The Resolution Edition

Happy New YearSo three weeks into 2014 and I don’t have much to report. No concerts, plays or other interesting outings to report. I actually spend the first week of the year participating in a few intimate in-home gatherings, that’s not worth writing about. So what are my hopes for this year? Usually new beginnings beg for new resolutions. This year I decided to focus on strictly tactical resolutions as to not look back and see failure.

That means no:

  • Lose winter weight and stop gaining winter weight (though I still need to lose weight)
  • Find the perfect job within 20 minutes of my house (why lawd why must I commute so far)
  • Meet the love of my life
  • Stop spending so much money on frivolity (every year I think I will be some fabulous saver until Macy’s has its winter clearance (I got five sweaters for $12 each!)
  • Change other people’s behaviors (yes, this has been a resolution of mine in the past, SMH)

On to the practical and seemingly achievable:

  • Make it into the parking garage at work—this has been remarkably difficult, because 1) I am not a natural early riser 2) I have a long 45 – 60 minute commute 3) the garage is full by 8 a.m. This means I need to get dressed quicker, wake up earlier and stop messing around in the morning. It’s a highly complex resolution. That is why I have only been successful 2 out of 3 days so far. This also meant I was stuck in the muddy, crater-filled overflow lot, which is not a joyous place. I can do it!
  • Take better care of my hair—I have been taking terrible care of my beautiful hair lately. This means clockwork washing (under the dryer now), regular trims and ultimately, going to the …ugh….salon!
  • Put up my laundry—I have a serious problem.  I do laundry and sometimes forget it in the dryer for a week (when it’s time to do more laundry). Or sometimes it sits in a little pile for days. I now must return my laundry to its home within 24- 36 hours. My coworker actually gave me a wonderful suggestion to include important clothes (workout gear, underwear, socks) with every load, so that I remember to remove the clothes.
  • Read more—my two books a month slipped to 1 book a quarter. I blame social media and candy crush. Before when I was bored, I would download a book to my Kindle and now I do the aforementioned things. Bad. All bad.
  • Release some tension—one remarkable thing I notice in yoga. I am tight. Really tight. Like I went for massages last year tight. I gotta de-stress somehow and loosen up.
  • Make me first – I do not do this at all. And I feel bad about it. And others make me feel bad about it. I am a born caretaker. I am a wonderful addition to the lives of basketcases. Have some weird neuroses, befriend me. I will get you on track, assist you and in return, I get nada. Well this ends. I will be totally selfish this year to see how it goes.

Those are my simple resolutions. Wish me luck!

2013 Recap

So how was my 2013? After two weeks of reflection, I can say it was a mixed bag. I decided that since my job has entered into the world of boring and uninspiring, I should spend more time on my social life. The funny thing is my boring little office job turned unbearable for a serious three-month stretch and I really had to force myself to go there everyday. A trick a friend and I developed years ago while in boring positions was to give yourself something to look forward to every week. This could include something as small as a pedicure and something as grand as a fabulous vacation. So what were the highlights? In honor of my Super Secret Book from 1986, here are the things I can remember.

Best Friends

I had some good support this year especially as my stress levels increased. And some people really went above and beyond. I am truly grateful.

New Friends

Well, only one but so far, so good.

Favorite TV Shows

Parks and Rec – The one where Leslie announces her candidancy and the crew slips on the ice is awesome.

Orange is the New Black* – Cliché, but so much fun

Arrested Development – I know some people were disappointed but this was such a weird and ingenious concept of storytelling.

The Good Wife – Although I admit that Alicia is getting on my nerves

Nashville – My actual preferred soapy indulgence over another one word female-lead ABC show

Dallas – Great clothes, great cars, beautiful homes. It’s the prettiest thing on TV

*Also serves as my favorite new show

Fun Fads

Pointy nails

Social Media takedowns

Bitstrips

I suck at remembering these things until two days later

Sports

This may be the year I gave on sports. Oh yeah, except the absolutely wonderful March Madness, my first love never disappoints.

Best Albums

Well, I liked a ton of women this year: Cecile McLorin Salvant, Valerie June, Alice Smith, Janelle Monae, Emeli Sande. Plus a few guys: Gregory Porter and Robert Glasper

Best Concerts

The best thing about this year are the awesome concerts I attended. I rang in the new year with Nas. I saw the gorgeous and just plain good Legends of Summer tour. Janelle Monae gave me one of my funnest moments in life. I also twerked to Big Freedia, screamed to Babyface and rocked with The Whispers.

Favorite Movies

Okay, this was a slow movie year for me. I usually see at least two movies a month, but significantly slowed down. So I really liked Gravity and The Butler. Twelve Years A Slave was so haunting that I will probably remember it for the rest of my life. That is all.

Funniest Moment

That crazy lady meltdown in the Kingston airport will be added to my amazing collection of stories, no lie

Worst Moment

Redacted to protect the guilty and horrible

And missing Stevie. Lawd Jesus, I missed Stevie!!

Fun Moments

Janelle Monae is everything

Slow Motion

Cruising on Route 3

Favorite Spots

So I lost my Cheers. I guess my liver is happy.

Meanest Moment

I plead the fizzifth.

The Holiday Edition

christmas_angelSo this weekend, at a party we had a rousing conversation about Christmas music. I can be a bit of a humbug when it comes to Christmas. But I do love holiday music. Of course I am a huge snob about music and usually only like one or two versions of the classics. So I don’t buy new Christmas albums because I honestly don’t care. Your version of This Christmas isn’t better than Donny’s so why are we pretending. I get it. Holiday albums are cheap to produce, easy to market and great returns on investments, but so. Here my definitive list. You are welcome to buy the recent offerings from Kelly Price or Ledisi but not I. My list is my list.

  1. This Christmas. Donny Only! So when I was little I had no clue who Donny Hathaway was, so every time I heard it on the radio, I couldn’t figure out who made it and got sad.
  2. Joy to the World – Whitney Houston. This is a close second favorite holiday song. God, I love this song. As I have established, I only like pure singers, not the folks who remind you of you and your crew. I hate that stupid rationale for liking an artist. There are folks who can sing and folks who can’t. Your fave’s warbling can never match the beauty of this.
  3. Silent Night – The Temptations. Because in my heart, I want you to be free.
  4. A Christmas Song – Nat King Cole. I amazingly also like the Toni Braxton version.
  5. O Holy Night. I loved this song in church but had to wait until the 90’s to finally get a great recorded version. And there are two! Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.
  6. Winter Wonderland – Aretha Franklin. I like how jazzy she made this boring little Christmas song, because when your office carolers sing it, it is a dry little ditty.
  7. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt. This has a message I can get behind.
  8. Every Year, Every Christmas – Luther Vandross. A good bit of melancholy that doesn’t make you want to totally slit your wrists – I’m looking at you “What Do the Lonely Do for Christmas.”
  9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland. Sinatra and Luther Vandross works as well. You really need a throaty voice for this song to work. Sorry countless others that have made this song.
  10. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah. Look this song is fun and uplifting and really how many Christmas songs can say that?
  11. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jackson 5. So cute with young Michael!
  12. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love. If it’s good enough for Dave Letterman every year, it should be for you too.
  13. Let It Snow – Boyz II Men. No mention of Santa or Christ though.
  14. Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto – James Brown. I like the begging.
  15. Christmas In Hollis – Run DMC. With an honorable mention to Back door Santa, as shameful as that song is.
  16. My Favorite Things – The Supremes. So bouncy and fun.
  17. What Child is This – Vanessa Williams. I always hated this song in choir, but she made it pretty.
  18. Carol of the Bells – Destiny’s Child. I don’t even know why I like this thing. Maybe because it’s weird.

I love a lot more but I think I will stop now.  And apparently I am not allowed to like Baby, It’s Cold Outside anymore, so I left it off. But if I did like it — the Ray Charles / Betty Wright version.

The Nothing To See Here Edition

Last weekend I saw the Best Man Holiday. I was very excited. I remember the original movie came out right when I graduated from college and it was nice to see a movie about a group of Black college graduates, just like me. I of course told no one of my excitement because well…race-themed movies (thanks USA Today!) are fraught with unsolicited commentary. I’ll happily admit that I am a movie snob. I like intricately plotted, well written, superbly acted movies and silly romantic comedies (my guilty pleasure instead of the usual reality shows). My quibble is that a lot of popular movies directed at Black audiences or with Black characters as the lead rarely possess those four elements I prefer. See Tyler Perry.

But there’s another problem with telling people about my excitement about the movie. Black people hate seeing themselves on the screen. Is this harsh? Yes. Am I over exaggerating? Probably. The endless commentary surrounding movies is exhausting. No other artistic endeavor is dissected so deeply.

I remember when Brown Sugar came out. It was after a slate of films such as The Best Man, Love and Basketball, The Wood, etc. came out. A lady in my book club stated that she was tired of attractive, educated Black people in love movies. She wanted to see more movies with “regular” Black people. Here’s the issue: she was a pretty, college graduate with a white collar job living in Montgomery County. So I told her, if movie was made about her, she would be closer to Sanaa Lathan, than say Maxine in Soul Food. Her idea of regular wasn’t even who she was. This reminded me of another conversation we had in college, but I digress.

With the growth of social media, people who hate everything finally have a platform and can form partnerships with other people who hate everything. It is awesome for them and terrible for everyone else as they suck the joy out of everything. This strong vocal group of everything haters spend a lot of time disparaging movies with predominantly African American casts. So much so, you feel bad for even seeing certain movies, let alone liking them.

The vitriol aimed at The Help forced me to filter the term out of my twitter feed. The socially serious Black folks (see I used W.E.B DuBois for them) really hated the fact that Blacks were once domestics. This same group had similar reactions to The Butler. They say they disliked the movie but I knew the truth. I felt it was actually insulting to our ancestors who served as domestics. As someone with two out of three grandmothers as domestics, I really didn’t like how the arguments against The Help were framed. I actually challenged a well-known blogger on it.

The everything haters also feel that the actor is a reflection of the character, so that becomes a complaint. For example, folks really hate Terrance Howard–not for the crazed marital issues but because he commented on baby wipes–and thus his presence negates the quality of all movies that he is in. And there are a lot of actors people simply don’t like, so movies with those actors are trash. Jennifer Hudson and Terrance Howard made a movie together that I knew would never prosper. Amazingly people really like Nia Long though she is truly a meanie in real life.

People don’t like Black people being unhappy in movies, so slave movies are awful (12 Years a Slave). However, if the slave isn’t sad enough or has too much power then that makes slavery look too good (Django Unchained).

Apparently romantic comedies must be rooted in realistic situations or shouldn’t be made (Baggage Claim). These people obviously never see White romantic comedies, which don’t follow that rule at all.

Black characters cannot be too nice to White people or they are not down with the struggle because we all know in reality African-Americans are always holding meetings to discuss how to rise as a people.

Comedies may lead to cooning. Romances may cause people to think we are overly sexualized. Dramas only highlight our problems. We can’t be impoverished because there are so many middle class African-Americans. We definitely shouldn’t be lower class teenagers being helped by a dedicated non-Black teacher through the use of chess, dancing, hockey or writing. However, if the teacher is also Black then no one will go see it. We cannot make all the African-Americans affluent because that it not realistic. Historic dramas are bad because once the details are scrutinized, someone always gets something wrong.  “She had a brown pocketbook, not a black one!” Women can’t be the lead because that makes the movie boring. But if a woman is the lead, she must have a nice boyfriend or it is man bashing.  

There are basically two pretty safe movie genres. Christian movies: this is why I have counted a dozen movies in the last 5-7 years where the congregation is trying to save the church through a choir competition or a bake sale. Okay, I have only seen two of these movies and chalked the rest of them up as the same plot. And impossible Black man movies: Denzel, Will (not After Earth though, which looked terrible), occasionally Jamie (No Django!), etc. Hopefully, a pretty Black woman will play his love interest. I think this is how most Black actresses keep their mortgages paid. Salli Richardson and Kimberly Elise are the queens of this.

So in hindsight, I didn’t see anything last weekend. No commentary please.

The Dead Computer Edition

computerSo I completely forgot to write a post last week. I totally blame my magazine addiction. See I adore magazines. Always have since childhood. I love flipping through the pages and looking at the photography. With the slow death of the industry, I have been able to indulge my love with discounted subscriptions. I obtained these subscriptions for the low, low price of $5 a year. This resulted in six magazines coming into my home every month. Then something crazy occurred. I couldn’t keep up. And the magazines and junk mail overwhelmed my modest sized living room. And next something worse happened; I started receiving random magazine subscriptions that I didn’t order, including Shape, Vogue and Redbook. I didn’t need this in my life so I decided to completely clean the living and thus forgot to post.

Subsequently another awful thing transpired. My computer died. Oh stupid laptop. I hate computers because they die completely without warning and are kind of pricey to replace.  But since I hate computers, there won’t be a pilgrimage for an indestructible Apple because spending more than $1,000 on a laptop isn’t a thing.

I had such a lovely post planned on how the radio. Yes, the evil consumerist radio has been introducing me to the new musical acts. Of course I don’t mean mainstream radio. I mean NPR. Yes, NPR’s spotlights and reviews have led me to some new and interesting singers. Back in October, I went to see jazz artist Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Sixth and I Synagogue. Despite my strong desire to pull her aside and offer her my stylist consulting services, I really enjoyed the concert. Her throaty jazz vocalists are a surprise from someone who could have easily donned a onesie and started singing hooks for rappers.

I also planned to write about my experience seeing the movie, American Promise. The documentary traces the entire academic careers of two Black Brooklyn male students attending a prestigious school in Manhattan. The screening was followed by Q&A with the directors who are also the parents of one of the students. I had mixed feelings about the film. I understood the purpose—to watch how Black male students struggle in predominantly affluent, and White environments. It also unconsciously showed the adage that for a Black person being equal to your peers isn’t good enough as the boys struggled with teachers and administrators. However, I wish I left with an overall wrap-up statement.

Alas, computer died and I need to figure out how to get me a new one.  Not pleased.

Stay Cute Mondays – Get Sexy Edition

Courtesy of City Eats

Courtesy of City Eats

So the hottest thing going for the last several years—look I never said I was ahead of the curve, I just ride waves as they are about to pass—are speakeasies. It all started with PX in Alexandria and several others have arrived since then including The Gibson and The Columbia Room. Recently I visited Harold Black in Capital Hill to experience the mystery and wonder of it all. Most of the bars require a reservation and a deposit, which are hard to come by at the last minute. I decided to do this on a Thursday for a Saturday. The Columbia Room actually is a prix fixe tasting room, which seemed pricey for no reason.  So I made a reservation for Harold Black and the only reservation was for 11:30 p.m. but I am excellent at talking my way into most places, so I was undeterred. We arrived at 10p. and I convinced the door man to let us in. Hey, we had a reservation, what could be the problem? To describe the beginning…so the spot is unmarked above a restaurant. I went into the restaurant to figure out how to get there. We were told to go around the side, walk up the stairs and knock on a barn door to enter.

First let me say the place was sexy. It was dark (in a good way), secluded (yay, no aggravating drunk people!) and exclusive. A group of annoying bar hoppers tried to enter without success. The snobby yet nice (this is a weird trick that the entire staff pulls off) brushed them aside and told them that the spot wasn’t open to just anybody.  The point of these places is that you get above the top custom cocktails with housemade ingredients and premium spirits. My first drink was something off the menu. I liked it but really wanted some made especially for me. As I am important. The bartender asked me my favorite drink –whiskey sour—and flavor profile—tart and dry. Then I received it— he called it a Brooklyn Sour. I was so in love. I wanted to savor every drop. So the bar has a $35 tasting prix fixe menu with two regular bar items, two custom drinks and an appetizer. It seems extravagant at first blush but would have been cheaper than my three $12 drinks and one $7 appetizer. Despite the cost, it was a great night. The bartenders gave us samples of custom cocktails that he made for other patrons. We chatted with a nice girls night out duo. But the real deal are the cocktails…yum. And the dimly light seclusion—again, sexy. That made it fun.

Happy Anniversary! Edition

Anniversary Gift and Champagne Glass on LaceHappy Anniversary! My blog is officially one year old. Ironically, my blog anniversary also coincided with a bit of writer’s block. This explains the lack of posts. I started this blog as I was in the midst of professional ennui. I left my cool creative job due to bad management and returned to the life of a government office drone. I needed an outlet for some creativity. I also needed to find another focus in life if my career wasn’t going to be it. I have always loved outings, so I decided to that I needed better experiences. You can’t have a mundane work life and personal life.  I still remember my childhood hanging partner once said, weekends are for having fun. She stayed planning activities for us. Amazingly I sucked at a lot of them – skating, bowling and swimming, but I was out there trying week after week. I remember we even went paddleboating once, at which I was decent. I learned at an early age that the best life is one away from the couch.

I was reminded of this fact during the Columbus Day weekend. I planned to go to WonderFull that weekend. I even listened to Stevie Wonder all week at work to ready myself. But the weather was dark and rainy and I talked myself out of it. As an only child, I am more than willing to do things on my own. However, I just determined maybe it was best for me to stay in and rest. People always say that and I always dismissed it as malarkey. Hey, I was the person who went out for New Years Eve alone when my cousins cancelled because of snow. It’s Michigan. It always snows in December! That was one of the best nights of my life. Well, my instinct was correct and I should not have stayed home. Because Stevie Wonder showed up! To sing! I just…cannot. Lesson learned.

However, the rest of the weekend was good. I mean…it could have been an epic weekend for the ages but alas it was merely good. Sunday, we decided to celebrate the unofficial Treat Yo Self Day on a budget. First, we had brunch at Twist thanks to Living Social. I really liked the restaurant and would definitely go back. Then, we had pedicures with wine! I really wanted a massage but unfortunately the salon with the deal I found only had one masseuse on duty.

Finally the weekend wrapped with the most fun event ever. I didn’t think it would ever happen but the joyful (get it?) concert I attended my freshman year of college with The Fugees has been replaced as the most enjoyable concert ever. That was a lot of “ever’s.” However Janelle Monae wears the crown now. That concert was entertaining, danceable and fun. Fun is the best way to describe it. I think she is the most entertaining performer currently out. I mean she came out in a straight jacket to Django. I cannot express how awesome she is in person and I highly recommend everyone see her live.

Hopefully, the next year will bring even more adventures.

Stay Cute Mondays – DC Flea Edition

Me in need of lipstick, lol

Me in need of lipstick, lol

So I decided that I truly need a 1970’s leather trench coat in my life to get my Foxy Brown on earlier this year. I thought one day soon I’ll go online and make some google searches to see what pops up on Ebay and the like. As an aside, I am one of the five people in my age bracket who hates shopping online. If it’s not music or books, I cannot be bothered. The internet is too vast and my attention span is short for it to be a pleasant experience. Anyway, no fear. I did not have to do any of that.

I went to the launch of DC Flea and voila, a pretty purple leather 70’s trench. It fits perfectly like it is literally meant for me. I love flea markets and now I remember why. There’s always something perfect just waiting to come home with me. And I successfully avoided the multitude of snacks for purchase and thus a double score. So now, trench and I will be taking out sucker fools in the near future.

The Indie Artist Edition

flyer-goapele-wayna-howard-theatreLast week I took advantage of a Goldstar deal and went to see Goapele. I actually had been tracking several concerts this month to see if they ultimately became Goldstar deals but only one came to fruition. As I vowed that 2013 will be a year (still a real struggle) of rebuilding. I have been trying to save money. This means an over reliance on outings that cost less than $20. Despite vocal complainers, I actually like the Howard Theater. It’s pretty, easy to get to and sounds good, especially on the second floor. The sucky things about the Howard – service and food – can be advantages as often you can skip the $10 minimum because the servers forget about you, lol.

I got there promptly as intended to miss the opening act. I’ve heard her before at other DC events and I am not a fan of her voice. I have a mental block against high-pitched nasally singing voices. In fact the only other singer with this style of singing I can think of is Ayo. That is how much of a block exists.

Goapele was in great voice. However, she needed backup singers. I hate when performers don’t have backup singers. As much local talent exists, she could have employed some talented locals to back her up for the night. It was really obvious when she sang my favorite song by her, My First Love. The recorded version has this swelling background scatting that was sorely missed live. I remember I saw Ne-Yo at the Essence Music Festival eons ago and he didn’t have backup singers. I was shocked. He was a major R & B artist at the time, what was he thinking? My other complaint was that Goapele ran all of her songs together. I don’t really think her songs sound a lot alike as some artists do. So the lack of a pause or suitable transition was a bit jarring. I get that she might not be one that chats with the audience or provides little talky interludes, but a simple, “And now…” would have helped.

Oddly, I’ve always thought that Alice Smith had this unique, smoky rocker chick voice that I couldn’t place. However, on this night I felt that Goapele and she sounded eerily similar on some songs. As an aside, I went to the Hyattsville Arts Festival that weekend and the acoustic stool (not really a stage) had another singer that sounded like both Goapele and Alice. I started to scream, “Change honey, you are in for a difficult road.” Some voices are extremely popular with the masses and that list is very narrow, lol. For another aside, Britney Spears’ recorded voice is nothing like her actual singing voice, which is why she lip syncs so much. I read that in an article once and it blew my mind. The shaping that occurs in the record industry is a lot.

Back to Goapele, I did enjoy the concert despite my quibbles. I still think she could benefit from some old-school Motown stage coaching, but I think this of almost all independent artists that I see. My theory is that you will make the majority of your living from stage shows so you need to make them as electrifying as possible to ensure people keep coming back for more.

The Reflections on Dating Past Edition

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.

Southern Transplant

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.

Military Dude

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.

Baller

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.

Frat Bruh

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.

Entrepreneur

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.

Connector

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.

Native

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.

Professional Student

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.