Archive for December, 2010


Are Ugly Men the Answer?

For the record, I don’t actually believe in the concept of “ugly.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so even Boris Kodjoe is hard on somebody’s eyes, and the strongly unattractive probably have something beautiful going on: a nice smile, great eyelashes, healthy skin, etc…

So, my real question is whether or not dating a man who may be rating lower than you on the generally accepted scale of aesthetics is a good idea?

According to this article, which quotes a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, dating a less attractive man may lead to a happier relationship.

“It’s possible that a man who is less attractive than his partner feels so grateful to be with her that he works harder to maintain the relationship, amping up the amount of emotional support and kindness he provides,” says Benjamin R. Karney, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at UCLA. “Yet a man who is better looking than his partner knows he has lots of other options besides his mate, so he’s less committed to providing the emotional support long term relationships need to thrive.”

If you haven’t seen examples of this in your daily life, look at celebrity couples such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, Heidi Klum and Seal, and Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, who are no longer an item.

Sure, many men assume that these guys won the hearts of these dime pieces because of their money, power and respect. I’m sure that didn’t hurt, but I also have an inkling that these fellas, knowing they might be at a slight disadvantage in the looks department, decided to sweep these women off their feet and treat them like they deserved.

As quiet as it’s kept, that often outweighs attractiveness. If he’s outwardly cute, but treats you like his concubine, instead of his queen, then he turns inwardly ugly real quick.

If his working harder to support you emotionally and be the best partner ever aren’t reasons enough to consider dating that less attractive guy, the article offers another reason.

“…you may find that your not-so-pretty man brings his A-game in the bedroom. ‘What I’ve seen from my clinical practice is that women who are married to men less attractive than them often have happy sex lives most likely because their mate tries harder to please them sexually,’ says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D.”

Since my mom reads this blog, I’m going to leave that right there.

So, while I’m not at all encouraging any SIS to date someone she finds unattractive, the pros of dating a guy who is less than a 10 might actually outweigh the cons, and that might be worth considering if a not-so-bad-looking millionaire man with a broom arrives to sweep you off your feet.


Pastor Jamal Bryant: ‘We’re Not Options to One Another’

So, I had a quick pow wow with Pastor Jamal Bryant recently. If that name sounds familiar, you may have seen him on TV One’s “Ultimate Merger” sitting next to Omarosa as she deliberated on which of her suitors to send home. If you watched the series, then you know that in the end, she didn’t select any of the 12 men to be her beau.

Rumor has it that she was already dating Michael Clarke Duncan at the time of taping, but even if that’s true, the show was a pretty accurate depiction of the struggle a lot of women go through when trying to find the right guy. There was the bald, short, cocky guy who didn’t have a job. There was Al B. Sure, who obviously thought singing “Night and Day” over and over again would be enough to win Omarosa’s affection. There were dudes who just weren’t interested in her, including one who snuck out of the bachelors’ suite to spend the night with another woman, and then there was the guy who was married.

So, I asked Pastor Bryant what he thought about the disconnect between sistahs and brothers. He said:

“There are so many levels of disconnect. The African-American culture is the only in the world where you hear a woman say she doesn’t need a man. Asian women don’t say that. Russian women won’t say that. There is no other culture on the planet where you hear that. It’s only African-American women who you will hear say that. The black woman’s over-independence has made black men feel unnecessary or like an accessory. So, men have taken that to mean that a woman is an option, and being part of a woman’s life is optional. Men and women have to need each other, and understand that we’re not options to one another. We’re necessary for our existence, totality and purpose.”

So, of course I don’t totally agree with his POV. Honestly, I think most of the women I know are independent because no one has stepped up to offer assistance, not because they just want it that way. So, is it the chicken or the egg? Is our independence the reason so many brothers aren’t committing, or is that lack of committment why we’re so independent?

Take a look back at my chat with Hill Harper.


Challenging the Stigma Against ‘Settling’

When it comes to dating, “settling” is as scary a word as “cheesecake” is to a SIS on her third day of a week-long diet. You’re warned by girlfriends and love experts that nothing good can come from settling. “Hold out,” they suggest, for the guy who makes your heart melt. Don’t marry a guy just because he makes himself available or because your biological clock is ticking as quickly as water transforms a press-and-curl into an afro.

I looked up the definition of the term, and admittedly, it does not sound attractive: “to move downward, to sink slowly to another level.” That’s not exactly the mental picture you want in your head when you’re standing at the altar with your future husband. No one wants to think, “I’ve settled.”

In most instances when people think of settling, they’re judging potential suitors based on a desired list of traits. We compare guys to our ideal. Does he have swag like Denzel, abs like Boris, intelligence like Barack, humor like a Wayans brother, sex appeal like Lenny Kravitz and drive like Diddy? OK. So, maybe that’s just my unrealistic list, but you get my drift. If the guy chatting us up at the Borders doesn’t have all these characteristics, he may be quickly dismissed. After all, settling is not an option.

However, I want to challenge the common concept of settling and submit that maybe settling is less about selecting whom we want and more about who wants us.

What the Fig Newton am I talking about? I’ll explain.

When a girl does meet that guy whose character and aesthetic traits are what she desires, it’s a rare instance that he feels the same about her. Let’s be honest. How many times has a SIS asked you, “Why can’t the guy I like, like me back?” That’s an age-old question I won’t even attempt to address.

So, what happens? Often times, a woman spends months or years trying to persuade that ideal man that she’s the right woman for him. When she’s done everything in her power and is completely tapped of the energy to continue on with a guy who’s doing more taking than giving, she finally bounces, and he’s married in less than a year to the next chick – the one he chose.

In this scenario, she hasn’t settled when it comes to her ideal man, but I think maybe she has settled when it comes to what she deserves as a woman. Instead of being treated like a queen by a man who’d “drink her bath water,” as Kwame so eloquently put it, she’s settling for a dude who wouldn’t even draw her bath. That’s not to suggest that the guy you’re longing for won’t treat you well, but if he’s not longing after you, is he treating you like you deserve? Does he make you feel priceless, or do you feel like you constantly have to prove your worth?

So, that begs the question: Is it settling to date the guy who doesn’t quite fit into that perfect mold, but who treats you like you fell from Heaven just so he could love you?

Isn’t that what you deserve? Surely, you can get with that program even if he’s a little shorter, older or less educated than your ideal man. For clarity, I’m not referring to the toothless, morbidly obese dude who may be sightly learning disabled, just the guy who’s cute, but maybe not your normal type.

I’m thinking it’s never settling to allow yourself to be loved the right way, but that’s my unsolicited two cents. What do you think?

December 2010
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