::Clears Throat::

I started this tumblr post because I was talking to a friend about how Diane Warren hasn't written a song I cared for since "Have You Ever" and it was supposed to just be a couple of thoughts... turned into several thoughts...

Check it out: ::Clears Throat::


Mr. Good Enough

Recently a dear friend sent me an email encouraging me to read a book called: Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. The premise is obvious. The author wants women to stop holding out for the man that meets all these random and ridiculous standards women sometimes have, and marry the guy with whom you can just be content. In the linked article discussing her book, the author says,
My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)
I actually don't agree with this author's argument at all and even further think that this is some white people isht if I ever saw it. I mean what is this "content" bull? I can be content ALONE... if I'm going to put with someone else's isht, in all it's various forms and ways, then dammit we better have something amazing going on in our relationship that's gonna be long lasting, because I don't put up with stuff for free, for nothing, for fun... nah... not at all.

I encourage you to go read her whole article on this point, mostly because while I don't agree with some of the specific things she says, including the insinuation that we shouldn't be looking for fly ass relationships, just ones that don't suck, I do agree with the overall sentiment: it's women out here not getting chose because they have this VERY specific list of, make that facts... that must be true about any man they marry. And we've had this conversation in the blogosphere enough that we don't need to go there again except to reiterate that this manner of husband-seeking won't yield you much success.

What does work is recognizing that no one is perfect, including ourselves, and being willing to look over small issues/habits in order to see and have the bigger picture.

Another issue I take with this author's advice and suggestions is who it's directed to. Women ALWAYS get this lecture. This "stop waiting on Mr. Perfect, because he ain't out there" speech, but no one seems to be giving it to men. And then I see pairings like

Vincent Herbert and Tamar Braxton.

If I base my assessments off Tamar's reality show with her sisters, it seems like Vincent is a great guy. He's successful, devoted to his wife (who can be MORE than a handful at times)... a genuinely nice guy. But I can't help but ALWAYS think to myself that if Tamar looked like Vincent and Vincent like Tamar, Tamar wouldn't be married. In fact, we would say to ourselves and each other, "how dare Tamar act like that and be overweight..."

Weight is but one factor women are expected to accept in men but the expectation doesn't run both ways. From cockiness, to domestic abilities, men have some outlandish lists and women are out here working their behinds off to meet the requirements. On the flip side, men are more than happy to chuck the deuce and find some other chick who doesn't care that his hygiene ain't always at 100%, or that he could stand to see the inside of a gym, or see a stylist, or get a haircut, or... I could keep going.

We're always telling women to stop wanting so much, stop demanding so much, stop expecting so much and then tell them to be so much so that they can get chose. It's absolutely ridiculous and drives me crazy.

So no, I won't be reading this book about settling for Mr. Good Enough because I don't have a problem with the list of things that any man I get with needs to have/be/meet/know. There's nothing on that list that isn't true of myself. Like I told my friend, I don't need to pay money to be told that I need to let go of outrageous standards. I need someone to get out here and tell these men to get off the boo-boo (word to Pimp C.) and quit trippin.


Re-Defining Empowerment

Last night I saw a commercial advertising the presence of VH1's Basketball Wives at the Essence Festival this year -- Tami Roman, Shaunie O'Neal and Evelyn Lozada will all speak at an empowerment session.

You've gotta be ufckin kidding me.

Read more about my thoughts here.


The Sex Post

Author's Note: This is a LONG post, even for me (y'all know I be long-winded) and I planned, initially, to break this up into separate posts, but I feel like it's something that oughta be kept as one piece; so, read it in chunks if you have to. :)

I've not talked a whole lot about sex on this blog. There's no "sex" label (though there is a "sexuality" label) and if you type sex into the search box, it only brings up a handful of posts. I typically write about the things that are pertinent in my life so the absence of "sex" as a topic would suggest it's not pertinent, or current, or palpable.

I suppose in a way that's true, and I'll clarify that later. However I don't think it's fair to ever assume that sex isn't a part of most people's lives in some form. Regardless of gender, if we're not talking about or doing it, we're thinking about talking about it or doing it. These days sex is everywhere and even if you're trying not to think about it, you're still thinking about it.

I decided to write this post because of an interaction I had with a couple of friends a few days ago about an unexpected date I went on. For everyone I told this story to -- and it is quite the story -- sex was one of the first topics that came up. I was either being told to get ready for it or told I shouldn't. There's obviously backstory on this, but suffice it to say the guy I was with and I have serious history as well as serious sexual tension.

With the exception of the 2 aforementioned friends, sex was but one of a litany of issues that needed to be discussed in the aftermath (and beforemath... wait, is that a word?) of this date. It fell midway on the totem pole -- important because it's sex, but not important because it's just sex, and the least of the issues I have with him -- and with most everyone it was a passing comment or joke or, in one case, a rule ("don't have sex with him, you'll get AIDS" -- ftr, he does not have AIDS and it was admittedly an ignorant, crude rule/joke).

For someone who likes to use stories to make a point, I'm sometimes a terrible storyteller. It's partially because I'm an excellent emotion detective. I can read an audience like none other and if, as I'm telling you a story, I can sense your disinterest, my story gets really short. I don't want to waste either of our time. And so, while I knew both friends were generally interested in hearing my story, I quickly got the feeling that the more I talked, the lest interest I was keeping.

Right now, I can't really remember exactly what I said, but I did mention that this guy and I have this interesting history, an important piece of which is the ever-present sexual tension. Upon the ending to my story one of them asked, "well did you have a good time?" I responded that I had and then the same one asked, a little more anxiously, "did you have sex with him?" It hadn't occurred to me that euphemisms were being used or that a good date ends with good sex.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not naive or new to any of this. I know that a good date doesn't always end with good sex. I suppose, however, that what I did realize in that moment was how differently sex interacts with my life than some of my friends. I think processing that is what led me to tweet something about being associated with many individuals others consider "hoes" (this, of course, is a whole other post in and of itself).

We all talked a few more moments and then the conversation was over. I was left with a question -- and it was really just a question -- if there's so much sexual tension between this guy and I and I feel it and he feels it then what's stopping us? Rather, what's stopping me, because I'm always the one to stop it. What makes me so different? The truth is I'm not that different and honestly, this isn't that deep. I just have a different background and thus a different present relationship with sex.

Back when I was in my tween and then teen years, I was heavily involved with my church's youth group (wait, wait, before you think "oh, I know where this is going..."). Those years of my life have become so instrumental to who I am and how I do things. I learned a lot about my faith, who I am as a person and what my place is in the world during those years. Obviously you can't have a group of teenagers who spend a lot of time together and not ever talk about sex. One of the things I appreciated then and carry with me now as I work with teens in various ways is frankness, especially around issues of sex. Our adult leaders were honest with us about sex and there were enough older teens through the years who were also frank and honest with us.

A lot of those older teens were like older brothers and sisters to me so when THEY told me that I didn't need to be having sex, I believed them. Whole heartedly. And I also took it seriously to save myself for the person I was going to marry. The concept made sense to me and I also couldn't overlook the fact that I had varying levels of exposure and experience to and with sex at my disposal and they all pretty much said the same thing: "wait."

So wait I did. I was like every other teen; the waiting wasn't easy and I got myself in a lot of situations that were not easy to get out of, but somehow or another I managed to escape each one with everything intact. The other key point here is that while I was in high school I had just as many friends who were having sex as I had who weren't. The peer pressure was pretty even on both sides. But then I got to college...

There's something about college that can be hard to explain if you didn't go, or didn't live on campus or had a bad experience. I think it's summed up well, though, in the idea that college is more than your classes; in fact, I think classes are the least of your educational opportunities in college. College is about the people you meet and the experiences you have that all challenge who you are and what you believe and why. I remember a sunny afternoon during my freshman year, sitting out on one of the lawns with friends debating religion and Christian faith and walking away from it thinking that I had to tell all my friends who were preparing themselves for college that they needed to start thinking about why they believe what they believe because it wasn't enough to just believe something -- you gotta back it up.

By the time I entered college, some of my ideas about sex had changed a little bit. I wasn't really not having sex because of my faith or really even because I wanted to save myself. I wasn't having sex because I didn't see a need. My relationship with J was relatively new, from a romantic standpoint, and we had talked about sex and at the time I believed he was serious about not having sex for religious reasons so I didn't press the issue much -- it was fine with me.

But the funny thing about everyone around you doing something that you're not doing is that you've got to find out what the big deal is. So while in high school, those who were having sex weren't really talking about it that much (and of course we all know those first few years of having sex, nobody knows what they're doing for real, anyway) and the rest of us who weren't obviously weren't talking about it, the people I met in college WERE talking about it. Sex became the cornerstone of everything -- the juiciest gossip all had it's roots in the sex somebody was or wasn't having with somebody else. It also didn't help to realize that almost literally everyone around me was having sex with each other (or maybe it did help since I thought that was somewhat ridiculous).

I'm being a little facetious here. Not everyone I was associated with in college was busy having sex. More than likely the numbers resembled high school a lot more than I thought at the time, but it sure felt like more folks were doing it (cause there was a lot more talking going on). In any case, like I said, the funny thing about (feeling like) everyone around you doing something you're not doing is that you've got to find out what the big deal is. So I did.

I'll spare you the details on that one because details aren't important. I still didn't get what the big deal was, and I also didn't feel this sense of dread that I recall my "brothers and sisters" making me feel like I would when I was 14. This, of course, isn't to say that later on I didn't feel that way, or eventually figure out what the big deal was. And now when I talk to young girls, I encourage them to wait, but I always talk about how difficult I know that can be.

So here we are present day. I'm a lot smarter than I was then, a little more experienced and I'm definitely a lot better at ignoring that feeling you get when everyone around you seems like they're having fun. I've got friends who never ask me about my sex life and I've got friends who seem to always inquire in some way. Ultimately, I've deemed sex as one of those things that I'm just not going to die without and that I really respect what it does to an individual and to a relationship, so for the most part, I don't partake in it unless I'm in a relationship.

All this detail is a lot more than some of my closest pals know about me. One of the reasons is that as I went through that process of getting smarter and more experienced, I learn that sex is one of those topics that people have STRONG feelings about and usually if you don't agree with them, it's a fight. Folks just don't like to be judged for what they are or aren't doing in the bedroom and disagreement feels like judgement (because in some cases it is) to a lot of people. Even something as simple as just stating you do it differently can read to some folks like placement of values. I don't have interest in assuring folks that I just do it and see it differently and that I don't think they're bad people for however they do what they do or don't do when it comes to sex.

This has also meant that it plays a whole different role in my life and changes where I place my priorities and values. Doesn't mean I have it all figured out or know exactly what I'm doing -- just that I know what works fo rme so I do that. I get my kicks in other ways...



Watched the premiere of VH1's Single Ladies today. There's a story line involving Stacey Dash's character, Valerie, around her dealing with her breakup and subsequently discovering the ex who wouldn't commit to her, quickly did so with a new girl.

Whether you've been there or not, one thing you can probably relate to that the character needed was "closure." At one point she invites him over to her place and says she wants to talk so she can find this elusive "closure." What she quickly discovers is what he has to say isn't making her feel better or reassuring her or helping her deal with the nagging question of what was so wrong with her. Despite his honesty, she finds out that she's still hurting.

Not too long ago a friend of mine went through a relatively (for her) emotionless breakup. She hadn't really wanted to be in it in the first place so when it did come to an end a few months later, it was no skin off her nose. Well, except for her suspicions that he cheated. A lot more went on in the days and weeks after they were done, but everything kept coming back to wanting closure. At one point she and I talked about her wanting to talk to him one last time to make her point once and for all about why they could not be together. I asked her, if she wanted to talk to him to get closure or to get him to admit he acted inappropriately.

I really believe that the only person who can bring you closure is yourself. A lot of times we realize that this thing we had didn't happen the way we thought it did. We're trying to figure out how we had been so happy in a relationship only for it to end suddenly. Or perhaps we wonder what it was about us that chased them off... so we seek closure. The problem is perception is reality. This means that even though our former flame may be sincere, they don't have all the answers either. It was what it was for you and it was what it was for them and if those two things don't match up, neither of you can fix that for the other one once it's all said and done.

When things ended with J and I, I spent 3 months trying to get closure. We had long conversations rehashing what felt like every thing we ever did and what I quickly realized was he couldn't explain the disconnect any better than I could. What explanations he could give tore through me and the explanations he couldn't give seemed to be just as bad. I had to accept that I was looking for absolution. Someone to tell me I had done nothing wrong. I was also looking for reparation. His acknowledgement that he could feel the agony I was feeling. The reality, however, was that neither of those things could come from him. He had no absolution to give me and he wasn't at a place where he could really understand the emotional toil.

These days I see closure not as something I get from someone or something, but rather as a choice I make. I choose to have closure in situations. I choose to look at it and think, "ok -- that sucked, but these are the lessons I learned and I'm ok (or will be ok)." The minute I wait on someone else to give it to me is the minute I give that person the power to determine my freedom. Seriously.