Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Brother's Keeper

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a former love who had resurfaced in my life in a rather unexpected way. Months later, I wrote about how he had to exit stage right out of my life because of a woman reaching out to me. Throughout all of this, I've kept in touch with his family still. The former flame lives far away and his family is still here in New York. I don't think they know what happened between us because like me, he's an extremely private person. They've still asked me from time to time why we didn't make from way back in high school. My response is always 'Ask your brother."

Out of all of my former flame's relatives, his younger brother keeps in touch the most. He'll call or mostly text, just to see how I'm doing or to ask my opinion on something. I always looked at him as a kid in a little brother kind of way (well, if I grew up with my own younger siblings, I might have already known what that feels like but I digress). I remember tutoring him when he was a kid and how he always wanted to tag along when he brother and I would hang out. So when he reaches out now, I still respond in a sisterly type of way. Our conversations are normally short and superficial. "Hello" "How are you?" "How's so and so?" Do you remember when blah blah blah?" That is until he recently asked me out. Like on a date.

That evening's text conversation, started off with the usual pleasantries. Then he asked "can I ask you a question?" to which I responded "uhhhhhhhh sure." When someone utters those 8 words, all I can think is "Ohhhhhhh shit! What truth/half-truth/spin-doctored answer am I going to have to come up with?" I hate the question because until the actual question the person wants answered is asked, you spend those precious seconds racking your brain trying to figure it out before they ask.

"Why aren't you married?"

Now, if there is ever a question I hate it is that one right there. There are many reasons why I'm single: loved the wrong men, wasn't ready, haven't been inspired, unsure on marriage ideals as a whole for me, wasn't a priority......the list goes on and on. But what I hate about that question is that the implication implies there's something wrong with me. Or at least that's what I infer from the question. Whenever, I get this question I like to respond with a little bit of humor. So I responded with:

"I don't know. Ask your brother. LOL (just jokes)"

Quite frankly, I wasn't about to get all introspective via text with someone I only have superficial conversations with. I expected his reply to be an "LOL" with a topic change. Oh boy was I wrong. This boy went INNNNNNNNN:

"U SERIOUS? That's the past. How long has it been? My brother is dumb. I could of been wit u. I like you alot. I could be ur husband. We should go out."

"Uhhhh say what now??? Dude, are YOU serious??"

First of all, I dated his brother. So what, it was back in high school. His brother wasn't just one of those random I like you, you like me dudes in my life. I LOVVVVVVVVED his brother. For many many years, up until this recent incident with his woman reaching out to me, his brother was the guy I compared every guy to. He was the guy I would wonder how my life would be different if we'd stayed together (realistically, who stays with their high school sweetheart but I digress). Even though I can't stand that he lept off my pedestal and became a common asshole like some of the others, there is still a teeeny tiny minuscule part of me that still loves him and I probably always will. Actually, that's not quite right. I care for him. I wouldn't use the word love to express my feelings for him. Not anymore. Wow....that just hit me. Anyway, entertaining the idea of dating his baby brother felt........gross.

Second of all.....wait.....I don't need a damn second point. That's it. Even though we're not together, my former boyfriend's family has always been a weird extension of family to me. Kind of like the family you see at family reunions. You know you're connected some way, some how. But you don't keep up with the minutiae of their lives, nor do you care to. You keep it pleasant and most of all, you keep it moving.

So how do I respond to the baby brother? I don't want to hurt his feelings but I wanted him to know that what he was proposing was NAYYYYVER going to happen unless we start ice fishing in hell and even then his chances are slimmer than Anthony Weiner getting a Fruit of the Loom endorsement deal.

I responded that he and I could never be, partly because of his brother but mostly because I've always looked at him as a younger brother. The younger brother that I used to tutor after school and walk to McDonald's when no one else in the house wanted to. I told him that I was flattered that he thought so highly of me but that he'd be better off finding someone his own age (did I fail to mention that baby brother is 7 years younger than I?) and who didn't have history with anyone in his family. I hit send and held my breath, silently freaking out.

"I don't know but ok. I'll leave it alone. Im done....my brother is still dumb though. "

I didn't respond. There was nothing left for me to say.
I didn't hear from him for a while until recently. He sent a text:

Heyyyyy. What's good with you, sis?

Even if he didn't mean it, I felt like all was right in the world.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A Dime a Dozen

On Monday, I skimmed through the "news"feed on the book of face when a post caught my eye. A woman I went to college with wrote a note entitled "Is Being Pretty a Blessing and a Curse?"

For some background story, yes, she is a pretty woman (not in the Julia Roberts hooker-Cinderella kind of way). I know her from college and if I remember correctly she was our school's beauty queen representative during one of our years as students there. I didn't really know her, "know" her then but thanks to the book of face I know more about her now than I did then. She's a divorced mother of 2. But to give credit where credit is due, she is still pretty and appears to be in great shape.

In her note, she pondered whether pretty girls have a tougher time in relationships than say average ones. According to her , men, good men, perceived "dimes" as narcissistic, selfish and drama-driven and instead choose average less attractive women to settle down with to avoid these behaviors. (Sidebar: are we still using "dime" and its relative, "dimepiece" to describe the attractive qualities of women?) She notes that because these good men choose the Plain Jane, no where near a dime, can't hold a candle to me, blah-worthy women, all that is left for the "dimes" are selfish men with few morals and values. Well damn. (insert Love Jones voice here)

She further went on to use celebrity "dimes" who've publicly had failed relationships or less than stellar dating lives or more audaciously, have settled with non-dimes as proof positive that her theory is true. (Sidebar: After this post, I hope I NAYVER use this damn word again unless I'm speaking of US currency but I digress). She turned her lense to her and her friends who are all single, "pretty dimes", and can't find dime-worthy men as anecdotal proof of her blessing and curse theory.

As you can imagine this post sparked a wave of comment and debate over the validity of her claims (which as of this morning it appears that she has since deleted all comments and also edited her original post as there is a memorable anecdote from the first read that is no longer there). I quickly skimmed the comments and shut down the book of face so I can get on with the rest of my day. But her note has been on my mind ever since.

I don't want to discredit how she feels because we are all entitled to how we feel. However, this line of thinking comes across as shallow and narcissistic (something she admits she's been called since college). While her focus on appearance is crystal clear, her thinking is a little muddled. She mentioned that her ex, "a dime", wasn't faithful because he's a dime and eventually couldn't resist the temptation. Huh??? Look, I've been cheated on by men that no one would call "a dime". (Real talk: I would never call a man a "dime". Fine? Yes. Sexy? Yes! But dime? Hell no! But again, I digress.) I say that to say that regardless of outward appearance, if a person wants to cheat, guess what's gonna happen? Somebody's rockin', knockin' the boots. (oh she can use dime but I can't quote a line from a song from the nineties??) I'll concede that maybe the attention he received from these other women may have fed his ego a little too much and gave him a false sense of booty entitlement. Or maybe, he was no longer interested in being married and wanted to live the days of his bachelor years. I have no idea. But to equate his infidelity to his "dime" status is her "dime" ego speaking. As in, "as fine as I am, there is no other reason why this man would cheat on me".

I hate to be the one with the pin to this bubble but, POP, this shit just doesn't fly. First of all, life happens. Weight happens. Disfigurement happens. Shit happens. Looks come and go. They fade to black like the end of a movie for numerous reasons. What may start of as a dime, may not always be that way. And if you fall for this person based solely on their dime status and heaven forbid something happens, you may find yourself looking at the front door. Chicka boom boom boom.

Secondly, what the hell is wrong with being "average" in the looks department?? Beauty is a genetic lottery, luck of the draw. While we have control over how we maintain ourselves, unless you're signing up for the deluxe total revamp, look nothing like you're driver's license plastic surgery package, you can't control what you were born with. Just because someone is born with the genetic jackpot in the looks department does not entitle them to someone who equally hit said jackpot. Why is an average looking person completely out of the question? Because you're too pretty for them? Because they are beneath your rigid standard of beauty? I'm talking average run of the mill attractive not someone who was less fortunate in the beauty crapshoot like say, Flavor Flav. But truth be told, that man has a whole tribe of kids so someone was loving his ass. Repeatedly. Yeah Boy!!

I can't help but wonder how many average good hearted, kind, God-fearing guys my schoolmate has overlooked because they didn't pass the initial Prince Charming stud evaluation. I also wonder why are a person's looks sooo important to her that her ideal sole mate MUST be a so-called dime to the point where average doesn't even get a second glance. Does she realize how unattractive that may make her to one of these dimes she's seeking?

I'm not saying that someone should lower their standards. Maybe a reevaluation of what truly is important to them. Step down off that high horse. Dismount off that pedestal. Land on terra firma where the air is clear and expectations are realistic. A place where nothing about your outside appearance ever feels like a curse.