Becoming a Luxurious Dater

A few days ago, I took myself shopping in celebration of some recent accomplishments. For the most part, I’m a penny-pincher, but every once in a while I will go out to a big, fabulous dinner or buy myself something elegant, expensive, and beautiful…just because I deserve it.

In today’s economy and especially in a competitive marketplace, there is this idea behind commodity vs. luxury. Consumers, like me and you, are questioning the value and the worth of what they purchase. Do I buy the super cheap coffee pot because I just need my morning java, even though I know it’ll break in a year? Or should I make an investment in something more pricy, so I have the piece of mind that it will last me longer?

While I don’t need to eat a meal that is overly-priced, but tastes so rich, fresh, and gratifying – giving myself the luxury of experiencing something out-of-the-norm and away from Guy & Guillard is a privilege for me. And that same goes for the $70 red sweater dress that hugged me just right.

But what price tag do I put on myself? How much worth do I show the world and especially in terms of relationships? Do I come across as a commodity girl-next-door that’s a dime-a-dozen, or a luxury lady that’s commendable of the best manners, the best dinners, and the best love? Am I treat or something you can find on every corner any day?

Do I settle for less than what I deserve because I’m accepting second-best or third-shelf instead of aiming for first place?

I’ll admit I haven’t always given myself the credit that I deserve and in times past, and I’ve played down who I am in an effort to satisfy, allure, and retain a man. But with this on-going journey and gradual climb in self-confidence – I think I’m due more than the average girl and my presence in a man’s life or on his arm…is a luxury.

And I know I deserve and now will demand, to should be treated as such.

If I’m always settling for Mr. Non-Committal or Mr. Good Enough or Mr. Yeah, Alright, He’s Okay – am I putting myself in the right areas and pointing myself in the correct direction to meet a man who will actually recognize all that I’m worth? And lowering my standards for the pure reason to not be alone is not only a silly idea but it is far from what I know I’m capable of having.

And this idea of being a luxurious dater or woman doesn’t translate into gold-digging. Frankly, I really don’t care what you do for a living (just needs to be legal of course) as long as you do it with passion. If you don’t make a ton of money, that’s fine by me, I have my own paycheck – but do something that brings you that independent fire. Something that gives you a reason for getting up in the morning and doesn’t involve me at all. If I determine myself as one-in-a-million, you should feel the same way about yourself -without me having to constantly remind you or toot-your-horn.

With love I give or love I share or love that I receive – I want it to be special. Out of the ordinary. Ridiculous even, if the time calls for it. Because unless it’s mad or extraordinary – what’s the point? It’s the relationships and the love we really put our investments in that make the long haul. If you’re not willing to invest yourself, invest in me, and invest in our relationship – I’m not so sure I want to take a risk with you to being with. My stakes are far too high.

By giving myself a high price-point that’s determined by all that I have to offer – I may not weed out all of the men who fall short or break my heart, but the quality of who I’m dating will hopefully rise. Remember, it must be about quality instead of quantity in the competitive landscape of dating. And in return, the investment I make in myself is different from the prices I’ve paid in the past because instead of making myself a commodity offer, who will go on a date with anyone, I’ve turned myself into a luxury dater who knows any old Joe, just won’t do.

In the meantime before I do happen to stumble upon a man who will realize my value or if I never meet him at all – I will continue to splurge and provide for the most important relationship I’ll ever have: the love for myself.

And the cost of that is immeasurable – regardless of any Harry Winston or exclusive dinner I could go to or receive. You can’t afford the value of falling in love with yourself as a single, happy, confident, luxurious woman. Because simply put – it’s priceless.


Louie Doesn’t Lead the Way

While the last few weeks have been absolutely amazing and overall, very positive – they have also been quite stressful. We’re approaching the close at the mag, my next-door neighbor (and great friend) is moving back to the countryside, and a few opportunities have me biting my nails in anticipation.

And on top of all of it – it’s that inevitable time when bloating and breaking out are the norm.

So, on Tuesday, as I entered the subway, my hair frizzed up due to the rainstorm, my arms tired from carrying my gym bag, purse, and work to bring home with me – you could say I was a little annoyed. Even though I didn’t technically have to go to the gym (we never are forced, ya know?) – I knew running would help me release stress and I’d feel so much better about the spinach pasta I was anticipating making later.

When the 1 train arrived, I waited for all of the people to exit and then quickly boarded to catch a seat because standing up for 12 stops isn’t fun in four-inch stiletto heeled-boots. I sat down and started to read over an interview I was writing the story for in the December/January issue, and as I usually do, my attention inevitably turns towards the characters on the train. This is especially when I’m not in the greatest of moods. People watching, even as silly and stalkerish as it may seem, gives me inspiration and food-for-thought. This time was no different.

As I studied those around me – a homeless man, a child and her mother, an older man, a business man, a fashionista, and a sleeping woman – my eyes caught a girl, probably just a tad bit older than me in a red jacket.

She was tall and slender, with curly blonde hair, black tights, and peep-toe flats. I knew they were designer, but couldn’t pin-point which one (not a gift of mine). Her skin was beautifully flawless with just the hint of natural coloring and her silk sweater dress hugged her in all the right places. I’m as straight as a gal gets, but she was sincerely beautiful.

While I was watching her, I started comparing myself to her. I immediately thought: She has better hair. Prettier skin. Nicer clothes. She’s more cool and collected. She looks more like she belongs here than I do. She probably has a fabulous job or doesn’t work at all. And look, she’s married. She’s probably madly in love too, and never had to go through a self-made 12-step program to be happyily single and love herself. She’s probably already in love with herself – I mean, who wouldn’t be? Every man in this train is probably one flip-of-her-hair away from drooling.

Now, part of the path to self-love is shaping the language I use to talk to myself. Instead of self-defeating, non-progressive words, I’ve been attempting to use encouraging phrases and boost myself up as my mother or my best friends would. But for this day, no matter how secure or happy I am about certain parts of my life, seeing the lovely lady in the red jacket made me feel down-right awful.

When the train reached my stop, I gathered my bags and started to get up, conscious of the older man with the cane to my right. I hesitated to let him get a lead and make sure he was okay, and out-of-nowhere the pretty red jacket girl shoved her way out of the subway – using her Louie Vuitton to push away those in her path.

She nearly knocked down the poor old man and when someone huffed at her, she shot back at them an incredibly rude pout, and continued walking. I followed behind her, after letting the trembling man get off, and headed towards the stairs. Not only did she use her Louie to get down the stairs ahead of everyone, but she almost sent someone fumbling down the stairs. And again, when someone said something, she acted as if everyone was else was merely a cockroach on the subway getting in her way.

I get that people in the city are notoriously rude or in way too much of a rush, but most people I’ve encountered have been nothing but kind and gracious. While they may not be friendly, they haven’t ever been as ridiculous as Ms. Red Coat. And just because I moved to the North, doesn’t mean I forgot my Southern manners – and I try to shine as an example to those around me by being courteous, forgiving, and thoughtful.

After witnessing the complete disrespect for other people by this woman, it hit me how silly it is to compare myself to someone I don’t know. No matter how sophisticated or gorgeous or put-together someone may appear – there is no way to get underneath their skin. Just by looking at me, no one would ever guess all of the things I do, the things I stand for, or the things I feel. Looks are really just that, an image sent out that isn’t necessarily true or false.

But one truth that I’m sure of – is that Louie doesn’t lead the way. Love does.

And not romantic love – but compassionate love. That love that we give to another person simply because they are a fellow human being. Because they are breathing and they are alive, they deserve the same respect and courtesy as we give to someone we love or adore. That’s a part of love addiction that doesn’t need fixing.

Even though I may dream of the day that I can afford a real-live Louie (not a Chinatown one) – a bigger part of me longs for the day when I can be rich enough to write a check to help that innocent old man on the train have a safer life, far away from impolite women in red coats.