Archive for February, 2010


Stop Trying to Change the Game

I’m kind of tired of society trying to flip the script. I can’t be the only one who’s noticing that the traditional gender roles of dating have nearly reversed.

If it’s not reality TV shows like “For the Love of Ray J” offering gross displays of desperate women competing for a man, then it’s articles and advice columns instructing us on how to approach a guy and do whatever it takes to keep him interested. As if that weren’t enough, there are stats suggesting women are now the breadwinners, and encouraging single ladies to get used to being the primary household earner.

I’m not so old fashioned that I can’t initiate contact with a guy, and a man making more money than I do is not a requirement, but these days I’m getting the message that women are supposed to pursue and provide for the fellas.

Am I the only one that finds that a little off?

I’ll admit that it seems men are at a huge advantage these days when it comes to dating. They’re in no rush to have children which allows them to play “the game” until they’re using Viagara to get on the field, and now that women of other ethnicities have come to recognize the attributes good brothers have to offer, the fellas have more options (while many sistahs refuse to cast a wider net).

So, maybe it does take a little more for a woman to get noticed by a guy these days, but no matter how much ladies are urged go along with the game change, it won’t work.

I still strongly believe that if a guy is interested in a woman, he’ll make it known. He’ll pursue, pick up the phone and call, make dates and do what it takes to sweep that woman off her feet. If he doesn’t want her, no amount of attention is going to sway him. In contrast, a woman will often love the man who genuinely loves her, even if he wasn’t the guy she noticed from across the room.

So, all the conversation about what women need to do to get a man falls on deaf ears when it comes to this SIS. Men go after what they want. That’s their nature. If he’s not pursuing you, he’s likely not that into you.

It’s the natural order of things. It’s not the women who club the men over the heads. That likely only results in a very irritated man, and he should be annoyed. He knows his role, so let him play it.


Is Cheating Just Par for the Course?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be jaded. I’m aware that I’m a bit of a cynic, but after the public’s reaction to Tiger Woods’ infidelity, I think my lack of faith in folks might be an extreme case.

When the news first broke about Tiger’s affairs – and I didn’t use “alleged,” since he publicly admitted to them – I wasn’t shocked. It’s not that I expected for Tiger to cheat, but why would I assume that he wouldn’t?

He’s a wealthy, powerful, attractive man with lots of money. It’s not right, but I’m sure he gets plenty of offers from a plethora of women with a variety of motives. Is there some reason he was expected not to go where thousands – possibly millions – of men in his same situation have gone?

I won’t go so far as to call it “typical,” and I’m sure it’s devastated those close to him, but the idea that random folk on the street are grasping their pearls, baffles me.

However, the more I think about it, the more I worry about my apathy.

Shouldn’t I be shocked and appalled by a family man’s cheating? Shouldn’t infidelity always be met with indignation? What does it say about me that the whole thing doesn’t rouse more than a shrug of my shoulders?

Have my expectations that people keep the vows made in front of family and friends – and in some cases God – been lowered to the point that such offenses are par for the course?

I’m afraid the answer might be, “yes,” but like Tiger trying to perfect his golf swing, I’m going to work on this. I’d like to believe that most people in committed relationships are faithful. If marriage is in my future, I don’t want to walk into it expecting the vows to be broken. That’s a recipe for failure.

I don’t really know how to “fix” this particular lack of faith. Maybe I should spend more time with happily married couples. I could join in the discussions of outraged Woods’ haters. What’s the first step? Well, I’ll consider this a start.


The High Maintenance Misconception

It’s a common misconception, and some sistahs might be pissed that I’m letting everybody in on our secret, but I think it’s time to debunk the stereotype.

I know what people think when they see a stylish, trendsetting SIS offering up swagger and sashaying down the street like she’s on a runway at New York Fashion Week. Folks look at the impeccable wardrobe, the fierce shoes with purse to compliment and fly accessories. They take it all in, and they assume that Miss Thang is draped in hundreds – maybe thousands — of dollars of style.

I’m sure there are some six-figure sistahs out there walking around dressed in garments priced to make Oprah gasp, but the single women I know are honestly some of the most frugal, penny-pitching people on the planet … and I ain’t mad at ‘em.

As a matter of fact, some might even say I’m one of them.

That’s not to suggest I won’t dip into the savings for a hot pair of heels about as often as Vogue has a black woman on the cover, but it’s more likely that those sexy heels came from somewhere not-quite-so-sexy, like Forever 21 or Target.

Why not? We’re in a recession, and while it’s hard to be cheap about food and still eat healthy, it’s much easier to be frugal about fashion and still look cute.

I don’t necessarily want to destroy the allusion that a lot of single, independent sistahs are enjoying the finer things in life, but don’t assume ‘cause a sistah is fly that she’s high maintenance, wealthy or financially irresponsible.

The onlookers should keep staring in awe and admiring the style of the SIS – not just ‘cause it’s poetry in motion, but because it can take a lot of work to make a $5 top look like a million bucks, but we pull it off.


Good Men Speak Out, Part 2

I don’t believe the hype. A lot has been written and reported about the shortage of good, black men, but I believe I know more than a handful of top-notch brothers. They’re colleagues, former classmates, neighbors and relatives who are kind, honest, helpful, supportive, respectful of women and socially aware.

Does that make them good men? By my definition, I’d say so. However, I decided not to rely solely on my own opinion. So, I asked a few of my fella friends to share their thoughts. They obliged. See? Good guys.

In your opinion, what does “good black man” mean”?

Ajamu, 37: A “good black man” is one who is responsible, respectful, ambitious, humble and willing to improve.

BP, 28: A “good black man” differs based on what that woman is looking for. Generally, it’s a man who’s respectful, has a good head on his shoulders, career-driven, honest, drama-free, and can actually commit to a woman. Notice, I didn’t mention money. I don’t think that signifies a “good black man.”

There were more responses, but basically, more of the same. However, I found their answers revealing because it turns out their definitions don’t vary much from mine. So, if both the guys and girls know what a good black man is, why do so many sistahs struggle to make a connection with one?

I asked.

Why do you think sistahs struggle to find what they want?

Corey, 29: Is it really a good, black man you’re looking for, or is it a good black man with all the extra stuff? LOL. I mean, that’s like saying there are no good tables. There are plenty of good tables. It’s just that some you may find ugly, and they don’t go with your décor. For the most part, if the table is sturdy, and you can eat off it, it’s a good table. Maybe people should stop saying there are no good black men and just say they haven’t met the one for them yet. It could really make the dating experience a lot simpler and less stressful.

Seriously. I’m not sure I could have put it better myself.


Good Men Speak Out, Part 1

Valentine’s Day is on its way, so I’m showing some love to all the good brothers out there, and I’m happy to report – contrary to what mainstream media tells us — that there are plenty of them.

I started to think about all the good guys I know. It didn’t take long before I had a pretty long list. The “endangered species” thrives.

I wondered why these brothers aren’t more vocal as the media works so diligently to support the theory that there’s a shortage. What do they think about all the news surrounding their alleged extinction? I asked. They answered.

How do you feel when society, including Black women, hold onto the belief that there aren’t good men out here? (responses are abridged)

Corey, 29: It doesn’t bother me. I know good men. I know black women who know good men. At the end of the day if you hold onto a belief, sooner or later it will become your reality. So, I believe there are many women who believe that there are no good men, and that’s their reality. I can’t dispute a person’s reality. However, it’s all about perspective, and I don’t see things from one that denies me happiness by myself or with someone.

Ajamu, 37: I think when society is able to view black men as fallible human beings with the same potential for good that any person has, a more reasonable standard for black men will emerge … black women will be able to individualize their judgment of black men to a greater degree.

Thomas Strong, 33: A lot of black women use this idea to justify why they have not found what they are looking for and to validate themselves as being deserving of a ‘good black man,’ but in reality they themselves are the problem. Not all black women are ‘good.’ I feel this belief insinuates that all black women are, and I can personally attest to knowing quite a few that are just as trifling as they want to make black men out to be.

Kweku, 34: I agree with Mark Anthony Neal, a black, male, feminist scholar, and author of the book “New Black Man” when he says that the old models of black manhood need to be torn down and reestablished to fit the multitude and varieties of black men out there who redefine their own legacy of what it means to be black, male and good. But old fears and old models die hard. There are lots of writers, scholars and bloggers who build careers maintaining these limiting definitions and not moving beyond to explore or acknowledge those brothers on the fringes of the old definitions.

So, the summary is that the brothers are taking note of the “shortage” hype. They don’t believe the statistics are true, and blame inaccurate models of black manhood for society’s failure to effectively indentify the good men.

So, if society’s models are all wrong, what is a good black man? The brothers answer … next time.


One Meal at a Time

While listening to a comic explain the difference between “cookin’” and “fixin’ something to eat,” I had to admit that my microwave gets a lot more attention than my oven does.

After a long hard day at work, possibly running errands after that and even hitting the gym when the mood strikes, a SIS may more often opt to nuke something in the microwave, as opposed to pulling out potatoes to peel or chicken to fry. (Not to mention one option cuts down significantly on dirty dishes.)

Also, if you’re a single sistah without kids, you’re probably eating at home alone most nights. So, exactly who are you fixing all that macaroni and cheese for? The times I have made it, I’ve taken a good portion over to my parents’ house to share the calories.

My mom does this thing where she can freeze the equivalent of a Whoville Christmas feast, thaw it out six months later and have it taste like she just pulled the roast beast out the oven. When I try that, the grub just ends up in the garbage. At her house, I know it won’t go to waste.

Then, there’s the whole recession factor. If I have $20, I can buy all the ingredients for one side dish, or I can buy about four frozen dinners, which are much easier to transport to the office. You do the math.

Unfortunately, time, money and mouths all discourage me from throwing down in the kitchen on a regular basis, but I do try to get it in when I can. When friends wanna have potlucks, during holidays and when I’m snowed in during a blizzard, I have the time to experiment with recipes and brush up on my cooking.

In between those rare occasions, I find myself rushing home from work on evenings when I’ve decided to actually use the stove, pots and pans and make a meal. It’s worth the hassle, though.

Maybe one day I’ll start a cooking blog, have a cooking show on TV or become the next B. Smith. The possibilities are endless, but for now, I’ll just start off small, fixing cooking one meal at a time.

February 2010
« Jan   Mar »