2016 in Review: Highs (so few), Lows (so many), Dating Woes- Part Deux

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So let’s start with January. Ah January came on the heels of a very shitty last quarter of 2015 on so many different levels. If you care to remember it was when I was int he middle of a lot of bad choices, lots of regret and lack of clarity on where exactly I would be moving onto in 2016 (jobs, locations etc).

But like the lighter, brighter friends (with the good hair… ha ha) I joined the online dating thing for real: partially because I was lonely and curious to as the possibilities the then New Year would hold, partially because I thought it would be good to do some unofficial gauging of what my options were, figuring that wherever I moved to next would be where I would beed to find my Mr. Wright…

I matched with an interesting Moroccan man.. an IM and he was funny and thought I was cool too. But there was hitch (and there always is one, isn’t it?) … Upon meeting in person I found that he was a lot lighter and a little chubbier than his photos. But still, I forged ahead. (I should have taken that as a harbinger of things to come). I soon realized that IM as mainly looking for a quiet penis receptacle. He straight up told me that he didn’t like talking and was looking for someone who would support him, he didn’t want a girlfriend who made him think: He did all his thinking at his engineering job…. Wow. This, plus his mistaken notion that since I am black and speak Arabic I must be desperate to be Arab and ashamed of being black meant that this was doomed from the start. I slightly regret how I ended things here, but at the same time, he pushed me till I felt like I had to choice but to be super duper frank, perhaps more frank than I wanted to be and not terse enough. Funny thing is the story doesn’t end there…. Ha ha… Before the end of January this budding relationship had died the death of a falling star.  It had hit earth and We both had moved on, or so I thought…. Queue Valentine’s day when I get a message from IM out of the blue. My response: “Who is this?”

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Give me some credit, I didn’t quite respond like that! ha ha

Apparently, that was not the response he was looking for. IM responded with a terse “No one” and (I believe) blocked my number… I was really confused by the immaturity of his response, but also reprimanded by friends for being unfriendly… ha ha…

Mentioning it in passing to my sister and she said that my problem is that I like to be in control… I as annoyed that someone who had written me off and I had written off would come back out of the blue  rattle me.

 

Who knows? For me this is the beginning of the encounters that I leave in the trashbins of history.

 

 

2016 in Review: Highs (so few), Lows (so many), Dating Woes

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So, I have been doing much reflecting on this shit-show we call 2016. Caught in yet another discussion with someone on the plight of black women, specifically dark skinned ones, specifically dark skinned ones with African Featuers, specifically dark skinned ones with African features whose bodies are not of the main stream ideal variety and are more curvy (whether we are regular, overweight or obese).

And I breathed a heavy sigh. Maybe a year ago now, a mixed friend, one who is black and Asian made me feel pretty bad…ha ha . We weren’t friends quite yet, but I was making a comment about standards of beauty, especially as internalized by men and how that translates into how different groups of women are treated. And her response was basically to state outright that no matter how bad it was for the kind of black women I outlined above, it’s worse for her because she is mixed and fetishized for her Asian-ness. I sort of just sat there quietly: I knew then that there would be a limit to the kinds of convos we could have.

I was talking about feeling invisible, of dealing with really shitty situations and people who try to make you feel less than dirt (even if they deign to date you), I was talking about being at the bottom of the totem pole, and her reaction was basically “Well you’re lucky because I never know if people really want me for me or because of how I look”….

 

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I don’t know Kat, I really don’t know…

Honestly, the second conversation was practically triggering as I had filed this lack of empathy incident away in my “Oh well, we knew human beings lacked basic empathy.” file.  I mean, I am talking about not even being under consideration in many circles, and you are talking about being wanted by many.

When I talk about these things, I am not looking for pity. I am just looking for people to acknowledge that maybe, someone has it worse than they do, that maybe it’s a little harder for some of us than it is for others. I acknowledge my privilege all the freaking time! I know it’s there, I know I enjoy it: I work in a space where most of the poc serve the food or clean or are security guards. I was born in a hospital in country that had 5 doctors total— 4 years ago (have no idea how many there were when I was born!).

But I digress.

Yest another conversation, this time with a black man, educated one, elite educated one, elite job holder now… who was lamenting his lack of matches on social media. Because I had gotten more matches that somehow meant that things were so bad for him.

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seriously

 

This is despite the fact that the negro had 3 count em 3 girlfriends (all reasonable attractive, at least two really well educated with white collars jobs, a plethora of travel experiences… etc. etc. etc….  in the past year alone, along with FWB/DTF – type deals as well. Ugh. No. You don’t have it worse. Nowhere in the neighborhood of worse.

After listing all the awful (honest to God awful individuals I have dealt with this year, his response was “well, I had better quality” but you had better “quantity” …..

Last time I checked having five bags of garbage as compared to his one containter full of recyclables means his house is a lot neater than my own.

And no, I am not comparing people per se, I am comparing experiences. But this entry has become more like an intro. more on the horrors of the individuals I’ve interacted with this year in the next post.

On Chumps and Men

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Boy sees woman’s profile on a dating site, boy actually reads profile and sends a message that reflects he has. Woman is surprised as anyone who has done the online dating thing knows most of the men on these sites and apps really suck, or so many women lament. Where the story goes from here is interesting, to some perhaps, to others perhaps not.

I have an off again, on again relationship with these  dating apps as I’ve tried quite a few, some for as little as 15 minutes at a time.  Most, I have deleted and then downloaded again at times when I felt more optimistic. I preface with all this because I wary of people only looking for hook-ups, I am cautious or perhaps fear rejection.. ha ha so I never message a man first.

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It’s my prerogative, but I find this an easier way to gauge genuine interest. Most of these virtual swipes right or online convos are short-lived: There is no spark, I am not available to go for “drinks,” the conversation gets dull because he doesn’t like writing.

But it wasn’t like that with Surfer Boy (SB for short). It was a surprising breath of fresh air. I will admit I was skeptical as all get out at first; We are like night and day. He is tall super athletic (a pro surfer in a past life of all things!) and white, I am none of those things ha ha. But our messages were super long, and when we moved to Skype we still felt like we clicked, well I guess I can only speak for me, but I assume it was the same. We had started chatting when I came to the US briefly in June and interviewed where I now work. So he knew I was coming back and moving to his area, but he knew it was going to be several weeks. And yet, SB didn’t mind.  It was a weird feeling, because logically on some level I felt like we didn’t fit, and I let him know that, and downplayed the “positive signs” that our continued interactions supposedly revealed.

We kept it up with daily text conversations, 4+hr Skype calls, and definitive declarations of how great it would be when we finally meet. When we did it was great. Probably the funniest first date I’ve ever had. From then on we didn’t stop texting every day, and pretty much a day of every weekend was a SurferGazelle Day. We fit, I thought because SB was ok with taking things very slowly, we both agreed that hookup culture of today didn’t suit either of us, that it was important to get to know a person well, develop emotional attachment and intellectual connection.  And as time wore on, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, that maybe he just needed more points of connection before deciding how he felt.

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But then September rolled around, and as that month waxed on and the responsibilities of my new job did too, I really took stock of just how much of the fabric of my social life here was connected to connecting with SB.  And I ponied up the courage to clarify what exactly was going on. If after constantly communicating with someone for 3 months you are still unsure of what you want with or of them, then you’re not unsure at all. I felt like I had nothing else to show, and honestly didn’t want to waste my time on something that had many of the external trappings of a relationship: a seemingly attentive man, a proactive one who would drive an hour or so each way to see me every weekend, one who was thoughtful and encouraging and real (as I was with him).

But of course, if you have to ask, you already know the answer.

My recollection of the jumbled mess of the response he gave me is naturally jumbled. I said something short and sweet like “I like you a lot and have enjoyed spending time together, but I feel like we are in something of a gray area and wanted to check in with you and see, I dunno, what you are thinking.”

He was packing his bag to leave at the time, but to his credit seemed to take in my words and stopped what he was doing so we could have the conversation. Again, he then rambled a lot, but I can break his response into a few big chunks: 1. Acknowledgement that I am right this is gray because while I am NOT his girlfriend I am not just a friend either. 2. Further exposition on why he can’t commit to anything right now — needs to find himself and work through some issues/he is not confident he could be the kind of boyfriend to me he wants to be and doesn’t think it would be right to even make me wait till the day he is ready for a relationship 3. (empty) Praise of all my positive attributes, my honesty, kindness, beauty blah blah bblah 4. Him wanting to remain friends because he is very picky about who his  friends are and he only has a small circle of them,  and I supposedly pass the snuff test. 5. Him taking the possibility of a relationship off the table  if that means he can just be a part of my life, giving examples of how he could be useful to me.

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Yup, in the pendeja of a situation that is pretty much what I did… sigh.

My main interjection in all this was “I don’t like gray.” Because I don’t.

 

 

 

 

On Second Thought…. Eff That…

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I realize that as woman, or maybe a person I am continually trying to make peace. It’s this proclivity to let bygones be bygones that mired me in unnecessary stress.

No need for total details, I guess, but needless to say I no longer feel bad for supposedly hurting someone’s feelings. Why do so many men feel that it’s their right to have the woman they want when they want?

Eff that!

I was contrite, and tried to assuage male egos, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I did nothing wrong. Man meet’s woman. Man wants woman. Woman is not sure she wants man. Woman is clear about needing more time. Man does not respect this. Woman is fed up with feeling rushed so she tells man (very nicely) there is the door, you can see your way out (because if you want something within a certain time-frame, and I am not sure I want those same things, and am not ready to make a snap-judgement about it, why not save us both the time and trouble?)… but yeah, Man behaves like man-child.

or take this scenario

Man meets woman. Man wants woman. Woman is very clear from the get-go that she does not want man as anything other than maybe a friend. Man pretends to be ok with these boundaries. Man continually crosses these boundaries. Woman gets mad, but tells man firmly, “Please don’t do x, y or z, I don’t like and I don’t want it.” Man gets offended.

or this one

Man reaches out to woman he as known for many years. Woman is very clear about boundaries and not wanting Man to get the wrong idea. Man continues to push, even though he claims woman would be the perfect match once he rids her of some her backwards/incorrect ideas (which also happen to be central to who she is as a person as they form the premise for her morale compass and worldview!). Again, woman lets man know that, No, it’s not like that, and it will never be like that. Man continues to push boundaries. Woman breaks down and practically tells man off. Man gets offended. …. but wait, she had been telling you No, No and no.

In any number of these situations (yes, situations plural, this has happened to me more than once, more than twice this year alone 😦  I have been made to feel at-fault. But actually, Gazelle has absolved herself of all these “sins.”

I am done apologizing. Eff that. and frankly, Eff them!

 

It’s Not About Actions Speaking Louder than Words…

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In case you haven’t read from the snark in my previous posts, I am going through a rough spot for a number of reasons, none of which do I get into on this blog…. ha ha…

Truth be told, someone I know (obviously someone I know) did something I am having a lot of trouble coming to terms with/ betrayed my trust in a sense and I haven’t dealt with the ramifications of that on me in an expedient or efficient fashion. Like many things in life it’s complicated, mainly because the situation is complicated— As evidenced by my lack of an ability to come up with singular descriptor of what happened. Needless to say, they did something cut a bit, well more deeply than it would had the perpetrator been just about anyone else (Gazelle is really good at shrugging people off… ha ha…). And to top it off,  I was, it seems glaringly apparent to me now, complicit in my own demise.

But the offender was a drunk driver, not someone who plotted my murder for months before carrying it out. And so, it’s more of a case of involuntary manslaughter than it is first or second degree murder…. hmmm I quite like that analogy.

Like I noted above, I played a part in this too, for lack of better language I was stupid, and naive and trusting—- way too trusting, not so much of them, but of my own optimism for the future, (blurred) vision of the present and  overconfident (to the point of hubris it seems) of my ability to learn from past mistakes. I also ran on the assumption that someone who has known me for a long time, and knows me as well as they do would never cause me to feel like this (like I said bluuuuuuuurrrrrrrred vision!… ha ha… even writing this is so sad because I really should have known better than to ever base anything on an idiotic assumption like that… sigh).

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Yeah, the world around me looked like this. source

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But I could have sworn that the image was crisp, like this one. Sigh. source

 

The thing about past mistakes and learning from them though, is that every new situation is new: There’s something unique about it that usually makes it hard to just plunk it into a lessons learned box.

So I found myself at an empasse, dealing with something very new, which echos of old things- dealing with something I never thought I would have to deal with, not in a million years.

To be fair, I ended up speaking with the person about this situation and they did apologize. Like my drunk driver analogy above indicates, it was not their intention to leave me feeling like, well for lack of better language — a pile of shit. But to be fair to me, that’s what happened all the same… apologies don’t change the reality on the ground all that much 😦

Most days I am fine, but things happen that trigger thoughts and then boom! I am back in self-doubt and self-blame land. I can’t help but feel like I haven’t been able to fully let this go because there is some lesson that I still haven’t learned

And this entry, I guess is another stab at a lesson that I should learn from this.  I had a thought today about how I can best learn from past mistakes and have finally been able to articulate something that’s been a useful framework for my reflections:

I lived by this:

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Well… as long as the two don’t reinforce one another you do in fact have a problem, Houston: Source

 but, now I think that

It’s not that Actions speak louder than words, it’s that actions and words need to line up.

I don’t know who else is excited about this little self-help mantra that I cooked up, but I sure am.  In the context of the bump in the road of life that I discuss above,  just thinking even semi-critically of my situation through this prism would have saved me a lot of head and heart ache.

If you have a friend who claims to adore you but then does things to make you feel inadequate… you may need to think about those bold letters up above.

If you have romantic interest that swears to adore you in private but acts like they don’t know you in public…. you too may need to think about those letters and how to apply them to your life.

If you have a friend, lover, family member, that has categorically told you that they can’t do a certain thing for you, but they do other nice things for you…. you still might need to think about the words up above.

It’s not about kicking people to the curb, (not in every case!)… but it is about understanding other people’s limitations as stated AND demonstrated. I think there is a nuance that I was missing in my interactions with others, that perhaps I can now at least be aware of it’s necessity.

I hope this makes sense. The idea popped in my head about half an hour ago, so maybe it’s not as genius or as comforting as it is for me right now in this moment.

Sigh. Too little too late, for me anyway. But maybe not for someone else. Maybe this will be useful the next time I encounter a situation like the one I’ve been peeving about…. (*** rolls my eyes superciliously***)

****Note to LJ Cul de Sac: I don’t think you read this blog anymore, yes it’s a post about you…I don’t think I’ve stated anything there that I haven’t stated to your face, but I apologize on the small chance that you are offended by anything here or claim I’ve made. And of course, I can certainly clarify anything that seems unclear. I tried to write this post without giving specifics so there are things that are and aren’t directly related to you. ****

And with that I am off to something else. Here’s to making the last year or so of blogging count! … ha ha

On Feeling Validated

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It was refreshing a few days ago to have a few different conversations with single women I know about life and love and standards of beauty. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t served cold platitudes of “Oh but Gazelle, you are beautiful!” (and what does me or you KNOWING how amazing I am have to do with society’s tendency to pick apart the notion and dump it in a trash heap?)

Or, “You don’t have to be statistic if you don’t want to be, just get out there and try.” (Um, ok. Yeah all I have to do is get out there and keep going at it. Why didn’t I think of that??? Gee, your advise is amazing.. cue the rolled. eyes… ha ha).

or the worst of them all “But so and so is a black woman and she doing just fine.” (Oh, ok so by your logic, we have a black family in the White House, so all black people in America are doing just fine socially, economically and politically, and if their not, then it’s their fault??????)

So conversation one, was with an Asian friend. Whenwe were talking about I was no longer on a dating site (all halal I assure you…ha ha) that she is still plodding through, she at first was very frank with me and told me that she didn’t think I tried enough. We are friends and I get it. I am grateful for her honesty. And even more grateful for the chance she gave me to explain why I just am not all Pollyana about this stuff anymore:

I come from a place where people like me more often than not end up alone, and I have made peace with it. I’m an educated black woman with African features and a curvier (and by no means fat… I am still really confused as to when one became a euphemism for the other… sigh) figure. I don’t know when people who look like me were ever in, but we’re not the “it girls” of today. And Apparently the dating/courting scene is a lot more superficial than I thought when I was younger, fresher and more optimistic. And my younger, fresher, more optimistic about live and love days were when and how I discovered these noble truths (and yes, I realize that they don’t have to be truths for everyone).

And I feel super respected for once

But yes. I am the person least likely to get an OK Cupid Reply. I am more likely to have fewer matches on Tinder.  And the same goes for any other dating site/arrangmeent/set-up in the virtual world or in the real one. I am just not who most people think of when they think of the girl of their dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I am the type to get hits now and then, from way to old pappi picantes and other inconsiderates who haven’t read my profile. Or even worse from random men who think a way to a woman’s heart is through vulgar messages. :-/… but that’s every woman’s lot these days.

Wow check out those figures! Why am I so complacent about being a statistic???? Shame on me, GAzelle …ha ha

Don’t get em wrong I am not a pessimist. But I am damn sure a realist. My predicament is not unusual but it felt good to talk to someone that didn’t judge and didn’t call me a whiner. Instead she just said “oh, I didn’t know. Sorry. I guess I understand a little better now.” She told me not to give up hope (yeah girl, too late… ha ha… And the well just marry a blue collar guy solution is well… meh.. it clashes with compatibility, I think).

Another friend, one whose physical characteristics are closer to mine gave me understanding nods sighs. Can I just say it felt good to be validated. To not even have to explain myself and defend the validity of my own lived experience!

I’m not delusional. I don’t have low self-esteem (I will kick someone to the curb with the quickness!) I don’t have too much self-esteem. I’m just real. and as for her, well she too is trying, putting her best face forward and herself out there being open to love.

Somehow other people here me (complain) about my dating/lackofalovelife woes and ASSSUME I am not proactive or assertive or optimistic at all. WRONG

I understand how things work. And although I wish they were different, there’s but so much I can do to fix where I fall on the totem pole.

Actually Eff the totem pole!

My problem is actually that all of these concerns fly out the window far too quickly when I’m in certain settings and situations.

Sigh. At any rate, I’m just gonna live life and be me. If that means finding and marrying somebody (educated) that I love and who loves me back, and has the same values that I have, similar passions (broadly defined) with whom I share a mutual attraction then great. But Gazelle can do but so much.

Actually, the only thing Gazelle can control is Gazelle. I started this blog with woe is me, will I ever find someone posts. I’ve posted periodically about the fish that had to be thrown back in the sea (and not quite so much about the ones that never too the bait, since I’ve chosen this rather crude analogy… :-/

But it’s been over 8 years and I think I don’t want to spend to much time thinking about what I already know. For now, it’s enough that my experiences and perspectives were validated. Someone out there knows that life for me, is not about trite platitudes doled out as advice or other people’s lives held up as examples for me to follow (without consideration for the privileges we do not share).

My experiences and the viewpoints that have developed as a result are valid.

Now if I could only decide between (re)downloading Tinder onto my blackberry… or signing up for another service….

Or maybe  should just hold my American passport up in a bunch of profile pictures (that should have them rolling in) ha ha… #Youneverknow 😉

On My Valentine’s Day Playlist

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About 10 years ago, I spent a semester in Morocco.  One of my closest friends from that semester did a really sweet thing for her boyfriend/love interest of the time.

She made him mix CD (do people even use CDs any more???) of songs, all with the theme of young love. When I state young love, I mean budding romance… songs like Groove Theory’s “Tell me if you Want Me to”

I thought it was the cutest idea and ever since had hoped that I would one day have a SO that would do the same for me (selfish I know!)…Songs are so awesome and poignant, even when they are simple and seem stupid. I think almost everyone can think of a song that pretty accurately and aptly encapsulated how they felt at a certain moment in time. I am that on steroids… It’s all about the words more so than the beat and such… and yet, It’s something that people tend to not notice about me.

So it’s no surprise that now that it’s ten years and counting and this old brown cow has crossed the 30 threshold,

9 Months? … Try 30 years!…. Some of us are the experience personified on earth!… ha ha

I am willing to give up on that dream (and I never expressed this wish to anyone, and somehow hoped that some guy would intuitively do this thing, so you get what you put out there).

But before I let my dream die, I decided to create the mixtape/playlist on my own.

Here are the tracks

12. Jon B- They Don’t know

Jon B paved the road for Justin Timberlake and all these blue-eyed soul artists that proliferate the market these days.  Tu Amor is a fave of mine because of the mix of Spanish, but also because his vocals are on point.  Some group did a cover of this song and their version just doesn’t cut it.  There had to be some LaFace representation on this list… just had to be (I am child of the 90s, after all)

11. Michael Jackson- Remember the Time

This is my favorite MJ song (next to Stranger in Moscow) and I remember watching it when it premiered, I was all of 8 years old.  But that video ya’ll, it was epic. I am a sucker for a song about old love that is still there after years have past.

10. Backstreet Boys- All I have to Give

This was the first Backstreet Boys song I ever heard and still love it to this day.  The message is simple, it’s not about nice things, it’s about the sincerity that comes with truly loving someone.

9. Luis Fonsi – No Me Doy Por Vencido (I am not giving up)

The song is about not giving up on a relationship, that saving what they have is worthwhile.  I listen to it when I need inspiration for other stuff too… go figure.

8. Jen Carlos Canela- Mi Corazon Insiste (My heart Insists)

Not only do I think Jen Carlos has the coolest name and is the quintessential example of the Hot Latino leading man, but I love this song (duh hence it’s on my playlist!… ha ha). It’s about loving someone despite yourself, trying to replace them with someone else, or to erase their memory, all to no avail.  Some loves are like that, I think.  Their’s something really passionate about that  yet, calming because in the end, all roads lead back to that major love.

7.  98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder- True to Your Heart

Aside from being the song off the Mulan soundtrack, le message rings clear and is pretty self-explanatory.  Plus, I loved the late 90s Boy bands, well just the three that make this list, and this is probably my favorite 98 Degrees song.

6.  Sabr Alroba3i- Atahada al3alam (Usually translated as “I Defy the World” but I think that “I Declare to the World” makes more sense)

The song is awesome… and I love it because it’s one of those that I loved even before I actually understood what the words meant. Sabr alroba3i has an amazing voice and this song, this song… It was on my list as possible wedding song back in the day… ha ha…. my favorite line translates as something like (and You are my love, my heart and soul are with you, come close and let me live out my feelings of love…. hmmm this translation is weird… ha ha).

5. NSYNC- Something like You

It was really hard to pick just one NSYNC Song, there are too many that love, these guys were the bona fide soundtrack of my youth…le sigh.  I actually wasn’t a great fan of “This I promise you” or “God Must have Spent”… mostly because they got so much play. I like this song because it’s about love in its early stages, but the singer can tell it’s something deeep… ha ha… yup in case you haven’t noticed I am soppy romantic at heart.

6. Billy Joel- The Longest Time

The message is pretty much the same as the NSYNC song, but it’s Billy Joel! Funnily enough, I love this song because Alvin and Chipmunks used to sing it a lot… ha ha…

5. India Arie- I see the God in You

This is one of those songs that were on constantly for me ten years ago.  Aside from featuring Ms. Arie’s awesome voice, the message is yet again about young love, about feeling this intrinsic connection with someone else. I still remember walking down the streets of the old Medina in Rabat with this blasting in my ears…. FYI… I did not see God in any of the men that I past by daily… not in the way she is talking about anyway… ha ha…

4. Alanis Morissette- Head Over Feet

Probably my favorite song from Alanis, and the lyrics are simple, but awesome. I think the little things the guy does in the song, have always clicked with me like (yes!)… again going with the theme of it’s not about the materials crap, it’s about things like Asking me how my day was, just saying the right things at the right times… the kind of love that makes you love the person back for all that they are!

3. Rob Thomas- Lonely No More

Because I looooooved Matchbox Twenty and because this is the ultimate “Piss or get off the Pot” type songs… like, I don’t want any more BS so be sure this is what you want.

2. Banky W- Strong Ting

Practically an ancient Afro-pop song, but it’s still one of my faves.  Just another song about young love, although this is probably more of the superficial sort… ha ha …

1. 112- Only You

One of 112’s best songs, back when Biggy was still alive and Bad Boy was in it’s heydey. Yet another where exactly do we stand?- type songs… but their vocals as ever are awesome. And this song also happens to be one the biggest ones out there back when I was in 8th grade.

Of course there are tons of songs left off here- Celine Dion could Easily be on this mixtape as could several others (Mariah, Whitney, some more representation from girl groups and a few other Arab artists… At least one Country song), but whatever. … no revenue will be made or collected from this post. So, I don’t think anyone cares…

And with that, the dream is put to rest. Moving on to other things.

Got the playlist. Now all I need is the date… Wait, I said, moving on to other things Gazelle!