On Dating: The Waiting Game
By G. Ann Wilkerson
Something New. Something Good. Something Real.
Part 1: The Waiting Game
I recently attended a charity event in my hometown of Philadelphia, PA. I was joined by some of the most attractive, successful and talented people the city has to offer. Everyone in attendance was well-groomed, stylishly dressed and ready to have a great time. As a single woman, I knew this would be a great opportunity, in the event that I chose, to meet an eligible Black man.
Well, I met one. Introduced by a mutual friend, he was attractive, well-dressed and articulate. Presumably using our friend as an “in,” he introduced himself and asked my name. We innocently flirted, as I pretended to give him a hard time, and he pretended to be willing to work harder to keep me engaged. My body language was responsive, as I allowed him to lean in to speak with me (it was loud in there). We exchanged business cards - ones containing cell phone numbers rather than office lines (we confirmed this during the conversation). We are in the same field, and ironically wear the same prescription in eyewear (I know this because he loaned me his glasses so that I could read his card).
My confidence was up. I could tell he was attracted to me. He told me that I have beautiful eyes. I commented on his attire (love a man that’s daring enough to wear stripes on stripes). I teased that I was sure he’s a player. He called me out on my feigned modesty. He asked what the “G” stands for in my name. "Google me." We laughed. We locked eyes. Great chemistry. We had been talking for over ten minutes. Enough time to exchange stats, but time was running out and we couldn’t hog each other all night. We had more mingling to do. And we didn’t come there together. So, we had to depart. But it was a great first meeting. Now, the game had begun.
A long time ago, I decided that I’d never call a man first. Besides, contemporary trends in communication often warrant text messaging as an appropriate follow-up to an initial meeting. But here’s my concern - will contacting him first (whether that be by phone, text or email) shift the dating dynamics? Will I now become the pursuer/courter? Will he expect me to initiate the first date or, even more importantly, pay? Or should I just play the waiting game, allowing him 3-5 days before contacting me to assure that he’s not sweating me or desperate.
I’m a modern woman comfortably liberal and progressive. I have no problem calling a man or letting him know when I’m interested. But I lived in the days of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man; He’s Just Not That Into You; and let’s not forget the medias obsession with an under-represented pool of educated and successful Black men with major cases of “precious commodity syndrome.” A Black woman has to be very careful not to appear too available or overly aggressive.
My aunt tells me to contact him, waiting the customary 3-5 days myself. My girlfriends say, if he doesn’t contact you before that time, he’s not interested.
I recently read an article about “Emotionally Unavailable” men and why when their period of unavailability ends, they rarely choose to settle down with the women that are currently in their lives. Apparently, if a man feels as though he hasn’t had to work for your affections, he doesn’t value you as much. This notion is both revolutionary, as well as scary. If I am a commodity, assigned a value based upon my actions and reaction, amongst other factors, then when do I become a person?
Maybe I am over thinking the entire situation, as most women do. It has only been one day, and I can probably bet my next very needed paycheck that he’s not thinking about me this much, if at all, but I cant help it. Like many women, I’m a neurotic who rarely meets a man that actually peeks my interest. More importantly, I am not desperate, in fact, I’ve vowed to take a break from dating to work on my career and “get to know G a little better.” But, as a writer, social critic and amateur psychologist, I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking.
Having read what I have just written, and how I’ve spent the last 40 minutes immortalizing ten minutes I spent with a complete stranger, I’ve decided not to contact him. If he calls me, fine. We will see what he’s offering. But, the fact that I’m putting this much thought into this concerns me, because it means that I’ve drank the “desperate single woman” juice. I’ll be fine, whether he calls or not. But, for the sake of having spent the last 40 minutes writing about him, I hope he calls.
Update: He texted on day three. Stay tuned to read how the story unfolds.
Have you ever played 'The Waiting Game' in matters of the heart? Can you relate to what G. Ann experienced? We would love to hear what you have to say on this.G. Ann Wilkerson is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University. She is of Jamaican and African American heritage and a native Philadelphian. A youth worker by profession, but, writer by trade, her works include social commentary on urban culture, black women and African American youth. She is currently working on a book about black women amidst a Quarter Life Crisis. Check out her blog Average Black Chick.
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