C'mon now. It was just a card!

The following takes place after I walk into my apartment with the boopiece and a pocket full of business cards and innocence. I keep the stack of cards next to my computer so I can email everybody I said I’d follow up with.

Slim: Great event tonight. Made a lot of good contacts. I had fun. What about you?
Boopiece: The event was cool, but I don’t know about some of those chicks.
Slim: Whatchu mean? Nobody ODed. People were cordial, gave me their cards, and kept it moving.
Boopiece: Some of those chicks were trying to get chose. Don’t let the business card game and my acceptance of your hustle fool you.
Slim: I got the cards of one blogger, three PR people, and one starving rapper with an abysmal mixtape and pseudo-significant bars. What’s wrong with networking?
Boopiece: It’s cool to network, but you need to stop acting oblivious.
Slim: I take things at face value. I’ll email them to follow up, but if they start talkin’ about humid dreams, I’ll just not reply.
Boopiece: K, but you shouldn’t be taking their cards in the first place if you know they like you. You shouldn’t have to “not reply.”
Slim: So am I supposed to assume every chick wants a lotto ticket and a chance? That’s presumptuous don’t you think?

You’d be surprised how often I’ve had these conversations in the last four years. There hasn’t been a woman I’ve dated since 2008 who didn’t raised an eyebrow at the number of women I talk to and the number of business cards — phone numbers in her mind — that I bring home. Like I said in the dialogue, I take things at face value. When I meet women at professional mixers or SBM-sponsored events, I don’t make the assumption they have other things in mind. I go off what they tell me and leave it at that.

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So when I send an email afterward saying “nice to meet you and I look forward to collaborating,” that’s all it is. There’s no subliminal hints at dates and a midsummer night’s frolicking. When you’re a writer or anybody trying to come up, you make contacts because you never know who’ll be the person to help turn your dreams into reality. And I’ll never realize my dreams if I assume every woman is trying to appeal to a side of me that has no interest in being seen.

But as inferred above, there have been times when I took a business card, met up with the woman later on for lunch or dinner, then ended up with a confused face when the bill came and they didn’t budge. Like…what the f**k do you think this is? You gave me your card and I followed up. Why are you expecting me to pay for these crab meats? We’re talking about business, not me giving it to you. And it’s not that I’m a dutchmaster. It’s just that I don’t believe in paying the full tab when it’s not a date. It’s a mutual investment in a potential business relationship, not a romantic one.

There are three elements to situations like this:

  1. The first is the assumption that the majority of women that hand me their business card have ulterior motives.
  2. The question of whether or not I need to disclose my relationship status or intentions before we get up. You know. “Playing it safe” and sh*t.
  3. How incredibly wack it is to use the premise of a professional meet up to cloak romantic aspirations.
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On the first issue, I’ll never make the assumption that every woman I communicate with is looking for something. I have too many female friends that network just like I do, can maintain a conversation just like I do, and have no interest in things going anywhere other than into bank accounts just like I do. Anything less would be uncivilized. I believe in being direct, so if she doesn’t tell me anything other than what I expect, I go off my expectations. Seems fair right?

On the question of disclosure, I hate when I’m talking to someone and they weave their significant other into the conversation where it had no business. It’s like yo, I’m not hitting on you or trying to hit on you. My steak is getting cold because you’re talking about your cuddlesworth and the warmth he provides after I asked you what software you use to track your stats? In some roundabout way, it’s kinda insulting. Don’t treat me like another one of “those dudes.” Treat me like someone who’s trying to make things happen professionally, not horizontally.

On the faux-professionalism, why be a Wackasaurus? I get the whole saving face thing. But how far has the average person gotten by not being direct about their intentions? In my experience, not too far. It’s no different than men or women that play the friend role hoping that somewhere along the way fate will intervene, and they’ll have a romantic story that gets turned into a made-for-tv movie. To quote an overweight rapper with a grunting problem sans his Ferrari, “no sirrrr, not meee.”

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Step up to the plate and be clear about what you’re looking for. If you think there might be potential for more than business, ask the right questions and live with the answers. If you ask me if I’m seeing anyone, I’ll know where your mindset is. This will allow me to make an informed decision about whether or not we meet up. The choice is yours too. Time is valuable and I’m sure you don’t wanna waste it frivolously. Tell me what you’re looking for. Give me a chance to be honest. And you’ll get just what you deserve.

That’s just my take, but what about yours? Have you run into any of the three elements I mentioned? Do you let people know that the business won’t be pleasurable? Do you disclose relationship status or intentions upfront to be safe? Have you ever encountered someone who was cloaking hard? Pause. Whether you’re in the cubicle, on the site, or in class, we know you have something to say. Share it!

Yeah baby, I like it honest,