Thursday, September 02, 2010


On Sunday, after dancing my wings off in the hot sun at Spike Lee's birthday party for Michael Jackson in Prospect Park, my friends and I boogied on down to a restaurant near the Brooklyn Pier. As a native New Yorker, I can say I've never been here. As many times as I've been to Brooklyn, I've never actually taken a walk down to the Brooklyn Pier. And it was absolutely beautiful. With the Brooklyn Bridge to my right, and Manhattan directly in front of me across the river, the entire setting was simply........ New York. If life had a movie soundtrack, at that moment you would have heard the instrumental piano version of Empire State of Mind quietly playing in the background. At least that's what I heard in my head while standing there. I couldn't help but smile.

My friends and I were in the area to go to some restaurant/lounge know what?? I still have no idea who or what we were there for. All I know is I was with friends and having an amazing time. LOL We get to the venue and they are playing all the music that I love. I'm dancing through the crowd like its a Sooooooooooooooul TRAIN line. This place was packed. Wall to wall beautiful browns in more colors than Crayola could invent, more flavors than in Baskin Robbins (the real Baskin Robbins ice cream store not the blog person...LOL). After about an hour of cocktails and 2 stepping to everything MJ, we FINALLY finagled a table made for 2 for our party of 4. Yeah it was that packed. Unfortunately, we were informed by a member of staff that food orders were on a moratorium for an hour. Ummmmmm, I have to wait at least 3,600 seconds BEFORE I can even tell you that all I want is an order of sweet potato fries and another cocktail??? *scratch the needle alll the way across that life soundtrack*


My girls and I hit up another popular Brooklyn hotspot for a bite to eat and people watching. We settled into a table outside (it was finally cool enough to appreciate being outside but still warm enough to make you want to linger and enjoy the evening) and were joined by 2 guys who were friends of a friend. Of course, the conversation kicked into high gear at that point. You know how it is, you put a table of men and women of a certain age and maturity, the conversation is ALWAYS going to turn to relationships. Never fails. In between bites of yummy goodness (that food was pretty tasty; never disappoints. ), we laughed, joked, and laughed some more over the nuances of dealing with the opposite sex.

Towards the end of our evening, the question was "What are 3 attributes you look for in a mate (besides aesthetics)?" Usually when questions come up like this I roll my eyes, like here we go with the bullshit. Everybody's gonna say something that sounds good, but they know they don't mean it. But lately, maybe because of my mother's illness, I've been thinking about the make up of my mystery man. As we went counter-clockwise around the table, I listened to everyone's answers and couldn't help but think, regardless of background, gender, educational pedigree, we all pretty much want the same damn thing. Everyone before me (I was last), gave answers that I nodded my affirmations to like "Yep, that's on my list too" or "Yeah, that's a good one too". But since we could only give three, here were my picks:

1. Consistency. Simply put, the tactics you use to woo me in the beginning, need to be present throughout the relationship. I'm not saying that you must take me to 3-star Michellin rated dining establishments everytime we go out to eat if that's what you did in the beginning. I'm talking about not taking me for granted. I observe a lot of relationships, and just like a career, relationships take work. At work, you can't slack off once you get the promotion. If you do, you're demoted or fired and someone else will be doing your job. Same holds true for relationships. Consistency builds trust. This is not to say that you don't or can't evolve while in a relationship. But be consistent in who you are fundamentally as a person.

2. Communicator. I need to be with someone I can have difficult conversations with. Whether it's about money, family, work, etc. it doesn't matter. It is very difficult for me to let down my guard but like consistency, communication takes work. I have to work at not only effectively speaking with my mate, I also have to work at effectively listening to him as well. I also need a mate who is willing to work at effectively communicating with me as well. Years ago, I dated a guy who was the nicest, sweetest guy I'd ever met. He was consistent, loyal, trustworthy, funny...everything you could bring home to momma. However, our ability to communicate with each other was blah. I would ask him "Oh what are you doing this weekend?" and he would respond "Oh, nothing." Eventually, I had to tell him "When you say 'nothing', I hear 'I don't want to see you." He stated that's not what he meant and couldn't understand how I interpreted his message that way. I, on the other hand, knew of no other way to interpret it. Eventually, our relationship ended. It became stagnant. I had to realize that we communicate very differently and it wasn't going to work. I also realized how important I needed communication to be in future relationships (okay, so I didn't always follow my own sage wisdom with some of the mistakes I dated afterwards, but hey you live and learn, right?! lol)

3. Ride or Die. No, I'm not talking in the literal, rap song implication. I'm not committing a crime for anybody, ya heard me?! My friends and I use this term because no matter what, we are there for each other, no questions asked. When my mom became ill and my so called immediately family wasn't there for me, I thought a lot about being with someone who would just be there for me, no questions asked. Of course, people have jobs and obligations but there were many times, I wanted someone to just be there for me, whether it was serving as a buffer between me and the dysfunction I'm related to, or reminding me I have to eat, or just holding my hand when I had to sit in my mother's room and watch a machine breath for her. Like Meth said, I wanted someone that "even when the skies are gray, you would rub me on my back and say baby, it'll be okay/that's real to a nigga like me baby". There are no guarantees in saying it will be okay, but knowing that someone is there to support and protect you is all I need to get by. Ride or Die for me is also synonymous for being adventurous or at the very least, being willing to step somewhat outside your comfort zone for that other person. I could never commit my life to someone who is soooo closed off from the world and its experiences, so boring and dull. Eat something besides chicken every single day, go ziplining through the Costa Rican forest, dance with me in the street because oooh that's our song and we don't care what these strangers walking by may say. That's what I want. No, that's what I need.

That night I left Brooklyn rejuvenated. It was as if another piece of the puzzle I call life had fit perfectly into place, clicked into the groove right before my eyes. *cue up that life soundtrack again, maestro.*


rashad said...

Good post! So does this mean that we are about to start reading about the dating side of Janelle again?

Chaplain Donna said...

All the things you/we want in a relationship take time to build. If you have two people commited to building a good relationship, I think you can accomplish anything. I think the initial chemistry has to be there, but a commitment and similar values takes you a long takes you through a life time.

Organized Noise said...

Love your list. The consistency thing is big for me. Don't put on a front for me. If I'm giving you me from day one do me a favor and do the same. I'm not married right now because once someone got a ring on her finger the real version of her came out.