Home Featured Recapping Single Sam: A Few Random Thoughts I Had Along The Way

Recapping Single Sam: A Few Random Thoughts I Had Along The Way

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Writing Single Sam’s Episodes in Love was a pretty fun exercise for me. As a writer it was an interesting challenge to tell real life stories from a real life friend, who happened to be female, while still trying to find ways to be creative and own the work. The other thing that made it challenging was opening up a friend’s life to the wild-wild-west that is our beloved SBM comments section. When I asked Sam if she’d be willing to do the series, I did so with the feeling that her stories, while a little out there, were not that uncommon. Despite how crazy some of it may have been–between the the officer, the proposition and the pimp–I always believed that they were not that uncommon. I believed that if we put the stories out there and just kept it real, sure there would be a great deal of people who judged or would call her crazy, but there would also be a good amount of people who could understand and relate to just how out of control things can get when you’re looking for love in a new city. I avoided responding to a lot of the commentary, partly because I’m clearly biased, and partly because I wanted the work to speak for itself on the day it ran.

Today though, I’m ending my silence on it all. Today I want to discuss Sam, the series and some of the issues and topics that came up over the 5 weeks we discussed her life.

Sam Ain’t a Hoe!

One of the things that was interesting to watch was how many people were quick to imply that Sam was a little too promiscuous. The thing folks have to remember is that this series took place over a number of years of Sam’s life. At one point, our very own Dr. Jay said the following:

“She can’t pick them. She thinks the nice guy is the bad guy and the bad guy is the nice guy. Regardless of what she thinks, she sleeps with them. Here’s what’s lacking in Sam, the ability to learn from her mistakes. She just simply doesn’t do that.”

These sorts of comments kinda irked me. I can understand questioning how she picks her guys, I could understand questioning whether or not she’s learned from her ‘mistakes’ -but to insinuate that she sleeps with all the guys she meets based on a few stories over the course of three or four years was a little judgmental for my taste. Sam’s not hoe. She’s not even promiscuous.

How Old Is Sam?

One of the most common questions I got from readers early on in the series was “How old is Sam?” I can understand why people were interested in her age, and I can understand that it might effect how you perceive her choices, but–I have not and will not disclose her age. Partly because it doesn’t really matter to her story (saying she’s mid twenties is sufficient) and partly because I didn’t want to give so many details that folks who know her and read the blog might be able to recognize her.

The Proposition/Owning Yourself/Free Sex

One of the more interesting conversations I watched transpire was the commentary around why Sam was so affected by Lance offering her money for sex and instead chose to give it away for free to Dave. To me, the correlation between the two was obvious, it’s about owning yourself. Sam needed to remind herself that she was in control of her body, that she owned herself and would give herself to who she wanted when she wanted. I agree that bringing guys you just met home isn’t the best idea, especially when you’re drunk, but I also understand exactly where she was mentally. In terms of the Lance and his proposition, the thing that bothered me the most about it was that he’d clearly been setting that up for months. I don’t think he was trying to court her, nor do I think he was ever really interested in any sort of healthy relationship. To me, it seemed clear that he perceived her as young, naïve new to the city. He thought he’d be able to show a little money and eventually convince her to be someone he knew she was not. That bothered me. It was predatory.

Nice Guys Finish Last

I kinda knew folks would be upset with Sam for not making it work with the nice guy. Thing is, you can’t fake chemistry. Chemistry is chemistry and with some people, you either have it or you don’t. When she told me the story, it was clear that the kid played a major role in shaping their chemistry. She wanted not parts of the step-mom life he was clearly trying to groom her for. That’s the way the game goes sometimes. One quick thing you’d be interested in noting. Mr. Nice guy is now married. About a year after they stopped dealing with each other Sam was flipping through Facebook and found pictures of dude all in Paris on his honeymoon and what not. This happened during one of Sam’s more down times and yes – she told me she had a bit of a moment wondering if she’d made the wrong choice – but again, like I said, chemistry is chemistry and you can’t fake it. I believe in my heart though that if he didn’t have a child, things may have been different.

On the Butcher

After “The Butcher” story, a few folks were like “oh yeah, what’s next, the librarian?” or something along those lines. While I wish it were a true story and while I wish I had made up the meat market dude who actually sells meat (because the irony there is so clutch) this is one of those things that you can’t really make up. He was a Butcher/Pimp. A Pimp/Butcher. It happened. My response when she told me was the same as yours.

On How the Series Ended and Where Sam is now.

I really wanted the series to end happily. Like, I really wanted to write all about how Sam got the job and her and her boss fell in love, but reality is a b*tch and after over 25000 words written to tell her story, I wasn’t really trying to usurp the truth to end it all well. The truth is, her and her boss are working on things the way normal, healthy grown folks would work on things – especially if they happen to actually see each other daily at work. There’s not much more to it to tell. I wish there was, but that’s life.

Will there be updates/Another Sam or maybe a male version?

Another question I got often was whether or not I’d eventually update the series. Can’t call it, depends on what happens in her life and whether she’s willing to share. She enjoyed the series, said she liked the posts and thought the whole process was cathartic and helped her to think objectively about some of the decisions she’s made – so that’s one really positive take away.

As far as doing something similar with someone else (a man or woman) I honestly don’t know. Part of me feels like sequels always suck, and sometimes the suck so much they make you hate the original. But then another part of me really enjoys the process of taking other folks stories and making them my own. It’s kinda like artists who paint portraits. Ten artists can stare at the same model and come up with ten different paintings. I enjoy that about the process. That said, I don’t know. If anyone has an awesome story that they’d like to work through with me feel free to shoot me an email – especially dudes. A guys story would be fun to tell.

Emails/Tweets and other forms of Feedback

Thank you all for the feedback on the series. It’s really been awesome and I truly appreciate every single tweet, facebook like, comment, plus 1 or whatever. It’s all very motivating.

Also, I’ve noticed since the series that I’ve gotten a lot more advice related emails with people sharing their situations and looking for some feedback. I enjoy those sorts of emails and don’t mind responding at all, but please be patient with me. It takes a little while to read everything and write back, but when I do get back at you, I try my best to give really detailed, non-generic responses. It just takes time. So thanks for the emails and sorry I can’t get back at you quicker. Also, please note, I’m not a relationship expert and don’t claim to be one so if you take my advice and it turns out to be terrible, please don’t sue me or try to kill me. I don’t give bad advice though – still the disclaimer stands.

So, with that, I’ll open the floor up to you guys. I’m gonna dive all in the comments today so feel free to pass judgments on the series, share your thoughts, ask questions. Whatever. Oh, and next week, I’ll finally be back to writing other stuff, so – stay tuned. Also, please remember to take the SBM Readers Survey. Help us be great: SBM Reader Survey.

[email protected] | Twitter: @MrSpradley

Comment(38)

  1. I can’t tell a lie I enjoyed Sam series. I’m rarely a commentator but something about a woman living somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else, yet enountering the same trials makes this all the more personal. Do I think she was a “hoe” or not isn’t really my place to speak on her life. Or make a judgment on her choices because they don’t mirror mine . Would I personally follow that life style? It’s not for me and im never been down that road but doesn’t mean her lifestyle is wrong; if you are not ashamed of your decisions then you’ve made them with conviction. I wish Sam the best, life is too short to be unhappy and consumed with the opinions of those whose names you won’t remember in a 5, 6 or even a year from now. So they shouldn’t carry wight in decisions you have to live with.

  2. Hi Most, this was a cool series. I hope that there is another done in the future based on a guy's perspective in dating. Did your friend, Sam come to any enlightenment from seeing her story writing this way? What has has she learned and what advice would she have for other woman dating or looking for love in a large city or in general?

    1. Hey Cynthia, I think one of the things she said was that it was interesting to read her own stories objectively. Like Sam was her, but then Sam was also a character (the same way she is for you). So being able to read the series as if she's reading about some one else's life gave a certain level of objectivity she wouldn't have really been able to get otherwise.

      The comments made her cringe often. One morning we had coffee together on the day the post ran and she was definitely yelling at my laptop screen talking to some of the more negative folks commenting. That was interesting to say the least.

      As far as general advice for people dating in large cities. I'm not sure that kind of advice is one size fits all. The one thing I would say though is, if you're not from that city, don't adapt to the point that you lose site of who you are. It's kinda cliche I guess, but being from New York and seeing so many people transplant here, it's crazy how many people get gobbled up by the concrete jungle. People really do come here and try to be what they think a New Yorker is supposed to be. You can only be but so successful being someone you're not. What happens is, the predators, the Lances and Derrick's of the world prey on people like that. They prey on people who come here thinking it's just like Sex and the City. What Hov said on the third verse of 'Empire State of Mind' is all too real:

      Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
      so they can step out of bounds quick, the sidelines is
      lined with casualties, who sip to life casually
      then gradually become worse, don't bite the apple eve
      Caught up in the in-crowd, now you're in style
      Anna Wintour gets cold, in Vogue with your skin out
      City of sin, it's a pity on the wind
      Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with them
      Mami took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
      Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
      Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin
      And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church end
      Came here for school, graduated to the high life
      Ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight
      MDMA got you feelin' like a champion
      The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien

      1. Tru that Most…..Gotta love Hov….
        Btw you did an excellent job conveying Sam's thoughts and feelings and telling her story.
        If I ever decide to do an autobiography I'll holla at you….*smile*

  3. Enjoyed the series. I didn't know how good a beautiful woman had it until I had one move in with me. If you are a seven or above the world of men is your oyster. I stayed with this chick for 18 months and she had it all offered to her. From marriage proposal from dudes she knew for a few weeks, to flights to different countries, marriage men, the 40+ old playas ready to just find them a straight housewife, them thug dudes that don't want to leave after the deed is done, and of course the nice guy that does everything right but can't create that chemistry. Truth is if your bad the world is yours. If your descent you still could get what you want.

    It's 2012, a woman who knows what she wants and goes out and get it is the norm now. Life is too short to be playing games. Her promiscuity is hers and that's what works for her. I personally think shes discerning with her "goodies". I would even go ahead and call her a good girl haha.
    Being a beautiful black woman seems to be a blessing and a curse.

  4. I never said Sam slept with every man she met… I didn't even insinuate it. I said, something was wrong with her selection of the people she does sleep with. That's all.

    1. **deep breath***
      Imma do something I thought I would never do in my ENTIRE LIFE…..

      …..And defend Senor Jay.

      I will completely put it out there, I am convinced J is a sociopath. BUT, in the context of the actual discussion, he has some really serious points. You just have to read them like 8 times because he's so blunt you have to make it past your initial offense to the sentence to understand it. He's like that friend every woman needs to have but NEVER date (it's. TOO. Hard.) & you spend all your time defending (but if you just got to KNOW him, I swear!!) to your other friends.

      1. I cringed at that comment as well, got mad at it…then I thought about it. He never said she was sleeping with every man she met, but he WAS not-so-subtle-y pointing out that EVERY man in every story threw up a distinctive red flag that she consciously chose to ignore, and proceeded. I realized from the way the story was presented that it was told with the wisdom that can only be brought on in hindsight, understood that this has been ALL of us at some point, and enjoyed the story & her growth, but J's point came as if it was being told in real time, and that's why it was so out of place.
        However, I will not act like I don't go thru every date now thinking, "What would J say to me if I told him about this guy?" I shake my head even as I type….

        1. I'll say this….typically I agree with J, however I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I will play "devil's advocate" and say that I'm quite sure we all have slept with folks and later regretted it……hell many people have married and had a child or children with folks that they now claim to hate and wonder what the hell you were thinking when you got with them and can hardly recall what attracted u to them in the first place and curse the day you ever laid down with them. So let's be careful of the stones we throw at Sam.
          I agree she did make some poor choices in dealing with the men she dealt with and did some things I would think twice about before doing…but hey we all make mistakes and life is a learning process that Never Ever stops as long as your living. We will make mistakes as long as we live…..such is life.
          With that said I think Sam could've done much much worse…I've seen and known folks who have done much worse things with much worse people than her. Sam seems to be living and learning and as long as she is safe and keeps her priorities straight and her head on straight she will be fine, especially with a friend Most.

        2. "I realized from the way the story was presented that it was told with the wisdom that can only be brought on in hindsight, understood that this has been ALL of us at some point, and enjoyed the story & her growth."
          Like I have said before, I am not judging Sam. I have been Sam, and so have most people who have an opinion on her story. I'm just saying the point shouldn't be lost because of the way he said it. It may have been entirely too rough, blunt and to some extent uncalled for, but I couldn't help thinking what MY life would have been like if I had a J on my shoulder smacking me in the back of the head during some of my more questionable decisions regarding menses.

        3. Amaris I have several family members who are worse than J because they are hard on me and keep it 100 all the time with me. They will verbally knock some sense into me quicker than a NY minute. Some folks do have a "J" on their shoulder trying to smack some sense into them and it don't make a damn bit of difference.

      2. Pro-tip: When you defend someone's word it is best not to say you believe they have the mental disposition of someone that is manipulative and a pathological liar (i.e. a sociopath).

        1. I also think you need to choose your words carefully. Calling someone a sociopath is a big statement. Knowing Jay, you're using it completely wrong. That's like men calling women crazy because they have an opinion.

          Really look up the definition and rethink that. Not a good look IMHO

        2. Here's the thing- I DON'T. I don't pretend to. There is who you are, your online profile, & who you come across as depending on your comments. Unfortunately, I have not posted here enough for people to know when I am being completely serious or tongue-in-cheek. And considering I just spent 4 posts defending what I believed to be his intent…

          Regardless of that, the only thing common in the "profile" of a sociopath is LACK OF EMPATHY. That was the joke. Apologies if I offend.

  5. I really enjoyed this series learning about Sam and could relate to her on a lot of the things she's felt and has dealt with. I think a lot of people are quick to judge because they don't pay attention to all the details. In each story about Sam except with Dave it told how she spent months getting to know each guy before they slept together. Nowadays the average woman has sex on the third date, so Sam has greatly exceeded this limit. I also got annoyed with some of the comments about the guys Sam dated she chose the wrong guy but everyone does at least once. I think the old saying goes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince and I think Sam articulated that in this series. As a young woman who lives in a huge metropolitan area dating is more difficult than when I lived in my smaller rural community. I think if you just want to enjoy the city and go out its great but when your looking for someone to be with exclusively it becomes difficult. I believe a few months ago there was a entire article written on the dating dynamics of New York.

  6. Overall, this was very well-written and I actually appreciate you not going to hard in the comments with your overall perspective until the end. Smart move, IMO. This was a great story and sometimes it is unfortunate that other's hardships make for great reading, but overall, I'm glad Sam learned from it. I'm also happy for the nice guy, that he's found love. And still, I can't say Sam made the wrong choice there. If she wasn't ready to be a stepmother, I'm glad she made that decision before his child had gotten attached to her and gotten hurt in the process. It was smart of her to leave when she did.

    This story was quite the roller-coaster while reading so I can only imagine how crazy the ride was firsthand!
    My recent post Friday Foolery: A WiFi WTF

  7. I love this series because most people can relate to Sam in one way shape or form. I also like how you realistically ended the series. I really wanted it to end with her being engaged and finding the job of a life time but in real life things take time. I think Sam’s age mattered, especially in the first story because most assume with age comes some type of wisdom. So if the series started off and Sam is like 22 or 23 while some of her decisions weren’t great you can give her a little tough love ad tell her to do better. If she was 33 or 40 it’s a little difference. (This is in regards to the first story, every other story after that could have happened to anyone.)

  8. It's to be expected that some people will get judgmental and sit on high horses when such narratives come about. It was brave of her to share her story, and I'm glad that she's generally in a better place than she was when we were first introduced to her. Your writing was wonderful, as usual. I won't rehash my thoughts on the different stories, save for one: people really need to get over this notion that the "nice guys" issue is black & white.

  9. I really enjoyed this series, probably because I saw a lot of myself in Sam. I think that it was incredibly brave and progressive of her to share her stories. It opened a new perspective on how to view things; many of us have crazy stories but they all have a positive take away if we look closely.

    I really am happy you ended it the way you did – life keeps going and her story has no definite ending. It also keeps me hopeful that somewhere down the line we can hear more about the rest of her story.

    Even though I do agree with your thoughts on sequels, I hope you really consider writing another series like this with a new character!

  10. LOVED the series! I intentionally didn't read the comments because I knew I would get mad at the judgemental attitude people get when they're behind a computer screen. I've only commented once but I wanted to let you know how great it was-and if for nothing else, serves as a cautionary tale to young women before moving to the big city 🙂

  11. I have said before, I believe a lot of people saw themselves in Sam, and were literally yelling at their former selves thru the comment section, and not really talking to her. I loved her story. I grew up a pretty sheltered child and hade a HUGE leanring curve to overcome regarding men, so I know I can't judge.
    And yeah, "nice" does not equal "compatible". Frankly I get tired of men who believe I am supposed to immediately fellate them because they gave me a seat on the train. Nice is a STARTING POINT, nothing more.

    1. "Frankly I get tired of men who believe I am supposed to immediately fellate them because they gave me a seat on the train." <— BOL for real. It does seem like they believe an immediate and fantastic reward is necessitated by their politeness, sometimes.

  12. She almost gave it away for free to STEVE not Dave, Most!!! LOL. Dave is the boss, right?

    I loved loved LOVED the series. I think you can keep the series from getting boring by switching up major traits in the characters. A regular guy who found the balance between nice and good. A playa who found inspiration to change. An ex-exotic dancer trying to date. A divorcee getting back in the dating game. Interesting stories for days!

    I'm telling you man. I could see this concept as a TV series…with the main characters changing every season. I really think you're on to something HUGE!!!! …and I should get a cut of the profits for putting this out there, LOL!

    1. Haha, you're right Cyn. I got a lil confused there.

      I think a TV-Series would be cool – should some interested party email me about that… I'll keep you all posted. lol.

      And you ain't getting a cut. Maybe a cameo though.

      1. Deal! 🙂 *fist pump*

        Man, work your resources! Imagine the royalties (is that what you get in TV land, lol) you'd receive from this! This might be worth pursuing versus waiting around for someone to holla at you…ijs…

  13. I mentioned throughout each post in this series that I don't think Sam did anything too out of the ordinary. Her experiences just appeared more dramatic than they really were because Most captured everyone in with his writing. She definitely didn't off give a promiscuous vibe to me. She dated some people, she was approach in an inappropriate manner by someone, she dated someone she didn't know was taken. Nothing too outrageous.

    Although I have to thank Sam for introducing butcherpimpery into my life, and now I will aspire to be the best butcher pimp I can be.

    Hugh Jazz, Butcher Pimp

      1. I'm not hating.

        Like I said before, I wanted things to work out for her. I honestly did. I want things to work out for everyone. Well, everyone except neo-Nazis, parent-teacher associations, Conservatives, homeowner associations, and other arseholes of manifold incarnations.

        But yes, I wanted things to work out for Sam.

  14. I don't normally step into my friends lives. I usually let them rock out with whatever they want to do as long as it's not unhealthy or just completely stupid. It's interesting how far men take this at times. We have platonic female friends that we allow to slip into disaster. We could tell them over drinks, "This is probably not a good idea, in my honest opinion." But most men are from the school of thought, "These women gotta learn." It's interesting.

  15. I enjoyed the entire series! Reading all of them in one sitting made me realize that Sam's story would make a good a novel. After reading your recap I am even more impressed because it was so well written from a female perspective that I assumed that she wrote it herself (being that she is a journalist). I am a fan Mr. Spradley…awaiting the next segment! I definitely could relate to a couple of those accounts. Who am I to judge? It's life.

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