Archive for September, 2010


Is the Down Low Fear Justified?

Most of the time, the paranoia seems irrational. Of course the guy you’re dating is heterosexual, if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have asked you out. It’s obvious that you’re all woman. You’re not the least bit masculine. OK, sometimes you have to bleach your upper lip, but if your significant other is a fan of facial hair, he’d just date men. Right?

The year is 2010, and same-sex relationships are not as taboo as they were a decade ago. Some would argue that society is finally accepting of homosexuals. Lafayette on “True Blood” is everyone’s favorite character. E. Lynn Harris’ novels continue to fly off shelves. Miss Jay’s runway walk is half of the reason we watch “America’s Next Top Model,” and who doesn’t at least respect RuPaul for his transformative abilities?

So, why are there sistahs out there who turn up the power on their gaydars when they meet new men?

Bishop Eddie Long was recently accused of having sex with men. This is an example of why many women remain skeptical when they meet a guy who doesn’t quite fit all their preconceived ideas of masculinity.

I have a friend who stopped dating a man when she found out he wore a thong. Another SIS ended it with a brother who frequented gyms – often considered the bath houses of the new millennium. Is their paranoia ridiculous? Maybe not.

I don’t know whether Bishop Long is guilty of having sex with men or not, but just the idea that a “good,” God-fearing man could possibly be so deceptive and secretive, fuels the fires for women who are a little more suspicious. If a seemingly upstanding clergyman like Long could be on the down low, then why can’t the womanizer down the street with the pretty eyelashes and skinny jeans be right down there with him?

The fear might be irrational, but it’s real.

Some might suggest that betrayal is betrayal. Heterosexual people cheat on their significant others all the time. Is it so much worse for a down low brother to cheat on his girlfriend?

I’m gonna answer that question in the affirmative. If a heterosexual man cheats on his girl, she’ll likely still feel hurt and betrayed, but she may have the comfort of remembering the good times. However, if a woman learns that the entire relationship was a sham concocted by someone in major denial, I think that’s a devastation of a whole different kind.

Is there a way for sistahs to know for sure that their men actually like women? I guess each SIS has to just trust her own instincts and hope that the truth comes out, even if he refuses to.


5 Signs You’re Too Old for the Club

My 40-something cousin and I were talking about the dating scenes in both our cities. Eventually, we got around to discussing where we spend time outside of work (and the fact that we rarely see eligible men in these places). You won’t find either of us desperately hanging out in sports bars or barber shops hoping to get some random dude’s attention, but you’d find us in these spots before you’d find us at a nightclub.

We agreed that after about 25, it’s time to retire the VIP pass and save the club hopping for special occasions, like bachelorette parties or milestone birthdays. Why? I’ll tell you why. Nobody wants to be the old chick up in the club. How can you tell whether you’re she? Here are my Top 5 signs.

1. You run into someone you used to babysit.
At first you’re happy to run into little Tyler from your old church. You remember when he was playing with Power Rangers and thought girls were yucky. Then, you realize he’s at least 21, and that makes you … slightly depressed and too old to be in the club.

2. You only want to dance to the DJ’s old school set.
You’re tapping your feet when the crowd’s getting hype over some Lil’ Wayne. You bob your head when Ciara sings. You rock a bit to Chris Brown, but when BBD’s “Poison” plays, you’re on the dance floor quicker than Bobby Brown left New Edition. While most of the clubbers take this opportunity to get another drink or use the facilities, you know this is what you’ve been waiting on all night … a chance to do the running man!

3. The music is too loud.
Seriously. Who needs to feel the bass vibrating major bodily organs? Besides, you can’t hear your BFF who’s desperately trying to give you a recap of the week’s “Young & the Restless.” Forget doing the Dougie, you wanna know what’s going on between the Newmans and the Abbotts. Gheez!

4. Everyone calls you ma’am.
You were prepared to get bumped a little in the club. It’s expected, but the fact that everyone is grabbing your arm and making sure you don’t break a hip is cause for alarm. Do they think you’re a senior citizen? Yeah. They do.

5. You want to be home by midnight.
It’s 11:30 and while you’re thinking it’s about time to be heading home, you notice the line outside wrapped around the building and people entering who look like they just left the house. Who starts the evening this late!? Everyone under 25.

Of course, I’m not speaking from experience. I’m just trying to help a SIS or two who may not know when to quit. If three or more of these signs pertain to you, let go of the velvet rope. Retire gracefully.


I’m Baby Registry Challenged

I just came from a baby shower.

It may sound sexist, but as a woman, there are just some things I feel women should automatically know how to do. I think being able to prepare a decent meal is among those things. It doesn’t have to be an entire Thanksgiving dinner, but entrees that can be prepared in the microwave don’t count.

I also think all dudes should know how to change a tire, but don’t ask me where I’m getting this from. I guess it’s just society’s institutionalized gender roles getting the best of me.

Anyway, I’m fine with most traditionally “female” duties, but I fall short when it comes to shopping for baby stuff. Not that I think all women should necessarily be good at shopping, but searching for baby gifts just reminds me how little I know about infants.

I scan the registry and decide to purchase the diaper tower and bottle warmer, but go to the listed aisle and realize I’ve no idea what these items even look like, which makes it that much more difficult to identify and purchase them. I think I’d know what breast pumps look like, but I can’t even type the words without imagining how uncomfortable that must be, so I avoid those. I usually stick to pacifiers and bibs.

Baby shower registries give me the same WTH? feeling I get when I take my car into the shop. Doesn’t it just need oil and gas? When did power steering fluid enter the picture? Hoses and belts? Is all this really necessary?

When it comes to vehicles, I just call my dad. However, when it comes to buying for babies, I’m urged to hang in there when that voice in my head says, “You should know this. You’re a woman.” Then, I hear Chaka and Whitney serenading me, assuring me that “It’s all in me.” So, I search for the weaning cup, the pacigrips and the Lipil powder realizing that there’s a huge question mark hovering over my head.

“Perplexed” is the word that comes to mind.

However, I realize that one day I may need to know this stuff – if not for me, than for my future nieces, nephews and godchildren. So, I think of it as a learning experience. I roam the aisles slightly overwhelmed, examining the strange baby paraphernalia and wondering how moms make it look so easy.

“Awe” is the word that comes to mind.

Then, I buy a gift card.


Maybe Black Should Crack

Cracks are bad. It’s bad when you step on them causing back injury to your mother. Smoking crack is bad, and cracking somebody upside the head is just plain wrong, unless it’s a plumber showing too much crack as he bends down to work under your kitchen sink.

So, when Oprah boasts that “black don’t crack,” it’s a compliment. It’s a shout-out to the melanin-blessed whose natural pigment helps protect against harsh sun rays that cause wrinkles and skin cancer.

I love my brown skin and the fact that it allows me to look at least a few years younger than I am, but sometimes I wonder whether it’s a detriment when it comes to certain professional and social situations.

For example, I flew to Atlanta for work last fall and was dressed in a blazer, jeans and high heels. It was a casual Friday look. My former Senior Vice President had on a similar outfit. So, imagine my surprise when the security guard at the building asked me if I was there visiting my parents. It’s been more than 10 years since I lived with my folks, and I’m not sure I’ve ever visited them on their jobs.  I can only assume that he thought I was too young to be there for business. My response to him: “My parents are retired.” That’s the best I could come up with given my shock and the fact that I wanted to remain professional.

Do my youthful looks keep managers from promoting me or giving me more opportunities? The question obviously crosses my mind, especially when higher ups do a double-take when they learn I’m a homeowner with two degrees.

I also wonder how it affects my dating life. On more than one occasion, I’ve met a guy who was older than I thought, and who I almost prematurely dismissed thinking, “He’s probably still in his player stage.” On the flip side, I’m usually approached by fellas who are an average of five years younger.

When I disclosed my age, one youngin’ screeched, “You were born in the ‘70s!?” At least he was good at math.

I’m not sure how much looking young has to do with the professional or dating challenges of the SIS. Like with racism and sexism, being victims of ageism just fuels us all to overcome stereotypes. So, we deal with it. Besides, it beats the alternative.

September 2010
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