Archive for June, 2010


Handing Out a ‘Cheating’ Pass

I was having a discussion with a married friend about Steve Harvey and his advice for single women. While it’s my opinion that a lot of his suggestions for the SIS are self-serving (or at least blatantly biased toward the male perspective), she felt his common theme was empowering for the ladies. What she took away from his words of wisdom was basically hold suitors up to your standards ‘cause they’ll only do what you allow them to do.

Whether that was Harvey’s main point or not, I think it’s concrete advice. However, it seems when it comes to monogamy and fidelity, a lot of women have completely thrown up their hands and given guys a pass. Instead of expecting a significant other to be faithful, they’ve accepted the belief that men are too primal to be with just one woman.

During Oscar season, talk-show host, Mo’Nique, announced that if her husband cheated on her it would not be a deal breaker. Not long after, R&B artist Erykah Badu shared pretty much the same sentiment.

Badu: “I want [men] to be happy and the more I see how the male of the species behaves, the more I understand, and the less I blame him.”

I’ve never been married, but I can imagine that if I were wed to a man for 20-something years, and he confessed a one-time indiscretion to me, I might be inclined to try to work things out, as opposed to end the union. Maybe.

However, this SIS thinks it’s a slippery slope when women begin excusing men’s cheating and accepting it as part of their nature. Isn’t that the exact lack of accountability Harvey – and my married friend – warned against?

I suppose there are people out there who are genuinely comfortable with open relationships. However, from Erykah’s quote, I detected a hint of acquiescence.

I don’t blame men for trying to sell this philosophy. Few would deny that men’s appetite for various women is generally greater than that of women’s for a bunch of dudes, but I wonder why women are so eager to accept this from men who are in supposedly committed relationships.

I think the “biology” excuse is an insult to men. They’re able to control themselves. They urinate outside because they can, not because they have to. I think women should challenge fellas to commit when they’re ready to stay faithful to their partners. Even if these ladies are unsure about it, I’m pretty positive Mo’Nique, Erykah and the rest of us deserve that.


Lifetime Movie Network: Paranoia for Women

I’ll admit it. On weekends, I have to use restraint to avoid being sucked into the vortex that is the Lifetime Movie Network. You decide to flip to the station while you’re eating breakfast and the next thing you know it’s dark outside. You’ve wasted a whole day watching films starring Tori Spelling, Tiffani Amber Theissen and a bunch more familiar-looking actresses whose names you don’t even know.

Besides the fact that you could likely be doing something more productive with your time, this SIS thinks there’s another downside to spending the day tuned to LMN.

Not to hate on the network (after all, its sister channel is now the home of “Project Runway”), but if you tune into it too long, you may become a victim of paranoia. The majority of the movies feature murderous and philandering husbands, con artists who marry for any and everything except love, and women whose triumph involves putting a man behind bars or ending his existence all together… and those are just the romantic comedies.

Of course, it’s just TV, but overexposure to this kind of dysfunction between men and women cannot be good. You can only watch a woman being physically attacked and held hostage so many times before you start making it a point to keep one hand on the pepper spray whenever a guy approaches.

Sure, crazies do exist, but I doubt they’re as plentiful as the Lifetime Movie Network would suggest. If that were the case, we’d all know women who’ve married bigamists or found out their significant others were still alive after faking death.

I think the purpose of the network’s programming is to empower women and, of course, to entertain. However, I’d argue that it’s not helping foster healthy relationships in the dating world. After watching movie after movie, can you blame a SIS for being a little less than trusting when meeting a new man? Yeah, we know the heroines in LMN movies always prevail, but if the happy ending only comes when someone is cleared of charges, behind bars or dead, why bother?

There’s a simple way to remedy this. I can always just tune out. There are other things to do with my time: cooking, cleaning, reading or maybe taking a walk … with my pepper spray.


Is It One or the Other?

I used to be a fan of MTV’s “The Hills” before it became a show solely about folks making bad relationship decisions. However, I still tune in to that series’ spin-off, “The City,” which is centered on a 20-something, single gal trying to create a successful career for herself as a designer.

I think lots of women can relate to watching the show’s star work hard, stress and network to make it in her industry. (She also dates.) Luckily, she has a mentor to help pave her way and offer great advice as someone who’s been there.

One nugget of advice from the mentor, Kelly Cutrone, had me nodding my head when I first heard it, but after further contemplation, it just really had me thinking.

The quote: “Some women follow men. Others follow their dreams.”

For me, that raised the question: “Is it either/or?” When it comes to career vs. relationships, can a SIS successfully pursue and manage both, or is it one or the other?

I know more than a few single, independent sistahs who are on their grind. They have professional goals they’re trying to meet. They’re on career paths, and although they want marriage, too, the path to that goal seems a little less obvious.

I also know a SIS or two who would be perfectly content just being housewives (the real kind, not the reality TV kind).

Either way, they’re all single.

I do know some wives who are professionally motivated and still focused on their marriages. They own their own businesses and work long hours, but manage to find lots of quality time for their husbands, too. So, I’d have to conclude that it is possible to have both a successful career and a healthy relationship.

Maybe you don’t have to choose one or the other.

However, the truth is that, I know a lot more career-minded women who are single. I’m not sure if it’s a cause or an effect. Are these ladies focused on the job ‘cause they’re not in relationships, or are they not in relationships ‘cause they’re focused on the job?

I’m not sure, but I think it’s a lot more fulfilling for a SIS to have a life while “waiting” on a man – if that’s one of her goals — than waiting on a man to be her life. Doing the latter may leave you with neither.


Should You Date Potential?

It’s been suggested that a lot of women seeking relationships have difficulty finding them because they fail to appreciate or recognize a man’s potential. At least one actor-turned-author (whose name I’m not going to mention, since I quote him waaay too much), points to Michelle Obama as an example of a woman who noticed a man’s potential, despite his not having fully reached it just yet when they met. Now, she’s the First Lady.

I don’t disagree with taking a person’s potential into account, especially if you’re expecting to be involved with him for years to come. However, I think it’s important to be clear about what exactly potential is. I submit that it’s not just about what people are able to do, but it’s also about what they want and are willing to do. In short, character is the deciding factor when determining someone’s real potential; people who aren’t willing to put in the effort to realize it, don’t really have any at all, despite their God-given talents and skills.

However, motivation and drive to achieve don’t always result in success. So, when it comes to dating, it’s important to be satisfied with who and what the person is, not just who you hope he will become.

Sure, Florida Evans would have loved for James to become foreman one day and move the family out of the ghetto, but she was content with him in that two bedroom apartment with a view of Willona. Like Florida, I don’t think Michelle Obama was complaining when her husband was merely a successful U.S. senator. If he’d never become president, I’m pretty sure she’d still be happily standing by his side.

So, maybe that’s the test when deciding whether to date a guy who hasn’t yet achieved his goals, but who has potential. Are you happy standing by his side now in the present? If not, then there could potentially be some problems down the line.

June 2010
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