This Is What You Can Get Out Of A BAD Date
Believe you me, I've had my share of dates that were, let's just say, less than impressive. But I always try my best to give credit where credit's due and when it comes to what inspired this lil' write-up, it was an article that I happened upon entitled "29 Women Reveal Their Absolute Worst First Date Stories".
MAN. One woman said she went on a first date with a guy who gave her a heads up that $10 was her limit on the menu. Another woman said that her date brought a friend who was 1) dressed up like Michael Jackson and 2) decided to do a concert for people as they waited in the ER (right…the date ended in the emergency room). Another woman said that she experienced one of the worst kisses ever while trying to tell her date about her mom being in the hospital (awk-ward). Still, another woman talked about how a dude spent the entire date reminiscing about his exes—how he lived with all of them and when they broke up, he had to go back to live with his mom. Then he proceeded to ask her about the size of her own place (SMH…this guy).
But the one that probably inspired this piece the most is the lady who went out with a guy who stole gas (she knew because he pulled up to her house with the hose still attached to his car's tank). Yeah, that sucks but, guess what? She's been married to him for 22 years now (just wow)!
Although dating—let alone marrying—someone who does a criminal act is a bit of a red flag for me personally, it does co-sign on something I do personally believe. No matter how much a date sucks, that doesn't mean that it can't come with its own silver lining or two.
Before you roll your eyes and click off of this, give me about five minutes (give or take) to explain where I'm coming from. Then think back on some of your own bad dates and see if you can pull some actual benefits out of them. Perhaps ones like the following:
You Can Figure Out What “a Date” Is to You
Personally, I don't get down with that whole, "If you don't have any expectations, you won't be disappointed" mentality. I say that because the people I know who claim to live like that are actually some of the most jaded and cynical people I've ever encountered. At the same time, I do think that a lot of us find ourselves unnecessarily disillusioned because we assume that just because we think that something should go a certain way that everyone else has the same mentality.
Absolutely not. Recently, I watched a video of Savannah Chrisley talking about how chivalrous her new fiancé was to the point that, on her first date, he called her dad, Todd to say he would call him once he picked her up and again once he dropped her off. Savannah also said that she hasn't touched a door since they've met. Meanwhile, I know folks who stay in relationships with guys who've never paid for a date (at most, their guy will do Dutch) and hasn't done anything to write home to dad about.
Why do women put up with Column B? I think a part of the reason is they don't really think about what a date means to them—what standards they have. For instance, do you want to be picked up? Do you want him to plan the date himself? Do you always want him to pay?
A good thing that can come from going on bad dates is it can give you clarity on what you expect, moving forward. Like, if you want a man to go through the effort to plan the date and the next guy asks you out and says, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" -- you can already decide if he's worth two hours on a Saturday night. Or not. If you want chivalry to be in full effect but the guy doesn't open a single door, maybe there doesn't need to be a second date.
You’ll Learn How to Sense Red Flags Quicker
They say that hindsight is 20/20, but just think about all of the time, effort and energy (not to mention all of the blood, sweat and tears) that could be spared if we learned how to recognize red flags in someone out the gate.
Some first date red flags—a man who shows up late (he doesn't value your time); a man who flirts with your server (he's disrespectful); a man who orders for you (unless he already knows what you like, he's too pushy); a man who checks his phone (he's flippant and distracted); a man who brings up sex too quickly (ugh…just ugh) and a man who's all talk and no listen (he's confrontational and probably a know- it-all).
Some after the first date red flags—he's an exaggerator (that's a step away from being a liar); he never really makes plans in advance (again, he doesn't value you as much as he should); he doesn't make good on his promises (he can't fully be trusted); he always makes the date/relationship decisions (he's inconsiderate and selfish) and you're doing most of the work to make the relationship work (he isn't all in).
If you experience any of these things on your date, it's uncomfortable and unfortunate, there's no doubt about that. But sometimes, seeing these kinds of flags spelled out in black and white can help you to realize how to detect them quicker…just in time for the next date, with the next man.
It Has a Way of Making You a Better Communicator
Sometimes dates are a dud, not because the guy isn't attractive or a gentleman; it's just that there doesn't seem to be much of a connection. Sometimes, that's because something within the communication is a bit off.
If you were to be honest with yourself, that might not have been all on him. It can be challenging to strike up conversations with someone that you barely know. If you totally feel where I'm coming from, it can't hurt to think about what you would do differently, communication-wise, on your next date. What would you like to know? What kind of questions would you ask? How would you approach awkward moments of radio silence?
Although it would be nice if all dates flowed seamlessly, this is not a rom-com, it's the real world. Sometimes there needs to be a plan of action, even as it relates to communication.
It Can Boost Your Confidence Levels
There are the kind of dates that, even as you're on them, you end up telling yourself that you probably won't go on a second one. Not because anything is wrong per se; it's more like something doesn't feel quite right. Then there are the kind of dates that makes you get up to call a ride before dessert is even served. Either the guy is rude to the rest of the staff or the stuff he says (or asks) you is totally inappropriate.
Column A sucks but Column B is much worse. There still is an upside, though. When a bad date happens and you decide that you deserve more (column A) or better (column B) and you make a conscious decision to not go on another date (column A) or continue the one that you're currently on (column B), the boundaries that you set can be super self-affirming. It can remind you to not settle for less, even when it comes to a two-hour outing.
It Can Also Make You More Empathetic and Compassionate
Suppose your date was a set up and 20 minutes into it, you think to yourself, "Yeeeeah, this isn't gonna work." Maybe you're not physically attracted to him. Maybe you don't feel a spark or any real chemistry. Maybe he's already said or did something that has automatically made you want to friend zone him. Before you text one of your girlfriends to call you so that you can cut your date short, now is the time to implement the Golden Rule. How would you feel if he abruptly left you in the middle of the date because there was no romantic connection?
Another good thing that can come out of a bad date is it can test your level of empathy (putting yourself in someone else's shoes) and compassion (wanting to relieve the suffering that someone may be experiencing). If you put these two things into practice, it will only benefit you in the long run because even when you do meet "the one", you're going to need to extend empathy and compassion to him in order for the relationship to go the distance. (Just ask any married person that you know.)
You Will Get a Better Sense of What You Want
One of my favorite dates of all-time consisted of going zip-lining in the morning and a four-star dinner in the evening. Everything was a total surprise. At the end of the all-day-date, I asked the guy how he came up with the idea. He said he wanted us to both do something we'd never done before together and, because some of our best memories consisted of being around food, he then wanted us to enjoy a new high-scale restaurant. The proactiveness, the thoughtfulness and the reasoning behind it all caused me to raise the bar of expectations when it comes to dates moving forward. No longer do I just want dinner and a movie, simply because I now know, firsthand, that men can be a lot more creative than that—when they want to be.
So, when another guy thought bringing fast food over to my house to watch On-Demand was the idea of a first date, his visit got cut short. His lack of investing into the date was like…a forecast into what our future would be like.
So yeah, to me, another benefit that can come from a sucky date is it can provide you with clarity regarding what you want from dates (and relationships), moving forward. #givethanks
It Can Make YOU a Better Date
Something that I think far too many of us overlook is, whether a date is good or bad, it can be a teachable moment. It can reveal to you what your expectations and triggers are. It can show you how good (or not so good) you are at engaging another individual. It can help you to discover the strengths that you have in dealing with others, along with your weaknesses.
Keeping all this in mind, if you take nothing else from this lil' write up, at least be willing to use your bad date experiences as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. If you do that—and I mean really do that—you significantly increase your chances of heading bad dates off before they even begin. Guaranteed.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo by Christopher Marrs
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
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Feature image by Christopher Marrs