5…

 

On July 31, 2011, I embarked on a journey with a woman that I was in love with…madly in love with.  When I woke up that morning, the sun was shining bright and I had time to reflect as all of my groomsmen were recovering from the night before. I decided to take a walk through downtown Hartford to clear my head, reflect on my past, and focus on my future. I understood the gravity of the step that I was about to take and I accepted that with an open mind and open heart. I received a text from Orsella Cooper-Hughes, the Officiant of our wedding, who is a trusted family member and spiritual advisor. Her message to me was simple, “keep God first little cuz, today will be a great day”, and that it was! The fine details of the wedding went as planned. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, but it was an epic event and truly one of the greatest days of my life. When the party was over, the last vendor paid, the last rounds of toasts made, and the last of the guests departed. There remained my beautiful bride and me, left to start our journey with each other and God. That day was the beginning of us as husband and wife; the start of a marriage that has faced many ups and downs, heartache and happiness, challenges and triumphs. The past five years have been full of experiences and a wide range of emotions. It has tested our faith in God, our belief in ourselves and our belief in one another.

Sacrifice is one of the first thoughts that come to mind when I consider the first five years. Sacrifice is defined by Webster Dictionary as “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” Our first year of marriage was defined by sacrificing comfort, money and time in order to solidify a better future for ourselves and our family. Throughout that period of sacrifice, there were experiences and stressors that we faced that have done a lot of other relationships in. Fortunately, we were blessed to have a good foundation established by our pre-marital counseling, a strong faith in our relationship, a real friendship that was formulated prior to intimacy and God as our guide. Oh and one other big thing, we did not allow others to “peek into our blinds” by taking to social media with our issues. We were and continue to be selective in what we choose to share with the rest of the world, some things simply aren’t for everyone to see. When the times have gotten rough, we put down the electronic devices, draw closer to one another and our trusted few.

Acceptance and support have been huge in our union. When Melissa walked down that aisle, she walked into the arms of a very flawed man who was and remains a work in progress. She knew what she was getting herself into, as did I. We have accepted one another for who we are, what we bring to the table and what we lack. Though there has been a ton of acceptance, there has been very little settling. Though we have accepted the fact that the other person has flaws, we do not settle for anything but the best from one another. That means that there are difficult conversations that need to be had and many “GET IN THE CAR” moments (that’s an insider that a few of you will understand). Another aspect of acceptance is accepting the dreams of the person that you devote yourself to and supporting them in every endeavor. Anybody that knows me knows that I am an extremely active person with big dreams and lots of goals. My dreams and goals come with a price and that price is usually time. I thank God that I have someone by my side that supports my endeavors, listens to my dreams and helps me to make sense out of the best way to achieve them. As our lives have grown, so has the list of dreams, projects, and endeavors that my wife has taken on. I have tried my hardest to be intentional about reciprocating the support and encouragement that she has given to me. The balance of being each other’s biggest fan is important and necessary.

Fun is extremely important to have with your partner. Make time for one another to do the things that make you happy. Whether it’s a date night once a month, spending time with a group of friends that you both enjoy or simply finding a babysitter and having dinner without interruptions from the little ones in your life, enjoying one another’s company is helpful. It reminds you of the “magic” that led you to commit to forever with one another, it helps you to remember that in the midst of all of the curve balls that life throws, you have one another. It also provides a very necessary balance to the grind of building and securing the future of your family.

Lastly, love one another and love unconditionally. There will be good days and there will be bad. There will be disagreements, rolled eyes, raised voices and moments of “I can’t stand you right now”. During those moments, remember to love. In the midst of financial turmoil, choose love. When the doctor gives a bad report, choose love. When there’s a loss of loved ones and other forms of heartache, choose love. When your pride tells you to try to get the last word, choose love. No matter what the situation or circumstance….choose love. In order to choose love, you must remember to focus on love and what it is about the person across from you that made you fall in love. Be intentional about telling them what they do that makes you fall in love all over again and focus on making those things happen for your partner.

Remember that there will be times in which choosing love does not seem like the answer, during those times….choose to PRAY for the person that you love. I am a man that is far from perfect and what works for my relationship may not work for you. This is MY view on what has sustained the first five years of my marriage. I am blessed to have an amazing wife who has taught me what love, acceptance, support, and encouragement is. I truly cannot imagine what my life would be like without my wife. She is an amazing wife, mother, step-mother, and friend. She is goal oriented, driven and did I mention –she is drop dead gorgeous! I look forward to many more milestones with her and the growth of my family. I believe in love because of her and I believe that love always wins when you want it to.

Happy Anniversary to the most amazing woman in the world and cheers to forever!

 

Tai D. Richardson
#AreYouVSOP #TheVSOPLife
Like, Follow and Share @Thevsoplife Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook

Having Trouble At Work?

 

Having trouble at work? So was I.

I started at this company 2.5 years ago, when I was on the heels of a divorce and I moved 30 min. away from my core group of people. I took this job in transportation, an industry I had no experience in. Needless to say, my 1st year was miserable. People questioned me, my skills, and even my writing abilities – as a journalist, I was insulted. I had a horrible review. I had never felt so unfavored in any position.

Every day I imagined myself getting a new job and boastfully slamming a resignation letter on my boss’s desk, but that never happened. Every opportunity that was offered to me fell through for some reason – budget, resources, timing etc. So I ended up staying in this position because I needed the money.

I changed my prayers from finding a new job to changing my circumstances at my current job. I asked the people in my Bible study group to pray for me and with me. Slowly, but surely, things started to turn around.

My biggest critics were taken off my projects, and my attitude about my job started to change. I found reasons to be grateful for my job, and I started working on the things people criticized me for. My next review was amazing. It was a complete turnaround from the first one. As things got better, I continued praying. I didn’t want to go backwards.

In October, I had the unique opportunity to take a position in NYC doing exactly what I wanted to do – public relations, and I really had an opportunity to shine. To my disappointment, the assignment ended abruptly, and I feared going back to my regular assignments and having to work with the naysayers again.

I just knew my “winning” streak had ended a couple weeks ago, when I was working on a report that took me twice as long as I anticipated. When the project manager called me, I just knew he was going to let me have it, but instead he told me I did a “phenomenal” job.

I called my boss to let her know that someone actually used the word “phenomenal” on a report I worked on. To my surprise, again, she told me that she had good news too – my promotion!

I’m still growing, but prayer works and God’s grace is real. I hope this helps someone.

Stacy.

*Previously Posted on Proccessingpain.com *
Twitter:
@StacyGrahamHunt Ig:@stacyreports
#AreYouVSOP #TheVSOPLife
Like, Follow and Share @Thevsoplife Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook

Get in Formation: From Stacey Dash to Beyonce, you really don’t care about black history!

Beyonce broke the internet and the hearts of many white people when she release her latest single, “Formation”. She sent even more people into cardiac arrest after performing this single for the halftime show on Superbowl Sunday. Following critiques of her performance, video, and lyrics,  many found themselves defending the queen bee and all things black. Black pride and activism flooded the internet. Why does time always reveal an opportunistic moment to revolutionize a distinct appearance of malicious intent? Is black culture only hardwired to unite during seasons of oppression and tyranny? “Say it Loud, I’m black and I’m proud” filled our spirits up with a pride; so fulfilling that it raised a united fist to the heavens.

Since this black panther inspired performance, everyone likes “their baby’s hair with baby hair and Afros” Beyonce’s video highlights police brutality and the strain relationship between black communities and law enforcement. It seems like the most honorable times for African Americans came during a period in our lives where we mattered the least to this civilization. Whips screamed across our backs. Sweat drenched the dirt and dusty gardens as seeds were watered only to be plucked by our blistered fingers. A nation under GOD was built off the backs and labor from black faces. Bills, laws and civil rights were written in blood as a result of people sick of living a life that was unjust, as well as unfit for humanity.

Our culture, our legacy should be told by us and should never be written as HIStory. Now let sit back for a moment and reflect on Stacy Dash. Now Ms. Dash may very well be one of GOD’s most beautiful creations. As fine as she is, I find it terribly difficult to boyishly admire such a disappointing public figure. Let’s address the misguided truth that escaped her lips without clear thought. During an interview Stacy made a comment that referenced the abolishment of Black History month, referring to it as “culturally biased” and “UnAmerican”…. As she continued to dig her own grave with black people, and has no desire to renew her “black card” which was revoked sometime in 2015.  Stacy’s words, although completely IGNORANT bare some relevance for discussion. A few years ago, I questioned the motive and intentions of our people by saying, “the only way we as African Americans would appreciate Black History month is if some lobbyist or politician called for the abolishment of its recognition.” As I sit on Facebook and other social media outlets, I am reading the outrage, the memes and status that are currently trending about this topic. As I observe and recognize people’s right to be upset with an African American woman cosigning the abolishment of black history month I also find myself in a predicament. I feel as if Black History month is very undervalued and not appreciated by the masses. It’s even more alarming to hear this coming from a black woman. The question really is, what if Black History month was officially removed and no longer nationally recognized. Let’s examine this a little further.

When was the last time any of us really celebrated Black History Month in all the magnitude and glory that we celebrate any other moment of history? More people get together for Cinco de Mayo and St Patrick’s Day to honor another culture’s history that we don’t even understand (or care to understand). Yeah, you can make the argument that both days celebrate with libations. Let’s be real everyone loves a reason to drink excessively, but in the same breath I have no problem sipping some cognac on Frederick Douglass’ birthday (kidding not kidding). The sad reality is many African Americans fail at recognizing black history month and couldn’t even tell you much out about black history.

Now, hypothetically speaking, what if black history month was abolished? How would that make you feel? What would miss in honoring the month? What traditions would become lost by your own doing? I wonder what Carter G Woodson would say to Stacy Dash? If you are reading this last sentence and wondering who Carter G Woodson is you and Stacy Dash have more in common than you think.

As someone that actively honors and respects the history that our ancestors endured I use February as a privileged opportunity to publicly pay homage to our culture. Many people question the motive of black history month being the shortest month of the year in addition to sighting that black history month should be studied all year. Although these opinions are very much so true February is the shortest month of the year, but that is not the reason why it was chose to be black history month. The month was chosen because of Fredrick Douglas’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday being in the same month. Even if you did know why,  you should still appreciate the fact that we have one month to enlighten the world about the struggle and progress that Black People have overcome. So many people are in absolute denial or choose to remain ignorant about the contributions that we have made over the years.  I am a Christian, male, that celebrates Easter and Christmas on nationally recognized days. In spite of the fact that  Christ should be celebrated, studied, and worshiped every day. I adopt the same principles to that opinion and choose to proactively celebrate a month that is by no means culturally biased or un-American.  People make comments and ask questions like, there isn’t a white history month so why should there be black history month? Ignorantly failing to ask the question why we had to instill black history month in the first place. That inquiry alone lets me know the depth of knowledge and lack of understanding on how strategic HIStory tries to write US out of it. There is nothing culturally biased about taking time to acknowledge historic FACTS that are clear defining moments in American History and should be studied by EVERYONE. So while you all organize your thoughts on social media about Stacy Dash, and Beyonce take a pause for the cause and ask yourself, would you miss Black History Month if it was gone? Who’s the real sell out?

 

Just in case you fit that category let us guide you into some suggestions and help you celebrate black history month the V.S.OP way.

Here are ten ways to celebrate Black History Month the V.S.OP way:

  1. Read a book that celebrates or articulates African American Culture. A few recommendations: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Message to the Black Man, Roots, The Souls of, Black Women in White America just to name a few
  2. Attend a local Black History month program. Use your resources and find out what’s going on in your church or community.
  3. Organize a soul food potluck with your friends preparing all the traditional and cultural foods from many nations.
  4. Sit down with your family and watch a historic African American biography, or documentary that highlights the true struggle of black history in America
  5. Everyday research a black history fact and share it with your peers via social media. Create memes and other trending ways to pass along the information.
  6. Have a sit down conversation with the oldest member of your family and have them reflect on memorable times that they experienced growing up during their years of life.
  7. Teach your children something about black history. Lord knows the school systems aren’t doing that. Educate them on who people are and how significant African Americans have been to our society.
  8. Support, refer and spend money in black owned businesses.
  9. Watch a black film with a group of friends and have a discussion.
  10. Organize, or participate in a march or demonstration that celebrates  black history month.

 

By Mr. NiceGuy
Twitter: MrNiceGuyVSOP
IG: Trev.s.op
#AreYouVSOP

V.S.OP Spotlight: “Cut From A Different Cloth”

The Virtually.Seizing.Opulence (V.S.OP) team is happy to introduce to some and present to others, Mr. Tommie Lark, Jr. the Chief Executive Officer of Superego, LLC. Tommie was born and raised in Massachusetts.Some would say that the odds were stacked against him from the time of conception, as he was born to two teenage parents. Things become harder for Tommie when he was seven years old. His father was murdered, leaving his 24 year old mother with two young children to raise.

Despite the early traumatic loss that Tommie experienced, he excelled as a student and joined the Amherst Chapter of “A Better Chance” (ABC), a college preparatory program. In addition to his success in the classroom, Mr. Lark also experienced great success as an athlete. His prowess as a scholar athlete led to him being accepted into the prestigious Wesleyan University, where he served as the captain of the track team and went on to be a four-time All American Triple Jumper.

While balancing his coursework and a rigorous training schedule, Tommie found time to join the Beta Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. Phi Beta Sigma is an international Fraternity founded on January 9, 1914, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. As a member of the Fraternity, Tommie utilized the leadership skills that he gained at an early age and served as the President of his Chapter for two years. In an interview with the V.S.OP team, Tommie shares how he overcame the adversities of being born to teenage parents and losing his father to go on to become a college graduate, All-American athlete and up and coming entrepreneur.

V.S.OP: “Tell us about your journey. How did you get into the industry that you are in?”

TL: “I am someone who came from nothing, born in a society where most that looked like me would be predisposed to drugs, violence and poverty. I somehow fell into the fashion industry, but I am using my brand and movement to redefine culture and make sustainable living more accessible to underrepresented millennials.”

Tommie truly believes in the old mantra that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and he attributes much of his success, both personally and professionally, to individuals that served as mentors and role models for him.

TL: “Coming from nothing, I am grateful and know the importance of giving back. I would not be where I am today without the support and guidance of many along the way including the staff of “A Better Chance”, my coaches and the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.”

Defining your purpose can often be difficult to do. People spend a great deal of time trying to establish who they are or to make sense of what they are placed on this earth to do. Tommie believes that he is living in his purpose and is using his craft to inspire others to achieve greatness. He also envisions himself as a barrier breaker in the fashion industry and has established lofty goals for Superego, LLC.

Coming from nothing, I am grateful and know the importance of giving back. 

 

V.S.OP: “What makes you do what you do?”

TL: “My purpose in life is to do what I do. I was given a gift, destined for greatness. It is my duty to give back and uplift our youth, paving a path for them to have a more positive future.”

V.S.OP: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

TL: “In 10 years I would like to be a successful business owner that is known for changing the very fabric of reality (making hemp the new standard for t-shirt as opposed to cotton). I would like to have concept stores around the world, connecting the dots and empowering creatives to live their dreams. I would eventually like to start my own foundation or non-profit organization to give back to youth in underprivileged areas.”

V.S.OP: “What legacy do you want to leave behind through your craft?”

TL: “(BE)lieve in (YOU)rself. I want to leave this earth knowing that I have made an impact, knowing that my children and grandchildren will be born “Cut From A Different Cloth.” I want people to feel comfortable in their own skin, knowing that life’s a journey of creating yourself. Do what makes you happy and never let anyone get in the way of your dreams.”

Success is not easily attainable and this is even more evident in companies trying to establish themselves in major industries that have been historically dominated by larger corporations. The V.S.OP team inquired as to the challenges that Mr. Lark has faced as he seeks to “change the very fabric of reality.”

(BE)lieve in (YOU)rself. I want to leave this earth knowing that I have made an impact, knowing that my children and grandchildren will be born “Cut From A Different Cloth.

V.S.OP: “What are some obstacles that you have faced in pursuit of your goals?”

TL: “I was born to lose, but built to win. Born in poverty to high school sweethearts, losing my dad to violence as a child. Raised by a single mother working 3 jobs to provide for my siblings and myself. I was able to get over all of the obstacles in my way. Currently, a major obstacle that I am facing is building a brand from the ground up and spreading awareness. As a small business, working capital is always an issue, but we continue to work with the means that we have in order to get to the next level.”

Seizing opulence is not only about achieving success, but making an impact while doing so. Those that are living the “opulent life” are individuals that intend to use their personal brands to excel within their industries while shifting the social conscience of everyone that they encounter. Mr. Lark was candid in sharing that he hopes to inspire future generations and create a better living environment for them through his company’s success.

V.S.OP: “What does your craft mean to you?”

TL: “My craft is everything to me, as I am set out to literally change the very fabric of reality. I am introducing a sustainable alternative to the very wasteful fashion industry in a way that makes it ‘cool’. I want to appeal to the youth, educating and empowering them to make conscientious decisions that impact their everyday lives. Through our clothing we are empowering society, the environment, and in turn, our economy.

V.S.OP: “If there is one piece of advice that you could give a young person looking to get into your industry, what would it be?”

TL: “One piece of advice that I would give to a young person looking to get into any industry would be to study the greats and become greater. Complete your goals and value the process. Be patient and persevere through it all! Hard work pays off, so work hard and never give up!”

The V.S.OP team is happy to share that at the time of the interview with Mr. Lark, his company had recently launched a kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000. The campaign was a major success and Superego, LLC met their goal! Mr. Tommie Lark is the epitome of resilience, perseverance and creativity. He is an up and coming leader in the fashion industry and is certainly living the “opulent lifestyle”. Tommie Lark, we salute you for all that you represent and for being “Cut From A Different Cloth!”

For information on Tommie Lark, Jr. and Superego LLC, please see below:

Superego: www.superegoclothiers.com
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @SuperegoWorld
Personal Twitter: @TommieCFADC
Personal Instagram: @T_Larkington
Email: TLark@SuperegoClothiers.com

Written By: Tai D. Richardson

V.S.OP Vision Board Challenge

Virtually Seizing Opulence CHALLENGE

#VisionBoardChallenge

It took 7 days to create the world as we know it. A lifetime was spent from up high pondering the perfect plan of action. Like a game of chess, every move was strategic. Life as we know it began with a Vision. Even the great creator, whatever you may call him/her/it, executed a masterpiece that was deemed perfect, and everything was as it should be. The word VISION takes on a powerful meaning not easily gifted to random empty vessels. Webster defines the word as the ACT or POWER of IMAGINATION: UNUSUAL discernment or FORESIGHT.  Every great man or woman that has done something eventful, that impacted the world, started with a vision. All great leaders have a very POWERFUL testimony as it relates to having a VISION that they put into ACTION.  

So why are we even discussing thoughts and ideals that surround the makeup of elite visionaries?  Well it’s that time of year again. 2016 is among us, and we all share something in common as we depart the present year. Many of us typically sit back quietly and do a true evaluation of self. Personally, I always take a look at my year end review and assess where I am in life. People across the globe speak about plans for their NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION. People who know me can attest to my creative capacity. I have been told I am an innovative person that is full of ideas. One of my personal mottos is “My vision is clear, now let the journey begin.” Most of the time when I have a vision, it usually happens first thing early in the morning. I see an amazing ending to something that I would like to do. That thought alone excites me enough to pursue maximum efforts to begin working on the project. My business partners and friends get so frustrated with me often. They say that I give them ideas that are “end sighted” (yes, I just made that up).  I have been told that my vision, when presented only consists of the X-Z while A-W is lost, unclear, or not properly outlined.  

Have you ever had a dream that excited you, but you only remembered how great the ending was? When trying to tell a friend all about your dream, you get so frustrated because everything that led up to the ending remains a blur. You remain excited while they’re stuck in between a delayed chuckle or the, “I had to be there” type of awkward moment. That’s how a lot of us set goals and articulate our visions to others and, most importantly, ourselves. The disappointing fact about my ideas is simple. I leave a lot of ideas on the table because I lose sight of the vision after the initial thrill or excitement wears off. As I exit 2015 and approach 2016, I want to be sure that I eliminate this problem so that I can properly and successfully MASTER my goals. Around this time last year, I was speaking to a good friend of mine, Elijah Oliver aka Take Flyght Captain, and he mentioned something about completing his yearly vision board. Strangely enough I never really paid that concept any mind until I started writing this piece here tonight.  What is this “VISION BOARD” and how can it help me be an elite coal conqueror? Let’s take a closer look.

 

#VISIONBOARDCHALLENGE

WHAT IS A VISION BOARD?  A vision board is one of the most powerful ways to help navigate your way to help you clarify, concentrate and remain consistent towards achieving your goals. You are Picasso, Mozart, and Steven Spielberg; given a blank canvas or script for you to begin manufacturing your vision as you see it.  By gathering a list of images, words, pictures, or slogans you can orchestrate a harmonic symphony of your visual goals.

WHO IS A VISION BOARD FOR?  This vision board is for anyone that is looking for an exciting way to organize their expression of self. Vision boards can be utilized by anyone in any capacity, as a way to act as a visual reminder of what you aspire to achieve.

 

HOW DO I MAKE A VISION BOARD? The V.S.OP way is simple.

Identify the person places or things that encompass your NOUNS.

  1. Who are people/persons you want to associate with to help you with your goals?
  2. What are some places you wish to visit, travel to, or retire in life?
  3. What are things that you absolutely enjoy and make you happy? How do you reward yourself?

 

Write down ADJECTIVES that drive your personality. How would you describe yourself?

  1. Be honest with yourself. What are a few things about your personality that have delayed your goals?
  2. What are words or images that you can use to articulate positive energy that will serve as a reminder of who you are and what you excel at?

 

Finally select three VERBS to drive your why. (You why is a specific reason why your goals are important to you)

  1. Be organized and plan for success.
  2. Be action oriented and put your plan into fruition.
  3. Be motivated and resilient as obstacles present themselves.

 

WHAT MATERIALS ARE NEEDED? This project is very simple and can be completed with just a few pieces of material.

  1. A pen and paper to brainstorm your Nouns, Adjectives, & Verbs
  2. A poster board, scissors, glue
  3. Magazines, internet printings of images

 

WHEN DO I BEGIN? Well there is just only one question. #AreYouVSOPIf you are reading this BLOG, you have already begun. The challenge is on. You have now been chosen to participate in the vision board challenge.  I challenge you to send this blog to 7 people on your social media and give them 7 days to post pictures and videos of their vision board on social media. Organize vision board parties with your peers and start 2016 off with a bang. No Goals Left Behind!  Join the members of V.S.OP with The VISION BOARD CHALLENGE. The journey is on. #AreYouVSOP #VisionBoardChallenge

 

 

Mr. Nice Guy Signing Off

@thevsoplife

Happy New Year

Feature Image from http://ethnicskinaficionado.com/vision-boards/

Your Newborn Doesn’t Give A SH!T Bout The NBA Finals

Merry Sports Christmas, ladies and gentlemen. Yesterday was the first day of the NBA finals. Now I understand that basketball is the number 2 sport in our hearts, and that the NFL is the juggernaut in the United States, but the Superbowl is only one game. The Superbowl is Thanksgiving and the 7 game series that makes up the NBA finals is the 12 days of Christmas.  The first day was incredible, right?! We saw 48 minutes if phenomenal basketball that had us at the edge of our lay-z-boys (then a bull shit extra 5 minutes where the Cavs looked like they ran up the 5 interstate from LA to Oakland, and the Warriors looked like they took a stroll around Lake Merritt, but that’s besides the point). Lebron gave a King-like performance. Curry gave a Chef-like performance. Tristan Thompson was saying go-go gadget arms on the offensive glass. Klay Thompson was locked in from 3. Kyrie had the Golden State defense on skates. Draymond Green screamed. A lot. It was incredible to watch!

So let’s backtrack. If you have followed my earlier posts, you would know that I have a newborn. Reece Austin Rubenstein is 12 weeks old today. He’s getting bigger and cuter by the day. It’s an amazing experience watching him literally grow in front of my eyes. I fall in love with him more every day. Seriously. I’m sure the parents reading this understand, and the non-parents will when you have kids. I promise.

So, my wife’s niece was staying with us for a couple weeks before she moved into her apartment for the summer. Last night my wife took her to that apartment so she could move in, so it was just my son and me in the house. Thus, I did what every great father does, I put him up on game. We talked about women, we talked about being a good person, we talked about his (my) aspirations for him; we were the homies for the night. It was about 8:17pm eastern standard time, and I got everything ready. I changed his diaper, I set up my bowl of chips and my drink, and I turned it on ABC to watch the pre-game for the first game of the NBA Finals. Everything was perfect. I sat him on my lap and gave him my finger to hold. He was happy. I told him that this is the game that has shaped my life to this point. This is the pinnacle of the highest level of basketball, and he needs to appreciate it. I told him who each player was and what they can do. He responded with drool, laughter, and incoherent speech, that sounded like a mix between “no” and “damn dad, you’re so awesome in every way, thanks for making me and showing me all this cool stuff”. Probably closer to “no” though. Whatever.

So it’s about 8:54pm and it happened; the first whine. Ah, but I know how to mitigate that. Threw the pacifier in his mouth with swift speed, made sure he was comfortable, and continued to watch the pre-game. 8:57pm he spit that out and gave a bit of a cry. Nothing too serious though. I threw the pacifier back in his mouth, picked him up and started carrying him back and forth in the living room. But the crying got louder, the head was thrown back, and we were at full fledged problem stage. It happened so quickly! We went from male bonding to panic mode within a 4 minute span. Seriously, his face went from this (smiling pic) to this (screaming pic). I couldn’t believe it. I turned him on his stomach because he likes that, but NOPE, still screaming. 9:03pm. I took him to his changing table and checked his diaper – it’s clean. 9:05 pm. I’m still carrying him around the apartment, and I see it! His swing! Let’s use that. I placed him in the swing, I threw on the classical music he loves, turned on the vibration, and I threw that bitch on level 6! Success! Silence! 9:07pm. Louder screams. I’m certain my neighbors can hear. I’m dejected. I picked him up and carried him some more. Did some swinging with him. Nothing was working. 9:10pm. I missed tip off. I pleaded with Reece, “Please son, this is important to us!” He had no respect for me, my eardrums, or my basketball watching aspirations.

The young man was tired. I ended up getting him to sleep around 9:23pm. The Cavs were winning. Lebron already had 5 points. I missed the beginning of Christmas.

My wife came home around 9:40. I handed Reece to her and explained what happened. She consoled me. She’s a good wife. I watched the rest of the game. I loved it. It was everything I hoped it to be, and more. Honestly, I haven’t had as much fun watching an NBA game in my adult life. In complete silence. No cheering allowed. With my son sleeping between my wife and me. Because your newborn doesn’t give a SHIT about the NBA Finals.

By: D. Rubenstein
@wildmanjones
#TheVSOPLife

V.S.OP Spotlight: “The BARMAIDE”

Joiah “The BarMaide” Ladson

Its a pleasure to have our first of many Opulent Spotlights to be a close friend to the VSOP fam, Ms. Joiah Ladson. You might remember her as one of the best mixologists in the tri-state area, but now she can be found mixing it up as she ascends the fitness circuit traveling with the BarStarrz and matching the most effective workout regimens for her clients as a personal trainer.

Joiah was born and raised in Queens, New York, and was an active child as her parents ensured that she was engaged in organized sports. She left New York to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science with a concentration in Biology which she received in 2011 from the University of New Haven. While attending UNH, Joiah participated in many clubs and activities, but according to her own admission, her favorite activity was drinking. She shared that though she had amazing nights while under the influence, it took a toll on her well being.   In an interview with the VSOP Team, Joiah shares how she overcame her bout with alcohol and transformed from bar waitress to the “Barmaide.”

VSOP: “Tell us about your journey. How did you get into the industry that you are in?”
JL: “For years I struggled with alcoholism, it was taking a toll on my life and the people around me. I was spending too much money on alcohol and neglecting my bills. When I wasn’t drinking at my bartending job, I was drinking at home or at some other Happy Hour. In addition to drinking, I also had terrible eating habits. These habits included Doritos, fried chicken, Chinese food, daily trips to McDonald’s, bar food and non stop snacking. Within a few months I was at my heaviest weight, my stress levels had skyrocketed, bills piled up and I determined that it was time for a serious change. At this time I stopped making excuses for myself, signed up for a gym, cleaned up my eating habits and reached out to a few of my personal trainer friends that could help me get my life together.”

Alcoholism is a serious issue to face, and it controls many people’s lives. It is not uncommon for alcoholism to lead to bouts of depression and other life altering conditions. Joiah was able to replace the bottle with an outlet that not only improved her health, but also, her well being and her wealth.
JL: “I saved about $400 per month by eliminating alcohol purchases, and I gained an amazing body in return.  After about six months of working out on my own and with friends, I hired a personal trainer for some extra fitness advice. My personal trainer saw my drive and dedication which led us both to believe that I had a career in personal training. I decided to get into training because I realized the joys that fitness brought into my life. I knew I’d be able to connect with my clients on multiple levels because of what I had been through. I wanted to let people know that happiness and longevity are just a workout away. Exercise and healthy eating have the same addictive qualities as alcohol and drug use, except the results are much more rewarding.”

 

Many people would be satisfied with facing and conquering their demons, but this is only the beginning for “The Barmaide”.  Just as anyone who is seeking opulence in their lives, Joiah has goals and big goals at that.

VSOP: “Where do you see yourself at in the next 10 years?”
JL: “In ten years I see myself still involved in health and wellness, but more so as a brand.  I want to produce literature, digital apps, clothing and do motivational speaking that help promote my message.”

VSOP: “In regard to your message, what legacy do you seek to leave behind through your craft?”
JL:  “The legacy that I’d like to leave behind is that everyone struggles but that shouldn’t deter us from seeking better. You don’t have to be a product of a negative environment because life is so much easier when you’re happy. When you’re in a negative mind state, opportunity knocks but you’re too busy sulking that you won’t get up to answer. Once you change to a positive outlook on life, opportunity just walks right in.”

 

Opportunity is what many are waiting for, but just as Joiah stated, if you are not ready it will pass you by. As you continue to grind toward your goals and aspirations, remember that obstacles and barriers are meant to teach us lessons.  The road from bartender to “The Barmaide” has been riddled with obstacles, but Joiah has faced each challenge head on with intensity, and she has learned from what she has endured to get to where she is.

JL: “Throughout this journey I’ve faced some health and financial obstacles that slowed my process but never stopped me. Participating in Spartan Races taught me that obstacles are meant to be overcome. I’ve been in the hospital for severe dehydration and starvation, ruptured ovarian cysts and emergency wisdom tooth extraction. Unexpected car/medical issues that I didn’t budget for would take away from my grocery and gym membership funds but I always found a way to pull through. Besides the medical and financial issues I was still battling my addiction. For the first few months into the journey I had to really convince myself that I did not NEED alcohol. I embrace everything I’ve been through because it lets me know that I can overcome challenges. If I had to do one thing all over again I would alter my spending habits and budget more wisely.”

VSOP: “What advice would you give a young person looking to get into your industry?”
JL: “ To the young person looking to get into personal training and all around wellness I recommend that you do your research. When I started working out I wasn’t familiar with the science behind it. I currently hold three different certifications which allow me to better assist my clients in reaching their goals (Certified Personal Training, Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist). Use your resources and understand that even after studying the science portion you’re still not the smartest person in the world. There is a constant exchange of knowledge in this field that will allow you to excel. Practice what you preach. On a number of occasions I’ve seen trainers advise certain workout and meal regimens but they’re overweight with poor eating habits. Just like the airline oxygen mask principle, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Let it be understood that your body is your business card and your lifestyle is your resume.”

VSOP: “In your opinion what is opulence?”
JL: “Opulence is health, because health is wealth. The greatest luxury I can ever obtain is a fit and healthy body that can perform the way a body should.”

 

Life is an ever changing path with many twists and turns. One that “The Barmaide” herself has traversed and is still progressing along with a far more positive outlook. With her drive, passion, perseverance and know-how, Joiah has defined her opulence and is certainly seizing it, truly living the VSOP Life. Salute to “The Barmaide” for who you were, who you are, and who you are becoming!

Now there’s only one question to ask, #AreYouVSOP?

Joiah “The BarMaide” Ladson

IG: @The_Barmaide
Twitter: @MamaJ_UrHiness
Email: jlads19@gmail.com

 


What About EVE?

Image By: Mihai Criste

The coolness of the waters from the waves that fled the ocean kissed the tip of her toes. She lay naked in the sand as her eyes slowly gave birth to the stillness of the autumn breeze. Her nostrils inhaled the sweet fragrance of the sea and distant scents hailing from Eden. Life began to settle into her nervous system and she arose from the earth confused, alone and hesitant to take her first steps. As she began to wade along the shallow shore, she noticed what appeared to be a breathless life lying across the sand. Her eyes were immediately stricken with admiration, adornment and compassion. She fell down on one knee and began to nurse the appearance of an open wound that rendered “him” unconscious.

For days she sat by his side until he came to. When he awoke to her presence, he instantly fell in love and rejoiced in the Lord for fulfilling the emptiness of his heart. All the riches of the world that he ruled and governed couldn’t compare to what he felt for her. She did not need to worry, because she had everything that she could ever want, need or desire; yet in still, she felt something and had no explanation for her intuition.

One day she woke up and much to her surprise, he was not there. She felt abandoned, vulnerable and left with the responsibility of making independent decisions. For just a few moments she grew ignorant to the ideals that were instilled in her by his wisdom and understanding of his ordained leadership appointed from above. Wandering in unfamiliar land, she was intrigued by her own intuition simply because she didn’t understand why she lacked knowledge of all things that her flesh desired. Who would have thought that this one decision would have a detrimental effect on society and would shift the atmosphere in the universe for everyone? With no knowledge of her true identity, the moment she sunk her teeth into the forbidden fruit, she became EVE.

Eve, who told you that you were naked?

 

Who is Eve? The world has taken our most perfect creation, and given her an infinite amount of subjective, gender specific, stereotypes. If someone were to ask me to list a series of adjectives, to give life to the meaning of the word WOMAN, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. The thought to me seems too overly complex. Pondering who she is, why she is, what she is, and how she is, honestly makes me feel uncomfortable and somewhat judgmental. I love her because she completes me. However, my heart is broken as I watch the world objectify and take her for granted, it makes my blood boil. I also understand that there is a glass ceiling that needs to be shattered by her mighty fist. I sympathize with her plight caused by years of classlessness along with glorification of her sexual presence. In all of her tribulations I remain proud of her, because her spirit continues to thrive. Even in barren lands of loneliness due to the absence, oppression and exploitation by Adam, she emerges. Over time, she has redefined herself, but one question still lingers in the atmosphere: “What about Eve?”  As we continue to toil with the the appropriate language to “diagnose” the role of EVE, let me abolish any idea that we can simply restrict the spirit of EVE by sealing an air tight top on a glass jar and labeling it, “THE ROLE OF A WOMAN.” Just look at our failed attempts as we continue calling her out of her name.

She told me she hated her father shortly after receiving word of his passing. The man that was supposed to be her super-hero failed her by simply not being present. A father was never present in the men she chose to lay with. A father was never there to remind her how beautiful she was. So she found her spirit dormant; late at night all she had were her words. Her pen spoke to her book of rhymes as she confided deep dark secrets in between each page. She grew up confused and cursed the man that now lays six feet deep. She thought her dark skin made her ugly, while her natural hair made her feel less appealing to her light skinned,long haired counterparts.  Her son Patrick reminds her so much of her no good “baby daddy” and she continues to struggle to secure a good man. Someone once told me that the easiest woman to sleep with was a female that has low self esteem and daddy issues. It has come to the point in her life where she concludes there are no good men anywhere.  We call her Angry.

I went to college with her in 2005. I recently saw a photo of her graduating at top of her class from Columbia University. She looked so proud and radiant on Facebook, as she stood next to the President of the University. Smiling as the photographer captured the moment, she became Dr. Cynthia Matthews. Cynthia is doing pretty well for herself financially. At 29 years old she owns her own condo and drives a beautiful Mercedes Benz E550. Her rich taste in fashion adores Louis Vuitton, Versace and Donna Karan. She often frequents happy hours with her co-workers that are well known to the movers and shakers in her industry with hopes of expanding her network. The conversation varies between the light hearted jokes, diversifying financial portfolios, exotic vacations, and fine cuisine (her own version of Sex and the City). There is no sight of a  significant other, so she masturbates her way through her nonexistent sex life. She absolutely has no desire to settle for any man that does not bring equal value to her lifestyle. We call her Independent.

Stephanie has a lot of self confidence, and she proudly displays her voluptuous 36- 24- 42 measurements. You assume all she does is work at a strip club and host parties with local rappers and club promoters.  However, in reality she works as a Nurse in a hospital as a career. In addition to her amazing body and exotic appearance, Stephanie is independent and extremely personable. However, she is all over Facebook and other social media outlets, with her assets and liabilities on “Front Street,”doing it for the “likes”. Her life is fairly simple and her lifestyle is easily acquired. Her motto is very common to many, “F@ck N!g@$$, Get MONEY”. She doesn’t understand why females feel the need to hate on her, because to her, they are “UGLY.” In addition she snickers wittingly, and asks, “why is their man always in my inbox?” She tweeted once, “the same man you say won’t respect me or take me seriously in a relationship is the same man that doesn’t take you seriously, because he’s cheating on you with me. So l’m going to get this money, you can keep the man.” The youth of today call her a THOT.

Isn’t that Rachel? The same girl that was just with Darin a month ago? Yea that’s her.  She also used to date one of my college football teammates, and my frat brother Justin. I think she’s just had a string of bad luck. Heart break after heartbreak, things just never seemed to work out for her. It’s a shame too, because she’s a very nice girl. She’s smart, good looking and she sure can fry her some fish! Wait, but who’s that girl she’s with though? No, don’t tell Mona got her now. The neighborhood dyke strikes again. Mona often used to tell me how she just waits patiently for the next heart broken female to come running to her when they are simply sick and tired of being sick and tired of men. So she reaps the benefits and helps them identify with certain aspects of their sexuality. I mean who could blame her? You call her a Lesbian, but you believe it’s all a front. 

All Jennifer wants is equality for women, if a man can do it so can she. After all, who wrote the book on double standards anyway? She wants equal wages for all women, she doesn’t want to be sexually restricted by the subjective views forced on her by men. She speaks with an astute, yet witty vocabulary and has every intention of leaving a relevant and direct point of view. The woman with the iron fist sores to the raptures and shatters the glass ceiling. Her persona and presence will not be forecasted to identify with a gender specific role. She stands in the middle of a protest ridden highway intersection topless and calling for justice. The world calls her a Feminist.

She is brave, educated, ambitious, sexy and irreplaceable. Regardless of our personal opinion and slightly chauvinistic points of views at time, as men we have to continue to uplift our women. The true knowledge of self is forever evolving. The woman that bit from the tree of knowledge is no different than the women of today, who continue to seek knowledge of self. As life continues to tempt her with images of man-made doctrine and ideals, she just may sample the fruit that is most appealing to her. One thing for sure, she never stopped loving Adam and she never tore down his identity of masculinity, even in states of emotional disconnect and spiritual warfare. As Eve continues to toil through stereotypes while breaking down the barriers of her social class, she remains wounded yet triumphant. I call her a WARRIOR. 

The perfect gift, that’s what she is. Whispers of God’s promise to him, she became a wife. Eve is an architect and a creator of life that lays out a blueprint to build and replenish the nation with the future of our next generation. She is a teacher of God’s word and she is a healer; as she saves lives of the sick in hospitals all over the world. She is an intellectual, delivering powerful opening and closing arguments to defend the innocent and prosecute the guilty in the court of law. Eve is a Mayor, Governor and possibly the first female President of the United States. The day Eve became empowered with the knowledge of her true self, she decided that she could literally be anything that she so desired. So yes, What About Eve?  As you continue to decide what you want her to be, she will continue to rise and progress past any stigma that we place on her. Her role in society will continue to be an evolution of transition.

 

Adam called out to her and the enemy fled. Eve batted her eyes and used her sexy appearance to lure Adam into a sense of confusion. She asked him why can’t we partake of this fruit in the garden. It looks so good and I am dying to know what it tastes like. Adam replied, Eve here I am. I am all that you need to satisfy your curiosity of life. Now follow me, take my hand and let’s replenish this nation. And Eve threw down the fruit, took her husband’s hand and toiled not for the rest of their lives. Adam was home and Eve never broke a sweat as long as she lived. She had no reason to feel insecure, helpless, and defeated. Together they filled each other up with everything they needed. And remained naked in Eden.Or NAW?

 

By:MR NICE GUY

Twitter: MrNiceGuyVSOP
IG: Trev.s.op
#AreYouVSOP

Climbing Your Mountain

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”

-Laozi (Chinese Philosopher)

 

​As the father of two children, I have the wonderful task of getting the kids up in the morning, dressed and out the door.  My lovely wife is up and out of the house well before we wake up, which gives me this monumental responsibility.  I cherish this time with my daughter, especially, because she is the epitome of “mommy’s little girl”, and I often gaze in amazement at how she emulates her mother at such a young age.  One morning, not too long ago, I was perusing my Facebook timeline when I saw a friend talking about how he observed his daughter, of similar age, attempting to complete a task.  His brief story reminded me of a recent interaction with my daughter that spoke volumes about human nature and the characteristics that are innately in us from a young age.  So here goes a brief synopsis of what I witnessed the apple of my eye trying to accomplish. 

Now I already established that my daughter absolutely adores her mother, so needless to say, whatever mama says, she says; whatever mama does, she does; and whatever mama wears, she wants to wear. On this particular morning, my daughter became fixated on getting into her mother’s jewelry box so that she could wear her mother’s “amulet”.  Now if you don’t know what an amulet is, don’t feel bad. It wasn’t until after watching an episode of Disney’s Sophia the First that I recently learned that an amulet is a fancy word for “a piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil.”  

Now, In order for my 23 month old to reach the ultimate prize and achieve her goal, she would need to scale “Mount Olympus” (the dresser) and fend off the “evil monster” (daddy).  For about ten minutes I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she made multiple attempts to scale the mountain.  She first tried to climb the dresser by pulling herself up, but was met with resistance as she is not quite strong enough yet.  She then utilized her resources and climbed on the bed and tried to reach over to the dresser but was snatched out of the air by the evil monster and told “no”.  Now here comes the moment that opened my eyes. After two failed attempts and many prompts from me to “stop, and watch Mickey Mouse Club House” and threats of being in timeout, she wiped the tears from her eyes and scanned the room.  She left my bedroom and re-entered with the key to her success, her potty.  She silently walked past me with the potty in her arms, stumbling along the way and breathing quite heavily.  She placed the potty directly in front of the dresser and slowly stepped onto it while using her hands to grab the top of the dresser and secure herself.  As a father, I had two options.  I could either play the role of the villain and knock her from the top of Mount Olympus or concede defeat.  I smiled as she proudly grabbed the “amulet” and looked at me asking for me to “help put it on please”.

“However, what I do believe to be true is that the appearance of the mountains in our lives does not constitute the end of our journeys, but rather, the beginning of an opportunity.”

​Now some of you are reading this story and wondering what this has to do with Seizing Opulence?  This story illustrates that from a very young age, human beings are born with the innate ability to persevere, be resilient, and strive for greatness.  Unfortunately for many people, somewhere along the way, we lose the desire to face the mountains that are placed before us. I will not spout rhetoric such as “if you believe it, you can achieve it” or “anything is possible if you put your mind to it”. However, what I do believe to be true is that the appearance of the mountains in our lives does not constitute the end of our journeys, but rather, the beginning of an opportunity. 

Embrace the journey that you have set out on, and do not allow yourself to be consumed by the fear of failure. Whether it is within the work force, education, or your personal life, it is paramount that you keep pushing. There will be instances in which life happens and things that are beyond your control may put your dreams on hold; but just like my baby girl, you have it within you to conquer the mountains in your life. Far too often, we focus more on how daunting a task is, rather than breaking it down piece by piece. When facing the mountain to success, you must be able to figure out the best way to navigate the terrain. Study that mountain and the many obstacles that it may present, but don’t stop there. Once you have an understanding of what achieving your goal entails, devise a workable and measurable plan to make it happen. Just like my daughter utilized the resources afforded to her in order to scale “Mount Olympus”, you too have resources at your disposal.  Identify the individuals, institutions and natural supports that may be helpful on your journey and be strategic in how you utilize them.  

Most importantly, understand that your dreams cannot come to fruition if you are not bold enough to set out on the path to accomplishing it.  So whether it is going back to school to finish up a degree, starting a new business, jumping into a new line of work or simply getting off of the couch and into the gym, YOU have the ability to be as great as you allow yourself to be.  

Sometimes the greatest lessons that we learn are taught by those that we are placed on earth to teach, guide and protect. Hopefully as you think about your life and the greatness that is within you, you will remember the story of the little girl and her quest for an amulet. Seize opulence, my people, and be blessed!

 

By Tai Richardson

#AreYouVSOP

+1? 4Y!? (Plus One For Why?!)

So I’m reading this blog that I frequent, and one of the writers wrote a post about Netflix passwords. Within this Netflix password post, he starts with an anecdote about plus-one events like weddings (and eventually got to how sharing Netflix passwords with significant others is a thing, but then you gotta change the password when it’s over because the plus one on the password is no longer a plus one… really good stuff). Anyway, I couldn’t get my mind off of the plus one at a wedding. It was just a part of this writer’s set up, but it’s a common thing that people think and I can’t wrap my mind around it. Like, WHY would anybody feel the need for a plus one at a wedding?

Let’s break down what is happening in the scenario. In order to feel the need to have a plus one, said person is single. Not single like unmarried, this person is actually single. How do we know? We know because it’s a wedding, bro. I had the biggest wedding that I’ve ever been to. 250 invites that led to 220 attendees, and the guest list was a huge hassle! The wife and I fought over the guest list many a night. This means that lots of thought is put into the guest list, and everybody who is invited has been scrutinized. We see you when you’re sleeping, we know when you’re awake, we know if you live with your girl and if your relationship is serious (for goodness sake). If your relationship is serious, then two spots are saved with the quickness. If your situationship is NOT serious or if you’re not in a situationship, then you’re single, and you don’t get that plus one.

*SIDEBAR* Being that guest lists and weddings are generally on the small side, do you realize how important that invitation is? That invitation may say “You are cordially invited to blah blah blah” but what it really means is “Ay bruh, you are one of my closest MANS! You know, like REALLY important to me. Important enough that I’m gonna spend over 100 bucks on you to come eat and drink with me on the MOST IMPORTANT day of my life and all you gotta do is show up.” Do you non married people realize how dope that is? *SIDEBAR CLOSED*

Anyway, so now you’re a part of the chosen few. Keep in mind, each party only gets half of the guest list (anybody that knows me… do you realize how hard it was to limit my list to 125?!). Then the single people will send a text and ask “yo, bro… uh… what’s good with a plus 1?”. You wanna make somebody mad? Send THAT text to a person who decided you were worthy of being on their wedding guest list. That person already fought their fiancée to get you on the list last week, and didn’t get any sex as a result, and now you wanna ask for an additional person? C’mon son!

However, I get it. Society, magazines, TV, and movies make y’all feel like you need to bring a date. Fair enough. But again, let’s break this down. You’re going to celebrate a union of love between two people. Everyone loves that. The most thuggish dudes will look away during written vows to ensure that thug tear doesn’t soak his velvet suit. Everyone is smitten with love. That’s how weddings work. But have y’all not thought about who attends weddings? ALL OF THE BRIDE’S SINGLE FRIENDS! And while the thug is looking away, the brides friends said f*%k it and their brand new form fitting dress has tears soaking the straps of their halter top. Tears of happiness, and tears of yearning for THAT type of love. This is the beach, my friend. Why bring the sand?!

After the ceremony, there’s generally a cocktail hour with passed out hors d’oeuvres and free liquor. Think about this fellas. This is like the best supermarket run you’ve ever had. Instead of reaching for the same tomato and having to make small talk, you and a finely dressed lady that is still swooning over the love in the air, are reaching for the same bland stuffed mushroom plate and with an alcoholic drink in your hand and an automatic commonality that you both can easily bring up to break the ice. If that’s not a Chris Paul to Blake Griffin alley-oop, I don’t know what is. Additionally, you JUST started drinking so you still have your wits about you!

Still not convinced? Cool. Let’s play out the plus one scenario. You asked the baddest single woman you know to stunt on these hoes at the wedding. You pick her up and she looks like a Thanksgiving spread at Grandma’s crib. You’re hyped. You roll up there and help her out the car door (because you’re reading VSOP and you’re a gentleman #nshit). You roll up in the wedding with her on your arm. Every dude there gives the mandatory black man’s head nod. Every chick gives her and you the once over. You even see some eye rolls. You won! Then cocktail hour happens. You can’t really mingle how you wanted to because you have to introduce her to all your boys. You can’t meet anybody attractive cause that’s kinda disrespectful. You have to continually get up and get her drinks if she’s not very social, because she doesn’t know anybody there. You can only really dance with her all night because the other attractive women are swooped up by the real unattached guys there and they’re looking for love. Now you’re bored and as a result you drink too much and your date gets mad at you and now y’all gotta call an Uber and leave early. You just had a night of introductions and conversation with somebody you don’t really care ALL that much about. On top of that you heard rumors that one of the bride’s male friends dirty macked on her while you were getting her a drink and he bagged it. That night sounds like it sucks to me.

Furthermore, two months later, the two of you decide it’s not really working out. The sex got repetitive, the conversation was lacking, your friends don’t intermingle well, she’s a vegan and judges you for eating a steak, you prefer ESPN to episodes of The Bachelor, and you heard that she was seen at the movies with the bride’s friend from the wedding. Yup. Soak that in. So what did you actually do here? You just brought a random, who nobody will ever see or think about again, to the event that your good friend threw to celebrate the most important day of his life. You took pictures with said random that are in your friend’s wedding photo album FOREVER. That random took away a seat from another important person in your friend’s life, and it’s all for not. Thanks, homie.

So don’t be that guy. Don’t bring replaceable sand to the beach. Don’t ask for a plus one. You’re just causing damage. Embrace your single. Find your new queen (for the night) there. I’m not saying that this happened at my wedding or anything… but you MIGHT get lucky in the bridesmaid suite with one of the bride’s homies. Love is in the air, after all.

By: Doug R.

@wildmanjones

#AreYouVSOP