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I Made Eye Contact With Random Men For 7 Days And This Is What Happened

Sounds simple, right? Well, not for me.

I Tried It

I've been saying for years that I am ready for a relationship but after listening to an episode on xoNecole's Happy Hour Podcast called "I Met my Husband in an Uber Pool", I had to be completely honest with myself and admit that my behavior would suggest otherwise. In this episode, xoNecole founder Necole Kane talked about how she had to check herself and her energy. She realized that she was not giving off energy that said she was open to meeting someone. Instead she was constantly looking at her phone and often had her headphones on, all of which show that she is closed off and not interested in meeting anyone. Necole then challenged herself and her listeners to do the following:

For 7 days, whenever you encounter somone of the opposite sex, you must make eye contact, smile, and say "hi".

Sounds simple, right? Well, not for me. But that is exactly why I chose to participate in the challenge. I'm going to be moving to a new city in a couple of weeks and figured that this would be good practice for me, so I did it. Here's what happened:

Monday

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On the first day of the challenge, I had to work at a clinic for a few hours and encountered only women while there. But after I left the clinic, I stopped by the mall to get lunch and figured that was a great place to start the challenge. I was smiling and saying "hi" to every man I crossed paths with in that mall. Young, old, black, and white. What I immediately noticed was that everyone regardless of race or age spoke back and they spoke back with a smile. I also noticed that everyone seemed pleasantly surprised that I spoke to them first.

Now, I don't mean that in an arrogant way but I think it's because it's uncommon for women to speak first and they were actually genuinely surprised. What I also noticed on that first day was how out of my comfort zone I felt. I honestly felt awkward which is crazy because I speak to women that I don't know all of the time. I am the chick that stays complimenting women on their shoes, hair, outfits, bags, and eyebrows. But initiating any sort of contact with someone of the opposite sex was not natural for me and I had to keep reminding myself to do it throughout the day.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, I had to travel to San Antonio, Texas and, later, Washington, DC for work. I immediately regretted starting the challenge. Do y'all know how many men are at airports? Traveling for work also meant hotels, restaurants, and Ubers. I started to abort mission and postpone the challenge on a less busy week, but that's why it's called a challenge right? It's not supposed to be easy. So, I pushed through. As I walked through the airport, I made eye contact, smiled, and said "hi" to every man that I came in contact with. Again, I was greeted with smiles and they all spoke back. I even struck up a conversation with a guy at a store I stopped in. Homeboy looked like he was about two seconds from asking for my hand in marriage. Also, I encountered a very attractive black man and I smiled and spoke to him as well. He spoke back before heading into the restroom.

When he came out, he sat across from me and every time I looked up, he was looking at me. I smiled again and he smiled back. I immediately checked his left hand for a ring and didn't see one.

Of course, at that moment, I had to pee really bad. *insert eye roll* I went to the restroom and when I came back, I noticed that he was talking to a group of people (co-workers, I'm assuming). Y'all tell me why this mug slid a wedding ring out of his pants pocket and back on that left ring finger? This joker also had the nerve to be wearing a W.W.J.D (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet. I'll tell you what Jesus would not do sir...he would not be taking his wedding ring off at the airport. Anyway, after I landed in San Antonio I talked to my Uber driver that took me to my hotel and also the Uber driver that took me to the restaurant where I had dinner. Usually, I wear headphones in Ubers to discourage conversation but I actually had a great conversation with both drivers. One was an older man. He was a retired Vet and he was so sweet. The other Uber driver was FINE, y'all. He was really nice and gave me some restaurant suggestions after I told him that I would be coming there on a regular basis.

Wednesday

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On Wednesday, I worked all day in a clinic in San Antonio so, for the most part of the day, I didn't really encounter any men. From San Antonio, I had to fly to DC and my Uber driver was male. I initiated conversation with him and we had a dope conversation. We talked about choosing to see the positive in the world instead of focusing on the negative. He also said I looked 25 and not 37, so shout out to him. When I got to the airport in San Antonio, I spoke to this guy who looked to be in his twenties. He didn't speak back but made the "ooh you fine" noise. I encountered a lot of white men in the airport and what I noticed was that they were pleasantly surprised that I initiated conversation with them. Some of them gave me "the look". You know the look.

One guy in the San Antonio airport told me that I was a very beautiful woman after I said "hi" to him. The Uber driver that took me to my hotel in DC was a man but he was musty, so I couldn't talk to him. I was too focused on not throwing up in the car, so yeah...sorry Necole. What I found interesting was that a lot of men actually averted eye contact before I could even say "hi" or smile. It made me think of conversations I have had with some of my male friends. They said that approaching or initiating contact with a woman is very intimidating for a lot of men because of fear of rejection.

Thursday

On Thursday, I worked at Georgetown University hospital in DC. I encountered some very attractive doctors who all smiled and spoke back. I will have to work there every couple of months, so I will keep y'all posted on that. I wouldn't be mad if my husband had MD behind his name. I was eventually joined by a sponsor representative that I work with which meant I had to tone down some of my grinning and speaking so that I could talk to him because...you know...work.

Weekend 

My weekend was pretty chill so I didn't come into contact with a lot of men. I worked from home all day on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were spent packing for my upcoming move.

My Thoughts

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As I'm writing this, it's Monday, the start of a new week and the challenge is officially complete. Thinking back, it was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I'm not sure why I thought it would be scary in the first place. It did take me out of my comfort zone but, after a couple of days, it started to become a habit. I realized that just like I do with my 9-5 job, and just like I do with my blog, I have to put myself out there if I want certain results. As a result of participating in the challenge, I am more mindful of the energy I put out as it relates to the opposite sex. I was also reminded that men fear rejection just like we do and if you seem a little more welcoming, they just may shoot their shot. I am glad I participated in the challenge and definitely plan to make this a habit. Thanks Necole! Be on the lookout for your wedding invitation!

Are you up for the challenge? Let us know how keeping your eye contact game strong has been affecting your love life in the comments down below.

If you haven't already, give the xoNecole Happy Hour Podcast episode "I Met My Husband In An UberPOOL" by clicking here.

Featured image by Giphy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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