By Erick Alston Buck,
Special to the AFRO

Dating is as easy or as difficult as we make it. 

Depending on how long we’ve been single, our dating goals and even our age, we may very well show up on this new dating scene creating obstacles and challenges for ourselves and blaming our unmet expectations on others. 

I’ve learned so much about myself on my single journey. 

I’ve learned that freely and openly dating– without jumping into exclusivity or monogamy– gives us the opportunity to explore and experience while learning and discovering our likes, dislikes. It also gives us the opportunity to understand what we are willing to compromise, our absolute non-negotiables and the creation of new boundaries.  

A closed mind, self-righteousness and inflexibility can be our worst enemies.

Being rigid, while also demanding that your prospective partner check all of your boxes and also fit a preferred “type” only narrows your playing field.

After chatting and having amazing telephone conversations, I met and had absolutely amazing dates with a great guy.  

He seemingly checked all of my rigid boxes and had all of the “must-haves” that I was requiring of my new person. I justified my demands with the mentality of “I bring all of these things to the table, so I deserve a person that shows up with what I have and MORE– or I’m settling.”  And we all know – we can never settle.

Many professional, educated, cultured and traveled women share my point of view. 

And many of us may very well be missing out on potentially amazing men. 

What’s the worst thing that can happen if we loosened up a little, had less requirements, and focused on the things that are not physical, material or superficial? 

I ended my last column with a question:

“Not so single in this city, today. Found my person? We shall see…”

I was absolutely convinced I had actually met my person and things were going great until I got in my own way and began to sabotage the connection. The funny thing about self-sabotage is you don’t actually know you’re doing it until you’ve potentially ruined a good thing–for nothing! 

I stopped seeing him. 

A man that was caring, attentive, intentional and available. 

A man who never said no to anything that I asked to do, or place that I wanted to go. 

A man that introduced me to new places and experiences. 

One who showed up with flowers. 

Made suggestions and reservations. 

Made me laugh.

Accepted my whacky schedule and made time for me, not excuses as to why he can’t see me.

So there I was on the other side of a bad decision….and I missed him. 

I swallowed my false sense of pride and called him. 

He missed me too. 

In my interactions with others and conversations with my friends, I’ve said that with him I am taking another look, giving him a second chance and I know that I am not settling  – because where I thought there was a problem, there wasn’t.  It was actually me being rigid and inflexible. 

Me placing superficial, material and insignificant “MUSTS” from my list of requirements above the intangible, meaningful and sustainable attributes that can’t be purchased,no matter how much money he has. 

After a thorough, honest, self-appraisal, I’m actually the one being given the second chance. 

This week, do yourself a favor, take another look, consider giving someone you’ve dated before a second chance– not someone that challenges your principles or core belief system, not a person that didn’t respect your boundaries– but a person that perhaps didn’t check all of your boxes and you now know that the box they didn’t check, doesn’t really matter. 

Allow yourself to be cared for, seen, heard and valued. 

Get out of your own way, stop creating obstacles and challenges for yourself and blaming others for your unmet expectations. 

Here’s to being Single in the City, with more options!

Dating Rating

Eat. Drink. Relax. (EDR)  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eat. Drink. Relax., located at 1001 Cathedral St. in Baltimore, earned four out of five stars for being one of Charm City’s best date night locales. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook/EDR)

My experience at EDR started off a bit shaky, but just like a Ravens game, they came through in the final seconds of the game. Unlike the Ravens, EDR WON! 

Customer service is EVERYTHING and Ian, the manager on duty absolutely understood the assignment.

Cocktails:  I love restaurants with craft cocktail menus and often just peruse it looking for a creative mix that includes tequila. EDR did not disappoint with the drinks.  The establishment offered a robust selection of drinks that had something for everyone.  My date opted for a very dirty martini, and ultimately had another. 

Appetizers:  The Deep Fried Devils were DIVINE: deep fried deviled eggs, topped with jumbo shrimp. What a treat!

Entrees:  Strangely, I was really in the mood for meat and opted for the 12 ounce strip steak, served whole or sliced churrasco style. I chose to have it sliced and it came with a side of chimichurri and fingerling potatoes. My date ordered the grilled wings that were tossed in a spicy harissa vinaigrette, we shared and absolutely enjoyed every bite. 

Ambiance:  EDR was formerly known as City Cafe, so it was super welcoming and familiar.  It has a hipper, more trendy vibe, with a great soundtrack playing at a volume perfect for a first date or any date where you want to spend time chatting in a way that you can hear and engage. 

The lighting is perfect and the ability to take awesome selfies and food pics was unmatched. These things matter in 2023. 

Service:  Though our waitress wasn’t the best at checking on us, our ticket got lost prolonging the delivery of our meal and I was not satisfied with my first drink and requested it be changed; Ian, the manager on shift was very personable, apologetic and customer service centered in his approach to correct everything we presented to him. 

The professionalism of management in a town full of folks expecting the best service possible gives EDR a high ranking. They delivered an above satisfactory experience that will surely lead to a return visit. I’ll be back! 

Ability to Have a Conversation:  I highly recommend EDR for any dating experience, whether it is the first or tenth date. The soundtrack playing in the background alone is an absolute conversion and “party” starter. Sometimes we need a little help starting the party,  EDR delivers. 

Until next time, here’s to taking another look and being given second chances– while absolutely never settling.