One of the first people I met when I moved to Bed-Stuy last year was a man named Earl. At first glance, he could easily pass as my great-uncle.
He had smooth, dark skin as a result of what seemed like decades worth of drinking lemon water, he was well-dressed even in his Velour jumpsuit, and still had all his teeth... from what I could see. I had just completed my hour-and-a-half-long trek from the Bronx, and finally reached my stop in Brooklyn. That's when he spotted me, struggling to pull my two enormous suitcases up the station's staircase, and offered his assistance.
I'd be a fool to decline, so I obliged and let him take the one with the most weight.
My apartment was just a few blocks away, which left plenty of time for us to chat. He inquired about where I was from, what I did for a living, and what brought me to Bedford-Stuyvesant, his beloved 'hood. His assistance ended once we reached my apartment, I thanked him for *quite literally* saving my life and thought, How could I possibly repay him for the trouble?
He already had something in mind… "I would love to have you over for dinner." He continued, "I'm just an old man who would love your company and to cook for you sometime."
I'm not going to lie, I was a little taken aback by his offer. Not because I was weirded out or anything, but because it seemed like such a calculated gesture for two strangers who had only met six blocks ago. So I replied, "Sorry, I'm going to respectfully decline, but I truly appreciate your help."
As those words escaped my mouth, I could see the hope leave his eyes. And just like that, Earl was gone. Since then, I've had many other Earls, there was Mexican Earl, Wal-Mart Earl, Dreadhead Earl, and even Wheelchair Earl.
And they all had one thing in common: the potential to be my sugar daddy.
I have to say, if there's one thing that I can do right in this dating game is pull your grandfather. I never really knew what it was, but men ages 55-65 just love them some me. But don't get me wrong, I used to think something was wrong with me for attracting what seemed like only older men.
Did I look old? Did they think I was some kind of hag? What was I giving off that gave them to cue to holler at me?
With that, I did what I always do when I have a dilemma regarding men and my dating life: I asked my dad. Luckily, as a man in his early 50's, he was able to shed some light on the situation and told me the following: "These old guys keep approaching you because they see you as a quality woman."
Hold on. Hold. ON. You mean to tell me that all these old guys can see the quality woman that I am but no one in my age bracket can? I was floored.
Still, it made a lot of sense. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a quality woman. Through a series of premature relationships and failed dates, I learned that most of the guys that fell off the face of the earth did so after realizing that I was just too much for them and they weren't ready to take on the "challenge" of dating me.
I don't put up with a lot of foolishness. I'm 25, so I've been there and done all of that already. It's not that I'm a pill, high maintenance, or have all these outlandish standards that guys have to jump through hoops to achieve. In fact, I would argue that the bar has been lowered for guys of our generation, so when they meet a young woman who's not going to put up with their mediocrity, it turns them away like, "Oh, she's asking for too much," when in actuality, she's not.
Funny enough, I actually appreciate all of the guys who have removed themselves from the running of being My Next Man. Thanks to them, all parties have been saved the time and effort that would have been wasted on figuring out what we already knew: they would not make the cut.
So, if you're a young, single, poppin' woman with wife-able qualities, please, I beg of you, don't settle for second best just because the wait for "the one" seems like a hopeless cause.
You're over there focusing on your dreams, loving yourself, handling your business, and soon enough, the right guy is going see you.
Don't allow yourself to think that you need to bend and conform to the world's standards in order to increase your chances of being found. Sure, it might get you a little peace for the moment, but chances are, it won't be what you need in the long run.
Continue to be quality. Don't be low hanging fruit that just anyone can grab.
Continue to only invest your time in young men who you could see yourself with long-term, even if you feel like your patience is running thin or your time is running out.
It took the Earls in my life to teach me this. Let's take heed to their wisdom.
*Article originally published on aleyarion.com
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