Monday, March 12, 2012

Wait, you CAN Knock the Hustle?

“I am tired of dating dreamers,” my friend sighs over the top of a champagne flute, clearly exasperated and a twinge depressed. In the interest of transparency I will admit I was well on my way to the bottom of a carafe of mimosas, so I wasn’t entirely sure I was hearing her correctly.
“You’re tired of dating beamers?”
“No, drunk ass. Dreamers.”
I get it, I suppose. I mean we are all knocking on the door of 30. We have largely grown out of the wild, tempestuousness of our youth. We are all looking for growth, a small place to carve out of the universe to call our own, whatever that might look like. And my friend, well, apparently her place did not involve people who have dreams.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I am tired of being drawn to these creative types, these people in risky fields, these change-the-worlders, with their really big but not-quite-tangible daydreams of what they wanna be when they grow up. I just wanna grow up already. And I am so tired of trying to support yet another boo through another lofty and infuriatingly vague goal, all the while wondering in the back of my mind, how is this going to help us build? Get married? Buy a house? Have children?
This, I get. In great numbers, my past dating roster holds damn near every creative type you can imagine. Thousands of trees have died to hold pages of prose and poetry in my honor. At last count, there are at least half a dozen songs written, sung, rapped about me, and those are the ones I know about. And somewhere in the world there is a gorgeous black and white photo of my thighs probably being shown in some out-of-the-way art gallery and the only other person that knows they’re mine is the person that took it. And let’s face it; it’s all good when someone is quite literally making a canvas out of your back and painting your skin with acrylics in bed. (This happened.) But as a person who is both wildly creative but also decidedly pragmatic, I get what it’s like when the first couple months of all that passion and all that excitement fades and you wonder, where will all this get me?
Whether we like to admit it or not, there are few of us that can exist on change, on excitement, on dreams alone. We would like to believe that none of us are dream killers, or the bitter, failed talent of a teacher standing over a kid’s shoulders telling them that, sure, they’re talented, but so are millions of other people and don’t you wanna be a real grown up?
And my friend, with her career on track and her life largely  in order, doesn’t quite have the stomach for the unpredictability of dating someone with more dreams than assets.
“You don’t want someone who just doesn’t dream of anything, though. Or, my worse fear, have someone whose entire world is you,” I say, trying to be reasonable about this all.
“I mean, have goals. I am ok with that,” she continued, “but can they be something that will actually take you somewhere? That you can build on? That can propel us somewhere other than where we are right now? I mean, do you know how many thirty-something “rappers” I meet? Or “writers” who have written nothing beyond a blog review of the latest pair of J’s or Lil Wayne CD? Or producers? Or “club owners” who really are just Guy Who Stands Outside the Club and Passes out Fliers? I’m just over it.”
I choke on my mimosa at this because, let’s face it, WE’VE ALL MET THESE GUYS.
“To be fair though, these guys aren’t dreamers in as much as they are dream sellers.” We laugh, rolling our eyes at the tales of men we have collected from our girlfriends (and some guy friends) over the years about people who have waxed poetic about their status and their “hustle” and the “moves” they’re making, only for the reality to be that their idea of “status” is a base model 3-series and some Vist.aprint business cards.
“I just feel like I am getting to the point where dating these people still wrestling their childhood dreams is not getting me anywhere.”
“So, date someone older.”
“I’ve tried that too! So many of the older guys are married or divorced or have kids or they’re looking for someone even younger than me. I mean, how fucking depressing is that?! I’m only 29! What are you doing, trolling graduation ceremonies at your local high school?”
“Well, you can’t have it both ways. Finding someone who wants the things that you want might include dealing with someone divorced or with kids. And neither of those things has to be bad.”
In my mind, I am considering the irony of this entire conversation. Because really, doesn’t wanting all these things, this mythical man who’s young and virile enough to have kids but old enough to want commitment and has a career and some investments but isn’t married or divorced or a parent already, isn’t THAT a dream? One that we are probably too old, and too smart to still be holding on to, even if just a little bit.
I wonder too, if this is what people I date see when they appraise me, someone with effortless talent who is doing something that looks great on paper but is only mildly related to the things they want to do with no clear direction on how to get to the proverbial There. Sure, I have largely steered my life in the direction of responsibility, but I have not altogether given up on the dreams I have. Does having those, desiring those make me less desirable than, say, someone who is very interested in getting married and having babies and houses and minivans?
Much like everything else in my life, it could go both ways.
“I am not some unrealistic woman with some crazy list of expectations-“
“-This is a bit unrealistic, though-” I counter.
“-shut up. But at what point do you grow up and say, hey, I’m 32. Maybe I’M NOT going to be a world renowned photographer of raindrops on window sills. Maybe I should do some grown up shit with my life.” I know this is more the remnants of her last breakup speaking more than anything else, but the core question still rings true; is there some magical age you reach where hustling towards your dreams is no longer as acceptable as being there?

And if so, please someone tell me that it is further into the future than I am, cuz elsewise, I am screwed.

3 comments:

A.Smith said...

I was struck first and foremost by the fact that women are often expected to support their boo of the male persuasion's lofty dreams while the only ones a man is supposed to support that belong to a woman are the realistic ones. The "be a lawyer" or "be a doctor" or "get a Ph.D" ones... never the "go save the world with only a hatchet and your wits...

Which ironically feels like what women are supposed to still do while being lawyers and doctors and getting degrees and thangs. You basically said it, La... you have dreams and talents (even if it's just that you might find a young but old guy) you're still being pragmatic about it all... and so are many of us.

Men have really painted themselves in a corner with this. I think we'd be on board to stick around for yet another one of those guys if we felt like we were free to do the same thing; if we felt like from time to time HE was wondering "now how the hell is this gonna pay a bill in 15 years when the 4th grader we have needs braces and the 8th grader needs new soccer shoes?"

Yeah... that's what struck and strikes me.

Thoughtsofsoutherngal said...

There's a difference between being realistic about your dreams and completely letting go of your dreams. I don't think anyone should ever completely give up, but at some point you have to realize that your dreams are unlikely and it's time to dedicate yourself to something at which you're more likely to succeed. Trying to become a rap star at the age of 35 is more than likely not going to happen. I'm almost dumbfounded when I come across these dudes and rapping is the only thing they have going for themselves.

One shouldn't give up on their dreams but waiting that long is giving up in itself.

An ex use to talk about his football days alllll the time. He talked about how he should have been in the NFL and blah blah blah. After failing twice trying to make a semi-pro team, I tried convincing him to at least look into going back to school, getting his coaching license, and teaching on the high school level then working his your way up to coaching college then on the pro level. Nah, this dude tried out for a third time for the semi-pro team and was rejected again.
I try not to be a dream killer, I really do because I have dreams but I know when to slow down chasing them or go take another route. I tried to encourage him by saying since playing pro ball may not be likely (he was 29 at the time) maybe he could fulfill his dream by coaching. He's 33 now and is still showing people his high school football tapes. *face palm*

keisha brown said...

sigh.

if i start..i wont stop. (cuz i cant stop...*diddy-bops).

this is just another one of things in the thing call love and relationships.

women are told to lessen their expectations. so we do. we date the man with potential. but for how long without him living up to it should we stay? and if we do, we're beaten into the ground, watching our own dreams (and ovaries) dry up.

if we're not patient enough, we're accused of all sorts of things. we risk leaving after putting in time investment and seeing him success off the work you helped him to achieve.

sigh. lemme stop.
great post. lol.