Playing the part

Any given day in the nation’s capital, you will find couples enjoying the many sites this city has to offer.  As you stroll along the National Mall, you won’t get far before you see couples holding hands, enjoying a picnic, or a bike ride together. To the naked eye, one would assume these couples are in loving and committed relationships; however, most couples in D.C. lack commitment…and well, the love can be one-sided. Nevertheless, the perks that are typically only associated with committed relationships, oddly, still run rampant. [Continue reading here]
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Black is the New White. Hispanic is the New Black: The Minority Hierarchy – Part One

We are well into 2011, and it has become apparent that the lines of racism have evolved.   There is no question that racism, from the subtle to the overt, is prominent within our society and Fox News.  There is still a very clear divide between the rights of White Americans and the injustices of Blacks (regardless of nationality) living in America.  Furthermore, within the Black Diaspora, we are fully aware of how American socialism has taught us to establish our own hierarchy within Blackness- the lightest being the highest to the darkest being the lowest. This self-hate directly mirrors the established protocol of slavery in America- the darker the skin, the bigger the burden.  What may have been impossible to predict that this once self-contained hatred would seep outside of the Diaspora and manifest itself into a Black supremacy ideology that subjugates all other races and nationalities, except, of course, the beloved and revered Whites.
Perhaps the most vulnerable to the ideologies and actions of this new Black Supremacy are Hispanics.  To be fair to Blacks, this ideology that they were slightly superior to Hispanics is simply a trickle-down effect inherited from mainstream America- not necessarily of their own thought process.  However, the inabilities to recognize and empathize with the plight of Hispanics as our own, rest solely on the failure of Blacks to thoroughly educate themselves.
It is the mindset of Blacks, mimicked by White America, that Hispanics entering a neighborhood instantly lowers property value.  Black women feel threatened by the presence of a group of young Hispanic men as they expect to be robbed.  It is automatically assumed when meeting a Hispanic that they are uneducated, don’t speak English, and have no right to live in America.  The familiarity of their story’s resemblance to the story of Black America is… eerie.  The fact this proven strategic conditioning has stood the test of 400 years is… insane.  The perpetuation of such ignorance by a very much still oppressed Black America is… inexcusable.

Considering the Source: A “Why You’re Not Married” Review

It seems marriage is the conversation of choice in every arena nowadays.  I get it.  We are getting older and people are concerned (read: paranoid) of ending up alone.  It is upon this fear that any and all publications giving advice on how to become married-to not end up alone and bitter, is savagely devoured.
One of my favorite professors at Howard University stressed the importance of researching the author of literature.  At the time with the tediousness of course work and time management, it seemed like a waste of time.  I mean why can’t I just pick up the book, bypass any prefaces and publication information, and just begin reading??  However, any architect will tell you the details lie in the point of view.  So when I finally read, Why You’re Not Married after several reposts on my newsfeeds, I was glad I didn’t have to dig to get her background and thus the perspective in which she approached the topic of a woman’s desire to be married.
After reading the title, and her background, I begin to digest the information she presented.  And while I can appreciate, the deliberate shock factors to evoke an immediate response, the article’s tone was cynical and bitter.  In essence, she was “the bitch” advising you not to take the road she did.  Experience is a hell of a teacher, but sometimes our experiences, those people in which we interact, and relationships we develop are simply projections of who we are and how we value ourselves.  The persona and expectations of marriage, gender roles, and family structure of a woman coming from a stable, loving home will be completely different from those of a woman coming out of a foster care system with a history of neglect…  So from her perspective and how she approaches people and situations, I believe the information she presented was valid.  I know several women with the mindset of wanting better than they are, so maybe that article spoke to them in a real way.
There was one sentiment, I did agree with McMillian on: marriage will make not you happy.  You need to already be happy.  So many women believe marriage will fix them and all of their life’s ills. You don’t have to be a three time divorcee to know it will not, if anything it will create more responsibility and its respective stresses.  It is the complete and total end of “I.”  The new focus is “we” and the consequences “my” actions have on “us.”  I equate it to enrolling in a graduate program whereas the reward is indeed great, but the work is real and challenging at times.  Even after graduation, you still have to study to stay proficient in your field.
What I am tired of reading is this sentiment that women should just keep their mouth closed and become these passive, weak, opinionless women in order to gain and keep a man.  A real man is not intimidated by a woman that thinks for herself and has standards.  As of matter of fact, he appreciates that as it separates her from the rest.  I will go as far to say, if a black man was raised by a [loving] black woman- he expects it.  He will either step up or fall back.
Here is my perspective in my 15 years of hands on research that will hopefully save women a lot of time and heartache.  I have determined that there are really only two types of men on the planet- those that are in love with you and those who are not.  Those men that are in love with you will cooperate [within reason]  and/or take the path of less resistance.  Those who are not in love with you will not cooperate or feel responsible for your feelings.  It is really that simple.  Real love can’t be manufactured; it simply is and then tended to constantly.  But as always, all loving relationships begin with a sincere love of self.

Weaning Away

We all have bad habits.  Some people smoke, others drink, and some chronically re-involve themselves with people that had previously been sworn off.
Break-ups are hard.  And while the decision to break-up might be an instant one, the actual separation can be a long, emotional process.  However, it only takes a few lonely nights, and a few drunken texts to find yourself back in a situation with a person you know isn’t worth your time or your body.  Then of course alongside with a hangover, is the morning-after regret.  Those are the times when we want to use liquor an excuse.  Other times no such scapegoat is needed.  It is way too easy to go back to what you know, regardless of how toxic, than to move forward into the unfamiliar.  But familiarity and time does not automatically equate to a better relationship.  When you have loved this person so long it is hard to separate the physical from the emotional and again you find yourself in the middle of this train wreck.  I get it.
To move forward before an utter catastrophe, you have to be prepared to wean yourself off a person.  Fingers often type without any authorization and the next thing you have sent a text or called out of habit.  I could easily give a list of the obvious things you can do to begin to wean off a person from deleting numbers to hanging back out with friends.  However, the first step and the most vital step to moving forward from an old relationship is to actually want to be in a better place.  Most times, we waste so much time on trying to fix a broken relationship or trying to force someone to love us again that we forget that better lies in our future.  But you have to want it.  You have to decide you are worth venturing out alone, but better.

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The Bad Ones Aren’t Labeled

I recently entered a heated debate with a young black man that proceeded to volunteer his thoughts on the high percentage of black children born out of wedlock.  72%, yes, it is alarming.  He essentially blamed it all on black women by stating it is our fault that we continue to engage in pre-marital sex with men that ain’t bout sh*t.  I asked him two things.
Me: Have you ever engaged in pre-marital sex with a black woman?
Him: Yes
Me:  If any of those women were to get pregnant, are there any you wouldn’t marry??
Him: Yes, I wouldn’t marry most of t them.
Me: Well, then sir you too are part of the problem.
While the data is bad, from every angle- terrible, it doesn’t mean that 72% of black children aren’t actively fathered.  There are lots of black men, though they are not with their child’s mother, are an active and involved fathers.  Sadly, you can look in our communities and realize this is not the majority.

Sadly, men do not come with nutritional labels.

The more pressing issue is that most women don’t knowingly engage in baby-producing activities with men they know ain’t about nothing.  Men aren’t labeled like food to give ingredients and percentages of how much sh*t they contain.  Are there indicators? Certainly.  The inability to maintain a job, not taking care of the kids he already has, and overall disrespectful demeanors toward women are all huge red flags.  I am not talking about those obvious signs.  I am talking about becoming involved with educated, well-employed, seemingly respectful men that still aren’t about taking care of their responsibilities.  There are no huge red flags.  The lies are so crafty you don’t know he lying until it is too late.  Sometimes bad men wear the same attire, hang at the same places, and go to the same churches as the good ones.  It is not until it all hits the fan can you determine the real good men from the imposters.  Hell, by that time it is usually too late.

So I don’t know these women having multiple babies by trifling men.  One child??  Yes.  More than one, no.  If they have more than one kid with the man at the very least he is actively fathering their children.  If a woman continues to have children by a man that has shown he doesn’t take care of his kids, then yes, we can agree that the woman is a huge part the problem.  But I am tired of “good” black men blaming our social ills on black women without taking a good look in the mirror first.  Most times, these good black men have just gotten lucky and/or spared an opportunity to show their true colors.  And if you are truly such a good man, then instead of downing women, fill in the gap for the men that fall short so the cycle won’t continue.  Then and only then can you pat yourself on the back.

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Over-feeling Yourself

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending a wide away of people from a vast array of educational, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I appreciate each person equally for who they are and what they bring to the table.  I had no idea beforehand people that would be more successful than others.  Nor could I predict the role some people would play in my own successes.  I know I am blessed to have such a successful circle.  What perplexes me is when I stumble into people that are overly pretentious, snobbish, and flat out stuck up.  It is despicable to see how some people feel that they are beyond acknowledging and replying to people- whether on a social site or in person. Real life celebrities are more humble and gracious than some people.  Or is it that everyday people think they are a celebrity.  Everybody can’t be Kanye.
Black people who are pretentious make me sick to my stomach.  Black people who by the hair on their chin barely made it out of the hood are the very worst.  I often refer to them as the pseudo-bourgeois because they have absolutely no assets in which to be bourgeois about. You know, the ones that rent their house, lease their car, rent their rims, spend money they don’t have to have the latest bag or shoes and then have the audacity to be arrogant.
A very small percentage of black people do come from relatively affluent families (in comparison to other blacks but are still wwwayyyy behind whites).  While they still get no pass for being stuck up, it is more understandable.  Sometimes snobbish attitudes are passed down from one generation along with their inheritance.  However, the trip to poverty can be swift with a few bad investments, a loss of business, and/or criminal charges.
Then there are those blacks that have made it and are established despite the odds against them.  They are first generation professional degree graduates, entrepreneurs, and businessmen.  And in my experiences, it is these people that are the most grounded after their respective successes.  I suspect it is because to come out of nothing you need both an exceptional work ethic and people to help you along the way.  Those same people that helped a person should also be contractually bound to remind you from where you came and keep you grounded.  After all, success means little without the ability to connect to the people that got you there.

Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful. – John Wooden


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A Wendy’s Type of Chick

Last Friday, after an especially long week, I decided that a margarita and some quesadillas were of the utmost importance and my way to an On the Border.  The margarita was weak.  Anyway, due to where I was seated, I was forced to overhear a conversation between a middle-aged black couple obviously on a date and evidently still in the getting to know each other stage.
The lady, loud and defensive in her tone while wearing the lowest of low v-neck blouses to ever grace a chest, decided to share a story of how her friend’s man had left her friend and how trifling he was.  As the conversation transitioned, the man began to talk about his portfolio and how much he had made in the stock market recently.  I just shook my head.
It seems every woman is looking for a good man and every good man is looking for a good woman.  Obviously the competition is stiff and fierce on both sides of the field as no one wants to be stuck with an imposter.  I get that you have to use what you have to stand out and set yourself apart.  I get that.
What I don’t understand is ladies claiming they don’t want a man that only wants sex yet wear virtually nothing.  That I don’t get.  If I can piece together the pictures of your avatars from facebook, twitter, and/or tumblr and get a complete portrait of you naked- you’re doing it all wrong.  It seems to be an ongoing contest to see who can outslut the other.
Similarly men that do not want a gold digger probably shouldn’t be talking about financial portfolios, income, or property two dates in.  All that conversation attracts is women that only want your money.
For both, these acts of desperation scream “This is all I have going for me.” And well, maybe that is true but you don’t have to let the other person know so early in the game.
The goal is for everyone to market themselves appropriately for the partner in which you hope to find.   Men cannot expect to have money pictures and not be asked by a lady to pay for something.  I know some males that are constantly losing because they are forever tricking paying for a girl to spend time with them.  He thinks if he pays for dinner, hair, and rent and then spend some time with him then she likes him.  Anybody would love you if you are just giving money away with little to no investment.  Why do you think the lottery is popular?
It is also a delicate art, to be universally sexy without being trashy.  Equally difficult is to present yourself as fun, but not only be someone’s good time for a night.   A good man will respond appropriately based on how you present yourself.  So when you see a dude you let hit last week after he brought you some Wendy’s out on a date with the next lady at 5-star restaurant don’t be mad.  It doesn’t mean he is a dog, you probably just marketed yourself as a Wendy’s type of chick…

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On Long Distance Relationships…

Let me just put it out there- long distance relationships suck.  I honestly don’t understand how anyone would willingly enter them without any plan to move closer to each other very soon.   And although, I accidentally stumbled into one, I only find comfort in knowing he is more than worth it.  Other than that, I would never recommend it.   I would have paid good money in betting that I would never be in one myself.  But alas, here we are.
Contrarily, I believe that this initial distance has actually been beneficial to [re-]establishing a solid foundation for our relationship.  In being forced to only talk has created an open and honest dialogue about our past, present, and future…minus the physical aspect.  You know once sex enters the picture it is hard to determine how much you like the person from how much you like your interactions.  The lines easily blur past that point and it is easy to become confused.  Plus, some men are willing to say and do anything to make you feel as comfortable as possible to give them your body.  So when that is not available for elongated periods it gives a clearer picture of their intent.
This brings me to the second benefit of long distance relationships is because it requires absolute consistency and trust.  I put these together because I believe consistency feeds trust and trust will fuel the relationship.  We make a point to make time for each other consistently.  And even when life is hectic there is open communication and feedback, not because anyone has to check in but because in a long distance, doubt is the enemy.  All of which brings us back full circle to communication.  I thought I was good at it but I realized that I have grown accustomed to rely more on written and non-verbal communication than actually speaking my mind.
Other than the listed, yeah, long distance relationships pretty much suck! I appreciate this experience but I am grateful we’re working to eliminate the long distance out of this relationship.

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Don’t Test Me

I hate tests.  I am not talking about the ones you take in school either.  I actually like those tests.  You are given a certain amount of information to acquire and then are given a set of questions to ensure that information was acquired.  Very rarely are teachers completely unfair and throw in trick questions, or well at least in my experiences.  I have given plenty of trick answers though.  I’ve digressed.
The tests I am referring to are these semi-standardized tests given by men at large.  Men, seemingly, have a secret coalition that is dedicated to make sure women are filtered through a set of random and impromptu tests.  This test includes such things like:
  • Will she offer to pay?
  • Will she open my side of the door after I open her door?
  • If possible, would she smash my homie?
I think those are the general standardized tests.  It simply separates the ones worth dating from the ones that are not.  But as a man gets more serious about a woman, the tests are more relationship-specific.  It’s crazy.  It is so easy to be caught up in being perfect that you don’t realize that you are simply jumping through one hoop after another.  This is why I provide my disclaimer at the very beginning.  It reads:
I am not perfect nor do I try to be.  My only aim is for authenticity- it requires fewer apologies.
Even then, I have still been tested by men.  I mean, I understand.  I do.  I am not even mad at men for this.  I figure one ho was made wife one time too many and preventive measures had to be established.  Good men had had enough of having the wool pulled over their eyes time and time again.
But relationships cannot be based on a series of tests.  Tests never tell the entire story.  A blank or wrong answer doesn’t reveal that a person may have just lost their grandfather who was the only father figure they had.  Nor do tests expose the sexual assault a lady experienced the week before so her studying was filled with tears.  Or maybe a man had been working two jobs just to pay his way through school so he missed the test because he overslept.  Anything could have happened that could have interfered with a person providing an accurate account of their learning.
Time is the only true test.  Time is the only way to reveal the true measure of character and integrity.  Time tells the story.

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Things I Can’t Do for the First 10 Dates

At one point in time, I used to be a huge movie buff.  I loved to watch movies.  It wasn’t until recently, when friends begin to ask me if I had seen one movie or another that I realized that I am tragically behind on my movie game.  I think I’ve been to the movies twice this year and maybe twice last year, and actually I have probably been the movies less than 10 times in the last 3 or so years.  I told you- tragic.  After I thought about it, I realized that the reason I haven’t been to the movies that often is because that is a relationship outing and not a dating outing- at least for me.
When you are in a relationship, you can go to the movies whenever because you have spent and are spending time outside of the movies to really get know each other.  However, when you are dating, the movies don’t provide an atmosphere to get to know someone better.  You can’t talk to each other, you can’t see each other, and you can’t build experiences with one another.  It is a terrible and lazy date idea.  So for me, I say no movies for the first 10 dates.  Here are a few other things I refuse to do in the first 10 dates:
1)        Double Date. People are generally still trying to prove something in the first few months of dating and when that is coupled with another couple, it can easily turn into an unnecessary competition to out-“love” the other couple.   Men try to outdo men and women try to receive the most validation.  Or the other couple can be super argumentative and make the other couple feel completely uncomfortable.  Either way, I want no parts early on in dating.
2)        Meet the Parents. It’s just too soon.
3)        Go to Church Together. I know, I know but hear me out.  If it is your church and you are actively involved, it is like meeting the family if not worse.  It just opens up endless assumptions and expectations.  The only exception I have if we go to a church that neither of us attends.
4)        Work Out Together. I think people underestimate how intimate working out together can be.  It can easily expose all of your physical shortcomings in the daylight.  Then there is the sweating, exhaustion, and overall raggedness that comes after a good work out.  For instance, last night I was doing a 25-minute Ab-Ripper X video.   After which, I was laid out on the floor for the next hour.  I don’t want to look like a punk in front of my date.

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