In my mid-twenties, I logged on to an online dating website. If you asked me today, I swear, I couldn’t even tell you which one it was. It proved to be a decent piece of my life at that moment as I matched with a handsome young man who was incredibly intelligent, independent, secure in his job, funny, and respectful. We lasted all of three months. In all honesty, we were unclear as to what we wanted from each other in the beginning. After that third month, I noticed we were good together, compatible. We enjoyed each other’s time, we did jigsaw puzzles together, went to the bookstore, walked in the local parks, etc. We had in-depth, intense, and impressive conversations. However, he did not want anything serious.
Thus, our end made its way in front of us all too soon. I think about him from time to time. Although we only dated for three months, those were a pretty damn good three months and I smile when I think of them. Every so often, I wonder how he’s doing. If he still lives in the Greensboro area. If he ever got his own business up and running. He was the first guy I dated who kept an immaculate apartment (much like myself) and at that time, I thought it odd as the only young men I’d ever dated, almost never really cleaned house or cooked, let alone had a place that was worth leaving my place for one night or two. He had all these things yet we did not work out.
The more I thought about him, the more I realized–I was dating a male version of myself and today that seems pretty creepy but that’s what it was. It was going to fail and fail hard and fast had it not done so when it did.
But, something pressed upon me a few weeks ago. I have been thinking of saddling up the old horse and getting back on it to give it another go. I did so on Thursday night. I e-trotted over to eHarmony, answered their compatibility questions and guaranteed matching assessment quiz, built a profile, tossed up a few photos, then promptly deleted it. I lost my nerve. The fear that landed itself in my lap was palpitating and real. One moment, I was excited about the possibilities and could not wait to see what my new age and this new year has in store in the land of dating and the next, I was the Cowardly Lion.
I no longer bite my nails, but if I were still doing this, they’d be nubs. Within seconds, an indescribable sense of nervousness overcame me and all I could do and think of was to back out and back off. Before anything could even begin, I shot it down. I did not let it live a life of two to three days.
I told my best friend about this and she said, “It is beginning to concern me of the rate in which you’re letting fear prevent you from doing certain things. What’s the worst that could happen?” And I instantly thought, “Well, the worst that could happen.” I did not tell her this, though. She can overcome fear within seconds–she just does whatever it is she wants to do. If it needs questioning later, it’s questioned. But, I overanalyze things and create a small place in which I dare not go and this is what keeps me from doing many of the things I set out to do.
Last year, I overcame several of my fears and I am learning to be gentle with myself about the things that need work–about the things for which I still have mounds of hesitation in my spirit. I won’t rush things, but I am planning on not remaining in the bowels of the unknown for too long either. I know what I want. I know who I’d like to have these things with, but I am still unsure if I want long-term or dating only. I believe the last thought makes itself known within the first few weeks of dating someone. From what I recall, one can usually tell after two to three dates if one surely wants to keep spending time with the person one is dating.
According to a few statistics compiled by eHarmony,
“Female users aren’t just looking for hook-ups . . . Only 33% of women who use online dating websites say they have sex on the first online dating encounter, and 60% of female Tinder users say they are looking for a match, not just a hookup.”
This is good information to know as I am surely not just looking for a hook-up. This next statistic is intriguing and gives me a little hope about the way the dating world does things mostly now:
“Online dating statistics show that 20% of those in current, committed relationships began online and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met on a dating website.”
I know at least four couples who met their mates online and they are still together, three of those four couples are married. That says a lot, don’t you think? But, the older I get, the more I know/feel I do not want to be married. This is mynow. Who’s to say what I may feel like or know deep in my bones one to three years from now.
So, I almost gave online dating a try again. I was so close. If I were to give myself another pep talk, build myself up to a place of belief that perhaps, a committed relationship could flourish for me too, there is no telling where my mind will lead me. But, will I stick it out, though? I guess there’s only one thing to do in order to know . . .
Many of you know that I cut my hair about eleven years ago — 7 inches and 1/2, to be exact. I love it short. I love being able to brush and go if I choose. If I want to curl it and give it a little flair, I do. I don’t spend hours under the dryer at the salon and maintenance and upkeep are minimal for me. I was reflecting on a time when I caught up with an ex-boyfriend who hadn’t seen me in a few years and as soon as I saw the look on his face, I knew he was going to say something about my hair. He did.
I could have sworn there was a light gasp in his words. What he said, I’ll never forget: “I liked your hair longer. What brought this about — this change?”
The same goes for an ex-lover of mine who peeked in on me during my Facebook days and saw a few pictures of me flaunting the cut. She sent word through a mutual friend of ours that she did not like it.
I Don’t Speak To Either Of Them.
There is no need. Not only did their reactions confirm who they thought I was yet who I am not, their actions told me that my hair is what made me, me. It didn’t. It doesn’t. I did something I had been wanting to do for years and never did it and one day, I did.
Some people seem to hold these insane beliefs about long hair. Some think it makes a woman more attractive — sexier. I beg to differ. Sensuality and sexiness are not linked to the amount of hair on a woman’s head, not to me.
Research from the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology indicates that a woman’s hair length doesn’t really affect her attractiveness that much. Study participants even judged short-haired figures as being more fertile, which contradicts the evolutionary-psych notion about long hair being an advertisement for reproductive suitability. — Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Attractiveness to a woman is based on several factors for me: Can she read? Does she excel at what she does? When nude, does my mouth water? Does she strut in high-heeled shoes like a model, collecting the catwalk as her very own? Does she pay her bills on time and treat others like she’d want to be treated? There’s a whole lot of sexiness in those descriptions of a woman. Notice . . . her hair is not mentioned.
A woman who very much feels like a woman on the inside, 24 hours a day, can have short hair. I know—it’s hard for some men to wrap their minds around that. — Julia Austin
I drew the conclusion that both the ex-boyfriend and ex-lover had their personal preferences, just as we all do. One of the things that made me attractive to them was my long hair. Hindsight is truly 20/20. Did I want to be with anyone who clung to me based on the amount of hair on my head? Suppose I did stick it out with both of them and during our relationships, made the change? Would either of them have walked away because of it? Thankfully, I did not have to live out that scenario.
I had many trials during the years that led to me cutting my hair, relocating, finding a better job, and getting a dog were all major changes I assured myself I could do. I did them. Moving through the tumultuous time before my relocation from Georgia to North Carolina took patience, prayer, and perseverance. I told myself a bigger change would come my way.
Changing your hairstyle is not brave, and saying that it is is not a compliment. In my opinion, we all need to stop telling people that making conscious decisions about their appearance is “brave.” — Amanda Montell
There Is No Power In My Hair.
There never was. There never will be. I do believe that we can hold past pain, hurt, etc. in our hair — as we age, we need to shed a few things. To me, the weight of our hair is one of them. As you grow up, everything on your person, grows with you, including your hair. When I think back to the heaviness, thickness, and long “crown of glory” I had, I do not miss it. This is not to say that as I continue to age, I won’t gravitate toward letting it grow out once more. This is to simply say, I am comfortable with it short for now.
Having short hair has not changed the core of me. I still have the same eyes, lips, heart, and mind. I still want to be held when I am afraid. I yearn to be loved and understood in my deepest, darkest moments. I get emotional during sad movies. I am a badass cook. None of these things have changed.
If you are debating on cutting your hair, but you are pumping the brakes on that change in your life, think about why you’re debating. If another person’s view of you could change or you could offend your elders with your drastic leap away from long hair, how important is their satisfaction with you over your own?
If there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that you won’t turn into a superhuman nor will any of what makes you who you are diminish. Nothing will be drained from your body and carried off to a shaman thousands of miles away to be concocted into a sacred serum for Hollywood stars to use to ward off aging.
You are not a fountain of youth. Take the leap if you want to. Forget what everyone else thinks. You have to live with the decisions you do not act upon just as you have to live with those you choose to make and see manifest into fruition.
A change could suit you.
Originally published via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this piece is behind Medium’s paywall. Thank you for reading.
how’d I get eighteen years with you?
what resolve must it have taken
for you to watch the years pile up
and embrace us without flinching?
I am not the easiest person to love,
but can’t we all say this?
can’t we all confess that loving,
truly loving someone through
the thick of it all takes patience
and a will that cannot be broken?
I thank God for your resilience —
your ability to trip an off-putting person
in three seconds flat without batting
your words attacking them, but not
cutting them down.
you don’t do low blows.
you hit them where it hurts
while offering them the opportunity
to rethink their actions and govern
themselves accordingly for future rapport.
it has been an honor to stand by your side
and watch you take flight each year —
shifting into something new.
you wear change well —
a human chameleon coloring
up my world.
the battles I fight now come
fully equipped with love,
guidance, and understanding.
I am never alone.
the task to grow with someone
and allow yourself to morph
into what you must become without
losing the bond created years ago
is a hard one.
friendship is a gift — an
ever-blooming present that
is priceless, but . . .
there will be obstacles.
there will be setbacks.
how strong will you be when
the fists landing on your nose
are liable to break it?
I pose this question to anyone
thinking friendship is easy — something
you achieve without work.
don’t be fooled.
nothing worth keeping
is easy to obtain.
the best of friends show you
who you are when others
only want to remind you
who you were.
they pull the chair out
for you in your corner,
splash your aching face with water,
gauze your mouth, and tell you
there’s more fighting to do.
and if they have to,
they get in the ring
with you: fists up, feet swiftly
playing the canvas,
arms extended — punching alongside you.
they invested in you
when you made a full withdrawal
on yourself —
they see your value.
she knows my worth.
“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” – Plutarch
He walks past her,
driven by alcoholic
motivation instead of her smile.
Their home is a soundless cave,
cracking in every corner.
She carries on,
her fingers tire of their daily
actions in the kitchen, in the bedroom.
The only thing keeping
her there is the new lease
on life she thought she’d have
The damage is in her eyes
but he cannot see it.
She struggles to make a life
work for them, she hasn’t given up.
It’s hard when you look
at someone you’ve loved for
decades and they turn into
someone you do not know.
She puts the kettle on the
stove for tea,
the hissing sound that follows
two minutes later wakes her
from a daydream.