L.A. Times – L.A. Affairs: Cautious driver faces the prospect of a blind turn

Original Article: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-affairs-20150425-story.html

I hadn’t been a personal driver long—it was a way to make extra cash, working the South Bay and Long Beach. She was my first job in Redondo Beach, and she had kept me waiting for 15 minutes outside her apartment. When she appeared, she was in a black cocktail dress and flip flops. She carried a pair of blue high heels in one hand, and her clutch purse in the other. She was friendly and complimented me on my tie.
“I’m so sorry. I’ve been running behind all day,” she said.
“It’s OK,” I replied.
The traffic on the 405 North was moderate. I figured I could get her to Hollywood in a half hour or so, but clouds had lingered for most of the day, and it had started to rain. I had already seen two accidents on the way to pick her up, so I was being extra cautious. We engaged in the usual chit-chat. She asked how long I had been driving. I told her a few weeks. She told me about her job in broadcasting and how she loathed having to go out on weekends—especially to Hollywood. I agreed that Hollywood had changed, or maybe I had just gotten older and it had lost its appeal.
“Roads are slick,” I said, “People drive too fast in the rain here.”
I merged into the slow lane. She reached into her purse and produced a small compact—she was finishing her makeup.
“I look all right?” she asked.
“Yes. You look nice.”
She laughed. “Does that make you uncomfortable? Are clients not supposed to ask those types of questions?”
I told her it was fine. Conversation always put the clients at ease, especially women traveling alone. She seemed to relax the more we talked.
“Damn,” she said, “I forgot to call my sister and tell her I’ve left. She likes to make sure I’m safe.”
She spoke to her sister and reassured her she was fine and that she’d call her after the event. I took the off-ramp to La Cienega and got bogged down in traffic around Pann’s.
“This is why I never leave the South Bay,” she said, “Traffic all the way to Hollywood.” She was looking at a travel app on her phone when she got a text. She said it was her sister reminding her to text once she got to Hollywood.
“If I don’t text my sister throughout the night, she has a fit. I wish she’d get out more.”
She explained that her sister was a very attractive girl and had gotten into fitness modeling. After dating a string of the wrong kinds of men, she opted to focus more on her career. She stayed in most weekends.
I had grown quiet, fearing where our conversation was leading. Then it came, the dreaded: “So, do you date much? Are you married?”
I rarely talk about my personal life, especially with strangers. However, she had a kind of openness that I appreciated, and I found myself opening up too. I told her I had been in a relationship that had ended. We had recently entered that awkward phase of trying to find a way to be friends—a phase that required some form of make-believe, pretending that our emotions and any lingering romantic urgings were gone.
She was sympathetic.
“You’ll find someone awesome. It just takes time.”
I had heard that continuously in the past few months and, frankly, it never seemed to make me feel any better. That’s the curse of a breakup– no matter what people say, it’s a dark valley you have to navigate on your own.
We were a few miles south of Sunset when she decided to call her sister, again. During their conversation, she mentioned me.
“Yes, I already told you, the driver is not crazy. Actually, I think you would like him.”
I stayed silent. There was no protocol for this. She was trying to set me up.
“Yes, he works out,” she said followed by a chuckle. She soon ended the call. I drove north on Ivar and found a meter.
“So, my sister wants you to call her.” She handed me a small piece of paper with a phone number.
“She’s never met me.”
“You’re a good guy. She trusts me.”
I told her I’d think about it. I wasn’t sure I needed to be dating at the time. The wound was still fresh and I was emotionally fatigued.
“You can call her while you wait.”
I was hesitant to say anything. I smiled, appeasing her. She headed toward the club’s entrance. I fed the meter, walked a bit, and then got back in the car.
I placed the number on the passenger’s seat and tuned the radio to jazz. After listening to a few songs, I got up the courage and took the phone from my suit pocket.

Advertisements

“Your Brain Turns Me On”: I’m A Sapiosexual…?

I came across the term sapiosexual on social media. After some quick research, I learned that it referred to a person who is sexually stimulated by intelligence, or as one blogger put it: “nerd love”. Naturally, as a self-professed nerd, it got me thinking. If tasked with having to pinpoint the most attractive quality of the women I’ve dated, I’d say their ability to partake in thoughtful discussion was key. Sure, visual attractiveness is a plus, but it’s not what makes me totally swoon. In fact, it only enhances a woman’s beauty rather than her looks being the nucleus of it.

It’s rare intelligence is celebrated in our culture. People don’t usually grace the covers of popular magazines because they’ve made strives in curing cancer. Those covers are reserved for whichever celebrity is the flavor of the month: the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’, the pregnant reality star, a cheating politician, and so on. But in this sapiosexual subculture, being intelligent is a turn on and it’s at the forefront.

For the latter part of my high school years, I was the guy with the fast car and devil-may-care attitude, but who also read books in the library during lunch. I remember a friend happening upon me as I was headed to my favorite section of the library–History and Politics–he looked at me with disdain and said, “Shit man, you’re a geek now?” I ignored him and kept on with what I was doing but I realized with each visit to the library, the cabin pressure of my sex appeal was decreasing. If I wanted the pretty girl on the dance team to go out with me, I was going to have to stay out of the library. So I hid my book addiction as best I could. I returned to the cafeteria and munched on waffle fries and chicken fingers with the rest. I laughed and joked and flirted with the girls at my table. I was back, so to speak, and no one spoke of my little vacation into Nerdville. Once I got to college, it was like a weight had been lifted. At the arts conservatory, my affinity for books and jazz went unnoticed. It was like the promised land–I had finally found my people.

I’ve always been a sucker for a smart girl. In fifth grade I fell hard for a girl who loved comics as much as I did, and could wax poetic on how the X-Men’s Storm was a better leader than Cyclops. She spoke with such passion, supporting her claim with story after story of how Storm exhibited superior leadership over Scott Summers. If it weren’t for the bell ringing and having to go back to class, I could have sat on that bench talking all day. Not much has changed for me when it comes to women. I’m still attracted to passion and intelligence; to a woman who believes deeply in something and is well-versed enough to battle tooth and nail. It showcases strength and substance. On a recent date with a pretty Portlander, we talked for hours about music and travel. It was a great date. A few days later she sent me a text that read: “Your brain turns me on.” It was sexting for sapiosexuals. Though I’m not sure I can fully embrace the term yet as a way to categorize someone, I do think it’s nice that intelligence is being showcased as vital to what people look for in a partner. Whether it’s called “nerd love” or a “sapiosexual coupling”, when people of like minds come together, it’s a beautiful thing that should be celebrated.

So if you fancy yourself a sapiosexual, please keep spreading the good word–give us a movement. Because, really, a bunch of intelligent people procreating might just result in the brain child that cures cancer.

The Last Love Letter (An Exercise in Emotional Unearthing Inspired by S. Burke and E. Cleaver)

Dear:__________________________,

Lately I feel my words have been failing so it’s with great apprehension that I commit these words to paper. I’ve come under a kind of bout, a stupor that I can’t seem to shake. This could be a great catastrophe, but I’m prepared for the fall out. Shameless thoughts bullied their way into my head and they’ve taken up residence in my consciousness: I deserve to know you, to communicate with you and this entire happening. I’ve never met a woman like you before and in many ways I’m at a loss. I can’t really form words, build on ideas that can describe the complete gravity of my feelings, but I will try.

I don’t believe in the concept of merit, or karma without the sutra, or any other mystic jazz, but I do believe in fate. As clichéd as that may sound, and believe me it almost pains me enough to erase it, but it is a very real thing…at least to me. It is no mistake that I met you and in our few encounters I’ve developed a profound respect for you. I do seek the profound. Contrary to the advice of those around me who claim wisdom, I’ll take the credit and let the cash go. I prefer to incur interest or debt with the hope one day I’ll be able to pay such a thing off. I could write letters, poems, bleed on the page if need be and get nothing in return. I could do this everyday if it pleased you. I am not afraid of ultimate failure and I do not believe that a beautiful relationship has to always end in carnage. It’s a lie when they say all good things must come to an end. It is true that I’m a realist. Many say too real for my own good. But I do dream and not arbitrarily. I intend to make all things I dream sublime realities. But I’m not without folly or fault. I suppose you caught me in a transition. I have been accused of being things that are not complimentary. I’ve been called aloof, a playboy and an eccentric. So I consider the stakes are high. But with all honesty I must say you’ve cast a spell and in the words of Solomon Burke, “I feel your mark upon me now as surely as the hand that leaves the bruise”.

We know each other little, but with the capacity for much. I know words can be lethal, and can bring about frightening realities. They can resurrect, create and destroy. So I must reiterate that this was not an easy task. But it is an awesome thing and I hope you have the ego for a compliment, but you deserve these words and much, much more. I know as an artist that inspiration can overpower us. It can cascade down on our heads and threaten to beat us into the ground, into the dust. But I’ve never feared such unknowns in my work, so why in my life? I suppose in my work I have more control, but in life one must account for what is not written: real emotions, real souls, and real-life. I am learning. Any man would be lying if he said he would rather hold a woman than for her to stay out of her own free will. Just as any man would be lying if he denied wearing a mask in an effort to impress or con a woman. I say con, because I believe that a man who operates in a sham is a con artist. I bare my soul proudly. I Am what I Am. Now that I’ve begun to write, I’ve put it all on the table, emphatically. I’ve lowered the boom, so to speak. I know what I’ve done but I do not regret it, not one word. I suppose this is all a gamble, a game of hearts and craps. But by meeting you, you’ve tossed me a lifeline. I’ve already won. There is no pressure. In fact, if you never responded to the words I’ve written I’d be fine with that. I just want you to know the impact you’ve had. I admire your tenacity, drive and determination. Your passion astounds me and during our conversations I’ve found myself in owe of you. Aside from your immense beauty is your intellect and wit. I could talk with you for hours and not think of anything else except the words being spoken…what can I say, you put a smile on my face every time I see you and now just for now, nothing is more real than this.

Truly,
Aaron

The Romanticism of Californication

Some may say the humor in Californication is crass, low brow, raunchy, and dirty. To those people, I say you’re missing the point. Sure, it’s a sex comedy, similar to HBO’s Dream On that aired in the 90s, but with a lot more unsavory scenes when it comes to sex. However, Californication is a show deeply rooted in romanticism—exhibited in the theme of unrequited love and the setting of Los Angeles.

As a writer, I’m envious of Hank Moody to an extent. Though he finds himself in a high order of drama, I can respect the love he harbors for Karen, his baby momma and muse. He’s the tortured artist who got lucky and found his other half; then, riding that wave of love was incredibly prolific, and when it ended he couldn’t write. It’s a hell of a thing when writer’s block comes on and if it’s attributed to loss or heartbreak, it’s even worse. And that’s essentially the dilemma of Hank; a man trying to find his way after the ‘end of everything’. He delves into sex, alcohol and drugs, and rock n’ roll; and though I don’t condone his methods of self medication, as a writer I can understand them. When you find your other half, that perfect someone and things just click, you can’t imagine losing it. When it’s gone, you numb the pain in whatever way you can.

Hank is a tragic romantic looking to get back what he lost and punishing himself in the process. Los Angeles provides the perfect landscape for it—a city of glitz and under the surface, horrifically rotten. I believe it was LA historian, Mike Davis, who said “Los Angeles is a sunlit mortuary where you can rot without feeling it”. There have been times in my life where I could definitely relate. But as a writer and human being, you can’t wallow forever. You have to rise out of the murk, which Hank never really does in the series—kind of my major gripe with the writing. And though the series has various short-comings, I think it delivers as a strong depiction of what it’s like to be a hopeless romantic in a city where romance may very well be dead. In the end, we all want a Karen–a muse, a lover, a savior–our other half.

Good luck out there! As Hank would say, “It’s a big bad world.”

For the Love of Conversation

Los Angeles is a busy place—most of us work 9 to 5 jobs and then spend forty-five minutes to an hour navigating traffic to get home. Once home, we tend to our pets, chores, make dinner, call friends and family, etc. It’s why taking the time, after all those domestic duties, to pick up the phone and chat with someone matters.

There’s something magical about talking into the wee hours of the night—both of you battling to keep your eyes open because you don’t want the conversation to end. One person says that they really need to sleep and then thirty minutes later the conversation is still going. It reminds me of conversations with my best friend growing up, Tammy. She’d call every Saturday morning after cartoons were over and we’d talk for hours. My mom would marvel at it—saying we stayed on the phone like grown folks. I don’t remember what we talked about, kid stuff I suppose, but I do remember laughing and not wanting to hang up. I looked forward to talking with her, to sharing that time with someone I cared about.

In the end, relationships are about just that, giving someone your time and being there for them when they need you. Even though I was a kid, if Tammy ever said she needed me, I’d be on my Huffy racing over to her house on the other side of town—I’d find a way. And that’s the point; some relationships lose sight of that. Those late-night conversations stop after the first few months of dating. People settle in and sometimes start taking the other person for granted. The relationship becomes less about communication and connection, and more about the roles each person now assumes. Even as an eight-year-old, I’d do anything for Tammy because she was my friend—it was honest and pure. Which is why when I encounter that same feeling in my adult life, I savor it. Being able to get to know someone, to invest time into that person is a gift. It’s what we were put on this earth for. We’re not designed to live as islands—isolated and withdrawn. We’re designed to interact, to communicate, to fellowship, and to love.

Los Angeles is packed with people but it still offers isolation. And though Warren Zevon sung about isolation being splendid, it can also turn depressing. My advice to dreamlanders who feel like they are losing connections to those who matter, pick up the phone, don’t text. Instead, have a real conversation because just hearing the voice of someone you care about, might be just the medicine you need.

Jimmy’s Blues: Selected Poems by James Baldwin

No man can have a harlot
for a lover
nor stay in bed forever
with a lie.
He must rise up
and face the morning sky
and himself, in the mirror
of his lover’s eye.


— From A Lover’s Question, Jimmy’s Blues: Selected Poems by James Baldwin

Baldwin had an incredible way with words. His poetry often goes under the radar but the richness of his Jimmy’s Blues collection is worth exploring. 

Analysis of a Serial Dater

My generation doesn’t know how to date, at least most of us don’t. There’s a prevailing thought that relationships are based on ‘hookups’. Gone are the days of courting, as my parents called it. The new precursor is a few dates and then a tipsy and often awkward ‘hookup’. That’s followed by a few text messages in which both parties try to play catch up and learn about each other so that it doesn’t feel so cheap. Emotionally, we’re a lost generation and only a few of us grow out of it, perhaps secretly desiring the types of stable relationships our parents had. But for far too many of us, the reality is serial dating.

Serial Dating is exactly what it sounds like, a string of relationships. Some may last a few months to a year, and others may sustain a few weeks. These types of relationships are usually never defined, which means they never reach a critical point where each party is forced to make the grownup decision of being ‘labeled’ as boyfriend and girlfriend. In most cases, at least one person in the party will say something to the effect of, “I just don’t do well with labels,” or “Why does it have to be a ‘thing’?” This is a red flag and a pretty asinine idea. When faced with these statements, a person should reevaluate the relationship they are in. If they are looking for something stable, they won’t find it in the serial dater.  

The inherent tragedy of the serial dater is that they waste their time and the other party’s too. Sure, in your 20s, you may find yourself dating here and there in college. You’re young and still learning about what you desire. However, once you hit 30, if you are unable to sustain a meaningful and stable relationship, then there’s something amiss. It’s even more dangerous if you’re a woman because you’re devouring your child bearing years with people you could never envision procreating with. The question is why do we do this? Is it that we simply are afraid of commitment? Or are we wounded from past relationships where we really gave it our all and were cheated on? Or are we just selfish?

Sometimes we serial date on purpose—we usually choose people that we could never see marrying. It’s a way to not get attached. This usually blows up in our faces, as we forge an emotional bond whether we like it or not. I’m not saying everyone should settle into a relationship and get married. There are some people who really would be terrible spouses and terrible parents. But for those who are just too afraid to commit to something meaningful because they don’t want to get hurt, I say stop living in fear. Every relationship comes with risk. It’s a dream to believe that there aren’t going to be risks involved—none of us are living in a romantic comedy. In the real-world people get hurt, but we learn from it because we must. Sometimes we get over that hurt and sometimes we carry it for a while. However, it doesn’t break us, we just learn what to look for in a partner—things that signal longevity. It’s hard, yes, but anything worth the salt is going to be.

The only solution to this, is not to compromise. If you know what you want, what you’re worth, then go out and get it. Don’t allow the need for companionship to cloud your judgement. Sometimes a night of loneliness is far better than a morning of awkwardness. Have faith that in time, you will find what you’re looking for. But if you give into the serial dating cycle, that person you really should be with might just pass you by while you’re wasting daylight.

Into the Abyss

We’ve all seen it, mostly in romantic comedies. The guy loses the girl, usually by his own ineptitude and sinks deep into boozing, poor hygiene and an affinity for wandering his apartment in a bath robe. You guessed it; it’s the aftermath of a breakup and it has become cliché—like some kind of 12 step program, and at the end they either move on or fight to get the girl back. The truth is there’s no easy way to recover after a breakup. For a long while, it’s going to be dark; it’s going to be the abyss.

However, breakups are healthy no matter how grim things may seem at the time. There are always going to be situations that aren’t healthy for us and we have to have the fortitude to get out of them. We have to learn to recognize those situations and move on because there’s a reason—there may be something better waiting. Recently I was talking to a co-worker, an ex NFL player who saw much success in his life. He owned companies, traveled the world and owned some amazing homes. And one day he lost it all—bankruptcy. His wife left him and he found himself back at square one. Then one day he gets a phone call from a woman he had met five years ago. Apparently she was cleaning out a closet and her phone book fell to the floor. It was open to a page with my co-worker’s phone number jotted down. She picked up the phone and called him that instant. They were married a few years later.

I hear stories like that and can’t help but wonder if we’re all preordained to be with someone; if all the dating and breakups are just part of the process. Though they hurt like hell at the time, they really are necessary. The trick is to not stay in the abyss; it’s to keep it moving. We owe ourselves happiness—we all deserve it. And out there is the right person who shares in your world view, your faith, and sees the same beauties of life that you do. They won’t try and change you but instead celebrate you. Love is supposed to exalt us; it’s supposed to dignify us and if it doesn’t do that, then it isn’t love.

In this Dreamland, it’s easy to get seduced by the newness of something—a new car, a new job, a new relationship. We all love the feeling, the rush of new. Yet sooner or later that novelty goes away and we’re forced to see the relationship for what it is. And deep down we know if it’s preordained and if it’s supposed to exist. The trick is to know when it’s forced and in that moment, you have to walk away. If there are doubts, there’s a reason. It’s best to cut your losses early. But for those dreamlanders like me, who are hopeful romantics and refuse to quit, it’s hard to say goodbye. So we learn the hard way and maybe, even if we lose it all, the one we’re supposed to be with will pick up the phone and say: “You’re not going to believe this but I really just needed to call you.”

 

Good luck Dreamlanders!

A Letter to Michael Brown (We’re all too late)

Photo Credit: http://www.NBCNews.com

Dear Michael Brown,

I’m too late; every black man who understands is too late—90 seconds too late, a day too late, months and years too late. We didn’t get there in time and you died in the middle of a street.

I don’t know if we were very different at that age. I imagine in many ways we weren’t. Some of the media pundits say you were a thug and others claim martyr. They march now, in your name, because of what you represent. You’re a placeholder, a meme, a tool, a t-shirt, an agenda for so many. And we’ll never know the real you, will we? To say the boy who shook down the convenient store owner for a box of cigars was the real you is easy, but that’s only one image in a giant tapestry. You were too young to be labeled as more than what you were—an 18-year-old black boy living in Ferguson.

I apologize to you Michael, and to the many who have come before you. Like you, I grew up with both of my parents. My father never did a day in jail. He was a marine, Vietnam vet, and later a therapist. My mother a college educated social worker. We went to church. I always felt loved, but as I grew up I also felt angry. It was a kind of anger I could never fully understand—it was in my bones. Looking back, I realize it was an anger rooted in a search for my identity. To be young and black is hard. The media says we’re dangerous and to be feared. It’s a long-standing narrative that hasn’t gone away and likely never will, and you and I inherited it. Meanwhile, our peers tell us it’s not cool to be smart. To excel at anything except sports is social suicide. We have to be hard; we have to let our pants hang low to say, “F*ck you to society”—and it’s passive aggressive. I’ve felt it. I know you did too. So we dive head first into the only place that seems to celebrate us no matter what—rap culture. I don’t call it hip hop or urban, because it’s not. Rap is a celebration of the proliferation of guns, drugs, violence, misogyny, and every stereotype we’ve been forced to swallow. The thing is most of us get the chance to grow out of it. We go to college; we get jobs and raise families—we join the military, even become police officers ourselves. Your life was cut short and we can only ponder what you would have become. In our culture, this is a rebellious phase, and it can get the better of us and we can end up dead. Teens in other cultures go through this too. It may be replaced with rock music and instead of blunts its joints, paint huffing, and Adderall. Truth is Michael, we can’t afford the phase anymore, we can’t afford to rebel like this. We have to find another way.

It’s the responsibility of every black man that survived this phase to look out for each other. We failed you—we failed all of you. No one is going to look out for us, except us. It’s a harsh truth but it’s not going come from the president, civil rights leaders, NAACP, or any other organization. It’s going to come from that brother who graduated from your high school, who went to college and got a good job, and swears he’ll never return to a place like Ferguson. That’s the problem Michael; we have to return to educate, to encourage and to save. It’s a community issue. We have to start taking care of each other. I wish, so desperately, I had crossed paths with you that day—that I had been in that convenient store—a moment could have changed everything.

We have to understand that not all police are rotten—for each questionable officer, there are ten outstanding. I don’t know what type you encountered that day in Darren Wilson, but my heart breaks wondering what lead to your demise. As a community, we have to do better. We need to find a way to save each other because we do need saving—and it’s a shame you had to die to remind us of that.

I’ll continue to pray for you and your family.

With love,

Aaron

She’s Just A Friend

You meet a woman—she’s cute, smart, good sense of humor, and is fun to be around. So why can’t you see her as more than a friend? Perhaps she suffers from a condition called: Dude-ish. Let’s face it, a man wants a lady. The type of woman he could take home to mom, or envision mothering his children. A major turn off for most men is when a woman doesn’t embrace or fully understand femininity. I’m not advocating for stilettos and miniskirts, or embracing some commercialized perception of femininity, but it’s more of an attitude. Here are 5 reasons why you likely keep her in the friend zone:

 

  1. Cursing. A woman that curses like it’s going out of style is semi-cute for about two minutes—kind of like the baby that shows up in tons of memes online. You know the one. A little boy at a UK soccer match exhibiting hooliganism—frowned face, middle finger extended, and surrounded by adult fans. It makes you chuckle because it’s the opposite of what modern society considers to be decent. Let’s face it; men want to feel like they exert the masculinity in the relationship. If every time a woman opens her mouth, she reminds you of a frat brother—it’s a turn-off. Nothing against the classic F-bomb, it’s become a quintessential part of the lexicon and has merit in certain situations. But if a woman drops one every other word, it’s definitely a romance killer. As a friend of mine once put it, after I asked him why he wouldn’t date a girl who was clearly into him—“She talks like a dude.”

 

  1. Etiquette. It’s great when a woman gets comfortable with a man, but comfortable enough to burp or pass gas in front of him can be hard to handle. I was once on a date where a woman drank two Diet Cokes in a forty minute sitting. On the second, when she reached the bottom of the glass, after a few final slurps, she released an eardrum-rattling belch. The patrons sitting near us stopped eating for a moment, clearly annoyed and disgusted. I was embarrassed. She brushed it off with an obnoxious laugh. I quickly asked the waitress for the check.

 

  1. Attire. It’s widely accepted that women are keen on how a man dresses. It’s one of the things they consider to be attractive. When a man dresses poorly, a woman can lose interest. A man who doesn’t dress well has become such a social cliché, that it’s inspired make-over segments on morning talk shows and became the basis for the reality TV series—“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. But what of the women who struggle in the fashion department? I’m not saying a woman needs to be a fashionista, but men do notice when a woman presents herself well—a well fitted skirt, a tailored blouse, etc. I recently saw a woman enter a hotel lobby in high heels. I watched her struggle. It looked as if she was going to trip at any minute. She was greeted by a man—well-dressed in a sport coat and denim. After a quick embrace, he placed his hand on the small of her back and followed behind her into the hotel’s bar. A few steps in, and he looked down, clearly noticing that her shoes were too big and the back of the pump was gapping. In that moment, his body language changed. He seemed less in awe, maybe a little blasé. In every situation, confidence is everything. When a woman exudes it, it’s an incredibly attractive quality. And a woman who is comfortable in her clothes will always emerge confident—always. Shoes that are too big aren’t the end of the world, but if it affects how a woman carries herself and it diminishes her confidence, it can leave damper on the first impression.

 

  1. Talking About Other Men. The fastest way for a man to lose romantic interest in a woman is if she constantly talks about the other men she’s dated. Even if it isn’t true, a man wants to feel like he’s different—as if he’s captured a woman’s attention like no other man before him. A man will relegate a woman to friend zone swiftly if she continuously talks about other men. A man recognizes that the woman his dating probably dated and slept with other men; however, reminders are not necessary. This also includes displayed photos of previous boyfriends—especially intimate ones. As a man who’s experienced this, it’s not a good feeling. Though it wasn’t done in spite, when I saw a picture of a girlfriend kissing her ex, who she admittedly still was hung up on; it made me withdraw from the relationship. What some women fail to understand is that mystery is good. Men don’t want, nor do we need, to know everything about you in the first few months of dating. Men need pieces of information, and time to process that information. Unless it’s something highly pertinent; such as, a risk to your partner’s health or safety, a man doesn’t need to know right away. Even if you’ve cheated in the past, don’t drop that chestnut on him after the first few dates. Let him get to know you first and then be upfront. As long as a woman is truthful, a man shouldn’t lose respect for her.

 

  1. Cold and Cavalier. In romance men like a challenge—it’s the taming of the shrew. During the courting phase, playing hard to get can entice men. Once that phase is complete, a woman who’s cold, distant and aloof will only push a man away. A man needs a sign that a woman is interested. Some women seem to think a nonchalant or “whatever” approach to dating is the best policy. Tragically, there are women who will run good men away playing this juvenile game. Men crave directness and decisiveness when it comes to feelings. The marble throne in the high court of the friend zone is reserved for the woman who truly doesn’t know what she wants. Sometimes a man will stay in the picture hoping she’ll figure it out, but in time he’ll move on. It’s always best to have a defined relationship. Leaving someone in limbo only leads to resentment. Men are notorious for pretending not to be interested because they don’t want to come off desperate. However, it’s a double-standard, and though unfair, it’s a game a woman should never engage in. And frankly, if a man is really interested, he should have the balls to pick up the phone sooner rather than later.

 

At the end of the day, when a man truly likes a woman, he will overlook some things. The same goes for women. The friend zone is a place neither party wants to end up in, and a way to avoid it is to exercise tact and ethical judgment—along with staying humble, being honest and keeping these five tidbits in mind. After all, anything is worth a try when it comes to having a successful relationship.