It’s all my parents fault. They met and fell in love in college as undergraduate students. Their story birthed in me the belief that I would meet the Dwayne to my Whitley and the Quincy to my Monica in much the same way. And since dating all but eluded me in high school, save for an occasional date or two, I assumed this late bloomer would find her mojo in college and make up for lost time. I was more than ready, especially considering that my brother had a similar experience to that of our parents. He and his now wife met in high school, became a couple in college, and eventually married after graduation. All this young love set the bar high for how I thought I’d meet the man I would eventually marry. But as it turns out, my college experience was the complete opposite of what I expected it to be.
On the dating front, college was full of crickets. Yes, I was highly dedicated to my studies, in addition to being shy, but that shouldn’t have mattered, dammit. Raging hormones hovered in the air like germs. Hooking up may as well have been an elective because that’s all people seemed to do. Like many college students, this was the first time I was living on my own, albeit in a relatively controlled environment, but that was part of the lore of college. It was a time of freedom and exploration. A unique moment void of typical adulthood responsibilities. In fact, it was just enough responsibility to make you feel like you were fully grown. Like, I know everything grown. Still seeing the world with fresh eyes, I wanted to learn something about the world and myself and doing that with the right man on deck? I couldn’t think of a better equation for young, unbridled, carefree l-o-v-e.
But here’s where I went wrong: I assumed it would be easy. Like I could just open my dorm door and oop – there would be an unbelievably foine man waiting for me. Or I’d drop a book and my future husband would pick it up for me, just before he’d ask where I’d been all his life. I know, the corniness – it hurts. While the opportunities seemed infinite, I was chock full of unrealistic expectations. Looking back, it seems as if I was looking to be saved. From what, I’m not entirely sure but, dare I say it…I was probably looking for a man to complete me. Like being with someone would magically make every problem go away and that living would somehow become easy because someone was by my side. Guys can smell that kind of desperation a mile away. Heck, babies can sense that. Desperation is a funk that’s stronger than any pheromone.
So I didn’t meet the elusive “one” in college. Clearly, I had some growing to do. After graduating and finally settling into the city I would call home for years to come, I tried online dating. I met a few guys, got more comfortable in my skin, wised up and determined the qualities in a man that appealed to me. Most of the “relationships” were short term and belonged in that perpetual dating twilight zone. You know, where you date someone for months and months and months on end and never take things to the next level. A lot of guys wanted everything and nothing at the same time, the ultimate paradox.
When I returned to school to get my Master’s degree, I was armed with a lot more knowledge. I knew what I was willing to put up with, what traits and actions were total deal breakers, and could tell when my time was being flat out wasted. I also knew that whether I was attending school, working or unemployed, I needed to play a much more active role in meeting someone. More importantly, I didn’t have the expectation that I would meet the elusive one (though I’d be content if I did). And just because my parents and my brother found love in school, it didn’t mean that would also be my story.
As of now, I’m still looking for the right guy. I know that that he will come along when we’re both good and ready, and that the right man will only enhance the wonderful life I’m choosing to live. Honestly? I’m glad that I didn’t meet anyone in college. That’s not to say that any relationship I would have had then wouldn’t have stood the test of time, but I wasn’t ready for the emotional responsibility that it entailed. Thankfully, I’m now in a place where I know my worth and recognize that what I have to offer spiritually, emotionally, romantically and every other kind of –ly, ain’t for just anybody. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.