Sunday was the last day of the Summer Arts Fair in downtown Omaha. I thought it should have been named either the June Arts Fair or the Late-Spring Arts Fair. Anywho, it was a beautiful day, sun was out and it was warm enough that wearing shorts and tee was a fitting sartorial choice!
Woke up a little sluggish as getting to sleep was a problem last night. I knew that I was a little off my mark (oho! A play on words!!) as waking up was a struggle for me. My alarm would go off at 0730 and I would doze until 1000, and even then after my bath, I remained glued to my sofa.
Nebraska shot a text to see what I was up to. She likes kettle corn that was available from one of the vendors at the fair and thought to ask if I could grab a bag for her if I was out. I wasn’t but I told her that I wouldn’t mind going down to get one for her. She gave a small protest, but it wasn’t too much trouble. Downtown isn’t far from my apartment by any stretch of the imagination and I could go on and get my training out of the way early.
Cruising downhill to 16th and then a right down to Farnham and the fair was a block away. I got off and walked my bike down through the middle of the street observing the people and soaking in the vibe, and as happens often when I am outside, having my decision to move to Omaha reaffirmed. There were a lot of hands being held and couples of different permutations and partner preference, and for a brief moment I felt a twinge of longing that I did not have anyone to walk hand in hand with down the midway. But when I adjusted my backpack, the twinge eased. Don’t think that I would be able to go straight from the fair to the gym if I was doing that, so be careful what you say, I admonished myself.
(does the song fit the entry? who cares?? It is a kung-fu mega jam!!)
After a workout that was less-than-good, but one I still saw progress from, I went to Baker’s Grocery on Saddle Creek Road (which is also the name of Conor Oberst’s record label) and picked up a few things that I wanted. It was there that a woman appeared on my radar and her friend walked into the store with me and there was a spark between me and the woman that I saw (because I could not tell you the first thing about her friend other than she was ‘nice looking’), but I did not speak to her. Later, as I made my way out of the parking lot she exited the store. I was on my bike and balancing my groceries when she went out of her way to speak to me. Again, the air between us was unmistakably charged.
For most of my life I never particularly cared for any of the Johnson Publishing Company families of magazines. Somewhere I read how the magazine was written at a Jr. High level so the target demographic would be able to comprehend what they were reading. After that I had little use for Ebony or Jet, the other mainstay on barber shops, living room tables, and hair salons like ‘Tracy’s Weave ‘n Curl’.
Some of the changes were long overdue. There were new features and it had more contemporary topics which were, unfortunately, still written at the same level that it always has been, not challenging enough for a precocious 10 year-old, much less an adult with the ability to vote for public officials. Still, it did have the story on Jill Scott and I thumbed through it.
One story caught my eye. It was a section that talked about why sisters in the church had problems trying to find a partner in church. The article quoted Deborah Cooper, blogger at SurvivingDating.com, who spoke of, “...how the black church keeps sisters single and lonely.” She also talked about the ‘four types of men’ who regularly go to church.
1. Loser working a 12-step program
2. Openly or closeted gay man
3. Opportunistic player on the prowl
4. Old ‘reformed’ players
I will leave her list at that, as I don’t want to put too fine a point on the problem I see in dating in the black church. The list hints at the contradictions that exist within the church’s social structure. Further complicating things is the ratio of women in the church vs. men. The article quoted figures indicating how many black women feel a spiritual grounding in church is important and how many more women attend church regularly than men.
One of the reasons that black women find themselves vulnerable to ‘predators’ (and yup, you could include yours truly in this group) can be due to contradictions that go unaddressed. Like the ‘bad boy phenomenon’, by not dealing with obvious conflict of desires that do not enhance prospects for a happy relationship.
“I just think it’s silly to be stingy with compliments. If you see someone and they strike you as beautiful in any way, why not let them know?” -Jill Scott
Now believe me when I tell you that I wanted to speak to the woman at the grocery store once she appeared on my ‘screens’. The reason that I did not initiate contact or respond more assertively when she spoke to me was due to all the ‘complexities’ that come as ‘the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat’. Some of those ‘complexities’ I derive from Jill’s quote, taken from the Ebony article. Where women once were willing to be flirty and freer with bon mots, I have found that some are purposely stingy with not only spoken affections but physical acknowledgements.
YOU KNOW WHAT..?
After reading Jill’s story and my take away from it, the more reluctant I find myself of declaring my availability for the dating pool. It isn’t that I don’t think that the next ‘new Ms. What’s Happening’ is out there for me. Did I see her at the grocery story? Possibly, but it is those annoying complexities that kept me from speaking and will continue to keep me from being more open at this time, no matter what.