Archive for November, 2009

So I figured I’d break my little hiatus to talk about something that was on my mind. A couple Saturdays ago, a friend of mine hosted a gathering in the community room at her complex to ostensibly talk about Hill Harper’s book, the conversation. Since most of us had only gotten halfway through the book, the actual conversation kind of went off on its own accord. But it was a really good conversation as these things go People were honest, candid, and upfront. People disagreed and cosigned, and did both respectfully for the most part.

And while there was a lot of singleness in the room, I think there was also a lot of opportunity for people to create connections in that environment because of that word: RESPECT. People listened to each other, heard each other, and got to appreciate each other’s point of views as people, not just as cute faces, good resumes, or sweet, sweet pieces of ass candy.

The homie April mentioned the other day that she has started to notice more men seeking what she calls the “Michelle Obama” type. I don’t know that it’s that more men seeing that so much as many of us are starting to get to that age range where we are seriously considering people as partners. It’s just the natural shift in priorities that happens as people move through different stages in their lives. I think, if anything, Michelle Obama gave a face and a name brand to something most of us were lookign for in the first place. Someone we can respect as a person and a partner.

To some degree, we as men haven’t really seen a partner to someone that we idolize that’s really an awesome woman in her own right since Claire Huxtable. And Claire was, well, fictional. I  mean all respect to Juanita Jordan, but she wasn’t that compelling. Neither is, say, Denzel’s wife. You could argue for Jay and Bey, but they were both superstars before they got together. There was no real sense of building there. Probably the closest we really see to the Obamas as far as a respectful loving relationship is Will and Jada.

The thing is, this may seem somewhat novel because many of us have been raised or lived in situations for a long time that were devoid of respect. Both respect for others and respect for ourselves. To a large degree, society teaches us to be disrespectful of others and ourselves. Think about the last rap album you heard. I’ll bet 70% of the songs contained a reference to belittling someone, or making someone feel inferior, or labeling someone less than the rapper.

Cashmere sweats,They come out next year, but they my last year sweats
And my hoe’s so sick,
Your new chick can’t fuck with my old bitch
And you know this shit,
I’m professional, they novices

-Jay-Z, Off That-

You see my point? We’re so used to treating other people as our inferiors that it’s difficult to just go ahead and treat people as equals. And this carries over into our relationships. What is dishonesty? Disrespect. Lying to someone is probably the greatest form of disrespect out there. Because not only does it steal someone else’s ability to make informed decisions, it implies that you’re too weak or stupid to handle the truth. and this is easy enough to attribute in obvious situations. Infidelity, lying about how much money you make or whether you’re really still talking to your ex-girlfriend on IM every night, these are easy things to peg as lack of respect because they’re so obvious.

But there’s an undercurrent of not respecting people that also runs through the rest of many of our dating interactions which we have to stop if we want these things to work. Think about all the little games we play where we kind of toe the line between being up front and respectful and not.

When you’re fucking a girl who you have no intentions of wifing but you know that’s what she wants. Now, you never tell her you’re going to, so I mean, it’s not like you’re lying to her. But are you really respecting her? And is she really demanding the respect that she wants. She knows there’s all this ambiguity in the relationship, and yet she continues to follow through with it. Because respect is difficult. It means doing things which may be painful. Or telling people truths which they’ll get mad a you for. Or take the case of the woman who accepts drinks at the bar from some guy she has no intention of giving her phone number to. I mean, she doesn’t owe him anything for that drink. so her taking it shouldn’t be a signal to him that she likes him, right?

From a technical standpoint, sure. You can justify a lot of shit that you wouldn’t want someone to do to you because it gives you some advantage. But you’re also not giving yourself full credit. You fucking that girl or taking that drink or necklace or whatever, that’s just you selling your moral standing as a person. And for what, a piece of ass or a $9 Apple Martini? Can’t we do better? Don’t we have to do better? I know what you’re saying. Well, you can’t trust anyone else to do the right thing, so why should I? Well, sure, I’ll admit, it is a battlefield out there. And a lot of people aren’t playing fair. But it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to play at their level or not. And I’ve failed at this probably more often than not. I’ve done things not because they were the right things to do or the things that would lead to  greater outcome, but because they were the easy thing to do. they were the non-confrontational things, the things that kept shit smooth, the things that didn’t force me to explain myself. But as someone who’s experienced the flip side of that coin, I try to not put other people in that situation, because, personally, I don’t really like the feeling

Give you an example, someone once not so long ago showed a huge lack of respect for my time, and by extension, for me. And had they just told me what was going on, shit could have very well been cool. Whatever it was, I can accept and respect someone being honest and forthright with me even if they think it’ll hurt my feelings. You’re just not that into me, I can respect that. Your old flame is in town and you’d rather stay in and  have sex with them, I can dig it. You’d rather watch paint dry than spend time with me, hey, it is what it is. Having that info, I could have gone off and done what I was originally planning to do anyway. There would have been no hard feelings. But when someone doesn’t tell me the truth, it tells me that in their eyes, I’m not worthy of being honest with. I’m someone to be lied to or dismissed casually. And that’s not really a feeling I enjoy. I imagine some of the women that have dealt with me in the past may have had to deal with similar slights. But I should do better. So I think I will.


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Recess

Posted: November 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

Hello faithful readers. I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging. Although I imagine my lack of contribution to this wonderful site over the past few weeks may well have already been interpreted as something of a break. Nonetheless, I’ve been getting busier and busier lately, so I’ve had less time to contribute and since I hate to half ass anything, I’d rather not do it at all. In the meanwhile, I’d like to refer you to some of my friends’ sites which I think are pretty rad. Alternately, you can choose to peruse some of the other trash on the internet focused on gender-bashing, celebrity hatred, or internet pimping. I’ll let you find those on your own.

Recommended Reading:

A Belle in Brooklyn

The Lauren Show

Hell in a Handbag

Until I Get Married

Six Figure Sisters

She’s Just Not That Into You

There’s plenty more great ones on my blog list to the right, so please go enjoy those as well. Cheers. Enjoy this song, it reminds me of the rooftop pool at the Gansevoort South:

B. St. R.

Look how happy buddy looks

So the last couple of posts have been about the kind of people to avoid. People who suck out the life and fun of dating and leave you a spent shell of your former self. More accurately, people that are that way now. But, you know, the great thing about people, like wine, is that they change with time. They mellow, they smooth out, they become more stable. They often become more full-bodied as well, but that’s a post for another time.

As we all know, our world is very small. As such, we develop a sort of familial relationship with the people in our circle, with  good deal of incest to go along with it. Keith used to date Sasha. Tara hooked up with Steve that time, Earl and Michelle had an on and off thing, etc.  These people naturally develop reputations. This can be a good thing, because it allows you to pre-qualify people.

“Oh, yeah, Brad, he’s a stand-up dude. We worked at Mckinsey together and he’s really about his business.”

“Yup. Keisha? She’s good peoples. She seems sarcastic but she’s really cool.”

Awesome, right? Weeeeelllllll, ther’s of course a flip side.

“Jamal? Seriously? That dude is lame. Have you heard him talk?”

“Look dog, I saw you over there getting Christine’s number, and yeah, she’s cute and all, but I mean, dude, she knows a lot of Que’s, if you get my drift, dog. A LOOOOT of Que’s.”

Which can also be valuable. I mean, not only do you want to pre-approve potentially good matches, you want to weed out unqualified buyers, right? The problem here comes in the fact that once you are labeled as something, that’s what the general public perceives you as. And as someone who may be considering entering into a relationship with this person, well, You have to consider your own calculus. Is it worth the risk to deal with someone who had some issues in the past? Can people really change?

“And you can try to change, but that’s just the top layer

Man, you was who you was when you got here”

-Hov-

Well damn, that had an air of finality about it. Well, let’s see, can people be redeemed? Rehabbed? Made shiny and new? More specifically, what about these people?

The Whore

I mean, come on, we all know folks who both ARE whores, and WERE whores, male or female. And this is a sticky one. I mean, regardless of whether or not you’ve been celibate for three years, no one wants to be the guy that turned a “ho into a housewife.” I don’t know about you, but I wake up in cold sweats every once in a while after having a nightmare in which Too Short nonchalantly walks up to me and says “You a rest haven for hoes.” And all of a sudden kittens and ponies, and the girl robot from WALL-E appear an point and laugh at me. But there’s nowhere to escape their scorn! For men, I think this is an easier obstacle to overcome than women, since we’re assumed to be entitled to a whore phase. But what say you? Would you seriously date someone who got around? Would you constantly worry that you’ll unearth new skeletons? And frankly, if everything else about this person is as it should be, and assuming they’re disease free, does it matter?

The Cheater

Could have been once, could have been a hundred times. They say once a cheater, always a cheater. But is that true? What if you’re really all that person would ever need/want? Or is that just pie in the sky bullshit as he/she makes hotel reservations under a credit card you know nothing about and an assumed name?

The Gold Digger/Groupie

Every twitter male’s worst enemy, according to them, constantly trying to trap them for their 87 Civic and get free meals at Chipotle on their dime. But what if a woman (or man)’s stint as a gold-digger was a short lived period in their twenties of just seeing how far they could stretch the boundaries. Maybe they just happened to date an athlete, for all the right reasons. What if they just enjoyed the flashing lights for a while, fucked a couple famous people, and then moved on to real life? Can you hold that against someone?

The Player

Slightly different from the whore in that this is just the person who never commits. It might be the serial monogamist or the artful dodger, but either way, this person seems to always escape the noose of LTR-dom in the nick of time. Is this something you can forgive, or is there too much risk that you’ll be the next victim dropped off at the curb like so much recycling?

The Abuser/ The Abused

And this has been in the news lately obviously since the whole Riri/CB interview circuit. I mean, can this dude change? Would you trust him to? Or is he always one meaningless provocation away from slapping the dog shit out of some woman? And what about her? Is there a stigma to her being the victim of abuse? Do you treat her differently? Protect her more? Or not get involved because you fear there may be emotional undercurrents there that you can’t deal with? What about the victims of sexual violence. I forget the statistic, but the number of women who are raped every year is staggering. If you know a woman has been through that, does it change how you look at her?

The Broke/Trifling/Shiftless

Can someone get their shit together? Well, sure we know they can. But what if someone has recently emerged from brokedom or triflingness? Is there a seasoning requirement, liek flipping a house?  What do you need to see to know they won’t backslide?

Maybe we can learn from our mistakes

So what do you do? Have you dated someone who has been reformed? Or have you rejected someone who may have been reformed because their past scared you off? Discuss.

Duh-nuh-nuh. Finally, our long awaited guest post from young Jubi over at Black Girls Unlost Enjoy:

Us ladies (myself included) sometimes have a hard time spotting the men to avoid & the ones to pursue…here’s a short list of the men to avoid if you can, unless of course, you like taking on new projects:

Gold is for the honeys, green is for the money!

The Player

Yes I know its cliché, but it still holds true.  “Monogamous” is a word that is not in his lexicon.  He always has a team, and the best you can hope for is that it’s a b-ball squad instead of a football starting lineup.  He is the quintessential ladies man, and sadly, you probably aren’t the woman to get him to settle down.  When you first meet him, he’s charming & seems to know all the right things to say, and he’s probably putting it down in the bedroom too.  But once you get comfy, you realize that you’re just one of many, and he isn’t about to change his lifestyle just for you.  Make no mistake, he has no problem with you taking care of him in hopes of being his one & only, but with this guy, the “prize” is being his #1, not his only.  Save yourself the heartache & the drama by steering clear of this guy.

It's not my fault!

The Victim

Brandon posted on the ladies who are victims, but there are a lot of men who fit this definition too.  Everything in life happens to him and taking responsibility for his actions is a foreign concept.  Being broke, not holding onto a job or having a crappy one, not being happy with his life, and countless other things are always the fault of someone else, particularly The Man.  In your relationship, he can’t take responsibility or make a decision either; he leaves it all up to you so when it doesn’t work out, the blame is squarely on your shoulders.  This guy isn’t worth the frustration & negativity.

Oh, hello, plebians!

Oh, hello Plebians!

The Elitist

We all know one of these guys, a snob to the 10th degree.  You aren’t worth his time unless you went to the right school, got the right degree, pledged the right sorority, got the right job, shop in the right stores, and so on & so forth.  Dating this guy means rubbing elbows with his peers who are equally snobby & stiff, probably at some boring wine & cheese or other event that the Black elite are attending now.  He wouldn’t be caught dead in anything that could be mistaken as “common”.  What’s funny is that most of these men are one or two generations removed from poverty, but let them tell it, they are a blue-blood through and through.  Should you have the right pedigree and grooming to make it past his elaborate vetting process; you’ll be disappointed in what you get: a boring, judgmental man who is insecure in who he is.  Not worth it, in my book.

Oh shit, Run This Town is on! Feel it coming in the aiiiiir!

The Club Guy

He’s the guy dressed head-to-toe in designer labels, rocking probably knock-off designer shades in the club.  He’s poppin bottles in the club every night, and you see him on indmix.com every week.  He’s an attention whore that needs to see & be seen…which doesn’t leave too much time for a relationship.  He’s spending all his time & money trying to floss with his boys, so those romantic dates are out of the question.  Besides, do you really want your man to be in the club every night?  I think not.  Dance with him in the club, enjoy his VIP table & keep it moving.

And if you need me, baby, I'll come running...

The Two-Minute Brother

I know what some of y’all were thinking and you should definitely avoid “that guy”, but I’m actually referring to that guy that is in a rush to be in a relationship.  He wants your number in the first five minutes of conversation, he wants to be exclusive after the second date, and he wants to put a ring on it before three months has passed.  Sure, it can seem like a whirl-wind romance & you’ve been swept off your feet & all that wonderful stuff…but then you ask yourself: what’s the rush?  Why is he in such a hurry to lock me down?  He could be the type of man who knows what he wants (and has found it in you)…OR he could have some ulterior motives.  Love is grand, but rushing doesn’t help anyone, and if he’s not willing to slow down the pace, it could be a sign that he has abusive or co-dependent tendencies.  Proceed with caution.

Look, bitch, I got a meeting. You cool getting home, right?

The Emotionally-Unavailable Guy

This guy is harder to spot, and unfortunately, you really don’t know he’s this guy until after you’ve been in a relationship for a while.  This guy never invests his heart in the relationship, and it manifests in his behavior.  He’s detached from you, and seems cold and uncaring.  When he talks or makes plans, it’s all about him, instead of about two of you as a couple.  He may have had negative relationships with women from an early age (especially his mother) which continues to affect his behavior in your relationship.  The only way he show any emotion is through sex, and after its over, he’s back to being cold and distant.  It can be very difficult to deal with an emotionally distant or unavailable man, and you will have to do some soul-searching to figure out if you can sustain a relationship that is lacking emotionally.  For many women, it becomes a source of contention within the relationship, and the breaking point.  Walking away may be the best thing.

Bitch, this the dog walker, let me you hit back

The No Time Guy

This is the guy who thinks he can do it all: the career, the family, the friends, the extra stuff, and the relationship.  Unfortunately, you’re the low man on the totem pole, and he puts everything else before you and your relationship.  Once he’s done working, dealing with friends and family, attending fraternity meetings, and playing his intramural game, he barely has time to kiss you goodnight.  You feel lucky if he’s able to swing by for a quickie once a week.  In order to get on his schedule, you have to book him way in advance (think Robin Givens and Eddie Murphy in “Boomerang”, where she penciled him in three weeks in advance).  He cancels at the last minute or doesn’t even show up, and you’re left wondering why you even put up with his foolishness.  If a man isn’t willing to make time for you and the relationship, then he’s toxic and a waste of time.

My number one lady

The Mama’s Boy

We’ve all been there and dated the mama’s boy.  He can’t make a decision or even brush his teeth without consulting his mother.  She is the first, last and only woman in his life.  No woman will ever compare to mama, but he’s going to make you jump through hoops like you’re auditioning for the circus to see if you can come close to his mama’s greatness.  You’ll be cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, entertaining his friends, walking his dog, and everything else, just to prove to him how great you are. But at the end of the day, it will be all for naught, cause mama won’t like you anyway.  Taking care of your man is great, but do you really want to take care of a man who doesn’t know how to boil an egg or put his dirty clothes in the hamper?  Unless your professional title is “servant”, skip the mama’s boy and find a man who doesn’t have such an unhealthy relationship with his mother.

Preview: Toxic Men

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

This was supposed to have been up days ago, but Sooooooomeone didn’t get their guest post to me yet. However, I assure when she does (TOMORROW!), it’s gonna be awesome, and I think you’ll really like the one after that. I’m trying to bring this around to a constructive end, so hopefully, you’ll see where I’m going with this when it’s all done. In the meanwhile, enjoy our supposed guest blogger’s other works HERE