Standing on my monopoly board. That means I’m on top of my game. Eminem, “No Love

       “You only think this food is good because it’s expensive,” he said from across the table. He was half upset that I picked this place out for our Valentine’s day dinner. I’d made it a point to get a good dinner out of him since he was so bent on being cheap. When I was with him I pretty much had to “save up” my points and prove I deserved to be taken out to dinner. Special occasions and holidays. He was more like a stingy parent than a boyfriend.
       So I decided that if he was going to act like a parent, I was going to treat him like one. You know how you buy the affordable stuff for yourself, but you ask your parents for the things you can’t afford? Especially while you’re in college. Normal college kids don’t go out to eat or eat a full, nutritional meal until your parents come to visit for Parent’s Day Weekend. If you’re not familiar with Parent’s Day Weekend, it’s like Thanksgiving in college –food and family– except you don’t have to go home. If you’re a female, you have a second source for meals: Men. I made us reservations at Mama’s on the Half Shell. They don’t have a website, but if you click that link, you’ll see that this place is top rated. I mean, top 10 at times because the food is that good.  It’s really not that expensive though. I mean… my meal always is because I’m the type of girl who orders a steak, medium well with lobster tail on top. Plus an appetizer. And a drink. And a juice. And a desert. And the place isn’t fancy. There’s a hardcore bar with flat screens that play nothing but  ESPN  and art littering the wall. No need to dress up for this place.  But the food really is good. They have these potatoes skins with lump crab and cheese on top. If you can have these on the regular, you don’t need sex. Honestly.

         In New York City, price matters more than anything else. You really do get what you pay for even if the prices are outrageous. IT’s just that, here, “cheap” has a different definition than it does anywhere else. The first way you learn this fact about The Big Apple is when you take on the task of looking for places. Simply put, THE RENT IS TOO DAMNED HIGH. You have to be blessed to find a studio in the city for under $1000. Those who know me, know I’m fond of the word “thousand”, but I’m not quite prepared to pay that in rent. For $1180 a month (heat, hot water & electric included) I can get this view:
       Now isn’t that worth it? It’s not the greatest angle… and that’s not my real apartment so, feel free to judge. But I’m not from here. They say flashing lights ain’t for everybody… but they’re for somebody. I’m not going to lie, I’m just excited to be here. In this city. Where I can listing to Hot 97 at any given moment and the subway (as dirty as it might be) will take me anywhere my heart desires. Sometimes, it feels like I’m bragging about it but… it’s only because already feel like “Mama, I made it.” I’m not going to get a head of my self, and believe me, this place isn’t anything fancy and I’m certainly not a baller. It’s in Harlem. 145th & Lenox. Not the greatest area. But there’s something about moving to New York that seems like the beginning of a really good movie (I wonder which one…wink wink!).
      Thing is, where I’m from, nobody leaves. I remember I was in the 8th grade and had just been accepted to Moses Brown School –the best worst thing that ever happened to me. I was sitting in Geography/History class (you know a school system is broken when you have to combine courses) when this lady (she was an aid for the handicapped kid in our class) asked me why I was going to Moses Brown instead of Central Falls High School. “I went there,” she said. All one really needs to do it click those links to see why I’d chose a leading private school over a failing public school to see why. When she asked me why though all that went through my mind was, “I don’t want to be like you.” Let me just say there are some Central Falls High graduates who are doing/will do much better than I am. But there are a small selection. My own sister is one of those people. But it takes a certain type of personal and relentless vigor to push yourself through a system like that and I’m sure the select few will agree with that. I didn’t have that in me. I couldn’t push the school. I needed my school to push me.
      My education has made me more valuable. Technically, I’ve been paying college tuition for the past 8 years.  I’ve cost $27,000 a year from 2002-2006 and $38,000 (plus $9,600 room & board) from 2006-2010.  I mean, I’m worth $298,400 at least. I just had lunch with my cousin and as I replayed all the things I was saying to myself… I sound like a pure bred gold-digger. But are Louis Vuitton pumps golddiggers? I mean, this LV wedge boot won’t quit staring at me and saying $1,230. I don’t do that. Or do I? Well I don’t huff and puff at the price tags on certain things because I know that the quality of the product will be better. The better a product is made, the more the company has to charge you in order to cover costs. The more they charge you, the better the product because, now, the customer has a right to complain. Listen, I’ll be god-damned the leather starts to peel on some LV pumps & don’t let them hurt my little toe.  
      I’m worth the expense, too. There’s been a lot of time and money put into this product (Ahem! ME!). For all the work I’ve been into myself, companies will get a solid worker with experience and capability. Likewise a man will at least get a highly educated woman who is doing well for herself. At least he won’t have to take care of me (unless he wants to). But the same way you need to get your shoes shined and you purse cleaned everyone once in a while. Or how a car needs a tune up and a wax job. I’m also in need of maintenance. I at least need my hair and nails did. I think man should be willing to do that. I tried to get my ex (same dude mentioned above) to kick in for the hair expenses. “If you look like this, I’ll pay for you to get your hair done every month,” he said with fingers in my hair. I had just gotten my hair blow out by (the very rare) Dominicans in Baltimore. I won’t front, he kicked in to get my hair done after that… ONCE. What happens when you stop getting your oil changed? When you stop shining those shoes? When you don’t rotate the tires? When you keep your purse on the floor? You ruin the product. You didn’t maintain. Your car blows up. Your purse falls apart. Your girl leaves you. 
      “You gotta just do you,” my cousin said to me today. “Man, I’m trying marry me a Giants player,” I responded. I alway pick the local team to make my gold-diggeing seem a little more feasible. In Baltimore I wanted a Raven, while in Rhode Island I just wanted to leave the state because we have real no team of our own.) But I’m not focused on men. I assured my cousin of that as I tried to assure myself. I’ll admit, I get lonely in this big city. And I really just want someone to take me out to see the flashing lights. Have you ever watched fireworks alone? I have. There’s nothing more solitary in the world. There’s not a single action that can make you realize how alone you are more than to watch explosions in the sky when your heart is barely beating. 
      You might all read these posts and think I’m cold hearted. Part of me is. Like I said today, I have no remorse. I will spend ALL of a man’s money if he lets me. Because his heart and his money shouldn’t be the same thing. The this is with “Him” is that he allows me to play with his money but somehow doesn’t let me play him. I like that. Because money is nothing and everything all in the same breath. If a man won’t share his money, will he share his heart? And how much of his heart is on the table if he can’t even put up the starting bid? 
      I’m looking for high-rollers, baby. Men who understand the stakes and know that bets at this table are approaching commas. No one holding a winning hand should be afraid to go all in. I don’t barter with bluffers. That’s why I’ve raised the stakes and uped the ante. He’s got to either call or raise. But I always raise. Either a man has enough chips to bet. Or he doesn’t. There is no in between.  If a man is unwilling to put up and invest, you might want to rethink being his partner. He might have a losing  hand. 
We all play games. My game is just better.