Here's the thing, I’m really outgoing. I can do anything on stage, say hello to strangers, do stand up, impersonations and joke with my friends for hours. That’s with friends or on stage, the rest of my life I spend struggling with small talk and God forbid I find a man attractive.
I wrote a one woman show in 2006 where I coined the term shy extrovert and though I have worked on many aspects of my shyness, I still suffer from several things. One major thing being F.M.A.D. (Fine Man Anxiety Disorder). Now this is not to belittle mental illness but I do have a comedic side and I do actually have a problem.
I had a crush on a guy at work years ago and my co-worker told me he was coming to our office for a meeting. I was so happy but nervous so when he walked into the office and said hello I jumped up, shook his hand and said “HELLO I’M CHARLES!” and he just looked confused and said, “no I’m Charles.” So, you get the gist of it. I am quirkalicious and the more nervous I am the quirkier I get. I often have crushes that never move past the crush stage because Black men here don’t tend to approach me and I’m too shy to say anything half the time… especially when I’m on my own BUT give me a wing person and it’s on.
The last date I had with someone normal was in Trinidad and he was American. (I talk about this in my stand-up comedy a lot). I was treating myself to a few nights at the Hyatt and I saw him my first night there. I went to my hotel room and gave myself a pep talk to go back down and say hello. I went back down but he was gone.
Side Note: Interestingly enough I am brave in many other aspects. I have travelled alone to Jamaica, New York, Boston, Barbados, Paris, England, Miami, and the list goes on and on. I can also probably take risks with my career and make bold choices that others would probably never make. But, when it comes to men I like… all of that boldness and risk taking is gone – out the window – see ya!
So, now, back to Trinidad… the next night I was with my bestie taking pictures and I saw him again. I told her, “ooh my goodness that’s the guy.” He is literally behind us and she says “go say hi.” But I can't. The two of us take pics of each other and then I hear this deep voice. “I see y’all taking pictures of one another do you want me to take one of you together.” I am grinning and my bestie speaks for me. “This is my friend she’s here on vacation for a few days.”
She leaves and he orders me a drink and we sit and talk for hours about everything from politics to life and he even knew things about the arts. He was on a solo vacation like me to decompress after serving years abroad. I was there to decompress after producing a huge show. He is an engineer but that didn’t matter we found so many things in common to talk about. The conversation was awesome; I have learned to just enjoy the moment.
The next day my bestie asks me if I’ll I see him again. I say I have no idea but I know one thing, if a man is interested in you, he will make a move. I saw him in the lobby the next day and he asked me out to dinner. We got a car and went exploring outside of the hotel. We probably spent about 6 hours together just talking, and then walking and then we went to a place to lime. See, that’s what a date is - no expectations, good conversation and yeah you go home after, or in my case back to my hotel room.
I did try to stay in touch with him after I came back to Toronto, but he was moving and building a home and busy and so I took it for what it was, a nice time and a date to remind me that I’m still alive. That was my last date because in Toronto men asking you out doesn’t happen so much.
I was at an event recently where a woman was really discouraged after living here five years and being single. I told her I’ve been here 16 years and single most of the time and my last relationship was long distance and it was 12 years ago and he was American. I told her don’t be discouraged; keep positive it’s not her…Toronto is just wired differently.
I guess I could be down or upset too, but I’m a writer so as opposed to being upset over being single I started events for Black singles years ago called Blingles. Or I Taylor Swift my experiences and put them in poetry, songs or in my latest venture… my new play She Said/He Said. I wrote a play about a couple in love in Toronto that deals with the societal aspects of living in this city. It was my first time writing for a male character and I got props from Black men who attended the readings and the World Premiere. Though my play started out as a personal poetic lament about past break ups it evolved into much more and is no longer even associated with me personally.
I presently have a new crush and I’m trying to work on my FMAD (Fine Man Anxiety Disorder). I have set goals for myself like... “yeah he’s fine but he’s just a person… so say hello”. I also like a guy in another city and instead of suffering internally I just told him… he’s really busy and I never really heard from him since I told him; but I don’t take it personal. I’m a grown woman, I can take rejection. After all I live in Toronto. I continue to say hello to Black men daily who look away and don’t speak to me. But, I’m happy to say that last Tuesday, one man did say hello and smiled back. And my crush well… he actually shook my hand and introduced himself after I gave him a promo card to my play.
So, I continue to be this outgoing yet shy person. I have just learned to accept it and well I am working on myself daily. That’s all I can do and then wait for the premiere of my play where hopefully, it will encourage folks in Toronto to smile a little more and be a bit friendlier.