Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Can You Tell If He's Courting You?

Young Man with Bouquet

Last week I posted my interview with Don't Bring Home A White Boy author Karyn Langhorne Folan. We had a nice, long interview. One thing that came up was courting. Folan shares in her book that she wasn't sure her husband Kevin was into her when they first started dating. Kevin drove 30 miles every weekend to see Karyn, took her to pricey restaurants, paid for everything and was great company. Usually the dates ended with a nice hug, maybe a handshake. No, kissy, touchy or feely was going on. We're not talking the 1960s but just six years ago. Race aside, Karyn, like many of women, was used to guys feeling entitled to the VIP bedroom pass because they spent money on her. Yep. Some men equate movie tickets and dinner with getting the panties. I went on one date with a guy who thought a glass of wine and a few appetizers meant sexual healing was on the way. Well, it dawned on Karyn that she was being courted. Here's what she told me in our interview: READ MORE

"It’s weird that so many of us black women don’t know what it feels like to be courted and have someone be a complete gentleman and expect nothing. No more than to give us a kiss on the cheek and hold a hand in public. I was 40-something and I have never been courted. It’s sad that I thought, “well he must not like me” because he was being gentleman and that was all. I was confused and that’s sad. It says something about what we’ve been willing to accept from men and it says some about just how overly sexualized a lot of relationships are too early. What I think was going through my head that time was, “He’s not putting the moves on me. He must not like me. Let me find out whether he likes me or not.” It’s kind of sad that being a gentleman is misread. "

I agree with Karyn and her comment applies to women of all races today. I'm not sure if a lot of us have been courted. Especially in this post-Sex and the City era where women are more open to sexual freedom than ever before. But has it come at a price? Do men think they don't have to work as hard to get a woman because more of us are openly exerting our sexuality? Even in the animal kingdom the male species has to work for it. I watched a documentary about dinosaur mating on the Discovery Channel a few weeks ago (don't judge me). Scientists think that male T-Rexes would fight to the death to mate with a female. The female "got it on" with the victor. I understand we're not dinosaurs. Times have changed for women. More women are doing it on the first date without shame and enjoying sexcapades. Some of us have freed our inner-Samantha, Lil' Kim and Nick Minaj. I'm not saying women unshackling society's sex restraints is a bad thing. But something has happened in the dating jungle world where a guy gets points for the minimum. Like not bringing up sex on the first date. No wonder, as Karyn said, "being a gentleman is misread."

I've been hearing from friends back East about the crazy dating scene in New York. Apparently the male/female ratio for all people in New York City is so much in the male's favor that a lot of guys are expecting it on the first and second date. The NYC bachelor doesn't have to work as hard because he knows he can pass third base on the first date. The completion among women is that fierce. What about the teen girls who mainly communicate with their boyfriends via text messages or think a guy likes them just based on a flirty text message. How can you thoroughly read a guy through a text message? Whew! I wonder what these girls' expectations of men will be once they become women. And what's up with adult guys asking women out for first dates over text message?! What happened to picking up the phone and having a conversation? Remember that word? C-O-N-V-E-R-S-A-T-I-O-N. It's not just the teens. Some of us grown women accept the mediocre because that's all we know. Or we think that's the best we can do.

I was in the same situation as Karyn. I remember dating someone who didn't kiss me, try to put his arm around me or anything for at least four dates or so. But we always had fun. He took me out, paid for everything and didn't bring up sex. I couldn't tell if he was into me. My aunt schooled me, "Girl, he's being a gentleman. Just enjoy it." Light bulb moment: I was being courted. There are still gentlemen out there. And you know what? Getting to know someone slowly felt refreshing. Sure, raging lust can be fun too. But there's something special about really taking the time to learn, the person. Karyn quotes her mother in her book who says, "Real love is a 'quiet thing.'" And like Mary J. Blige sang, "I'm searching for a real love..."

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  1. Thanks! This really does help me set a whole new standard on what I should be expecting from the men in my life.


  2. This is a really good post. We as women set the standard of what we will and will not accept and we need to stop accepting the bare minimum. This comment says it all "Some of us grown women accept the mediocre because that's all we know." What we don't realize though is that when you make it too easy they still lose interest- so save your time...and your body.

    And I find texting infuriating! It's lazy. I won't accept dates via text message or as a means of first communication. If you're already on the phone, why not just call me, LOL! It's way too impersonal.

    Ok, enough ranting from me :-)

  3. @ Christina Thanks for stopping by Christina. Glad my post inspired you. It's nothing wrong with wanting someone to be good to you. Good luck with love!

    @ Zabeth--Thanks for your comment. Glad you like the post. I like you're quote, "Save your time and your body." And I read your post about guys' over use of text messaging. I was yelling Amen from my computer after I read it. LOL

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  5. Yeah, I dated a guy who refused to touch me and thought something was wrong with me but he was just trying to be more respectable. I didn't have a problem with that till he started stalking me 24/7. It's refreshing to have a guy actually want to do things for you and not want anythign in return but you and not necessarily the physical you.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  6. @ Vijay--Thank you

    @ Tiffany--Oh no! He was a gentleman at first then he turned into a bug-a-boo? You never what kind of fish you're gonna catch when you drop your line in the water.

    I agree it is nice to have someone want to get to know you because I've been on dates with horn dogs and it's not the same.

  7. i liked this post! i was screaming 'yes!' throughout the whole read. courting! - alot of men don't know what that is. until you court me - you def won't get to know me...and conversation! yes, texts are extremely lazy. in all that time to text, you could have picked up the phone and asked me out! alrighty i'm done. well written =)
    p.s- the guy in the post's photo is a cutie!

  8. Thanks Cami! And preach about the text messaging. I never thought about how you say in the time it takes to type a text you could hit the number on speed dial and get in contact with a woman. I think I'm going to do a part 2 on this courting and interview gentlemen because I still have questions myself.

    Yes the model is yummy isn't he? :)


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