Archive for May, 2010


Deciphering a Dude’s Decor

I got a last-minute invitation to a guy’s house party the other night, and while I was sitting in the living room of one of the most stylish homes I’ve ever visited, it dawned on me that you may be able to deduce a little something about a man’s relationship readiness by taking a look at his living space.

I don’t have it down to a science, but here’s what I’ve been able to discern thus far:

Bachelor Pad: This one hardly needs explaining. The DVD rack is filled with porn movies. There’s a pin-up calendar in the bathroom (hanging over the toilet). A red light bulb barely illuminates the bedroom. There’s only whipped cream and chocolate syrup in the refrigerator. The nightstand drawer is dedicated solely to “toys” and protection, and when you clap your hands, R. Kelly starts singing “Seems Like You’re Ready.” Ummm. Exit.

Under Construction:
In this economy, a lot of folks are moving into fixer-uppers. So, it’s not uncommon to visit someone whose house is under construction, and a lot of handy guys try to Tim Taylor it and do the work themselves. In my case, the guy I dated wrecked his kitchen, living room and basement. The house was a little less than comfortable … except for upstairs. His bedroom was just about the only place in the house where he could “entertain” without the threat of plaster falling on the skulls of his guests and sending them to the nearest emergency room. He was prepared for intimacy, but was having trouble putting as much time and effort into other significant areas of his house. That accurately reflected his relationship readiness.

Room for One: He has one Lazy Boy in the living room and a folding chair in the corner. He’s got one controller for his video game console. His car is a two-seater and the passenger side seat always needs to be cleaned off before you can sit down. The only working light source in his bedroom is on the nightstand nearest him. To be comfortable there, you’d basically have to pack like you were going on a camping trip in the wilderness. Toilet paper? Check. Eating utensils? Check. Blanket? Check. Basically, there’s really no room for you, and it hasn’t dawned on him that his place is a flashing “Vacancy” sign. No, not vacant meaning make yourself at home and stay awhile; vacant better describes his emotional availability. Like his place suggests, don’t look for much comforting here.

Ready for Love?: It doesn’t mean he’s got a diamond ring on layaway, but when you visit a guy whose place is fully furnished, comfy and well kempt, he might be a little more ready for commitment. You walk in and you can imagine yourself cooking him dinner in the kitchen, curling up on the couch watching TV, hosting a dinner party and decorating the Christmas tree. Oh, and that spot right over the fireplace would be perfect for your wedding portrait. LOL. OK. That might be taking it a little too far, but if you look forward to spending time at his place as opposed to trying to find ways to avoid it, he’s probably given some thought into what makes a house a home and that’s promising.


Is Your Boyfriend Behind Bars?

I don’t buy into all the “there are no good black men” drama. I know several upstanding brothers out here. However, when a friend sent me this article about how the mass incarceration of black men hurts black women, I couldn’t deny that there are also quite a few “good” black men behind bars.

Did that raise an eyebrow? How could a brother be both “good” and incarcerated? Granted, he may not be  a “good catch” — at least not anymore — but I wholeheartedly believe there are men in jail who might have been productive members of society if they hadn’t made dumb decisions in their youth. And who isn’t guilty of that?

When I read the article, my mind went straight to my relatives. I have three male cousins, just around my age, who have been locked up for the majority of their lives. They went into jail as teenagers. They haven’t come out.

Yes, they made some wrong choices, but could they have been great assets to their communities, great husbands and great fathers? I think they could have. Maybe I’m biased, but I remember funny, charming, handsome, intelligent adolescents who had promising futures.

Then, I remember hearing they were imprisoned.

As much as that’s a personal tragedy for my family, I think it most definitely affects society as a whole. To bring it to the SIS perspective, maybe one of my cousins – had he the opportunity – would have been introduced to one of my girlfriends at a family function and fallen madly in love with her. Maybe they’d be off somewhere making a home and raising future generations.

Hey, it could have happened. We’ll never know.

Is there an actual correlation between the number of men in jail and the number of single women? If so, does it have more to do with the absence of available men to date or the fact that incarcerated fathers aren’t around to be good examples of manhood for their daughters?

Again, I have mostly questions and no answers, but it’s a topic my many single, female cousins and I discuss when we’re gathered at a family function lacking male companionship in a way that’s much deeper than not having a date.


The ‘Taxi-Cab Theory’ Is Real

My friends and I refer to it as the “Taxi-Cab Theory.” I didn’t consider it too valid, since it’s impossible to know what really goes on in others’ relationships, so I was surprised to hear it addressed in the recent ABC “Nightline” special. It turns out we were on to something.

What’s the Taxi-Cab Theory? From the outside looking in, we describe it as the apparent ability of some single men to “hail” the next available woman and immediately settle down. It usually occurs after said man has spent multiple years dealing with another woman. That relationship ends, and six to 12 months later, he’s hopped into a new “cab” and is now engaged to what seems to be some random woman who just pulled up to the curb.

Again, I didn’t think the theory carried much weight. The truth is, I’d hate to accept that people pick mates by declaring, “I’ll make it work with this next one.” Plus, I didn’t want to belittle anyone’s relationship by assuming his or her partnership was primarily a matter of timing. However, Hill Harper confirmed my suspicions when the question was raised during that recent televised panel discussion.

He said, “Some men get to a point, a maturity level and … it clicks in them, ‘Well, nobody I ever dated was perfect. So, the next person I’m gonna date’s not gonna be perfect either, but I know that I wanna go to this next place in my life – have a family, have a partner – so, I might as well grab this next person.”

That explains why a guy might up and decide to settle down and make it work with somebody, but why doesn’t he choose one of the women – or the one – who has been dealing with him for years?

Hill’s thoughts: “They’d already created so much baggage with the person before, so that they know they couldn’t go back there. So, they just went for it with someone new.”

That’s a hard pill to swallow for the SIS who may have wasted years on a guy who’s suddenly married with children. However, she should take some comfort in knowing he obviously wasn’t her Mr. Right. I wonder if his presence is comfort enough for  the new woman who probably realizes that if she had pulled up to the curb 10 minutes later, he might very well be kickin’ it in the back of someone else’s cab right now.

I also wonder if those relationships work as well as those that result after years of dating. I do know couples that married after only six or so months, and those marriages lasted. Was it a case of “I’ll pick the next one”? I can’t say.

I do know there are several ways for people to get together. Some get together in childhood and stay connected at the hip. Some meet and marry within a year. I’m not sure how much the length of the courtship matters, but I would want a guy who was genuinely into me – and I do think that could happen in a short amount of time. However, there’s a difference between getting into a shiny, new cab and deciding you never want to leave it and just hanging out on the curb committed to strap yourself into whatever pulls up next.


Would You Break Up a Union?

I was at the hair salon for about 10 hours last night, and at one point, the drama between Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade and his soon-to-be ex-wife Siohvaughn, whose name is easier to write than it is to pronounce, became a hot topic.

I know, based on last night’s conversation, that my opinion on this matter is not the popular one. According to his statement, Wade would disagree with me, too. In his response to his wife’s lawsuit against Union for “emotional distress,” he referred to Union as “innocent.”

For the record, I don’t have anything against Union (except for her role in “Meet Dave”), and I understand that Wade carries the majority of the responsibility for the end of his marriage since he’s the one who broke vows. However, as a single woman, I would not consider myself blameless for engaging in a romantic relationship with another woman’s husband.

I don’t want to be judgmental. I know things happen. I have friends who have found themselves in relationships with men who go home to wives at night. It’s not anything my friends ever took lightly and most of them were looking for a way out – at least by the time I learned about it.

I’ve also heard of strong relationships that started out as affairs and are now the stuff fairy tales are made of.

However, I strongly believe that if there weren’t so many mistresses around, there might be a decrease in the divorce rate in our community. I’m not being sexist. I believe this goes both ways.

We often hear statistics about the breakdown of the black family, and a SIS dating a married man is more so being part of the problem, not the solution.

The argument I usually hear is that the marriage was circling the bowl even before a third party was introduced. That may be true, but from what husbands and wives have expressed to me about marriage, hard times aren’t uncommon. I think things have a better chance of working out if there isn’t someone waiting in the wings.

Personally, I feel it is my responsibility to turn away the men with gold bands. If I decide not to do that, then I am partly at fault for whatever happens to that wife and her children as a result of my decision.

If she wants to sue me, I can’t really be angry about that.

I’ve been approached by a few married guys. At least one of them made it clear to me that cheating on his wife had become normal for him. We’re no longer on speaking terms; although, we’d been platonic friends for years as teens before reconnecting as adults. I’m thankful he let me know exactly where he was coming from.

As far as I know, he and his wife are still together, for better or worse. If they do end up divorced, I know I don’t have to worry about any lawsuits.

May 2010
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