Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Back

I'm sorry for leaving you all.

But it wasn't personal, I promise.

The last few months have been crazy. First, my mom died in August, then it was time to get my baby brother off to college to start his freshman year, and meanwhile, I got the sprained ankle from hell. Eventually, I found out that I needed surgery to repair that ankle...and as a result, I ended up in a leg cast and have been unable to drive for two months.

But that ordeal is almost over and I'm ready to start blogging again, at least kinda regularly.

I've learned a lot in the past several months, and I am seeing a great guy who has helped make my recovery from surgery easier. I've also learned how wonderfully supportive my family, friends and coworkers are. I couldn't have gotten through the last few months without them. I am blessed, and I hope you all are doing well, too.

More soon as I come up with some new material to blog about. Thanks for sticking with me during my time away. Happy 2011!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rest In Peace, Mom. I Love You

The biggest fan of this blog died nearly a month ago.

She was my mom.

She had promised to help me turn this blog into a book one day. She, more than anyone else—even me, believed it was good enough to be worthy of putting in print. She was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, and I miss her more than words on a screen can possibly convey.

You see, it wasn’t just the fact that the blog was mine that made my mom love it. My mom liked that my friends and I took our various dating adventures and turned them into blog posts. But don’t get me wrong, my mom was anxious to marry me off to some nice man. During her last visit to see me in June, she approached a guy’s table while we were out for a drink because I said he was cute. She asked his friend if the cute guy was “taken.” He wasn’t. We went on a few dates after that, all because of my mom.

I treasure that memory…and everything else my mom taught me. She was my best friend, the person who I’d talk to every day even if I hadn’t talked to anyone else. I was her baby girl—the middle child in the midst of an older sister and two younger brothers—yet she spoiled me until the day she died. I learned the day she died that it’s true when they say that no one loves you quite the way your mom does. But that’s okay because I will carry the love we shared with me for the rest of my life.

I have always had this thing where I tell my parents, my grandmom, and my brothers I love them before we hang up the phone, and they always say it back. For some reason, that’s been really comforting because I know my mom knows how much I love her. I don’t doubt that she still knows it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, Thanks, Mom. I won’t get to call to thank you for giving me life on my birthday anymore, so I say it here for you to read from Heaven. I love you, I miss you, and I’ll see you again one day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reality TV Show to Find a Man? Um, Not For Me

Would you ever go on a reality TV show to find a mate?

Omarosa did it.

Bret Michaels did it.

Flavor Flav did it.

Ray J did it.

Hell, even Chilli from TLC did it.

So, if offered the opportunity, would you give it a shot?

Recently, a good friend suggested that I need my own reality dating show. The 'What FabFem Needs Because She Won't Put Up With BS' show.

I don't think I need to go that far. Sure, I've had my fair share of dating mishaps, but I'm still plugging along, although I've given up online dating since being confronted by the creepy eHarmony match at a lounge in DC.

And even my recent experiences haven't soured me completely. There was the cutie who took me on one nice date and then canceled on me at the last minute three times in the following week--and then wondered why I lost interest.

And there was the guy who damn near chased me down at a lounge to get my number--and then he asked me to say my number *out loud* instead of entering it directly into his cellphone. Why, you may ask? I suspected he was taken. So I said, "That's suspicious. Only men who are married, engaged or have girlfriends won't let you put your number in their phone." His response? "I'm not engaged and I don't have a girlfriend." Me: "You're married?!" -- as I walked away. He yelled after me, "Does that mean I should erase your number?" Me: "YES!" *shakes head ferociously*

There is also the guy I met at the gym who doesn't seem quite sure what he does for a living. He told me he does "paperwork" and then, when pressed for more info, came up with a more professional sounding title. Problem is, I think he made it up. Sigh.

But I digress. They can't all be bad, I figure. And I don't believe I have to go on TV to find a man. There are a couple of promising guys in the mix, but it's too early to tell how they'll pan out.

Meanwhile, I have no plans to make a reality TV debut. 

TALK BACK: What about you? Would you consider going on a reality TV show to find a mate?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Clothing "Diet"? I Probably Won't Try It

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL 
The New York Times has a fascinating article about a movement called "Six Items or Less," where folks stick to just six items of clothing for one month.

As someone who loves clothes, loves online shopping, in-store shopping, and window shopping, , it's a tough concept for me to fathom. Nonetheless, I'm very intrigued.

But as I think about it, it would be an awesome challenge. I'd like to think that I'm pretty creative working with the clothes I already have and making them feel new and fresh as I mix and match on lazy weekends or laundry days. On a quarterly basis, I go through my closet, trying on things (to see if they still fit or need to go to Goodwill) and brainstorm ways to breathe new life into my old duds (creative layering, accessories, etc). It's a lot of fun and I often surprise myself. Sometimes I manage to fall in love all over again and old (sometimes forgotten) favorites return to the rotation with a twist. The more I think about it, I may have to rethink this blog's headline. I'd probably do better sticking to the "Six Items or Less" challenge than I would avoiding McDonald's fries or sticking to a concrete, everyday workout plan for an entire month. That's sad, and that's a whole other blog. I digress.

But as we go through these difficult financial times, doing the wardrobe purge may not a bad idea in terms of creatively saving some money. Honestly, it's a pretty cool experiment for those brave enough to participate. In fact, folks that were interviewed in the Times piece learned that in most cases, they didn't need all of the clothes they did have, and the people around them didn't even notice they were interchanging the same six items for that entire month. 

TALK BACK: So, fabulous ones, could you work the hell out of the same six items for an entire month? Or is that just fashion blasphemy? I have to admit it's an awesome challenge for the savviest of fashionistas.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not Every Sideline Chick Can Be Alicia Keys

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

The chance that a sidepiece will actually get the guy to leave his wife/girlfriend to marry her and live happily ever after is kind of like going to a Louis Vuitton store every single day believing that one of these days, there's going to be a sale.

It just ain't gonna happen.

Sure, women can buy a used Louis for a substantially discounted rate on Ebay or at a consignment store (if you are lucky), but even then, the bag is used, and its authenticity is questioned. It may actually be a real Louis, but you've robbed yourself of the joy of walking into the store and them wrapping it up ever so nicely and placing it in that box and walking out of the store with your prize nestled in that shopping bag. It's yours. It's new. It's real. It's got a guarantee. Plain and simple. That back room bargain always seems to taint the exclusivity of having such a luxury item in the first place.

It's the same idea if you're actively and knowingly pursuing a man who isn't your own.

But recently, international superstar Alicia Keys has done the almost impossible. She's made it snow in the desert. She's just sold water to a well. She's done what countless sidepieces over the ages have tried to accomplish but have often failed at.

She managed to get music producer Swizz Beatz to finally divorce his wife, and she's having his baby. It's been reported that they plan to tie the knot in the fall. (The jury is still out, in my opinion, until then. For a man to leave one marriage and jump into another... I don't know, girl, good luck.) But despite being called a homewrecker and having some serious Twitter beef with Swizz Beatz's ex wife, Alicia stuck it out and got the guy.

However, I want to send a message to all the sidepieces who now consider Alicia to be their patron saint and believe that her current good fortune is a sign of things to come in their own situations: Y'all are sadly mistaken and delusional.

I'm not passing judgment on her because I love A. Keys, too. She's an awesome musician and performer, and her humanitarian efforts really set her apart from a lot of other artists. She's beautiful, humble and has talent coming out of every pore. She's a hardworking woman, who like all of us hardworking women, deserves a real shot at love and happiness. She's certainly got that love glow going on these days.

But if you are out there creeping with someone else's man and you aren't Alicia Keys, chances are HE AIN'T LEAVING and when he does commit to someone, it probably won't be you.

I've seen this thing play out a million times. Monica has a great song from one of her older albums called Sideline Ho. She ticks off a list of things that if your "man" isn't doing with or for you, you are indeed the side chick, and he's not going to leave his main chick/wifey.

So sideline chicks, sidepieces, jumpoffs, breezies, shorties, or whatever you are, hold off on the tickertape parade for Alicia, and don't start up your own wedding registries just yet.

I will give Swizz Beatz credit for going ahead and divorcing his ex and giving Alicia that show of faith, but it's always a worrisome thought wondering once you get that man, if he'll do the same thing to you.

That's the other thing about a used bag. There is usually no return policy where you can at least get a store credit to start all over again.

TALK BACK: Have you ever knowingly gone after a man who was unavailable, hoping he would choose you?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nina's Prediction: Extreme Change May Lead to Love

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

A dear, dear friend of mine is taking a job overseas.

I'm thrilled for her, a little nervous about her safety or how how she will handle really bad bouts of homesickness, but still I look at this new adventure for her with great optimism and pride.

Not only is she going to embark on something that will help her professionally, but I do believe after having a lull in the love department, that area may pick up as well.

It's actually a secret thought that I've had since she announced her pending move.

Let's face it. My friend is an unapologetic, outspoken, out-of-the-box kind of thinker. She'll quit a job she hates with the quickness, she'll travel when the need suits her, she'll go back to school for another degree, she'll jump out of planes for fun or she'll learn mixed martial arts.

A conventional man can't handle her. She doesn't want a conventional man. And she's not going to meet her non-conventional man in a conventional way.

Why do I think will she meet an awesome guy where she's going? Because that guy is probably just like her. What makes this fantasy union in my head more fabulous (aside from the fact it's international and that's always sexy) is the fact that they won't even be looking for each other when they do meet. They'll both just be looking for adventure and will stumble upon each other in the process, in probably a really competitive manner-- which both of them will find hot and irresistible.  That's how I imagine it. She will be more vulnerable than usual in this strange land and can let go to this kindred adventurous spirit more so than while being here in the states, and from there, I think love may blossom faster than you can fill a 3-ounce bottle with your favorite hair product.

The fantastic, and yet equally frustrating thing about my bud, is her ability not to settle. That's in both her personal life and professional life.

It seemed that everything was stacked against her in terms of her dreams and trying to find her way. Keep in mind the dream job she finally snagged took around five years of dead ends and disappointments to finally achieve.

She had to face her parents bringing home job applications and watching her friends and even her younger sibling make great strides in their professional lives. I'd cringe for her when people would (sometimes harshly) ask what she's doing with her life. Even I wanted her to take a more safe route. Sometimes I thought she was being stubborn and unrealistic. I told her, "You've got to do something even if you don't like it, boo. That's life, that's being an adult. I hate seeing you in this situation." She'd take a deep breath. She'd tell me that something is bound to happen and kept relentlessly courting the companies she wanted to work with overseas and staying up till the wee hours of the morning watching television shows from that country of her desire and learning the language until something came through. Finally it did. And I couldn't be happier for her. 

That kind of faith, that kind of tenacity-- despite what even your closest family and friends say-- makes me quite sure that once her professional endeavors start clicking for her, love won't be too far behind. And when it comes, it's going to be just as exhilirating as her getting that offer letter and that plane taking off.

Do you think settling in life and settling in love go hand in hand?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beware of the Stalker Neighbor

I've said a time or two before that I attract crazies.

Today just solidified that I do it without even trying.

I walked out to my car at about 8 a.m. to head to work. I noticed a folded up piece of paper on my windshield when I got in the car. So I reached to grab it. There I found a typewritten note that said the following (punctuation and capitalization copied exactly from the note):

"Dear FabFem,
I have been attracted to you from the first moment I saw you. I was walking to the grocery store on a Saturday morning to get milk.
My first chance meeting with you was the snow storm. I was helping people get out of their parking spaces...and then comes this Angel of BEAUTY!!!
I did my deed, and then I gathered my courage to ask you for your phone number...and you said you had a boyfriend? I don't know if that was a nice way of letting me down or if you were involved with another man.? But if things have changed or if I can be a friend?...I was hoping you could call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX or XXX-XXX-XXXX. I would like to take you out to eat and we could get to know each other better!
I'm a little shy and clumsy when I try to talk to a Beautiful woman such as yourself for the first time.Which you probably noticed. That's why I decided to write what I feel!
Stalker Neighbor
[Real name omitted]"

The note struck me as a cross between sweet... and creepy. First of all, he approached me during the snowstorm? ... You mean the one in February? And four months later, you're still watching me and typed up a note to put on my car? Hmmm. Then I thought about if I remembered who this guy was. Turns out I do. I remember thinking he seemed creepy in person, so I told him I had a boyfriend (my usual line when I want a guy to go away am not interested). Little did I know, he didn't forget that conversation, even if I had.

Walking into work today, I decided to google his phone number. After all, he'd given me his cellphone and home phone numbers AND his e-mail address. A little googling got me his full name and address. Soon, I used that info to see if he had a criminal record, something a female cop once told me to do if I ever thought a guy pursuing me was weird, just to see what I'm dealing with.

Oh boy. I didn't expect what came next. Sometimes, information is power, and other times, it can scare the hell out of you. Turns out Stalker Neighbor has been charged in the past few years with stalking, assault, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct, trespassing, possession of a deadly weapon, and a peace/restraining order had been issued against him a couple years back. 

Whoa. Mind you, he lives like a block from me, and I think I can be pretty sure he's been watching me. Sigh.

I phoned Prince Charming, who when he isn't saving the day for me, is a police officer by profession. He wanted to go knock on dude's door.

But I couldn't let him do that. That could turn out really, really badly.

Instead, I okayed PC calling him. PC told SN over the phone that he was my boyfriend and that while I appreciated the flattery, I wasn't interested. He said SN took it well, said he understood and respected that.

Let's hope so. Meanwhile, I think I'll go buy some pepper spray.

TALK BACK: Have you ever had an overly aggressive neighbor who wanted to date you? How did you handle it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

6 Signs the Guy You're Dating May Be Crazy Or Abusive

I've tried to work on my patience over the years.

You know, not be so quick to cut guys off over small things.

I try to see the good in people but also not ignore the bad. Unfortunately, I think I failed miserably when it came to Mr. Courtship.

Mr. Courtship said all the right things... at first. He took me out, we had great conversation, and he showed an interest in the people and things that matter to me most. And, perhaps the best part of all... He cooks. Very well.

But after a few weeks, I started to have some concerns about Mr. C. I realized that he was impatient, almost unreasonably so, at times. Not with me. But just over small things that it seemed unreasonable to get upset about.

And soon, his impatience did turn to me. Like one early morning when I didn't answer his phone call because I was in the shower. I called him back after I'd gotten dressed when I was in the car, on my way whereever I was headed that day. Sounds reasonable, right? Not to Mr. C. This fool actually suggested that I should get in the habit of putting my cellphone on the toilet basin so that I can hear it--and answer it--even when I am in the shower. I searched for a hint he was joking. Couldn't find one. So I moved on, with that tucked into my mind as a RED FLAG that I should keep an eye on.

Not long after that, I decided to cut Mr. C off, not just because of that incident, but because I caught him in a major lie and decided it was time for him to go. Unfortunately, I think he realized his time had come -- so he refused to answer the phone. I finally sent him a text message asking him not to contact me anymore. Then, four days passed -- mind you, we had talked daily since we met until then -- with no word from him, so I thought he was abiding by my wishes.

But on the fourth day, he called me around 5:30 p.m. I didn't answer. He then called three more times up until 7:30 p.m., when he left me the following message:

"Yo, you're gonna answer your God%amn phone. I'm going to f$%k you up. You better answer your phone. Why can't I get in contact with you at 7:31? Yeah, alright. You gonna get your @ss whooped."

Yes, I'm serious. He really did leave me that message for no reason other than I hadn't answered my cellphone for two (TWO?!) hours after not hearing from him for four days. And this time, I was sure there was no hint in his voice that he was joking. He'd never laid a hand on me and I never thought I had a reason to fear him...before that message.

I left him a voicemail the next day advising him that if he ever threatened me again, I would call the police and that I meant it when I told him several days prior that I was done talking to him. We spoke once over the phone after that--because I believe that when it comes to crazy people, it's good to know they're not coming to kill you where their heads are--and he told me he was over it and wouldn't bother me again. Let's hope he means that.

Meanwhile, I learned some valuable lessons from my experience with Mr. C (and let's call him Mr. Crazy from now on). Here are 6 signs the dude you're dating may be crazy or potentially abusive:

1. He complains constantly and/or always points out something he thinks you do wrong.
2. He always thinks you're wrong, even about stuff you know you're educated about.
3. He cuts you off mid-sentence and hangs up on you... say, once every week or two.
4. He gets an attitude when you don't answer your phone, even for reasonable time periods.
5. He complains when you go out with friends, even occasionally.
6. He gets mad if you speak to a friend or associate of his--and I do mean just "hello"--when he isn't present.

TALK BACK: Did I miss any signs a guy may be crazy or potentially abusive? Let me know by commenting!

Monday, May 3, 2010

WTF of the Day: Man Shoots Woman for Not Giving Out Her Phone Number

I have a standard line when a man approaches me and I'm not interested: "I have a boyfriend."

Sure, it's not always 100 percent effective. I've heard -- "What's your man got to do with me?" -- more times than I can count. (Thanks, Postive K, for planting this lame line in fellas' heads.)

But never... never ... never have I had a man *pull a gun* (!) on me for saying I'm not interested, like what happened to this college student, home from school visiting her family in Washington, D.C. She says a guy asked for her phone number as she left a party this past weekend. She said no. He threatened to shoot her if she didn't give up her digits. When she still refused to do so, he did just that. He shot her in the leg.



Who does that?!


It got me to thinking. What is the best approach for rejecting a guy so that he doesn't, you know, shoot you?

I say I have a boyfriend because I figure it's a gentler way to deal with the male ego. It's my way of saying, 'See, I'm not rejecting you outright. But I'm already taken.' They don't know it's not true, so they go away. Problem solved.

I once gave my number to a guy out of sympathy--because I thought he seemed nice (at FIRST), although I knew I'd never date him. I ultimately regretted it because I realized he was a little crazy in our first phone call. Then I started ignoring his calls. That's when he started stalking me on MySpace (back before Facebook took over) and by phone, putting in '187' (think: Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre') as the number to page me. I ultimately had to file a police report and change my number.

Because of that one horrible experience, I stick with my fictitious boyfriend lie to avoid stalkers. I've thought about giving out a fake number or using a service such as the Rejection Hotline (never heard of it? call 202-452-7468 for a good laugh), but that's a no-go, since most guys call you on the spot before you even have a chance to walk away. So far, I guess I'm doing a good job. No guns or knives have ever been pulled on me. Sigh.

TALK BACK: How do you tell a guy 'no' when he asks for your number and you're not interested? Does it scare you to hear the story of a young woman being shot for refusing to give out her number?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is Courtship Dead?

Courting, according to Webster's Dictionary, means "to seek the affections of; especially: to seek to win a pledge of marriage from" and "to engage in social activities leading to engagement and marriage."

It seems simple, right? A guy who is serious about dating you will court you--in effect, he's showing he's serious about you by taking you on dates *outside of the house,* to public places, as you get to know one another.

As Steve Harvey once said on Oprah in an interview about his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, a "man with a plan" wants to court you. He knows from early on--maybe even your first meeting or phone conversation--what his intentions are for you. If he sees the possibility of getting serious with you, he courts you. Plain and simple.

I will admit that I thought courtship was nearly dead. But I still held out a little, eensy, weensy, teeny bit of hope.

After guys trying to lay up in my house before we really know one another, feeling themselves up on dinner dates, and acting crazy and deranged, I almost thought I'd never meet a man who was (A) normal (no stalking or signs of craziness); (B) wasn't married/engaged/already taken; and (C) actually believed in courtship...especially not after the guy from a few weeks ago, who we'll call Cheapskie, who told me that going out for ice cream (yes, ice cream, people, ICE CREAM) was "a luxury" that he wasn't willing to spend money on me for and instead invited me to his home for ice cream from his freezer -- as a first date, mind you-- when I barely knew him. Um, how about NO!? I declined.

Still, while I hadn't given up on men completely, I generally do me--work hard at my 9-5 and play hard with my girlfriends after hours, whether it's dinner or drinks after work or a night out at a nice lounge. I figured one day, maybe just maybe, I'd meet someone who was more interested in getting to know me and courting me than in simply laying up in my home or his.

It was on one of these nights out with a girlfriend that I met Mr. Courtship. My friend and I noticed him when he came into the lounge--he's cute, tall and broad like a football player--but he didn't notice us at the time. Later, as my girlfriend chatted with a guy she'd just met, I walked around the lounge by myself, checking out the scenery. That's when Mr. C approached. We exchanged numbers.

That night, Mr. C called to make sure I got home safe, and the next day, he asked me out on a date. We ended up hanging out that night until 6 a.m. the next morning--dinner, drinks, a party, and then just sitting in the car talking until the sun came up. He talked about believing in courtship. I smiled.

Mr. C lives about three hours away, but every day since we met, we've talked on the phone a few times per day. The next weekend, he came back to visit me. He cooked (it was delicious!). I swooned. And he shows an interest in my life and the people and things I care most about.

Seems like that shouldn't be so hard to find in the dating world, don't you think? Um.... notsomuch. But I think maybe I've figured it out. Mr. C, at least from what I can tell so far, is ready to be settled and is not playing any games. If I'd met him five or 10 years ago, that might not have been the case, as he would've been in a different "season" of his life. And maybe that's been my problem overall: Meeting men when they're still in "player season" rather than "settle-down season."

For a while, I thought online dating--my site of choice was eHarmony--was the key to finding men who were serious about dating and over the games.

Unfortunately, I learned that online dating is also a good way to find socially inept weirdos...such as the guy (you know him as Weed Smoker) who approached me in 'real life' at a lounge--on the same night I met Mr. C--and told me he met me online and that we'd lost touch. Sigh.

When I quickly recalled who he was--and that ONE (and only one) phone convo we had in which I realized he was crazy, I pretended not to be the person he thought I was. I don't think he bought it. I quickly got away as he started discussing how much he liked my toes (double sigh) and then he followed me around for the rest of the night. #FAIL

TALK BACK: Do you think courtship is a lost art? Why or why not?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Man You Probably Haven't Considered: The UPS Guy

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL
If you are looking for a solid man--one with a stable job, who isn't lazy, who has a sense of time and duty, keeps himself nice and neat, and knows how to deal with people, I say look no further than your UPS guy.

Yup, I said it. And for you professional women who might feel like this brown collar man may not bring home enough bacon for you, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal may make you think twice about shrugging him off when he compliments you while you sign for your package on that electronic clipboard thingy.

WSJ reports that the average driver can pull in $74K a year, and with baby boomers retiring, the company is currently seeking new blood to the tune of 20,000 new drivers to fill those positions. And according to this article, with the intense training, these folks earn their living.

I'm not going to front. I've seen some hot UPS guys in my day, and you can't get mad when you see one in the summer rocking those shorts with some strong calf muscles, jumping on and off that truck handling business.

While no one wants to seriously leave matchmaking up to the HR department of UPS, you can certainly let them do the screening process for you. I'm sure UPS does drug testing, and with it's grueling training sessions that include delivering packages under slippery conditions, and delivering five packages within a fake town in 19 minutes--it takes a person that has determination, who can think fast, and who won't get easily deterred from a goal, to even get the job.

Who doesn't want a man like that?

Have you or would you consider dating a UPS guy?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Three Red Flags You're Dating a Crazy, Deranged MoFo

Have you ever met a guy who was just a little too into you just a little too fast?

Like you just met him but he's trying to move in with you already?

Or he snaps at you for not returning his calls within an hour or two, yet you just met him last week?

Or he tells you that he could see himself marrying you, yet you've been dating just a few days?

Believe it or not, all of the above have happened to me or my friends. And all of these examples, in my eyes, are warning signs that the guy could be, as Martin said in You So Crazy, a "crazy, deranged motherf%&$er." Run, girl, run!

Case in point: My good friend, we'll call her Samantha, called me yesterday to update me on a guy--we'll call him Pressurizer--who she met last week when we were out for after-work drinks. She'd been talking to him on the phone daily for four days since they exchanged numbers. And on Day 4, he hit her with this over the phone: "So, where is this going? Are you even interested in me?"

Samantha, a bit taken aback, asked Pressurizer to elaborate, thinking he couldn't possibly be pressing her with such questions not even a week after they first met. They'd talked frequently and had a date planned for this weekend, so why is he trippin? Pressurizer told her he really likes her and he laid his expectations on the line. It came down to this: It's fine if they don't see each other face to face every day for now, but if they get into a relationship, he told her, he'd require they see each other daily.

Now, let me remind you: This conversation took place *four days* after Samantha and Pressurizer met. Not four months. Not four years. And he's already having a fit about not seeing her daily--to the tune of a two-hour conversation to discuss his "concerns"? Where they do that at?

Samantha is now thinking she will probably cancel her weekend date with Pressurizer because he put so much pressure on her so quick. I can't say I blame her. In hindsight, Samantha says, the fact that he called her for the first time at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning the day after they met probably was the first warning sign he was a little too eager.

Guys, take note: Genuine interest is good. Scary/stalkerish/overeager tendencies are bad. Very bad. Here are three red flags we women generally take note of:

1. Possessiveness.  I once had a guy I'd just met--who had gone out of town for the weekend-- tell me that if he were in town, I wouldn't be spending time with my friends because all of my time would be spent with him. Mind you, I'd known him for about one week. I cut him off immediately. While some women may find possessiveness flattering, many women find it to be scary and a warning sign to run far, far away.

2. Unrealistic expectations. No, it is not realistic for you to expect a woman you've just met to clear her schedule every day all day for you. And it's not realistic to expect to talk to her five to ten times a day. She had a life before she met you, and yes, she's happy to include you in it, but slow your roll, dude.

3. Short temper. Sure, we've all had a 'waiting by the phone' moment, hoping that that special someone would call soon. But copping an attitude with your love interest about not calling you back soon enough is a surefire way to push the person away if you just met. Big no-no.

TALK BACK: There are many red flags that signal danger in the dating world. What do you look out for? What warning signs signal to you that a guy might be crazy or deranged?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming to Terms With Firing My Hair Stylist

It looked good, swung right, and made me smile just by glancing at it. I was ecstatic.


That's right. I'd found a hair stylist who could do my hair just right. After tons of research online, I settled on a style called tree braids. I'd never known anyone who wore them but I thought they were cute, and always one to set my own trend, I went for it. A few hours more research later, I found a salon near my home.

At that salon was a hair stylist who did the damn thing when it came to my hair. So much so that I referred countless people to that salon for the same style. It's safe to say that I'm far from the only person I know wearing tree braids any more since I started rocking them last summer.

Problem was, the hair stylist I loved worked for a backwards-@ssed salon owner. Want to make an appointment? Don't count on it being easy. The process went a little something like this: A week prior to the appointment I wanted to schedule, I'd call the salon owner--who required that all appointments go through him, via his cellphone. He might answer, he might not. If you left a message, he might call you back or you might have to harass him to get a return call. He also requested that you call him back the day before the appointment to confirm. Then, when you make that day-before call to confirm, he informs you that he then has to call the hair stylist to see if she can make it. [Why the h#ll didn't you do that before, fool?] Then, a few hours later, he eventually calls back to confirm the appointment.

Sound painful? It was. And I did this every 6-8 weeks from August 2009 through January 2010. Then I got fed up. One day this month, when I called the salon owner to confirm my appointment--and he told me he'd have to call me back after talking with the hair stylist--I decided to get back on my research grind to find another hair salon.

Didn't take long. I'd done some preliminary research already and knew who else did tree braids in my area. There's a particular way I like them done that is different from the way most places do them, so after confirming the new salon could hook me up, I made an appointment there. It was that easy. One phone call, appointment confirmed. WHALA! 

So when the owner of the first salon finally called me back (over two hours later) to confirm my appointment, I told him I was canceling. And I told him why. In a nice way (I swear I was polite and cordial), I told him that his scheduling process is jacked up and (because of that and his tendency to be rude to customers when they call) had driven me and all of my referrals away from patronizing his business. He seemed to take it well... at first.

But apparently he had second thoughts. And that got me to thinking, maybe I should've read this advice or this advice about breaking up with your hair stylist before I spoke with him. Ah, hindsight.

Witness the voicemail he left me about a half hour after our phone conversation. [Full background: In addition to patronizing his business and referring my sister and friends, I also started a Facebook fan page for the salon at his request. But when I asked him to answer questions via e-mail from people who asked about pricing of various styles on the fan page, he couldn't be bothered.]

Play this in your head in the most smart-@ssed, irritated voice you can muster:

This is Salon Owner. I wanted to call you back and let you know I fully understand your position. This is my business model. And I work and the braiders do have to go through me because I still have to run this business and they don't go there and sit. I made it convenient for them as well so they don't just go there and sit. And I know I'm losing my customers to the braiders. There are not too many braiders who do tree braids. I know that I lose some of my customers to the braiders. There are not too many people in this area that do tree braids very well. When I'm not there I notice that I lose customers to some of the braiders. And it's highly possible that I've lost you and your sister to Hair Stylist and I wouldn't tell her that either. But I have nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. This is the way I run this business model. I'm also very disappointed in those who would come to the shop and then move themselves into working with my braiders, and that is very disappointing as well because I work very hard to try to get customers in there. I had to go out and get a job and that's one of the reasons I haven't been responsive to facebook. I can't be responding to everything on facebook. I'm disappointed and I know that you're going to Hair Stylist, and Hair Stylist has to deal with that. So that's my message to you. If you care to call back, fine."

[*Names have been changed because I decided not to put Salon Owner on full blast, even though he is an @sshole deserves it.]

So in other words, dude is accusing me of stealing his stylist? The thing is, I did NOT do that, but Lawd knows I would if I could. But sadly, I don't have Hair Stylist's number. Later that evening, I got a long, rambling, unprofessional e-mail from the salon owner basically making the same points. #FAIL.

Anyhow, the new salon I went to is great. Takes a bit longer to do tree braids because they're smaller, but I've been told they look better. They have lots of braiders available for walk-ins at all times, and that = Lots of business. They stay busy. And it's much easier to make an appointment.

TALK BACK: Have you ever had to fire your hair stylist? How did it go?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You, Girl, Are the Cure for Trifling

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Have the one or two weed heads, thugs (real or imagined), or aspiring music artists or producers--who managed to slip through the cracks during a bad breakup--told you, "If I had a woman like you, I'd stay focused"?


"I'd get a job and keep one."

"I'd stop selling and/or smoking weed."

"I'd stop running these streets."

"I'd move out my mama's house...and stay with you."

"I'd go to/finish school."

Admit it. You've heard this or some variation. Don't fake. Take a minute, go back, way back, and you know there is one of these guys in your past. It may have been the guy with the killer smile who "sells real estate" but can't seem to explain to you what an ARM is.

Tell the truth, the aspiring rapper who sold you your furniture had a great body, and since he broke you off with the discount (see FabFem 's blog post about perks for pretty girls) for that gorgeous mahogany chaise, you listened to the mix tape he also threw in for free (street value $5) and got drinks when he got off. Hell, you may have even kicked him out of your house around 3 a.m. this morning, so you could get some rest before you went to work this morning.

Go ahead and laugh, because you have either slept with or endured at least a movie or an IHOP breakfast sampler with this man.

We don't judge you.

But I can bet that every one of these guys will tell you, "I'm not perfect, but girl, If I had a woman like you, I'd straighten up."

So there it is, even after being raised by somebody, somewhere and walking this earth as a grown man making his own bad decisions, somehow YOU will be the catalyst that's going to get him on the straight and narrow.

Allow me to share with you one of the highest compliments I once received from this type of man: "Girl, you'd make a good stepmom to my kids."


After hearing that, I had to start making some promises of my own, like, never to drink again, never to give out my number at gas stations or Chinese buffets, or fast food restaurants, no matter how bad the breakup or how low my self esteem at the time.

Believe it or not, young men aren't even the biggest offenders. Some of these men may be well into their 30s, still talking such foolishness. Some may even be fathers themselves and are STILL talking this foolishness.

Case in point:

A young man I met a long time ago told me that given the opportunity, he could see himself putting an end to his thuggish ways (which included still having one foot in the drug-selling community). He'd leave the game and live a good, clean life with me by his side.

I had to laugh and shake my head because this guy had a small child. Wise beyond my years, I gave a response that I'm proud of to this day: "If you have a child, and you love this child, it shouldn 't take me, someone you barely know, to motivate you to do better. Your child--that came from you--should be motivation enough."

Apparently he liked it, too, because after thanking me for keeping it real, he declared my brutal honesty was further proof that I was the kind of woman he needed after all.

At that moment, I grabbed my purse, and I told him I wished him luck on his road to redemption, but that I couldn't join him. I gathered my safety buddy/wingwoman (who was entertaining his friend) and we left.

TALK BACK: Has a bad boy ever said that you are what he needs to change his ways? Did you try? 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sex On Your Period: Yay or Nay?

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Rumor has it that neosoul crooner/sex symbol Maxwell sent female concertgoers into a frenzy last year when he declared during his sensual set, "I don't care if it's that time of the month. We can put towels down."

Pick your collective jaws up off the ground. Even if you are against it, there was a time you probably considered it, just once: "I mean, I'm real light right now anyway..."

If I've pulled your card, simmer down, we're all grown. You aren't a dirty freak if you do it, want to do it or considered it that one time when you were real "light." As I get older, I'm noticing more men and women aren't as vehemently against the idea as when we were younger. I've been in a couple of conversations-- sober and not-- where both sexes have taken Maxwell's stance and even suggested putting down dark-colored sheets in addition to the towel to cut down on potential embarrassment.

But there is still a strong contingent who say the love tunnel is temporarily shut down to all traffic during that time of the month.

It's no secret that women tend to get real randy in the days before, during and after their cycle, and biology backs that up. Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, author of the book, What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex, tells readers that if they feel comfortable with it, by all means let Aunt Flo join in on the fun. If you aren't completely convinced, Dr. Hutcherson explains the benefits of freakin' while you're leakin', which may include easing of cramps and migraines. In addition to breaking out the towel underneath your bum, she also suggests using a diaphragm or cervical cap to "decrease the amount of blood that escapes during sex."

Hutcherson says that some positions may be uncomfortable during that time of the month, and even oral sex is fair game. And, she says, some men actually like the taste of iron in the blood. (I've never heard this one. In fact, I've been told that men prefer that you give them a warning and give them the option of not heading down there.) Hutcherson warns that if your man takes the dive, he should not blow air into your vagina, because that air can actually travel through your lungs and affect your heart, causing an air embolism.

Never fear to my ladies who'd rather sit this one out until Flo has left the building. I'm not mad at you. Dr. Hutcherson says that even if you don't want to go all the way, getting close and cuddling during that time can release some healthy endorphins that will relieve pain. Everybody wins.

TALK BACK: Do you think that having sex while on your period is nasty?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is Free Stuff Part of Being a Woman?

Call it the gift and the curse of being a woman. You smile, look pretty, and men give you free stuff. The downside: They flirt--and may even ask for a date.

Case in point: I go to two restaurants where I rarely pay for my food. In both cases, men who work there give me my food for free. In one case, the manager has been comping my food for about eight years. In the other case, a bartender has been giving me free stuff for roughly a year or two.

I didn't ask either of these men to do this. In fact, both have rebuffed me when I pull out cash to pay. "Your money is no good here," they say, or, "Don't worry. I got you."

Whatever, I say to myself, no need to fight them to pay money I don't have to.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a price. In one case, the manager who comps my food is way older--I'd guess in his 60s--and he blatantly flirts with me. I am pretty certain he knows I'm not interested because it never goes further than his saying slick stuff to me when I'm in the restaurant. Last weekend, he told me he was glad I came to the restaurant alone and not with a date--because he doesn't like to see me with dates. "I don't like those guys," he told me. [Note to self: I knew one day I'd be glad  I took my exes who were 6'10 and 6'4, respectively, into said restaurant to pick up food. Obviously, they left an impression. :-)]

WTF. Speechless, I just took my free food and rolled out.

But this man also bought me a dozen pink roses when I graduated from college several years ago. He said they were from the restaurant staff. My daddy--probably just a few years older than him--was none too happy.

Besides free food, off the top of my head, I've gotten free car maintenance, cable service, home repair, and party admission from guys I barely know (or don't know at all), just by showing up and smiling sweetly. The common thread? I never ask for free stuff. Guys just offer. The whole damsel in distress idea, maybe?

TALK BACK: Have you ever gotten free stuff just because you're a woman? Tell us about it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Number of Sexual Partners: Do Tell or TMI?


By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Is sharing your sexual "number"--how many partners you've truly been with, no fudging or lapses in memory--simply TMI?

Some people believe you should tell the real number and get it out there and be honest with every person you encounter intimately. 

Other folks feel like it's worth telling only those you are serious with.

Then others, like me, generally believe it's just a bad idea, and no matter your number, you are going to still look less than pure-- especially to the man of your dreams if you've manged to find him. If the number is higher than zero, I think sometimes for a lot of men (the ones who are interested in something real), it's just too hard a pill to swallow.

Let's face it. I've had male friends admit that, especially for women they think highly of or want to be "the one," although deep down they know someone has probably put down footprints on her path... they really don't want to know if there was an eight-lane highway built there.

What I do believe can and should be discussed with any potential partner is sexual health history...recent tests taken, status, etc. Vox Magazine offers good advice on how to broach the topic.

But actual number of partners? Ehhhh.


Yeah, yeah, I'm all about women's liberation. We make more money, we're more independent and educated and we have the right to sleep with however many people we want as long as we are responsible and no one should trip, right?


All things being equal, sure that makes sense. But in the real world, if you're a woman and have bedded "too many" men, both women and men will agree that you, my dear, are still considered a hoe. 

So how many is too many? Well that's for each individual person to decide. But I did get put on to an interesting theory about "the number" from a man.
I like to call it the "casual encounters to relationship to age of sexual debut ratio" (patent pending on the name).

Based on some scenarios my male friend offered up, I've created a game for y'all. It's called: "WHO'S THE HOE HERE?"

A 26-year-old who started having sex at 18, has had three long-term relationships lasting an average of two years each has a total number of five sexual partners.
If she was faithful during the relationships, the 2 partners who weren't considered boyfriends probably punched her freedom card in those periods between committed relationships, or she may have gotten one casual in before her first relationship.

Of the eight total years of her getting her swerve on, six of those years were in a faithful situation.


I was told in that scenario, that number was not bad at all and that most men could probably take that on the chin and move on happily with that woman.

But, I was also told, if you are 18, started having sex at 18 and you have 5 partners before your 19th birthday.... yes, at this rate you are on par to have Tiger-like numbers by the time you hit 26.


Now, things happen. And I was told there may be an asterisk by your number in certain situations depending on your faithfulness, too.

My male friend put this doosey on me. I needed a calculator with sine and cosine functions to figure this one out... so help me out.

Say you are 24, you started doing the freaky deek at 18, and you've been in a relationship for five years with one person and you've managed to have *8 partners.

Oh boy. According to the math, you either: A. picked up your numbers early on in that one year you were single before that relationship; B. went buck wild post-relationship; or C. you were doing dirt during that relationship. SURVEY SAYS: ???????? If you answered B, I'm willing to give you some leniency. But if your answers are A. and C, click here to reclaim your prize.


TALK BACK: Do you share the number of sexual partners you've previously had with a new partner--and do you want him to tell you his "number"?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Am I Entering Cougar Territory?

I think I'm too young to be a cougar.

I'm 29 years old, approaching my 30th birthday in about seven months. I usually date older guys, up to 10 years older than me, but typically in their early-mid 30s. So I was a little taken aback this weekend when I met a guy--who we'll call Young Buck (YB for short)--who looked like he was about the right age... until he hit me with this: He's 23 (!).

Insert look of *shock* here. I couldn't even hide it.

He obviously sensed my surprise at how young he was. He asked if his age was a problem.

Yes, I told him. He asked why.

Well, besides the fact that I'm not a cougar, I told him that I'm at the point in my life where I am looking to get married and have kids in the next several years, and I'm not convinced that a 23 year old would be ready for all of that before, say, age 30 or so. At least I know I wasn't ready at age 25ish for all that.

He said he is ready for all of that when he meets the right person.

I was skeptical, to say the least.

One friend pointed out that it should be OK for me to date a guy who is six years younger than me if it's acceptable for me to date men the same number of years older than me.

My friend has a point. And besides, what do I have to lose?

Still, the honest truth is that I've met very few men in their early 20s who are mature enough to handle dating a grown woman who is over the petty BS of the early 20s. Like, over it, finito, finished, in a don't-go-there-with-me kinda way. It really is a maturity issue.

Anyhow, after YB told me his age, I gradually distanced myself from him at the lounge we were at. That is, until he followed me to the bathroom to give me his business card. He asked me to please give him a chance to show he's mature enough to handle dating me.

Hmmmm. He gets points for persistence, I guess. And he has a great job as a network administrator for a large company, so I guess that shows he's serious about life. big caveat: I Googled him, and someone with his real name--and it's a pretty unique name--has a Twitter account on which this person calls himself the king of jumpoffs. WTF?!

Now, you know FabFem will be asking him about that. (Remember the last guy Google helped me weed out?)

I took my friend's advice and e-mailed YB a few minutes ago. He just replied. We'll see if he's as mature as he claims to be, and if that Twitter page belongs to him.

Does it help that his 24th birthday is just one month away? :-)

TALK BACK: Do you date younger men? Why or why not?

The End of a Very Intimate Relationship

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

The worst breakups are the ones you don't see coming.

You thought you found the right one. And after a long, hard search, it was like a dream when you finally found her. She was good looking, charming, funny. And she made you feel oh so comfortable, especially when you felt self conscious and exposed.

She knew you intimately. No question was a stupid question. No topic out of bounds.

You actually told her how many sexual partners you've had in your lifetime...the real number. She offered good advice and couldn't wait to share the moment when you finally had your first child.

That's right.

I'm pissed and hurt right now.

My gynecologist up and left the practice.

She didn't say a word. Didn't leave a note or a text...She didn't even have an office minion email me the devastating news. She's just gone.

And I would have never known, save for a call I made to refill my prescription because my drug insurance company all but put a gun to my head to participate in their drugs by mail program.

Receptionist: "Dr. Wonderful -- Oh I'm sorry, she's not with us anymore. She left in November. Ohhhh, I guess she didn't tell all of her patients. But we have nine other doctors in the practice and we'd love to continue to have you as a patient."

So now, dejected, I guess I'm back to square one. It really is a lovely practice, but the others... they just aren't like her.

She was like if Claire Huxtable was a gynecologist. It seemed like she had it all (including the super handsome husband and brace-faced, yet still gorgeous daughter prominently displayed in herfung-sui styled office). It's almost embarrassing to say, but I felt like a high school girl who wanted her to be my mentor. She just seemed really fierce. Shewasn't condescending. She didn't make assumptions.

She also understood the value of the good, healthy choices I've made in my life and being another woman of color, she celebrated the fact that I had it together and genuinely wanted me to continue to keep it that way. She made what is usually those 10 uncomfortable minutes bemoaned by all women bearable, just chatting away as if we were girlfriends. It just won't be the same. So back into the wilderness to find the right person to, well, probe my wilderness.

Wish me luck. I've decided to wear black panties for a week in mourning.

TALK BACK: Have you ever had to say goodbye to a great gynecologist? Did you ever find one you liked just as much? Or did you have to settle?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When Neighbors Try to Holla

Dating a neighbor can be convenient or disastrous, depending on how you look at it. I know people for whom it's worked out just fine. But after one bad experience dating a past neighbor who'd miraculously appear outside when I'd go to my car and would leave me messages saying he knew I was home because my bedroom or bathroom lights were on and he was a stalker (#FAIL), I'm not eager to try it again. Still, that doesn't keep the fellas from trying.

Enter the two back-to-back blizzards the DC area had in one week this month, which meant lots of time digging out outside--and seeing neighbors I've never seen before.

First up was Snow Angel, the guy who always cleans off my car when it snows. He asked me out to dinner last week. I declined. He's cool and nice but I'm not really attracted to him, plus he lives too damn close for comfort. The second guy who tried to talk to me last week lives nearby but not in my building, but I wasn't interested in him, either. He was a little creepy.

And the third guy--well, he just really, really, really seemed to like himself, and that was a turnoff. He started the conversation by telling me all about his job (I didn't ask about it, he just told me and didn't ask me about my own career). He has a high-profile government job, according to him, in addition to his night gig throwing parties with friends. He travels all over the world, he said. He made it seem as though he has it all together. But soon I realized that, at thirtysomething, he lives in a small two-bedroom condo with his mom and brother, which made me wonder if he's just frontin'. I'm always suspicious of people who brag anyway -- They're usually hiding something.

The final nail in this guy's coffin was when I asked him to walk me down the street to my car (where I'd moved it while our parking lot was plowed) because it was getting dark and I didn't want to walk alone. His response? "No, I'm not walking down there." Needless to say, that was the end of our conversation. Snow Angel ended up walking me to my car instead, which was the gentlemanly thing to do, after all. 

Anyway, I had to laugh at how forward my neighbors got with all of the snow on the ground. All three admitted they've seen me coming and going before, but none ever approached me in the past--and I don't recall seeing or meeting any of them before this winter. Why did they all of the sudden get comfortable enough to ask me out, just because I was outside with a shovel in my hands?

TALK BACK: Would you date a neighbor? Why or why not?

Friday, February 5, 2010

No, You Can't Get My Phone Number

When a guy asks for your number, you're either happy or you feel incredibly awkward. If it's a guy you are really interested in getting to know, you might be eager to talk to him again.

But here is a word of caution: Once a guy has your number, you can't take it back--and you might want to.

Trust me, I know because stalkers/crazy people seem to like me.

But is there ever an easy way to convince a dude that you like him but not enough for him to get your digits? ("Can I have your number instead?") I honestly don't have the answer. I guess you could set up a voicemail number or get a second cellphone number just for the purpose of giving it to guys you're not so sure about. But then you also have to be sure you don't call the guy from your "real" number until you're ready for him to have it. And that can be tricky, to say the least.

I learned this lesson the hard way a while back. I met a guy who seemed cool--We'll call him Certifiable Loser (CL). CL is not the cutest guy around but he seemed nice, had a decent job, didn't seem crazy (at least not at first). So we exchanged numbers. Then came warning sign No. 1: He called and insisted on talking with me my entire drive home. I guess some women might see that as attentive and cute, but I'd just spent 20 minutes talking with him in person and I thought it was a bit over eager.

Still, I gave CL a couple more phone conversations before I decided I wasn't interested, and I slowly stopped returning his phone calls. (We never even went on a date.) Then I started getting calls from blocked numbers. At first the calls came during the day. Then they happened sometimes in the middle of the night. If I answered, the person wouldn't say anything--he'd just listen to me breathe.

Along the way, CL somehow found me on MySpace--back when people still actually used MySpace. And he started messaging me there. I ignored him.

Next, the blocked calls to my cellphone became more frequent. This went on for months, I tell you, MONTHS. Ugh.

And soon, the person started putting in "187" as the number to page me.

Yes, I said 187. Remember that? As in "187, with my gat in your mouth, fool"--the police code for murder. So now the dude was not only stalking me by phone, but he was threatening to kill me?! WTF.

I called my cellphone company. They said I had to go to the police in order to have them subpoena my phone records to hopefully figure out the source of the unblocked calls and 187 pages.

That's when I found out that whoever did this--and my money is on CL--was spoofing their number so that even when the police traced the blocked calls, it only traced back to a fake number that couldn't be further tracked. My only option to stop getting harassed was to change my number.

So I did just that and gave it to everyone except for CL.

And whaddoyaknow, the calls mysteriously stopped. CL had no choice except to leave me alone. He didn't know anything else about me except for my phone number and what I looked like. Problem solved. Thank goodness.

The female cop handling my case said I should never give my number to new dudes I meet. But even after this wacky experience with CL, I still give my number out occasionally, depending on (A) how long I've gotten to talk to the dude in person to assess his potential level of crazy/stalkerness, and (B) if I feel comfortable enough to give him the digits.

That said, it's not an exact science. Hell, I'm still dodging calls and texts from Blast From Past. (In fact, BFP just texted me to tell me he noticed I just became a fan of a company on Facebook and he has a meeting with that company next week...Me [thinking, as I delete him as a fb friend]: Um, dude, I've been ignoring you for days. Why are you fb stalking me?! SMH.) Sigh.

TALK BACK: Do you feel comfortable giving your phone number out to new guys you meet? Why or why not?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weeding Out Potential Stalkers

Have you ever had a guy seem like he was cool at first--attentive, good job, nice home and car--and then you find out he's... well... a little crazy? That the attentiveness actually has turned into stalkerlike behavior?

I guess we all have our preferences. Some women (I suppose--because otherwise why would some men do this? Someone must like it) must prefer a guy who calls and texts them literally all day long (by this I mean hardly a 15-30 minute interval goes by without you hearing from him) because he wants to "stay in touch."

But me, you know, I have a job. One that requires that I concentrate. I do spend time during my workday catching up with family or friends, but I cannot spend all day talking, texting and instant messaging. I just can't. What I prefer is a guy who stays in touch by contacting me periodically--no set timeframes.

I don't want to feel like a guy is texting/calling/IMing solely because he's a control freak who wants to know my movements every step of the day. That's a little scary...and um, to me signals the potential for trouble down the line.

Enter Blast From Past (BFP), a guy who I went out with about five years ago; I think we went on two, maybe three, dates. Then--for a reason I no longer recall--I cut him off. We reconnected through Facebook recently, and I was reminded pretty quickly why I must've gotten rid of him in the first place.

I gave him my number. First Big Mistake. I called him that night, as I promised him online that I would. Mind you, I was under the weather, and soon after I left him a voicemail, I laid down to rest because I was feeling worse. Well, soon my phone starting going off. BFP called twice, left a voicemail and then texted me three times, all within the next hour or two.

The next morning, he texted me again--before I'd returned any of his previous messages.

I knew I had a problem...and I was already feeling smothered, and we hadn't even had a real conversation yet. So I was direct. I texted him to let him know that there is no need to blow my phone up if he's already left a message. When I get the message, I told him, I *will* maybe if I decide he's not a stalker get back to him.

He said okay, acted like he understood.

But soon I realized, as we talked on instant messager while at work one day, that he doesn't really get it. He IMs me ALL DAY LONG. And I mean all day. To the point where I no longer sign into IM, just so that I can be productive and dodge him. And guess what happened yesterday--the first day I didn't sign into IM? He started texting me on my cellphone. And I was busy...with work. Too busy to do the let's-talk-literally-all-day-long thing again. Nevermind that it's exhausting.

Four unanswered text messages, a phone call and a voicemail later (all received yesterday while I was at work and in the evening), I think maybe he got the point.

I think. Only time will tell because I'm never calling him again.

BFP also made no secret that he was keeping tabs on my Facebook page. When I joined a fan page for a local TV station, he texted just a few minutes later to say something about that particular station. When I posted a status update about wanting a cupcake, he messaged me about that, too. It was a little creepy. No worries, though, he's on "limited profile" now. So no more cyber least not through Facebook.

I should've known this would only go downhill when BFP made a point of telling me he's "not crazy" during our first phone conversation after we reconnected--something he said totally unprompted. I think it's odd for someone to volunteer that they're not crazy. Did I say you were crazy? Clearly, almost certainly maybe he's been accused of being crazy or stalkerish in the past. And that's probably not far from the truth.

TALK BACK: Do you have a breaking point where a guy--who may think he's showing 'interest'--is actually scaring you because he seems like a potential stalker? What warning signs signal a potential stalker for you?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why a Woman's Weave is None of Your Business

I wear a weave and I'm proud of it, dammit.

Well, actually I wear braids -- a style called tree braids that looks kinda like a weave because the braids are hidden.

No matter, posts like this one from a blog I read regularly annoy me. So does anyone who looks down on women who wear weaves.

Why? Because an outsider has absolutely no idea why a woman might choose to wear a weave. It's not always just a fashion thing, trust me.

I have various minor health problems. And somewhere along the line, my hair--already soft and fine--seemed to start growing more slowly in certain places. I don't know if it was the medications, relaxers, or what, that caused this problem. I just know that my hair is always longer on top and in the back than on the sides, and even though it's long enough to pull back in a ponytail, it's hard to find a style I can wear sans weave that doesn't look foolish.

So I embraced weaves. And braids. In short, I embraced what I feel looks good on me. I don't really care if certain people have an issue with it. It's not about them.

I know that my natural hair--now relaxer free and protected from daily styling because it's hidden and cornrowed--has its best shot at growing out in a healthy way as it's currently styled.

My advice for anyone--male or female--who feels you have a right to judge someone who wears a weave is to please consider this: You can never know another person's motivation. From cancer to arthritis treatments to a bad perm or coloring to simply being cursed with hair that just won't grow, there are plenty of reasons why a woman might choose to wear full or partial weaves or braids. You have a right to your personal preferences, yes, but broad generalizations about women who wear weaves are silly and usually false.

If you've been blessed with a head of healthy hair and you're happy with it and weave free, good for you. We're happy for you and trust me, we wish we could say the same.

Oh, but please don't consider this post a defense of bad weaves. It's not. I don't condone that at all. So, my fellow weave wearers, I just ask one thing: Keep it looking good ... because over-the-top, extreme, down-to-your-butt weaves are not cute, and overgrown braids or bad or poorly maintained weaves are NOT cool, so please do it right or not at all. :-)

He's Dating Her?! Hating On Your Ex's New Girl

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

I think there is something genetically inherent in all women that makes them believe they are smarter, more attractive, and just all around better than their ex's new woman.

You might be over the guy and have moved on, but sometimes it is just downright entertaining and indulgent to pick the new girl apart. The most necessary ingredient to do this effectively is to do it with your friends, who will wholeheartedly co-sign that you are indeed, smarter, attractive and just all around better than the new chick.

Even if Rhianna scooped up your romantic leftovers and is grinning ear-to-ear, best believe you and your girls will say despite her fame and beauty and fortune... "she let a man beat her bloody before she left. Then she went back and left again! Girl... you waaaaay smarter than that."

Sometimes you actually meet Ms. New in person (Which usually gives you the most and best ammo -- You can hear she has a lisp. You can see that's not her real hair or real hair color and that she needs a manicure. You may even find out if you have more education or a better job than her. And wait, is that a moustache???

Sometimes you see a photo (thanks to online social networking).

Sometimes your social circles are so small that mutual friends meet her or find out enough about her to give you the scoop, and now you've got enough evidence to let the dissection begin. You've probably even made up stuff about the girl off of what you've seen and heard to further solidify just how fabulous you are in comparison and just how low your former man has sunk when it comes to selecting quality women. And it's funny. Why? Because it means you're better than both of them! It's catty. Yes. It's not really classy at all, and yet even the nicest, most put together women still do it anyway because it feels so good.

We've all done it, myself included. Even as a grown woman, I've made jokes about my high school ex who is now nearly 30, still trying to get his rap career off the ground from his mother's basement and "going back to finish school next semester." He also has a propensity for dating 19-year-old girls. Yes, sadly enough, I've seen pics of him at the girl's prom and YouTube videos of her dancing provocatively to reggae. LMAO.

OK, now that I think about it, I've got so much dirt to clown him, it's almost heartless for me to go in on a young woman still trying to find herself, so she gets a reprieve. I've already won, even on my worst day! Tasteless to compare myself to a 19-year-old video ho wannabe--no contest. Guilty as charged. But oh well. It's good fodder over drinks and fondue with my girls.

But really. Is the new woman really that ugly? That unsuccessful? The most interesting aspect of all in this picking we do is everything is surface. We can never really know the girl, or how well she actually does compliment your ex behind closed doors. The new chick may not be as attractive as you, but she could be a sweet girl. Maybe she dances like a ho on the internet, but cooks like a dream and reads to children in the cancer ward of the hospital. You never know. And hell, you don't want to know that stuff because you want to talk crap about her, because you want to talk crap about your ex. That's really what it boils down to.

But you see my point? I just can't help it! Face it, neither can you. It's genetic, and it's honestly a victimless crime. You mend your ego, have some good laughs while everyone, including you, your ex, his new woman and hopefully your new, better man drive off into the sunset.

It makes me wonder, though, just how spot on our obviously biased assessments are of the new chick. Are her teeth really that crooked? Is she even that bowlegged? Because ironically enough, somewhere, some girl is looking at your Facebook page with her friends wondering what on earth your current boyfriend sees in you.

TALK BACK: Do you compare yourself to your ex's new woman/women and always feel he traded down? And if you're making these comparisons, is it still fair to say that you're over the guy?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is Sleeping Over a Dating Requirement?

It's an unspoken rule. If you're dating someone and especially if you have sex with that person, he or she should spend the night.

Or at least I thought it was an unspoken rule. But now I'm not so sure. Apparently, some people are just "weird." So for instance, if a man is interested in a woman, he may still prefer to sleep in his own bed, even if he's spent most of the day/evening with the woman. He may invest lots of time with her, spending hours talking, going out on dates, just kicking it--but he's not going to sleep over. That doesn't mean that the woman can't stay over at his house, however. That's fine. He's just not comfortable sleeping at anyone else's house.

I didn't know these strange people existed. So I recently surveyed a friend and two close relatives--all women. I asked them, is it just me, or is it a big problem if a man you're dating won't sleep over--especially if you're having sex? They agreed. It's totally unacceptable. And I was right there with them.

That is, until I talked to a male friend, who is engaged and says he doesn't even like sleeping over at his fiancee's house sometimes.

He'd just rather sleep in his own bed, he said.

Really?! But his fiancee is accepting of that, he says, and it works for them.

TALK BACK: Do you go through an adjustment period before you're comfortable sleeping over at the home of someone you're dating? If so, how long does it usually take for you to feel comfortable?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is It OK to Take a Doggie Bag Home From a Date?

You're on a date, and the food is delicious--so good, in fact, that you really don't want to leave any of it behind. Would it be tacky to ask for a doggie bag?

The ladies on Let's Talk About Pep debated this on Monday's episode. Pepa's friend Kittie said the food was so good on her date with the Toe Sucker that she took some home.

OMG, that's tacky--was pretty much how her girls reacted when they heard what she'd done. But the food was soooo good, she responded, so she just couldn't leave it behind.

A FabFem reader said on this blog's Facebook fan page that this conversation was the most memorable tidbit she took from the show. Is it really tacky to take leftovers home from a date, she asked?

I guess my answer is conditional: Is it the first date? The second? Or the 25th or 50th date? My rule of thumb is that if I'm just starting to date a guy, hell no, I'm not taking a doggie bag home. Heck, I make sure I leave some food on the plate so he doesn't think I'm greedy and have never had a good meal before. But if he's my man or damn near it and I really want to have some for lunch or dinner the next day, I would be OK with taking leftovers home. I don't think leaving the impression of tackiness is such an issue if you've been dating for months or years.

At least one columnist agrees. In the column, Table Manners, the writer suggests not taking a doggie bag home for at least the first three dates. It could leave a bad impression, she says, and it could even impede your date's ability to lean in for a kiss if the box or bag is blocking his way. (On the flip side, once you've snagged the man, our First Lady shows it's acceptable to take leftovers home. She was photographed on Valentine's Day last year carrying a bag home from her date with the President.)

Then there is the I-Don't-Care-Because-I'll-Never-See-This-Loser-Again-Anyway category. For me, that's Cutie With Attitude, who I've known for going on two years (and who I'll probably never see again after this incident). We went out to dinner two weeks ago, and I took leftovers home with me. But that was more to spite him since he made a point of telling me how much he hates my dog ... and he felt himself up at the dinner table (!). I took the steak leftovers home for my dog to eat, not me (and boy, did he love it).

TALK BACK: Is it OK to take a doggie bag home from a date? Does your rule of thumb depend on how long you've been dating--i.e. whether it's the first date or the 50th date?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Annual Cellphone Cleanout: New Year, Fresh Start?

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

We're barely two weeks into 2010, and it seems everyone is cleaning house and getting rid of dead weight. Folks are reevaluating what's important and trying to figure out how to make their lives better than it was last year. I think that's a great idea.

It's a clean slate. Even in the dating world, it appears that folks are "cleaning" out their cellphones, figuring out which folks to leave behind in '09 and which folks might have potential to go the distance in the new year.

Apparently a dude I met literally a year ago was doing the annual cellphone cleanout this past weekend. And apparently, I managed to escape the ditch pile and ended up in the unfortunate group of let's try again. We'll call this guy High Ass Hairline (HAH) because frankly, that's what I put in my phone when we exchanged numbers at a gas station during a time when I had low self esteem and already one terrible date under my belt after a difficult breakup. (The bad date involved my date getting into a fistfight in the parking lot and me driving away, past the brawl in disgust.)

Anyway, it was 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning when HAH called. I was sleeping in after traveling the night before. I answered and heard a male voice on the other end asking if I know who it is. I say no, he tells me his name and that we met a year ago at the gas station. So he's trying to ask me how I'm doing and make small 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. And I stop him in his tracks. I basically say that after a year, he doesn't really need to call me, and that I'm not interested in having any kind of conversation with him ... and that I have a man.

Dude goes into a tirade, which includes, "I know I didn't need to call you but I did. And all you had to say was you had a man. I'm a grown ass man. I don't know how old you are, but I can take it."

Because I love y'all, and needed blog material, I decided to dig deeper and ask him why after all this time, if we haven't spoken, would he call me now?

He said that he had been overseas, and that he also figured that if he wasn't the right man for me back then, who knows? He could have all of the qualities I need now. He called me "negative" and asked me if I ever read the book, The Secret, said that if I hadn't, I should read it. During his tirade, he told me that I should be flattered he contacted me after all this time and that I was still on his mind like that. I told him I wasn't mad and humored him, saying that I appreciated the fact that I had stayed on his mind for so long even after ignoring him. I said happy new year and bid him adieu. I honestly believe HAH thought I forgot about him, and that he could reinvent himself. Especially if he thought after time passed that he could be what I "needed" LMAO!

BACKGROUND: High Ass Hairline drove a sports car, was a peewee football coach, had a good government gig and had no kids. He bragged about himself and his home often. So much so that he always wanted me to come over. I didn't want a first date at someone's house and told him I was uncomfortable. He gave the excuse of me being immature, assuming he wanted sex from me. When he asked me to come over a second time, he was on his way home from work. I told him since he was already out, why don't we meet for a drink? To which he replied, "I had a rough day, I'd rather chill at home with you." To which I replied, "If your day was that rough, you are ill prepared for company. Hit me up when you are ready to go on a public date."  After that shutdown, I just kept ignoring his calls until he faded out a month or so later.

TALK BACK: Have you cleansed your phone of undesirable suitors in honor of the new year? Are you trying to go after missed opportunities in the new year? And are folks calling you now that the new year has rolled in?