African Americans / Business / DNMP Unplugged / Movies / Quarter Life / Relationships

“Sophisticated Romance” and “A Tale of Two Cities”

So last Saturday I went to see a friend’s movie. It was kinda like a independent artist night sponsored by the Deltas (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority) of Central Jersey. I had a great time and I heard some great poets but in the time I have had since to reflect on the movie (I’m a thinker) there is one scene that applies to my own journey with romance.

“Sophisticated Romance”: The Movie
So “Sophisticated Romance” is a film that analyzes relationships from the perspective of being single and dating as well as being married. Without giving too much away, the film follows two groups of friends who are dealing with various relationship issues. Basically, their is someone who is involved in a marriage, someone who is involved in a serious relationship, a player type as well as someone forcing a relationship to a place it is not. Honestly, it was a good film which says a lot because I gave up on Hollywood a long time ago to offer quality films that tell a story and involves its audience into the characters (I mean the Harry Potter series kinda does this, though it cuts out a lot, but Harry Potter started as a book so I don’t count it and Tyler Perry does better sometimes but I digress). “Sophisticated Romance” has won some film festival awards including Best Feature and Best Actress.  To learn more about the film (support small & people of color businesses!) check out Open Mind on Ning and to learn more about the company that wrote the film check out Open Mind Productions.

Moving forward, there is one moment in the film that has been in my head this week and it is a scene where one of the characters laments about how she cannot manage being in school and being involved in a serious relationship (I’m working on my PhD right now). Anyway in the same scene a woman responds to her concern stating something along the lines of “Keep Hope Alive” and I hope it works out (my words not the film writer’s). The scene fades out and continues with the plot (I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone-did I already say go see the film? lol). If I’m honest with myself and possibly too honest with the open internet (to future employers who may be reading this in the future I’m all better now :D) the concerns of that woman in school reflect my concerns though my response to the issue differs from the woman who faces the same challenge in the film.

“A Tale of Two Cities”: Academilandia, Careerville

All my life I have had my head in the books. From the moment my mother could she placed a book in my hand and I owe my love of reading and knowledge to her (Thanks Mom!). This early exposure and support of all things academic not only helped me to do well in school but planted a love of knowledge that blooms today (Hello PhD in the works :)). This love caused me to be super comfortable at school and participating in class. Trust me on this! I’ve been called a dork, nerd, Oreo and even got the high school superlative Biggest Brown Noser (I wanted Best Legs but that’s another blog post). Full disclosure, depending on the day, and how old I was I would have different reactions to these names but no matter the reaction I always was and still am comfortable with the heavy focus on school and school’s cousin, my career.

“A Tale of Two Cities”: [Undiscovered Location], Datingburg

Now there is another land  that I am WAY less comfortable with. A land that at age fifteen I called dealing with boys and now is a land called Datingburg. For me this land is dark and meek with confusing people. There are people in this land that you can see but are SOOO not reachable, there are reachable people that are not appealing and another people I have discovered recently are the people of this land that look so good on the outside and are prepared just how I like but when you start working this land its just horrible land. Historically, the excuses I have concluded are the cause for my difficulties in Datingburg ferment from the following sources: 1/4 I used to be a “tomboy”, 1/4 effects of puberty and 2/4 I have three older brothers, a father and lots of male cousins (the stories from the latter I could write a book about). Lets just say I STILL remember the day my mom asked me if a male friend of mine was a friend or a “friend friend,” and when I say remember I mean I remember where I was standing in my house (the kitchen near the dishwasher), the fact that I was a senior in college (it was Christmas break) and the fact that this was the first time my parents actually encouraged me to have a dating life (my parents are very traditional and wanted us to focus on our education first). As result of these things added to moving around a lot from 2003-2008 the idea of dating is pretty much an uncharted territory. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had boyfriends, I’ve gone out on dates, men have been interested and men have not been interested but I was/am nowhere near say the original 90210 gang where boyfriends & girlfriends were rotating with the seasons.

“The Road Less Taken”

So going back to this woman in “Sophisticated Romance,” I think she stood out to me as a character because in some ways she reminded me of myself and in other ways she reminded me of the recent news coverage about how bad it is for Black women and the marriage market (for the record all women are having issues). Furthermore, as much as I want to date and eventually have a husband there are days where I just feel like it would be so much easier to just do my career thing (increase the number of women in politics), travel the world (still need to make it to Asia & Africa), and just be single forever. However, deep down I know this is not what I really want and I am only saying “just do me” because this is what I know and what I am comfortable with. I know the cycles of being in school, of working on a project for work and going to lots of meetings. What I do not know as well are cycles of dating, figuring out if he likes me when I like him (somehow I’m really good at figuring out that they like me when I’m just not that into them :() and deciding which one to “pursue” (I went to college at an HBCU and lets just say I hardly dated/talked to one person because…well their was always someone better looking around the corner or just behind them ;)) Frost’s poem ends sharing, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” I am not sharing this to argue that I have to pick one road or city. But I am realizing more and more that I need to work and have the courage and patience to spend quality time getting to know a new city so that I can begin to see not only the bad (my perspective on dating post college thus far) but to see the good. Its funny, just sitting here writing that previous sentence I thought to myself, “as a woman that has lived in seven cities since leaving high school nine years ago I should know this by now,” because each time I move the same battle and dislike occurs and each time I come to love the city for what it offers (and that’s saying a lot for Central NJ which I also call The Blackhole). So here’s to me planting more seed and making more investments in a new city I’m visiting more and more, Datingburg…especially because I think I may have discovered a new people that have what I am looking for inside and out😉

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