Sometimes as a teacher, I’m fortunate enough to learn valuable life-changing lessons from my students. One of those lessons is what I should not put up with from men on Valentines Day.
I had a lot of blessings this Valentines Day. I actually got a chance to substitute teach again at the local continuation high school. Being able to connect with kids in a positive way is a very rewarding experience. These kids do not care for teachers in general (especially substitutes) and if you happen to be a white teacher, let’s just say you have your work cut out for you. It is an exercise in character building to say the least. I always tell myself that the only reward in taking an easy sub job over a more challenging one is that it’s easy. While working with these students, I’ve learned (by overhearing side conversations) about sex ed (handjobs), what to do if you have a pregnancy scare, where the best meth parties are in the desert, the difference between a “ghetto weave” and a “nice weave” and about how smoking weed “isn’t really a drug” and “it improves your concentration in school.” The best lesson I learned by far is what guys should give you on Valentines Day.
I’ve had several suitors over the years attempt to seduce me with their well thought out and even better executed Valentines Day “gifts.” Let’s start with my magical Valentine of 2008 when the guy I was dating asked me if I wanted to go to the local bar to get a drink:
Why of course I’d love you to win me over with alcohol on the most romantic day of the year. I could tell this date was planned for over a month (I will add my “sarcastic smiley” 😉 for those of you that are unfamiliar with sarcasm).
Who can forget Valentines Day 2009 when I was given a single rose (Just the rose by itself):
….From Big Bob’s Last Second Roadside Valentines Day Emporium:
Perhaps the most “memorable” Valentines Day was 2013 when my last boyfriend gave me…wait for it….
And the funny thing was all three of these guys thought they were going to get laid. They didn’t even deserve a peck on the cheek. Ain’t nobody got time.
As I was teaching at the continuation high school, my female students for all 6 periods got the whole lot-flowers (plural), candy, and a teddy bear:
It made me realize I was putting up with way less than I deserved. These girls were just 15-17 years old and their Valentines gifts from their 15-17 year old boyfriends were way better than the Valentines Day gifts I received as an adult. It was a wake up call. I’m going to expect better for my future suitors. Time to raise the bar.
At least I didn’t have any desperate, creepy guys on tinder that I’ve only known for three days try to rush to meet me so they wouldn’t be single on Valentines Day. That was my other Valentines Day blessing.
Friends with benefits is my companion piece to my last blog entry: Keeping an ex as a friend in facebook? Ain’t nobody got time for that! This is another dating mistake I made in my twenties that I’ll be sure to never make again. On the surface, friends with benefits seems like an ideal sequel or solution to a breakup: you still get to hang out with this great guy you still have feelings for and do all the same stuff that you did while you were dating but now he doesn’t owe you anything! Yay! Jackpot! When I was 26, I really missed my boyfriend who dumped me. We both suggested being friends but when I realized “being friends” meant never seeing, facebooking, or talking to each other ever again, I came up with what seemed like the perfect idea. I suggested we hang out as just friends over a drink. I said I didn’t want to be “friends with benefits” because I “wasn’t that kind of girl.” What a difference a couple of drinks makes! He agreed with my deal to just be platonic friends with no benefits. He invited me to a party that night. We had a couple of beers and we decide to go somewhere “quiet” where we could talk. That “quiet” place turned out to be the backseat of his car. We talk about what’s been going on in our lives since the big breakup two months prior. Suddenly he kisses me and all my judgment takes a trip to The Bahamas as we’re making out ferociously in the backseat. Without any discussion, we have unofficially crossed that dangerous threshold from “just friends” to “friends with benefits” I designated my tall can of Pabst as an unneccessary scapegoat when I really just had my own stupidity to blame. Contrary to popular belief, girls also do some of their thinking “down there” just like the fellas.
After our “hookup,” my new FWB (Friend With Benefits) admitted that he thought it was fun to be able to makeout with me again. We carried on this arrangement for about four months. In a way, it was cool to just text each other anytime we wanted day or night and have our meetups, but as time went on, it started to become more insulting than gratifying. One time my ex texted me and told me he wanted to hang out. So I invited him to come bowling with my friends first before we would go off on our own to (wink, wink). He turned me down flat by telling me he didn’t feel like going bowling but wanted me to text him afterwards. The stunning realization hit me like a brick shithouse: My ex no longer wanted to hang out with my friends and I like he did when we were dating. He wanted us to just meet on the down low without each other’s friends knowing. On another occasion, he said he was going to the movies with his friends but “would call me after.” I no longer felt like I was a part of this guy’s life like I did when we were dating. He was keeping me in a separate box where our meetups were secret and hidden from everyone. Suddenly an arrangement that started out being kind of fun became very seamy. I felt like some kind of Lady of the Night. I tried one more time to blend my ex with my friends by inviting him to see my friend’s band with me. For the first time ever, my ex made me pay for my own drink as he ordered and paid for his. I realized he really didn’t owe me anything anymore since he wasn’t my boyfriend, but yet we were still making out and what have you as if we were dating. But all the other benefits like including me in outings with his friends, being emotionally available, and hell, just paying for my beer were over like Justin Bieber’s career. The worst was yet to come.
My ex agreed to meet up with me at a music festival. This time, his friends were along for the ride. One girl was single and by herself. The other two were a couple. The girl flirted with him like no one was watching (most of all me, his ex. He just introduced me as “a friend”). I looked at his stylish new makeover which consisted of expensive skinny jeans, high top converse, and a form fitting flannel shirt. I wondered why he had to become better dressed and drop a few pounds AFTER our breakup. It was like he was on the prowl. I painfully realized that he was moving on at the very same time he insisted on meeting with me. The feeling was bittersweet. I wanted him more than ever after his sexy upgrade but it was too late. We all went to his house to watch Saturday Night Live after the music festival. His flirty friend tried to sit next to him on the couch. I had to force my way in there. The couple seated next to us started cuddling and holding hands. I knew that would never be us again. There was this distance between us that was palpable. After everyone went home, we went to bed. No longer did my ex try to hold me or cuddle me like he did when we were dating. In the morning as I was about to leave, he looked at me as if to say, “This is the last time. We can’t do this anymore.” No words had to be said. I knew what he was thinking. I wanted to tell him how I felt, but never got the courage. He was sending a message that was loud and clear. All the pain that I felt right after our breakup resurfaced. It turned out being friends with benefits just prolonged that pain. We never really had that fresh start that I was looking for. Nothing would ever be the same again. Take my advice and don’t do it. If you really care about someone and still want them in your life after a breakup, suggest being platonic friends. Stay in touch, talk, but whatever you do, DON’T be intimate. If he still wants you in his life, he’ll agree to being platonic friends. I am going to try being friends with no benefits with my latest ex. I don’t plan to fuck it up by being intimate with him. No matter how strong the sexual tension gets, we’re not acting on it. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I’m not guaranteeing it will work out, but I can guarantee it will work out a helluva a lot better than being intimate with him and confusing each other. This is the wisdom that comes with being in my thirties: I’ve learned that a genuine friendship ala Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld is better than a little ass. And that is the best benefit a girl could ever have from a guy who used to be her boyfriend.
I will be having a milestone birthday in four days. The big 3-0. A lot of women I know are worried about turning 30. You know, the whole fulfilling-society’s-expectations-of-what-should-be-accomplished-thing. The last I checked, it was being married (or at least engaged) and having children. If one or both of those accomplishments don’t happen by 30, a young woman is supposed to tear out her hair in some sort of midlife crisis and panic: What the @$#! have I been doing with my life?! I am ready to turn society’s unrealistic expectations upside down. When my sister and I were in high school, she told me, “Who says you should get married and have kids? Thirty is the prime of your life.” We had that conversation 13 years ago and I still remember it to this day. My little sis is absolutely right. A woman’s thirties is a time to celebrate. I am welcoming my thirties with open arms. It is trendy now to think of the thirties as “dirty”. While that’s a little silly, that idea does have its merits. After all, 30 is such a more confident and sexy age than 20 in so many ways. Allow me to list a few:
1. When you’re 20 and other girls imply that you’re “loose” or “slutty”, you get defensive and feel hurt. When you’re 30, it’s a compliment. You smile and say “Thank you.”
2. You feel more confident at 30 than you did at 20. Older adults no longer intimidate you. You tell everyone exactly what’s on your mind. And you don’t take any shit from anyone.
3. Sex is better at 30 than it is in your 20s and you’re not too shy to talk about it.
4. When you’re 30, you can call guys out on their BS much more easily than you could in your 20s. Girlfriends too.
5. When you’re 30, you no longer care about a guy thinking you’re “desperate” if you break some of the dating rules such as calling him after he ignores you just “to see what’s up” or asking him to hang out. Because honestly, you’re both getting what you want, aren’t you? (insert winky face)
The thirties are a time in your life when YOLO takes on a whole new meaning. You’re braver, cooler, more confident, and sexier than you could ever imagine you could be in your 20s. You want to grab life by the junk in ways you never thought you could before. You are young like you were in your 20s, only this time you have more experience and wisdom to not do all the stupid stuff you did then. And let me tell you, younger guys LOVE this. I’ve always dated younger guys, but now it’s getting even more fun because women hit their stride sexually in their 30s while guys hit their sexual stride in their early 20s. Put them together and it’s like YOWZA. I couldn’t be more optimistic and excited about turning 30. It really is the prime of your life. Excuse me while I make myself a dirty martini to toast my “dirty thirties.”