Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'm the Type of Guy.....Girl

Just as a bit of a disclaimer: I want to state in no uncertain terms, I am not a relationship expert. If you were to ask me about black cinema, music, even being a loud mouth debater, I may accept such a title graciously. However, being a relationship guru is a field from which I would have to gracefully retreat. Although I accept I am not an expert, at the risk of sounding a bit obnoxious, I will admit: I have never lacked for interested parties (did not say I was interested back though), I have dated just as much as a Sex in the City character (make sure you direct you attention to the word DATE and not SEX), and hell, I'm married. So, although not an authority, I may have a slight idea about how relationships work, at least between men and women.

Now with that being said, I recently had a thought, partially based on my own dating experiences, and a recent conversation or two. "How many of us know what type we are?" Although many hate to admit it, we all do fall, at least slightly, in some sort of general category. (Yep, being the "unique" guy is a category in itself) Furthermore, "How many of us know what type is attracted to our own?" I learned what type of woman I was deemed very early unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you view it) because I repeatedly was placed in situations where men told me why they were drooling over my friends and family members, but not me. By learning how men viewed me, I also learned which men would find me appealing. I used that information to lean in their direction (little extra flirting), so to speak. Whenever I noticed someone I found attractive, who I knew would like me, I would find a way to get a little closer to them. They would realize "hey, I like her" and ask me out, and think it was all their idea. Yeah, a little calculated but, hey, what idiot doesn't work from a plan? Needless to say I never dated too many men who I did not already know, at least just a smidge. Being honest, getting approached in a club, bar, beach with a bikini on (OK that might be a stretch, I have never even worn a damn bikini in my life), rarely happened. The point is, it saved me from wasting time with men with who things never would have worked. It does not mean of course everything did work with everybody with whom I spent my time, but I can at least say I have never parted ways with anyone who would tell you they hated me. I can not think of anyone I dated who does not have anything but well wishes for me. We may have chosen different paths, but the compatibility, in relation to personality, was always there.

A huge amount of people, who say they are looking for long term relationships and marriages, repeatedly find themselves dating people who everyone surrounding them knows is not going to end up being "the one"; no ones says anything. The reason no one says anything is because it requires having a discussion with someone about their imperfections; no one wants to tread into those waters. I think constantly picking the wrong partner is a symptom of not being aware of who it is you may be. Most people, or at least most men, in my experience, have simply wanted to be with someone with who they have the most fun. So think about it, when are you having the most fun? What makes you the most happy? Is it when you watch sports? Is it when you travel? Is it when you hear good music? The person who shares that with you, is probably going to be someone you enjoy being around more than most. No, you don't have to have everything in common because *NEWSFLASH* you won't. However, whatever it is at your core that makes you happy, has to be whatever it is at their core that makes them happy. Having the same intense love for something someone else does, typically doesn't happen everyday, and even less so between men and women. Men and women are socialized to have different interest and hobbies. The learned differences are why finding commonality with friends of the same sex is so much easier than with the opposite sex; we were taught to like different things. (No one is talking to you "girl with no women friends" please be seated) It may sound simple, but, oddly enough it is not. It is a deeper connection than simply having a few things in common.

Now, I do believe there are exceptions to every rule; hell, I don't even follow rules most of the time. I know you have those who are not looking for the company of someone they enjoy. Some people are looking for a trophy wife, or my all time favorite, the idiots who are looking for someone with who they can be the perfect "power couple". When I pursued a legal career and had a more conservative look, I had many a fool serve that idea up on a platter, as if being a part of his Bold, Black, and Bougie fantasy was on my "To Do" list. But, I digress. Take some time, think about who you are inside, and if you don't know ask a few bluntly honest friends (Yes, I am available); it may help. Stop pursuing the Prada clad "pretty girls" when you love nothing more than to workout and pursue outdoor activities. You will probably be happier with the girl with the ponytail at the end of the bar drinking whiskey, that of course is if you would simply take the time to speak to her. Stop saying you want an Alpha male when you can't even hear the word submissive without rolling your eyes. *NEWSFLASH (PART II)* THAT MAN is not going to let you control him. Be OK with the reality you like to be in control, even if society says it's wrong.

True commonality is a simple concept rarely pursued. No one ever wants to admit they don't fit the ideal, subsequently the false perception leads to a chase of the ideal partner. Admitting what one believes is their own flaw, and accepting they may have to change to get their ideal, or accept someone who they see flaws in as well is difficult. The eye opening fact however is going to be that we are all flawed. With changes you may get your ideal, only to find they are flawed in ways you did not originally see. Pursue those who love what you love in life and ignore the fact she isn't exactly a 10, or he doesn't have the most prestigious career; just be happy. And when you finally accept you and find love beyond the flaws, yours and theirs, to that I say "Welcome to Marriage".....and then, well that is a whole other discussion...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Many of Us Have Them?

In light of my impending girls trip to Vegas with some of favorite ladies *insert happy "shake your shimmy girl" dance*, a recent conversation with my sister, and a growing closeness with my newest favorite lady, I have been thinking about friendship a lot lately. As an adult, what really makes a good friend? If you have a spouse, children, or hell, just a decent job, getting all of your people together for a meal, mani/pedi, or strip club Saturdays (I mean I don't know what you people do with your life) can be a real challenge. Out of five people, you may get three, and then one cancels an hour prior to the event. Does it mean your friendships have been reduced to weddings and funerals? Is it worse than special occasion familiarity? Are you destined to live a lonely existence that leads to dying in front of a television, only to have your body found 3 years post mortem? I highly doubt it.

Friendship is not necessarily about frequency. I truly believe the key to maintaining friendship, is allowing others to be exactly whomever it is they may be. Will you love all of who that person is? Probably not. But, you have to be able to accept someone in their entirety or your circle WILL dwindle to next to no one. I absolutely do and say things my friends do not like or appreciate, however, they take the good with the bad, because for them the good is dominant. We are all adults, and as the years continue to fly by, adults become more and more comfortable with their personal truth. You will not find many people at 60 attempting to please those around them. It's why Great Aunt Grace is the one telling every one they're fat, and outing gay family members by forcing them to answer questions like "Do you have sugar in your shoe?" At the ripe old age of 34 *gasp*, I have already found it comfortable to let go of those who can not accept the reality that I do not always agree with them, and they do not always agree with me. Pleasantly enough, I have found, it made room for some of the most interesting, caring, and amazing people I have had the luxury to encounter. I do not only love my close friends, but I am proud of them. I mean these are some truly extraordinary people, they hail from all over the world and possess unbelievable talents. I learn from all of them daily. Plus, they make me laugh.

Now, I actually have lost as many friends as I have maintained, which actually is quite a few. The losses, casualties of insecurities, different lifestyles, men, and sometimes, just the reality smacking someone in the face, that I am not a super sickeningly sweet person. But, friendships are not fluff, and those people for the most part, were about the fluff, and being honest, I would rather the cake than the whipped cream any day. Friendships are not about getting your nails done together, buying you the best baby gift, or having a bunch of memories of drunken nights. Friendship is showing up at someone's father's funeral, when they didn't even ask. Friendship is sending a care package to a grown woman including new CD's (when you know music makes her super happy), because you know she is starting over in life and is just not able to buy it anymore. Friendship is sending a card to say simply how much you care, helping a damn near stranger move all of her belongings across town, or even just being able to tell someone they hurt your feelings, but it's OK because they love you still. As grownups, friendship may not be a daily occurrence. The rapport feels worlds apart from the days when you lived down the hall from one another in the dorm, but it should now have a lifelong existence. The kind of existence that can withstand a little literal or figurative distance. After a little contemplating, I realize lifelong of course is yet to be seen, but I would say the few decades that have elapsed with this pact of folks I adore does affirm, we are off to a pretty good start.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homewreckers, Jezebels and Cheaters.....Oh my

*Rant Initiated*

So we're here huh? I suppose it would only make sense. All of the conversations we had about "why (some successful and some not) black women are single" now leads us to an explosion of conversations on how apparently they are "all" sleeping with married men. Unless you are living under a rock, or to be fair, if you only have a token black friend in your life, you know these discussions are being fueled near and far by shows like Scandal and Being Mary Jane. In both shows, the main characters are single, successful black women, who are involved in relationships with married men. Now, this is where the flood gates open, some are mad at the supposed impression it gives to others about single black women, some are at bare minimum appalled to see a black (or maybe any) woman with such moral flaws, and then there are those who simply want the world to know "they would never!" and can't believe any one has or does.

Well my thoughts(you did expect that when you came here right? Ok, cool) go a little something like this:

1. A television character is a television character, he/she does not reflect all of a people no matter what his/her race, gender, or sexual orientation. A drama has to have drama, so yes there are going to be some situations, events, etc. that invoke conflict, THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED A DRAMA DINGBAT! As a community,I believe black people need to care a little less about the images that are portrayed to other races. I do not represent all black women, just as the actions of another black person do not reflect on me. I am an individual, and anyone who thinks they know everything about me based on the actions of someone else who shares a pigment, is way too stupid for me to associate with anyway. I can not bring myself to give that brand of ignorance my friendship or energy. You want a New Year's resolution? Leave the "not in front of white folks" mentality in 2013, better yet 1963. New Year, New you right? By the way, if your image argument is about what young black girls see, then my question to you is, what is your young impressionable daughter doing watching television at 10pm on a Tuesday or Thursday night? Oh, wait, she's also taking selfies and singing "Ride it with my surfboard" too, nevermind.

2. Ok, can we please, please, please with sugar and a cherry (bing not maraschino) on top stop acting as if these situations have not occurred for centuries and are ever going to stop, PLEASE! There are too many people with outside siblings and children to pretend they don't know anyone who has ever been involved in an extra marital affair, that is if they weren't the participant themselves. It's amazing how stoic one's morals can be until they are the one the hotel room door closes behind. Being completely unable to relate or understand how this situation happens at 30 plus, only says to me, you have never had a friend who found you trustworthy enough to share. It is a numbers game, if not you, someone you know has either cheated on their spouse, been cheated on, or has been the other man or woman. Now, if no one has ever come at you with that bit of information, and it is not you who is the culprit/victim, I have no choice but to crown you the king/queen of all that is naive and relationship-less (yeah probably not a word), which leads me to my final point...

3. On the flip side of the coin, or bed, based on how you look at it. Let me be clear; cheating is WRONG, no matter what side of the situation you have fallen (that is for all the "I'm not the one who is married" arguments I've heard from men and women). However, nothing is more annoying than hearing single people talk about the dynamics of marriage, and the shame they place upon experiences they have not had. I have yet to encounter a single person who has a clue when it comes to marriage. Yes, living with someone, having a child with someone, being a 10 year common law couple all cultivate a different energy between a couple, but it IS different from that of marriage. So far, all of the married people I have discussed this with have agreed, it is not the same. I am not a mother, but yes, I have my opinions on aspects of motherhood, based on the experiences of the mothers in my life, however, to tell a mother what she should and should not do without her asking for my opinion is NEVER going to happen. I have no real place of authority on the subject of motherhood above a mother, just as a single person has no real authority above that of a married person on marriage. So all the "I would never" and "I can't believe him/her" should be saved for the ears, minds and hearts of those who actual care.

Bottom line: Worry about that which affects you, and if it does not entertain you, whether it be fictional entertainment or real life propositions, simply remove yourself from the situation.

*Rant Complete*

Thursday, January 9, 2014


"I brought my computer so I can play you some music, I know you're tired of this TV being on all day" He was awake, but he was long past the stage of speaking, so I didn't expect a response. But,somehow amist the pain and the haze of regular injections of morphine, I knew he heard and understood me. I plugged in my computer, positioned it on the table in front of the chaise lounge-style sleeper chair the nurses graciously placed in the room once they realized we would be spending each night there and searched my iTunes library for Anita Baker. My sister, sitting in the chair next to mine, smiled as her voice filled the room.

During our childhood, just about every summer vacation my family took, was to Mississippi. He was from there. My family is from there. I haven't been there for probably more than a decade, but it's still such a special place for me. On those road trips that seemed like forever, one of the main things my sisters and brother can all agree we remember, is my daddy playing Anita Baker the entire drive there. I am probably the only person on Earth who pictures the mountains somewhere in Kentucky or Tennessee when I hear You're the Best Thing Yet.

I don't know if you could say Anita Baker was his favorite singer (according to my mom it was Dionne Warwick), or if it was just kid appropriate music he thought he could actually enjoy the entire 12 hour drive. However, it seemed to relax him then and I wanted him to relax now. So, I choose to relive some of our past and I let it play. He was in too much pain to be touched, so I couldn't climb into his bed and lie on his chest as I did when I was a little girl. Instead, I just pushed my sleeper chair as close to the bed as I could and laid my head on the edge of the bed, and held his hand. I must have said "I love you, Daddy" at least 10 times. He kept opening his eyes wider and wider and then closing them, as if he had something to say but couldn't. It didn't matter though, we'd always said plenty, there was nothing unspoken, this blunt nature of mine came from him and we had said, if not it all, enough. The nurses came into the room and gave him more morphine and soon he drifted off to sleep. I let his hand go and laid back in the chair to try and sleep myself. Somehow, I was able to doze off only to awake in a panic gasping for air around 6am. I looked to my left and watched as his chest moved up and down while a wave of relief rushed over my spirit. I'd awaken my sister and the look on her face said she was scared too. Once again, I laid back down and closed my eyes. I didn't sleep, I just waited. Within an hour my sister gently touched my arm and when I opened my eyes tears were streaming down her face, she nodded and said, "He's gone"

That morning on Easter Sunday my father passed from this world into another. I can't see him any more and I can't touch him. I can only hear his voice through old voicemails and smile when I walk past any old southern man who smells of cologne and smoke from his Kools cigarettes.

My daddy was one of a kind, he was the kind of man women were fond of, and men wanted to be like. He was cool. Even my old college roommate saw my parents get out of that Navy Blue Riveria he drove for years for the very first time and said, "Your parents look like they would kick my parents ass", of course, I laughed. Finally, now I am starting to get to the place where I can smile and I can laugh when I think of him. I miss him of course, because I loved him, and that will never change. Time moves us forward and when I think of him at my Uncle's funeral sitting next to me watching as my cousins screamed and cried, I remember him turning to me and saying, "Don't y'all do that shit when I die". So, I think it's safe to say, as much as I'd like to scream, cuss and cry, he wouldn't want me to do that shit. (Well maybe he wouldn't care about the cussin'). In the future, I'll honor his memory at all of the times his presence is missed, as I am doing now, with my millionth attempt on really finding my voice via writing. It was only right this first post be about him. As a friend said to me after her father died, "Nothing makes you feel more like an adult than burying your parent". She was right. So, I guess by way of an unwanted right of passage, although I will always be a daddy's girl, I truly am a woman now.