A couple of days ago, I was talking to one of my fellow sisters in singlehood and she was filling me in on the latest and greatest happenings in her dating life. We laughed as we talked about the challenges that we sometimes face in looking for a ‘real love,’ or that someone who will love us for who we are and not what they think we bring to the table (cue Lisa Lisa and Full Force or Heavy D).

As I listened to my girlfriend describe how things were going with the two men that have shown interest in her (a woman has to have options), I noticed a common thread: The brothers have been doing a whole lot of talking, but have yet to take any action towards actually taking her out on a date. Mind you, these are not random guys that she met on the Internet or in the checkout line at Wal-Mart; they are men that she shares a common social bond with that she runs into on a regular basis. They engage in light banter when they encounter one another in public and reserve more in-depth chatter for the telephone. The fellas always say that they would like to ‘get together sometime,’ yet they haven’t taken the next step to actually go out.

I don’t know about you all, but something about this situation just doesn’t compute for me. In my experience, any time a man has attempted to talk to me, one of the first things that he has done is ask me out on a real date. I understand that we have to be cautious about going out with people that we really don’t know that well, but there are ways that we can protect ourselves, like meeting him in a public place during the daytime versus having him pick us up and take us out for dinner and a movie. How can you ever get to know someone if you don’t spend any quality time in their presence? Isn’t that what dating is supposed to be about?

I hope that I am wrong about my girl’s situation, but it’s a possibility that she has been put into the ‘back burner babe’ category. Now just in case you are wondering what that is, let me explain it to you.

Wiktionary defines ‘back burner’ as something that has low urgency or is not currently important. A back burner babe is a woman that a man is interested in, but not enough to make her a priority in his life. More often than not, he is either married or involved with another woman that is on his front burner. In many cases, he is in the process of ending that relationship, so he keeps a lady on simmer in order to have a place to go when his current situation is over. Other times, he has no intention of leaving his ‘main dish,’ he’s just looking for a ‘side dish’ to indulge in every now and then.

Single ladies, it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of connecting with a guy, but we have to pay attention to what he does and not just the sweet nothings that he is whispering in our ears (over the phone!). Here are a few signs that you might be on the back burner:
  • You have been ‘talking’ for more than a month and have not gone out on a date.
  • He makes plans with you but something always keeps him from actually making good on them.
  • When you call him, he keeps conversations short and they are somewhat impersonal, if he answers the phone at all.
  • Your conversations are all about him; he shows very little interest in your life.
  • You receive a random text message from him and when you respond, he doesn’t reply back.
  • If you do go out, it’s always at his convenience and it’s usually on short notice.
  • You have been ‘dating’ for a while, but you have never met any of his friends or family members.
  • He is willing to have sex with you, but the two of you rarely see the light of day together.
  • He has a place of his own, but you have never actually seen it.

These are just some of the things that I have seen and, unfortunately, a few that I have experienced as I have navigated the world of dating. Hopefully, you can sidestep some of these pitfalls and avoid the people who don’t recognize your true value. After all, you are way too HOT to be put on any one’s back burner!!

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