Coming to America- 1st Date with Prince

October 25th, 2018

My time dating “Prince” reminded me a lot of the movie “Coming to America”. The rotation of men I dated on Tinder at the time started to resemble the movie

It happened almost 3 years ago, but I still compare my first date with Prince with all subsequent first dates. He was the master of first impressions. I can still visualize the way he was sitting at the table of the romantically-lit restaurant while he was waiting for me. He couldn’t see me when I was walking up, but he was leaning forward, the sleeves of his sweaters rolled up- like he was anxious and ready to dive into something. It was something good while it lasted. It was crazy how a cast of characters started to emerge while I was dating him. There was a Soul Glo and my mom, like Lisa’s dad, tried to interfere and fix me up with another man.

Haha! I am really trippin’ now. This was how I looked like back in 2015! I was a bougie-boho girl who wore her hair in a twist out and always had a hat or beret on her head. This is an actual photo from my Tinder profile back then. I look like Lisa…a little.

Prince first appeared on my Humans of Tinder posts on Facebook almost by accident. You see, on our first date, I mentioned that I liked to go salsa dancing. He said he did not know how to salsa dance, but that he knew of a place that night we could go to if I was willing to teach him. I thought that was brave because many men I have dated hated the idea of going out of their comfort zone and potentially being embarrassed. I really do not like the idea of getting into a stranger’s car, but he said I could take a picture and send it to my mom saying I am going with this man. He said it jokingly, but I did take a picture. My mom lives in a different time zone (plus, I have better luck getting in touch with her via Facebook than text, so I posted his picture on Facebook with a message to my mom that I was going out with him and have his pic up in case something happens to me. I am blurring out his face because I never asked him permission to post publically.

During dinner, I told him I liked to go salsa dancing. That is where I really become myself. He said he did not know how to dance, but he would drive us to a place so he could dance with me. “Take a picture of me and tell your mother I am taking you”

Friends started commenting like mad about his good looks, his romantic date planning, and that he was a good catch! I posted about him during and after the date and about our subsequent dates. My friends really liked him and asked about him often- even when I was dating other men at the same time lol!

As you can see, we had a good time! You can also see, I was very “plain Jane” on my date and looking back I have no idea why I did not put on any makeup lol! I was really impressed with his immediate date planning skills after I told him I do not exchange numbers until after I meet up so I was looking forward to the date. He liked how I looked anway!

Prince was from an African country. No, not Nigeria! He was from a country in Southern Africa. African men have a bad reputation in the United States when it comes to dating American women. With shows like 90- Day Fiance (my guilty pleasure), there is even more suspicion around them just wanting a green card. From “friends” to the lady at the nail shop- people warned me that he probably had a whole other family or wife somewhere else.

It was sometime after we started dating that he told me a close relative was the prime minister back in his home country. It did not surprise me, there were several cues that I picked up on that told me he had a relatively privileged life. I was more amused at how accurate my nickname for him was. Like Lisa, I did not find out just how privileged he was well into dating him.

Here is how the first date went according to my Facebook post:

December 2, 2015

This is why I get along so well with foreign men:  American men 0, Foreign men a million points! We met on tinder and he asked for my number. I said I only give out my number after meeting in person. He immediately chose a restaurant and made reservations for the next day. As you can see, this is not Sonics or a coffee shop. He ordered a nice bottle of wine to start. I ordered the best food I’ve had in awhile. I told him I liked to Salsa dance and he said he did not know how , but asked if I would teach him. So after dinner we went to a Wednesday night salsa club. Not many men would ever go for fear of looking stupid. Anyway, I wanted to share positivity after my other frustrating “dates” because if you think you’re single because you are a “nice guy” , it’s probably because you’re too lazy to plan a date and take a risk. If you want a lady, you have to show her she is one and make an effort

—————

Looking back at the short post of our first date, I am cracking up at how similar I sound to the Americans who find lovers abroad on 90-day Fiance! I had just gotten out of a slew of bad dates with men who happened to be American. One, took me to the Sonics drive through in his luxury car and told me “you can have ANYTHING on the menu”. To be honest, I think I do have a bias because I first started dating while I was living in Mexico. I have noticed that non-American men are more romantic and desire to have a relationship leading to marriage than American men. However, in the three years since the date, I am no longer sure I can generalize groups of men into categories. I have dated men around the world of different races and ethnicities and I do not have a preference. I am an equal opportunity lover. It is interesting to look back on my posts and see some things that I would not say today. Shows how much I have grown.

Coming to America Story- The “Prince” (pre-part 1)

October 23, 2018

Why do we only allow some women to princesses?

The 1988 film “Coming to America” became a real part of my life when I was dating “Prince” a few years ago. He was a fan favorite of my  Facebook Tinder date posts. We dated for some time and everyone kept asking me about him. It’s the only black film I can recall where the female lead has a wealthy, charming love interest. Damn shame

A few weeks ago, I posted on my Facebook and Instagram this viral tweet.

This is a trend I have seen in black films and in the way black women are shamed for having certain standards in dating men. It bothers me to no end

I have noticed the same trend: for some reason, Hollywood cannot see a black woman be a happy woman with a prince. Movies depict her as the corporate career woman who has a lot going for her. She is the ultimate boss lady- making major moves as the CEO, has a great sense of fashion, yet her romantic lead is the struggling man. He is broke, maybe even younger, sometimes even homeless, and needs a handout to get him off his feet. She is expected to lift him up, to invest in him, to help him see his potential- to provide for him. Her happiness is never the focus of these films. It’s more of you’re single because you have high standards- lower them and you’ll find a man, you can dust off. YES! This IS a trend. Frankly, it’s enraging to me!

Taraji plays “Lauren” in “Think Like a Man” a film based on a relationship book by Steve Harvey. She’s the COO of a successful company and depicted as being too independent. Of course, she falls in love with a man who has dreams of becoming a chef. He is no where near where she is financially.

Black women are expected to save the day damn near in every aspect of life- in voting rights, fighting for civil rights, in being the office mother, nurturing students, being the matriarch of her family, take care of other people’s children AND BUILD UP A GROWN ASS MAN?? Tuh! When does she ever get a reprieve from constantly working to help others? Who is investing in her? Why can’t even Hollywood even let her dream about being swept up by a handsome man who is wealthy, a gentleman who treats her like a princess?

In this Korean drama, the CEO with a bad memory falls in love with the poor job-seeking girl with an amazing memory

This is no anti-feminist *ish! All around the world there are romantic stories that make the big screen in Hollywood, Bollywood, Korean Drama where their women are the love interest of charming, handsome, wealthy men who treat them wonderfully and give them outward displays of affection and most importantly can provide for them a better life that relieves them of their everyday struggles.  After all, isn’t that what entertainment is about- an escape from your reality? A short time to fantasize? Why is this not seen in Black films?

Bobby is a 1973 Bollywood film that has been re-made several times. The son of a wealthy man falls in love with the daughter of a poor fisherman

This is not only a phenomenon seen in black films, black women often tell me that their friends and family shame them when they say they want a man who is at least as equally educated as her and can contribute financially more than her to their household. They are called gold diggers and told they will remain single for holding these rather simple standards that are universal anywhere else in the world. Go to another country and see if parents don’t threaten their daughter should she dare to bring home a man who could not provide for her.

In my  Facebook and Instagram post, I said I wanted to start blogging about the wealthy men I dated (well almost all of the men posted would fall into that category even though I don’t mention it). I want to show that despite what films show and what people might say, there are good men who have successful careers and may even be wealthy who want to be with a black woman. These Tyler Perry & movies and such may be telling us subconsciously that we are less than and deserve less, but that is not the case! I am about truth-telling so I am starting a series of posts with a Facebook fan favorite- “Prince”. He was a Tinder that I dated for some time.

It ends up being perfect to follow this conversation because Coming to America is honestly the only “black film” where a wealthy man desires a more humble black woman and gives her a good life. Lisa’s father in the film, like damn near every other father in Korean drama, Bollywood, or whatever wants the best for his daughter. He wants her to marry a man who can take care of her when he’s gone. (Ugh, makes me mad just thinking how this basic concept is rare in black films)

Lisa’s father wants what every father wants for his daughter- for her to have the best! For someone to love and spoil her like he has done. For her to have a better life than he had

Although Prince Akeem, like the common trope in black films plays the janitor in most of the film, surprise b*tch! He’s a real prince with his portrait on the currency.  

Akeem went undercover as a janitor and never told Lisa he was a prince. That still pisses me off! He was dishonest with her from the beginning. (Picture from Paramount Pictures).

While I was dating Prince, I laughed with my sister about the similarities between my life and Coming to America. I told her that when I was little, I never understood why Lisa was so angry Prince Akeem hid the fact that he was a prince from her. Now, I totally understand and when I watch the movie I get so angry that I am not sure if I would have forgiven him or married him. Why? she asked. Because, I don’t like when men lie and he lied with an undertone of distrust or testing her. He lied assuming that she was a gold digger, that the only reason she would ever like him was for his money. Don’t go into dating a woman if you are suspicious enough to have to “test” her. This is like men who plan on coffee dates or go half because they are scared of being used. Also, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. That is playing with someone’s emotions.

Anyway, enjoy the next posts about “Prince”. You are allowed to dream about being treated like a princess!

I need to have a word with Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey and these other writers.

 

Humans of Tinder: The Christian Atheist

Thursday, October 11th 2018

Last Friday I told you all on Facebook about a guy I nicknamed Vanilla Latte, but as you see, his name changed. I was my usual ditsy, absent-minded-professor self and totally forgot that there was an important lecture from Angela Davis and another philosopher on ethics and language Friday night at 7 pm-the same date and time for our date in the happenin’ Uptown district of Oakland! In my defense, WHO SCHEDULES A PHILOSOPHY LECTURE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?!

So, I had the awkward task of admitting my error and asking him if we could possibly push back the date until 9 PM for an event I forgot about on campus. His response was that he noticed a lot of people double book dates and he did not want to be the second choice.  What? I was honestly shocked at his response. I am sure there were a few men who have asked me to schedule a date for later time because work caught up with them or something came up and I never gave it a second chance. Well… there was that one time I flipped out on a guy but we knew each other for a long time and… I was young. Hehe. Anyway, him jumping to the assumption that I was pushing back our date because someone better came along rubbed me the wrong way. Was he not confident in himself? Why would he think about his competition? Or even care if I was dating other people? But, I played it cool.

“What event are you going to?” he asked. “It’s a sold out Angela Davis event and I totally forgot it was on a Friday night”, I responded.  He replied that he supposed he could push back the date, but he was planning on going somewhere else if we hit it off. ‘I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means’ I said to myself.

Of course, the event started 30 minutes late. Jeezus! I had anxiety during the talk. It was good, but it was running over time and the audience including myself was getting restless. I was thinking about messaging him to cancel, but I am a woman of her word so I left the event before it was over and took a Lyft to the bar.

It was a new pop-up bar that did not even have a name on the outside. When he saw me he had a big smile. I guess I do look like my pictures! He said the place was too loud so we walked to another bar. We sat down and ordered some drinks.

He told me he grew up all around the world. He was from everywhere: Texas, up and down the West Coast, and worked in parts of Asia. He had a philanthropic heart as he dedicated much of his life to working for non-profits before landing a corporate job in the Bay Area. In the story of his life, he mentioned many friends who were missionaries and the fact he went to Divinity school. I asked about how he met his missionary friends. He kinda shifted his weight, took a sip of his drink, looked down and said that he used to be religious. He was going to school to be a missionary but now he’s an atheist…. or agnostic… he’s not sure what he is anymore.

So, what made you go from Divinity school to become an atheist? I asked. It was a low-point of his life- a heartbreak that led him to question the existence of God. He was engaged while he was doing the Lord’s work in Asia, but she ended it and never gave him a reason why. He was so sure she was the one and that ordained for them to be together- that he wondered if he could really hear God’s voice. “Is this my voice, my will, or what God has for me?” he asked himself.  It seemed like a reasonable question that probably every believer asks his or herself. I told him that I understood how he ended up at his present state since I too have been disappointed by people in the church and have encountered major life disappointments yet never doubted the existence of God or faulted him for the actions of human beings. On the other hand, I have seen people donning the clerical collar who say they do not believe the stories in the Bible are real, rather the lessons are of value for a code of ethics to relate to one another in the world.

He seemed more comfortable that I understood and did not judge him. He said we had a lot in common because we were both raised religious. If anything, he said he’s a Christian-Atheist. He still believes in Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God and is dedicated to seeing that vision come to fruition here on earth. I could dig that. It did not seem contradictory to me from a philosophical view. Interestingly in the talk, the author of the ethics book said that in order to subscribe to a system of ethics, one has to imagine s/he is part of a network- a world that is interconnected and that things have agreed on values. Ethics is a lot like science fiction, he argued where ethicists create another world- an idyllic world. I am not saying the Bible is science fiction. I understand what it means to believe in something and what is required to turn that into action. He has not told many of his friends he’s an atheist- a select few know. He sometimes visits one of his past churches from previous stages of his life, but he goes to see his friends. They don’t know he’s walked away from believing in God.

I felt sad about his heartbreak. When he told me, it confirmed my suspicion that he had an issue when he made a comment about being a second date. Perhaps, his fiance left him for someone or something else. His body language was a little too close for my taste. Clearly, he did not go to a church where the “side-hug” was the closest you could get to touching the opposite sex. Haha! His legs brushed against mine at times. He did it on purpose.

He suggested we get dessert, but I told him I had to take out the dog I was dogsitting one last time and go to bed. He insisted he could drop me off and we continue but I said no, we can save it for another night.  He proposed Sunday. I did give him my name and number which I regret because the only context I would see him again is for a friend. I should have not given him the wrong idea. He seems like a nice guy, but I do not think he are a match. He texted on Sunday that he was on a deadline so he was wondering if Monday or Tuesday were ok. I could have written a snarky response to that text, considering how we started out but I did not respond at all.

On to the next!

 

 

Mr. Dior #999 – Having an Attitude of Risk and Adventure on a First Date

October 2, 2018

It’s Tinder Tuesday! Today’s blog is about Saturday’s date at Hakkasan you saw on Instagram. This date goes to show you the power of having faith and an attitude of expectancy on a date vs the “what if?” attitude.

Me on Saturday’s date

Coffee dates are as basic as pumpkin spice lattes with yoga pants and early 2000’s uggs. If you go into the date with skepticism about being “catfished” or getting a crazy– that’s what you are going to get. You spend money gambling on Fantasy Football, going to Vegas, or indulging in extreme sports why can’t you bring that same sense of adventure or risk on a date?! If you cannot afford a dinner on someone who you don’t hit it off with, you shouldn’t be dating. People are people, they shouldn’t have to prove themselves.

He is an older man. We got a lot of stares. I’ve gotten stares on dates before but this was different. I have dated a few older men before where people probably thought he was my sugar daddy, but this dude rolled out the red carpet better than anyone else. OK, maybe he’s competing with Prince now for best first impression.

I am not sure how old Mr. Dior 999 is because his age was hidden in his profile. I am not the best at math, but when he was giving me the run down of his life and told me his age, the numbers did not add up. Anyway, he took charge of planning the date through the app and said he would be taking me to dinner at Hakkasan Saturday night. Now, I was really excited because a former Tinder date asked me to this place, but could not get reservations with two weeks lead time, so we went somewhere else. From the Google search, the restaurant looked like a great place with a romantic ambiance. The guy executed chivalry, asking if I wanted to have him pick me up or meet him there and confirmed the date two days before- this is something few men do. If you don’t confirm- I won’t show up. Women put a lot of time and effort when preparing for a date. Men should match that effort.

I hate being late. He said that he would be there super early because he didn’t want me to wait around for him. Good! I hate waiting for men. Unfortunately, my Lyft driver took longer than expected to get to my house and she told me she did not have a FastTrack pass to get over the bridge nor cash for the tolls.  Ugh, Seriously??! I was so frustrated because this guy already showed me a lot of effort. I messaged him and he said no worries, just get here safe and told me what table number he was sitting at.

When I finally got to the restaurant and the host escorted me to his table, he stood up to greet me with a big smile. “You look like your pictures,” he said. He handed me a small Sephora bag. “I got you this gift”. “Can I open it now?”, I asked. Yes. I unwrapped the small item enveloped in tissue paper to find a tube of bright red lipstick- Dior Ultra Rouge 999. He said that he went to Sephora and showed the lady my Tinder pictures and asked me what lipstick would look good on me. Wow, I thought. That was a lot of effort for a first date! The sentiment was very sweet. He did not know that my birthday was just a few weeks before and I had made a resolution to wear more bright lipstick because I am not a lipstick or makeup person, but I need to get outside of my comfort zone. I noticed he likes the color red because he had a single fingernail painted red for abuse awareness.

A first date gift from Mr. Dior. He went to Sephora, showed them my photos and asked what lipstick would look good on me.

He included the receipt for the lipstick in the bag and told me that I could return it if I did not like it. I do not like to return gifts. But when I tried it on when I got home I was a little uncomfortable with the loudness. I realized I ditched the receipt with the bag at the restaurant. I googled Sephora to see if they could exchange without a receipt. I saw that this was no cheap tube of lipstick! It was much more than I would ever pay. I’ll keep it. I thought about how he contrasted to male friends I talk to and the Tinder dates that I have gone out with who say they like to stick with coffee or drinks because a girl might be crazy, she may not look like her pictures, or they might not hit it off. They rather not spend money on something or someone until they prove they are worth more than a Chilli’s 2 for $22.

I’ve always thought that was a sign of a bad attitude and a lack of faith. I’ve you’re going on a date with a suspicion, you’re going to attract shady people. Yes, people lie, people post old pictures, but do you really want to put that on EVERY potential first date. This guy did not know for sure if I was the girl in the pictures or if I was crazy or boring, but he had faith that I was. And if I was indeed the girl in the pictures, how may I want to be treated?

We had a great conversation. He was a cool guy. He was in the finance world and cared a lot about helping people. He helped fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofits. He was obviously divorced at his age and became a single father after his marriage. He told me I was the first date he had in a long time. He told me he showed my pictures to his friends and family before we went out. I do not know how many courses we had, but the food was delicious! He enjoyed serving my plate. He said he had been to the restaurant many times before alone so it was good to have someone else with him. He asked me if he could introduce me as his date. “Yes, well, I AM your date”, I responded. I wondered if he asked me that because of the stares we got or that he thought I might be ashamed to be with him. If I were ashamed, I would not be on a date with him.

When we left the restaurant, he greeted the bartender and the manager and introduced me as his date.  The manager kinda looked me up and down, Haha! Prolly wondering ‘what in the world?’ He thanked them for getting him a table. “Ah, that’s how he managed to get us into this place with less than a week notice! He knows people” I thought.

We went for cocktails afterward at a speakeasy. That’s when the stares really came in. It was kinda funny because people would look and when I made eye contact with them, they would quickly look away to act like they weren’t staring. Haha! I think he liked the attention. I have gone on some dates with older men and it seems they do. Do you know that guy that was on Botched with the big fake lips?

Some outrageous plastic surgery patients admit that they love the attention and whispers behind their backs. I wonder if it is the same thing with non-conforming older men-younger women couples

I remember him saying that he loved going in public and having people whisper about him or audibly express their disgust for his plastic surgery. He loved the attention- even if it was negative. I wonder if it’s something like that. I realized that I too may like the attention. Albeit, it was only one date so I am sure it gets tiring after a while, but I had a good time nonetheless and he was a gentleman.

I learned that he grew up in the Bay Area and resented being categorized as “white” when he grew up with mostly Mexican and African American children. He rejected the “Model Minority” stereotype and thought it unfortunate that the Crazy Rich Asians image was being pushed more than the more common Asian American experience like that in the Midwest.

I would definitely go out with him again. He asked me out for next weekend.