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?