Football Watch Parties: A Guide for Non-Fans

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays…

Most of you know last night marked the start of the NFL’s regular season.  It should be a national holiday.  What you probably didn’t know is that it also marked the start of when some females begin to use the sacred game of football to prey on men.  I’ve already explained my love for the game here, and actually it is a sentiment shared by most of my female friends.  However, when a woman shows up to a watch party in a tight mini dress and 5-inch stilettos, you can pretty much assume she is not there to watch the game.  And you know, I am not mad at her…not for the outfit at least.  What upsets me are the interruptions and distractions from the game in an effort to get smashed attention.  So in an effort for those women to be less obvious and less annoying, I am giving a guide to how to properly watch the game when among real football fans.
  • Google It. I know you would think while the game is going on would be a good time to learn more about the game, but it is not.  Commercials MAYBE a little bit better.  But asking what happened after every play is annoying.  Furthermore, playing dumb has never been cute.  Be resourceful and use that expensive phone.  To help, the basic rules can be found here.  However, all I think you really need to know is the difference between an extra point and field goal is and that a touchdown is only 6 points, not 7.  That should be enough to begin to impress him.
  • Fall Back. As women, we like to be the most important thing in a man’s life.  However, you don’t want to compete with a football game.  It is not even a fair debate.  Real love is understanding his love for his game and finding something to do for 3 hours.  Or just chill out, relax, and observe him and his friends watching the game.  You may actually pick up on a few things to add to your repertoire of football knowledge.
  • Pick a Team. It doesn’t matter what team you pick to cheer on for the day, just pick one.  The game is much more fun to watch when you are rooting for a team.  If they win, you are happy.  If they lose, well you won’t really care because you don’t like football.
  • Play Your Role. Actually, the best advice is to be yourself.  If you don’t like something don’t pretend to just to get someone.  The truth will come out.  It is fine to be sociable and attend events with no interest in the game.  If sports are not your forte, then maybe being an awesome host is the way to stand out.  Or find other people who are there more for the social scene versus the game as well and talk to them.  But do us a favor and keep it down!
Anyway, HAPPY WEEK ONE OF FOOTBALL to all of the fans! Let the games, fantasy leagues, and trash talking begin!!

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My Love Letter to My First Gray Hair

I found you at the tender age of 24.  Despite all the hair I have, you decided to make your debut at the very front of my head,  off to side, in perfect view whenever I rock my beloved ponytails.  I am not going to lie, at first, I hated you.  My life was not particularly stressful at the time so I didn’t understand why you were there and what purpose you sought to serve on my very young head.  My boyfriend at the time began calling me Storm, and that made me sadder.  I knew plucking you would only cause you to bring your homies next time, so I cut you down as close to the scalp as I could to deny your existence.  But you and your damn resiliency just kept growing back.  I don’t remember when I decided to just let you grow.  I decided you were a gift from wisdom and no longer a curse from stress.
That is until I recently found 7 more of you.  Now, I am back to blaspheming your existence.  These new gray hairs are clustered at the crown of my head.  I am not even 30 yet.  Obama is graying but he is the President of the United States.  I preside over nothing but my own existence and that is pretty stress free.
So maybe I am learning a few lessons.  Slowly. My aunt told me, “The same lessons come around until we learn them.”  And maybe per lesson learned I receive these silver strands to remind me that I am getting older and I do know better.  If this theory is correct I have learned 8 lessons to date, which seems about right.  So I begin to think on the lessons these silver strands represent.
1)       I cannot be everything to everybody. In my youth, I wanted to the perfect person to everybody.  So in school, I was the perfect student, after school I wanted to fit in with neighborhood kids.  I wanted to be the perfect girlfriend, so forth and so on.  Oddly enough, I never wanted to be the perfect child to my parents.  Anyway, I got to the point, where I stopped trying to wear all of these different hats and just try to be my most authentic self.  And I learned that being authentic requires fewer apologies than trying to be perfect.  I don’t like apologizing, which brings me to lesson # 2.
2)        Sometimes you will have to apologize even when you are right. I loathe this lesson. But I learned that there is a distinct difference in being right and going about being right the right way.  The latter requires more constraint and discipline that I typically like to exercise.
3)       Despite my efforts, I did grow up to be like my parents. As a teenager, I promised I wouldn’t that I would be completely different from my parents.  And in some ways I am.  In some aspects, I have fallen short of who they were.  They were homeowners by age of 22.  I am not.  And other ways, I am a continuation of their dreams.  But the combination of their spirit and core is by all means who I have become.   And I am finally at a point where I am okay with that.
4)       My cousins made me cool. I am an only child, and my parents were strict so I could have very easily ended up only book smart and lacking any street smarts.  That would have been a tragedy.  But my cousins, particularly on my father’s side, provided me with a balance that has contributed greatly to my persona and my successes.  Though I was trained in ballet, they taught me how to do the snake, wop it out, and to put a little more umph in the electric side.  They taught me how to stand up for myself.  They taught me how to curse, or maybe that was our Grandmother… But most important, they taught me what it means to be loyal and how to cheer the loudest to make sure the person feels your love.
5)       To Love on Their Standard. The saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated” is flawed.  To really love is learning to look beyond how you feel they should be treated them how they want to be treated.  Just because one man likes one thing doesn’t translate that the next man will like it the same.  Or how they want to be treated may evolve; what makes my mother happy now is very different that what made her happy when she was younger.  So in our love, we must be intuitive and listen to how a person wishes to be loved.
6)       The truth cannot be eluded, so wait for it. I used to want all the truth upfront and instantly.  I would damage friendships and relationships because I wanted to know any and all possible deceits so I could adjust my interactions with them accordingly.  As I got older, I know longer want to be Inspector Gadget and I have learned the truth will come out as soon as it is ready to.  I just have to wait for it.  And in this waiting time, I have learned to assess those connections with those people and their value in my life.
7)       Don’t panic. I was never really one to panic easily, but it is even less so now.  Everything will work out.  God doesn’t need my help, so I quit offering it.  God can also work around me, but then I would be a waste.   I prefer to be useful, and I know that everything and everybody has a purpose all working toward a greater purpose.  There is usually an email forward that goes out around the anniversary of September 11th and it tells of all the these incidents that happened to people that were supposed to be in the World Trade Center or on one of the planes that for whatever reason they were running late or missed the flight.  One was a story of a man that spilled coffee on his clothes and went back to change.  Another was a story of a lady with a sick child and so she called out.  Things that typically frustrate us but that day saved them.  So I don’t mind delays anymore because I don’t know what I am being protected from or what is being prepared for me in my delay.
8)       Don’t present a problem without a possible solution. I don’t know where I heard this. But it is genius.  It reduces complaining dramatically.  And then you have one of two options, be silent or become involved in your own progression.  I know some are saying, well it is not my problem, but if you take the time to help others you by default will become better than you were.

I will let you know if I find any more silver strands…

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Trickin’, Sponsorships, & Taking Care: The Breakdown

A good friend at frontfree always says “it is indeed still trickin’ if you got it, even more so.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  But how do you draw the fine lines between what is trickin’, sponsorship, and simply taking good care of your woman?  I got the breakdown.
Trickin’: It is trickin’ if a man is spending  exorbitant amounts of money on a woman and getting little to nothing in return.  This woman may or may not be having sex with you but that doesn’t matter to the man because he is mostly in it for the enjoyment and/or attractiveness of her company.  The most distinguishing of factors are a lack of any kind of relationship and the woman has little to no respect for the man.  The man may also have little to no respect for the woman.  But respect is not a factor, only money and the things his money can buy are important to her.
Sponsorship: Well, sponsors donate to make an event happen or better.  In exchange for running a marathon, or hosting a charity gala, or promoting a cause companies will graciously donate money and services in exchange for involvement and advertisement.  Similarly, women who have sponsors are exchanging services for goods or goods for services.  I’m not calling anyone a ho or anything, I am just saying you have to be doing something to be sponsored.  Even if the interests and rewards are lopsided, both parties must gain something of value, otherwise please refer to trickin.
Taking Care of a Woman: Whereas any ole body will do for the previous categories, she only accepts gifts from one man.  They are in a committed relationship and love and respect each other.  He is willing to do anything for her because she is willing to do anything for him.  She has proven and established her worth and he recognizes it.  Any woman can have a dude trickin or get a sponsor, but it takes a special lady to have the only man she respects and loves make sure that he gives her the best of whatever he has.

Dumbing Down: The Michelle Obama Effect

I am still in awe of the strength and grace of Michelle.  She is obviously smarter than Barack, yet she uses her intelligence to build up her husband, children, and her community.  She is truly an inspiration. Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder how much of herself she is forced to leave behind on a daily basis.  Degreed from both Princeton and Harvard, former Associate Dean for the University of Chicago, and founder of non-profit organization, Public Allies are just some of the highlights of Michelle’s impeccable resume.  Though I assume the most life-changing position was being a young, promising law associate assigned to mentor intern Barack Obama.  Well, she mentored him into greatness.
Despite the demands of Barack’s senate campaign and term, Michelle maintained a full-time job making significantly more than her husband, managed the household, and took care of their daughters despite the frequent absence of Barack due to him working in D.C.  Most people, man, woman, or otherwise, would not be able to effectively juggle the roles she had to play on a daily basis.  However, I would guess that some of the motivation and excitement of continuing to work at a demanding job is the fulfillment of being brilliant at her job.  Otherwise Michelle would have quit her job and moved to D.C. to be with her husband when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate.  Even during Barack’s presidential campaign, she still kept her job on a reduced schedule despite the demands of campaign life.  So I know it was no easy pill to swallow when she decided to give up a piece of her to support her husband and family to become the First Lady of the United States.

They have no idea how much I sacrificed to enjoy moments like this.

Women are constantly forced to choose between being brilliant in their careers and providing the best environment for their family.  I don’t think men get it.  I don’t think men can grasp the sacrifice of having to choose between which parts of your identity have to take a backburner to make this family thing work.  Career women spend their whole life learning, being the best, acquiring degrees, fighting their way up the corporate ladder, and finally get to a position where they can make their own rules to have it derailed by their husband’s dreams and their children’s needs.  Yes, that is a big pill to swallow.
But everyday women trade in their expertise in statistics to do simple math worksheets with their children.  The blackberry goes from being full of business meetings to carpool arrangements for the kid’s soccer team.  The business suits once used for executive lunch meetings are now used for social events for the husband’s wives club.  I suppose with time that part left behind is no longer what is important.  Maybe with time, a woman forgets it is there.  And maybe it is not dumbing down at all.  Maybe it is just familying up…until she can get back to her brilliance.

Sex: The Relationship Audition

A committed relationship before sex? It is 2010 and it seems like an unrealistic notion.  With each year, sex becomes more and more casual. “No strings attached” has taken a literal turn for both men and women alike.  Well maybe, it is still just for the men.  While the feminist movement continues to liberate women of their sexual inhibitions, freeing women of the stigmas of labels of whore and slut, these women are now free-spirited, finding herself, and simply enjoying life.  And some may, but that number is minute in comparison to the women that use sex to audition for the coveted committed and fulfilling relationship.
Once upon a time, and a land far, far away, a man had to at the very least be your boyfriend before a lady would engage in sexual activity with him.  Only 20 years ago, that standard was low.  Today, that standard is non-existent.  The lack of commitment required before sex is detrimental, not only for the sake of the moral barometer, but also because women have allowed men to substitute casual, unattached sex for the desired intimacy found only in committed relationships. With all of the progression, education, pay increases, and equal rights, women still want more- they still want a man’s sole devotion.  It has gone from simply wearing seductive clothes to working out to look the best naked, from saying no let’s wait awhile to performing the best ride with the hopes that a man will choose you.
But women have sold themselves short.  The best sex does not land the best man.   Moreover, sex shouldn’t be the tool that is used to try to obtain or maintain a man.  The supply of women willing to audition themselves out is high.  The men willing to commit before sex are low.  The risks are high and not in women’s favor.  The frequent sexual exchanges only lower the woman’s current market value.
So the next time he says he is not looking for anything serious, believe him. If you want more, walk away and to someone willing to offer more.  It seems preposterous to go to the tire shop with the hopes they will make you a smoothie.  Equally absurd is the notion to physically invest in a man with hopes of gaining an emotional commitment.

The Clingy Girl Syndrome

Most women assume a man will not commit to a monogamous relationship.  Men are held to little to no expectation to avoid future disappointment.  All men are the same until tested and proven otherwise.  So it is no wonder when a man comes along that exceeds expectations that women have a tendency to hold on to that man for dear life.
The first call is to the girls because they HAVE to know. Then facebook has to know.  Relationships statuses have to change, you must add commentary to every status, and write on his wall every couple hours just cause.  All twitter updates refer to this new man. New love can have anyone over-feeling themselves.   Your friends simply roll their eyes whenever you come around because they know you have only one topic of conversation- him.   It is not because they are not excited for you, but they know you have caught a terrible disease- the clingy girl syndrome (CGS).

I know we have only been together for 2 days but I need you to change your relationship status right now.

The Clingy Girl Syndrome (CGS) is detrimental for three reasons:
1)      The intent is not pure. The constant wall messages and status updates are not because you are sooooo in love.  The purpose is so other women will know who you are- the new girl in his life.  It is a territorial claim. This man is now your territory.  It is not to awe the man; men could care less about hourly updates, especially if they will see you later that day.
2)       CGS is destructive because men are innately claustrophobic. Men, even those in love, need room to breathe.  Your need to claim your territory in his home, via social media, and his life will may push him away.  This concept is magnified if the man is not used to being in a committed relationship.  All of the newness plus your narcissistic behavior may prove to be too much for this newbie.
3)      You lose yourself.  You once had hobbies, interests, academic and professional pursuits but not anymore.  You used to contribute relevant perspectives in conversations with your colleagues, family, and friends but that too is now on the backburner to your new love.  You have sadly become one-dimensional.
There are a few cures for CGS.  Good friends will let you enjoy it for a while but will bring you back to reality.  Then, there is the pivotal point when you realize your new love is not perfect and brings you down off your high. And the worst, you lose something you value because your priorities are no longer in order.  I wish good friends upon you.  It is important that you remain the woman he fell in love with and you keep your crazy CGS urges under control.  And you do it not for him, but for something with a lifetime guarantee- do it for you.