The Love Letter

beautiful lady

Beloved,

A resting bitch face? – so they say. Maybe.

But it doesn’t matter anyway.

Their opinion of you is irrelevant.

You don’t owe them your smile. It’s reserved for whom and when you choose.

Just because he may speak to you and you may even speak back,

Doesn’t mean he gets to inhale your time and invade your space

You don’t owe them your words or your minutes.

He calls you beautiful or pretty or baby or honey

He doesn’t know you. You’re the prize. You’re the jewel.

You don’t owe him your beauty or your sweet scent

You are a black woman

Unapologetically honey and golden hibiscus

An ancestral infringement upon your melanin.

But that does not matter.

You do not owe them an excuse or an explanation.

You are more than enough

You are black enough.

You are who you are meant to be.

a warrior spirit

resilient

Introverted.

You will not say you’re sorry if you are not.

You will not tell him that you love him if you don’t.

If they don’t speak their grievances to you, then it doesn’t count,

nor does it matter.

tell the story as you see it.

You are discovering your own truths, so they cannot

Disarm you with theirs. You do not scare easily.

There is no need to compete and never compare.

You are sufficiently seductive and satisfied in your own temple,

Where both your spirit and body dwell.

You’re not impressed by their big shiny things

You are more interested in the places in their souls

That are dark and hidden, cracked and unloved.

But they cannot have your soul without showing you

theirs – laid bare, raw and naked.

You want the real and You need the righteous .

Your soul soars with the universal vibrations of

Wellness and harmony.  Your profound gratitude

to the Most High God

Is endless, but your understanding is not.

You’re seeking.

You are not lackluster leftover carnage

You are deliciously divine and dazzling

You are not here solely for his pleasure or his penis

Your vagina is not submissive to his whims, entertainment or

Amusement. It is not a hole to be filled. Instead, it is a

Garden of goodness with guava and nectar . The sun and the moon.

the entry to life.

If you choose him, then the stars will belong to you both.

You do not owe yourself to him.

But should you choose to share your

Sparkle and splendidness with him,

You are the dream come true for the dreamer.

He cannot steal your joy if he leaves because

You are comfortable in solitude and that is

Where you first discovered your SELF and your worth.  SELF love

And SELF care were waiting there for you, too.

You were already in love before you met him.

But should you decide to invite him to get

Acquainted with your aura and your essence, he will love you.

Neither a queen nor a diva. You are not a woman for the meek or mild.

You are simply a woman who will release her flowers and sweetness

Upon the deserving but Who will not waste her time or his if he’s not.

You do not owe him a glance or a second thought.

Circle cautiously.

Awake and audacious – you never

Need to be “handled,” only understood – or not.

Either way, You are more than enough.

Lovingly,

Me.

Artist Credit: Maratamara

http://maratamara.deviantart.com

 

 

A Spiritual Awakening

beach ladyOn Resurrection Sunday, I am reminded of days gone by…days when we used to call it Easter Sunday. I’m not sure when that changed, but I’m sure the meaning is still the same. I remember freshly washed, pressed and Shirley temple curled hair that was partially hidden underneath an Easter bonnet, pristine white gloves, big fluffy pastel dresses and shiny patent leather shoes and matching pocketbooks. I’m speaking of when I was a little girl, of course.  I haven’t worn anything close to that in many years. I remember my sister Audrey and I being dressed identically, posing for pictures as we stood obediently and smiled. My younger sister, Ali, was in a stroller with her bottle. After visiting family and friends, and sometimes church, we’d head back home and eat our big Easter Dinner.  It was a tradition and never deviated from – that is, until I had my own children.

Easter Sundays were still special and, while I didn’t buy my daughters the billowing dresses and gloves, they did get a new dress, shoes and hair bows and Easter dinner was often eaten at a restaurant in our neighborhood, and church attendance? Rarely on Easter. Now, my Easter Sundays are usually spent quietly – like today – writing, blogging, listening to music, drinking a glass of wine, catching up with friends or just relaxing. My daughters are now women with lives of their own. There is no dinner to cook – I usually get takeout or order a pizza! There are no dresses to buy or hair to comb, except my own. Yes, this is my life as a joyfully single, free spirited “Empty Nester,” and I’m good with that. After all, what choice do I really have? It’s all about change and there’s very little we can do about change…except to embrace it!

Embracing change does not only apply to the tangible things – seen and felt. It also applies to the things that we do not see or cannot touch. Our spiritual and emotional growth and evolvement are, in essence, intangibles. They are on the inside of us, in our psyche, our souls and our hearts. It is there that the evolution and growth begins. The change is within our living spirit.  It begins and is manifested in the new choices that we make, the audience we invite into our inner circle, the boundaries that we erect or dissolve, the questioning of beliefs and blind faith that we were passed down – never to be deviated from. Spiritual growth, many times, insists that you question and dissect everything that was familiar to you – every tradition, belief or fairy-tale that was told to you. Spiritual growth is often accompanied with a feeling of awakening, enlightenment, freedom and an unencumbered soul.

As a child of God, the Most High, I have felt this awakening – this spiritual Resurrection – this change. And like all the other changes in my life, I’m embracing this one, too. There is a light inside of my spirit that guides me and keeps me hopeful and focused. This light – this energy – that is flowing from God simply makes me happy, despite my circumstances at times or those of this world. It’s all temporary anyway. God’s love for us is the only thing that lasts. This spiritual awakening comes without condemnation from Him – only love.  I am not afraid of this new journey – this new change. I am not afraid to begin new traditions and break away from those that no longer serve me or bring joy or peace to me, but instead were continued simply because they were passed down. I am not afraid to politely decline an invitation to attend church when well-meaning strangers, neighbors, friends or colleagues invite me. Nor am I afraid to answer their question as to which church I attend: “I do not attend church.” No additional explanation offered. I am not afraid of what anyone thinks about my choices or my life – I have nothing to prove to anyone.  I am also not afraid to ask why, when or how. I know that I won’t always get the answers, but I’m not afraid to ask. I am not afraid to not understand things and to sometimes feel confused, angry, and disappointed despite my faith. I don’t feel like a “faithless backslider” because my soul cries out for God’s justice in a way that I can truly understand. Nor do I feel like a “lukewarm believer” because I want to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living NOW…not only when I get to Heaven.  I remind myself often that I’m human.Black woman waking up in bed

For the past year, words with the letter “R” have been resonating with my soul almost on a daily basis. Words such as Restoration, Renewal, Remove, Revival, Resilience, Rest, Relocate, Reflect, Resolve, Renovate, Reversal, Replace, Redirect, Refocus, Review, Rebuild, Release and now, Resurrection. As I reflect on this beautiful quiet afternoon, on Resurrection Sunday – I now can see how each of those words have manifested in my life, and it has been nothing less than a blessing. This did not come from remaining where I was. On the contrary, in order to change, to spiritually and emotionally grow, each of these “R” words had to take place and continues to do so. I am a wonderful work in progress and my journey moves forward with the best yet to come.  When change comes, and it will, welcome it with open arms because 9 out 10 times, change is usually for the best. Oh, and that 1% when it’s not, then choose any of the “R” words above and move on. Happy Easter and Happy Resurrection Day – Peace and Joy.

“When I found that I knew not only that there was God, but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous.”  Maya Angelou

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING ABOUT YOURSELF?

mirrorLong before I ever had my first article published in the Florida Times-Union years ago, I said that I was a writer. I spoke it, I believed it and I claimed it. I knew that writing is what I was born to do and the truth is, I’d been writing since I was a very young girl in school.

As a writer, it is a wonderful thing to see your written words in print for others to read. However, my only audience long ago were my sisters and my parents who patiently listened as I read the words I’d written from my imagination. Much later, when asked what kind of work I did, before I even realized it, the words “I’m a writer” flowed from my lips without hesitation or forethought. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was actually speaking my destiny into creation. I was telling the universe who I was and I was embracing it with passion, wonder, excitement and a bit of fear. Yes, to actually become who you say you are is a bit scary…at first. The universe actually opened up and agreed with me and a writer took form, just as the characters in my childhood stories had. God and his incredible universe had nodded in my direction and given me the green light. And so my journey began.

The power of words should never be underestimated. The bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “There is life or death in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  In Matthew 12:13 Jesus says, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  What this means to me is that it is important to watch the words that we speak from our mouths. We can either choose to speak life into our lives, or speak failure and disappointment. Whichever we chose to speak, we’re going to be correct.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, who do you see? Do you see someone who is successful, happy, loving and living your truth? How do you speak about yourself to yourself? If you’re saying things like, “I’m a failure or an idiot,” or “I’ll never have the things that I want or be the person who I want to be,” then, once again, you’re correct. The universe has ears and it’s listening to everything that you say. I said I was a writer and that is exactly who I’ve become. It was never about “finding” myself, it has always been about “creating” myself. There’s a difference.

Self talk should be honest, forgiving, gentle and empowering. No doubt that there are days when this is easier said than done! I can testify to that. But what matters is what you really believe about yourself and your potential. Be clear on what your definition of success is.  For me, it was never about having a lot of money, although I wouldn’t be opposed to that idea at all. It isn’t about being the best writer on the planet, because I’m not. But I’m thankful that I’m living my own truth as much as possible – I am doing the thing that makes me the happiest – writing. For me, this is success.

Speak life, love, peace, good health and your definition of success into your life. Speak your truth into the universe and then be prepared to see it manifest. When given the chance, always speak life!

BLACK WOMEN: WHY AREN’T WE NICER TO EACH OTHER?

ImageAs I walked down the aisle at a local grocery store, I pushed my shopping cart and tried to decide what I wanted for dinner. I hate cooking! I sometimes look in other people’s shopping carts to see what they’re having and to maybe get an idea for something new. I saw a woman approaching me with her cart. She and I were the only two in the aisle. Now, I’m a naturally cheerful and upbeat person who is never far from a brief conversation or friendly interaction with a stranger. It comes very easy for me to make eye contact and smile at someone – I do it often. The woman was black and appeared to be in her 40’s. As we approached each other, I’d already eyed her shopping cart – she didn’t seem to like cooking any more than I did!  I laughed to myself and tried as hard as I could to make eye contact with her. But that was impossible to do because she continued to push her cart and never even glanced in my direction. Instead, she looked straight ahead and as she passed me by, she then turned her head completely away from me. Now I realize that we all get distracted and have tunnel vision at times. I would have simply written this off as one of those such times if it hadn’t been a pretty regular occurrence. It was as though I was invisible to her. It was like she deliberately made a point of ignoring me. Unfortunately, I’ve become used to it, especially living here in Atlanta.

I have made a few observations regarding this matter. In my experiences, my eye contact and smiles are usually reciprocated by older black women, sometimes my own age or, more commonly, older than myself. They will usually smile and even speak to me first or eagerly respond to my greetings. I have noticed that many younger black women (20’s – 30’s) will usually avoid any type of eye contact with me, especially if we are in close proximity – maybe to these young women, I really AM invisible – and that’s okay.  In all fairness, there are exceptions to these rules, but I’ve been observing this for several years now and I’m pretty much on point about this.

It is not uncommon for me to give a perfect stranger, male or female, a compliment. I will not hesitate to tell a sister that she’s rocking an outfit or a hairstyle and how great she looks. I will also compliment a man on how good he smells if I walk past him at the mall (now if he’s with his woman, I won’t do that!), or compliment a man on his tie. My point is, it’s not about extending false flattery, it’s about paying a genuine compliment to someone who deserves it. It takes nothing away from me, but may be the only nice thing that the other person has heard all day.

Why do we black women feel the need to compete and viciously berate and degrade each other. Surely I’m not speaking about the incident in the grocery store – it goes much deeper than that. There seems to be an undeclared, unspoken “war” that we’ve waged upon each other and I’m not sure when it began or why. If we’re at an event or a party, or just out to dinner and a beautiful black woman walks into the room, immediately we’ve sized her up and have decided that she is competition and we don’t like her. Why not? Is it because we feel that she is going to take any available men away from us? Is it because her beauty threatens our own? Do we feel inadequate or inferior? Are we afraid that our own men will find her attractive also, thereby making us feel less attractive? What is it in ourselves that makes so many of us unkind to one another? Does this instant dislike for each other come down to men? Image

We always hear how there’s a shortage of good black men in our communities – either they’re in jail, on drugs, gay, married, etc. You’ve all heard it. Is this belief the fuel for our jealousy and insecurities? The thought that there won’t be enough of anything left to go around? Do we feel better about our lives when we make others feel badly about theirs? Why don’t we celebrate each other and our accomplishments and successes? Instead, so many of us criticize, look for faults or failures or we simply say nothing at all. It’s obvious that I have more questions than answers. I can’t speak on how other races treat each other, and no race is without their own issues. However, I suspect that there is less of a  “crab in the barrel” mentality and more cohesiveness and support for each other than we display. Haven’t we been through enough already? Can’t we show each other love and compassion?

Try this for yourself. The next time that you’re in an aisle or passing another black woman, make eye contact with her and smile and see if she’ll respond. Notice if she will even look in your direction at all. I hope you’re pleasantly surprised, but don’t count on it!  How about we all make at least one resolution for kindness towards each other, especially our fellow sisters. If you don’t know where to start, see my suggestions below.

Sister Tips:

  • Smile at a black woman – she might need it more than you know.
  • Encourage another black woman to keep up the good work – at the gym, on the job, with the kids, in her goals.
  • Pay a sister a compliment! If she looks fabulous, tell her! It doesn’t take anything away from you to pay a compliment!
  • Say HELLO! You don’t have to become best friends, but a hello or a good morning doesn’t hurt anyone.
  • Make eye contact and acknowledge a black woman – make sure she knows that you see her.
  • Stop bashing other black women, no matter what they look like, their size, their hair, and anything else that is different from you.
  • Don’t “hate” on another sister if she’s with a man and you’re not. If you’re focusing on your own self and your goals, you wouldn’t have time to worry about their relationship or the fact that they’re together. Be happy for them and wish them well…and mean it!
  • Celebrate a sister! Give her kudos and congratulations when she deserves it. Be inspired by her accomplishments and set some goals of your own.
  • Simply show some love to each other. Love is always enough and it’s always the answer.
  • Remember – Live your life and let others live theirs. When you decide that your own life is worthy of love and kindness, you will do the work to make that happen – you won’t have time or the inclination to be envious of someone else’s.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Stock Photos

A HEADS UP ON DATING YOUNGER MEN

ImageSo you’re thinking about dating a man who is younger than you…maybe even MUCH younger than you. KUDOS!! That’s fantastic! If you’ve read my earlier post, A Cougar’s Tale, then you already know that I’m talking from experience here. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out. Okay, back to you. So, you’ve met a young man who has caught your attention. He’s good looking, confident, funny and sexy as hell and he’s made it very clear that he’s interested in you. Now what? Go for it! Yes, it will be a little uncomfortable in the beginning – a little awkward even. But you will get the hang of it quickly. If he’s the RIGHT kinda young guy, he’s going to make you laugh, bring out the spontaneity in you, or add to yours, he’ll teach you things that your kids already know and he will add a delicious flavor of excitement to your life that you didn’t even know you were missing. That won’t happen with every younger man you meet, that’s why I said if he’s the RIGHT one. Oh, and did I mention that he will rock your world sexually? Not only will he have the stamina to keep up with you sexually, but he will welcome the challenge and the fact that you desire him and actually like sex period! Women in their 40’s and 50’s are sauntering into our sexuality unapologetically and many of us are embracing it with eagerness and ease. While we embrace our sexuality, our men will embrace us!

Now you’re stepping out of what you’ve always done and doing something different. It’s normal to be nervous or even afraid. But the fact is, if you want something different, you have to do something different. And if you do decide to entertain a younger man in your life for little while, or a long time, here are just a few things you may want to keep in mind as you do.

Do remember that it may be his first time being with an older woman. You could be a long-desired dream come true for him. He may be just as nervous or unsure of himself as you are, although for different reasons. You’ll probably be wondering what he thinks of your body, will your grey strands turn him off or will your once perky, now sagging breasts turn him off or if you should invest in that sexy teddy (the answer to that question is ALWAYS YES! BUY IT!). He, on the other hand, will be wondering if he’s going to satisfy you sexually. All men wonder that regardless of their age, at one time or another. But for a young man about to be with an older woman for the first time, he may be thinking about all the experience you already have and wondering if he’ll measure up. Nine times out of ten, he will not only measure up, but will surpass previous lovers (if you’re lucky!)

Don’t underestimate him just because he’s young. He may be able to show you a thing or two. It probably won’t be anything that you haven’t heard of before, but you might find yourself trying something new – something that you didn’t think you would. And you may find out you like it!

Do remember that you’re his lover – not his mother. It’s important to resist the urge to “mother” him, i.e. chastise, coach, lecture, advise. If he asks for your opinion or advise, then fine, give it. But you’re his lover and remember that. Although he is much younger than you, he is still a man, not a boy (HOPEFULLY) Treat him like the man that he is. And if he’s looking for a mother figure, then he’s not for you. Keep it moving!

Don’t lose your boundaries. And this goes for whoever you’re dating, younger or older. Don’t do ANYTHING that makes you uncomfortable, disrespected or  afraid. Establish your boundaries and stick to them. Remember, he will only go as far as you allow him. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow. He doesn’t get a pass on bad behavior just because he’s young.

Do keep your sense of humor and use it often! Being able to laugh at ourselves and stay light hearted is a virtue and will serve you well in most cases. In this particular situation, a sense of humor will definitely keep you from being self critical or allowing other people’s opinions to influence you. There WILL be people who will not approve or understand your choice for a lover. That’s their business, not yours. Keep it moving and go buy that sexy teddy!

Don’t think that the only thing that young men want is sex. Look, the reality is that ALL men want sex (so do we women, but we’re not talking about us right now). Yes, he wants sex and so do you. But as I stated earlier, if he’s the RIGHT guy for you, then there will be other connections as well. Believe it or not, if you connect mentally, the generational bridge may not be as big or as insurmountable as you may think. Naturally there are going to be differences other than the age – musical, what to go see at the movies, what to eat, etc. And know this: there will some things that will never be reconciled, such as some of the aforementioned items. But that’s okay. If you two can talk, relate, communicate, differ, teach and learn, then you’ve got a good chance. This is only in the event that you’re thinking about making this a long term situation. If you’re strictly in it for the sex, then who cares what he eats and he won’t care what kind of music you like.

Do remember that if being with him makes you forget how old you are and how young he is (most times), then that’s a great place to be in. You don’t want to spend all of your time constantly bringing up the age difference. And if anyone brings it up, it’s most likely going to be you, not him. He’s loving the fact that this older, sexy woman desires him, again and again. He’s happy because you haven’t gotten bored with him and stopped taking his calls. He’s thrilled that he satisfies you sexually and that you want more. If all of that is true, then don’t ruin it by being insecure about the age difference. When you’re together, you’re should feel the way a woman feels when she’s with a man who she enjoys being with, not a YOUNGER man…just a man.

Don’t forget to not only wear that sexy outfit that you’ve got, but wear your confidence like a fragrance – all over you! One of the things that he really digs about you is the fact that you’re uninhibited and secure in your skin. Dating younger is not for everyone and the fact that you’re doing it shows that you’re willing to venture out. That alone is sexy!

Do remember to remind him that your life and home are NO DRAMA ZONES! Dating younger men can come with it’s own set of issues – baby mama drama, other women,  multiple children,  joblessness, lack of education, lack of housing, money and  drug use. Now in all honesty, our older brothas have these same issues, too, so these are not age specific issues and you wouldn’t want them from anyone. I don’t know about you, but my life is peaceful and there’s no drama here! I have things to deal with like all of us, but my age and wisdom have been good teachers and I handle them differently now. Do keep your space peaceful, loving, welcoming of only good things and reject the BS from anyone, regardless of how good the sex is!

Don’t forget to have fun! That’s what it’s all about, right? Enjoy your time together and make memories. Keep things light and stay true to who you are. Don’t try to be a young “fly girl”  – that’s not why he’s with you. He liked you for who you are – a sexy, mature woman who is easy-to-be-with-but-she-won’t-take-your-shit-and-will-remove-you-from-her-life-quickly! Yep, that’s who he wants, at least for now, or at least until baby mama calls him (if there is one, but that’s his issue – don’t make it yours).

Do pay for things that you want. If he is broke, in between jobs or otherwise unemployed, if you want to go out to dinner and a movie, it’s okay to pay for it! Most older women who date younger don’t mind paying for stuff. We usually have more money or steady jobs, or both. You’re not his suga mama unless that’s what you want to be, in which case, then do you. But just because you pay for some things doesn’t mean you’re rich, it just means that you’ve got more money and don’t mind paying for a good time for both of you.

Don’t forget the two C’s that may NOT be ingrained yet in your young man – Communication and Commitment. They are still young and are still experimenting, dating, finding themselves and building up a vocabulary that will eventually  enable them to actually communicate effectively (this does not include texting). So, you might want to wait before you fall in love, because chances are you’ll be there by yourself – Don’t confuse good sex with love – Be realistic! Also, you will need to be clear and concise about plans, dates, times,  etc, – say what you mean and mean what you say.  Younger people are easily distracted and he may not “hear” what you’ve said – Be clear! (There are always exceptions to these rules and all young men are not created equally).

I could go on and on with the do’s and don’ts, but you’ll figure the rest out on your own. The most important thing is to not forget who you are and don’t forget who he is. You’re BOTH adults and free to do as you please. Mutual respect and communication should always be in the mix whether it’s just a fling or a long-term commitment. And please, don’t forget to buy that sexy teddy and rock his world! He’s going to love it!

Photo Credit: Jason Christopher

A COUGAR’S TALE

Image

I’ve heard that some women don’t like being referred to as a cougar. They think it conjures up a vision of a desperate older woman on the prowl for young men. To each his own. Personally, I love the title. It’s playful and vibrant and it resonates well with my alpha personality. The odd thing is, I have NEVER, not once, approached a younger man. It’s always been the other way around – they approach me. The very first time that a young man approached me, I thought he was going to ask me for the time or directions, or truthfully, I thought he was going to ask me for money! It’s not that he looked indigent – quite the opposite – he was clean, pants pulled up, well almost all the way up, but far from “thuggish”  and he was well groomed.  He was very handsome and VERY young. Imagine my surprise when he smiled and told me I was beautiful and asked if I was married! My initial response was a blank stare and a loss for words. It took a few seconds for his words to register in my brain. This young dude was hitting on me!  I was amused and I remember laughing out loud. I told him that I was old enough to be his mother and I had daughters who were his age. The young man stood his ground and didn’t seem deterred in his efforts to talk with me. He stood there smiling and told me that, although he was sure my daughters were equally as beautiful as their mother, it was me he was interested in. For the second time that day, I was speechless and completely unprepared and caught off guard by his boldness and surety. I smiled politely at him, as though I was indulging a young child, and told him that I was not interested and wished him a good day and headed towards my car. Needless to say, I was quite confused and very flattered at the same time. This handsome young guy was actually attracted to me – a nearly 50 year old mother of two beautiful adult daughters. I had been happily divorced for about two years at that time and hadn’t done much dating at all. I’d certainly considered what dating would be for me after almost 20 years of marriage, but I certainly never imagined it would be with younger men.

Fast forward a year later. I’d been on dates in the months that followed with several men – all in my generation – mostly in their 50’s.  I remember dinner or coffee dates with these men and, other than my company, the one thing they all had in common were discussions about their adult children who still living at home munching off them, or the ones who’ve moved back in with spouses and/or grandchildren, endless droning on about why their ex-wives were horrible and mean to them or various physical ailments that they were currently dealing with **YAWN**  I even had one guy tell me that since his daughter and grandson lived with him, he’d feel more comfortable if our next date (he was being very optimistic that there would be a next date…) could be in a hotel room, where he’d cook me dinner. He told me he didn’t feel comfortable bringing a woman home with his daughter and  grandson there. Wait…there’s more!  He then commenced to bragging to me about his culinary skills and that he even carries a hot plate and a George Foreman grill around in his trunk and would whip me up a fantastic dinner in our hotel room.  (**BLANK STARE**)…Once again, there aren’t many times in my life that I’m left speechless, but you can bet this was one of those times. I remember cutting the coffee date shorter than I usually do and telling him that I needed to leave for an appointment. I got out of there as quickly as I could, with him on my heels. His car was parked right next to mine and as we approached our vehicles, he asked me when he could see me again. I remember getting into my car, closing the door and starting my engine while he stood by the window. For a fleeting moment, I thought about running him over with my car, but I’m too old to do time, so instead, I rolled my window down and simply said “never.” I pulled out of the parking lot and left him standing right there, next to his car with the hot plate and George Foreman grill in the trunk.

Little did I know that that particular date was an epiphany for me. It was a turning point in my dating life that I had not anticipated. From that day forward, I decided something very simple: I was going to surround myself with people – men and women – who made me happy. I was going to be in the company of people who made me laugh and feel wonderful! I had no idea that that simple decision would lead me on an uncharted and new road in my life: dating younger men.  Yes, thanks to hot plate dude, I was now about to try something different (and it sure wasn’t going to be dining in some cheap hotel room with some old man standing in his socks and underwear flipping me a burger on his grill, hoping he’s going to get lucky – I shudder…just shudder at the imagery!!)  Now, I need to mention that the young man I’d encountered a year earlier was the first, but he wasn’t the last. In between dating so-called mature men my own age, the young men kept coming. They had various approach lines, looks, and personalities, but they were all much younger than me. And just like before, I blew them all off, but not before I found myself laughing with them (not at them this time). Yes, I laughed with them because they were all usually very funny and animated and their self confidence, boldness and audacity was outrageously sexy and appealing. Even though I  found myself spending more and more time chatting with them – giving them excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly be interested in them,  I would still always refuse to entertain the thought of actually going out with one of them.

That all changed! When I decided to surround myself ONLY with people who make me laugh and feel wonderful, I didn’t know at the time that it would include younger men for dating. But when I thought about, I realized that they were the very ones who were already doing what I decided was necessary and important to me. Suddenly it became very clear: I’ve tried dating men my own age and it’s not working out. So, why not try dating the men who are eagerly stepping up and showing interest, even if they are decades younger than me? Decades?!  A decade is ten years, right? Right. And yes, these young men were ranging anywhere between mid 20’s to mid 30’s!  Wasn’t there a happy medium somewhere? Where were the younger men who weren’t SO young – like in their 40’s. That was still a lot younger than me because by now I was 50, so 40 was younger! I have no idea where those 40ish men were, but I never met any of them…at least not at first. Well, maybe one or two, but they didn’t interest me. So what did this say about me? Oh my God, was I some sort of undercover freak pervert who only liked them REALLY young? I wondered, but then I realized that I did have my “cut off” limit – the point where too young is REALLY too young. And that decision was made pretty easy for me because the large majority of men I met were in their mid to late 30’s anyway.

So, with much consideration and a few conversations with a couple of my close girlfriends (who while very supportive, teased me about being a cradle robber! – And that same girlfriend – I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is (Georgia!) is now considering dating younger men, too!) My daughters were my biggest cheerleaders, with some good natured teasing in the mix as well. But ultimately, they told me that they just wanted me to be happy. And so I was. Now know this: I did not seek my daughters’ and friends’ approval before doing this. They simply gave it to me unconditionally and lovingly. What I did seek is some advice from my closet friend, who also happens to be Georgia. I shared my thoughts about eventually becoming sexual with a younger man and how I might be a little nervous being naked in front of him – after all, I’m a 50 year old woman and  although I very healthy and exercise regularly, I don’t have the body that I did when I was 20 or even 30. My friend laughed and said something that I will never forget. She said, Ava, younger men know EXACTLY what you have and they know EXACTLY what they want if they approach you. They know you’re older and your body is, too. It’s the confidence that goes along with your body that they’re attracted to, so don’t be nervous. If they wanted a younger woman, they’d have one.” She was so right! And this was the friend who told me I was a cradle robber!

And from my two darling daughters, I sought what I refer to as “Urban Translation.”  Over the last few years since I started on my journey with younger men, my daughters have clued me on such meanings as “Dope,” “Keep it 100,” “Ratchet,” “Killed it, “Monet,” “Shady Boots,”  and most recently, “Turn up!”  (If you don’t have children as cool as mine, get the Urban Dictionary app for your phone). Now, truth is, I don’t use these words, except around my daughters just to hear them beg me not to! Although I will admit, I do like the word “Dope,” (urban translation: adj: cool, awesome, nice – noun: drugs). Obviously it still means what it’s always meant, but I use it “occasionally” when I REALLY like something, and ONLY in limited company, and I always feel dope when I say it.  The beauty for me about this dating younger journey that I’m on is the fact that I’ve never used any of those words when I’m with them. I’m simply myself – my 50-something self, talking just the way I talk when I’m with my friends, family and strangers. The young men will sometimes use it and I like to know what it means and have asked them at times. And my questions are always met with a smile and a patient explanation of its definition. Now it’s their turn to indulge me like a young child, and I love it!

My point here is that I haven’t changed who I am one bit. Instead, I’ve learned a few new things that have only enhanced me. Not just the slang, but the fact that the very reason that I’m attractive to some young men is because I remain true to me. I don’t try to act their age – I act MY age, and that’s the appeal. Someone once said to me that I probably like younger men because they make me feel alive. I thought about that for a moment. Finally I said to him: No, it’s just the opposite – I date younger men because I already feel alive and I want to be around people who feel alive, too. After my divorce, I metamorphosed into a  free spirited, vibrant, youthful and happy woman who realized that life is too short to surround yourself with people who are negative, complaining, complacent and miserable. Misery does not suit me at all. I’m not bashing men my own age. As a matter of fact, I have met a few older men who are good friends, but nothing more.  Dating younger men may not be for everyone – again, to each his own. But it has brought me more laughter and fun than I can ever remember in my “love” life.  I’m determined to be an old chic with no regrets! And, by the way, I got over that anxiety of being naked in in front of a younger man.  My young lover of two years quickly dissolved all those fears and worshipped my body and I felt like a goddess. And the sex, well…just DOPE!

Photos: Courtesy of Stock Photos