Professions That Get an Automatic No

Welcome to Another Edition of Light Fridays

I am not the type of girl that asks, “So what do you do?” upon meeting a man for the first time.  To me, it is a tacky, pretentious, and superficial conversation regardless of gender.  Nonetheless, at some point it is bound to creep into conversation.  Generally, I believe people are more than what they do.  Very few people are fulfilled in their day-to-day jobs, so potential to be more is still abundant.  Contrarily, there are a few occupations that when a man tells me he does, I am automatically turned off and have to restrain from making an outward grimace.
1) Police Officer: There are good cops and there are bad cops. While I enjoy the benefits of good cops doing their job, I would never be compatible with the type of man that wants to be a police officer.  Even if I can past the power trips and ego complexes, I can NOT get past the way they walk.  It is usually stiff and awkward, and it just screams I’m corny.
2) Code/Parking Enforcement: I live in D.C. with out-of-state tags on my car.  Enough said.  Seriously, if you have ever tried to park in D.C or NYC, I know you and your wallets have felt my pain.  That said, I have a moral obligation not only to myself, but to everyone that has justly or unjustly received a parking ticket to never give you any play. Ever.
3) Preacher: I LOVE Jesus, make no mistake about it.  I was raised southern Baptist, so the church is another member of our family.  But I could never date a preacher because I don’t want to be preached to every day.
Him: How was your day?
Me: It was okay.
Him: Just okay? You pray about it? You know are too blessed to be stressed!
Me: *side-eye*
Additionally, in my experience, it is really, really, really hard to fully process someone’s preaching that you know personally and intimately. All you can think about it the inconsistencies between what is being preached and what is being done.  And well, I rather not complicate my church experiences.
4) Politician: I have a personal twitter account were ignorance ensues on a regular basis.  This is only a small portion of the recklessness that ensues in real life.  So in essence, I would be the “Jeremiah Wright” of any campaign. It would only be a matter of time before you got tired of trying to defend me and will have to totally sever any ties.  So in the interest of your political career, I will just save you the trouble from jump.

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Rejecting Self: The Skin Tone Game

All Black. All beautiful.

This week a fellow Howard Alum posted a photo album on facebook that, within the HU community, went viral.  The pictures, featured in LIFE magazine, gave readers an inside look at Howard University’s student life in 1946.  One couldn’t help but to look at these pictures and to be proud to be a part of the great legacy of Howard University. However, I couldn’t help but notice the stark colorism in the women whose pictures were featured – fair skin, wavy hair.  From a historically black institution’s standpoint, I can understand, though I don’t agree, the need to change perceptions of Black America by emphasizing black students that were in line with mainstream America’s standard of beauty.  From the photographer’s standpoint, I can understand the inclination to capture the images that were most striking to oneself aesthetically.  It wasn’t until I read the entire LIFE article printed in 1946 that mentions the discord amongst students due to the color hierarchy on campus that I realized that the huge disparity in regards to the skin tone of featured women was not done haphazardly.  While almost 60 years later, I am very proud to say I didn’t experience or see any disparity based on hue, I believe within the greater Black Diaspora it is still a very relevant issue in daily interactions and dating.

Geez, where do we start?? In the interest of brevity, I will only focus on dating attractions today.

A week can’t go by without someone tweeting, facebooking, or conversing about their skin tone requirements about the people they are willing to date.  Everything from men saying they want a yellow/red women to women rejecting men because they don’t want to have dark skinned children.  Or it is the complete reverse.  Women will completely reject lighter skinned men and only date the darker hues as to suggest reversing the hierarchy makes everything much better now.  While preferences are warranted, the automatic dismal of a person because they are not your “type” in regards to their hue prior to getting to know them is still prejudiced.  It is just the worst kind- the one against ourselves.
The thing that is wonderful about being part of this Black Diaspora is because it envelops so much diversity from language, religion, to hue.  With the exception of religion, we have no choice what language we learn to speak initially or our shade of brown designated to us.  The only choice we have is the type of person we want to be.  And honestly, there are only two choices: one that loves self or one that rejects self.  When I look at another black person, I am innately inclined to them, regardless of hue,  because I recognize they are a piece of who I am.  So when I reflected on the men I have dated, I have absolutely no preference whether he is a lighter hue or a darker or any one in between.  And I won’t say I look beyond their hue because I don’t.  I see it just like I recognize their blackness.  I choose to acknowledge and embrace it as a part of who they are and ultimately of who I am.  The only commonality that shapes my “type” is the man that made the choice to love himself and thus his people and all of their beautiful hues.

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Does Love Need Making?

Loving Organically

I’m pretty sure love just happens. And I completely grasp the need for a tangible concept that warrants love making. But as of late, I wonder if love can be made or manufactured if you will.
For men, it seems like making a woman love him is a plausible notion.  The socialized mindset appears to teach men that if they are persistent enough, then they can eventually win a lady regardless of her initial stance.  Thus, men will go to extreme lengths to win the heart of a woman, even if he knows she doesn’t love him.  I suppose in theory, the idea is noble to risk all in an attempt to have the woman of your dreams.  What about her dreams?  Do they matter to a man?  Does he care if he is her 28th choice as long as she eventually gives in?
For women, our pursuit of love is very different. Not only do we want to win the heart of the man of our dreams, but we want to be the woman of his dreams.  Anything less than him feeling as passionate about her as she feels about him, is not a win at all.  It is a crushing defeat, and thus most times a woman will retreat. Women don’t consider a forced love, really a love at all. But hey, what do we know?
Contrarily, pre-arranged marriages do have the lowest divorce rates.  But sticking it out doesn’t equate to love or compatibly.  I am sure a man thought of this idea.  However, I am sure some learned to love each other and found love within this arrangement.  Some may not have any other love in which to compare their feelings with an arranged spouse.  But to those that have had real, true, and tangible love knows when it is absent, even if a man makes the most valiant effort.  Some things just can’t be manufactured.  It is or it isn’t.  Be green and only accept the organic.

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Giving It Up: How Soon Is Too Soon?

Men, typically, want one thing.  Sex.  It is the common denominator that binds race, hue, religion, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic background.  Well, it is true.  So it is a refreshing to a woman when a man comes along and wants MORE than that one thing. You know, these are the men that actually care about your well being, your interests, and your feelings.  But upon first glance they all look the same.  The men that care dress the same as the ones who don’t care at all.  Both types of men go to the same restaurants, have memberships at the same gym, and get their hair cut at the same barber shop.  So I can’t necessarily say I am upset with the woman that decided she was going to wait…no, not wait until she was married but waited until she was sure to which group he belonged.
Contrarily, the infamous 90-day rule of thumb seems ridiculous both in theory and practical application.  A preset time limit, regardless of circumstance,  seems like a recipe for disaster and disappointment.  Moreover, it makes your body and those intimate interactions, a prize that can be won after a simple and basic challenge of merely waiting.  I am infinitely more than that.
So that begs the question, “how soon is too soon to have sex?”  This question is applicable to both men and women.  For the men, how do you separate the hoes from the wives based on how easily the goods were obtained?  And for the women, how do determine a man’s true intentions without making him wait?  If you make him wait too long do you risk losing him altogether?  Well, if he will leave because you want to be sure you can go ahead and scratch his name off the list.
I’m going to jump out there and say most men, even those that sincerely care about a woman, will not play a 90-day waiting game.  However, a man that cares about you will wait until you are ready, whether that is 2 weeks down the line or until you are married.  Maybe it is beyond caring if he waits until you are married because that is a special and rare love.
I do believe it is the woman’s responsibility to take value in her own body and make sure the man is worth her time and her most inner self.  The man should show as much enthusiasm about outdoor activities as he does with indoor activities.  He should invest in your well being.  He should encourage your best.  I know some may say, it is just sex and not that serious.  But your body, man or woman should not be a free-for-all festival where anybody can have access.  A good male friend of mine always says that because a woman has exactly what a man wants she has the power.  Some admittedly abuse that power; however, the tragic cases are those that don’t know they even have any power.  Well, knowledge is also power.  And getting to know someone takes time and effort.  So until we both know each other, whenever that time comes, that is how long it will take.

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7 Approaches I Hate: The Try and the Fail

When we were younger, it was easy to determine if a guy liked you through their actions.  The hitting, chasing, and pulling of ponytails were all clear signs of affection.  Most of these boys grew to men, and as such, their approach toward women matured.  However, sadly, some approaches have not matured and I am finding myself looking around in search for the monkey bars and jungle gym because surely you are not a grown man still using playground methods to get my attention.
The following accounts are true stories.
1)        Poking. No, not facebook poking or the grown folk poke, but a true-to-meaning poke. Why is your index finger assaulting my shoulder every 3 minutes as we are in this training session and you sat down next to me even after I avoided eye contact because I didn’t want to be bothered?  And now, I have to pretend to really care about what this presenter is saying because you are annoying me and my shoulder.
2)        Baby- oiled pictures. Not only does my shoulder get harassed, but dudes now harass my phone by sending pictures of them rubbed in baby oil looking like an audition picture for Playgirl.  I am so confused as to why you feel like if I was on the fence about you from jump this would be the deciding factor.  Well, it did help me to decide- it is a firm “hell no” now.
3)        Checking-in for no reason. Why are you giving me a play- by- play of your day?  We are not/have not/ will not be together in no shape, form, or fashion.  So, I don’t care that you are leaving work for lunch, had Panera Bread, and now are off about to jog then showering.  I don’t need any details.  If I care I will ask the generic ”How was your day?” And all I expect to hear is any variation of “it was fine.”
4)        Penis infomercials. You know how you are in the middle of a nice date, talking about politics, Haiti, and going green then all of a sudden he starts talking about how flat he lays it down in the bed.  Then he starts quoting Trey Songz and Drake.  I have confused written all over my face because I completely missed the segue from my reusable grocery bags to his penis.
5)        Respond to every tweet/status. For some people it doesn’t matter how irrelevant or personal the tweet is they somehow find a way to respond in some way.  I see you because you are forcing me to, but you are about as annoying as the poker.
6)        Random confessions of love. This happens more than I’d like to admit, but you really don’t know me well enough to be professing your love for me. And, no, being a facebook/twitter friend does not mean you know me, it means you know of me.  Knowing me in real-life is much more intricate and challenging than knowing the virtual me.
7)        Volunteering to do completely ridiculous things. Why are you on the floor trying to massage my feet?  My feet don’t even hurt. Get up please.  People can see you.

I am sure you have your own real life accounts…

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Fear of Doing Better…Than You

How some men date minus the cameras...

Men are often stigmatized with the label of fearing commitment.  As they go from relationship to relationship, girl to girl, it is all in search for the best.  It is not saying that that the current girl is not the best, but how can he be sure?  So perhaps, subconsciously, there is a method to cheating, the randoms, and overall lack of commitment to one that seemingly is a good fit.

In my observations, men do not have any problem committing.  They commit to their favorite teams, to their favorite shows, video games, pastimes, hobbies, academics, careers, family, friends, pets, organizations, so on and so forth.  The only place where there is inconsistency in their ability to commit is in relationships.  So the fear of commitment is no longer a viable claim and must be ruled out.  So what is it? It has to be something.
I have concluded that men do completely understand the gravity of marriage and the commitment it requires.  In understanding that gravity, creates the fear of doing better, well, than you.  It is a hard pill to swallow when you realize that all of the girls in between and after were because he was not convinced that you were the best for him.  And once you remove your feelings from the equation, on a basic level, it makes sense.  Everyone likes to sample the options before making a final selection.  However, sometimes a man does all of that sampling to decide on his earlier option.  But after all of that sampling, he might be surprised to learn that he is no longer what is best for you.

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My Letter to the Quiet Guy

I have always had a thing, a serious thing, for the cute, quiet guys. You see most of my close friends have strong, dominant personalities.  We tend to run the show, start the parties, and are very used to being the center of attention.  So I find it extremely refreshing and even more intriguing to see you relaxing in the back simply taking it all in.
When I was younger, I believed I enjoyed chase and catch of the quiet guys as opposed the ones in my face.  But in my experiences with those quiet guys, I was surprised to learn that not only are they not pushovers but are very opinionated, well-spoken, and well read.  And well, I am intellectual groupie. Additionally, there is nothing more alluring that quiet confidence.  You require no fanfare to draw me in and gain my undivided attention.
Now, I am no longer thrilled by the hunt and much more at ease with being actively pursued.  But you, the quiet guy, still present a challenge when it comes to placing interest.  How do I let you know?  You are so careful and deliberate in your actions not willing to jump to conclusions or misstep your boundaries so my subtle hints of “I think you are awesome” have seemed to go unnoticed for far too long.
I have learned patience and now value and embrace that time before the first hellos to the first dates to the first kisses.  The quiet guys before you taught me how to make sure those moments linger for as long as possible. Haste, rash decisions are no longer my friend. And now I appreciate you for taking your time to get to know more about me and to respect me.  And when you are ready, no, sure that I am all that I say I am then I am sure you will make your move.  Until then, I will watch you sit quietly in the back, watching me as I can’t help but watch you.

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Why You Can’t Meet My Friends

Despite this blog, my very open personal twitter account, and my frequent facebook updates, I am a very private person, even with my friends…even with my best friends.  No one friend knows all, most know some, but only a few know most, and only GOD knows all.  There is no exception when it comes to men I date.
So it is always strange when men I date ask to kick it with my friends- the friends that have probably heard nothing about him…at all.  My response is usually, “Nah, you can’t meet my friends.”  He usually responds, “Why?”  I typically give some version of “I’m not there yet.”
Here are my reasons why I am totally against someone I’m dating meeting my friends.
1)   No commitment: We are just dating and on my end nothing serious as of now.  I have friends and family that every time you see them they are introducing to someone new.   Instead of enjoying the pleasantry of meeting this person, you don’t even hear the name because you are giving your friend/family the extreme side-eye.  Yeah, so I refuse to be that person with a constant rotation of new people.
2)   My Friends Are Cool As Hell: There is no question, my date will love my friends.  It only takes a few hours of kicking it with them to feel like you have truly bonded.  At the end of the night, he will probably be like “I’ve haven’t had that much fun in a while.”  Then my date is trying to exchange twitters or pins.  And well, I just can’t have that.  What if I decide you are no longer worth my time, are you still going to try to kick it with my friends?  Are your exchanges going to be on my timeline like ya’ll are cool?  It can become super annoying and harder to  move forward if you are now, without earning it, integrated into my social circle.
3)   My Friends are Like Family: I have no family here in D.C., at least biologically speaking.  My friends are like my family.  I believe the saying goes, “friends are the family you can pick.”  Well, I picked quite an extraordinary bunch.  So if I am not ready for you to meet my family, then I am not ready for you meet my friends.
I will let you know when we get there.

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Who I Am In Art: Movies, Music & Books

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays.

Recently a friend asked her friends for their top 15 movies.  Seems simple enough, right?  What we discovered was although the friends had similar interests and personalities, everybody’s list was extremely different and very few movies intersected the lists.  Also, this list began to give a deeper insight to the person’s childhood memories and overall make-up.   So I have decided to expound on that idea today and do my top 5 in no particular order- movies, books, and albums and tell why I love each.
Movies
Why I love them
A Chorus Line
Dance, Dance, and More Dance.  The movie follows an audition as some dancers try to follow their dreams but end up finding themselves.  It is an awesome movie…and Broadway play!
The Color Purple
Pretty much a staple on most black women’s list.   But the story is timeless -one of victimization, struggle, identity, and eventually triumph defined on a woman’s own terms.
Finding Nemo
First of all, I love all things Pixar.  Those geniuses over there always get me going to the movies.  But this little fish, Nemo, stole my heart as he deals with loss and physical handicap yet keeps it moving.  Not to mention, it is also a beautiful portrait of a devout father.  And DORY need I say more.  …Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…
Legends of the Fall
I didn’t watch this movie until late in my collegiate tenure and I am glad because I don’t think I would have understood all of the complexities and undertones of this movie at a younger age.  But it is a true and at times tragic love story that had me evaluating if I have ever or will ever love like that.
John Q
This movie of a black family barely making it then faced with a son who becomes ill with insufficient insurance to cover his life or death treatments.  And then you see another devout father willing to sacrifice all to save his son.  Whew, beautiful portrayed story.
Music Albums
Why I love them
Songs in the Key of Life- Stevie Wonder
I mean the title says it all.  It will take you through both the joys and the sorrows.  The music and the lyrics speak to me no matter what type of mood I am.
Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
Nope, not Thriller for me.  This one has my favorite Michael songs that just make you feel good about love and life.
Blueprint 3- Jay Z
I waivered on which Jay-Z album I would choose out of  Reasonable Doubt, the Black Album and this one.  But I choose this one because every single track motivates the hell out of me.  It takes me from thought and ideas to action.
Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2- Jill Scott
Again, this album is timeless.  It speaks openly and honestly about love and heartbreaks and the journey to finding the real meaning of it.
Worldwide Underground- Erykah Badu
I love this album because every track puts me in a great mood.  And again it is honest and brave and exposes the real vulnerabilities of being black and a woman.
Books
Why I love them
So Long a Letter – Mariama B
A very short book about Senegalese women who are brave enough to break tradition in order to do what was right for them.
The Chaneysville Incident- David Bradley
I personally feel every black man should read this. It is lighthearted, yet deep as it follows a man trying to understand his present by reconnecting with his past.
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World- Mildred Pitts Walter
It is about a son in a house full of women until he visits his grandparents and his grandfather takes the time to teach him what manhood really is.  My childhood favorite!
Othello – William Shakespeare
This is my favorite Shakespeare play because it shows how easily love can distort the truth.  And how without the element of truth from the direct source can be tragic.
What is the What- Dave Eggers
This novel recounts the journey of a Sudanese refugee that is eventually comes to America.  This book will make you value EVERYTHING you have and have taken for granted.
Well there you go my top 5.  What are yours? Art depicts life.  Life inspires Art.

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The Boyfriend with the Absent Father

Once upon a time I said wouldn’t ever date a guy whose father was not an active part in his life again.  While I have strayed from that premise a few times since then, I still believe my theory behind my statement, for the most part, still holds true.
My theory, based on my experiences up to that point, was that men without an active father do not have a constant example of how a man should treat a woman.  In my experiences, up to that point, I found myself fighting for the things that should have been a given.  The things I was asking, in regards to chivalry, compromise, sacrifice, and effective communication, were foreign to them in the realm of relationships.  These were non-issues in my relationships with men that did have an active father, and even more so when that father was in the home.
As I have grown older, I can look back and attribute some of the shortcomings for boyfriends with absent fathers simply to immaturity.  Perhaps their maturity was delayed due to an absent father.  It is both possible and plausible.  However, I have discovered the greatest hindrance of a man learning how to properly love a woman is due to lack of exposure of such.  It doesn’t need to be from his father, for even that can be a piss poor example, but the example has to come from someone he admires.  I say the boyfriend must admire this person first because that is the only way another man’s actions can hold any value to the boyfriend to even desire to be better than he is.  But this can go from wonderful to tragic, entrepreneur to dope boy, depending on the example. Nonetheless, a positive an example needs to be there, and it should be his father.  Tragically, more often than not, that is not the case within our communities.  And from that respect, I am glad my theory was a little off-base because it provides hope in an otherwise catastrophic situation.  There is hope, and even the expectation, that cycles will be broken and new, more excellent principles will be established.
I have since dated men that have defied these odds and matured into better men, fathers, and significant others without the example from their fathers.  And I tell you, where it may take a little longer and be a little harder for them to get there, when they are there, they are steadfast in their journey to be better men than their absent fathers.  And after a while, defying odds and exceeding expectations becomes commonplace for him.  He is then the example, not only for his children, but for his communities.

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