Friday, September 21, 2012

Life's About Risk . . . Right?!

There are things in life that may make us feel . . .

. . . scared, hopeless, or even left wondering -- "What the heck am I doing?"

Sometimes we may feel like all of the effort, money, and time we're putting into a project or passion is going no where. 

You clock in, you clock out, you stay out of trouble and pay the bills.

Doesn't that mean you're entitled to your piece of the wealthy pie? Doesn't that mean we'll eventually get recognition and praise from everyone who comes across us? Don't we all get a shot like everyone else in the Universe who has made it and achieved success?

Honestly, I go back and forth on my answer to these questions. As many of you know I have been working on a book for years now -- How to Get Real About Dating -- that I genuinely feel is going to be a best seller one day.

Does it feel good that I have spent thousands of dollars on marketing, coaching, and more? Does it feel good that I still work a 9-5 job and often feel exhausted as I work on my book? I just spent over $1,000 on media coaching in the past month and we won't even go into styling, make-up, clothes, and more for interviews.

Have I made a profit yet?  N-O.

Let's delve deeper. How does all of this make me feel? Going after the American dream in which I give my all, work hard, stay out of trouble, invest in my future (risk) and hope that it will pay off in the form of wealth and happiness down the road?


No lie, I'm scared out of my mind. I don't know what's going to happen in the next three months, three years, or three decades. Who knows if anything will happen with my passion project . . . I may still be working my current 9-5 in a few years (goodness, I hope not). Overall, the risk of losing everything and gaining nothing is simply frightful. 


If you're not taking a risk in life and going for you're dream(s), then what the heck are you living for? Sure, I could sleep a little easier at night and not feel so stressed about the unknown if i didn't pursue writing a book with my dad, but what's the flip side? I have more money in my bank account and live a boring, safe life? I think I have to go with taking the risk. It makes life more exciting.

I was watching this show on Food Network about contestants trying to win this food truck race. One of  teams consisted on three women -- a daughter, her mom, and their friend. The daughter was talking about how her mom seemed so happy now that she quit her job of many years to run the food truck with her. "I've haven't seen her this happy in years," she exclaimed to the camera with a bright smile. 

This was a sign to me, that I'm doing the right thing . . . and, so are you. Sure, you may feel scared like I do at times. But, look what you're avoiding -- that mother on the food truck spent years miserable because she wasn't LIVING. And when she started to live and took a RISK, that's when she was able to truly be happy.

So, whenever you're down and out and feel like you're never going to get a shot or will always be broke because of the sacrifices you're making for your passion, take a moment to tell yourself:

"I'm living."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chronicles of A Person: What Men Like...

I stand as I work hard to polish one of the many glasses in front of me for this evening's dinner service. 10 down, 50 to go. My mind starts to wander and lands on thoughts of love: what is important to guys? What makes them settle down with a woman?

I spot one of my co-workers who is always down to have a love talk. Plus, he's perfect for this question: handsome, middle-aged, bachelor, and very popular with the ladies. We'll call him Henry. 

I put down the glass and focus on the real matter at hand.

Me: Yo, Henry, got a question for ya.
He immediately puts down the plate in his hand; I knew he'd be interested.
Henry: What's good?
Why do guys talk like that?
Me: Be real with me. What do guys need in a woman to be in a relationship, or date?
Henry: Loyalty, to name one.
Me: What about, like, her taking you out and making you feel special?
Henry: Naw, we don't really care about that. I don't mind paying for my girl's stuff or when we go out as long as she's loyal to me and only me.
Me: That's so interesting. For me, I like to feel special by the woman I'm dating.
Henry: I think it's different for women, though. For guys, when a woman is loyal that makes us feel special. We also need support and to know that she's going to hold things down.
Me: Hold things down how?
Henry: If we have kids and a home and I'm taking care of everything, then she would need to make sure the home is on point. And take care of the kids as well. She wouldn't have to do everything, just help in that way. I wouldn't have any issue with paying for everything if she held things down.
Me: Wow.
Henry: Lauren, it's tough to find a girl who will be loyal, committed, and supportive to you and only you. That's why it takes me so long to settle down. Men don't give up their lifestyle for a woman unless she's coming with a lot on her end.
Me: Okay, so if she's broke and doesn't want to work but has all of those are cool with that?
Henry: Absolutely. I don't mind paying if she's contributing in other ways.
I absent-mindedly grab the glass again as I absorb everything he just said. Men are definitely different than women...right?
Me: What if you're broke and can't provide that lifestyle for her?
Henry: Then I wouldn't go out with her until I got my life together. Women want a stable man.
Me: Isn't that superficial if she wouldn't date you for that reason?
Henry: Absolutely not, and I get it. Just like now, I'm a server but women who have their sh*t together still date me because I have other goals outside of my 9-5. Plus, I get paid well. Most older women wouldn't date a guy who serves tables.
Me: I disagree with that. Women date me.
Henry: It's different for women who serve tables. Plus, you're young.
Another one of my co-workers walks by and picks up on our conversation. We'll call him James.
James: He's right. I never tell women I wait tables. They want to feel like the guy can provide for them. And, a big one is feeling like she can take me home to her parents. Women don't want to take a guy home who is a server.
Henry: So true.
Me: It sounds cold-blooded to me.
Henry: It isn't at all. But for women it's different. Guys don't care if a woman is a waitress. We like the idea of being able to take her out of that job and provide better for her.
James: I just met a woman last night and I could tell she came from money and was highly educated. She also told me she has a great job in the corporate field. I waited a while to tell her that I am a server.
Me: You make it sound like what you do is a bad thing.
James: To women like that, it is!
Henry: But, women like that WOULD date a server IF they felt like the guy has potential. Like, the women who meet me always say that about me. Plus, I have other goals. It just depends on how much the woman is willing to invest in you.
James: Yeah, if she thinks you're a loser with no future, she won't look twice at a guy.
Henry: There may be exceptions, but not many. Do you really think a woman who works at a Fortune 500 company would be down to date a guy who is a server or bus driver, even if they are the same age?
James: No way, man.
Me: I truly feel like it depends on the woman. If there is a strong connection, then yes! Damn, am I the only romantic out there left in the world?
James: It's the truth. Women don't want to date a loser.
Me: James, just because you're a server doesn't mean you are a loser.
Henry: Lauren, we're not saying we're losers. We're just saying to women we don't have a future lined up...we aren't stable and, therefore, aren't as appealing as a guy who is a lawyer or doctor. And I get that. Do you think it's attractive if a woman works as a server?
Me: I think it would depend on if she is doing something else with her life. If that's all she had planned, then, no, I wouldn't like that. But that's because I need a passionate doesn't matter what she does for a living.
Damn, this glass is taking forever to polish.
Henry: Exactly. And even if she had other goals, you'd eventually get sick of it.
James: Yeah, after paying for most of the bills and events you guys attend, after a few years you'd get over it.
Me: Hmmm. But, that's not with just serving tables. That would be with any job that the woman has if it isn't her passion. If her passion was waiting tables then I would support it.
Henry: What if you wanted to have kids? How would she support kids and a home?
Me: We'd have to figure that out between the two of us. But, for me, the main thing is that she's passionate about something. I don't care what the woman does -- just be passionate!
James: Well, men do care. And, so do women. That's why I have to get my life together.
Me: James, you're like 28 years old.
James: If I want this woman to take me serious, I need to step up my game. I'm going to go buy some suits tomorrow. I have to go check my tables.
With that, he's gone. I turn to Henry who is looking down at the plate.
Me: What's wrong, dude? What's good?
Look at me, sounding like one of the guys.
Henry: I'm cool. It sucks but women naturally want to feel provided for and what I do doesn't do that.
Me: Henry, don't you realize that the right woman for you won't care about what you do for a living? She will be everything that you just said -- loyal, supportive, and committed. You have to get it out of your head that this matters so much. You are going to be a huge actor one day. Believe it.
Henry: I just turned 42 years old. Come on. Anyway, you wanted to know what men like, so there ya go.
Me: Hold up. Sure, I'm a gay woman, but it doesn't matter. If I met a woman with as much drive, talent, and intelligence as you have I would stick by her no matter what she did for a living.
Henry: Cool.
'Cool' -- a guy's way of saying, "thank you". I'll take it!
Me: You're welcome.
I say this to myself as he walks away. My glass is suddenly starting to look very shiny. Only 49 more to go.

According to Henry and most of the men I talk to, they value loyalty, commitment, and support from the woman they are dating. And in return, they wouldn't mind paying for everything if she provides these qualities. But, wouldn't a supportive woman be understanding of Henry's job? Wouldn't she NOT care about what he does for a living, as long as he has a job and feels happy?

I truly don't believe these things are a matter of being a certain gender or sexual orientation. These are stereotypes and social pressures that are still prevalent, to the point that they create insecurities so deep that peeps like Henry/James feel unworthy despite how amazing they are. If a woman or man judges you for what you do for a living, then it's their loss and it is also THEIR ISSUE.

"Lauren, what if it's my preference to date someone with a certain type of job? Does this make me a bad person for wanting this from my lover?"

If that's your preference and desire, then okay. Just as people shouldn't judge others, you shouldn't be judged for your ideals in a love match. I would just consider hearing that person out and seeing if they have an ultimate plan. What if that person is in school studying to be a doctor and will be within a few years?

Are you willing to wait?

If someone judges you for what you do, what do you think he or she will do when tough times come? What if you currently work as a doctor and lose your job? What if you suddenly have no money? You think that person will stick around through thick and thin? I may not feel absolutely elated by the idea of what I do for a living, but I know that I have a lot to offer. So, when a woman judges me for my 9-5, I just think: "Her loss!"

So, really look at what you're looking for in a love match. And also look at YOU. Steve Harvey often talks about how he met his now wife years ago when he was broke and doing stand-up. For him, he needed to feel stable and like he could provide for his woman. He wanted to get his life together for himself. I get that. So, if you feel like you aren't secure and want to be, then hold off on seriously dating because if you bring that feeling into a dating experience it probably won't work out.

Stay positive and stay real, peeps.