Tuesday, April 08, 2008

For Better or Worse... in the Heart of the City

I'm not even going to preface this post with any apologies. There is no point. Suffice it to say that my slacking is at it's all-time high. It is what it is. I know I'm wrong and I'm making no excuses. To give you an idea of how bad the process is getting know this, usually it takes me about an hour to write a post. In my current state of mind, it took me two days to write this post! Not sure what that's about. Guess it's that "restless and turbulent mind" thing again. Anyway, what you have below is a total stream of consciousness. See what you can do to make sense of it... Good night and good luck. ;o)

Sunday night, bestie and I lucked up on tickets to the Heart of the City tour, starring the true BEST of both worlds, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige. Now, I have been to a LOT of concerts in my day – they are sort of bestie’s thang… she doesn’t miss a good one and I always tag along. So anyway, we came up on some tickets and they were nosebleed seats. Literally, I could’ve gotten a nosebleed because we were at the tippy-top of the Verizon Center here in D.C. I could’ve literally touched the ceiling since I was only one row away from the very top. I’ve been at concerts and games before and looked up at the people sitting all the way at the top and wondered why on earth they would’ve even bothered to attend the Wizards game or whatever concert if they had to sit all the way up there. But, even thought Jay and Mary looked like ants, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. No complaints here… other than the vertigo I experienced every time I looked down and the dizziness I felt as I was coming down the steps when the concert was over.

I was so tired on Sunday that I had pretty much decided I wouldn’t go to the concert. And I basically dragged myself to the concert with my eyes shut. But as soon as the first strains of “Real Love” started blaring from the speakers, I was on my feet and didn’t sit for the entire time after that.

At any rate, Mary J. was phenomenal! She tore it up! Her energy was awesome and she looks GREAT for her age. She’s been through a lot, but you can tell that she has finally shed all the dead weight and moved on with her life. I sang along to every single song that Mary sang. And let’s just say that her album will be the first album I’ve bought this year. I was moved by the lyrics of every song she sang off the new album. I had joked around saying that I wasn’t interested in the “happy” Mary because my main attraction to Mary in the past was the pain in her voice. When I was hurting, I could listen to her music and I felt like she understood what I was going through. And her music was like therapy to me. She and I moaned and wailed together over men who had done us wrong. Her voice reflected the pain I was feeling at the time. And no matter what, I knew I could count on her to be there when I was hurting.

When I heard her new stuff that was all about overcoming that hurt and getting out of the pain rather than wallowing in it, I didn’t readily accept it. I’m like, this “happy” Mary is for the birds. And, at first, I didn’t think it was believable. But then, I started feeling it. And I had to check myself and remind myself that me wanting Mary to be sad forever was extremely selfish and unfair. Besides, her emotions are immortalized in wax and will always be there for me to refer to.

But last night, Mary gave me what she needed. She may have forgiven those who caused her pain, but she hasn’t forgotten because that raw emotion is still in her voice. And, I must admit that I have never been a fan of Mary because of her talent, it’s really been about the feelings she stirs up in me. I never really thought she was a good vocalist, but last night she made me a believer. The woman can sing! She didn’t even lip sing one bit. AND she danced AND she ran across the stage. For a woman in her late 30s, she was doing the damn thing. She made me so proud! And she really just looked fantastic. I’m so happy for her! And she let’s me know that even though I’m almost 30 myself, there is still plenty of time for me to be fabulous. Thanks Mary!

And, oh boy, Jay… Jay just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He just has so much confidence and a lot of that difficult to interpret word – SWAGGER. His outfits were on point and I had so much fun rapping along to every verse. I knew the words to so many of his songs! I surprised myself. Although I heard that surprises popped up during concerts in other states – in Miami, Kanye and Timbaland made guest appearances and on Saturday night in North Carolina, Mary J. Blige basically confirmed the fact that Jay and Beyonce got married the night before. All we got was Memphis Bleek. Frigging Memphis Bleek! Jay is a loyal person. He just won’t let us forget us Memph no matter what! LOL! And believe me, without Jay’s support, he is utterly forgettable. And the whole while, I just kept looking at Jay standing there in his shades and his b-boy stance and all I could think was that Beyonce is a very, VERY lucky woman. And that brings me to the next subject:

Alright, so… according to my sources (although I cannot identify them by name, just know that they are reliable), Jay and Bey really did get married on Friday night. I can’t even express how happy I am for them. Congratulations to the happy couple! They are so amazing. She’s a triple threat (though she only does two things well), he’s a business mastermind and possibly one of the G.R.O.A.T. (greatest rappers of all time) – in my opinion. That is a match made in celebrity heaven. And based on the shelf-life of industry romances, their relationship has stood the test of time. Just think, they’re old pros. MANY people have come and gone during the course of their relationship. I believe they will last but only time will tell… I wish them all the best.

Someone that I know made an interesting observation. They said that getting married is the most positive trend that Jay has ever set. And, we can’t deny that the dude is a trendsetter. He decides to mention button-downs in one of his songs and all of a sudden throwbacks become yesterday’s news and every man in urban America traded in sportswear for oxford shirts. That was a great trend, but settling down with your girl and making an honest woman out of her is phenomenal! And thank God he has set that example. Now, hopefully, some of those same guys that look up to Jay for so many reasons, will then see that it’s ok to stop playing the field and find comfort in ONE person.

I have been thinking about this a lot mainly because the engaged dude is still around, believe it or not…

I won’t get into too much detail, because I think he reads my blog on the sly. But, for the record, I’m wondering why he is still coming at me on a daily basis even though he is getting married in seven months. Just yesterday, he told me that he and his girl had gone ring shopping. In the same breath he asked when I was going to go to dinner with him. Now, I just roll my eyes. And if he wasn’t so smart and funny and such a good listener, I would’ve just cut him off ages ago. But I like him as a friend and I have fought a successful battle to keep him straddling the friendship barrier. He’s got one leg hanging on the other side and all he’s doing is waiting for me to give him the signal so he can hop to the jumpoff side of the barrier and have his way with me.

At first his flirtatious ways were flattering and somewhat cute, but now they are just annoying as hell. I mean, we can’t have a conversation without him trying his hand with me. I am strong and, as I mentioned before, I respect relationships so, even though I don’t know his fiancée, she is always on my mind. I am constantly reminding him of her because he seems to forget that he is already taken. Or, at least the $10,000 ring his fiancée has been wearing for over a year suggests that he is already taken. But his heart – and certainly his d*ck – are still very much single.

A few weeks back he asks me whether I think he will change when he gets married. So I kept it one hundred with him and told him exactly what I think – NO, you will NOT change when you get married. Slipping a ring on a woman’s finger and then exchanging vows does not magically make you a monogamous person. As my father often says, “You have to practice like you play.” To make sense of the logic behind this saying, I’ll use a basketball analogy. You have a big game coming up in a few days. You plan to really kick the other team’s ass in the game. You’re gong to win – at least that is the plan. But while you’re preparing for it, you decide not to give your all in practice. You half-ass it, don’t put forth effort, don’t practice the game winning play. So, when game day arrives, you’re not properly conditioned and not ready to put your plan into practice. When it comes time for you to take the game-winning shot, you miss. If only you had focused in practice! You wouldn’t have messed up. You would’ve won. But you didn’t practice like you planned to play. And so now you’re a loser.

Well, Engaged is that lazy player that hasn’t been practicing AT ALL. So, when game-day comes (the wedding), he is gonna be rusty. I have no doubt that he will continue with his lazy old player-player ways. I am pretty sure that after the wedding this fall, he’ll be hitting on me and thinking of ways to lie to his then-wife regarding his whereabouts to make time for whatever girl has peaked his interest. He does that, you know? Sometimes, I entertain his advances long enough to find out what he’s planning to tell his fiancée about time he’s planning to spend with me. It’s always pretty creative stuff. And totally believable. If I were his fiancée, I would never suspect a thing. And that’s why I always make sure not to cross that line… because I have been here many, many, many times before.

The thought of it is sickening. He could get away with murder. And she would be none the wiser. While she is busy making plans for their wedding, thinking that she has finally snagged her Prince Charming, he is doing all types of wrong and disrespecting her in the wrost way. He says that he doesn’t want a relationship with anyone else, but he is interested in having sex with another woman. (As if the fact that he only wants sex somehow makes cheating more acceptable. It does NOT.) Mainly because, although he loves his girl and can’t imagine life without her, she doesn’t give him good sex. I argue that this a fundamental flaw and is probably something that won’t change after they are married. In fact, I’ve heard from more than one married person that in some cases sex gets exponentially more uninteresting once you become husband and wife. (I’m sure that scares the shit out of most single men.) So, imagine how boring sex must be if it already sucks before you even tie the knot. In my opinion, I think he is just settling. If you know that you are a sexual person with needs and desires that your partner can’t fulfill, then you are basically setting yourself up to fail from jump. You’re pretty much guaranteeing that you’re going to step out on your partner or at least consider it from time to time when he or she is unable to deliver.

While reflecting on this, I thought of another story that’s sort of along the same lines. My friend Billy is probably one of the sweetest guys I know. He lives in NYC and is good friends with my own personal Prince Charming (a post about him is coming later). I met Billy and P.C. on a trip to the beach in summer of 2004 (a very, VERY good year) and we’ve all be friends ever since. In June of 2006, I celebrated my birthday in NYC. Bestie setup a surprise dinner for me at a Cuban restaurant near the Meatpacking District and my NYC friends all came through and supported. We had a great time! Now, Karina and Billy kind of made a connection. I never would’ve imagined that they two of them would be remotely interested in each other (otherwise I would’ve introduced them sooner since Karina is a fab chick and Billy is an amazing guy). But as the night wore on it was clear that they were both smitten. I get a call from Karina a few days later to let me know that she and Billy had been kickin it. There was only one problem, she said. Billy had told her that he was still “friends” with his ex because she had gotten “sick” and he felt like she needed his support while she was going through her medical issues. This was a problem because Karina saw it for what it was – bullshit.

Now, I love Billy to death. And, truthfully, even though this was two plus years after I met him, I had never heard him speak of an “ex”. Although, according to the story he told Karina, he and the ex had only broken up in late 2005 and had been together for several years. Interesting how she had never come up in our conversations…

Anyway, Billy was explaining this to Karina in an effort to set her expectations low. Something along the lines of “now you know that this girl is still in my life, so don’t act funny when I talk about her or when you hear of her coming around.” He was making excuses for her presence before there was a need to really make up excuses. So, in an effort to get more information, I asked P.C. about Billy and his girl. P.C. says that, as far as he knows, (and he would know) they were still together and not broken up at all. Hmmm… ok, so by now, I am rushing to call Karina and give her the details of my conversation with P.C. But by the time she calls me back a few days later, they had already crossed the line from friendship to… something more. When I tell her, she’s not really surprised. Billy wasn’t all that suave and she pretty much saw through his story anyway. But she liked him and was disappointed that he had lied to her.

She called him, told him that she knew the truth and cut ties with him. I was proud of her for that. A few weeks later, Billy announces that he and his “sick” ex were tying the knot. He had proposed. They are set to be married later this month.

When I went to check Billy’s wedding webpage on Theknot.com, I noticed the little spiel that his fiancée gave about him. She really thinks she’s getting a prize. And maybe she is. For the most part, Billy is a decent guy. And I guess that’s what sorta scares me. By all accounts, he’s smart, ambitious, funny, respectful, romantic, and just an all-around nice guy. But even he fell prey to lying for the sake of getting into a woman’s drawers – while he was still in a relationship with the so-called “love of his life” (as said the wedding webpage… those things are hilarious!). Now, since he’s been engaged, has he still been involved in such debauchery? None that I know of. But he lives in NY, and I live in DC. He is not within eyesight or earshot of me, so I have no idea what he’s been up to. But, like I said, putting a ring on someone’s finger doesn’t magically transform you into a loyal man. You’ve got to want to change for the better in your heart and figure out when it’s appropriate for you to stop playing games. If Billy’s girl isn’t giving him what he needs, if she’s so lacking that he feels the need to hook up with people like Karina, then he doesn’t need to marry her! He needs to wait until the “real thing” comes along.

The whole thing is enough to make you want to reconsider getting married at all. What’s the point of making that so-called lifelong commitment if one of you will always be looking over the other’s shoulder at the next prospect. And why settle for someone who doesn’t fulfill your romantic and physical needs?

My personal belief is that when you meet the right person, you won’t WANT to cheat. You won’t need to ask yourself “will I change when this event or that event occurs”. You will just change cause you WANT to change. Because you want to make your partner happy. Because you wouldn’t dream of doing anything that would hurt him or her and so you suddenly learn how to keep your legs crossed and your pants buttoned.

Well, all I can say is that I feel like I played myself by even thinking for a second I could be involved with a man who is already involved with someone else. I just can’t bring myself to do it. And even carrying on a regular conversation with him makes me feel guilty as hell because I am aware of his intentions.

At any rate, it’s my fault for continuously entertaining the dude. I find him amusing and his humor is sometimes refreshing, so, I’ve been reluctant to cut ties. But now, his behavior repulses me and I am recognizing that it is because of women like me – who are mildly (or more so) intrigued by what he has to say and the way that his mind works – that he even has an audience. So, I’m taking a step back and reevaluating our “friendship”. Most of you will understand that every relationship needs to be “reevaluated” at some point to decide whether it is still of benefit to either of the participants. I am providing a distraction that this guy doesn’t need. And, I am not getting much out of our exchanges. So I think it’s time to let this one go. If the girl wasn’t in the picture, there’d be nothing to evaluate. But the situation is what it is and she is there.

But Jay and Bey. They inspire me. And, hopefully Jay (nor Bey), was considering other partners just a few months before their impending nuptials. The fact that they took their time to get to know each other before they moved onto marriage sets a great example for all those people who choose to progress backwards in their relationships with the baby coming first and then everything else coming after that… or never happening at all. Although I think this is a harder example to follow than trading throwbacks for buttondowns, my hope is that Jay and Bey and their relationship will at least inspire people to get a little bit of act-right and consider the possibility of joining together as man and wife.

It would, indeed, be the best trend he ever set.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so true! if you are wondering if there is better out there, then maybe you haven't found 'the one'. there will always be others, but you should be happy and content with your mate and not feel the need to search for better. if you're not content or sure, let them go, so they can find better as well. what's the point in being in a monogamous relationship and cheating anyway? it's a waste of time and emotion for both parties. just stay single, until you do meet that person who makes you want to spend the rest of your life with them, and only them. no point in 'settling' before then b/c that would just be living a lie, to them and yourself. thanks for the post- it was very well put! :)