GOING THE SAME DIRECTION? Brothers, I might as well warn you up front, this WILL happen to you. It may be on your job. It may be in your house of worship. It may be in a restaurant. You will hear some single sister utter the following phrase: “I can’t find a good man!” Now, before you start laughing, keep in mind that far too many single women have had their heads filled with Ebony, Essence, Cosmo, or any one of the other media offerings that appear in the mainstream. They have been ‘conditioned’ to believe that there is NO hope in finding a man that they can call their own. And, some of these single sisters go to CHURCH every Sunday! Of course, many of these same sisters are guilty of the same sins as some members of the brotherhood. THEY won’t commit. THEY won’t stop running the streets. THEY won’t marry ‘their baby’s daddy’; as to do this would cause them to lose their ‘bitter buddies’! So, the next time you hear those word uttered, use this column as a reference. The Old School way is still the best way! Meaning that, in order for a meaningful relationship to take place, a MAN must find a WOMAN. NOT the other way around. Think I’m crazy? Read On! You might just find YOUR sanity in our time together this month! ONE EVENING IN THE RAMEY HOUSEHOLD: One evening, just for grins, my wife and I decided to ‘surf’ a few of the dating and relationship shows currently offered on the various television stations. Keep in mind that we grew up in the era that featured ‘The Dating Game’ and ‘The Newlywed Game’. Shows that were not only funny, but also classy. After about the fourth entry, we both realized that the funny and classy days of such programming were looooong gone. Forever replaced by a nightly display of desperation, debauchery, and downright cruelty. All for the consumption of a national, and in some cases, an international audience. I’m not going to mention the particular names of the shows; but I will provide a little commentary to some of the situations and results I observed on a few of them: *One show had a couple that was tired of each other. They weren’t married. They whined and complained about what one wouldn’t do for the other. The host then set each of them up with a ‘dream’ date with a person who would do all kinds of things to ‘please’ the complaining person. Needless to say, the couples had to hold up signs to indicate whether they would stay with the person they had; or move on with the new person. *Another show had several women competing for the attention of one man, or several men competing for the attention of one woman. Of course, just about everything was filed on videotape, so the viewers could ‘experience’ being out with the crowd as the center of attention started ‘firing’ members of the group until they got that ‘dream’ person. *Another show was TRULY tragic! Several women dating two men. You followed the cameras and microphones to ‘hear’ the date and the lines used. At the end of this particular evening, the two men picked one of the three women, and fired the other two. However, the three women rejected BOTH of the guys, after their ‘night’ on the town, deciding that they would rather be by themselves. A VIDEO RECORD OF YOUR FAILURE: Brothers, if there is one thing that being ‘Old School’ has taught me, is that failure at romance is only temporary, but videotape is FOREVER! Many of these shows have in their legal agreements the fact that while they may pay for a night on the town with the women you may meet through their show, they control the rights and the tape. Remember the TV show ‘Candid Camera’? They STILL feature footage shot years ago of people doing dumb things in set-up situations. I mean they have a forever record of people, some of whom may be dead, permanently identified as doing something dumb. The LAST thing on earth I would want to do (and, keep in mind that I am happily married) is for some producer to be digging around in his vault and trotting out a failure of mine on the dating scene from years ago. Especially for my wife to see, on national television! Even worse: How would YOU like someone, or a group of someone’s, to provide play-by-play as to WHY you failed, and run the failure, time and time again, for studio audience grins and giggles. If someone is that desperate to get a date, they DESERVE what they get! POWER DATING: But I’m only halfway through my column, and have yet to address another dating innovation I have heard about called: ‘Power Dating’. Basically, this takes place in larger cities. A clearinghouse service of some type takes in the dating preference information, and the singles ‘meet’ with their ‘matches’ for eight to ten minutes, a la ‘Job Fair’ conditions. The singles take notes, and let the organizers know whom they would like to spend more time getting to know--based on that brief ‘dating interview’. It’s bad enough getting rejected by several companies for a job; but getting rejected by several women for a relationship--in the SAME room--would drive even the stoutest of men to seek therapy and medication. MAN-SHARING: I’ve seen this next one written about in the mainstream press, and on the web. The subject of ‘man-sharing’. Whereby two--or more--otherwise ‘sane’ women get their information from the world (instead of the WORD), and ‘share’ a man--be he single, or married! Now, I’m not a Ph.D, but I KNOW that this prescription spells TROUBLE! Just read over the exploits of David and Solomon. Sharing does not mean caring. As a matter of fact, it means: “I’m too STUPID to do it the right way!” FEAR AND LAZINESS: So, why do singles put up with such mess to find someone? Two immediate reasons come to mind: *FEAR: Brothers, don’t be fooled by this one. A lot of single men (just like single women) are afraid to enjoy being single. The mainstream press, along with a host of magazines, books, and articles serve as excellent manipulators of fear. For some reason, we have been ‘led’ to believe that everyone ‘needs’ to be married to be truly ‘whole’. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, marriage is desirable, but it takes MORE work to maintain and grow a marriage than it does to grow you as an individual. *LAZINESS: This is another subtle snake in the garden. If you trust someone else to ‘pick’ for you, in terms of finding a future wife, that lets you out of the responsibility to ‘improve’ yourself to ‘be’ the right, future husband! Thus, if you DO have a problem with your character that needs to be addressed, you’ll never know it if you have someone else to do your shopping at the ‘dating bazaar’ for you. Don’t shout me down when I’m on a roll! So, what DO you do, should you want to date? The first thing one should do is to stay away from these dating shows, period. They make lousy reference points! CATERING TO MAKE ONE DISSATISFIED: One thing I have noticed from ALL of the dating and relationship shows on the air; the average person is NOT represented. MANY of the participants look like they have stepped off of the runways of New York, Paris, or London. I mean buffed, stuffed, and ready! Right hair, right build, and the right on! Sorry, but that leaves out a firm majority of the singles that I know--including myself when I WAS single! Now, I’m not a ‘relationship guru’, nor do I play one in the mainstream press. But I am realistic enough to know that one of the reasons why things are ‘out of whack’ on the dating scene in the present is that men and women of today have forgotten what brought their parents--and grandparents together as couples in years past. I’ll share a few points, as we wrap up the column for this month: *Are you BOTH going the same direction? Legitimate question here. Why date someone who does not share your faith, your beliefs, or your pre-marital views? Brothers, let’s be honest here. There are a LOT of women on the prowl for one-night stands. Even some who go to church on Sundays. LUST is not LOVE with a different spelling! Don’t YOU become a statistic to someone who wants to ‘get their roll on’, rather than keep their character in place! *You have to ‘discover’ her! No, it’s not the woman’s job to walk up to you, initiate conversation, ask you out, pay for the evening, and drop you off at your place. That’s man’s work, period! Woman’s Lib and the Sexual Revolution have robbed women of the opportunity to be sought after, cherished, and protected! In the quest to be ‘equal’ (another misnomer) many women have sacrificed their womanhood. It’s good to be the Queen, provided you have a King seeking your attention! Brothers, be a King, and you won’t get rooked by a Pawn! *Lastly, the hyphen issue! Should you clear the first two issues, there is another ‘acid test’ to see if your date could be your mate. Where does she stand on taking YOUR name in marriage? I know I’m going to get mail on this point, but its true, true, true. A woman who wants to put a hyphen in her married name is one who has one eye on the altar (just to impress her friends by finally getting married); and another eye on divorce court (so you can help her with the alimony and child support from your paycheck for her ‘true’ love when she gets ‘tired’ of you)! A woman willing to hyphenate her name after marriage is like a hand grenade with the pin pulled; you DON’T know when she is going to go off--but there WILL be a lot of ‘collateral damage’ when she does! Brothers, if YOU work on YOU, when you do find her--if it is meant to be, it WILL be. Meanwhile, take the time to enjoy your singleness. Don’t let anyone push, drag, or shame you into marriage. Singleness is a gift, just like marriage. Only you can determine the contents of your package. Don’t let some ‘slicksters’ with a TV camera and a night on the town rob you of who you are. Failures come, and failures go; but whom YOU are is what counts when all is said and done. Married OR Single. And the brotherhood said: AMEN! Mike Ramey is the author of ‘The Manhood Line’. A syndicated, monthly column written for men from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective. Emails welcome to [email protected]. (C) 2002 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications (4).