I was on set for this film. Please don’t think I’m some big-time actress, because I was an extra with no lines. Nonetheless, thank you, IronWorx Media.
Anyways, there was this guy, which is basically the story of my life. He was the photographer on the set. He approached me and we exchanged some small talk. But from what I could see and hear about him, I was into him. After the filming had wrapped, we reconnected on social media and I gave him my number.
He asked about school and my major, like all the usual stuff. I told him I am a Senior at the illustrious North Carolina A&T State University. I knew prior to this particular conversation, that he was five years my senior, so I asked if he went to college. He replied, “I only have an eight grade level of education.” Just like that, my face cracked.
I had so many questions about his home life, childhood, career, and if he would pursue his G.E.D. After our initial face-to-face greeting, I think I typed ten different messages out on my cellphone. I couldn’t follow through with sending him any of them, because everything sounded shallow.
I texted my friends, hoping that they could offer some advice. I voiced how I couldn’t think about dating him because I considered this to be a reasonable deal breaker. I was met with dismay and disapproval of my “unrealistic standards.” I was almost offended by their notion that black men, which I typically date, were somehow ostracized by the standards I keep.
I hold myself to a high standard of academic achievement, excellence, and stature. Shouldn’t my dating choices be reflective of how I feel about myself?
Quite frankly, I don’t know if I can say I want anything from a man. I shy away from traditional types of love. I compartmentalize all my friendships and relationships because I recognize that everyone fulfills me in different ways. I could never set the precedent for what kind of partner I want because I know they can’t all love me in the same exact way. I recognize this with every person, so being told that I have high standards is almost comical. So, here goes my long-awaited list:
It’s such a sad and pathetic list. I’m not as high maintenance, as my friends believe. Based on my previous experiences, you would think my list never existed.
I have tried it all, but it never ceases to amaze me how men manage to disappoint me. I was attracting low-effort or little to no ambition types of men. They were always impressed with my accomplishments and couldn’t imagine how I dreamed of more for myself. How exactly does the Law of Attraction work? Nothing could save me, not even a list.
I must be the reason why.
I have been thinking about this for months now. I could never give credit without accepting blame. I thought OK, I’m the problem. I’m asking for too much or I’m leading with unrealistic expectations. I’ll never find “the one” with this mindset. I love LOVE, remember?
Here I am, placing conditions on people, knowing that the kind of love I want is unconditional. I should be willing to dish it out, as well as take it.
Recently, I arrived at the thought that I was upholding an elitist and capitalist standard. There’s no one way to be successful. There’s no blueprint. Everyone has their own set of gifts, passions, and talents. So, who am I to judge? A degree doesn’t guarantee a job or career. I began rethinking, above all else, I want to date someone with ambition. You can’t teach that, because either you have it or you don’t.
I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but I did text him back. He told me he was joking and he did graduate from high school. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel any sense of relief. In hindsight, his “joke” exposed the cracks in my thinking.