I never wanted to be a princess. When the other girls in my grade were playing dress-up in tutus and tiaras, I was trying on my Grandma's church hats and singing into a hairbrush. I wanted to be Aretha Franklin or Patti Labelle, not Snow White. So, needless to say, the idea of a prince coming to "save" me was absurd at best.

It didn't help that I wasn't ever one of the "pretty" girls in my class. I was big, bold, and Black... not exactly crush fodder for 13-year-old boys raised on MTV. But it never really bothered me. I didn't need a boyfriend, I was going to be a singer. Sure, sometimes I'd hear "Natural Woman" on the radio and wish I could know what that felt like, but it wasn't ever Item One on my to-do list.

Then high school happened. My best friends were all suddenly in couples. I was the third wheel, the fifth wheel, even the eleventh wheel on occasion. I got jealous, watching friends kiss in the movie theater or hold hands in between classes. Eventually, I gave in, and decided it was time to dip my toes into the dating pool.

My name is Mercedes Jones, and these are my Misadventures in Dating.