Archive Page 2

05
Feb
11

Noting the Lack of Love for Natural Locks

 

I was just a little irritated earlier this week after a video of Method Man disparaging black women’s natural hair surfaced. I grew up on ‘90’s rap and the love that the Native Tongues and others of that era showered on sistahs – and not just the ones with light skin and straight hair — was something that was appreciated.

Of course, Meth’s music was never quite that Afrocentric or enlightened, but in my opinion, he leaned more toward black love than misogyny. So, when he was recorded saying, “I don’t like peasy afros. Sorry. I don’t like dreds either. I like a woman to get her hair did,” I was a bit surprised.

It didn’t rock my world or anything, since brothers in the spotlight have made it clear that our natural hair is not their preference.

Forgive me, Lord, for quoting Lil Wayne, but this brown-skinned, dreded brother has no problem declaring, “I like a long hair red bone.”

Let’s be real. Afros don’t hang. Whenever a man says he likes long hair, we know he’s not talking about an afro. If he were, he’d use a word like “full” or “high.” Have you ever heard a guy say, “I like high hair”? I haven’t.

Anyway, I was a bit relieved when Meth cleared up his comments, which he said were jokes toward a friend of his whose hair was in an afro at the time. It’s easier for me to believe he was teasing a homegirl, than to believe this guy  – who brushes his hair about as often as he releases a gospel album  – has problems with locks.

When confronted about the remarks, Meth said: “Girl, if you want to come outside with your hair in an afro, so be it. Do what you do. If you wanna rock dreds, so be it. Do what you do. If you wanna take it back to Africa or take it back to where ever the hell you want to take it back to, you do that.”

Then, he threw a few compliments our way.

“I love my people. My people is the most beautiful people in the planet, and we got the best women in the MF-ing world… I love my black sisters, with or without afros, with or without dreds.” (Hear it all here.)

Honestly, after hearing his words, it just made me aware of how seldom brothers express sentiment like this. It’s not so much that they’re always dissing brown-skinned women with natural hair; it’s just that there’s rarely ever any love.

For instance, GlobalGrind.com recently listed its Most Desirable Women of Hip Pop. Beyonce and model Chanel Iman were the closest thing to dark skin included in the photo gallery. Of course, not a strand of natural hair was found.

One could argue that there aren’t many women in Hip-Pop who wear their hair natural, but if a model fits the criteria, then certainly an Esperanza Spalding – an actual musician — could have made the list.

However, men are entitled to their preferences, just as women are. I personally don’t find curly hair attractive on a man. Do I expect El DeBarge or Allen Payne to revolt because of it? No. So, that made me question why I cared at all about Meth’s comments. Although my hair is not relaxed, I do wear it straight the majority of the time. I tend to let it go natural in the summer when the humidity challenges me. So, why do comments hatin’ on natural hair hit a raw nerve?

Of course, the answer is because “natural hair” – afros in particular – is distinctly ours. To not have an afro, steps have to be taken. Although few of us rock the style on a regular basis, we know it’s what lies beneath, and it’d be wonderful to have brothers embrace it, learn to appreciate it and tell us it’s beautiful. Afterall, it’s their hair, too.

22
Jan
11

Steve Harvey: Thanks, but No Thanks

I don’t want to offend. I know he has a huge following of loyal fans, but the truth is that I feel some type of way about taking advice from Steve Harvey. It’s not really personal, but he is one of the few so-called relationship experts out there who has multiple divorces under his belt. Yes, he’s married now, but let’s be real. As a single woman, do I want his opinion on how I should go about building and sustaining a healthy, loving relationship? Maybe if he makes it to his golden anniversary this time around, I’ll change my tune.

One could argue that he’s speaking from experience. So, maybe his failed marriages have taught him how to make relationships work. However, from what I’ve read of his books and from what I’ve heard him preach, his shtick is more about telling single sistahs what to do to get a man than it is about instructing couples on how to maintain healthy relationships.

I know what you’re thinking. “Girl, you quote Hill Harper all the time, and he ain’t even got one marriage to his name!” True. However, there are at least two significant differences between Hill and Harvey: (1) Hill is the type of guy I might date. He’s attractive. He’s intelligent. He’s single. So, I care a little bit more about his POV; although, I still read his books with the side eye. (2) Hill’s book, “The Conversation,” included lots of other men’s opinions. He didn’t attempt to speak for every man.

However, let me get back to the point. When you’re single, you always have people offering unsolicited advice. Everyone who has somebody – and even those who don’t – think they have it figured out. They know why you’re single and what you can do to “fix” it. Few seem to just accept what you have: you haven’t met the right person yet.

So, you learn to decipher the good advice from the bad. For this SIS, the relationship status of the person and his or her romantic history help determine whether I bother listening. If you’re in what I consider a healthy, long-lasting relationship, I may take heed to what you’re saying. If you’re a man or woman who cheats on your significant other, constantly complains to me about your spouse or has only been with your partner for one or two years, then you fall into another category.

That’s where Harvey is. He’s in that category of counselors whose romantic situation makes me skeptical of what he has to say.

That’s not to suggest there are no tidbits of wisdom in his words; however, as a friend of mine put it, those things he writes that have you nodding in agreement are often just plain common sense.

Whether you’re on Team Harvey or not, I won’t judge. I have friends who’ve found his advice helpful, and he claims that many readers who took it to heart are now in happy relationships.

So, I won’t begrudge him that success (even though I question whether he’s exploiting the lonely black women out there by using their situations to line his pockets). If he’s helping women find happiness, then more power to him.

However, when I have questions about dating and relationships, I think I’ll turn to happily-married couples who’ve stood the test of time for advice.

The truth is that anyone can offer advice – and this blog is proof – but this SIS suggests we make sure to be a little selective about whose tips we follow.

Oh, and watch my interview with Steve. That’s me with the microphone!

04
Jan
11

Beware of the Faux Beau

There are a lot of different kinds of men from whom the SIS should shy away: playas, DL brothers, philanderers, abusers, etc… Most of us have developed some sort of radar for the fellas who fall into these categories.

If you’re not 100% sure he remembers your name ‘cause he’s been calling you “babe” since the day you met, he could be a playa. If he spends all day Saturday shopping for a sexy outfit to wear to his boy’s weekly poker night, there’s a chance he’s gay. Philanderers are the ring wearers who stop you in the Victoria Secret to tell you how unhappy they are at home, and abusers try to put you on a phone schedule and expect hourly text messages about your whereabouts.

Within a day or two of meeting these jokers, the flags are waving, and you’ve got one foot out the door. These undesirables are pretty easy to spot.

However, there’s another type of guy who can be just as lethal to your emotional well-being if left unchecked, but is much more subtle and less detectable.

That’s the faux beau.

He’s that friend in your life who keeps you interested enough and treats you well enough to distract you from other potential partners, but for whatever reason, he refuses to commit to you.

On weekends, when you should be out with the girls looking cute and eligible, you’re all fancy walking into the Macaroni Grill or Lucky Strike with him. He wouldn’t dream of forgetting your birthday and gave you the most thoughtful gift. He encourages you, supports you and may even throw around the L-word liberally. You’ve met his best friends and maybe a relative or two, and sometimes there are special “benefits” to the relationship.

Sometimes you wonder how the relationship got to this point, but you recognize that you’re holding out hope that something romantic might just spring forth. You’re carrying a torch ‘cause there are definitely feelings there. It stands to reason that two great friends could eventually become even greater lovers.

However, if he’s not feeling the same, then there’s nothing for that flame to do but die out.

If you’ve tuned into season two of “What Chilli Wants,” then you know that Floyd Mayweather is the singer’s faux beau. The boxer recently bought her a pair of $14,000 diamond encrusted earrings as a token of his affection. As her relationship coach, Tionna Smalls, said, “Floyd is trouble.” Then, Smalls vowed to keep Chilli away from him.

How do you to rid yourself of the faux beau? The truth is that the drama will probably drag on until he’s totally convinced you of his complete disinterest in a romantic relationship, and things might get ugly. His contradictions between actions and words will finally become more than you can stand, and you’ll likely come to a point where you’ll glady redefine things with the faux beau in hopes of meeting a sincere significant.

20
Dec
10

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.

10
Dec
10

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.

08
Dec
10

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?

23
Nov
10

Giving Thanks For Your Jacked-Up Love Life

Your dating situation isn’t at all what you had hoped it would be this holiday season. Instead of gazing lovingly across the Thanksgiving dinner table into the eyes of your significant other as he passes you the pig feet, you’ll have to reach for those ham hooves yourself ‘cause the man in your life is either unavailable or just nonexistent.

However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to be thankful for this Turkey Day. There’s usually a silver lining to every cloud or in this case, gravy for every helping of cornbread stuffing. Either way, remembering to count your blessings and focusing on the positives of your current relationship status – no matter what that may be – is essential for enjoying the holidays.

So, whether you lack a romantic relationship or are just struggling in one that’s not ideal, here’s help looking on the bright side.

Recently Broken Up: What’s good about being dumped right before the holidays? The obvious answer: you can shorten your gift list by one. That money you were going to spend on nose-hair clippers and anti-fungal foot powder for your man, you can put toward a spa day for yourself. Plus, be glad you’re not carrying all that dead weight to family functions and holiday parties where potential suitors and strategically placed mistletoes may be exactly what you need. While some suggest that the holidays are an awful time for breakups, the built in distractions can help soften the blow.

Still Single: Last Thanksgiving Day, you declared that you’d have a date when the holiday rolled around again. Here it is 12 months later, and during the one date you did have you were convinced a short, little man dressed in a red devil suit was going to pop out with his pitchfork at any second. At least that would have made the evening interesting. So, what is there to be thankful for?

First, be thankful that you have the freedom to do whatever it is you want to do. While some coupled folks have to always consider their significant others, you have the liberty to make autonomous decisions about how the thermostat is set and what Lifetime movie to watch for the umpteenth time. Second, be grateful for your circle of support and love that exists even without Mr. Right. The holidays are a great time to gather your friends together for some Beyonce-style Single Ladies celebrating. Finally, be happy that you love yourself enough not to settle.

No matter what your present love life is like, the bottom line is –  make the most of whatever that situation may be. That’s the message this Thanksgiving holiday. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and find reasons to celebrate where you are now while looking forward to the future.

If you’re in a long-distance relationship,
find out why you should be thankful here.




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