Group Discussion: Dating & First Impressions
I've been in the dating world since I was about 16yo and now at 30yo things have drastically changed. So, I sat with a group of people and wanted to do a test on assumptions and pick their brains on the dating world. Here are the people I had in the group:
White Woman - dressed half naked, fake: hair, nails, lashes, Black-cent acting ratchet....
Black Woman- covered very modest, minimal make up, natural hair
Asian Woman - fashionista in a way, very trendy simple make up
Black Man - skater style 100%
White Man - think "my dad owns a yacht" style
Asian Man - all black, clean cut stylish, very swaggy
Spanish Man - quiet recluse type
Despite the differences ONE thing was common within the group: They were basing their dating choices off of assumptions.
You know what they say about assuming... "don't assume something because it makes an ASS out of U and ME." and boy those words were true.
As an argument erupted, I had them say what their first impressions were.
White Woman (WW)- Very insecure
Black Woman (BW) - Seems easily unsatisfied
Asian Woman (AW)- might be high maintenance and judgmental
Black Man (BM)- Doesn't like black women
White Man (WM)- Spoiled
Asian Man (AM)- Womanizer
Spanish Man( SM)- Scary
They were taken back by how they first came off to a room full of strangers. Remember, this was just based off of their looks. Now let the conversation begin.
Me "ladies you said the BM has a missing identity" BW "yeah, because look at him, hes' all gothic looking.." WW "it's skater, not goth." AW "it's like he's trying to be everything but black." Me "really? elaborate what being black is?" AW "well, I don't really know what it is." Me "there's not style to being black, black is the color of your skin, not how you dress or act."
Me: "alright ladies, so WM you said daddy's boy because.." WW: "I mean, i believe I can speak for us, look at him. The shirt with the gator on it, the pants, the shoes, the hair, he looks like the classic white boy you see in the picture frame at Walmart." Girls nod and agree.
Me: "alright and AM womanizer! Whoa ladies! Why's that?" AW " I mean come on, he has the leather jacket, the fitting pants, nice shoes clean hair, smells great. He's the classic Hollywood movie type for a bad boy." BW "he looks like he has girls lined up around the block."
Me: "lastly, SM you said mysterious" WW "it's like we don't know he could be a gardener or a CEO." AW "going straight for the racial part are we? He's just quiet so it makes him strange."
Me: "well you dished it out, now sit here and hear what the men have to say." WW "men are fake and don't know how to be real." on the other end of the room, the AM: "nothing physically about you is real. Why would I want that? Looking at you I can hear the insecurity screaming at me through your false lashes. I don't want those issues." and the rest of the men nodded in agreement.
Me: " We'll have time for that.. For now, AW you all say she's high maintenance because..." AM "she has a freaking LV bag and said "ew when she had to put it on the floor.." BM "her outfit has to cost a couple hundred." WM "and she's very closed sitting, arms crossed, legs crossed, no initial eye contact very off putting." SM "I would keep walking, seems like she already evaluated my net-worth based off my jeans."
Me: " WW, you said she's confused." WM "just look at her, she's a lot." AM "If I wanted a black woman, I would date one, not one who's impersonating one. SM " yeah, just seems insecure to me." BM" I personally don't like when white women dress like Cardi B unless it were for Halloween. Looks silly."
Me " BW, you think she's unapproachable. Why is that?" BM raises his hand: "not sure if the wolves will be coming after me for this... glad our names aren't in it... right? (I nod yes) so, the natural look, it's beautiful, shes gorgeous, she also has a demeanor that oozes leave me alone. How she carries herself is closed off." WM"Yeah, but I love it" room was taken by surprise "I know, someone who looks like me you wouldn't expect that. I thought she was....she's someone you can't not look at. She's very confident and for some men it's a turn off but for me I go straight for her." Me "would you talk to him (pointing to the wm) if he approached you?" She shook her head no, BW shares "I don't date white men." AM "you know, the reason why most people are single is because they don't date out their comfort zone. Who knows your man could be a white man, and you won't let that happen... because.. he's.. WHITE!"
Another argument erupts .. BW "and so what? not like he (points to BM) dates my type?" BM "why do you say that? I love black women. yeah I look different I know this, I'm an emo mother fucker, but I've only dated black women. I just live out here in LA and didn't change my look and YOU the black women don't give ME the time of day because I"m not wearing a Gucci belt."
Me: "fellas, do you think all women who dress like this (pointing to the WM) are insecure? The men in unison said "YES". The WM said " look at all the men on social media, the ones who post women who look like her as their WCW (woman crush Wednesday). They're giving this look the stamp of approval yet, when you look at the woman they marry and bring home to mom, they NEVER look like her."
BW in the corner spoke up "maybe women wouldn't look like that if you men weren't idolizing it. Yeah, you might have a point however, you don't give the girls that look like me the time of day. You want a good woman but chase the wrong ones. So yeah, some might get a filler in the lip here, and an injection on the ass there. Starve themselves in the gym and only work on their asses. Change their hair color and put in extensions. You men created this."
As an argument broke out I had to real this conversation back in.
ME: if we take away the he said and she said what do we truly have? We have a society.. a culture telling us that this is okay. We have a system that generates how we should look and how we should feel about these looks. In the 90's there was nothing wrong with a smaller or flat ass, there was nothing wrong with simple make-up, there was nothing wrong with natural hair and body images. That also was a different time. Now we have filters, people getting surgery for these filters, people who refuse to post a picture without a filter. We have men and women changing who they are and what they look like to appease whoever they like. You made harsh confessions off of initial impressions. This is because of culture and personal experience. We all want to be treated with respect but our body language is some how showing other people to tread lightly or to thin otherwise."
AW "I wish none of this existed. This fantasy world of image and having to live up to it. It's unrealistic. It only works for celebrities because it's their job, at certain points in time, to look good. There's a lot of pressure to look the part."
The room falls silent as we think about what she said.
Me "another issue I see is blaming the culture and society for how we feel about ourselves. Why do we give this false narrative power over us? How deep is it to where we have to place blame on something, instead of taking accountability for ourselves?"
Out of NOWHERE the WM says to WW: "would it be wrong of me to assume that you're easy?" Stunned, the girl looks at him, then me and back at him she says: "What?" He adjusts himself and leans forward "look at how you're presenting yourself. You're half naked, have this mask of make-up on, have this accent which I find offensive and I'm not even black, you sound and look ridiculous but yet you want men to respect you, wife you and treat you like a glamorous woman. What you're showing me isn't something I would want." She was reflecting on these words, I had no idea if she was going to fly across the circle or not she said "What does it matter how I'm dressed?! I dress like this because I want too, I'm not a ho because I dress like this." The AM interjected "would you talk to me if I were dressed dirty, shirt open and approached you." WW "ew, no of course not, I"d think you're homeless." BM "So you would make an assumption about him without knowing him based on how he looks?"
Room fell silent again.
WW "Just because I'm dressed like a ho doesn't mean that I am" AM "just because I might look homeless doesn't mean that I am either..." BW speaks up "do you know why people call you a ho because of how you look?" WW shakes her head no and looks at me in confusion so now I take the reigns of this conversation in hopes of articulating it in a way that's not offensive.
Me "Prostitutes at night walking the streets would dress provocatively so men knew that they were available and for sale so to speak." WW "Shouldn't I be allowed to wear what I want?" Me: "of course! you can wear what you want BUT you also have to understand that people can think what they want too. You can't change how someone thinks and they don't have to be accepting of it. That's another thing, this new age of making someone accept you is stupid in my opinion. If I don't want to accept that as normal, then no I don't have too. You have no right to tell me how to think and I have no right to tell you how to dress and THAT'S what needs to be a common understanding."
WM "when it comes to dating, I feel like it's a bunch of hurt people wanting to be in a relationship..." BW "it's like, how can we honestly want someone when that person has so many problems?" WW "yeah, and we want so much but don't know how to say it, I guess?" AM" Well, dating is hard because we want everything. It's the world of the now, the demand for it right now. We see a picture of a couple and we want that, not knowing what issues they have. Plus. if I'm honest, most women I want to date now just want sex." AW"is that bad? for years that's all you men wanted was sex, so now the roles have switched and it's an issue?" BM "it's not an issue, just know that if you come at us that way, don't be surprised when we don't call you back." Me "that's a little dated in thinking isn't it?" WM "you'll be surprised by how many swingers there are out there. Seems like everyone wants to be in a throple, or in an open relationship." AW "I come across that a lot, or my friends both girls and guys dating the same sex because it's convenient and they just want someone to love them. I think that's a slap in the face to the LGBTQIA community but hey, what do I know... right?"
This is where I changed the subject BACK to the first self impressions and gave them room to clear the air. I had each say something about WHO they truly are.
BW: I'm used to being seen last, being looked at and never approached. I am a strong woman and I won't fold for that.
AW: I prefer the finer things because I didn't have anything growing up. I am high maintenance because I treat myself well, and I want a man who can do the same.
WW: I grew up as that kid who didn't have friends. When I started to live like this, I started to gain friends so I kept it.
BM: Contrary to what you think, I do love my black women and wish they loved me.
WM: I do't know who my parents are, I grew up in foster homes.
SM: People make fun of me because of how I talk, so I don't speak much.
AM: I've actually been celibate for four years and haven't dated for 4 1/2 years.
Now, I'm sitting in a group of people who at first had so many assumptions about one another. Now they're on the same page in a way. I wish the cameras were on during this conversation so this piece could be longer. The common ground we reached with this topic is that : they believe dating is hard because of the easy access, lack of courting, lack of self worth and understanding, plethora of hurt people and entitlement. When I raised the question on "how should we try and change this?" the unison answer was "therapy".
So what do you think, how has the dating world changed when you were growing up to how it is now? What are some issues that you've encountered? What would you like to be changed?
All in all this was a great discussion and next time I'll have the cameras rolling.