This month, Twenty Something caught up with Dating Guru Demetria L. Lucas to talk about what’s hot and what’s not-from DC guys to The First Family.
By Ursula Lauriston
Name: Demetria L. Lucas
Occupation: Author, Dating Expert, Columnist
Hometown: PG County
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Relationship status: Spoken for!
Twenty Something: More and more young people are unemployed and still living at home. They’re also postponing marriage to pursue their careers and do things their parents never got to do. Would you say our generation is selfish? Are we the ‘failure to launch” generation?
Demetria Lucas: This is not the baby boomer generation. We’re dealing with different circumstances. After graduating from undergrad, I went straight to grad school because I couldn’t find a job. I wanted my own money and my own space but had to deal with a bad economy. So it made more sense to stay at home instead of having to struggle from day to day.
And there is a tendency to get married later– but it’s not selfish, it’s empowering. My mom got married when she was 21. I don’t see anything wrong with that, but I do think it’s important for women to go out and get their own jobs and do things on their own. Everyone needs to try different “flavors” in order to discover what they like.
And it’s different for men and women. When women put themselves first it’s looked down upon. When men say they want to buy a house, meet women and travel, everyone looks at that and thinks it’s ok. Today, women are saying they want the same things.
TS: How has dating changed for women in the last 10 years?
DL: It’s not [more] positive or negative, it’s just different. I think there’s less emphasis on getting married. Women are seeing that there’s more to life than a husband. I turned thirty and it was the best year of my life. I met great people; I met my boyfriend; I got a book deal. There are more ways to define ourselves than wife or mother.
But it’s not all perfect. Back then it was a lot more concrete. Dating now can be a bit hazy. If you don’t know what’s going on after a while, sit down and ask. It’s an awkward conversation and people feel put on the spot, but its ok. Sit down and say something like, “we’ve been hanging out for a while and I just wanted to know where you see this going.” And don’t be hurt if he doesn’t respond right away. The “on the spot” thing never works with men. They’ll call 3 days later after they’ve had a chance to think and then you can revisit the conversation.
TS: What are the most important things women should know while dating in 2010?
DL: Every guy you meet is not supposed to be your boyfriend or your husband.
Sometimes it’s just a movie or just drinks. And that’s ok. You shouldn’t feel like a failure if it doesn’t turn into something more.
I think women need to learn to be aggressive and lady-like at the same time. A great way for women to meet men is to go on a “cutie” run. Go somewhere with your girlfriends to scope out attractive men. If you see a hot guy, smile and say hello. And be open to their conversation. Men just want you to smile; they’ll take it from there.
TS: Would you say that there is a typical “DC” guy or are all guys around this age pretty much the same?
DL: The DC guy may have a bit of an accent and really love sports-but men are men. They might have a different swag, but they’re the same.
TS: What do you think the Obama’s have done for strengthening Black marriages and the American family as a whole?
DL: I think there has been a tremendous impact. Constantly we’re seeing a very happy family. They sometimes appear not to be able to keep their hands off each other. Sometimes the President gazes at Michelle like she’s the only woman in the room. People are once again seeing the beauty and unfailing support of family.
More men are seeing that marriage is possible.
You can have a happily ever after with a strong, smart woman. This is not the negative stuff I see on TV. This is possible for me.
Right after inauguration, black men were walking around with “I love Michelle Obama” T-shirts. Guys were saying, “I want a wife.” That’s great.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of www.ABelleInBrooklyn.com where she muses daily on dating, pop culture and women’s empowerment. Her first book, A BELLE IN BROOKLYN (Atria), based on her blog essays, will be published in June 2011. Lucas is also the Relationships Editor at Essence Magazine where she also authors her own monthly advice column, Dating Guide.