The story of how my husband and I first met was far from a fairytale, and as happy as I am with where we are now, I often caution my friends that our situation had just as much of a chance of going wrong as it did right.
Back in the early 2000’s when all my high school friends had gone off to various parts of rural PA to begin their lives as undergrads, I was left working a job I had held through my teens at an ice cream parlor and spent a year or two doing random things you do as a young adult trying to figure it out. I spent the summer blowing minimum wage paychecks on Air Force One’s and hanging out with a guy who had nursed a crush on me since I was freshman. He was a nice enough guy, but one of those guys that had no idea that I had all but re-financed a mortgage for him in the friend zone. Sometime in the summer of 2005 he ended up introducing me to a close friend of his who at the time I had no idea would be the man I’d eventually marry.
My husband had a lot of undesirable qualities about him, but one of them wasn’t financial management. He was able to save and purchase a house at a very young age and provide what only I could call the hood’s version of Hedomism for all his friends. It was a bachelor pad that always had liquor readily available, T.I. and Madden NFL blasting throughout the night, and half-dressed girls parading in and out. It wasn’t exactly the setting to fall in love. But somehow despite him being the host to these shenanigans, I ended up really liking the guy. Of course at this time he wasn’t the type to pick me up for drinks and late night walks along the riverfront. Our relationship began pretty basically, but instead of “Netflix and Chill” back then it was called a booty call and I settled for it. In the occasional night his house was quiet and he finished a shift at 12AM he would call me up and ask if I wanted to come over and watch The Wire which would always inevitably turn into Stringer Bell and Omar peeping our “under-cover activities”.
This went on for few years until I decided I wanted something more serious and was tired of settling for being the girl he knew he could call for a good time and nothing more. I also knew I was worth much more than only being thought of after 10:00 pm. Our first official date of many was a night at the movies to see Denzel Washington star in Book of Eli and although it may not seem like much, I think if a man feels like he never has to leave his apartment for you, it says something about how much he’s invested into you.
Reservations at Painting with a Twist doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve landed yourself a husband, but it will get you a lot closer than Netflix and chill ever will. Here are seven reasons you need to make him take you on a date right the hell NOW:
1. Because it forces him to make the effort, and you deserve a little damn effort.
Ne-yo has a single on the last album that I love called “Make It Easy” which is about finding the one to spend your life with who makes living comfortable and drama-free. This, however, does not apply to the first few months of dating. If you are the one who is constantly driving to see him, picking up dinner and delivering ass along with a stuffed crust pizza you are a glorified Domino’s delivery driver, not a girlfriend.
I wouldn’t write it, if I didn’t witness it. When a man takes you out on a date it forces him to plan and muster up a little damn effort. I’m all for being an independent woman and making the first move, but when you “do all the doing” you rob a man of the opportunity to make the effort that you deserve. Even if his best effort is a Fandango transaction for tickets to the latest Leo DiCaprio flick and buffalo chicken sliders on him, it still required more energy than the dude who showered, threw on sweatpants and made sure his wi-fi was working.
2. Because being broke is no longer a valid excuse.
A Google search for “dating on a budget” returns 71,400,000 results in .67 seconds which means that “I’m on a budget,” is no longer an excuse for refusing to leave the bedroom. Whether you grab a pretzel and people watch at a local park or you both volunteer for an animal shelter for an afternoon, being broke is not a good enough reason for him to refuse to take you out in public. Better yet why not visit a career fair or a networking event if he claims lack of coins is the only reason why date night is confined to his couch.
3. Because it allows you the chance to see what he’s bringing to the table outside of the bedroom.
Being in public forces people to present themselves differently to the world than they would when the only social interaction they have is the occasional interruption by the guy delivering a quart of vegetable lo mein.
Does he get a bad case of social anxiety? Did he tip the server more than $2.00 or offer the mom with the screaming toddler a quick glance of sympathy? You can learn more about a person by how they act in public than you ever would from their Netflix queue.
4. Because there’s the chance you’ll bump into his crew or the girlfriend he forgot to mention.
When a man goes out of his way to avoid taking you out in public (or if when he does you always have to go two counties away and can never hang out with friends) I always assume it’s because he has something to hide. Maybe he’s keeping you away from his boys because they probably won’t know you from the last three girls he brought around in the last week. Or maybe he doesn’t want to bump into his girlfriend’s older brother who frequents the best beer garden in town. Either way if you can’t seem to ever see the light of day with your date, rest assured the skeletons he’s got trapped in the closet aren’t either.
5. Because the best memories rarely begin with, “Remember that time we were binge-watching Bob’s Burgers?”
Karaoke with strangers, dive bars in small towns and that little deli that makes the best corn beef specials: That’s what the best date memories are made of. If you’ve met a guy that you think you want to get serious with, shared experiences are what relationships are built on. They will be what give you character as a couple and help you bond. You don’t have to go rock climbing in South America or share epic life-changing experiences to become closer. Bonding can come through looking at the same old neighborhood hangouts in a different way through one another’s eyes….which requires leaving his apartment from time to time.
6. Because a group date may allow your girlfriends to see things that you don’t.
They might catch him shifting uncomfortably or avoiding eye-contact or they may peep that he doesn’t pull off until your seat belt is buckled or how his eyes light up when you walk in the room. Your gut is usually spot-on, but friends and family can sometimes see things that love and lust alike won’t allow you to.
7. Because ain’t that much “busy” in the world.
The saying never fails: A person will make time for the things they want to do, and excuses for what they don’t want to do. When my now husband/then love interest started to get serious about me, I noticed that even if was working 10 and sometimes 12 hours straight, he’d take the hour he had in between shifts just to bring me Johnny Rockets and sit on the porch and talk. I’m not saying he has to take you to a five-star-restaurant and end the night with a rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight” accompanied by John Legend on piano. But if a man can’t make time to poke your brain, but clears his schedule to penetrate other parts of your anatomy, it’s probably because that’s all he’s interested in.