Archive for September, 2010

The Best Breakup Song Ever

September 6, 2010

With his new single “Fuck You,” Cee-Lo has taken the “Best Breakup Song Ever” title from Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.”

I see you driving round town with the girl I love

And I’m like “FUCK YOU!”

And fuck her too!

Who hasn’t felt that way about an ex and the next one?

College and law school breakups were the worst, because those boyfriends had (you hoped, in the back of your mind) husband potential.  It was hard seeing the guy you used to date walking around campus with his newest conquest, especially if you hadn’t made a new conquest of your own.

I’ll never forget the girl in my college dorm who sobbed uncontrollably to her friends after she broke up with her first-month-of-college boyfriend, a guy whose room was right above hers.  With dorm walls being paper thin and unencumbered by insulation, she was able to not only hear her ex making love to his new girlfriend, but also got to hear him say to New Girl the same things he used to say to her.  Ouch.

I always felt like I was some sort of Test Kitchen for law school dudes.  I’d spend time with some guy no one was paying any attention to, and then all of a sudden, it seemed all the girls were like, “Oh, yeah!  Dirk!”  Next thing I knew, Dirk was feeling himself and exploring his other options.  Ex-trademark lawyer that I am, I should have gotten a service mark on the Carolyn Seal of Approval.

My worst breakup wasn’t my divorce, but The One Who Got Away — the guy I dated and fell head over heels in love with, who conveniently neglected to inform me that he was engaged.  His response to my finding out about his engagement — thanks to a lengthy and unintentionally hilarious conversation with his fiancee — was to send me two dozen roses. 

When I made it clear that I was uninterested in being either the lead or the understudy for the role of Permanent Side Chick, he sent me a book of Audre Lorde poems.  He bookmarked the poem “A Litany for Survival,” which ends with the line, “we were never meant to survive.” 

Actually, that was kind of a nice touch.  I still thank him in my head for introducing me to Audre Lorde’s work. 

He wound up marrying someone other than the then-fiancee.  And although any bitterness I may have harbored has long since passed, his is the face that comes to mind when I think of Cee-Lo’s song.

What’s your worst breakup?  Who do you think of when you hear Cee-Lo’s song?


What’s Your Type?

September 3, 2010

11 August 2010 - Los Angeles, California - Drake. BlackBerry Torch Launch Party held at 5900 Wilshire. Photo Credit: Byron Purvis/AdMedia

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 07:  NBA 97/98 CHICAGO BULLS; Michael JORDAN/CHICAGO BULLS  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In my teens, I had a definite type of man I found attractive: tall and light-skinned. No others need apply. I used to joke that the only thing a dark-skinned brother could do for me was introduce me to his light-skinned friend.

My first serious boyfriend was 6’4″ and the color of oatmeal, with a Jheri curl shag. I would run screaming if a guy who looked like that approached me now, but back then, I was smitten.

There were a few exceptions. I swooned over the usual white leading male actors – primarily because there were no black ones – and a few white guys in school who reminded me of them. Athletes could be anything – white, black, dark-skinned or light-skinned – because I admired their talents and physiques more than facial appearance.

Still, in my dating life, I was stuck on tall and light-skinned.

And then along came Michael Jordan.

To me, Michael Jordan represented all that was good and right and holy in black men.  I was a Pistons fan, so I only grudgingly acknowledged his basketball talent.  But I was seduced by that smooth brown skin, that bald head, that arrogance, that swagger.  Jordan was the new standard.

But I didn’t just want a man who looked like Michael Jordan.  I wanted Michael Jordan.

Over the years, I met people who knew people who knew Mike.  It was said that if Michael saw a woman in a club he liked, he would walk up to her and say, “Let’s go.”  I knew people who knew where MJ hung out, who offered half-jokingly to hook me up with the possibility of my own “Let’s go” moment.

It took every last shred of dignity and integrity I had not to take them up on those offers.  Because if Michael Jordan, in his prime, had come up to me and said, “Let’s go,” I would have gone.

I told the light-skinned boyfriend he had to allow me one cheat free pass: Jordan, of course.  “If I ever get a chance to have sex with Michael Jordan, I will.  I’m just telling you now so you know.”

He always laughed. He had no idea I was serious.

Fortunately for him, I never got to have sex with Michael Jordan.  Unfortunately for our relationship, the world – or Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston, at least – are full of tall, dark-skinned brothers who shave their heads.  I decided I was entitled to a number of cheat free passes, which I used liberally on some Jordan substitutes, among others.  We finally ended that relationship a good four years past its expiration date.

For a time, I was as stuck on tall, dark-skinned brothers as I had been on tall, light-skinned ones.  My color-struck family was not amused by the shift.  I even wound up marrying one.

After my divorce, I realized I’d been attracted to many different types of men all along.  I went back in my memory bank and recalled all the crushes that didn’t fit whatever I thought my type was at the time.  Having a type was part of how I had defined myself, but it wasn’t true.

The truth was, I just liked men.  I no longer needed to identify myself as only being attracted to one particular type of man.

It went beyond light versus dark.  I realized not only did I no longer care about shade distinctions in black men, I no longer cared if they were even black.  I found my head swiveling to check out men of all races and ethnicities.  Even my 6’+ height requirement has faded over time.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “Up in the Air” is the one where Vera Farmiga and George Clooney are discussing the traits of your ideal partner.

Farmiga’s character says, “You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window.”  I have found that to be absolutely true.

So now, I am officially a woman without a type.  I still prefer men, but beyond that, I like it all.  I don’t use terms like “dating the rainbow” because it sounds a bit too fetishistic for my tastes.  I’m not interested in white guys, Asian guys, Indian guys, Dominican guys, etc. because of their race or ethnicity.   I’m interested in meeting interesting people.

What I really require isn’t physical at all.

I require kind, considerate, thoughtful, smart and funny, in a reasonably attractive package. Whatever race/height that comes in, it’s OK.

No others need apply.

What about you? Do you have a type? Have you ever considered dating a man/woman who wasn’t your type?


September 1, 2010

September is one of my favorite months of the year.  We give summer a big salute and a final farewell with Labor Day.   The kids return to school, which is every parents’ blessing.  And September marks the beginning of fall, which is one of my favorite seasons of the year.  As much as I enjoy the summer heat, I love a slight chill in the air, and getting to wear my favorite fabrics: cashmere, wool and suede.  When I think fall, I think “Boots!”

In honor of September, here’s Earth Wind and Fire’s “September.”  This video is notable not only for the song, but for the tightness of both Maurice White’s vocals and his pants, and the lushness of Verdine White’s hair.