Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes

23
Feb
11

Quit Hatin’ on Single People

Let me preface this by saying, I’ve no problem with married people. I hate to sound cliché, but some of my best friends are married!

However, it’d be easy for me to label all wed people as needy, dependent, insecure conformists who need marriage as a way to validate themselves as worthwhile human beings.

I could make assumptions about the character of husbands and wives based solely on their marital status, but that would be stupid. Right?

Guess what’s equally as stupid?

This recent article in The Huffington Post attacking single people, described us all as selfish, dishonest and shallow, among other things. I’m not going to pretend there aren’t some unattached people who fall into these categories, but I’m sure there are some married people for whom the shoe fits, too.

Fortunately for married people, society just assumes that they entered into the union because they fell in love.

Unfortunately for single people, it seems nearly impossible for the general public to believe that an unattached person could be perfectly pleasant and of good character. Instead, we must be majorily flawed.

Is it so hard to fathom that maybe a SIS just hasn’t met her match yet? Is it so difficult to wrap one’s mind around the fact that some folks don’t want to be married? Is it beyond the realm of reason that marriage might be an option for some and not a life requirement?

Is “you’re a bitch” really the only plausible explanation, as the article’s author suggests? I think not.

I have at least one friend who believes in aliens. From what I can tell, it’s easier for the masses to believe in Alf than it is for them to accept that it might take some single people a bit longer to fall in love.

However, instead of a little patience and acceptance from society, singles have to deal with prejudice. I’m obviously no MLK, but when people start targeting members of any specific group, it makes me wonder what exactly their problem is.

Other than the fact that maybe the author had a deadline to meet, what would motivate her to take the time and write about how damaged single people are? Obviously, there are some issues there.

Maybe the author is jealous of independent singles who aren’t desperate to wed. It’s possible she’s coming to terms with the fact that her third marriage has ended and is lashing out at the group her ex-husbands have chosen to join. There are endless explanations for her obvious hate.

I don’t know, but unlike her, I’ll refrain from making too many  judgments.

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08
Nov
10

For Colored Girls Who Aren’t Defined By Relationships

“Tyler Perry hates black men.” That’s how a random dude responded when I told him that the images of brothers in Perry’s “For Colored Girls…” were less than flattering.

I previously shared that I think Lifetime Movies do nothing for healthy male-female relationships. 90% of the men in the made-for-TV movies are murderers, abusers, polygamists or embezzlers.

“For Colored Girls…” was no different, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse again.

What else struck me about “For Colored Girls…” was that Perry created each character and interpreted each poem to focus on how men shaped these women’s lives.

Why don’t TV, film and other media offer more stories about women outside of the realm of romantic relationships? Black women don’t always have to be defined by their relationships with men. Now, that I think about it, this is probably what initially irked me about being labeled “single.” I am more than who I date, or who I choose not to date.

True, Perry’s adaptation reflects the topics of Ntozake Shange’s poems, which deal with abortion and domestic abuse. One can’t ignore the male presence and responsibility when these issues arise.

However, in “For Colored Girls…” there was only one character who didn’t have a man (or men) in her life, and hers was the least developed storyline. One could argue that Phylicia Rashad’s unwed character’s weak development results because she was not represented in Shange’s original poems, but if you’re going to take creative license, use that freedom to offer something more balanced and positive.

I guess I should be pleased that the most well-adjusted woman on the screen was single (actually, she was widowed), but she lived right next door the promiscuous SIS who was mistaken for a prostitute by a married man she picked up at a bar.

For a movie Perry said would leave me “lifted,” I was anything but. What’s uplifting about women who endure abuse and disrespect in the name of love? That’s not inspiring. OK. So, they kind of, sort of come out of it in the end, but not to a point where you feel they’ve won. They lost so much in the first two hours of the movie that you doubt they’ll ever really be able to rebound, let alone soar.

For me, if there was any silver lining to the film, it’s that it reminds women not to be so desperate for relationships or intimacy that they accept anything that comes their way. As the movie suggests, being with the wrong man usually doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. So if you are a SIS feeling empty, find ways to fill up that don’t depend on romantic relationships. Who knows? Once you’re full, you might realize that what really makes you happy was in your grasp all along, and you didn’t have to endure abuse or misogyny to find it.

18
Aug
10

The Church Factor: Helpful or Hurtful?

I participated in an online discussion recently, and this question was raised: Is the church one reason so many black women are single?

The answer to this question should probably be determined on a case-by-case basis. It’s possible that someone’s devotion to religious activities might keep her too busy to worry about romance, but I doubt that’s the norm. I’d argue that any divide between the church-going SIS and a fulfilling romantic relationship has more to do with that Christian woman’s spiritual standards and less to do with the actual church itself.

In my experience, the church doesn’t encourage women to remain single. I’ve found most focus the majority of their ministries on supporting marriage and family. However, it does advise Christians to live in a way that’s often contrary to society’s norms. The most obvious example would be that of premarital sex. While, it’s a popular and accepted practice these days (so much so that even adolescents on Teen Nick are with child or visiting the clinic for STD vaccines), many Christians believe that sex should be saved for marriage.

How many single men wanna hear that (… or women, for that matter)?

I’ve also met women who won’t date divorced men because these sistahs don’t believe the Bible condones it. Then, there are the lifestyle differences. If a woman is giving the church 10% of her income, it’s probably best she marry a man who also participates in tithing. If she doesn’t drink alcohol or listen to secular music, these lifestyle choices based on her beliefs, will likely greatly decrease her dating pool.

So, a Christian SIS may have certain standards that others, who have no spiritual expectations for their partners, might not have. The same goes for members of any religious faith.

While it may be true that one’s preference for a partner of a specific faith may limit her dating options, this SIS doesn’t think that the problem is with any particular belief system or religious institution.

It’s just another thing that helps determine when you’ve met “the one.” It’s something else you’ll share with your partner that indicates he might be Mr. Right.

19
Jul
10

Single Doesn’t Mean Desperate


So, there comes a point in your dating life where you realize that the folks around you have lowered their expectations when it comes to what’s a suitable match for you.

Once upon a time, my friends were turning up their noses at guys I dated who they considered “average.’’ Now, if he can walk and is still too young to collect Social Security, I’m expected to swoon at his advances.

All of a sudden instead of being advised to kick a guy to the curb for not returning my phone calls in a timely manner, I’m now encouraged to keep calling until he picks up.

It may seem like the older single woman should be more willing to accept whatever man shows her some interest, but the truth is that after surviving a few horrid relationships and getting real used to living solo, the SIS is less willing to settle for anything other than what she wants. She’s just as discerning as the 20-something with a few more options, if not more so.

That’s not to say she’s unwilling to compromise on things, but the single women I know are definitely not going the extra mile for the attention of men in whom they’re only mildly interested.

Sure, some might suggest that’s why so many women remain single. They don’t sink their claws into the guys who approach them and hold on for dear life. They’re still clinging to some dream of a soul mate with whom they can enjoy a Cosby-esque existence.

It may seem strange to some that when she should seem her most desperate, the older single woman is less worried about a mate than her younger counterparts. That’s because she’s likely seen the results of a bad union. She’s seen friends’ marriages fall apart. She’s been in an unhealthy relationship or two, and she’s pretty certain she knows what will work for her. She’s also built a life that runs pretty well without a better half. Now, that she knows she “can do good all by herself,” doing less than that with someone isn’t an appealing option.

So, a SIS’s apparent apathy toward the unemployed, toothless, cross dressing neighbor who asked her out doesn’t necessarily indicate she doesn’t want to be partnered. It’s that she wants to ensure that anyone she commits to is actually a good match who’s adding something to her already comfortable life.

In short, for the more mature SIS out there who wants a committed relationship, it’s about the right body, not just anybody.

16
Jun
10

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.

11
Jun
10

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.

30
May
10

Deciphering a Dude’s Decor

I got a last-minute invitation to a guy’s house party the other night, and while I was sitting in the living room of one of the most stylish homes I’ve ever visited, it dawned on me that you may be able to deduce a little something about a man’s relationship readiness by taking a look at his living space.

I don’t have it down to a science, but here’s what I’ve been able to discern thus far:

Bachelor Pad: This one hardly needs explaining. The DVD rack is filled with porn movies. There’s a pin-up calendar in the bathroom (hanging over the toilet). A red light bulb barely illuminates the bedroom. There’s only whipped cream and chocolate syrup in the refrigerator. The nightstand drawer is dedicated solely to “toys” and protection, and when you clap your hands, R. Kelly starts singing “Seems Like You’re Ready.” Ummm. Exit.


Under Construction:
In this economy, a lot of folks are moving into fixer-uppers. So, it’s not uncommon to visit someone whose house is under construction, and a lot of handy guys try to Tim Taylor it and do the work themselves. In my case, the guy I dated wrecked his kitchen, living room and basement. The house was a little less than comfortable … except for upstairs. His bedroom was just about the only place in the house where he could “entertain” without the threat of plaster falling on the skulls of his guests and sending them to the nearest emergency room. He was prepared for intimacy, but was having trouble putting as much time and effort into other significant areas of his house. That accurately reflected his relationship readiness.

Room for One: He has one Lazy Boy in the living room and a folding chair in the corner. He’s got one controller for his video game console. His car is a two-seater and the passenger side seat always needs to be cleaned off before you can sit down. The only working light source in his bedroom is on the nightstand nearest him. To be comfortable there, you’d basically have to pack like you were going on a camping trip in the wilderness. Toilet paper? Check. Eating utensils? Check. Blanket? Check. Basically, there’s really no room for you, and it hasn’t dawned on him that his place is a flashing “Vacancy” sign. No, not vacant meaning make yourself at home and stay awhile; vacant better describes his emotional availability. Like his place suggests, don’t look for much comforting here.

Ready for Love?: It doesn’t mean he’s got a diamond ring on layaway, but when you visit a guy whose place is fully furnished, comfy and well kempt, he might be a little more ready for commitment. You walk in and you can imagine yourself cooking him dinner in the kitchen, curling up on the couch watching TV, hosting a dinner party and decorating the Christmas tree. Oh, and that spot right over the fireplace would be perfect for your wedding portrait. LOL. OK. That might be taking it a little too far, but if you look forward to spending time at his place as opposed to trying to find ways to avoid it, he’s probably given some thought into what makes a house a home and that’s promising.




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