Does Anyone Date Anymore?
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
April 29, 2011
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
Does anyone date anymore? Is chivalry dead? Is there an expectation that sex is automatic in every relationship? And just because a man makes you wet between the legs does that mean that you have to go ALL the way?
And how soon is too soon for sex in a relationship? I know there has always been a double standard in our society. Women who have sex early, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month are typically called whores. And men are glorified for being able to get that "thang." And honestly, the main reason women hold out is to ensure that he is what he says he is. But holding out for months won't determine if he will be an ass in the end. Nor does it guarantee that he won't dump you once he actually "gets it." I mean some men love the chase. I've said over and over again, no one ever really knows everything about a person, not really. Even though we bask in a level of arrogance, proclaiming that you know your "Boo."
From day one we always claim that we really want to become friends first, but do we really follow through? I mean the moment they make us wet and tingly, or him hard and throbbing, all our best intentions typically go out the window.
What we do is exchange chemistry for friendship. But I'm here to tell you, just because he turns you on sexually does not mean that you two are compatible in other areas of your life. Really! I've had some wonderful sex from some assholes. For Real! Who, in the end, didn't really have my best interest at heart, and wasn't capable of an honest friendship based on mutual respect.
I started thinking about this because I had dinner the other evening with an absolute gentleman. It was a real date. I can't even remember the last time I've had "real" date. My last relationship was a whirlwind and it ended in a whirlwind that left me broken. And that was a power that I gave him over me. But... Never again. Never again. We blame everyone but ourselves and a person can only do to us what we allow them to do. Whether they have best intentions or not.
So this gentleman took me on a bona fide date. He knocked on my door, rather than calling me on my cell phone to tell me to "come on out." He took my coat at the restaurant. I sat first, he opened doors. He never assumed anything about my life and my willingness to talk about a particular topic, even though he knows that talking about my life is the epicenter of my ministry. He did not take me for granted, rather he asked.
And it was a lovely evening. We laughed and shared a meal. There's a lot of intimacy and power in sharing a meal. Really! You see, sharing a meal forces you to actually look at the person sitting across from you. It allows you to see a smile or the special way they laugh. And those can be some of the most powerful moments of intimacy. Intimacy isn't fucking. It is characterize as, essential, innermost, familiarity, comfortability, very personal. Fucking on the other hand is what it is, an act of sexual intercourse. And the sad part is, you can have fucking without intimacy. Dating allows for intimacy.
After dinner, I invited him to my home for tea. And we laughed, we talked, and in those most "intimate" of moments, like a touch on the leg, a soft brush across my face with the swipe of his hand, a hug, we both knew that we had chemistry. But chemistry does not add up to friendship.
Friendship takes time. It must grow. It must be fermented just like black tea. Black tea is the strongest, boldest tea and it goes through the most and longest processing before it is ready for a tea cup. I submit that we must give ourselves time to be the strongest and boldest that a relationship can be. What's wrong with courting the old fashioned way? We want everything to happen overnight in this microwavable society. Let a person earn the right to be with you.
No, I'm not putting any time limitations on it, but I am saying, know that there is a difference between chemistry and friendship and there is a place for both of them in a relationship. Chemistry is instant and it creates a path for friendship... It is not the path. And friendship will under-gird the longest, strongest and boldest of relationships.
And oh, the thing that impressed me the most, when we stood at my door to say goodnight, he didn't try to stick his tongue down my throat. He didn't assume that the intimate moments we shared throughout the evening gave him the right to cross that boundary. And what's the rush anyway? If the friendship grows, both of your tongues will tag along.
Does Anyone Date Anymore? Yep Me!! Just like I declared that no man could have my coochie in the dark if he was not willing to walk with me in daylight in the park... Well, no more whirlwinds for me... I'm gonna let my relationships ferment just like my favorite tea, with time...
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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