company rather vigorously. In fact, I’m a little concerned that in a few more thrusts they’ll end up on top of me after they’ve crashed through my ceiling.
This, I think is yet another message from the Universe. If her not-so-subtle hints are anything to go by she’s eager for me to find someone, or at least seriously entertain the fact. I know this because over the past few months I’ve been surrounded by nothing but ‘relationship talk’. There has been a marked increase in the number of both friends and acquaintances who have divulged very personal thoughts and feelings to me about current relationships, past relationships and the possibility of future relationships. It’s not just people I know either; I’m suddenly finding myself within earshot of conversations between strangers about their relationships. Yesterday I went to get my nails done and the two women next to me were discussing one of the women’s wedding plans; an otherwise peaceful tram journey was ruined by a man conversing very loudly to someone on his phone, screaming ‘yeah, but to be honest mate, I think she might be the one” and I think – although I can’t be sure – I may have witnessed a break-up in Nero’s.
Not content with conversations, the Universe has also been taking great pleasure in sending some very hot guys in my direction even though she and I both know there is absolutely no chance of anything happening. Last week my colleague and I interviewed one of the hottest men I have ever encountered in person for a volunteering role. Seriously, this guy was gorgeous! Okay, so he’s a Corporate Banker which, given recent events isn’t great, but my God this guy was ridiculously handsome and, unlike most ridiculously handsome men, was completely unaware of this fact.
In other cruel events, I was engaged in a conversation with a really lovely (and gorgeous – almost a carbon copy of Taye Diggs) man recently. We’ve spoken on a few occasions and I believed there was chemistry there – until he casually mentioned his girlfriend.
Even when I’m reading the news the Universe is there making her feelings known. I briefly scanned something in the news about some Tory MP who reportedly said that Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna is too old not to be married after pictures of he and his girlfriend emerged -coincidentally after he announced he was running for the Labour Leadership *eh-hem*. (He’s since changed his mind). I mean, he’s like thirty something right? Hardly a geriatric!
So the Universe wants me to hurry up and find someone but isn’t willing to do the first part (bringing us together in her magical way) so alas, I’ve got to figure it out for myself and herein lies the problem.
Take the hot Corporate Banker for example. Aside from the fact that professionally, I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything about my feelings for him anyway, there’s another problem with this situation and it’s one that the Universe is well aware of: I have no game. None! Nada! Niente! Seriously, my first instinct when confronted by hot men is to run.
Having given me some great skills and talents, the universe neglected to bestow upon me the art of ‘game’. Perhaps she forgot or maybe she thought that it’s such an intrinsic part of human nature that I would just naturally have it. I don’t.
Ironically, I always get accused of flirting when engaging in conversations with men I am not attracted to, yet put hot Corporate Banker – or any other good looking dude with a gorgeous personality in front of me (if the personality isn’t right, I pretty much go right off them – no one can accuse me of being superficial!) and my body language is closed, I have the distinct urge to cover my face, my ability to form coherent sentences disappears and I’m scanning the room for the nearest exit. Basically I revert to my 12 year-old self.
I’m aware that this isn’t normal behavior – especially for a 30 year-old – but honestly, I never learned this stuff. When I was at school I wasn’t allowed to have boyfriends before the age of 16 so I never had the chance to flex my muscles in that area. By the time I hit 16 I was so grossly unattractive that a boyfriend was pretty much out of the question so I didn’t even try. Later, men approached me so I didn’t need to worry about how I came across (especially as I wasn’t really attracted to a lot of them anyway) and now? Well now I’m screwed because I genuinely have no idea what I’m doing.
Were we living in times where ‘being yourself’ was all that really mattered then I’d be okay. Not to brag, but once people get to know me, they love me. I’m also not terrible looking apparently so that’s cool, but there are other minefields, ones that are beyond any woman’s control. It would take a pretty savvy and experienced woman to navigate her way around all of this and still get her guy:
Misogyny is huge nowadays and permeates practically every aspect of society. Unfortunately women can be just as misogynistic (if not more so) than men so it’s a double whammy. There is an expectation as far as most men’s interactions with women are concerned, that our behavior should be driven by the wants of men, and not by what we want for ourselves. Example; Ever been called a bitch because you refused a man’s unwanted advances? I have, as have many women. Why? Because it’s expected that if a man wants sex we should blindly go along with that. The fact that we don’t want it doesn’t factor in to the equation. Men also seem to call the shots regarding how we look; what we should and shouldn’t wear (‘She was in a tiny skirt and bra top, she was asking for it!’); what we should and shouldn’t weigh – even how much we should earn. Generally speaking, society’s general lack of respect for women makes it hard to approach and be approached by men.
Despite being rather well-informed about matters of race, both historical and contemporary, I never cease to be amazed at the level of hatred directed at Black women. Much like female misogynists, Black men also dish out their fair share of hatred towards Black women on top of the hatred we receive from others based on our race. The underrepresentation of flattering portrayals of Black women in the media; the constant images of happy families being comprised of Black men and white women as though black people are incapable of having successful family units – and clearly it’s the Black woman’s fault; the utter contempt and disrespect shown to dark skinned black women in both the media and society by both whites and blacks, the whoreification of black women; the relentless and inaccurate stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Woman’; the blaming of single parent black women for all the problems in the Black community; the somewhat outdated yet popular notion that “successful” Black men should not date or marry black women…The list is endless. With so much negativity surrounding us, it’s a miracle that any of us are able to find and sustain successful relationships.
The arrested development of men is real. Something has happened over the years that has resulted in an ever-increasing amount of men unable or unwilling to grow up. Where once manhood was about strength and providing for ones family and community, now a warped sense of manhood has emerged which places emphasis on sexual exploits; the (usually illegal) accumulation of money and a, quite frankly, frightening amount of time spent on games consoles. For women who seek partners to grow with, the man-child is problematic
My dad has been demanding grandchildren since I was in my early 20s. Family members and acquaintances I haven’t seen in a while all want to know why I’m not married yet and need I remind you of the comment made by the Tory MP about Chuka Umunna I mentioned earlier? In so-called ‘contemporary’ times, there is still pressure – mostly on women but on men too) to have ‘settled down’ and cranked out a few babies by your mid-30s. As someone who has no interest in getting married or having children, I personally don’t feel pressured to marry and procreate with the first man who flashes me a smile, but some people do. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this is unhealthy as well as unwise. Marriage and children are not to be taken lightly – especially children for Christ sake – but many people do rush into the decisions and it’s the children that often get hurt in the end.
So, as well as trying to develop some ‘game’ there’s all of the above to deal with. Sure, people do it every day but there’s no doubt that doing so is becoming harder and harder. If I liked or had cats, I’d give up now, but somewhere very very very deep down is a tiny little eternal optimist who is pleading with me to keep at it so I’ll try but given the current climate I’m afraid I’m not holding out much hope.Follow @KariceQ