Boxing yourself in/Thinking out of the Box

Posted: July 29, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,
Tai-Tai

Tai-Tai

Boy, do I have one for you.

So I got a facebook update that one of the homegirls from college was featured on Essence.com in an article entitled “Why am I single.” While one, I always like to see the homies shine, I also thought it was a really well thought out conversation about some of the roadblocks that happen to very successful, ambitious black women, both those of their own making, and those out of their control. Read:

Reprinted from Essence Magazine

Tai Beauchamp has it all: looks, class and success. There’s just one thing missing. After a fast-tracked career as a top beauty editor and now working in philanthropy, she’s ready for love. The 31-year-old fashionista stepped outside of her comfort zone and gave dating on reality TV a try with the new show, “Holidate,” premiering on SoapNet July 29. The Spelman grad opens up with ESSENCE.com on the question she hears too often: “Why are you single?”‘

I’ve watched “Flavor of Love” and my first thought was there was no way I was going on TV to look for a man. Then I thought some more and figured it could be fun to do and worth a shot at meeting someone. I’m very private about my dating life, so dating in front of millions of strangers is a huge step.

I’m an example of a lot of my friends who are successful, attractive, spiritual but don’t have partners.

People ask me a lot why am I single. I even had a guy ask me that trying to get my number and that is not a pick up line. My uncle says, “Tai, you’re 31, when are you settling down?” And I respond I want it to be right, and I’m just now at a point where I am truly ready for it.

Sometimes as women we box ourselves in and aren’t open to new experiences, so we get the same results. I am an open person but I had never been on a blind date before this show. Now I tell people I’m open to meeting someone and feel free to pass along great guys.

This show also forced me to be present in the moment. As women of color especially we are taught to work so hard to get that corner office, which we do, sacrificing our relationships, friendships and other things we love. I take care of my grandmother and I have a busy lifestyle, like many women who are and don’t take time for ourselves. But being on a date, you have to be in the moment. The underlying message I learned is the power of now.

The other big lesson was the guy you think you want to be with may not come as you expect. We cheat ourselves when we aren’t open to the possibilities of him not being 6’6″. We have to be slightly open and put ourselves out there. You have to be open to packages. Whether its height, age or race, we have to be open. I’m 6’0″ and have dated a guy 5’6″. We stand to gain so much and lose less than we think.

I have a lot of friends who are married, yet all of my entrepreneurial friends are more likely to be single. When you are focused on business, it’s very difficult to put the same focus on your love life. I hope more women realize investing time in your love life is investing in you.

Yes, I’m single, but I could have easily been a married woman already. I was engaged to a wonderful guy who I am still friends with. Part of the reason I didn’t go through with it was I was young and not the person I am now. Life experiences shaped me to be who I am now and who I want to be for my partner. I tell younger friends who are around 25 to chill out and take their time. Enjoy learning things to bring to a relationship. I did that and now I will be the best wife and mother and I’m confident my guy is out there ready for me.

Catch Tai dating on “Holidate,” Wednesday, July 29, 10 P.M ET.

Let me preface the discussion by saying this: Tai is fly as a bald eagle with a jetpack. In Business Class on the Space Shuttle. I actually sort of had maybe a teeny like little crush on her in college, but that’s not neccesarily germane to this story. I think one of the really good points she brought up was:

1. The Tension on succeeding in Career vs. Relationships Tai’s resume puts most of ours to shame. And to build up that kind of expertise and success takes a lot of time and energy, which as anyone who’s ever worked a 70 hour week knows, usurps a lot of potential dating, meeting people, and social interacting time. It’s just what it is. I honestly do think this is even more difficult to navigate for women, because as men, we do most of the approaching. So if we know we only have a couple hours out of the week to socialize and meet people, we’re likely to cut straight to the chase and go about the busines of meeting women on the rare opportunities we have to go out. As a woman, you’re kind of at the mercy of whether men are approaching you in that limited time. It’s also a lot easier for us because when women hear the term CEO associated with our name, it’s an automatic bonus point. With women, I don’t think it’s that cut and dried. I know I go on and on about how men aren’t really intimidated by women, but I do that partly to bust y’all’s balls. I’m aware of the shades of gray and understand that especially for a man that’s either not a CEO or not a CEO yet, the automatic assumption may be that “she’s out of my league.” Especially if you’re in the same industry. So when she says that “making an investment in your relationships is making an investment in yourself,” I think that’s a valuable piece of advice.

2. Painting yourself in a corner I remember a friend of mine once asked me if I dug girls with natural hair. I told her yes. I was surprised that her reaction was almost shock. She seemed genuinely surprised. While I know people who will only date girls with that silky Yaki or who will eschew any woman with a perm, I think one of the great things about black beauty is that comes in so many varieties. I’ve dated girls from 4’11” to girls a couple hairs taller than me, from “could pass for Italian” to undeniably West African, and literally bald to hair cascading down their back. I think all of them areΒ  gorgeous. But a lot of people don’t think that way. We create this set of attributes that we describe as our type, and if someone doesn’t meet that, well, throw em back in the river. Women are particularly guilty of “living by the list.” Get mad if you like, but you know it’s true. We had a good convo on Belle’s blog a couple months back about a girl who had all these rules for meeting men. Wouldn’t date one she met one in a nightclub, wouldn’t date someone who didn’t know someone she knew, wouldn’t yada yada yada. She was like a modern Republican: the Party of No. (She’s since changed her tune) So I think it’s a good piece of advice, especially coming from someone who doesn’t neccesarily have to (read is really good looking), to broaden your horizons.

Check the show out, and support the homey.


Comments
  1. 05girl says:

    I read this when you linked it on twitter. I didn’t think this article told anyone anything new. I think I’m tired of this topic of what people are doing wrong… (especially black women). Why can’t it just be that that’s just how the cookie crumbles?

    • Really? I thought this article was about what black women are doing right. I was tryna inject some positivity in here

      • 05girl says:

        I dunno. Essence articles leave a lot to be desired. On one had, yes, the article is about her now taking on a new attitude toward dating. They took the time to mention what actions she is now changing to find a partner. I think what bothers me is that she even has to answer the question “why are you single?” I hate when men ask that question – especially the ones that don’t know you “like that.” And then she even goes on to say “I could have easily been married.” (Kind of like when people say “oh I could have went to Spelman, but I chose not to πŸ˜‰ ) It’s hard not to answer that question defensively, b/c the connotation is that something is wrong with you if you are single. How often do [random] people ask “Why are you in this relationship?”

  2. Sandy says:

    Nice article.

    I have to note that I get waaay less attention when my hair is in its natural state than when straightened. Go figure.

    If you have the link to the convo you had with Belle, that’d be great. Sorry, new reader πŸ™‚

    Great blog!

  3. The Sweetest Thing says:

    05 Girl,
    You kinda sound like me, just ready to throw my hands up.
    Tai may be doing it right, but is it yielding the desired results? I’ll definitely watch tonight and see.

    Sandy, In my experience going natural has not reduced attention at all, just changed the type of man (and his approach) that’s giving it. Also the race has changed; maybe it’s regional?

  4. Daydreamer says:

    Ha, Ha, Ha Brandon. I’m not shame that girl you talk (and Belle blogged) about was moi. Read the extended version on Belle’s post at: http://www.abelleinbrooklyn.com/home/2009/5/26/meeting-your-mate.html or the Original post on mine at:http://daydreamerscloud.blogspot.com/2008/12/love-in-club.html

    To a certain extent I have opened up, eg giving dude the time of day in a lounge or perhaps stopping in the park on a sunny day to talk. Neither have changed my single status but it makes for a bit more fun. I still keep my guard up about who I will and won’t date; namely outside my race. I won’t do it, but that’s another story.

    Anyway, the question of ‘why (black) women are single’ does get a little annoying. It’s like are we some sort of anomaly to the human race? White women are single too you know. They go for success too and some remain single until their 40s. BUT I will admit they seem to navigate the playing field a bit differently. They date more freely (give it up too) and well maybe have more qualifying options. I don’t mean any ill will towards black men but at times it is a challenge to meet a black man who: meets standards, who likes me back, and the timing is right. Standards you say? Why yes! They include: Christian, College degree, job with security- yes monetary, apt/ home, manners, chivalry, emotionally available, easy on the eyes…that’s a (easy) short list that has little to do with physicality and more on personality. Every woman should have one-a flexible one but at the least 4 that are deal breakers. It sounds simple enough but I’ve run into my fair share of mis-matches with all of those qualities. So at the end of the day it could have nothing to do with me/her. It may just be that one must kiss many frogs before the prince arrives. What figures?

    And like Sandy since I’ve had my natural hair, I’ve noticed the attention declining. Well, except for the granola crunchy men. Oh well, press and curl here I come! πŸ˜‰

    Brandon, what say you? Men have standards no? (Past the physical….)

    • 05girl says:

      In regards to your statement on white women getting asked the question… Is it just me, or are white people really quick to call whoever they are dating their bf/gf?? It’s like 5 dates and it’s a committed thing! I think BSR was right in an earlier post – we in the black community don’t trust each other…

  5. Hmmm…

    I rock a Cesar – I’ve never been called pretty/beautiful more times in my life. And the quality of man has definitely improved. White men have always tried to holler,now more so and I gotta beat African dudes off with a stick..lol.

    Um…this is real simple…you focus on your career to all else you will wake up single and childless with your eggs rotting faster then week old milk left out in the sun.

    Black women HAVE to learn work life balance and how to date as a mercenary. Staying with men longer than a year after 25 is stupid. You HAVE to tell them up front you’re looking for a ring, you have to volume date and you have the keep the goodies in the jar for those you’re not in a relationship with.

    Wash-rinse-repeat…

    It’s not impossible to find someone but you better treat it like finding a job and not a weekend hobby.

    • 05girl says:

      My friends and I often say the same things, although we are usually talking about our 26 yr old male counterparts that are focusing on work and thus not ready to commit.

  6. Daydreamer says:

    I KNOW that’s right @SBW!!! Esp with keeping the goodies in the jar! LAWD have mercy!…. I Just said the other day if I go hard at getting a Boo like I did landing this job I’d be straight. ‘Day Get’s a Boo’ Game: ON! πŸ˜‰

  7. Daydreamer says:

    @05girl…I don’t think white people trust more, persay, they just have less to be concerned about. They have money- or ‘rents who do, they all have relatively stable jobs, hell the world is built for them. lol. Dating is so hohum for wp: 5 dates he’s Maggie’s bf. Then 3 weeks later she’s throwing drinks on him in the club for kissing Julie. Then Maggie drunk cries to Heather, kisses her and sleeps with John. Done. And done. How do I know? I have white friends and don’t you watch the OC? lol πŸ˜‰

    (Ok, Brandon. I’ve met my comment quota on your blog for the night.)

  8. Daydreamer says:

    Thanks, TheSingleBlackWoman!

    Ok, now I’ve met my quota. For real this time.

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