Posts Tagged ‘gender roles


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.


Stop Trying to Change the Game

I’m kind of tired of society trying to flip the script. I can’t be the only one who’s noticing that the traditional gender roles of dating have nearly reversed.

If it’s not reality TV shows like “For the Love of Ray J” offering gross displays of desperate women competing for a man, then it’s articles and advice columns instructing us on how to approach a guy and do whatever it takes to keep him interested. As if that weren’t enough, there are stats suggesting women are now the breadwinners, and encouraging single ladies to get used to being the primary household earner.

I’m not so old fashioned that I can’t initiate contact with a guy, and a man making more money than I do is not a requirement, but these days I’m getting the message that women are supposed to pursue and provide for the fellas.

Am I the only one that finds that a little off?

I’ll admit that it seems men are at a huge advantage these days when it comes to dating. They’re in no rush to have children which allows them to play “the game” until they’re using Viagara to get on the field, and now that women of other ethnicities have come to recognize the attributes good brothers have to offer, the fellas have more options (while many sistahs refuse to cast a wider net).

So, maybe it does take a little more for a woman to get noticed by a guy these days, but no matter how much ladies are urged go along with the game change, it won’t work.

I still strongly believe that if a guy is interested in a woman, he’ll make it known. He’ll pursue, pick up the phone and call, make dates and do what it takes to sweep that woman off her feet. If he doesn’t want her, no amount of attention is going to sway him. In contrast, a woman will often love the man who genuinely loves her, even if he wasn’t the guy she noticed from across the room.

So, all the conversation about what women need to do to get a man falls on deaf ears when it comes to this SIS. Men go after what they want. That’s their nature. If he’s not pursuing you, he’s likely not that into you.

It’s the natural order of things. It’s not the women who club the men over the heads. That likely only results in a very irritated man, and he should be annoyed. He knows his role, so let him play it.


One Meal at a Time

While listening to a comic explain the difference between “cookin’” and “fixin’ something to eat,” I had to admit that my microwave gets a lot more attention than my oven does.

After a long hard day at work, possibly running errands after that and even hitting the gym when the mood strikes, a SIS may more often opt to nuke something in the microwave, as opposed to pulling out potatoes to peel or chicken to fry. (Not to mention one option cuts down significantly on dirty dishes.)

Also, if you’re a single sistah without kids, you’re probably eating at home alone most nights. So, exactly who are you fixing all that macaroni and cheese for? The times I have made it, I’ve taken a good portion over to my parents’ house to share the calories.

My mom does this thing where she can freeze the equivalent of a Whoville Christmas feast, thaw it out six months later and have it taste like she just pulled the roast beast out the oven. When I try that, the grub just ends up in the garbage. At her house, I know it won’t go to waste.

Then, there’s the whole recession factor. If I have $20, I can buy all the ingredients for one side dish, or I can buy about four frozen dinners, which are much easier to transport to the office. You do the math.

Unfortunately, time, money and mouths all discourage me from throwing down in the kitchen on a regular basis, but I do try to get it in when I can. When friends wanna have potlucks, during holidays and when I’m snowed in during a blizzard, I have the time to experiment with recipes and brush up on my cooking.

In between those rare occasions, I find myself rushing home from work on evenings when I’ve decided to actually use the stove, pots and pans and make a meal. It’s worth the hassle, though.

Maybe one day I’ll start a cooking blog, have a cooking show on TV or become the next B. Smith. The possibilities are endless, but for now, I’ll just start off small, fixing cooking one meal at a time.


In Defense Of Miss Independent

I was in a chat room recently, and while the participants were responding to the recent omnipresent news about the large number of single, professional sistahs, someone suggested that if women want to attract a man, they need not boast their independence.

Obviously, this comment struck a chord with me. I had to question, “What’s wrong with being proud of one’s independence?”

To me, being an independent woman means that you’re comfortable caring for yourself. You’re paying your own bills, feeding you and yours, holding down at least one job and keeping your home in order. Granted, that may not exactly be a selling point to every guy, but it’s certainly nothing to hide. Why shouldn’t an adult be able to care for herself?

I guess there is some room for clarification, though. Just because a woman is independent doesn’t mean there’s no room in her life for a man. Trust me. If there’s a guy willing to hang that picture or unclog that drain, most women would gladly hand over the hammer and Mr. Plumber.

However, knowing I can take care of myself means that when I do meet Mr. Right, I’ll be focused on his character, our compatibility and how he makes me feel, not so much on how many dirty jobs he can handle or the salary he’s bringing to the table. What I’d want from him is what only he could provide, not what I could hire a handyman to do.

If the day comes when this SIS settles into a serious relationship, it won’t be because I’m dependent on a man, but it will be because I met one in particular that I want to share my life with. Then maybe, his smile, sense of humor, listening ear and encouraging words are the things I’d become dependent on.


The Dating Power Struggle

A while back, a friend and I debated whether men or women have the upper hand when it comes to relationships. Who rules?

To me, it seems that men have the power in relationships. In most scenarios, the guy makes the first move by initiating contact. Plus, men decide when and to whom they’ll propose, while the majority of women just patiently wait for the question to be popped. Some states even have common-law marriages to help make things legal for the sisters with commitment-shy boyfriends.

My friend thinks women rule the world because, according to him, men do everything they do to impress women. They earn degrees, get jobs and even groom themselves based on who they want to attract and what women are drawn to. According to him, if women refused to date men with ears, all the men in the world would be walking around lobe-less and deaf.

Actually, now that I revisit this, I’m wondering whether it’s just a matter of which person is more interested in making the relationship work.

If the man is head over heels for the woman, then she’s sitting pretty. If a woman is seeing hearts each time she looks at her man, then he may be holding all the cards in that particular relationship.

I’ve heard that the best relationships are those in which the man is more infatuated with the woman. His sheer determination and devotion win her over, and they each end up happy. He’s happy ‘cause he’s “won” his heart’s desire, and she’s happy because he’s treating her like a queen.

I am not really sure what works best, but any future marriage for me would be with a guy who thinks I’m Heaven sent, and I’d have to feel the same way about him.


Give That Man an Ultimatum!

heart clock

We all know that celebrities are treated a bit differently in society. They go to posh resorts to serve out jail sentences and although they have more money than most of us, they get lots of stuff for free.

So, when I read about the courtship of Kellie Williams, formerly of “Family Matters,” I wondered whether her “strategy” worked because of her star status, or whether other single women should follow her lead.

According to the story, after only two weeks of dating, Williams laid down the law. Her exact words, “You’re either my boyfriend, or this is the last time we’re going to talk.”

The guy married her.

I know few women who are willing to be so bold after only two weeks of dating. Their reasons for not broaching the subject are varied. (1) They’re not yet sure that’s what they want. (2) They don’t want to scare the guy off. (3) They don’t want to seem desperate. (4) They want the guy to be the aggressor.

However, Laura Winslow’s situation did make me wonder, when is a good time to let a guy know you’re ready for a commitment?

Most folks seem to feel like a discussion about the relationship’s future is warranted after about two months. Guys I know agree that a man doesn’t need any longer to decide he wants exclusivity. If he hasn’t brought it up, he’s probably not that into you.

In Laura’s case, her now-husband found her forwardness attractive. I doubt the average SIS would get that reaction from an eligible guy. In my experience, people prefer not to be rushed when it comes to commitments, and rushing them usually only brings about a speedy exit.

However, there’s something to be said for putting it all out there and keeping it real. In Kellie/Laura’s case, that something was “I do.”


From Mani-Pedis to Lawn Mowers

New Picture

In a perfect world, the Single Independent Sistah’s weekend would be strictly for leisure. After a hard work week, a SIS might unwind with some relaxing music, good food, friends, entertainment and maybe a mani-pedi and a massage — administered by two handsome, sculpted men — to get mentally and physically rejuvenated for the upcoming week.

However, the truth is that the SIS has a lot to get done in the two-day span away from the office, and often getting pampered is the exact opposite of what goes down.

Of course the SIS handles chores like laundry, dish washing and vacuuming on the weekends. Who doesn’t? If that was all on her list, she might have space on the schedule for some “me” time, but the SIS’s things-to-do list may also include things like, caulking a hole in the wall and changing the car battery.

It might be sexist, but I’m woman enough to admit that I’m a fan of traditional gender roles. I don’t mind leaving car maintenance and household repairs for the less fairer sex. However, the Single Independent Sistah doesn’t always have that option. Instead of heading to the salon on a Saturday morning, occasionally, I’m mowing the lawn.

Blurring the proverbial line between the traditional gender roles and doing what’s often deemed “man’s work,” is not the preference for most single women, but somebody’s got to get the jobs done. So, we roll up the sleeves on our Ann Taylor Loft blouses and just do it.

Then, after spending hours retiling the bathroom floor or fixing the shower head, we get to reap the benefits and relax by soaking in the tub with candles burning. A bubble bath is not the same as a massage or a spa treatment, but it’s a stereotypically feminine pastime that may help balance the scale and once again boldface those gender lines — at least until the next time the roof leaks.

July 2018
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