Lists, Theory & Essay

Dating Game: Remember, You Don’t Know Me

It's really important to see that family photo album. Um, RIP.

In today’s day and age of social networking, Google, and the county courthouse, information about nearly anybody is nothing more than a click away. Or a quick drive and $25. Point is, it’s all out there for public consumption. As soon as you meet somebody you can find out as much as humanly possible about them and their propensity to murder somebody or procreate with reckless abandon. It’s truly amazing, actually, just how much information is available and how much of it is provided by the person you’re searching for in the first place.

One random glance of Shaqondroniesha Tanqueray Shropshire’s Facebook profile will tell you just how she feels about haters, hatin’ arse b*tches and conversely her favorite Bible verse. As if.

(Is it me or are “hood” people the most aggressively violent AND religious people on the planet?)

Oh, and by the way, the most popular Bible verse for our hood brothas and sisters?

“Only God can judge me.”

Good luck finding THAT specific verse.

But the truth is, with so much information out there, we only know the surface level things about people. All the social networking information in the world won’t tell you intimate details about a person. As I’ve come to learn in life, it seems that so many people are dating people that they really don’t know. And I’m not different. I’ve been down that road where after the fact I realized that I didn’t fully know the person I was dealing with. And given the way we tend to interact nowadays, electronically, intimacy is just a clusterf*ck of text messages and emails. With that said, you don’t know somebody OR the person you’re dating if any of the following haven’t occurred:

1. Seen their handwriting

Nearly all of communication nowadays consists of text messages, Twitter, Facebook messages, email, etc. Shucks, you can probably go an entire lifetime without ever seeing somebody’s handwriting. But the truth is, a person’s handwriting tells you so much about them. Did they go to prison? I don’t know, but I’ll bet some expert who has been on Oprah can tell you thru their handwriting. Do they dot their “i’s” with smiley faces or hearts? Who knows. Certainly not you. If you haven’t seen their writing, that means you haven’t received a card and how close can you really be to somebody whose never sent you a card. Not very that’s how (close).

2. Seen how they handle adversity

Real. Talk. You truly do not know somebody and how compatible you are with them until you’ve all been forced into a situation full of adversity. How a person deals with stress and troubling situations tells you a whole lot about how they will deal with you in the event that the sh*t ever hits the fan. You may find out that you are an arsehole when dealing with somebody else’s stresses or vice versa. When times are good everybody gets along, but what happens when times aren’t so hot. This might be the most important thing to ever know about somebody. Real. Talk.

3. Seen actual physical copies of their pictures

Everybody sends picture texts and takes pictures with their phones and digital cameras nowadays. When was the last time you actually held a 3×5 in your hand? Do you even remember what the paper feels like? Digital pictures only got uberpopular, say, five years ago or so. Folks entire lives were captured and developed prior to that. If you’ve never seen a physical picture of your significant other when they were thirteen wearing a Starter jacket, overalls, and a hooded tshirt, how can you really know them? As B-Real teaches us on “How I Could Just Kill A Man”, “…how do you know where I’m at, when you haven’t been where I’ve been?/Understand where I’m coming from?…”

Yes, B-Real, I do understand.

In that same vein…

4. Met some of their oldest friends

Kind of self-explanatory, but a lot of us got brand new when we started reading and whatnot. A lot of folks reinvented themselves in college, but you want to know who a person really is, you need to have a brief convo with the folks that grew up with them. You’ll never know that their nickname used to be “Drip” unless you do.

5. Know where they stand on BET’s current place in pop culture

Eh, why not?

Is there anything else that we should be looking out for to determine whether or not we really know somebody?

And by the way?


Congrats, Champ.


Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • A.C. Ford

    Seeing how someone reacts to children or people with special needs is always interesting. It definitely says something about them. If they’re easily frustrated, disgusted, or openly hostile they’re on some other stuff. I went on a date with a guy who tried to fight a 8 year-old in a parking lot–ON THE DATE.

    I grabbed a taxi while he was still in the throes of aggression. I hope that baby made it out alive…

  • Nlw

    Can you stand the rain?-New Edition

  • stlunatic

    Seen what her MAMA look like.

    What that middle-aged booty do? (nods to Cynthia, who isn’t middle-aged, but is still relevant)

  • Sylph

    Watch how they interact with children and animals. Dead serious.

    Children don’t have filters at a young age and they can pick up on things (and state the obvious) which you may be blind to because of like. Animals can sense when something is off; whether it’s your aura or whatever, they know when shit isn’t right.

  • legitimate_soul

    This was a very true post where I could visualize examples or why this is on point. Number one about the writing gave me a memory or two. Have you ever got a letter from a guy and you wonder if he is literate at all? I’m not even trying to clown. It made me sad…really and truly sad.

    I’d add:
    Their relationship or how they interact with their parents is noteworthy. Even if they don’t get along, or if they have valid reasons to give their parents the side-eye, are they even respectful of the people that gave them life ? Even if that respect isn’t extended to their parents is it extended to someone Big Mama, Grandmama, Uncle Junior, Aunt Juicy, a mentor, …somebody? Do they respect any elders or anyone other than themselves?

    I am also rooting for Black and Yelow, coached by Omar Epps’s doppelganger. I still love Polamalu’s hair…

  • Hustle_Marsalis

    How they treat people in service industries.

  • MzPW

    Hmmm….I’m gonna vote for “actually have a real, live, human conversation with said person” in order to truly know (or get to know) who that person may be. You ever try dating via text msg? Ummm….yeah.

  • Nick@Nite

    I still handwrite everything.. few people on this site have letters/ cards/ notes from me.. I think handwriting is a lost art and ever since I got that certificate in elementary, EVERYONE gone see my handwriting!

    Your #2 is the TRUTH! Me and my ex were driving along and he got a flat tire. The tantrum that ensued had ME apologizing to him. You woulda thought I punctured the blastid thing.. Flappin his arms, kickin sh*t on the side of I-95..
    I knew he was unbalanced…

  • HisandHerSinks

    How they drive… its important to know how they handle traffic, take safety precautions, risky driving behavior, road rage Also seeing someone on their job is telling.

  • Leila

    Co-sign with #2-4!

    – See how they interact with their family
    – See their collection of books
    – See how they act on a trip. I can tell a lot about a guy when we travel especially on a road trip. Does he have road rage, is he laid-back, can he handle new situations. It shows me lot especially if it’s a different culture.

More Like This