There was once a time in my life where I thought dating someone in a creative field was my destiny. Rapper, visual artist, photographer, producer, whatever. I just knew my soulmate had to be creative like me. I envisioned myself writing on my laptop on a raining Sunday while he would be on the other side of the perfecting his craft. Clearly, I’ve seen one too many episodes of Sex & The City. Once I got my first taste of a creative man, my opinion changed.
Dating a “creative” in 2016 is a mindfuck simply for the fact that a lot of people simply aren’t creative. Being a “creative” is seeming more and more like a trend. With everyone being a “social media persona” and “creatives,” it’s becoming harder to see who’s authentic and who’s not— especially in the city.
I spoke to textile designer, Maiya Williams about her experiences dating in NYC:
What expectations do you have going into a first date?
I try to keep them pretty low. I enter them with an open mind, hoping at the very least we’ll have some good converstion, laugh a little, and that he’s an adventorous eater.
Describe your best dating experience or ideal date:
My best date was at a dive bar in Chinatown with $3 beers + shots, $1 oysters, and $3 dumplings. We got just tipsy enough, laughed & exchanged stories for hours, and ended up playing Heads Up— an interactive version of charades for iPhone—with another couple in the bar.
It was light and fun. It felt like we’d been friends forever, which totally relieved that “first date” pressure. That’s my ideal date, chill, no frills, and cheap. I don’t feel comfortable with men spending a lot of money on me before I’ve decided if I like them.
Describe your worst date:
He kept his hat on in the restaurant (one of the cardinal rules my father bestowed upon me), which should have been my first sign to flee! He just stared at me very creepily while I ate; I figured he was nervous, and tried to compensate by asking him lots of questions. He asked me none in return. It was silent if i wasn’t keeping the conversation going. He kept checking his phone under the table while I never took mine out of my bag.
Luckily, we both only ordered appetizers, so we were able to get out of there super quickly. I had agreed— before going on the date— to get ice cream after dinner, at a black owned spot (shoutout to Mikey Likes It) and I still very much wanted to check it out. So, I decided I’d still go for the ice cream. He tried to kiss me right outside of the restaurant, and I dodged his attempt. I just couldn’t understand how within the first 20 minutes of meeting me, sitting in mostly awkward silence, no discussion of common interests, and no flirting WHATSOEVER, this young man decided I was interested in kissing him.
I hoped my body language (I physically put my hand up to stop him from moving forward to kiss me) would have made my point clear, but I’ll go on. We were walking to the ice cream spot and every time we approach a corner with a red light, he tried to kiss me. Not romantically either! He just kept putting his face in my face and holding my hand. On one corner, he grabbed my hand and pulled me from the outside of the sidewalk to the inside.
At first, I thought he was being a gentleman, but alas I was wrong. He was using it to catch me off guard with a kiss. So he got a peck, I pushed him away, but he had the audacity to ask me verbatim “Can I get some tongue?” I flat out ignored the question, but I was ready to throw up. At this point, we were a block away from Mikey’s. I was just trying to get my ice cream and go home.
He tried to touch my butt multiple times on that one block. When I asked him “What the hell are you doing,” he simply responded “I like PDA.” The whole time I’m thinking: We met 30 minutes ago. How do you think this is okay? I get my ice cream and we’re standing outside when he asks me if he can “tongue kiss my tattoo (on my shoulder).” At this point, I’m ready to RUN to the subway only to discover that we live on the same train line.
We had to walk in the same direction and he got in the same train car as me. He asked if he could walk me to my apartment to which I said “Absolutely not.” He seemed shocked by this response. I debated sending him a text detailing everything that was entirely inappropriate in hopes that he could be less creepy, objectifying, and disconcerting to women in the future. But, I opted to take an L on the whole traumatizing situation and block his number as soon as I hopped off the train.
Has your dating experience made you more or less inclined to keep trying?
Pretty neutral. I started 2016 saying I wouldn’t turn down any first dates. While none of them have been a love connection, only one was a real nightmare. Most of the dates I’ve been on were pretty lovely, they were nice guys. I think I’m okay with this “kissing frogs” phase of my life because I haven’t gotten very emotionally invested.
What’s your take on women “shooting their shot”
All for it, fortune favors the bold! I also think women are more self aware and grounded which makes us shoot more realistic, sensible and compatible shots.
Do you feel like making the first move is a “man’s job?”
No, not at all. In fact, any real functional relationship I’ve been in was as a result of me making the first move. I don’t really enjoy being pursued. Men can be so annoying when they’ve decided they want something.
If you’ve dated men not from NY, what differences did you see between them and NY men?
New York men are definitely much more into themselves and feel like they deserve instant gratification. They pay attention to the designers and material items a woman is wearing more than any men I’ve known from any other place. I will say men who aren’t from here typically have horrible taste in bars and restaurants.
Does being an artist/designer effect your relationships? Are you less inclined to date another artist?
I am DEFINITELY less inclined. In my experience, male artists have a hard time separating their romantic lives from their art.
I’ve had multiple past lovers speak about me in songs they’ve released to the public. One used my nude as the artwork for a song. Another made me a character in his book. He only changed one letter of my name and gave a clear visual description of the character that was me down to my moles and tattoos.
Artists put the expression of their truth in their art before other people’s comfort and boundaries which is something I just can’t tolerate. I try to avoid dating male artists at all costs, but unfortunately I am so attracted to them.
How do you balance work life and dating?
Poorly, I live alone with no roommates in this very expensive city. So naturally, my work comes first. I also consider my self care/mental health to be a tremendous factor in my ability to perform at work. That mean I require to spend a lot of time alone, or at the very least in the company of people with whom I’m really comfortable with. Dating is my last priority.
I do believe that when the right guy comes along, I will feel inclined to adjust and make room for him in my life.
Do you think that social media has effected the way we date now?
Yes, I think it has given extremely warped expectations to men and women. People are too caught up with what other people’s relationships look like to figure out what it is they actually want, need, and deserve for themselves.
You don’t deserve a career minded, loyal Victoria Beckham, if you are a childish unrealistic Shad Moss, lol.
If there was one thing you could change about the dating scene, what would it be and why?
I actually think new York is a great place geographically to date. There are so many restaurants, exploring, and free activities.
But in this city, the large majority of men my age are aspiring to have non-traditional creative careers. They tend to live at home, have unrealistic goals, and care too much about appearances. I think that might be different in another city. I find young women in New York are so much more mature and hard working than young men, who somehow still want so much instant gratification. So I guess if I had to pick one thing, I wish the playing field was more even.