So earlier this week, the Washington Post ran The Cloture Club’s article on the 10 DC Guys We’ve All Dated. I was so excited as a chronic singleton I thought it would be good for a laugh. And it was not. I did recognize some of the “Guys” from men I worked with but honestly never dated any of them. I think the list was missing a little color. So The Root came out with its list of the 10 Guys Black Women Have Dated. It was cute and more familiar but I came with my own mental list after reading the article that I just needed to share.
Here’s something I discovered over the years, I have a defective girl dating gene. I just can’t date properly. It annoys most of those around me who want me to find a husband already. But I don’t think I know how. My coffee dates seem to turn into Saturday Night Live sketches and the only thing that happens is a sad story to make marrieds and long termers feel better about their romantic lives. When I was younger, I was sold the fallacy that I was “picky.” People often ascribe this problem to the chronically single and feel like you are somehow limiting your choices. So I decided to date a lot more, taking “The Year of Yes” as my model. In the book, the author said yes to every date proposal except homeless people and the visibly mentally ill. I didn’t go that far but I gave it a try. What that yielded was a serious of God-awful dates make me never want to date again. So, here I sit from the sidelines watching others happily (this all seems so mysterious to me) couple. And here without further ado is my list of A Dozen DC Brothas We’ve All Dated…
***This only applies to those that do date. Not those that go on the aforementioned coffee date the year they move here and voila are married for 10 years.
Cloture Club had a similar gentlemen from the melanin-challenged perspective. However, our brotha usually went to a HBCU, is very religious and knows only a few people. He is kind, charming and ridiculously polite while a tad boring. He complains all the time about living here, the price of everything and the traffic. Your first date is probably in a nice restaurant in the deep suburbs such as Manassas, Ashburn or Woodbridge. He tells you all the time how “interesting you are.” However, complains that you go out too much. “You are going out with your friends on Friday? Didn’t you go out with them last Friday?” Ultimately, he judges that you are too “wild” for him for having Sunday brunch plans and going to Happy Hour on Friday. Don’t be surprised if six months after you break up, he marries his high school/college sweetheart and moves back home.
Displaced New Yorker
He’s really cool. He constantly tells you that he is from New York. He puts down DC as “country.” Don’t be surprised if he quotes rap lyrics in casual conversation. He absolutely loves debating for hours about random facts or trivia. Even though you are right that Marla Gibbs was on The Jeffersons and not Good Times, he continues to discuss it for a solid hour as he gets excited and you get annoyed. For your first date he probably picks you up in his SUV while loud hip hop plays, taking you too a really nice restaurant in Georgetown though he is wearing shorts and sneakers. These relationships work best if you yourself are a Southern Transplant because it works something like the Jay Z / Beyonce pairing.
He is really dependable, protective and smart. He occasionally has anger issues about some things that shouldn’t faze him. You counterbalance this by being extra sweet. He will shovel your snow, wash your car and fix a leaky toilet. Your first date is usually coffee so he can scope you out and then if he likes you, some hiking, biking or other outdoorsy nonsense that you may or may not like. He doesn’t like you to drink (empty calories) and if you make it there, the sex is awesome. However, you always feel inadequate because he does so much: work, exercise, take care of his friends/family and you like sitting on the couch watching HGTV. This relationship is tricky as you can quickly lose yourself in his life and cannot figure out if you want to or not.
International Lover Part I
He is usually from West Africa and came to school here in the U.S. He is usually extremely smart, capable and funny. Your first date is usually a chain restaurant in the suburbs that he absolutely loves which perplexes you. His friends and family must meet your quickly in the relationship and you could be blindsided on date two with an impromptu meeting. Said friends and family also have first right of refusal on his schedule, so he often cancels dates if they want to do something instead. This grates on your nerves, but he doesn’t see the issue. If you like to keep things casual for months than this relationship could work. Otherwise, it will not.
International Lover Part II
This brotha hails from the Caribbean. He is sweet, charming and always willing to help you out of your clothes. Your first date is usually some hole in the wall for authentic (fill in the blank) food and drinks, then grinding at a tiny club the size of your bathroom. You can’t tell why you like him but you do. Then he requests that you call him regularly to check in. At first it’s endearing but then you realize that you have an important job to do and don’t want to be that “girl” always on the phone with her man. He makes plans for you without your knowledge. “What do you mean we are going to Ocean City for the weekend?” And again if you make it there, the sex is incredible. However you start to feel smothered and can’t breathe. You eventually break up and he takes it coolly but continues to call you constantly. You then change your number but run into him in moment of weakness and give him your new number. This continues for years unless you marry somebody else. This could also continue if he marries someone else, so be careful not to get your tires slashed.
This brotha is awesome. You and he both know it. He is moneyed, legitimately connected and usually comes from one of those Our Kind of People families, athletics or somehow lucked upon the secret formula for wealth. He has houses in various parts of the country, Caribbean; knows famous people and is never in town for more than four days in a row. He usually lets you pick the first date as a test of your taste level. Then buys out the menu for one of those elusive $200+ dates Twitter debates. Subsequent dates include car services, parties with people from the White House administration or box seats at sporting events. You realize quickly that your wardrobe isn’t ready for this relationship but try to fake it the best way you can. His family is okay with your presence but hasn’t totally warmed up to you. You finally discover that there is another miss taking his time and you seriously consider if you should break up and leave the perks behind. You do, but don’t really like it.
There comes a time in every DC sista’s life when they meet the fraternity member. This brotha loves his fraternity. Your first date is probably some happy hour after work. He always asks if you are a member of a sorority, if you are he rattles off a dozen sorors you should know and if you aren’t he wonders why not. If you make it, get lots of rest, as you will have picnics, cabarets, charity events, day parties and comedy shows to attend. You will be exhausted. There will be some knucklehead frat that you will hate but have to see all the time. You will never get a moment alone as most fraternities guys are natural extroverts. So if you are a fellow extrovert, you may thrive but too much and steer the focus away from him. It’s a really fine line.
This brotha has decided to become rich by 40 or 50 depending on his age. He read somewhere that the best way to become rich is to own a bunch of businesses (that’s how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got their starts right? No, umm…okay). So he normally has a 9 to 5 or 10 – 6, then does wedding photography on the weekends, flips houses, sells bootleg Louis Vuitton purses, does web design and landscapes on Sundays. You usually met him at one of his gigs though you didn’t realize he was working or online. You chat for hours but rarely sees each other. Your schedule must somehow align with the 3 -4 waking hours that he is free a week or you must (horror of horrors) allow him to kick it at your house at like 11 p.m. when everything is done. If you don’t, your first date is a meeting at one of his jobs, like a hotel lobby to a quick drink. You chat for months but nothing ever comes of it. He quickly becomes your “guy” friend that you use for advice on other guys.
This brotha is in DC to become the next Barack or Eric or Cory. You usually meet him at a function as he loves functions. He vaguely knows everyone, whether or not they remember him is the question: bouncers, bartenders, bell hops. He belongs to a charity but doesn’t do any work such as Urban League, NAACP, 100 Concerned Men. In the summer, he attends Essence, BFF and other events in Martha’s Vineyard, Atlanta, etc. In fall, he is consumed with CBC and Howard’s Homecoming. Your first date is drinks at Park. Always Park, then you can move to other hotspots as you are deemed worthy. He is always stopping to chat with someone when you’re out but you are never introduced. You feel like a prop and soon grow bored. You eventually part ways but you see him occasionally at events where he doesn’t acknowledge you while intensely chatting someone up.
Every once in a while, you attempt to date a Native. Not many outsiders in DC has successfully dated Natives. Your first date is usually some long term DC institution, such as the waterfront for crabs. You sort of connect though he often refers to you a “college girl” though it annoys you. He seems knowledgeable until you realize that he knows nothing about Washington things such as the museums or historic landmarks and calls them “tourist traps.” You are never really allowed to visits the suburbs even if that new spot in Bethesda is right by the metro. DC Natives are a rare breed and hard to decipher. He truly believes in the ratio thing and constantly reminds you that there are more women that he could be dating. You break up and vow to never date a DC brotha again.
Mr. Ivy League
He is smart, cultured and reads! He reads! He is very clean cut and usually has a post-graduate degree i.e. law, MBA, doctorate. Your first date is usually at Best 100 list restaurant. Then he drops a bomb on you: he has never really dated a Black woman, but you seem nice. He makes attempts to seem down but stays surprised that you don’t act like a woman on Love and Hip Hop. You ignore these things because he reads! However, he has a tendency to ask you about “Black” things and is trying to figure out what you are attempting to do with your hair. Eventually you break up. However, all isn’t lost. You continue to keep contact and he eventually marries a Black female version of him. You served as a great entry that Black women aren’t crazy.
You usually meet this brotha as he waits on you at a restaurant or sits next to you at a sporting event. He is fun, funny and engaging. You decide to date him because he is in D.C. to take advantage of the great universities in the area and not really a waiter. Your first date is usually a visit to the museum or an outdoor free music festival, then on to a nice restaurant with afternoon specials. You like him a lot but you wonder when he will make actual money and take you on a real date. You always hang out at your apartment as he has at least two roommates and two girlfriends to accompany those roommates. You think you can hold on for the Barack and Michele fantasy until the day that he mentions it would be fun to get a dual medical and law degree, then you bail. You hold out hope that he will graduate, get a great gig and come back to find you.