“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
                                                         -Tom Bodett

            Totally Random, but I hate Philly’s radio stations. The same ten songs are always in rotation, no matter the station, no matter the time of day. Every R&B song on the radio has some New York or Southern rapper on it-their rap lyrics often having nothing to do with the song. Every other track played has Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne or all damn three on it. The radio personalities-many employed here after being released from New York stations-seem more concerned with hearing themselves talk than actually discussing things of substance and playing the music that people tune it to hear. I can’t prove it, but I swear I lose a brain cell or two every time a Waka Flocka track gets played. Today, calls were taken and the topic of the day was: The appropriate time for a person infected with herpes to tell their mate. I cringed at the thought of things getting hot and heavy with a female, only to hear her say, “Ron…there’s something I gotta tell you before we do this.” She then goes on to tell you that she has herpes. Your eyes survey her face for a hint of a smile or laugh, hoping… wishing… praying that this is all just a bad joke. The blood rapidly flowing from your penis, back to the rest of your body as you search for your boxers and car keys.  Although I’m sure people living with herpes don’t think it’s an appropriate topic for a first date, it’s information that I would want to know ASAP. The calls came in and personal stories of infidelity, scandal and failed relationships poured in- reminding me why my weapon of choice while driving is my ipod plugged into the auxiliary port and not the radio.
            The radio personalities gave relationship advice to the callers-each of their stories appearing crazier than the last. Plato once said, Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. Wearing a slight grin, I wondered how many of the callers would actually heed the advice given to them. After all, I was taught that the greatest discovery of all time is that a person can always change his/her future by changing his/her attitude. Will they? Likely not. Countless female friends call complaining about the latest bum hailing from Loserville, who made his way into their bed and heart. Recently, a female reader of my blog requested that I write about why men take so long to commit to relationships and why we take so long to marry women. Great topic, but I’m not sure if ladies are ready for those honest answers from me….yet. But, in an effort to bring you one step closer to the answers you seek, today I’ll discuss some of the ADVICE that Men and Women get, yet FAIL TO APPLY to their relationships.

WE READ THE WORLD WRONG AND SAY THAT IT DECEIVES US-This a direct quote from Rabindranth Tagore. Yeah, many of you are thinking Who the hell is that?!? But it’s something that both men and women can apply to relationships…especially those who are still looking for that special someone. How many brothas out there love to date gold-diggers? none, right? But ask yourself if you know a man right now that consistently gives the false illusion of wealth, yet complains about the kind of women he attracts? They say we spend money we don’t have…to buy things we don’t need…to ultimately impress people we don’t like. Some of us do everything in our power to impress women with our money, and then when we meet the women who are impressed with our money…we complain.  You’re reading the world wrong, and then claiming that it’s deceiving you. 

IT IS FAR BETTER TO BE ALONE, THAN TO BE IN BAD COMPANY- This has woman written all over it. Most of them admit that they hate to be alone. So they spend the best years of their lives, in failed relationship after failed relationship-tallying unnecessary sexual partners, experiences of infidelity and taking on more drama than needed. Time alone helps us to evaluate what went wrong in a previous relationship and will usually give us the opportunities to appreciate something new and different when it comes along. Sad thing is…the most beautiful women you meet often fall into this category. They date the same idiot over and over and can’t understand that the pattern has not only to do with them, but the bad company they keep. There’s a common psychological test given to small children, in which they have the option of receiving a shiny nickel on the same day, or a shiny new dime if they wait until the following day to get it. In every study at almost every school, the children choose the nickel. The nickel is larger in size than the dime, but worth less in value. Perception and immediate gratification-as opposed to waiting out for greater reward, equal in value of twice the time. Hold out for the larger reward and save your self the mess of lesser-valued men. The next time you come to the store to pay for some food, think about how a clerk would feel if you pour $10 worth of nickels on the counter and want them to count it. Now you’re one step closer to understanding the plight of good men who meet women who are afraid to be alone…recovering from a lifetime of dating lesser-valued men.   

YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE- Confucius once said only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. I have plenty of male friends who have had the great fortune of meeting good women, but they say they aren’t ready to settle down. That stated from a man in his 30’s loses validity unless used when you’re fresh out of a lengthy relationship. The good thing is many good women out there will be patient with a man they feel is worth the wait. The problem is that there are still many good men who make a woman wait too long, and the next thing you know...she’s gone. With every good sista, there will always be a line forming for her time. Although good brothas are said to be rare, we’re not the endangered species many of us believe we are. That woman you’re taking your sweet time to lock down will be long gone before you know it and you’ll be old news faster than you think.

 PAIN IS INEVITABLE, BUT MISERY IS OPTIONAL- every scorned woman should know that for every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. So why do women harbor old pain and carry them from relationship to relationship like a badge of honor? Perhaps many realize that the “moving on” part is actually easy; the hard part is what moving on leaves behind. I was always told that the one who loves the least controls the relationship. For years I was always the one who loved the most, and the one hurt in the end. Things changed when I learned that the pain from relationships was inevitable…but the misery was an option. Women saw me transition from the man who was once viewed as “too nice” to someone well seasoned and aware of the kind of woman he deserved. Robert Anthony once said, you can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it. Are women truly ready to become butterflies? They must first be willing to give up the life of being the caterpillar in order to do so.

 MARRIAGE IS NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER-IT CAN SOMETIMES BE A REALLY BAD IDEA- I watched the relationship of one of my male friends and his girlfriend since they met during our college years; the relationship a continuous cat and mouse game of infidelity and secrecy. Men always have the stigma of being the cheaters in a relationship, while women are often viewed as the innocent victims of our carnal addictions. The truth is that women are just much better at cheating. Men will cheat with coworkers, next-door neighbors and close friends of our counter-part, using reckless abandon…wondering How The Hell did she find out?!? When a woman fucks another man, he lives across town and is someone that doesn’t run in the same circles. The male ego will often fool us into thinking that our woman doesn’t or won’t creep. Tired of fucking the same pussy for the last 5 years? Guess what…she’s tired of looking at the same dick too.
            I watched this couple in college continue year after year of their tumultuous relationship. Somehow they thought it would be a good idea to actually get married. Problem is, when a couple has problems-specifically cheating-marriage can further exacerbate things. Now your significant other transitions from someone living with you, cheating under the same roof-to someone living with you, married to you, cheating under the same roof…and can take half your shit.
Sometimes they say desperate situations require desperate measures. Well this isn’t one of them. Marriage is not always the answer.

I’m suddenly reminded of this story…

10th grade:
As I sat there in English class, I stared at the girl next to me. She was my so called "best friend". I stared at her long, silky hair, and wished she was mine. But she didn't notice me like that, and I knew it. After class, she walked up to me and asked me for the notes she had missed the day before and handed them to her. She said "thanks" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I wanted to tell her, I want her to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love her but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why.

11th grade:
The phone rang. On the other end, it was her. She was in tears, mumbling on and on about how her love had broke her heart. She asked me to come over because she didn't want to be alone, so I did. As I sat next to her on the sofa, I stared at her soft eyes, wishing she was mine. After 2 hours, one Drew Barrymore movie, and three bags of chips, she decided to go to sleep. She looked at me, said "thanks" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I want to tell her, I want her to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love her but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why.

Senior year:
The day before prom she walked to my locker. My date is sick" she said; he's not going to go well, I didn't have a date, and in 7th grade, we made a promise that if neither of us had dates, we would go together just as "best friends". So we did. Prom night, after everything was over, I was standing at her front door step. I stared at her as she smiled at me and stared at me with her crystal eyes. I want her to be mine, but she isn't think of me like that, and I know it. Then she said "I had the best time, thanks!" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I want to tell her, I want her to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love her but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why.

Graduation Day:
A day passed, then a week, then a month. Before I could blink, it was graduation day. I watched as her perfect body floated like an angel up on stage to get her diploma. I wanted her to be mine, but she didn't notice me like that, and I knew it. Before everyone went home, she came to me in her smock and hat, and cried as I hugged her. Then she lifted her head from my shoulder and said, "you're my best friend, thanks" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I want to tell her, I want her to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love her but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why.

A Few Years Later:
Now I sit in the pews of the church. That girl is getting married now. I watched her say "I do" and drive off to her new life, married to another man. I wanted her to be mine, but she didn't see me like that, and I knew it. But before she drove away, she came to me and said "you came!". She said "thanks" and kissed me on the cheek. I want to tell her, I want her to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love her but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why.

Years passed, I looked down at the coffin of a girl who used to be my "best friend". At the service, they read a diary entry she had wrote in her high school years. This is what it read: I stare at him wishing he was mine, but he doesn't notice me like that, and I know it. I want to tell him, I want him to know that I don't want to be just friends, I love him but I'm just too shy, and I don't know why. I wish he would tell me he loved me! `I wish I did too...` I thought to my self, and I cried.

  …These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…