JAI

Why yo’ Black ass (and mine) is still single

Why yo’ Black ass (and mine) is still single

I went out on a date last week and, as many of my dates go, we ended up in the middle of a deep conversation. But I walked away thinking, “I’m never going to be anybody’s boyfriend ever again. POINT. BLANK. AND. PERIOD.”

You’re probably thinking the date was horrible, he had bad hygiene, ordered the chicken tenders at the upscale sushi restaurant I took him to, and wanted Alize from the wine bar we went to afterward.

You’d be wrong.

The date was amazing. He was pleasant and personable. He spoke to me and not through me. He made me think and established the level on which his next chapter was going to be built. I knew he was different and I knew I wanted to know more. But why did he make me not want to be a boyfriend?

You ever date someone—going hard. Things seem up and hopeful. You still get excited when you see him. He gets you special gifts and sends good morning text messages. All is well and everything is under control. But then you, stupidly, pop the question, “So what is this?”

You’re insecure and now you’re forcing him to fumble through an answer that’s adequate. You think the title will sure up your relationship. But instead of resolving in your own spirit that he’s your boyfriend, you force him to say the words.

The next three weeks are filled with arguments, wrought with disagreement until the relationship you were steadfastly working toward fizzles into nothingness and ignored text messages. Boyfriend killed your relationship.

Have you ever thought about what Oprah’s resume would say? She could be a talk-show host, but then where is OWN?  We could call her a philanthropist, but where does her talk show go?  We could call her anything, but if we’re truly honest with ourselves, a personality as big as Oprah would be limited by any title.

Same thing with Beyoncé, or Barack Obama, or our mothers. Anybody that is truly important to our lives could wear a title, but they’d be limiting. My relationship is My next relationship will be the same.

I was sitting in that wine bar, sipping a beautiful Pinot Noir and sharing an apple, oatmeal a la mode and it hit me. The way my spirit, heart, mind and dick are set up, boyfriend will henceforth and heretofore never suffice again.

You’re insecure and now you’re forcing him to fumble through an answer that’s adequate.

The boyfriend title, despite our best intentions, comes with expectations.  Whether from somebody’s social media “it’s complicated-ship” or from Pinterest dating advice, the way we navigate connection with others comes with a laundry list of he-should-dos.  Every time we read about how someone is looking for “consistency”, or “affection”, or “a crib, a car and a job”, those are all definitions we create for another person to live up to.  Some may be laudable, but oftentimes, they’re our way of rationalizing how our potential mate should give us what we expect instead of who they are.

Additionally, the second you substantiate “what this is” you start having to figure out “how do we keep it this way”.  You start expecting the good morning text and hand holding. We stop being in relationship and start being boyfriends. And that comes with the expectation that what he did to get us here he’ll continue because that’s what will keep us here.

Now the best relationships work because the two (or more) involved have the same definition of relationship. He is the boyfriend I need, and I am what he needs. But not all people have the same language. For me, a boyfriend cooks and cleans and bottoms. Literally, fuck me, feed me, and leave me alone. But that’s not everyone’s definition.

What I learned in my date is I’m no longer invested in finding a definition. In the next season of my life, I don’t want any of my relationships confined to or defined by any title or expectation. I can be your boyfriend, but I want to be you mate, partner, cheerleader, confidante, bedfellow, top, bottom, verse, and everything else necessary to take both of us to the next dimension.

So back to my date. I was driving him home. I-20 to I-285 and the Love Jones soundtrack was on the aux cable.  I realized that the real music that speaks to my experiences never talks about boyfriends or titles. They say “all the man I need”, or “a house is not a home”, and “I’m singing this song for you”.

So while all you are looking for your boyfriend, I’m resolving to get my a Luther, Donny, Whitney kind of love and relationship. I’m looking for the doorway to my next level and the man that fits through it with me.

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  • darth vader

    Interesting perspective.

  • Christopher Musicman Thomas

    I agree. We rely on titles, mainly for the benefit of explanation to parties who are not involved in the relationship. These explanations keep us from having to “defend” or “justify” what we have with someone, as if we need permission to just enjoy each other’s company within the parameters of the rules we set for US. Titles and labels are important, but what is more important is mutual understanding and not being limited to the standard notion of a label or title.

    • Jai…

      That’s profound. Thanks for commenting. Hope to see you back in the comment section.

  • Yancey James

    When I see a blog about relationships and singleness, I default to the thoughts that the writer is about to tell me everything that is wrong with me. HOWEVER, this one proved me wrong. Jai spoke to my spirit with this one. I have never read something that was unique to his experience yet spoke to my situation and thought process on titles in dating. My nugget from this is definition creates limitations. Why can’t we just be secure enough in ourselves to KNOW what something is. Thank you Jai for this game changing piece.

    Thank

  • Yancey James

    When I see a blog about relationships and singleness, I default to the thoughts that the writer is about to tell me everything that is wrong with me. HOWEVER, this one proved me wrong. Jai spoke to my spirit with this one. I have never read something that was unique to his experience yet spoke to my situation and thought process on titles in dating. My nugget from this is definition creates limitations. Why can’t we just be secure enough in ourselves to KNOW what something is. Thank you Jai for this game changing piece.

    • Jai…

      That commentary was unexpected and completely appreciated. But why do you think so many of us rely on titles to define what relationship is or is not?

      • Yancey James

        I feel that titles create an identity that some of us may besearching for. When you’re certain of your own identity beyond the rules that society and culture have placed on us a title means nothing.

  • Will Comeaux

    Well lots of black gay men have unrealistic expectations when it comes to dating. They think sex is always going to be like a porno, they think that partner should always remain faithful (despite most themselves are not), they want their partner to be everything to them and that’s just not gonna happen.

    When I look around at the black gay community it’s really sad how 90% of them are so tainted and burnt out on love due to bad decisions and unrealistic expectations. It’s rare for me to meet other black gay couples

    • Jai Makokha

      Where are you from?

  • Anthony Richardson

    I agree with you to a certain extent. While I do feel like our need to label everything puts limitations on ourselves and other, I also feel like a clear definition of a relationship is necessary. It’s important to come to a mutual agreement of what is going on. I’ve been a few situations where I’m having fun just talking to and hanging out with a guy, but he’s catching feelings too fast and expecting things I’m not ready for. I let it be known up front that I want someone to spend time with, have fun, and go on dates. Couple weeks later, were arguing because he wants me to pay more attention to him and inject myself more into his life. If I go one day without texting or calling, he thinks something is wrong and we need to discuss it. Maybe I’m just moving too slow, but I feel like why can’t we just enjoy what’s happening now and not try to make things move forward. Let it progress naturally with time.

    • Jai Makokha

      If he had no expectations and enjoyed you just as you are, would there have been any need to define anything?

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