Thursday, December 31, 2009

Black women are not broken, SO STOP TRYING TO FIX US!!

I get so frustrated with relationship/dating advice that places blame squarely on black women’s behavior when it comes to being single. Sure, there is always room for self-reflection, and of course there are MANY things we as women can change, but we must recognize the PRIMARY issue is not us. If we don't understand that there is a mathematical discrepancy that exists, we'll continue to try to fix something that's not even broken (which, of course, only makes the situation worse).

I'm actually hurt when I read things like: "the reason 70% of black women are single is because they’re (insert insult here)" - statements like this clearly don't acknowledge the larger problem that must be addressed. As one self-proclaimed relationship/dating advice expert submitted to me:

“Men look for three main things: great personality, respectability, and emotional availability. Many black women lack those three things which plays a huge role in why they’re single.”

Advice based on this perception is incredibly dangerous and injurious to black women. We often internalize this advice (when truly there's nothing wrong with us), and resultantly become too accommodating and emotionally available. Too many black women can speak of short “relationships” which have left them as struggling single moms, heartbroken due to infidelity, or with an STD. Too many black women are left wondering why they tolerated an undeserving man’s tomfoolery from Jump Street.

Look, the reality is, black women can self-reflect until kingdom come, it still won't make enough educated black men pop up to wife us all.

If you keep trying to fix your screen while the true problem lies within your VCR, you’re going to f*ck around and destroy your television – which was working just fine to begin with!

When it comes to black women marrying equally accomplished black men, the numbers just aren’t there. Just accept it and start broadening your horizons. If you read any dating advice geared towards black women that doesn’t ostensibly acknowledge this idea, dismiss that b*llsh*t as tomfoolery before it obliterates you from the inside out.

The main problem is we, as black women, haven't figured out how to navigate the system. We haven't figured out how to build a black man up to our level without insulting his masculinity. We haven't figured out how to love those who love us first, even if that person is not the same race as us. We haven't figured how to become patient as opposed to excessively tolerant…

I certainly don’t have all the answers - I’m still learning how to iron out those dilemmas for myself. I just pray we start searching for solutions in the right storehouses, and stop damaging self-esteem by convincing ourselves that there’s something dreadfully wrong with us, when in actuality, we’re just fine…for the most part ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cablinisian Privilege

Tiger Woods has the thickest veil of impenetrable presumed innocence that I've ever seen on a man who would have been a slave in 1864.

I don’t care what he calls himself, cablanasian, cablinisian – whatever the hell the term is he uses to distance himself from black – Tiger Woods would’ve been pickin’ cotton or in the kitchen snappin’ peas with the rest of us common negroes 150 years ago. Yet somehow he’s arrived at a level of success that permits him to tell police to go to hell - AND THEY LISTEN. That’s right folks, as of today, Dec. 1, 2009, Tiger Woods has not offered any details to authorities regarding the crash that occurred while driving on his property at 2:30 a.m. last week (ref). He has, however, released a miniscule amount of information to fans via his website saying he has “cuts and bruises and was ‘pretty sore’.”

Fast forward to this evening when another of Tiger’s affairs is elucidated (ref). Laughably, a response is posted on titled Another Wood’s Mistress Surfaces? Why Are Women Trying to Destroy Tiger’s Marriage. Of course, the obvious question is: Why is Tiger Woods trying to destroy his own marriage? But more intriguingly, I’m completely befuddled by the propensity of the general public to presume innocence when it comes to Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan doesn’t even get that kind of red-carpet treatment.

Picture Michael Jordan dismissing authorities, telling the po po to come back later because he’s trying to sleep, and refusing to divulge the details of a crash that resulted in thousands of dollars in property damage and a potential vehicular homicide. Picture Michael Jordan walking away from it all with a $164 fine. No days. MJ’s ass woulda been up the river - old age, bald head, and all. The headlines would read: “Michael Jordan detained for further questioning in connection with mysterious crash” - and you know it. So why the discrepancy? Could it be we’re THAT color-struck?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Talkin' 'Bout Good And Bad Hair...See If I Care

If you think hair relaxers and weaves will ultimately result in the demise of Black America, you're wrong - and overly dramatic. I would not deny that the majority of African-Americans who permed their hair with lye in the '60s did so out of desire to assimilate. But honey, this is 2009, not 1964.

Today, Black women partake in a buffet of hair options and are celebrated for exercising variety in coifing. A quick assessment of today’s high schools demonstrates relaxers do no more damage to a Black girl's identity than Nickelodeon. Our teenage girls (who frequently have authority over their hair choices) manifest a spectrum of styles. They revel in everything from 2 inch twists to waist-length weaves, and zealously delight in planning their future uncanny hair ventures.

I don’t look at a 16 year-old girl who's had her hair permed, but now chooses plaits, kinky twists, or cornrows, and conclude that a relaxer taught her self-hate, or to hate her own ethnicity.

Nonetheless, the mother who chemically modifies her child's hair at age 4 teaches a potentially more damaging lesson, one that we fail to evaluate in favor of inconsequential discussions concerning aesthetics.

Certainly, this mother realizes the damage she may cause. Still, she's willing to chemically modify her child's hair before it's sufficiently developed, without informed consent, simply to make it "more manageable". As she is willing to risk permanent destruction to her child’s crown for the benefit of not having to “deal with it", this mother inadvertently confirms, "it's ok to be lazy". Surely, there is a subconscious lesson being learned by the child here, but is that lesson primarily about aesthetics, worth, or work ethic? Arguably, the lesson includes elements of each, but which is most substantial?

This begs a greater question: what are the priorities of the Black community in this great hair debate?

Let’s face it, eventually, natural hair will be universally accepted. The reason locs and twists are not readily tolerated in corporate America today is simple - there aren't enough Blacks there to make it acceptable. Ignorance will be abrogated the moment African-Americans possess a proportionate quantity of America's power. The ultimate focus of the Black community should be arriving at that point most expeditiously.

But alas, we preferentially debate who's the “blackest”.

Truthfully, natural hair makes you no more conscious than relaxed hair indicates self-hate. Both populations are contributing to a billion-dollar a year black hair care industry that profits Asian-Americans almost exclusively.

Yet, this we don't discuss. Priorities, people!

How do we build wealth in our communities? How do we impinge upon white America’s stronghold? Is assimilation a necessary component of Black America’s transition to acceptance? These are the questions that need debating – and answering.

Honestly, hair is just hair. Individuals choose to style it in a variety of patterns, for a battery of reasons. Each time we pit naturals against relaxers, we lend credence to the notion that hair is the quintessential component of the Black woman's identity. What lesson are we teaching ourselves with this behavior? What are we proving to those who are watching us? That black people are as superficial and materialistic as they’re deemed? How ‘bout we take the steam off of that argument, and refocus our priorities on what really matters - progress.

So when it comes to good and bad hair, this blogger just doesn't care.

And now, for your viewing pleasure: Spike Lee's Good And Bad Hair. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You sir, are a racist!

Ignorant racists are the most dangerous kind. No, not belligerent racists, but those who are subtly racist and fail to recognize their own prejudice. How can we ever dispose of racism if we don’t first acknowledge it? Accordingly, I composed this list, specifically for the benefit of the ignorant majority. Note (*cough* white folks): If any of these apply to you, YOU ARE WAY MORE RACIST THAN A LITTLE BIT.

Said “I’m not racist”. Everyone is at least a little racist. Defending any of your actions with this statement is merely an indication of your ignorance.
Believed “white privilege” doesn’t exist. Minorities are ~35% of the US population. Name 35 minority senators…GO!...What?! No dice? Ok, gimme 5 minority senators…Give up yet?
Worn an afro as a Halloween costume. Frankly, I’m surprised by the frequency of this behavior.

Believed Mexicans aren’t minorities. *sigh* Mexicans aren’t the majority. Not in the US. Not in the world.
Argued that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. *sigh again*. I can’t. I just can’t with this one.
Said “I have 3 black friends”. Why are we counting? Is there a limit?
Celebrated “post-racial” America. Don’t make me fall out of my chair laughing.
Given your car keys to black man in a Prada suit. If the silk tie didn’t indicate that he wasn’t the valet, the Italian leather shoes damn sure should’ve given it away.

Additionally, let me say I don’t buy into the notion that black people can’t be racist simply because as a people they lack power over the establishment. Fooey. There’s institutional racism, and there’s individual racism. Furthermore, there are gradations of racists. If you were raised in the United States of America, a nation founded on the premise that “all men were created equal” (except the skins and the coons – to hell with them), you almost certainly have at least one racist bone in your body. The question is, how racist are you? Realistically, if you don’t realize you’re at least a little racist, you’re probably A LOT.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Relax. ACORN is not a left-wing conspiracy. It's a hot ghetto mess.

The controversy over ACORN has reignited with many on the right outraged following Fox News coverage of a video posted on James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles are being heralded as heroes for conducting a “sting operation” which revealed ACORN personnel on hidden camera advising a “pimp” and a “prostitute” on a mortgage application.

The ACORN staff members caught on tape were subsequently terminated. Sadly, they probably thought they were doing their jobs. Congratulations James and Hannah! You’ve discovered what many have known for years: ACORN is a hot ghetto mess. Are you surprised? I’m not.

I could have told you ACORN is unorganized and completely unreliable after they provided “housing counseling” for me during the purchase of my first home. Following my brief interaction with the organization, I was willing to sum up their service with one word: Ghetto.

So relax right-wing. ACORN is far from an undercover Obama-led conspiracy project. I can assure you, if Barack Obama had ANYTHING to do with ACORN, they’d be ten times more professional. Just ask the campaign headquarters that sprung up one block from my home a few short weeks before Election Day.

Yet James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles have managed to point out one thing: the tremendous disparity between middle America and da ‘hood. Yes, white people, they sell cigarettes out of the package in the hood. And food stamps. And unreleased movies on DVD – 2 for $15. And we “play in the fire hydrant”. And ‘hood people occasionally patronize a host of other “illegal” ventures - it’s usually called a “hook up”. Holla if ya here me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pass The Mic!

It’s wonderful that Americans are engaged in a sorely needed discussion about healthcare reform. Yet the voices of reputable professionals have been notably diminutive in this debate. The opinions of physicians, nurses, scientists, public health policy experts, etc., are infrequently solicited, perpetuating the ignorance of the masses to larger, potentially more deleterious issues.

For instance, reasonable individuals identify inefficiencies in our current healthcare system as problematic; still we fail to have proper discussions about the nature of those deficiencies and how to correct them. It’s painfully evident to me as a scientist that there is a glaring inefficiency in the government’s return-on-investment for the $30.5 billion it spends annually on biomedical research. Much of that research is conducted in academia on rare diseases for which there is no available treatment. Often, these are the same diseases for which pharmaceutical companies have little to no financial incentive to investigate. As academicians are seldom concerned with profit, much of the $30.5 billion ends up in publication oblivion. In other words, huge potential for therapeutic discovery is lost between the academic’s thirst for knowledge, and industry’s requisite for profit. This isn’t an unfamiliar phenomenon to biomedical scientists. In fact, we often mock the gap between academia and industry by describing the collaborative effort to communicate ideas between the two as “throwing it over the fence”. This problem is far from beyond repair. Easily, the government could offer enticements that would promote collaboration between academia and industry, thereby encouraging the translation of a larger chunk of that $30.5 billion into tangible therapeutics.

That’s plainly obvious to me, and I’m just a Ph.D. candidate. Imagine what a Nobel Prize winning biologist could add to this discussion.

I don’t hesitate to place blame on healthcare professionals for allowing their voices to be muted. Yet, I also recognize that we as a people effectively silence the commentaries of those which are most desperately needed. We are magnetized to sensationalism, rather than verity. Resultantly, “Joe The Plumber” becomes a household name, while in the midst of a storm of controversy around healthcare reform, few can identify the current Surgeon General.

If we want real solutions, we must engage those who have been most aptly trained to provide them. So the next time somebody wants to discuss Bill Maher and Sarah Palin’s position on some aspect of healthcare reform, you should ask them about Steve Galson and Regina Benjamin’s stance on the same issue...they’re the acting and prospective Surgeon General (I figured you might need to know who they are).

Often, those with the loudest voices are the least worth listening to.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What’s Really Wack About “Basic Bitch”

If you haven’t been privy to the latest phrase in feminine degradation, don’t worry, you will be. Comedian Lil’ Duval has popularized the slang term “basic bitch” as a colorful descriptor for what we’ve commonly referred to as a “hood-rat” – a female of pitiable stature who has failed to recognize or rise above her underprivileged upbringing (see video below). As the comedian Spank pointed out, it’s not the “bitch” part that’s troublesome (women are immune to that one), but it’s that word “basic” which really burns our bums.

It didn’t bother me at first, because the phrase obviously doesn’t apply to me. But then I thought about the subliminal message that’s sent when we attach negative connotation to a term that literally implies simplicity and fundamentalism, and then use it to degrade women.

Our society debases independence and assertiveness in women and celebrates mediocrity. We exalt women for their physical perfection, not their intelligence, ambition, eloquence, leadership, or even education (so what if perfection includes a few nip-tucks here, or augmentations there). We go so far as to tell independent women with standards that they’re “stuck-up bitches”. We even punish them with isolation and ridicule.

Yet when a woman gives you exactly what you requested, you demean her by calling her a “basic bitch”.

Silly me. I thought men appreciated qualities like natural beauty, politeness, and traditionalism in women. I thought being pleasant and easy to please was a feather in a woman’s cap.

The fortunate thing about this term is that women will indubitably rebel against it. They’ll position themselves as such that they can only be described as something other than “basic” - which will unfortunately create more disparities between the sexes in the African-American community where the idiom originated.

Men who throw this expression around really need to check themselves. Real talk fellas, if you degrade women for being simplistic or conventional, you’re probably going to transmogrify them into something you really don’t want to deal with – AGGRESSIVE BITCHES! Just like how y’all turned “suck my d*ck” into a derogatory phrase...and then wonder why black woman have an aversion to oral sex. Gag me with a spoon.

Just sayin’…

What if women as a whole demanded more from men as a whole? What if we refused to spread our legs for anything less than an educated brother, pulling down a comfortable salary, and demonstrating lucid potential for a successful future?

Could you imagine what the world would be like?

This is not an unexplored concept for me. As one of my best friends frequently points out, this strategy is doomed from the start. There will always be some hoe-rat that thinks she can make a man fall in love by breaking the rules, not realizing that the rules are actually orchestrated for her protection.

I commented yesterday that “p*ssy is power”, and you know what was thrown back at me? “All women don’t have to use their p*ssies to get what they want.” *sigh* Clearly this individual has misconstrued the raison d'être for this phrase. The point is, the longer you keep your legs closed, the more you present a challenge (within reason, of course). When you present yourself as a challenge, a man will either rise to meet your expectations, or kick rocks. Ladies, don’t be deceived into thinking you can put something on him that’ll make him love you. Generally, male minds don’t work like that – ours do. I guess what I’m saying is, giving it up too soon is completely counterproductive. For everybody (you’re ruining it for everybody!! (insider) lol). Remember when it brought shame upon a woman, her father, and her family name to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage? Remember that thing called chivalry? Just sayin’…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why am I not surprised?

You’re probably aware that Pat Buchanan (senior advisor to Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and former Republican presidential candidate) has been on a tirade this past week, hurling his racist views, and charging that Sonia Sotomayor is unqualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. He claims that she is merely an “affirmative action appointment” - never mind that she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, attended Yale Law, or that she has more judicial experience than any nominee in the past 100 years. Nope. Not according to old Pat B. There’s no way that any of Sotomayor’s accomplishments were merited in accordance with anything other than her race.

That bothered me, but not as much as the response - NADA. No, Not from liberals - they’ve launched the obligatory counter-attack. But the silence from the G.O.P. leadership, in my eyes, echoes their agreement.

I googled the names of prominent republicans, curious if any of them denounced Pat B.’s comments with the realization that his statements are destructive to party progress. Not surprisingly, my searches didn’t turn up any hits. Not even when I cross checked Pat B.’s name with -- (drum roll please) -- Michael Steele. Was I really expecting something else? **sigh**

Steele has become a symbol of all that’s wrong with the Republican Party. Seriously.

1. He sounds ridiculous. Like most republican leaders of today, his rhetoric rarely makes sense. I hate to break it to you Mr. Steele, but minorities aren’t going to be drawn to the Republican Party by you saying “y’all come”. And you can keep your fried chicken and potato salad. Uncle Barack is barbequing on the white house lawn next week.

2. He looks ridiculous. As John Stewart pointed out, very reminiscent of the Angry Customer from Sesame Street. Lemme think, what else looks ridiculous? How ‘bout that squirrel on Sarah Palin’s head? Or Mitt Romney’s forced smile? Mark Sanford’s alligator tears? Or hell, just plain old Rush Limbaugh...

3. He IS ridiculous. I would call him an “affirmative action appointment” - if I thought he was actually QUALIFIED. This man has no appeal with minorities, whatsoever. Consequently, he has no shot at attracting diverse populations of voters. If this is what Republicans think we want, they are sadly mistaken. They haven’t heard a word we’ve said in the past 50 years. We’re already hip to that game and not interested in being bamboozled. But hey, kudos on their ability to effectively swindle Michael Steele.

I concede that Steele is only symbolic of the party’s issues; he himself is far from the problem. The G.O.P. has been flailing around desperately like a deep sea fish on dry land ever since George Bush endorsed John McCain’s presidential bid with a tap dance (no, really – the President was tap-dancing, literally). The longer the fish remains out of water, the more wildly it thrashes. Until, of course, it dies. One could only hope for as much.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Miseducation of the American

Last Thurday, Barack Obama called the U.S. healthcare system “broken” and vowed not to tolerate “endless delays” in fixing it. I presume that’s what prompted TNT to air "John Q" last week, and Showtime to broadcast "Sicko" this morning. Realizing that my perception of this issue is influenced by my recent reading of Carter G. Woodson’s “The Miseducation of the Negro”, I find myself incensed that the U.S. citizen has allowed himself to be so readily bamboozled.

“John Q” is a story about an average blue-collar worker who resorts to holding a hospital hostage in order to ensure that his dying son receives a $300,000 heart transplant, which his insurance company refuses to cover. Although it’s a fictional account, “John Q” points to glaring deficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system. Patient care is financially focused; an individual is treated in accordance with what he can afford. Furthermore, this system contributes to a culture of arrogance and apathy within the healthcare profession (sorry doctors and nurses, but it’s been my experience that veterinarians are often much more accommodating and sympathetic when it comes to clients that can’t pay - could be because euthanasia is one of our options :-p). At any rate, “John Q” makes a salient point - capitalism may be a fine social model, but perhaps it is not applicable to every aspect of a country’s existence. Surely in a nation as great as the U.S., land of the free, home of the brave, one would not be subjected to choosing between adequate healthcare and the next meal.

Michael Moore brings this point home in his own unique way in “Sicko” . Upon sighting the free healthcare provided on U.S. soil to detainees at Gitmo, he rounds up a few rescue workers who suffer from an inability to afford proper treatment for their post-9/11 afflictions. Surprise surprise, the facilities at Guantanamo Bay deny these U.S. citizens, however they receive adequate diagnostics and medical care at a Cuban hospital – for free. One woman burst into tears when she finds the $120 medication she uses to treat her respiratory condition available in a Cuban pharmacy for around 5 cents.

As Americans, we are misguided. We are so convicted in our belief that there is no way other than democracy and capitalism that we regard communism as a great evil. We label Fidel Castro and the Chinese government as "the devil" because they support Marxist principles. We’re taught this hate and to reverence capitalism more than we are taught the difference between communism and socialism. We are so miseducated as a people, that the average American fails to recognize the socialist elements at play in their own everyday life – SOCIAL security, the FREE library, PUBLIC schools, even the police and fire departments are completely financed by the government.

"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.” – Carter G. Woodson.

I am appalled that many Americans are outraged by the idea of socialized medicine. It seems to me that those who believe capitalism is the best model for healthcare are simply posturing – capitalism is always good, socialism is always bad. This drone-like mindset contributes to the cause of the wealthiest five-percent, who seek to fatten their pockets without regard to the suffering endured by those beneath them. As a result of their miseducation, the very individuals who are oppressed by the system are not only appreciative of the current structure, but advocate perpetuance of it. Their education makes it necessary.

Barack Obama is certain to face much opposition from conservatives when it comes to healthcare reform, so much so that I fear he will cower away from a true reformative agenda until he has secured a second term. I’m sure that there are appropriate counter-arguments to be made to the socialization of medicine, yet I pray that as a people we become informed to the point that our perspective doesn’t remain as simple and constrained as: America is great because of capitalism, therefore capitalism must be great for healthcare.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dude, you got us all wrong – lemme tell you what women REALLY want.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you women aren’t materialistic. I’m not even going to deny that we don’t lust after Barack simply because he’s a handsome commander-in-chief. I won’t even pretend like women generally don’t care about how much money a man makes. If I told you that, you would call me a liar, and vow to never read my soap-boxes (er eh…I mean blogs) again. And you’d be right. So I’ll start instead by straight-up admitting that even though I have my own isht, I too become giddy when a dude pulls up in an SLK to pick me for dinner at the Chart House!

But looks, education, a career, and money are only a small slice of the what-women-want pie. Height, 24-inch biceps, money, and 25 doctorate degrees don’t replace our basic need to be adored and respected, or our desire to “feel like a woman”. Yet, so often we hear men go into this “woe is me…nice guys finish last” narrative. They seem to think that unless they drive a Mercedes, can bench press 250 lbs., hold an M.B.A., and work for a fortune 500 company, women won’t be interested in them.

Negatroid. Sure, just like men, women have fantasies. But generally, we’re realistic when it comes to dating. I’ll let you guys in a little secret: most of the time when women are sitting around complaining about the deficiencies of men, we’re complaining more about the things they should DO but won’t than we are about the things they could HAVE but don’t.

Here’s some more food for thought for the single men. So often I see you guys sell yourselves short when it comes to a lady you like. You walk by her a thousand times before you stop and ask her name. You don’t call because you’re concerned she won’t answer (so you send that b*llsh*t @ss “what’s up” text). You don’t want to spend money on dates because you “ain’t no sucka”. All these behaviors translate to women as either a huge ego, or a lack of confidence. If you regard me as a respectable young lady who deserves to be properly courted, why don’t you court me properly? Are you just trying to see what you can get away with? If that’s the case, don’t be mad when I treat you like a jump-off and turn over and go to sleep as soon as I get mine! Furthermore, ask yourself: would a confident man demonstrate fear of rejection? No! A confident man knows he’s a great catch and could care less if one particular woman is disinterested! I know - men love women who “play their part” and “let a man be a man” in relationships. Truth is, there are lots of women who actually WANT to play that part. However, you must realize that roles are defined from the moment of the first exchange between a man and a woman. If you don’t play your part and court a lady properly (AHEM…the traditional role of a man) in the dating phase of a relationship, don’t expect her to be a submissive Suzy-homemaker six months down the line.

On to my boyfriends, fiancées, and husbands. First, let me throw out this caveat: I’m single, and have been for quite some time. But I can tell you this – NEVER has a female friend or relative called me to complain about the fact that their man’s car isn’t fly enough, that he can’t afford to take her out, or that he didn’t bring her an extravagant enough floral arrangement. The complaints usually go something like this: “he never takes me anywhere,” “he stayed out all night and didn’t even bother to call,” “he doesn’t appreciate me” - all intangibles. What does that tell you? If she’s with you, it’s probably because of YOU. Men seem to always want to believe that they have to buy a dozen roses, make dinner reservations at The Capital Grille, and drive an Aston Martin to keep a woman happy. Trust me - it ain’t about that (not sayin’ that we don’t like those things too!); it really is the thought that counts. Here’s a tip: save yourself the $32.50 on roses, and just make the frickin’ phone call. Pluck a tulip from the neighbor’s lawn. Bring home her favorite candy bar once in a while. And if you can’t afford that dinner at The Capital Grille, how about just going to Red Lobster (I don’t know anybody who would turn down some cheddar bay biscuits!). Finally, this whole “play ya part” thing applies to you too. Confident, respectable men make calculated decisions, and they’re prepared to deal with the fallout no matter the outcome. You can’t seriously expect your lady to let you be “the man of the house” and manage the finances if you’ve been known to blow your entire check on video games.

That’s it – confidence, love, respect, adoration…you know, the intangibles. Please, fellas, stop running around talkin’ ‘bout how women don’t know how to treat a good man, how we only want to date thugs and gangstas, or how we have unrealistic expectations of men (we don’t really wanna date Barack! Barack is too damn busy! And married!). Next time you tune your lips up to make those assertions, ask yourself the following questions: have I successfully defined myself as “the man” in the relationship? Am I as confident as a thug or gangsta? Is the pressure I feel really due to my own silly preconceived notions of what I think a woman wants from me? If that pressure has anything to do with possessions, it’s probably more YOU than it is HER. Most women I know genuinely want to be loved, appreciated, respected, and courted. Usually, they would rather you make the “honey, I’ll be home late” phone call than show up the next day with a bouquet.

There’s no big mystery to what women want. Be confident, and learn to put that ego aside. Trust me, that’ll carry you a long way as far as most women are concerned.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Remark Heard 'Round the Facebook World

The Black Man’s Quote: “Maybe because black women aren’t raised to take care of their man as well as white women or Latina women...I wonder if white and Hispanic women expect to be treated as queens?? Or if they simply want to be great wives and mothers?”

Yes. An actual quote, made on facebook, by a black man (who shall continue to remain nameless).

My initial reactions: offended, hurt, and concerned.
My second thought: well, he just crossed over! (cue Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” – LMAO!)

Now, the author of this quote is a dear friend of mine – so put down the .22 ladies! Additionally, a few other black men quickly chimed in to express their emphatic agreement. Whoa nelly. Y’all might wanna pump ya brakes - you might be digging yourself a deeper grave here.

Even though I disagree with you, I’m not going to lash out. Recognizing that I am the personification of the strong black woman, I am going to respond to this statement on behalf of my sisters just the way a strong black woman should: with the strength to re-educate the miseducated negroes, from an African-American perspective, but in the loving, caring, and nurturing way that a real WOMAN should. (Hey Boo Boo - how you like them apples?!)

First I was offended.
Not for myself, but on behalf of my Caucasian and Latina sisters. You’re implying that white and Latina women aspire to be nothing more than a wife and mother - that they don’t aspire to be educated, develop careers/professions, or advance themselves and their people. Not saying that there’s anything wrong with a woman who only wants a career, or only wants to be a wife/mother, but we all know that it takes a truly GREAT woman to do both. So are you saying that greatness is not something Caucasian/Latina women envision for themselves? And therefore don’t expect to be treated as such? I could go further, but imma let my white/Latina sisters handle the light work.

Then I was hurt.
Black man, you say I don’t know how to treat you, but what about me? Lauryn said it best - “Tell me who I have to be to get some reciprocity.” What’s taking care of my man? Am I supposed to cook and clean, massage his back, tell him he’s wonderful, be slow to accuse, hasten to love, look good 24-7, and submit to his will? I see a lot of black women doing that for their black man - to no avail. Their relationships end in infidelity and betrayal; they end up abused and broken-hearted, as struggling single mothers, or literally shedding tears in the rain. Inherent in this quote is one correct assumption: black women are slow to submit. However the neglected principle here is the painful reason behind this: so often black men perceive submission as weakness, or are simply incapable of dealing with it. When we let you have your way, you wanna stick your chest out and give us your ass to kiss. But then you wanna holla at us about how we won’t "let a man be a man". Why do I have to let you do anything? How about you just BE a man? A man is supposed to shelter a woman’s vulnerability, not take advantage of it. Sure, I could submit to your way, give it up whenever you want it, give you head everyday, let you control the remote, only cook your favorite meals...but if I do all that, are you still going to respect me? Hell, if I give it up to you tonight, are you even going to call me tomorrow? Or even respect me enough to return my call? And because I am less prepared to accept your b*llsh*t (or am more aware of it) than my Latina and Caucasian counterparts, this somehow makes me a less valuable woman?

Finally, I was concerned.
I say I am a queen and expect to be treated as such. You manage to find fault in that and respond with a back-handed comment that was designed to slap me down – lower my self-esteem, and let me know that I ain’t no better than any other woman walking through this world. Look, it’s not me I’m worried about - I’m still a queen. My concern is you. The fact of the matter is - if you can’t see the strength and greatness in me, then by definition, you don’t see it in you. I am your reflection. Do you know who I am? Maybe you need to read some Maya Angelou. Do you know who you are? Maybe you need to pick up some Marcus Garvey. We were kings and queens long before being brought to this place called America. You don’t wanna wife a queen? Look, if you’re not up to the task of treating a queen like a queen, that tells me one thing - you are not a king. Just as it is a woman’s role to respect, love, and submit to her man, it is a man’s role to do the same for his woman. Just as a queen upgrades a king, a king should do the same for his queen. I know, it’s hard out here. There are alot of masqueraders in this world - hoochie mamas pretending to be queens. But please, don’t give up on us black man. The real strong black women aren’t ready to give up on you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Goodbye was fun-ish for one night.

What is the problem with the night life in Philly? I don’t get it. This is a major city, nestled midway between New York and D.C., both of which have a healthy array of night-life options appropriate for their magnitude and population. Now I know Philly is no New York. Hell, Philly is not even D.C. But c’mon, the night life around here resembles that of a city with the magnitude of a dead duck. You know it’s a sad day when I’d rather be in BALTIMORE on a Friday night than stuck choosing between Guitar Hero and a movie and drink at The Bridge.

So what’s the problem? I’ll tell you what the problem is – Luxe Lounge. No, not Luxe specifically, but the kind of practices they are engaging in which will indubitably ultimately result in their demise. I’ve seen it all before. I hate to tell you Luxe, but unless you change your ways, you are doomed to fail.

First of all, you charge a $20 cover.
I’ve been to Luxe – twice. Neither occasion was anything to write home about. The first time I left within 20 minutes of arriving. The second time I muddled through, but felt like a sardine in a can, started sweating the moment I walked in the door, and some random lesbian ended up grabbing my ass. Not cool – and definitely not worth $20 of my hard earned money. You see, what Luxe and so many of it’s predecessors failed to realize is that there is a solid core of young black professionals (YBPs stand up!!) present in the Philadelphia area. For the most part, WE ALL KNOW EACHOTHER. We don’t like to be huddled up like sardines in a can, we don’t like to pay $20 for admission (many of us are grad/professional students - HELLO!!), and we certainly don’t like random gays grabbing our booties when we walk by. Nevertheless, you need us. You need us because we bring the two things to your club that will ensure its longevity: style and civility. Trust me when I tell you that Palmers and Pinnacle have the ghetto club scene on lock. If I wanted to sweat my ass off, have dudes rub their hoo-hoos on my behind, and flirt with common thugs – I’d go there. And I wouldn’t have to pay $20 to get in. But Luxe, I’m not your problem. Your problem is that 99% of the YBP community feels the same way. How long do you think it’s going to be before the word spreads that what you’re offering is no different than Transit or Fuzion? Why would we YBPs wanna pay $20 for that, when we can go to Bamboo or Walnut Room for free?

Second, your drinks are overpriced. Most of us YBPs have our own bars at home. We realize that we can buy a whole fifth of Jack for the $10 you’re charging for a Jack and coke. Smh. Nuff said.

Third, you’re frisking me at the door.
I respect what you’re are trying to do, but understand it’s sending the wrong signal. It’s telling me that you’re EXPECTING hoodlums to try to get into your club. I would hope that instead you’d be fixated on attracting the kind of civil and stylish crowd that would be a pure turn-off to hood rats. I’ve never been frisked at Walnut Room, Tragos, Bamboo...and yes, anything could happen at any of those places at anytime, but when you frisk it says to me that you’re trying to protect yourself from a liability – that you EXPECT trigger-happy, knife wielding fools to get stupid on your watch. I got news for you Luxe, frisking hoods doesn’t keep them under control. If you expect those kinds of fools to come through your door, than you must not be expecting me (and the rest of the YBPs). But alas, I accept that Luxe’ dubious location (next door to Pinnacle) may make frisking and purse-rifling a necessity. However, could you please hire some petite, friendly-faced, seemingly heterosexual, young women to frisk me? Why do I have to get frisked by some big-bodied, bald-headed, broad-shouldered, husky-voiced bitch? I feel even MORE violated by that than I would if some uninvited man felt up my legs and abdomen.

Fourth, you’re playing Soulja boy and “Stanky Leg”. Really?? If you want style and civility to last in your establishment, YOU HAVE TO HIRE A DJ WITH A NOTED REPUTATION OF ATTRACTING SUCH. Remember when Tragos used to be hot every Saturday night? That had more to do with WHO was spinning and WHAT he was playing, than it did the establishment itself. Don’t believe me? Go to Tragos on a Saturday night now that THAT DJ has retired his post – tumbleweeds. Look Luxe, I’m pushing 30, I appreciate a little Marvin Gaye and Soul Sonic Force mixed in with my Jay-Z and Beyoncè. Judging by the elation evident in the YBP crowd when Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” comes on, they do too. If you want to attract us you gotta play what we wanna hear – and Soulja boy and “Stanky Leg” ain’t it. I suggest you hire a respectable DJ and put him on a regular rotation. How about your favorite DJ's favorite DJ – Brendan Bring ‘Em? Just a suggestion. At this point you’ll probably need to pay him boat-loads of money just to convince him to cooperate - since I’m sure by now he’s wise to the idea that you need him WAY more than he needs you.

Last but not least, you have no respect for the ladies. You know what makes men come to the club? Women. You know what makes women come the club? Men. The trick to ensuring the longevity of a night spot is simple: get the women and the men will come…and once the men arrive, the women will stay. That’s why pretty girls don’t have to wait in line and pay reduced admissions at most reasonable establishments. Generally, the bouncers just let us right in without too much hassle. Hmph. I took a solo sojourn to our beloved Luxe Lounge last night. I didn’t leave until after the game was over, meaning I didn’t arrive at the door until around 12:45. The bouncer (who recognized me as a friend of a friend) was super-concerned about checking my ID (presumably because his manager was in the vicinity). Two seconds later, the manager emerges with a girl he’s threatening to put out simply because she didn’t put her shoes back on fast enough after he told her to. I observe this and immediately reach for my cell phone; I’m having reservations. Seeing as how my first two visits to Luxe were nothing more than blah, there’s a $20 cover, and a future stalker on the horizon (**insider: that dude from Walnut Room), I’m not so sure this Luxe thing is what I really wanna do tonight. I text my boy (a Philly YBP) who’s already inside – “is it worth it”. I’m waiting for his response, meanwhile I make my way to the hgusky bitch who’s supposed to frisk me and rifle through my purse before I'm permitted the pleasure of paying the $20 cover. I grudgingly open my purse to her. She looks me in the eye, points at my mouth, and then at the trash. “What?” I asked perplexed. She smirks - “Your gum has to go in the trash”. WHAT! That’s absurd. Nah son. CURVE!! I turn around and head out the door. Two seconds later I get a text from the homie who I’d asked if it was worth it. His response: “borderline”. Right. $20 for 1 hour and 15 minutes of “borderline” – and that’s BEFORE I buy a drink. Nah son, I’m cool. Like I said before - CURVE! What a waste of time and an outfit – and you know how much women HATE to waste an outfit. **Sigh**

I hope you folks that did make it inside Luxe last night had a real blast – but I’m sure you didn’t. So like I said at the outset, goodbye Luxe – it was fun-ish for one night.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lie to You

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I finally have the dating game figured out. My new strategy is simple: lie.

Yes, lie – because apparently honesty isn’t getting me anywhere. And I have considered the possibility that it’s all me, that I’m a poor communicator, that I’m not capable of saying exactly what I want, that I’m not pretty enough, that I need to lose weight, that I need to dress like a lady, that I need to stop cursing all the f*@#ing time. There is some truth in all of those things, but the reality is that’s only 20% of the problem. Now I get it. It’s not me – IT’S YOU.

When I say you, I mean all of you baby boys. You know, the ones who we good women give credit for being men the moment we meet you, but we forget that you actually might be a 35-year-old little boy. We forget that you were raised in the same streets as the low-lives that we wouldn’t give the time of day. We forget that, as much as you talk about how much you want a “real woman,” yo dumb ass might not actually be capable of handling one. We good women give you undercover baby boys WAAAAYYY too much credit.

Do you know the sad reason I still drive an ’06 G35 instead of stepping up to an ’09 M35 like I really want to? Baby boys. Baby boys who pretend like they want to be with a woman who’s capable of doing her own thang, but in reality, a woman with her own sh*t intimidates them. For the life of me, I can’t understand it, but somehow my ride being flyer than yours translates in your weak ass mind to you somehow being incapable of taking care of my needs. Somehow my swag undermines your manhood – in your weak ass mind. I know it; I watched your whole game switch-up the moment you realized how I was rolling. Something in you said, “she’s not to be played with.” Now that you’ve dropped back on your pursuit, am I not to assume that it’s because you’re intimidated and afraid of rejection? Hey numskull, peep this: the ’06 G35 doesn’t change the fact that I’m a woman with needs, that I like to be held at night, that I appreciate flowers, candy, and hand-written birthday cards. Just imagine, if cats are intimidated by a bruised-up G35, how would they act if I roll up in a brand new M? Presumably the same way they acted when the G was brand new - scared.

Back to the undercover baby boy. He’s the one who brings his own to the table too, however, he’s not accustomed to meeting a woman who is as well. He goes on murmuring about being single, complaining that he can’t find a lady who is his match. Yet when he’s finally confronted with his reflection, he runs - just like the baby boy these streets raised you to be. Look, baby boy, I know what your problem is. You’re scared of rejection, you’re scared of losing control, you’re scared of falling in love. You’re so used to impressing simple women with simple sh*t - and you think you’ll have to do triple somersaults to impress me. You’re scared of doing gymnastics - probably because you don’t want to land on your ass. Can’t say I blame you. But why do you try to make me think I’m crazy? As if there is something wrong with me. Hmph, I ain’t neva scared (doesn’t that make me more of a man than you?).

*Sigh* I could see how I would intimidate you, or undermine your manhood – in your simple ass mind - like I said before. So I’ll tell you what I’m going to do for you from now know, to make it easier for you to feel like a man. So that you can go on believing that your presence alone is enough to impress me (even though truthfully, it really is - and I’ve told you that before, but now I see that I have to dumb myself down in order to make it less “too-good-to-be-true” for you). I’m gonna make myself an “easier catch” in your eyes, so I can stop looking like a whole heap of work to you, or like a “high-maintenance chick” as you’ve referred to me before (wow...I’ve been handling my own business for over a decade, but somehow I appear “high-maintenance” to you). I get it, you’re lazy, and not into gymnastics. Especially when there’s a “low-maintenance” broad who’d be happy to have you – and you don’t have to do back flips to get with her. So ok, here we are. Here are the new lies that I’m going to tell you. I hope they subconsciously boost your ego so that you feel comfortable enough to actually pursue me.

1. This is actually my dad’s car.
2. This was my grandma’s house.
3. No, I’m not in a dual-doctorate degree program.
4. What am I doing at UPenn you ask? Oh, I only got in to Penn because my Aunt works there.
5. I bought this Gucci bag on 52nd St.
6. I really don’t understand modern politics, or the theory of relativity. In fact, I’m pretty stupid.
7. I don’t know how to change a tire, or install an air conditioner, or stain in polyurethane, or hell, even screw in a light bulb. In fact I’m totally helpless. Could you please help me put gas in my car? Err…I meant my dad’s car.
8. I’m not cool. I don’t even listen to hip-hop - that Cam’ron cd belongs to my bother-in-law.
9. I don’t watch sports at all. Who’s Donovan McNabb? And what’s a safety?
10. I have no culture. What is this cabernet sauvignon and white zinfandel you speak of? Are they rock bands?

There. Am I now sufficiently enough of a non-challenge that you’re willing to put in the ounce of work in takes to get me? Right, that’s what I thought. Bitch ass n*gg*s. Smh.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hey, McFly! Tell 'em why you really mad.

The manufactured outraged we witnessed around Barack speaking at Notre Dame over this weekend has really managed to crawl up the back of my leg and get my panties all in a bunch. What is wrong with you people? And when I say you people, I do mean that offensively. This man is the president of the United States of America, the first African-American president of the U.S. no less. I considered it an honor that he stood on the corner a block away from my house when he was just Candidate Obama! I could only imagine the glee I would feel if he actually shook my hand and bestowed upon me my bachelors degree.

But looka here protesters - you are so transparent.

Some of you are legitimately outraged at the Church itself because of the overt hypocrisy the Catholic school displayed by choosing a well-known pro-life headliner for commencement. I get it. Take your protests to the Pope. I didn’t hear a peep from him during this whole mess. The fact of the matter is nearly 50% of Catholics don’t consider themselves pro-life (a polite way to say “I’m pro-choice”), and Obama garnered more than 50% of the Catholic vote in the last election. The Catholic Church has a fair amount of soul-searching to do when it comes to this issue. I completely agree with you - back-pedaling and duplicity are never characteristics you’d like to see from the holy-high. But here’s an idea: knock on your local cardinal’s door instead of making a spectacle of some poor kids’ moment in the spotlight. There’s really no need to have yourself LITERALLY carried off the campus in hand-cuffs (ref). What did that solve? Obama still spoke, he still got his honorary degree, and the Pope still hasn’t pontificated one peep.

The rest of you aren’t outraged about the issue of abortion at all. You people - and I do mean that offensively - are even more disgustingly transparent in your preposterous manufacturing of outrage. Look, I know what’s really got your goat. The holiest of holy – NOTRE DAME – the Fighting Irish – the holy grail of academic institutions as far as some of those rednecks who wouldn’t hesitate to call me a n*gg*r in a heartbeat are concerned – saw its purity desecrated via the descent of (gasp) the first BLACK president!! I know - it was already a blow to the gut when a black man became “the man”. Now, just to add insult to injury, this coon’s gonna hand lil’ Sean McLaughlin and Erin O’Reilly their coveted diplomas! On top of that, they’re gonna just GIVE the n*gg*r another goddamn degree! As if he needs it! Especially considering all the hard-earned dollars you had to spend on lil’ Sean and Erin’s tuition because you and your wife of 20 years made too much money to qualify for financial aid!! What a slap in the face, RIGHT?!

Yeah...I thought this was about your position on abortion, right? RIGHT!!!

Manscaping - my take.

Dear Catrina,

Is manscaping OK or too femme? Manscaping being a man keeping his Bush in order!



Hmm. The first time I encountered a partner who engaged in such activity, I must admit I was taken aback. He quickly noted my astonishment and scrambled for justification – “the hair gets caught in my underwear while I’m weight lifting, it’s just easier to shave it all off.” Good enough excuse for me – proceed! Hey, I’ve often said I’ve never known a dude not to hit it because there was a jungle down there, I guess the opposite is true for women *shrug*.

Yet, my opinion of this guy definitely changed after that episode. I started noticing other slightly feminine things he did…shaving his chest, holding his pinky up while he drank from a glass, making noises while we – uh…too much for facebook :-p. Anywho, the accumulation of such actions caused me to be quite turned off, which in itself is a minor miracle – dude was 6’3, 215 lbs, beautiful smile, and the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome.

Every man can be caught doing something every now and then that might come off as a bitch move (such as drinking a cream soda, or chewing Big Red – LMAO! INSIDER!), so I try not to measure fellas against my definition of masculinity. However, I truly do suggest that men tread carefully when deciding to shape up down there. Be forewarned: many women may interpret this as you caring too much about your appearance. Vanity is almost always a trait that women are repulsed by in men. We prefer that you are completely oblivious to your beauty, even if you’re an Adonis. See, we women pretend that we are frustrated by the minuscule effort men put in to their appearance everyday. The truth is we actually find it sexy, natural, and it sometimes even makes us feel like more of a woman. It can actually turn us on when you’re hairy, funky, and dirty (well, maybe not all three at the same time, but you get the picture). When you're clean, shaven, and soft as a baby’s behind, you remind us of ourselves – and if we were sexually attracted to ourselves, we’d be lesbians.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

He Thinks, She Thinks

She thinks she deserves a phone call. He thinks he’ll call her when he has something to say.

He thinks you two are just “kickin’ it”. She thinks it’s time for an official label.

She thinks the sex was about two bodies becoming one. He thinks you were both just enjoying some sexual gratification.

He thinks when he says it’s over, it’s over. She thinks he’s only saying it’s over because he loves me.

It’s obvious. Men and women are pre-programmed to think differently. As people, we must strive to modify our innate thinking patterns in order to become the best we can be.

Men think logically, that’s a good thing.

You’ve heard it said: women tend to think emotionally first, then logically, while men think logically first, then emotionally. So who is most likely to get hurt in relationships? Women of course! We tend to allow our emotional investment to precede logic and reason. Why would you become so emotionally invested in someone who’s just “kicking it” with you? Men generally don’t do that – the reason they tend to emerge from relationships virtually unscathed, leaving the woman to wonder how he could just turn and become “so cold”. Ever consider that he didn’t turn and become cold? Maybe he was never even warm. Why? Because he thought with his logical mind, and logically it makes no sense to get all emotional about someone with whom you have zero commitment. When we step back and reanalyze our circumstances with our logical minds, we frequently discover that our thought patterns were irrational and delusional; our reactions appear unreasonable and hyper-emotional. Unfortunately, by the time we get to this point, it’s too late. We have already shed a number of unnecessary tears, bargained beyond the point of self-respect, and damaged the friendship we’ve established with “that dude” through our toxic words and actions - which he indubitably perceives as pure ridiculosity and foolishness. So as women, how do we overcome this? First, we must accept that as women, we are delusional and hyper-emotional by nature (acceptance is the first step to recovery!). Realizing that our visceral responses are frequently based on emotional thought processes, we have to find a way to pump the brakes and give our logical minds an opportunity to take over. I often joke around and say, “the number one rule in relationships: shut the f*ck up.” In order for that to make sense, I really should expound upon that idea. What I really mean is FIRST shut up, THEN think logically about what has happened, try to see things from both perspectives, determine the true value of the relationship to you, and tailor your response accordingly. Men lack the necessary machinery to process emotional complexities. When women express their grievances with emotion, men frequently have difficulty interpreting that language, consequently become perplexed and bewildered (which they hate), and thus reason that the woman is “crazy”, thereby taking the easy way out. We’ve all been there, right? Don’t you agree that things usually turn out better when you’ve repressed your swell of emotion, and given yourself some time to think about it first?

Women think emotionally, that’s a good thing.
So by now I’m sure men are getting a good laugh, thinking “I knew it, all bitches are crazy.” Slow down homie. You love it that we’re crazy. Let me tell you why. We are the nurturers, the nourishers, the child bearers. We have been blessed with infinite powers, women’s intuition, and foresight beyond your wildest dreams. Moreover, we possess that thing between our legs which can drive you “crazy”, and thus plays a crucial role in helping the world go ‘round. You’ve accepted it a long time ago - there is no love like a woman’s love, there is no compassion like that which a mother offers, and there is nothing you would rather do at the end of a long day than be completely enveloped in the warmth of a woman’s adoration. What make a woman’s love so special? The kind of love you don’t ever see yourself as being capable of giving? She thinks emotionally first. Even though logically, self-preservation dictates she put her own needs above yours, she still considers you first. So you see, she isn’t crazy - just mystified by your propensity to fail to appreciate her despite all the consideration she has made for you. Still she suffers herself to you - frequently in silence - until the day comes when she can no longer stand what she perceives as use and abuse. She begins to think logically about what is happening. She begins to compute what you have given her and subtract what she has given you, and the math just doesn’t add up. So she walks away, leaving you confused, because you thought everything was “cool”. It amazes me the number of times in my life a man has confessed affection for me that I had no idea he harbored – especially AFTER I’ve told him “I’m done.” Many times, it’s too late for him to make it right (because by the time I’ve said “I’m done” I had probably already moved on to somebody else! lol). The window had been closed, all because he failed to interpret my actions using his emotional mind, i.e. he thought logically about everything. For example, he thinks because he always pays the bill when we go out to dinner that means he’s taking care of me; yet he forgets about all the love and energy that went into those meals I prepared for us at home. He thinks I didn't care that he came home at 5am because I didn’t complain; he fails to realize that I didn’t complain because I DO care. He thinks that Valentine’s Day is a stupid reason to buy me a gift; but he doesn’t see that his refusal to display his affection regardless of the reason is what’s really hurting me. Sometimes fellas, you just don’t understand how much it hurts when you do things that we as women typically identify as STUPID. We reason that men don’t call, or say thank you, or say I love you, or buy a $5 box of chocolates on v-day, or show that they care until it’s too late is because they are stupid. And you think it’s stupid that women think all men are stupid. The truth is, y’all are stupid! You just have to think with your emotional mind to be capable of seeing it :)

Disclaimer: Of course I recognize that all men and women are not the same, and there are some men who are more emotional than women, blah blah blah. Note the use of words such as "tend" and "generally" in this note, and please refrain from starting arguments about assumptions and stereotypes in the comment section - please!?! THANKS!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dear Virtual Friends,

I’m so sick of text messages…and IMs…and twitter…and myspace…and facebook…and the 700 other methods we use to contact one another which are completely devoid of human emotion and interpretation thereof.

The crazy thing is, we wonder where all the sociopaths and socially inept individuals that we complain about come from. Newsflash: it’s only going to get worse. I think by the time my children’s children have children, the world will have completely forgotten what a smiley face actually looks like - hint: it’s not like this - :)

What’s worse is that the dating game has also come to this point. Gone are the late nights, lying in bed, whispering sweet nothings in your lover’s ear, listening intently for his response. Now you know what happens? I get text messages that read “what’s up.” Nice. Now imagine we’re standing face to face, and you initiated a conversation with that same phrase. Imagine I respond, “nothing.” Now think of how many ways “nothing” can be expressed. I could be smiling, frowning, upbeat, down-trodden, overjoyed, distressed, so-so, or melancholy. All of which could be interpreted as: I need to talk, leave me alone, glad you asked, or why the hell are you bothering me?

We don’t talk anymore. We strip communication down to its nuts and bolts – 140-letter limited phrases. And we wonder where the love has gone. My guess? Love has become lost in translation.

It is said that 65-90% of conversation is interpreted through body language – all of which is lost in a text message. It is also said that communion is a human necessity. Yet, we try our damndest to isolate ourselves in imaginary boxes, disallowing all physical and verbal human contact. And we wonder what’s wrong with us...we wonder what’s wrong with society.

I know, you can’t see my face, or hear my voice, thus making it difficult to interpret the tone of this note – but I think I’ve made my message clear. Call me!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chris Brown and Rihanna: My two cents.

I know I said my next note would be about “male bitches.” I lied - well sort of. Though we have been inundated in recent weeks with today’s particular topic for discussion, I just had to add my two cents.

I myself am not a Chris Brown fan, but my nieces clearly are…err – were. A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I used the unfortunate circumstance between him and Rihanna as an opportunity to discuss the cycle of domestic abuse with our girls. Then we all watched “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” and made futile attempts to understand why Tina just wouldn’t leave Ike. Remember how the movie ends? Well if you don’t, suffice is to ask yourself one question – what ever happened to Ike? Answer: he died in 2007 purportedly from a cocaine overdose. Who knew? Point is, as the movie ended I said to my nieces, “You reap what you sow. I bet Rihanna will only make more money, sell more albums, and become even more popular after this, and Chris Brown will be completely forgotten.” Wouldn’t it be nice if the world really worked that way? Wouldn’t it be nice if people actually got what they deserved?

As you know, Chris Brown was recently charged for the domestic violence incident (even though Rihanna declined to press charges). I’m sure the criminal justice system will deal with him at least on some level, at least for this specific occurrence. But you know what’s really starting to get my goat? While it’s becoming obvious that this is not the first time (or the last time) Chris Brown beat Rihanna, it’s also becoming abundantly evident that he is going to get away with this crap, virtually unscathed. He’ll probably be making albums, doing commercials, and selling out tours again in less than a year.

How do I know this? Six letters – R. Kelly.

Let me explicate myself.

The case? He’ll probably beat it. Too many times we have witnessed the legal system serve as nothing more than a temporary distraction and public relations device for the rich and famous.

Rihanna? She helped his cause tremendously by rekindling the relationship. Sure, there are the intelligent few who recognize the cycle of abuse, but simultaneously there is an irritating and undeniable sentiment that Chris Brown’s culpability somehow diminished the moment those pictures of him jet skiing at Diddy’s mansion surfaced.

The radio? Hell, they’re already playing Chris Brown’s songs again.

You? Yes you. You’re well on your way to forgetting about the whole incident. Hell, you’re annoyed that I even wrote this blog. You are SO tired of hearing about the whole sordid drama. You just want to get back to the regular schedule of misogyny that you’ve become accustomed to…you know, listening to Jay-Z talking ‘bout how he left ‘em in the cold with a thin sweater.

Side Note: I love Jigga, but ironically, he has quite possibly done more damage to women as whole than Chris Brown ever could – in fact, Chris Brown’s behavior will likely prove beneficial to the women’s movement, as it continues to serve as an impetus for pedagogical dialogue, meanwhile, Jay-Z’s “bitches” and “hoes” will be sustained on wax for all eternity…but Sean Carter’s mad at Chris Brown. Cute :-)

Well, I suppose there isn’t anything any one of us can (or is willing) to do individually to ensure that Chris Brown is appropriately punished for his actions vis a vis the demise of his career…except maybe this: let’s NOT get swept up - stepping in the name of love - as we have so naively done in the past. Let’s all do our part to make sure Chris Brown ends up less like R. Kelly, and more like the Ike Turner that he is.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bitches and Sisters

I’m really trying to understand bitches. I mean bitches in the sense of Jay-Z’s “Bitches and Sisters.” Yeah, I’m about to start some sh*t, but I can’t help myself! Sisters: this ain’t really for y’all, but please, feel free to co-sign!

I don’t know, maybe it’s because myself, my mother, my sisters, and my girls have always possessed the means to take care of themselves. I can’t remember a time in any of their lives when they would have been helpless without a dude to take care of them. I guess if that’s the character of the women in your immediate vicinity, anything else appears ridiculous.

What is with these bitches who just want to suck a man dry? Take advantage of him? Use him until he’s used up? I mean, what do you get out of that? Does it make you feel like more of a woman? I just can’t comprehend that. You see, what makes me feel like a woman is GIVING myself to a strong and deserving man – not taking him for everything he’s got.

Side note: please bitches, stop talking ish about some dude and how wack he is when you’re not even in his f-cking class. How you talkin’ ‘bout how busted his ride is when you ain’t even riding ya damn self?!

Please bitches, stop looking for qualities in a man that you don’t hold for yourself. It’s one thing to look for a man who’s doing better than you. We all do that, it’s natural for a woman to look for a man who’s capable of fulfilling his intrinsic role as a provider. But come on, wake up and realize when yo ass is chasing waterfalls. If you’re broke, don’t be expecting a dude to have mad money in his pocket. Hell, we’re all struggling – we in a recession! If you can’t afford to go out to dinner, how can you expect him to pick up the bill? If you don’t have $10 to pay for your own movie ticket, why the hell do you expect him to?

Men are a beautiful thing. Especially my dope-ass, educated, strong, fine, and sexy as hell, more powerful than they fully realize, black brothers!! Lol, maybe I’m just feeling really enamored right now! But damn, how could a real woman EVER want to take advantage of such a thing? How could a strong black woman ever want to do anything besides wrap her chocolate legs around him and be enveloped in his power?

A friend of mine has been challenging me lately to define “strong black woman.” Boo boo, I don’t have the words to fully articulate what that is, but I can tell you this: any black woman that would take advantage of the kind of man I’ve described is exactly the opposite of strong. A strong black woman has no desire to drain a man who she doesn’t deem worthy of her love of his worldly possessions. A strong black woman doesn’t need to do that, because physically, financially, and spiritually she doesn’t need a man. But much of what distinguishes us as women is our emotional need. We need to be that orange moon, reflecting the light of our sun…

Anywho, back to bitches. Get it together. If you wish to define yourself as a strong black woman, then you must accept your obligation to society - and society doesn’t benefit from you sitting on your ass, waiting for some man to “take care of you.” Go work on yourself. Make yourself a more powerful moon – a moon that’s capable of harnessing the power and reflecting the energy of the brightest suns. Become a strong black woman who participates in cultivating our communities, building up our strong black men, and making the world a better place for everybody! Become a sister - BITCHES!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Truly dope women don’t chase men – ever!

All my single ladies!! (And my 2 shit starters - Brian and Jason! lol)

It’s 8:45 on a Saturday morning - and yes, I should still be asleep – but ya girl is feeling inspired (thanks Randi for the nudge!) to share a recent revelation with you. A while back I wrote a note entitled “Fried Chicken and A Warm Bosom for a Good and Single Man’s Soul”. In the comment section of this blog I stated that “truly dope women don’t chase men – ever”. Of course Tasha (who else? Lol) disagreed with me, and we eventually resolved that truly dope women do chase men - sometimes - even if it just means misinterpreting his b.s. excuses.

You know what I just figured out?!? THAT IS WRONG!! Truly dope women should not chase men – EVER…and leave it to ya girl to break it all down and tell you why.

Have you ever read that book He’s Just Not That Into You? If you haven’t you need to google that shit and get your hands on every free passage of the book you can siphon from the internet (or just go out to a bookstore and buy it – but who does that anymore?). The authors have one major thesis: the sexual revolution was a wonderful thing, but no one woman can reverse one million years of evolution – meaning we can not change the innate nature of men.

As a future veterinarian and a scientist, of course I have to draw an example from my knowledge base! But this is an analogy I at least know my Saul, PSU, and Penn friends will understand (which is damn near all of y’all):

A snake is intrinsically a predator, a polygenically inherited trait. For whatever reason nature “engineered” them that way. I don’t know why (sorry, scientists don’t focus on the whys), but it is what it is. Conversely, a mouse is prey, an unfortunate multifactorial characteristic of the species. Sucks for the mouse, but eh, what are you gonna do? That’s the circle of life. So what happens when you present to a literally starving snake (an innate hunter) a gift-wrapped mus musculus sandwich? For those of you who don’t know – and you can fact check me on this – A SNAKE WILL ALMOST ALWAYS STARVE TO DEATH RATHER THAN EAT THE FOOD YOU SUPPLY FOR HIM ON A PLATE. So how do we get the starving snakes to eat? We usually play tricks on their minds, allowing them to get the thrill of a chase and capture, even though we know the truth is that dinner was brought to them on a silver platter (more on that later).

So I guess by now you can see where I’m going with this. Chasing a man is almost always counterproductive. Men are the snakes. We are the mice. Picture for just one moment a mouse chasing a snake. Pretty stupid, huh? Even if the mouse catches the snake, is that at all satisfying for the mouse? Doubt it. What’s more, the snake is probably thinking “there is no way I’m gonna eat this mouse, it must have some kind of damn prion disease”!

Now fortunately, human beings are slightly more complicated than snakes and mice, but unfortunately, that does not mean nature doesn’t apply to us. I know - It’s tempting to disagree with me right now, because as strong, powerful, motivated, and independent women, you want to believe that you can work to achieve anything you want for your life. And you can. But chasing a man is not the way. It is completely counterproductive. Think about it for just one minute. Think about all the people you know in successful relationships, and ask yourself, who did the chasing? Was he the initiator, or was she? Seriously, I have racked my brains, and I can’t think of one married or long-term couple that I know that shares a relationship that the woman initiated. The shit ain’t natural. Furthermore, consider all of the guys who you have made it easy for over the years (you know, the way guys SAY they want it). How many of these attempts at reversing the natural order of the universe have actually been fruitful for you? Lemme guess – none right? I know. Moreover, how many of these attempts have been painful for you? Yeah…It sucks to be a prey species. But alas, there is hope! Again, allow ya girl to break it down for you so that it can forever and consistently be broke (yes, I just got finished watching Love Jones).

1) If he ain’t calling – put down that damn phone! Don’t you dare call him. That is completely counterproductive. A phone call from you will only turn him off – whether consciously or subconsciously. Maybe he will call when he is ready, but you calling him is like putting the koochie (the mouse) on a plate for him, the d!ck (aka the snake). *LMAO in my head right now – this analogy has gone too far*. For real. Maybe there is a spark there, maybe not. But you can’t do anything about it, so why worry? Hakuna Matata.

2) Stop worrying about how he is going to react to what you say and do. Be mean, damn it!! Think about it. How many men have you told to “GO AWAY” on SEVERAL occasions, and they just keep chasing you? Yeah…for me, the answer is TNTC! Why do men do that? Probably because rejection makes the chase more interesting for them. So why do we make it so easy for the ones that we WANT to chase us? I don’t know y’all, maybe we need to start offering their asses a little rejection too. Can’t go wrong with this, because if it’s meant to be it’ll be. And if a man truly wants you, a freight train couldn’t stop his ass!

3) Here’s the part we can control (alas, the hope part :) ). We can put ourselves in situations more often where we more are likely to be spotted by a predator. Most predators are nocturnal, so this means more late night foraging for drinks/food/dessert/laughs with our girls, and most importantly, with ourselves!! – Not to digress, but really, there is some truth to this “natural order” thing. Prey species are generally gregarious, e.g. – WOMEN! LOL. And a predator’s main thrill in life is to separate his prey from the pack, conquer it, and devour it, e.g. – MEN! (Yes, I'm geeking off my own analogy. Ah…but I digress) – Anywho, as we all know, this is the truly fun part of being a woman – getting all prissied up to go laugh in the faces of wack dudes who try to holla at us. Ladies, this we need to do more often!

4) Something else we can control – let the wack dudes chase you a little bit. It’ll make you feel good. At least you won’t be sitting at home drinking white zinfandel and playing guitar hero (or maybe that’s just me, lol). Besides, you never know who might end up impressing you and becoming THE ONE.

So with that said, I am going to get off my ass and start to enjoy being single again! Life is good. Better get it in before I have smelly socks to pick up off the floor and a toilet seat that won’t seem to stay down! Besides...I think I heard somebody say something about shopping!

Ya girl

P.S. Two more things I just gotta add:

1) It must be hella complicated to be a lesbian.
2) India.Aire’s “This Too Shall Pass” is a beautiful song. I cried like a baby when I first heard it - snotty nose and all. You should check it out!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fried chicken and a warm bosom for a good and single man's soul.

I don’t know why I am so annoyed by his text messages. I suppose now that I’m pushing 30, my patience for nonsense has grown extremely short. Actually, it grew short in 2008, but in 2009 I’ve begun to accept it. Anywho, now that I’ve subtracted my emotional involvement from certain “situations”, and have suffered the profound duty of breaking two hearts 10 days into the new year, I feel obligated to offer a word to all my single “good men” out there. I just had to tell you how stupid you act when it comes to good women.

First of all, you should realize that we don’t come a dime a dozen. We’re not on every street corner, you can’t find us at every random bar, and we don’t where our IQs on our shirts like a name tag (despite your desire to have us do so!)…no, we’re rare. You know who I’m talking about? That pretty, sexy, smart, cool, funny, driven, independent woman with her own shit, who turns you on mentally, physically, emotionally, and can hook up some fried chicken like nobody’s business (or steak - whatever floats your boat). When she smiles she lights your internal fire, she is just the kind of woman you would want to have your back if you ever needed her to, and when she advances on you sexually - you lose your damn mind. I know you know who I’m talking about – you’ve chased her. But you didn’t catch her. And you said to yourself: I spent my dough, I respected her, I put myself out there, I took care of her “needs”…where did I go wrong? Well, leave it to Trina to tell you where you went wrong.

But first, let me let you in on a little secret. Women are much simpler than you think. If we’re not attracted to you or interested in you, we’re probably not even going to exchange numbers. If we think our girlfriends will tease us for going out with you, we damn sure won’t be seen with you in public. So if the girl that I described above (you know that one that you were chasing and didn’t catch) let you chase her, most likely she was willing to be down with you at some point, at least on some level. Yet, you weren’t able to seal the deal. What went wrong?

Well, for starters, your ego probably got in the way. You got so used to being chased by bum bitches, you forgot that good women actually need to be COURTED. Let me be clear about this, though. I am certainly not advocating that you spend your bread on every chick – only the dope ones. My advice is that you keep all of your first dates cheap and simple, such as meeting for coffee or ice cream (and yes, you have to pay). Once you’ve established that this girl is different, special, and a good woman – PLAN A SECOND DATE. This doesn’t mean call her in three weeks to see if she wants to grab some chicken wings at the last minute. No, it means ask her about her schedule and tell her yours, and then set up a time to meet again (a week or two after the first date is good). This will let her know that you want to see her. Don’t have her wondering where things stand between the two of you. Don’t cause her to lose interest in you. I’ll let you in on another secret: what usually goes through the mind of a good woman when she doesn’t hear from the guy she likes or isn’t sure how he feels about her is something like - ‘to hell with him, if he doesn’t recognize my worth, than he’s stupid and I don’t want to be with somebody stupid anyway’. If she’s truly dope, another dude will probably call shortly after she makes this proclamation, which in her mind only reinforces her sentiment. Let me let you in on a third secret: it’s difficult for a woman to be in to more than one dude at one time. Spreading it around is just not in our nature. So it is your job to stay on top – to remain the ONE guy that she truly likes. Good women have egos too. If she thinks for one second that the ONE guy doesn’t feel the same way about her as she does about him, she’s going to make room for intruders – which inevitably means you won’t be the ONE guy anymore.

So how do you make sure this doesn’t happen? Simple - COMMUNICATION. If she’s into you, and she’s floating on air after being with you, you can keep her there with a simple phone call, or - I hesitate to say it – a text message (nice if you truly don’t have the time, but no where near the same effect as a phone call). Don’t blow her phone up either (try calling every other day and let her responses guide you from there). But in my experience it’s usually the other way around. Guys are so self-conscience about becoming a bugaboo, that they play the girl to the left and just wait for her to call him - big mistake. It doesn’t let her know how you feel, and it only makes room for intruders (remember, if you’re chasing her, chances are MANY other guys are too). If she’s in to you, no other man will exist to her if you just maintain the communication. Let me put this into some terms you can comprehend. Dating is your offense, communication is your defense. Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. You can take her on the greatest dates in the world, and yes, she will continue to go out on dates with you (i.e. buy tickets). However, if you don’t play some defense, I guarantee you another guy will slide in there and score while you’re on the sideline – especially if she’s dope. The ironic thing about this is that you will probably have made her more aloof (a defense mechanism), and thus more desirable to the intruder. This causes him to pursue her harder, and consequently for her to lose even more interest in you – obviously this is completely counterproductive.

It has been my experience that women are often completely perplexed when a guy spills his heart out to her - mostly because she didn’t see it coming. Not because she’s cruel and insensitive, but because this man (who she probably was into at some point) didn’t call or court her properly, so she moved on, assuming he wasn’t interested. Sorry fellas, I hate to break it to you, but women move on too - particularly the good ones. Sadly, once we do, it is so hard for us to turn it around and have respect for you again, and put you back at the top of our list. But this is where you get you’re feelings hurt: we’ll keep dating you, keep accepting your phone calls, keep giving you the vibe like we want to be with you – you know, stringing you along. Unfortunately, that’s in our nature too (I’m working on it, lol).

So if you’re lucky enough to become a good woman’s priority – STAY HER PRIORITY. Call her. Court her. You don’t have to make her your wifey tomorrow. You don’t have to say “I love you” on the second date (In fact, you don’t have to say anything – just call, she’ll probably do all the talking for you!). If she’s truly a good woman she will actually appreciate you moving the relationship at your own pace. But don’t just leave her in the dark, assuming that she knows how you feel about her. You have to LET HER KNOW how you feel about her – and trust me, when it comes to this, your ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.