Holiday Uncertainty

Hi guys,

I have being receiving mixed signals from my boyfriend of a year. I do not know if a year is long enough for him to bring me back home to meet his parents yet, so I may sound a bit ridiculous on the way.

The both of us are living in Canada, while his parents are in London. He goes back there every christmas for a traditional family get together.

Here is the deal: It's strange to me why he would not bring me back for this "family" event this year (hence my initial question on whether a year is a long enough period), neither has he offered at all. He has, in the past, indicated to me that Christmas is more a 'family' event whereas New Year's would be a more fun, lively and informal event spent with friends, and we will be spending new years together this year! He has also mentioned before that he would only bring the girl he thinks he might marry "home". I reckon it is because we have had certain issues in the past, which although are sorted out and fine now, that he might probably not be too certain about "us"? Im not rushing in marrying him... but just a thought on whether he is just uncertain about us having a future together, or whether he doesn't love me enough to bring me home?

And the thing that really stirred my mind was when he mentioned on two occasions, while we were out having a casual dinner/drinks and engaging on some serious couple-talks, that I should feel free to come and join them for christmas 'as part of the us (his family)'. Did it probably slip out of his mouth because he probably had a few drinks then, and was just being more "open" with his feelings- i do not know. Any piece of advise on that? DEEPLY appreciated!

To make myself clearer, he offered an invitation couple of months back, and never brought them up anymore afterwards.

God Bless you and your families!


GARLAND: Good question. I think you're jumping the gun with a lot of stuff here.

First - Going home for Christmas. Me and Chuck, when we were single didn't bring many women 'home.' I'll let Chuck speak on his perspective in a second, but for me - I just didn't feel like the post visit commentary from Mom. Was I getting engaged? Is she the one? She's so cute! She's not so cute! I liked Shelly better than her! Is she older than you? Blah, Blah, Blah...

For some guys - it's not you, it's them - when it comes to taking that special someone home to meet mom. Don't look too deep into it and for heaven's sake don't press him over it, it's not personal.

As far as ARE YOU THE ONE goes... you may or may not be. For some people it takes more than a year to be sure. Don't push the issue too hard and don't use your lack of Christmas invitation as a relationship barometer. You might not like the readings. Give him some room and let him visit his family for the holidays and you do the same. Try not to make his and his family's Christmas about you and what you want your relationship to be. We he comes back, take your time and enjoy what the two of you have don't worry about invites and weddings and all that stuff right now. Enjoy what the two of you have right now.

CHUCK: Ah, yes, Christmas memories. I've had Christmases where my family members misbehaved embarassingly. I've had Christmases where my girlfriend and I had a screaming fight in front of my mother. I had a Thanksgiving once where I was invited to a girlfriend's mom's house for dinner, and her mother, after being there for a couple of hours, told us, in effect, "Oh, we weren't planning on making a big dinner today." But enough about me. All I'm saying is, be careful what you wish for.

Like Garland said, some mothers, or other family members, will make any holiday guests visiting "a thing." That is, a catalyst for a lot of embarassing questions. And they might not wait until you're gone to ask them. He may be trying to spare you from some family quirkiness that might not be so endearing the first time out.

A year may or may not be too soon to make those kind of introductions, but what you don't think of as a big deal may in fact be to him. Maybe he wants you to meet his family on an occasion that isn't as loaded with meaning, like say, Easter. Then it won't be as big a thing.

Don't look for signs for what this means for your relationship. It may not mean a single thing. It's obvious he's thinking about you in that context, because of his slips, or whatever they are. But give him time, don't pressure him, and you'll meet them soon enough. Happy holidays.


WAMT: the Lost Files, Volume 1

This question was submitted late last year in the "comments" portion of a previous post. It was just discovered. Our apologizes to the person that submitted it. In the future, please drop us a line at our E-Mail address,

QUESTION: Hi, I was perusing the web and found your very insightful and cool site. I'm almost afraid to run this past you but here it goes.

I met a nice young man from Kenya, I'm older than he is, we became really close friends, it never occurred to me that it could be romantic due to age difference.

He e-mailed me one nite stating he was so into me, and to send him a sign if I felt the same. We dabbled in occassional intimate encounters, they were great. Then he began to act like it never happened for a time. Time passed, we again became close. He needed a place to stay, so I let him stay at my house. It gets weird here, as sometimes he would be with me upstairs, sleeping in my bed, other times, he'd sleep downstairs. Our sexual encounters were more frequent and he was always telling me that he loved me, and that he would always remember me.

8 months of him living here, I find out he has acquired a fu-- buddy off of craigslist. I become hurt, even though, on the one hand I know it's normal for a man of 29 to be exploring all possibilities and all the self deprecating, lack of confidence notions that can make a woman of 50 doubt her desirability.

Make it seem even more predictable he ends up telling me his mother is here from Africa. He goes to a city an hour away to see her, spends the night there a few times. I give him money to get there. Well, to cut to the chase, I discover his mom is in kenya, she was never here. I was so blown out of the water. I put all my trust in him, NEVER did it occurr to me it was all a lie.

For what purpose? To be able to eke out more time living here free? I kicked him out, and he now has the ho from craigslist renting him a car, he's living with his ex-girl friend, both of whom he says he doesn't like. Says he misses me blah blah blah....

I now really question my judgement as far as being a good judge of character, as I truly believed he and I would be friends for a very long time, no expectations about he and I living as lovebirds forever, but to be misled and deliberately lied to, has been painful, embarrassing and a tough lesson to learn


GARLAND: This started off like a question and then I think it turned into a confession. Often, the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror and tell the face you see "I'm sorry I treated you like crap." But I think you owe yourself that apology.

Uh, yeah. He did all that stuff to simply play you. He saved up his rent money by shacking with you for eight months and then got all the sex he wanted and then he toyed with your emotions. I wish I could explain in some deep thoughtful voice how it was all him and not you, but that would be a lie. Let me explain...

Okay, this blog is called "What are men thinking" so, when a man becomes a dog and thinks that a woman's heart, and body and soul aren't of any value to him he abuses them. This is what a dog does - nothing else. He humps, he eats and he craps - usually on the woman that fools herself into believing that he'll change and that "he loves me in his own kinda' way." He's thinking that you aren't worth a damn, so that is how he is treating you.

Then, to further ease his conscience he shows you, in your face, that he's got an F-buddy off of Craiglist. And, what do you do - you accept it because he's 29 and you're 50. Then you go and give him money to go visit his mother who can travel ALL THE WAY FROM AFRICA but can't seem to make it that last 50 miles to visit her Baby Boy. He is thinking that you are gullible. I'm sad to say that he was right. I'm pretty sure that at 50, you knew what time it was. But, you have the same flaw that everyone has - you're human. You have emotions and feelings, and he just played yours against you. The best thing for you from this point on is to not let that happen again. Walk away - well schooled.

Listen please - I'm not saying this to disrespect you. Chuck and I started this blog to shake women AWAKE to the bullshit some of these guys are serving you all out there. REMEMBER you heard it here first: "A man will only treat you the way you let him!" If you let a bum mooch your money and your home, and you knowingly agree to share sexual relations with him and X number of other women in a time of damn near epidemic HIV and AIDS cases, and you give him your cash and your dignity... your are commiting a crime against your personal self-worth. He will be thinking that you are worth NOTHING. Remember THAT in case he ever calls back claiming to be down on his luck.

And, that woman off of Craigslist that is renting him a car... DON'T CALL HER A HO! You don't know anything of her virtue, but there are too damn many women ready to curse each other out over no-good bastards like your African boy! You channel that anger to person that deserves it - HIM. Have a little fire in your belly where it counts. He dogs you out and YOU call HER a HO? No, DON'T DO THAT!!!

Thanks for dropping us a line. You go find a mirror, apologize to yourself, lift your head up high and stay the hell away from broke, busted, bamboozlin' bastards.

CHUCK: Your situation is the kind of situation that, if a girlfriend told you that she was going through it, you would say, "Girl, dump that bastard! He's playin' you!" But you could not see your way through it yourself. This man knew what he was doing. He got you all caught up in a vortex of sex, ego, and obligation, and worked you for all he could. Most of all, he took advantage of your insecurities over being a 50-year-old dating a 29-year-old.

As a sidebar: African men, I just don't know. I don't know how you're viewed in the rest of the world, but in the part of the US that I inhabit, anecdotes like this one get passed around, and women start to view most men from Africa as lying, cheating, opportunistic grifters. You African men conducting your relationships on the up-and-up, I don't know what you can do about this perception, I don't know what you should do. But you African men like the one descibed above: Stop being assholes.

Sorry it took so long for us to recognize your story, but again I come back to my frequent mantra here: You got off light. You didn't get a disease, you didn't get run up on by one of this guy's other women, and you've been a whole lot smarter about who you've let in your life since then, right? And you even get a late word of moderate wisdom from Garland and myself: Who is a ho is in the Eye of the Beholder.

What Keeps Us Together

QUESTION: How can you tell if your man is REALLY satisfied? I got that Good, Good, but is it enough?

I have been married 12+ years and I wonder if my husband will tire of me. I hope that we grow old together, but I wonder do men feel the same? I continue to hear the term "Cheaper to Keep Her." Well, it would be nice to live knowing that someone wants and loves you by choice. There are a million beautiful, willing and able women around, so please tell me something more than just sex. What do you think about monogamous relationships? Just be honest... I can handle the truth.

GARLAND: Good question.

I think that first you need to keep in mind that there are not really a MILLION beautiful, willing and able women around, not a half million, or a quarter million, or a 100,000. I say that semi-light hearted, but don't let herself think that your man is just overwhelmed with hotties trying to take him from you.

I think there are a lot of men that love their wives and love the monogamous relationships that they share. There are also a lot of men who are married and looking for that next little cutie pie they can call up when the wife is out of town at her sister's house. But let's assume they are the minority and your man is majority.

12 years is a long time, congratulations. While men are very sexual and visual, without a doubt, we also have a fairly decent protective streak within us when we are truly being MANLY. We want to protect our women, our children and our families. Protecting these that we hold dear includes protecting the feelings of our spouses and the fidelity of our marriages and committments. Rest easy in the fact that YES, we can love our women beyond the "Good, Good" as you put it.

If your husband isn't giving you reason to question him, no weird behavior, no secret phone calls, no new habits that can't be explained - he's probably as loving and happy and faithful as he's ever been. WE CAN BE HAPPY AND SATISFIED WITH ONE GOOD WOMAN. We can.

CHUCK: Garland is right on here. Men are no different from women in their need to want to have someone to grow old with. The problem is, some men take forever to realize that, and lay waste to a lot of relationships before they arrive at that realization. We need to catch on quicker.

Just my personal opinion, but 've come up with a list of various factors that will keep monogamous relationships together. Some are positive, some not so.
- Love.
-Sexual compatibility. This person can turn you out, push your buttons, curl your toes, and press your laundry.
-Personal compatibility. She laughs at your jokes. He kisses you after you've eaten chitlins.You can both quote dialog from Pootie Tang to each other.
-Security. This person you're with enhances the financial quality of your life, either with you, or for you.
-Fear. The whole cheaper-to-keep-her element falls under here. Also the look-at-me-who-else-could-I-get element.
Most monogamous relationships contain smaller or greater parts of each of these elements, but when it starts to lean too heavily on numbers 4 and 5, that's probably a relationship that could be in trouble. Anyway, my theory here. It's the holidays. I've got a lot of time on my hands.
You and your husband have made it through twelve years. That is an accomplishment in itself. These days, people divorce because they don't like the same breakfast cereals ("You like HONEY BUNCHES OF OATS?! You B!#CH!"). I can't say definitively what is working for you, but it's working. So don't get too hung up over the next twenty years. Just enjoy the ride right now.


Fairweather Facebook Friends, or The Only Black Man in Toronto

About six months ago I was on Facebook and came across some pictures of a guy we'll call Paul. I was intrigued; besides being devastatingly gorgeous, we had a ton of mutual friends and he looked really familiar to me. So I added him as a friend.

A few weeks went by and nothing happened. I would occasionally check out his profile and look at his pictures but I left it at that. Then one day he posted a picture of his closet. This may sound weird but seeing that he was a clotheshorse just sent me over the edge. I posted a comment under the photo: "this picture just made me fall a little bit in love with you"; to which he replied "ha!".

Then that was it for a few more weeks. I was taking a break from the dating scene and hadn't really intended to pursue anything with anyone at that time. Then I happened to mention to a friend of mine that I had a crush on Paul and she started gushing about how he's such a nice guy and such a gentleman etc. etc. and that I was being a punk by not at least attempting to get to know him. Even more intrigued, I let that marinate for a week or so. Then I told my friend Mary who is a good friend of Paul's that I was crushing on him and she said I should write him a note on Facebook. She said be witty – he likes witty.

So I wrote a note. My friend Mary was on the phone with him while he read it. He said I was witty but wasn't I so and so's girl? She said no that it was long over between me and so and so. He asked what part of the city I lived in and she told him. He wrote me back that day.

Over the next couple of weeks we wrote back and forth a few times. But each time the conversation would end because he would stop replying. I was ready to put an end to things right there (bad communication habits is kind of a turnoff for me) but my friends told me I was being overly harsh and should just go with the flow – not everyone is an email person.

Then summer came and with it a flurry of events. We started bumping into each other fairly often. He was always very flirty, very solicitous, spent a lot of time talking to me each time I saw him. But it never translated into what I really wanted – a real live date. Being a liberated woman I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask him out. So I called him up one evening and asked him if he wanted to have drinks on the weekend. He said drinks would be cool but he had his son that weekend so he wasn't sure when exactly he could be free. We agreed to touch base closer to the weekend to firm up plans.

The weekend came and went and…nothing. I never called him and he never called me. The next time we saw each other neither of us mentioned it. And although he was just as flirty and attentive as he'd ever been, the crush was starting to wear thin. It was becoming tiresome to try to get (and maintain) his attention so I decided to relegate him from PNB (potential next boyfriend) status down to GILF (should be self-explanatory).

Summer came to an end and with it the endless stream of parties that defines summer in Toronto died down. So it was a couple of weeks before I ran into him again on a random Thursday night as I was on my way to a friend's house. We said just a quick hello before I went about my business. Upstairs I moaned to my friends about how tired I was of having a crush on him and that I just needed something to happen so I could get him out of my system. I said "maybe I should just ___ him? Yeah Mary tell him don't worry I don't want to wife him I just want to ____ him. That ought to do it". Mary just rolled her eyes at me.

But guess what happened? The very next night I scored a last minute all-access pass to a film festival party and whom should I bump into but Paul himself? He was drunk, I was looking hot, we were both there alone - it was an orgy of mutual admiration which culminated in a ride home and an incident in my driveway that can best be described as "parking lot pimping". When it was over, I strolled inside thinking "okay that's it. I got what I wanted and I can move on with my life". By this point I had already set my sights on my next "victim" and barely noticed or cared when two months went by and I hadn't seen or heard from Paul. I figured we both got what we wanted and could move on.

Well two days ago I had the opportunity to spend the day working for Paul's company at an event. I knew he would be there and was mildly concerned about whether it would be awkward, but it wasn't at all. He was just as flirty, attentive, and interested as ever. And I was just as smitten. After a blissful day of working together he paid me and told me how good it was to have me there. And then we both left.

Since then my crush on him as come back with a vengeance. I just cannot seem to get this man out of my system and to be honest I don't really blame myself; he's handsome, charming, funny, smart, articulate, cultured, and polite. And single. Granted, not to toot my own horn but I am all those things as well. But that is an extremely rare package to find in a black man in Toronto. But of course, being all those things he has no shortage of offers from women and I feel like I just haven't yet had the chance to distinguish myself from the pack. Chit chatting and flirting in clubs and Facebook messages only go so far to convey my wonderfulness; when I see him in person my nerves kick in and I'm always a less-fabulous version of myself. I just feel like if I could somehow get two good hours of his undivided attention for us to talk and get to know each other, he would see what a good match we make.

So my question for you oh wise men is this: do I even bother to try to make something out of this or do I just drop the pebble? Being that it's winter and we don't normally tend to frequent the same spots (and I no longer have his phone number), the chances of me bumping into him organically are virtually nil. His birthday is next week so I was thinking that I'd drop him a little happy birthday note on Facebook but I already know he's "not really a facebook guy" by his own admission so that will only get me so far. I do know where he'll be celebrating next weekend, so I could just show up there being my fabulous self and hope something comes out of it…

What do you guys think?

GARLAND: I think you should move on and leave both Paul and Facebook alone. You've wasted a lot of time on both from the sound of it and it doesn't sound like you've gained anything aside from a driveway hookup from either one.

I hate to sound crass, but the whole "Facebook" / "MySpace" thing is a cruel joke on dating. Folks read some blurbs online and check out some photos and suddenly they start filling in the rest of the blanks and start "pretending" they know the people they're hunting online. They start filling in blanks with little perfect snippets of data that makes Jimmy, Johnny, Janie or June that PERFECT PERSON that they want in their life. Frankly this is what it sounds like you've done with your Boy here. I don't think you REALLY have a relationship or a potential relationship or ANYTHING real with this guy "Paul."

I think you need to move on and find someone real that you can sit down with and talk to and not have to chase after online. I hate to sound like a dick, but you're giving off a bit of a NetStalker vibe here. This Paul is probably not all that you make him out to be and you're really doing yourself an injustice sweatin' him so hard.

The woman in the mirror deserves more than you're giving her by chasing after this dude .

CHUCK: This guy's behavior strikes me as typical for the kind of man who thinks that he has more options than any woman he runs across. And the reason for that is because the talk going around says there's supposed to be a three-to-one female-to-male ratio where you're from, or Paul is "the only Black Man in Toronto."I don't like to hear about these measuring standards, because they always seem to favor men. And if there's a kind of man who is lacking in character, he may try to take advantage of the "fact" that there are more available women around than men.

I'm not suggesting that Paul is out to take advantage of you. You have offered him any number of opportunities to do that if he wanted to. But as you seem to believe yourself, this guy's got too much going on to pay you any long-term attention. Is that bad? I don't necessarily think so. He's not acting as though you mean the world to him one minute, and neglecting you the next. When you're near him, you're cool, but out of sight, out of mind.

A crush is fun, but a real relationship is more fulfilling in the long term. This man, barring some epiphany out of a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy, is not going to suddenly change and realize that you are bright, witty, and beautiful enough to be the woman he focuses all his love and attention on. If you've got a "next victim," see what's up with him. Paul's a non-starter.


Good Neighbors Get Better

QUESTION: How do I know if a guy is interested in me or just being friendly?

My neighbor across the street always waves and talks to me when we are both outside. Sometimes he will hold my gaze just a few seconds longer than necessary. My ex husband (whom he knows) comes over often and my neighbor may think we are still involved, but that's not the case. How do I let him know I'm interested without seeming too forward?

CHUCK: You have an interesting situation here, because I think that your neighbor may, in fact, be interested in you, but because of certain male protocols, may be reluctant to approach you.

There are two possible factors at play here. First, you say he knows your ex-husband. But you don't say how well. Are they friends or just passing acquaintances? Because if he's your ex's friend, and even if he's not, he may feel it bad form to make a move on you. A friend of mine, when she got divorced, had to fend off advances from her next-door-neighbor, who saw her husband's departure as his chance to move in. And this dude was married! All men don't conduct themselves this way, though. Be thankful that your neighbor's not that predatory.

The other factor may be, as you said, he sees your ex-husband over occasionally, and might think that you two are still hitting it off. It has been known to happen. Not too many men are going to intentionally put themselves in a dicey situation like that. Short of meeting your ex at the curb with a hand-painted sign that says, "WE'RE NOT SLEEPING TOGETHER," I can't think of a really inconspicuous way to get that information out. Anyway...

Given these factors, I have to say, if you're really interested in this man, you may have to take the bull by the horns. I think he's trying to send you some subtle signals. You have to let him know you're receiving him. Here's what you do: If this man seems the least bit handy around the house, ask for his assistance with some project around because you're "trying not to depend on your ex so much." See how that works? Ask him if he'll go with you to Lowe's or Home Depot for a little while one Saturday. And after you do that, offer to buy him a coffee for his help. If he is as interested in you as you are in him, you'll find out soon enough. Good luck.

GARLAND: I'm with Chuck. He is giving you one of the key signs of interest - that longish gaze. You ladies do it and so do us guys. I think he's feeling you.

Unless you have kids with your ex, his "coming over often" is keeping your neighbor at bay. I once knew someone who's ex would come over and just wait across the street on a Friday or Saturday night and wait for her to come home from a date and then jump out and start a big argument over their kid. This would almost always scare off potential suitors. So you might want to find a way to scale back ex-hubby's visits for a few weeks while you seek the neighbors help with your computer, your oven, your sink, your squeeky basement step, your new grill, your dishwasher OR your lawn mower.

This will give him a two fold benefit - he gets to fix something in front of you and he gets to see where you stand on the dating scene. But the ex has got to give him [and you] some room.

One more thing - if you do get together with him for coffee or lunch or Lowes, try to gently feel him out to make sure your ex hasn't put anything in his head. I don't know how close they are, but you want to make sure that the ex hasn't told him how, "...she still can't get enough of me. She wants it all the time," because this will corrupt his impression of you faster than a vacant Senate seat to an Illinois Governor.

(That last line was supposed to be funny, but I may have missed the mark)

Best of luck to you! Let us know how things turn out!