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Black Love, African American Love

A Black Love Blog that explores every dimension of African American relationships

We, the people — in particular, those socially active seekers of romance, companionship and pleasure — deserve certain inalienable rights when it comes to charting the waters of the dating scene. And so, in honor of Independence Day (you’re looking for love, not surrendering your sense of self), here they are:
You have the right to ask. If you meet a person of interest, you are free to ask him/her out. Sounds simple—but until you fully embrace this concept, you may hinder yourself socially. Asking someone out is not gender-exclusive (i.e., women can and should do it). And no one is out of your league (the worst he/she can say is no thanks). So unless the guy/girl you’ve got designs on is in a relationship or part of a celibate religious order, ask away!

  •   You have the right to the jitters. Getting to know a new person can be nerve-wracking. Pre-date anxiety is so common, it’s a safe bet the person you’re sweating about seeing is doing the same about you. It’s all right to not only feel it, but admit it. Indeed, saying, “I’m a little nervous about tonight” can work as an icebreaker.
    You have the right to punctuality. It’s a date, not a “stop by whenever…” open house. Expect to be met or picked up on time (so be ready or at the rendezvous spot on time), or called in advance if delays are unavoidable. Consider enacting a 15-minute rule. If a date is a quarter of an hour late, don’t wait!
    You have the right to free speech. Yes, you want this person to like you, but that doesn’t mean you should alter your ideas or opinions to voice what you think your date wants to hear. Speak your mind! That said, make sure you encourage your date to speak freely, too. No one wants to hang out with a conversation hog.
    You have the right to fun. Approach dating like a job interview, and a good time will not be had by all. While the impulse to ascertain someone’s long-term commitment potential is natural, it’s a bit self-defeating in the early stages of dating. Go on activity-oriented dates, where you can get a vibe about a person, as opposed to doing entirely talk-centric stuff that can make both of you feel scrutinized and squirmy. Think brief, planned encounters initially instead of random marathons. Keep conversations light on topics like shared interests (rather than delving into each other’s psyches and romantic histories right away).
    You have the right to undivided attention. A date is by and large a one-on-one activity. It’s not about two people and a gadget. Or two people and all of his/her friends at the bar. If the individual you’re out with constantly checks email or takes cell phone calls — or is so distracted by others in the room that you feel ignored — end the date early and move on.
    You have the right to bare arms—or long sleeves. Wear jeans and a T-shirt—or something fancier if it makes you feel more on top of your game. The point is: Dress comfortably for dates, donning an outfit you look good and feel good in. You’ll come off as confident—and be more naturally desirable. Of course, do aim to be occasion-appropriate (that slinky evening gown might not do for his backyard barbecue; shorts and a tank top won’t work for a candlelit dinner).

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