Archive for October, 2009

Forget him, focus on the ring

Before I get started, the reason I’m using a gender specific term here…is because I’m a guy. So before you get your draws up in a bunch moving your neck around talking about “why he ain’t taking bout toxic men?”, it’s cause I don’t date men. Someone else is thus much more qualified to speak on that subject than I am. It’s not cause I’m sexist. I mean I am sexist, but that has nothing to do with this here topic. I’ll be utilizing my sexism in such upcoming posts as “Why You Shouldn’t Interrupt When Men are Talking,” “Good Women Know their Place: the Kitchen,” and “You ain’t Baked Nothing All Day: Reasons to Divorce Her, Vol I.”

However, today’s topic was inspired by a post Belle had about whether or not Black women know how to date.
In the post, She mentions problems she has whenever she tries to fix up a single female friend of hers with a man:

It happens whenever I suggest to women who complain of not going on a date in ages that they go out with the janitor, the waiter, a mail room man, or whomever is cute with cut arms that are the size of her thigh.

The response is always a list of degrees and awards and accomplishments and there’s always— always— a comment about the man not being on “my level.” (FYI– none of those make you laugh or keep the bed warm.)

This is the first type of toxic woman:

The Equally Yoked-er

You better have a Class A office bldg in your background pic if you want some of this.

You better have a Class A office bldg in your background pic if you want some of this.

This chick. No matter what she’s done or hasn’t done in her life, her expectation of a man is that he be “equally yoked.” Now in the biblical sense, I’m to understand that this means two Christians who share the same faith in Jesus. For her purposes, however, this usually boils down to your resume. I was at a Black Ivy League mixer a couple months back and a friend of mine who’s a cop was talking to a young lady and he was right offended when she asked him “So which Ivy did you go to, or are you one of these interlopers?” Granted, it was an Ivy League mixer, so it wouldn’t be unfair to expect that most people there were in fact Ivy Leaguers, but I think it was the “interloper” comment that didn’t work for him. The “Equally Yoked-er” is obsessed with her potential mate having a checklist of qualifications to make him acceptable. Because the Equally Yoked-er usually has an advanced degree, she believes it would be “settling” or a step down to date someone that doesn’t or went to a school she deems inferior to hers. As I mentioned on Belle’s blog, the problem is this:

We talked a lot about this on a certain young black professional dating forum. What some of these women don’t get is that, for better or worse, educational and professional achievement don’t mean much to men if you’re not good looking. So while you as a multi-degreed sister may value a man’s career and education over his looks, it doesn’t really work the same way for us. Yeah, all things equal, we’ll take an HBS 8 over a Devry 8, but I don’t know too many men choosing a 6 with a Wharton MBA over a fresh out of Howard 9. Just is what it is.

The Equally Yoked-er becomes toxic for herself because she sabotages potential relationships based on criteria that while may be impressive, don’t really correlate with functional relationships. And she becomes toxic to men in two ways. for men that don’t “measure up”, she tends to deride or minimize them. The refrain is always, “I have a law degree, I’m supposed to date the janitor now?” As if there were no middle ground between lawyer and janitor. For those men that do meet her standards, if they’re not interested, she’s the first to yell about how “these arrogant educated black men think they’re god’s gift to women.” In some ways, she fetishizes public accomplishment the same way guys fetishize a Cherokee D’ass size booty. It’s not about the person, it’s about something else.

The Attention Whore

This is bullshit! I said a helicopter for my Sweet 16! Not foreigner, Helicopter!

You all know this one. She NEEDS to be seen, NEEDS men to pay attention to her, and NEEDS to have her existence validated. She’s the one on twitter posting links to her Youstream feed every three minutes or linking up twitpics of her bent over a Bentley when the topic has nothing to do with that so the attention goes to her. She starts off on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 and ends up on Bridezillas. Whenever the conversation moves to something that’s not about her, she has to reel it back in. She’s toxic because she doesn’t need affection, she needs attention. And she’ll get it where she can find it. Usually, the best way to do that is sexual provocation. Not saying she’s a slut, but….. Until she finally feels validated enough by her quasi-celebrity status, she’s not worth putting a lot of time into, because her focus isn’t on anyone else but her.

The Diva

self-explanatory

Much like the Attention Whore, this one is focused on her, her, her. Her deal is entitlement. She’s never done a kind thing in her life because she feels like people should give her special favor and attention for…well, hell if I know.

The Dreamer

This one alternately has her head in the clouds or up her ass. The dull realities of life don’t really measure up for her, so she creates these fantasy worlds of what things COULD be like without bothering to put in the effort to make them like that. This relates to everything with her. She’s 5’3″ and chubby but thinks she’s going to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Her ideal of marriage is the Cosby Show, and anything short of that just won’t do. Despite the fact that unlike Claire, she’s not a lawyer, and her credits so bad, she’ll never qualify for that Brooklyn Brownstone. The problem is, anything that doesn’t mesh with the fantasy she’s created in her head is a disappointment, regardless of how unlikely it was in the first place, creating eternal frustration.

The Victim

It's all that Marley boy's fault

This woman is perpetually oppressed by everyone. Men, white people, patriarchy, her boss, her health problems. Nothing about this woman’s life seems any fun and since people don’t really find themselves attracted to that, she creates a vicious cycle where people reject her because, well, she’s miserable. This makes her even more miserable. I’ll tell you who was oppressed: My maternal grandmother. She was a domestic in Southern Maryland, which might as well have been Alabama at the time. She had no real formal education, worked herself to the bone to support 12 children (two of whom died young), and was married to a man, my grandfather, who I am to understand was a true and real son of a bitch. And yet, my grandmother was one of the most joyful people I’ve met. She could glean joy from the smallest things. Her kids grew up healthy and right. The Victim could learn something from her.

The Conformist

Must. Not. Upset. The Base.

This woman has never met a social group she didn’t HAVE to fit into. She constantly needs the approval and acceptance of her peers and is loath to have an independent thought or be someone or something that may offend. She usually has a carefully crafted personality and appearance and is quick to judge those who don’t similarly conform. Unfortunately, one wrong move and she’s out in the cold with the same people she was so desperate to impress int he first place.

The Leech

I don't want the Rolls, I just need a ride. And a burger. Mmmmh. Checkers!

While there’s a lot of talk about gold-diggers from a lot of guys in our socio-economic circle, the reality is that for the vast majority of them, professional gold-diggers aren’t giving them the time of day. no ones trying to trap them with a baby or take their houses and cars. What the leech will do however, is use her feminine wiles to slowly drain men for the little things: Dinners, drinks at the club, a light bill here and there. The good thing about the leech is she usually has a pretty good idea of who she an and can’t pull this shit with. So as a man, it’s pretty easy if you just make it known that you’re not that dude to correct this behavior. for the woman herself, this is problematic because she gets a reputation, and even if the guy hasn’t heard about her, he’ll pick up her M.O. pretty quick and put her in a certain category. That category is usually NOT described as wife or girlfriend.

So who’s this post for? Male bloggers get slammed quite a bit for telling women what to do dating-wise. This, at the end of the day, is just one man’s opinion of what types of women I shy away from. There are certain men I assure you are interested in these types of women. I’m just not one of them and most of the guys I know aren’t those guys either. For guys, these are some women you may or may not want to deal with when you see signs. It’s up to you. Use with caution

Faithfully yours,

B St. Arruh

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Detroit Red

So I was reading Belle’s blog the other day and she had a post about how “bougie” DC is, and noted how the men dressed:

Oh, and DC dwelling- dudes regularly rock suits to to the club. It’s borderline uncivilized to “just” rock a button down (that’s Saturday daywear.)  A blazer will get you in, but may not get you noticed. And when I say suit, I’m talking the suit with the shirt, with a cashmere V-dipped sweater (always pastel) with the Windsor knot puffed up so everyone can see it. The suit game is pretentious serious in DC.

And while I didn’t see myself in that description (I find the negro club scene everywhere rife with ill-advised pretentiousness and unjustified pride in poorly tailored haberdashery), I’ve been around enough of it to ask if maybe I’ve been around it too much. I thought the same thing in thinking about this whole Morehouse Dress Code thing (the argument that won’t die).

Isn’t the core of the argument about conformity? Conforming to white-oriented middle class ways of being? No gold teeth, no sagging pants. No designer shades.

I mean would Sly have been thanking my alma mater for “letting me be mice elf” again? And how would I at tihs point in my life have looked at Sly? As a brilliant musician who made that funkay shit, or an embarrassing negro with his wild untamed naps and shiny pimp clothes? I say this somewhat in jest, but I do notice as I get older, I’ve gotten less and less tolerant. In part because I view things less through the eye of the individual and more through the context of the whole.

Lost? I’ll give you an example. when I was fifteen, I went to a nice private school. I was on my way to being a national merit scholar and I wore slouched wide leg jeans, oversized Polos, Timbs, and a nappy bush. Which is what black people wore back in those early days when Biggie first came out and we learned we should smoke weed when Doggiestyle dropped. I was conforming and rebelling at the same time. My folks of course, sucked their teeth at my general appearance, saying that people would assume I was a thug. I, of course, in my youthful naivete, believed that they would not, and they would see me for the upwardly mobile, going to college young man I was and ignore my general demeanor and appearance. People would look at me as an individual, I believed.

Not the real thing

Not the real thing

Of course, people did not. Because the fact is, most people that looked like I did didn’t go to college. And as you get older, you become less interested in the exception, because you realize that’s what exceptions are: exceptions. Kind of like the drop off of people’s career goals. In grade school, everyone was going to be a president, in middle school, an actor or an athlete, in high school, a producer or an agent, and in college, a banker or a consultant. At some point, we realized how exceptional exceptional things are, and frankly how ordinary everything else is and how neatly it fits into a box. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

I mean, when’s the last time, someone or something has truly surprised you. It looked like one thing, but turned out to be something totally different?

Like, what if E. Badu turned out to be a total gold-digging groupie? Or Gucci turned out to be a rocket scientist? The last time I can think of was buddy up in medical school in Boston who was killing hookers on craigslist.

This opie-looking motherfucker killing hoes? word?

This opie-looking motherfucker killing hoes? word?

I mean, shit, I was surprised. Not because he was white, if that’s what you were inferring. No, most people who kill hookers are white. The blacks may slap em around a little bit, but most of us know at least one good pimp or have an uncle with a purple suit that we know better than to damage one of Sweet Daddy Williams’ prize money making stallions. But everyone else was surprised too. That’s the only reason it made news was because this guy looked like a clean cut upstanding WASP. It was so shocking that a man in a Oxford could kill hookers, it was on US Weekly for like three weeks straight.

This is kinda why I’m with the MC dress code. It ain’t really about the pumps that much. That’s like 5 students who don’t get to wear their louboutins. (sp)  Tough. But the golds and the sagging pants really set the expectation for people that you are other than a student at one of the nation’s best colleges. It may not be fair, but it is what it is.

But in a rush to be accepted in society’s eyes as (insert whatever positive here), have we as the black middle class also forgotten to keep rebelling against a system that, while it may accept us from time to time if we’re on our best behavior, doesn’t embrace us? Doesn’t love us. Doesn’t think of us as one of them. Are we giving up our right to fight the idea that gold teeth and tattoos means you’re not as smart as clean shaven and sweatered? Is it a battle worth fighting?

Will you stand up for Jimi?

Will you stand up for Jimi?

Or should we try to fit in. Be the good soldier. Prove ourselves worthy. Then what?

Then still get thrown under the bus? Hmm, I don’t know about that one. Or having these thrown up by people who don’t want a “you” where “they” should be?

What about the runaway slaves, the women who wouldn’t sit at the back of the bus, the blacks that would rather walk than sit on segregated buses? Where are we without them? and let’s not pretend this was some unified front back then. The civil rights movement was rabble rousers and po’ folks. Not light skinned physicians from the North. It’s usually swept under the rug that much of the black middle and upper class opposed the civil rights movement because they didn’t want attention drawn to them. They didn’t want to give up hereditary privilege. Or pigment privilege. Are too many of us folks who think we’ve made it now really just the latter day version of those negro physicians from the North? Trying to keep our heads sown and not attract attention to ourselves lest we piss off whitey for our arrogance? Maybe we should get with this rebel thing a little tougher.

You wanna make an omelet...

You wanna make an omelet...

You gotta break some eggs

You gotta break some eggs

So if you stopped by yesterday, you saw a pretty heated debate both here and on the Twitter (I like adding the word “the” in front of stuff for no reason) about Morehouse’s new dress code. In summary, some supported it, some didn’t, but pretty much all the disagreement was centered around whether or not men should be allowed to wear women’s clothes on Morehouse’s campus. No one even touched the issue of sunglasses or gold grills or sagging pants or hoodies inside, so I’m going to have to infer that everyone’s fine with banning these things. After all, these are accoutrements of the underclass, and no one wants to be associated with poor blacks. It’s fine to judge and look down upon people socio-economically, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon a gay person’s right to wear the new Louboutins (sp).

But what about a straight person’s right to do the same? Aisha1908 on Twitter made the point that dressing in women’s clothes and being gay aren’t necessarily synonymous. There are straight dudes who wear women’s clothes:

Do I have a problem with the above gentlemen’s choice of haberdashery? Nope. Do I respect the right of a private institution to say, “naw, folk, you ain’t fina come to class like that.” Yup. But we’ve already hashed out that discussion.

The question that lingers in my mind is just this: Is there any room for gender roles left in our society? Am I, and the people who agree with me, a bunch of out of touch dinosaurs hellbent on maintaining a heteronormative society by brutally squashing people’s right to express themselves?

Whooo! Fuck womens rights! Yeah!

Whooo! Fuck women's rights! Yeah!

If you were wondering, from Wikipedia:

Heteronormativity is a term for a set of lifestyle norms which indicate or imply that (1.) people fall into only one of two distinct and complementary sexes (male and female) with each having certain natural roles in life, and that (2.) heterosexuality is the only normal sexual orientation, thus making sexual and marital relations appropriate only between members of the opposite sex. Consequently, a heteronormative view is one that promotes alignment of biological sex, gender identity, and gender roles to the gender binary.[1]

Those who identify and criticize heteronormativity say that it distorts discourse by stigmatizing and marginalizing some forms of sexuality and gender, and makes certain types of self-expression more difficult when that expression violates the norm.[1] Non-heterosexual and gender-variant people who transgress heteronormativity include homosexual, bisexual, asexual, intersex, and transgender people in addition to people who are married to or form pair-bonds with more than one partner such as polygamists or polyamorists.[citation needed]

By the above definition, I’m technically not completely Heteronormative in the sense that I don’t believe that straight relationships are the only valid relationships. I know enough gay folk to know that, well, they’re gay. You can’t pray it away, suppress it, destroy it, or treat it with medicine if you wanted to. I know at least one transgendered person. And for me to say that they CAN’T or Shouldn’t be with another person of the same sex would be ludicrous to me. You’re an adult, that’s your call.

But what about the gender role part of that equation? And let’s assume we’re talking strictly about straight people, since obviously the gender roles in non-straight relationships are going to be much more complicated. Since we’re saying it’s ok for gay people to throw off the yoke of societally acceptable gender roles, should straight people be allowed to do the same? Should they want to?

Let’s look at a couple constructs in dating. The homette Kimmy Frye did a blog a while back about a “Turnaround Party” in New York. Her take:

Hmm. let’s review the key points:

  • Ladies pay a stiff cover.
  • Ladies are encouraged to buy the man drinks.
  • Men’s turn to relax.

Ummm – No thanks, i’ll pass.

I have zero interest in meeting a man who thinks this is an awesome idea. That would give him a totally false perception of who I am.  Set all kinds of the wrong standards. I’m all about playing the role of a woman and my man being, well, a man, in all the most traditional ways.

OK, she’s not a fan. Let’s see what the commenters had to say:

2 Responses to “Turnaround Party?”

  1. where they do that at? @trgriff said this on August 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm
  2. I love that @trgriff commented…when I saw your “um no thanks Ill pass and I have zero interest in any man who thinks thats an awesome idea,’ I died laughing. Of course we will pass…not for me! xoxo missbridge said this on August 25, 2009 at 5:10 am

From another enlightened-esque woman, Blackie Collins:
I like men. Let me rephrase that: I like manly men. I do not like skinny jeans wearing, Zac Efron hair flipping, weird, non-prescription glasses sporting, take longer than me to get ready men. Nothing makes me feel more butch than feeling like I’m the guy in our union. And nothing makes me feel more feminine, than being with a man who is just that: a man. There’s something about broad shoulders, a nice suit or regular fitting jeans, maybe some crisp Tims, a few tattoos, those nice cuts along the abs…ok, you get it. If you’re the kind of guy who waxes his eyebrows, you’re out.

Let’s be honest, if you’re too busy at your waxing appointment, you won’t be around to protect me (and maybe you should be protecting Steve instead). I need to feel protected. I need for you to be the dominating animal in our pack. I need to know that if something goes down, you’re on it, or at least we’re in this together. Even my gays can remember they’re men when shit pops off (have you seen those guys fight!), so I know you can do it too, punchanella, punchanella.*

Jackies real life boyfriend, Earl

Jackie's real life boyfriend, Earl

Guess that vastly unscientific poll of women says no, this does not rock. But why not? I mean, over the last 30-40 years, we’ve seen a dramatic crumbling of “gender roles.” Women now have the right to equal pay (whether or not that’s fully realized), economic equality to buy what they want and start businesses, be CEO, run for President, run for Vice President, and all kinds of other stuff that I think most people agree is a good thing. I’ve had women bosses before, most of whom were just as if not more competent than male bosses I’ve had.

But let’s look at what else has happened over the past 30-40 years. Divorce rates have shot through the roof, something like 70% of black kids are now born into single parent households, black men trail black women in huge numbers in college and graduate school admittance and achievement. Are the two linked? NO idea. I’m not a sociologist, and don’t pretend to be.

But it does occur to me that if we’re going to throw out some facets of gender roles, why not throw them all out? Here are some things that would happen:

1. Men would no longer exclusively approach women. As equals, women would now also have to approach men.

2. Men would not pay for first dates. you have a job, we’d split the cost.

3. Men would no longer walk on the outside, open doors, or pull out chairs. These would be seen as an insulting infringement on a woman’s independence.

4. Men would no longer help build bookshelves, move furniture, or mow women’s grass, nor change their oil. This would be patronizing and assume women are too weak or mechanically ill-inclined to do things themselves.

5. Forget about Alimony. Leave with what you came with.

6. Men would have the option of being house husbands. It would be insulting to assume that women are somehow naturally better child-rearers than men.

7. Women should no longer expect any show of chivalry, sacrifice, or romance by men to garner their affection.

8. Engagement rings would no longer be purchased by men to propose to women. When the parties agree to enter a marriage, they would exchange watches.

9. Women would no longer be expected to be good cooks or have any household skills. Attempting to seduce a man with cooking skills would be looked down upon as an archaic celebration of oppressive gender roles.

10. Fathers will no longer tell their sons ridiculous things like “Boy, take the trash out!” or “Don’t you let your mother carry those groceries in here by herself” because these would suggest that the woman is incapable of doing manual labor and feeds into the stereotype that men should do “man’s work” or help “weak” women.

So is this a better construct than the current state of heteronormativity that so many people feel is so bad and so oppressive? Would you prefer to enjoy a freedom from gender roles, or would you just laugh if a man expected you to pick him up and pay for his meal? Discuss:

Perhaps the Fashion Institute of Key West would be more appropriate for you

Perhaps the Fashion Institute of Key West would be more appropriate for you

UPDATE: Since this still seems to be a topic of great debate, I wanted to get a sense of what gay folk’s opinions were and I found the following links in a google search of “what gay people think about Morehouse Dress code.” Not suggesting that the opinions offered are the end all be all of gay opinion on the matter, but I think they may shed some light on the issue from a different perspective:
Morehouse College Appropriate Attire Policy
October 2009

It is our expectation that students who select Morehouse do so because of the College’s outstanding legacy of producing leaders. On the campus and at College-sponsored events and activities, students at Morehouse College will be expected to dress neatly and appropriately at all times.

Students who choose not to abide by this policy will be denied admission into class and various functions and services of the College if their manner of attire is inappropriate. Examples of inappropriate attire and/or appearance include but are not limited to:

1. No caps, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues. This policy item does not apply to headgear considered as a part of religious or cultural dress.
2. Sun glasses or “shades” are not to be work in class or at formal programs, unless medical documentation is provided to support use.
3. Decorative orthodontic appliances (e.g. “grillz”) be they permanent or removable, shall not be worn on the campus or at College-sponsored events.
4. Jeans at major programs such as, Opening Convocation, Commencement, Founder’s Day or other programs dictating professional, business casual attire, semi-formal or formal attire.
5. Clothing with derogatory, offense and/or lewd messages either in words or pictures.
6. Top and bottom coverings should be work at all times. No bare feet in public venues.
7. No sagging—the wearing of one’s pants or shorts low enough to reveal undergarments or secondary layers of clothing.
8. Pajamas, shall not be worn while in public or in common areas of the College.
9. No wearing of clothing associated with women’s garb (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at College-sponsored events.
10. Additional dress regulations may be imposed upon students participating in certain extracurricular activities that are sponsored or organized by the College (e.g. athletic teams, the band, Glee Club, etc).
11. The college reserves the right to modify this policy as deemed appropriate.
*All administrative, faculty, students and support staff members are asked to assist in enforcing this policy and may report disregard or violations to the Office of Student Conduct. ”

There’s a reason I highlighted #9. It’s because it’s the only regulation anyone gives a shit about. Follow me now:
I think it is a damn shame. Who cares if kids want to wear tutus, doo-rags, pumps or suits. I want every kid who is academically excellent and interested in being an effective leader in his chosen field to go to Morehouse – this doesn’t help.

Who gives a fuck if a kid wants to wear a mini-skirt to a basketball game. I can see how that *might* not be appropriate in the classroom, but at all college sponsored events? I love my alma mater but this is some hot bullshit. I just don’t think it is credible to say you are interested in competing with other private schools for one of the toughest “get” in academia – academically excellent black male undergraduates – and make these kinds of arbitrary restrictions.

There is absolutely no way the administration at other top tier schools we compete against for students would give one shit if you decided to wear “grillz” to the homecoming football game. I’d hope that if a kid shows up to his interview with a 1580, great leadership and a real interest in the college, that he wouldn’t be turned away because he likes to wear lipstick on Saturdays.

I wish my school was more concerned about effectiveness than optics.

-Bertram*, Morehouse Grad,-

This is crazy. Morehouse is not a damn country club. You got different dudes from different backgrounds that where different sh!t and then you got some real gay gays.

I don’t think the school should police the attire totally. I think events like Crown Forum and Freshman/Sophomore/Junior Assembly should still maintain a dress code. Everything else should be up to the student. Let them live and learn. If you come to the GS info session in timbs and jeans then don’t get mad when GS don’t hire your ass. You got to play the phony game if you want to win the prize. Everyone has seen the Morehouse website and the propaganda. You know the stereotype of the Morehouse dude before you get there.

What Morehouse NEEDS to do is stop letting trash come through it’s doors.

-Jermajesty*, Morehouse Grad,
Ok yall, don’t hide behind “appropriate”. I didn’t beef w/ the no grills rule. I have a problem with the hetronormative tone to the rules.
-Sasha*, Howard Grad (read her blog on the topic here)
So what’s my take, you ask? First let me state that I give a little money every month for the ACLU to support people’s right to gay marriage. I know two gay couples, one female and one male, who plan to get married in the next year and I support them both. When I was at Morehouse, My dormmate for a semester was gay. Why do I have to do all that explaining and caveating and up-front justfying my not being a homophobe?
Because I support this dress code
Here’s why. Morehouse is not Howard. Morehouse is not Harvard. It’s not UGA, it’s not Cal, and it’s not Kennesaw State. It’s the ONLY Historically Black All-Male college in the country. It’s not just a college. In many ways, Morehouse is one of the last bastions of resistance against an overpowering tide of black male underachievement, moral failing, and all-out coonery which has come to symbolize not only how others view American black males, but how more and more, American black people have come to view black males.
We get it, Big face hunneds

We get it, Big face hunneds

Waste of space
Waste of space
hanh!
hanh!
What’s the continuing thread in all of these gentlemen shown above? Simple. They’re buffoons (I started off with a different word but I took the edges off a bit). I don’t mean that in the sense that there’s something naturally wrong with them because of their race. They have each and individually taken up the mantle of behaving like the worst stereotypes of Black men that have been handed down to us for generations. Look at them. They look violent, unclean, efeminized, illiterate, or hood-rich, or some combination of the above. Straight or gay, light skinned or dark, short or tall, just take a look at the pictures above, and ask yourself in all truth if you can take any one of these depictions seriously? That has been what we have come to expect from the young black male, and in Tyler Perry’s example, the not so young. We’re swimming in people like this. People who aren’t employable, aren’t capable of taking care of a family, aren’t responsible, and aren’t safe. And they’re this way by choice. Remember that sociological experiment when the little black girl wanted to play with the white doll because it was “nice”? Well look above, and maybe you can figure out why, even at that young age she had developed her viewpoint. We’ve become a society of permisiveness. No standards. And if you look at the backward direction in which our community is going, well, the two aren’t divorced.
Morehouse is a private college. One that is responsible for educating the next generations of black businessmen, leaders, doctors, and success stories. It’s also a college. And in a colorblind, race-neutral world in which there were no historical precedents of black men being vilely depicted as either oversexed rapacious sexual predators, or neutered, effeminized pansies, I wouldn’t support this. College is a time to explore who you are and find out what you are. Want to smoke some weed? College. Want to research creole literature? College. Want to go help orphans in Guam while wearing guyliner and Liquid Leggings? College. But this is also the world in which we live in. It’s a world in which far fewer black males go to college then females, and once they’re there, far fewer graduate. I’m not saying a dress code that prevents people from dressing like goons or tagalogs from RHOA is going to change that. But it sends a pretty clear message to the people that want to go there: Get your fucking shit together. If you want to look like Plies, go somewhere else. If you want to sashay around in a tutu, go somewhere else. There’s a standard here. Something that’s sorely lacking in most black communities.
People who oppose the dress code throw around the world “heteronormative” a lot. And I understand where they’re coming from. #9 is pretty much geared towards gays. When I was on campus, the men with purses or women’s wear were pretty much all, well, gay. So some people want to take up arms that this is an anti-gay, homophobic action, an assault on gays cloaked as a manual for standards. But here’s the thing. No one’s saying you can’t be gay and come here. No one’s saying you can’t do whatever the hell you like off-campus. The reality is though, that just like straight black men who make an extreme effort to show their gold teeth and hold up their chain are an embarassment to black men everywhere, so are men in high heels and purses. You’ve chosen to be a stereotype.  Other gays cringe when they see you because you set them back. It’s a choice on how you carry yourself, and I’m ok with the college legislating away your choice to present yourself as a buffoon when your choices may have a negative impact on others.
You know, Plies went to an HBCU. And it fills my heart with pride that he didn’t go to Morehouse.
ADDENDUM: I’m really interested in the fact that a lot of people seem to think of clothing as a rights issue. Wherever I stand on the matter, why is it it’s only a rights issue for men that want to wear women’s clothes, and not for men that want to wear sagging Red Monkeys, Versace Shades, and a mouth full of gold teeth? I want to hear your opinion there.
The happy couple

The happy couple

So this weekend, one of my oldest and best friends got hitched. There’s no real moral of the story here. No if/then proposition or deep reflection on what it all means. I guess if you want to, you can look at it as proof that youngish black people are still walking down the aisle with some frequency, but that’s never really been a point of doubt for me. If you look at the wedding party and friends and family, The best man is married, and just had his second child, literally days before the wedding. One of the groom’s line brothers is married and just had his first child. Another line brother flew in from Seattle and has been married five years. He’s going to B school and they’re planning to start working on children after he finishes his first year. Actually, if there is a parable here, it’s this: Ladies, if you want to get married, find you an Alpha. They’re all about some marriage. The GDI’s, enh, maybe not so much. I keed, I keed. Needless to say, given the caliber of guests at the wedding, Lawrence Otis Graham would at least have given the celebration a passing nod before explaining how we all were crude ruffians unfit for polite society.

The wedding was great. It was a little long, I’ll admit, and the thing with Catholics is you ever really know when they’re actually married. I kinda needed someone to do the whole “I now pronounce you man and wife” deal. Three times during the ceremony, I thought it was over and started heading to the car to go watch the game before the Priest asked everyone to be seated.

Someone pass the cheese please

Someone pass the cheese please

In fun news, at the wedding reception, the Bride and Groom came out to Jay-Z’s PSA, which of course confused the old people and the young folks crunk as hell. Best line of the night:

Wayne mouthing  “I got the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain!”

And that was that. Then we all went back to the hotel, got really drunk, and at nachos and watched five college football games simultaneously at the sports bar. Certain unmentioned people decided to take over my room to indulge in a certain illegal habit known to cause short term memory loss and giggling. It was a nice time. Some pictures:

So if you’ve wondered why I haven’t been blogging, it’s for two simple reasons.

1. I’m looking for a job and doing some consulting gigs, so time is kind of at a premium here. I do love chopping it up with y’all, but unfortunately, until them ads for “Meet big-breasted women” and “Don’t pay for Teeth Whitening” show up on my header, you’uns ain’t making me no money

2. I don’t have a lot to complain about. Most good blog posts are interesting because they’re scandalous, controversial, or otherwise engender debate, preferably heated, and if possible, accompanied by juvenile insults. But my dating life has been going pretty swimmingly lately.

Which I figured is pretty boring and I mentioned as much, but one of my friends suggested I write something in regard to what I’m doing right to create this (at least temporarily) harmonious life. So why not. Here are just a couple quick ways I’ve found to keep life copacetic

1. Know thyself. I feel like a lot of people drink their own Kool-Aid as to who they actualy are. Folks self=perpetuate these myths about what their personality type is, how nice they are, how strong they are, what they can and can’t accept. And also where they stand on the dating totem pole. They say it’s really hard to hurt someone’s feelings who’s honest with themselves. Like that whole cliche about “does this dress make me look fat?” If you’re honest with yourself, you know whether that’s just a badly cut dress or if you’ve gained 15 lbs. since you left college. So if your hubby says that yes, the dress does make you look fat, your feelings won’t be hurt if you know the truth, either way. But if you’re predicating your happiness on fooling people (and yourself) into thinking you haven’t ballooned up like a Peanut Butter allergy victim or that you have great fashion sense, then you’re going to be unfortunately disillusioned. I think I do a pretty good job of knowing me. I know where I am in life, which is transitional. I know what I can offer and what I can’t, what I want and what I don’t (although I can be tempted sometimes.) But this takes a lot of the gray area out of my relationships.

2. Stop fucking with the wrong people. I swear to you, if you just start doing better due diligence on folks and putting people in the right place in your life, your happiness meter will go through the roof. New people are like job opportunities in a lot of ways. There are a lot of them out there, but really very few that are a good fit for YOU. But a lot of people end up unhappy in jobs and relationships because they take what’s just there or offered to them or easily attainable. Or they take them for the wrong reason. “I hate sales but I can make a lot of money.” “I don’t want to be a corporate lawyer but I don’t want this expensive degree to go to waste.” Yada ya, yada ya. Same with people. And I find this is an interesting argument with women, because they’re constantly told to adjust their standards to what’s realistic or given the numbers game, to “settle.” Now, I fell like if you have #1 down, this whole “settling” nonsense goes out the window. People who do a lot of yapping about them not “settling” typically are blind to the fact that people have to do some “settling” to deal with them.

I’ve met a not insubstantial number of women since I’ve been back in DC. The vast majority of them, I’ve not kept in touch with. They were cute, usually accomplished, nice, etc. But I tend to be one of those guys who knows immediately. And the ones that haven’t inspired inspired me? Throw them back in the water and waste neither their time nor mine. Everyone wins. Could I have gotten some cheap tail off the 40 year old who keeps sending me naked pics? Sure. It probably would have been fun, if not just for the story. But is it really worth my time or the potential fallout/trip to the clinic? Probably not.

Remember last season when Ari decided not to take the studio head job? The truth is, most people would have. Because it’s the safe thing to do or what’s socially expected. And so they would have ended up in something that seems fine from the outside but isn’t all that fulfilling. Sound like anyone’s relationship you know? It’s called “Fucking with the wrong person.” Because the right person is the one who allows you to roam around your new office gleefully lighting folks up with a paintball gun.

3. Be honest with folks. The reason no one’s slashing my tires is because no one has any cause to. People know exactly where they fit in my life and hopefully, vice versa. The thing is, we have this fear of loss which prevents us from being honest about the things we don’t want people to hear. But ironically, we risk really losing them by not telling them the truth. Look, I’m where I’m at, I’m doing what I’m doing, and this is what I got. Might I lose some opportunities by doing this? Sure. But it’s like lying on a resume. It usually comes back to you, and even if it doesn’t, who needs the stress of carrying on the facade?

I talked to a girl I kicked it with once or twice when I first came back. We have pretty much no interest in each other apart from sex. So we talked about rekindling a boinking session. She asked me if I planned to wine and dine her first. I told her absolutely not. Not because I have a problem with springing for a pre-wrestlemania meal, but because I think that puts us in a dishonest space. That’s like dating light. Look, if we’re here for the sex, let’s not pretend we came for the date and stayed for the sex. We came for the sex. And when we try to start confusing the tow, things get messy. So I passed.

This works when you want to be more with someone as well as less. So many of us walk around with hurt feelings and an unwillingness to put our feelings on the table for fear of rejection, we end up realizing exactly what we were trying to avoid. So tell that person in your life how much they mean to you. What’s the worse that could happen?  They’ll laugh in your face and deride you for having the nerve to think you’re going to move from jump-off to wifey/hubby? No that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is you could say nothing and be stuck being unhappy where you are. Don’t be like that. Be like my friend E here and put it on the table: