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She’s Cool But…I’d Be Settling

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Asking someone to consider if their significant other is “Mr(s) Right-For-Now” can be taken offensively, but the question warrants serious reflection.

There I sat–happy, anxious, and shocked all at the same time.  In the driver seat to my left was my homeboy who I grew up with.

“You’re a GROWN ASS MAN now,” I joked. “You got the family-sized SUV, good-paying job, apartment with your girlfriend and a dog!  What’s next?”

He laughed, took a deep breath and said, “Honestly man, I’m saving up for a ring.”

Oh. F#ck No!

I would say I was surprised, but not really.  Since high school we all knew what Tyson needed in his life to be content.  Good food, good movies, relaxation and a few other adult requests I’d rather not mention.  Anyway, it was a short list.  And after my first visit to his new place and kickin’ it with him and his girlfriend, I can honestly say that Brotha is H-A-P-P-Y.

Naturally, I had to ask an important question (stolen from the movie, I Love You, Man), “So, is she the one, or just the next one?”  Asking someone to consider if their significant other is “Mr(s) Right-For-Now” can be taken offensively, but the question warrants serious reflection.

“She’s the one bro.  We have a great time together, our families like each other and she treats me right.  I’m good.” His voice carried an air of confidence. It was a wholesome “good.

Though he is the first of my tight friends to be that close to considering marriage, I must admit, it is kind of unsettling to know that we are at the age where weddings are no longer unrealistic.  In my daily conversations, I realize that plenty of people aren’t into “playing games” anymore.  They want serious relationships.  Understandable.  I agree.  I agree agree…

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I mean, what if I wake up next to her and think, “ehhh…she’s aiiiiiiiiiight?”

But how do I know if the girl I’m dating is right?  How do I know that I will be satisfied? How do I know that I’m not settling?  Help me understand!

Scenario #1

She would be a great wife…to someone else. I’m just not physically attracted to her, enough.  I mean, what if I wake up next to her and think, “ehhh…she’s aiiiiiiiiiight?” Am I Shallow Hal? What would I think if she felt that way about me?!?! I’d think she needs an eye exam! Our chemistry can be good, but to sustain a healthy relationship there needs to be a certain level of physical attraction. How do I know where the limit is in the looks department?

Scenario #2

She doesn’t motivate me to grow.  She’s happy to have me just the way I am.  Sounds nice, but I want a woman who inspires me to be a better man for her.  A King for his Queen. If she doesn’t expect more from me, will she ever get more from me?  A good friend once told me, “What you put up with, you end up with.”  Am I settling by dating a woman whom I know does not command my full potential?

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You got how many bodies?

Scenario #3

Her past is questionable.  We’ve all done things we don’t want to admit.  Well, she admitted it, and now, I can’t take it!  For us men, this could be a number of things, i.e: “You got how many bodies!?!?!”  or “You did that to your ‘best friend’?” or “Are you like that every time you get drunk?”  Yes, people can change, but their history of behavior can give some insight into their decision-making ability.  Let’s face it, if they cheated in all of their previous relationships, what makes you so sure it won’t happen to you? What does their record tell you?  Am I settling by moving forward even though her past has me skeptical?

Conclusion:

As always, you have to know what you like.  This comes from experiencing life by yourself and with different people.  Honest self-reflection is key.  Take time to understand what you like, don’t like, and why.  The more you study, the more ready you will be when Mr(s) Right does come along.  I’m still exploring.  But the more I look into the people around me, and not just at them, the more I understand who I need in my life to keep me H-A-P-P-Y.

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“Women, Can You Submit to Your Man?”


For your perusal pleasure, a conversation in the life of Ms. Not-Right-Now and Mr. Right-For Now:

Me: I get that you get it, now what are you going to do about it?

Mr. Right-For-Now: That’s for me to know and for you to find out.

Me: What? No.

Mr. Right-For-Now: You need to learn to relax and let me be your man.

Me: *blinks rapidly in silence*

Me 10 minutes later: Wow

Mr. Right-For-Now: Yeah

Me: Um okay then

As women–and dare I say especially as black women–griping about what bothers us and what’s not right in our relationships comes second nature to us. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Both my man and I have grown and benefited from my ability to see our flaws and my eagerness to always work towards a solution. But sometimes, a man just wants to hear “yes” or “okay” or the very rare “you are right”. Because, get ready for this, he is perfectly capable of handling business without your help. I know, I know, that comes as a shock to some of you. Ladies, catch your breath. But I’ll explain. In many ways slavery threw off the power balance in black american heterosexual relationships. It stripped the black woman of her womanhood and castrated the black man. As a result, you often see loud, aggressive women and a lack of male leadership in our community. We coddle our sons, our brothers, our husbands and then give our sisters the cold shoulder and the boot. As a result, men stopped stepping up and leading their families. Fast forward to 2012 and the black woman, not the black man, hails as the newest face of power and success. Therefore it is my belief that when a woman actually finds a man that wants to be A MAN and more specifically HER MAN, it is her job to sit back, shut up, and watch him work. Maybe that is traditional and old school. But you know what? Old school works. Relationships last longer when everyone plays his or her part. And a woman’s role is submission. Does that mean submit to everybody? No. But it does mean find a man worth submitting to. And then do it. Don’t believe me? Check out what this brother had to say in the piece Women, can you submit to your man?

“20 Hot Dates Under $20”


In the real world–and by real world I mean life post-college NOT the TV show–dating can hit a suitor’s pockets pretty quickly. When movie tickets range anywhere from $11-$17, your date better not even breathe the word popcorn. And while I in no way encourage women to “go dutch”, I don’t believe a slack wallet should completely prevent a good connection with a good person. But I also don’t believe lack of funds justifies dating laziness. So the broke dater has to get a tad more creative, yes? I present to you “20 Hot Dates Under $20” broken up by couple type. Sporty? Go bowling. Foodie? Farmer’s Market. Some of the dates might seem a little dry to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to like them all. Just find a few you’re willing to try out. And if you don’t like those, I have a few of my own that me and Mr. Right-For-Now have sort of accidentally indulged in.

(1) The Window Grocery Shopping Date

How do you window grocery shop? You go grocery shopping, only you don’t buy anything. You talk about the food you would’ve bought had you actually been grocery shopping. It’s a very good date for learning what he or she likes. From favorite cereal to favorite hot sauce brand, it’s important to know your grocery shopping compatibility before it’s too late. Although I warn you, this date isn’t for the hungry.

(2) The Library Study Date

One of my favorite (and cheapest!) recent dates with my honey bunny was going to the library to study together. Got a real estate exam? Theology classes? Papers to grade? The dim lighting, quiet atmosphere, and closeness of the study corrals, truly brought us together as well as any restaurant would–only we didn’t have to pay for anything AND we both got our work done. Now that’s a date no one feels guilty about keeping.

(3) The Classic Park Stroll

Walking and talking hand in hand never goes out of style. It works for the young couple and the aged couple, the new couple and the veteran couple, the active couple and the lounging couple. You exercise without realizing it, you set the atmosphere for excellent conversation, and you spend time with nature. This is an all around A+ date. You can up the ante to jogging or take it down a notch and set up camp with a blanket and a deck of cards.

(4) Car Shows

Ladies, want to impress that cutie in the next door cubicle? Take him to a car show. I’ve yet to pay more than $10 for a car show. I’ve even gone to free ones. But you get a lot of horsepower for your buck. And the guys go ape shit! Tis true what they say about boys and their toys.

(5) Faux Mattress Shopping

If you go to a customer service based mattress store, they’ll take the two of you on a sleep journey. In fact, the good mattress stores work kind of like a dating service. And as you hop from bed to bed finding out what you like and don’t like, feel no shame. You don’t have to take any of them home to meet Mom.  Have fun hunting for the bed you both agree on (you’d be surprised how hard that is)! At the end, simply explain to the clerks that you didn’t find one to suit both of your needs. Although it’s more work for the clerk (so this isn’t a good idea if the store is crowded), a woman never forgets the first guy that got her in bed.

13 Reasons I Love Black Men


I’m feeling a little Angie Stone-esque with this post. I concluded a few months ago that I really don’t show enough outward appreciation to my black brothas. In fact, I flirted with the line of hate and disdain. Why? Mostly because I held onto the negative advertised image of black men these days. I believed and perpetuated the lazy, violent, non-kid-raising, womanizing stereotypes that I’d seen and heard from the black men around me. But that’s not who the black man is at his core. And that’s not the only story I saw once I opened my eyes a bit wider. To all the black men I know who have touched my life positively, I want to say truthfully from the deepest depths of my soul, I Love You. I need you. I respect you. And I appreciate you. But that’s just the problem isn’t it fellas? I’m keeping it locked up and tucked away. Well, it’s time to let the world–and you–know how I feel and why. Because Love locked away and unexpressed might as well be hate. So consider this post a proverbial embrace–a kiss on the cheek just for being you.

I Love black men…

13. … for their cool

I’m going to tell you guys the real reason I voted for Barack Obama. Although I read up on them, it wasn’t completely because of his policies. It wasn’t because he reignited a belief in Hope or Change. And it wasn’t because he is an attractive guy. No. I voted for Barack Obama because he’s just so damn cool. There is something in the walk and talk of a black man that the world finds definable only by the word swagger. And even that word doesn’t quite do you justice. It is an indelible and endearing quality that’s got the world wanting what you’ve got in your back pocket. From politics, to sports, to entertainment, to business, to the pulpit–when a black man leads, people follow. He is the ultimate trendsetter. And it’s this cool that will continue to change the world.

12. …for staying good men even when we don’t believe you exist

You know how they say good guys finish last? That goes for brothas too. If black women are honest with ourselves, we laugh at the ones that are too broke, too short, too unendowed (or unblessed. Hmmm?), too ugly, too emotional, too nice, too Christian, too etc. Even if they are good men! As the black woman increases her education, gets a bit of money in her pocket, and navigates her dreams and goals, we find ourselves looking over the good ones while complaining about how lonely we are and how we’re the least unmarried. Because a lot of us women don’t know what we want. And I know a few good men out there who fight through the slew of black women who think they’re ready for commitment but always date the same kind of black man and then complain about black men as a collective group. I can only imagine how frustrating that has to be. Thank you for hanging in there with us and for putting up with our ignorance and misinformation.

11. …for your persistence in the face of an unjust system

I would like to propose a toast to the ones of you who know firsthand being black on a Tuesday is grounds for police harassment, having a car that’s a little too nice will get you in trouble even if you worked hard and honest to get it, and simply walking into an elevator can cause the old woman next to you to clutch at her purse with every bit of force in her feeble existence. There are parts of this so-called “black experience” that are uniquely yours. And I want to thank you for dealing with the facts of black American life with poise, grace, and a whole lot of comedy. And I give even more kudos to the ones of you who have managed to avoid jail time in spite of a system bent on giving you some.

10. …for your humor

Speaking of comedy, black men are hilarious! From listening to Steve Harvey in the morning to watching old comedy specials of Richard Pryor, I’ve watched and laughed with the black men who choose to fight injustice and racism with politically relevant jokes. Comedians have the right to do and say anything under the guise of humor. And some of them use those opportunities to talk about taboo subject matters. But as we laugh, bonds are broken, stigmas are torn down, prejudices are made light. The best part about it is, when everything’s all said and done, the only thing that hurts are our cheeks from laughing so hard. Thank you for lengthening my life with a much-needed laugh.

9. …for your enlightenment and spirituality

Black folk Love them some G-O-D. And at the head of nearly every church congregation or mosque meeting in our community stands a strong black man. Not every religious leader gets it right. Some are clearly called while others are made. But every once in a while, you get a truly blessed black man using religion as an opportunity to do some things in his community. One such man heads Zion Church in Glenarden, Md–Pastor Keith Battle. Keith Battle gives away offering money to the people in need in his church, makes services accessible and applicable for young people, and talks about topics that other people in the church don’t want to talk about. He is truly an inspiration to me so thank you.

8. …for your Fatherhood

You always hear about the good for nothing brothers who have as many kids as Samuel L. has movies. But you know what? That’s not always the case. Some black men know the truth–parenthood isn’t a choice but an obligation. I work alongside two very dedicated black fathers. Both of them have sacrificed time at work to be nearer to their households and help their wives out with their kids. They truly speak the language of the new black man, the 21st century black man, who does more than bring home the bread and butter. They are ACTIVE and ENGAGED fathers, involved in every bit of the child-rearing process. And I must say, I respect it–so thank you for showing me that.

7. …for your appreciation of us

Although not all black men appreciate black women, the ones who do appreciate us REALLY appreciate us. While mainstream society shuns our hairstyles, our butts, our lips, our walk, and our attitude–the black man has cherished those very same things. The black woman finds herself the object of admiration in many a hip-hop song, R&B album, and neo-soul croon. As Drake profoundly puts it, “…a little attitude problem? It’s all good, it’ll make sh*t last”. The “angry black woman” who might pose a problem for some is a prize for you. I Love it when a black man declares that there’s no other kind of woman that he’d rather have by his side but one of us. And not because there’s anything wrong with any other group of women but just because he prefers the kind of woman who raised him. Because he knows her strength, he knows her glory, he knows her pain, and he shares her story. There’s nothing on Earth like a black man’s Love. Thank you for hollerin’.

6. …for your leadership

From Malcolm and Martin to Medgar and Huey, the revolution has been televised and the Best Supporting Male Lead goes to you. Many of the fallen soldiers on the frontline of this war on racism, have been you. And you’ve lead us with peace, with God, with guns, with words, with art, with Love, with silent protest, with athletic excellence, with academic perfection. Thank you to the black men of the past that sacrificed their lives, their Loves, their dreams, their hopes, so that I could have opportunities not afforded to them. Thank you for always being Kings.

5. …for their entrepreneurial (aka “hustlin”) spirit

As Cassidy raved, a black man could “sell Raid to a bug”. Many a cover of Black Enterprise magazine features the black men who have finessed the world with their business knowledge and innovation. Some of them know how to make money and make it honestly. Although I’m no huge fan of Tyler Perry, the idea behind his monumental success is a brilliant one. Perry found it important to own his movie making studio so that people could never keep him from making movies by refusing him funding. And I respect the hustle.

5. …for your creativity

Andre 3000. Kanye West. Spike Lee. Will Smith. John Legend. Musiq Soulchild. Tupac Shakur. Louis Armstrong. Marvin Gaye. James Baldwin. James Van Der Zee. Aaron Mcgruder. Some say art is more real than life. And the black man has consistently and abundantly contributed to art for life’s sake. Our art forms have transformed the world one canvas at a time. I am inspired and humbled by the beauty in the things the black man creates with his hands. Thank you for your art.

4. …for our shared history

When black women stood up on those auction blocks, it was black men chained next to them. When black women were tired from a long day’s bus boycott, black men were at home to rub tired feet. When black women complained about the itchiness of weave, black men stepped in to take out our sew-ins. We have stood and fought alongside each other since as long as we’ve been on this Earth. I can’t say that about any other kind of man.

3. …for your intelligence

Everyone likes to talk about the brothas that don’t go to college. And I know and Love those black men. But this particular section is for the ones of you that pursued higher education in spite of all the obstacles. This is for the brothas who enjoy reading books and learning about their history, their culture, their contribution to this country. This is for the men who took the things they learned in school with a grain of salt because they understood that education doesn’t always come from a curriculum. I applaud you for educating yourself and for adding to my stimulating conversations–intelligently. Thank you for not being too cool for school.

2. …for your excellence

A person shows true excellence when they succeed in spite of setbacks. Few men in America know setbacks like black men. And yet our people have excelled in all aspects in this country with great help from you. As astronauts and engineers, as professional athletes and hip-hop moguls, as real-estate tycoons and entertainment powerhouses, as men. You have set a standard of excellence that I can only hope to follow. I love you for setting the bar so high.

1. …for being the other half of Black Love

This needs no true explanation. You are apart of me and I, you. To Love you is to Love me. And that’s why I do.

Vulnerability is the New Black


I foresee vulnerability coming back into style. As we continue to watch the successful black woman achieve everything career wise but come home to an empty bed, we will suddenly understand that vulnerability is the key. And we will wear it proudly in the fashion of women like Michelle Obama, who has managed a career and a family. Our hard exteriors will melt away and it will become cool to be authentic, soul bearing, compassionate and grateful. Bad Girls Club, music videos, and Housewives ATL will be bad jokes and caricatures of a distant past— of a black woman who no longer exists. As the women who came before us continue to share their successes in life but their failures in Love, we will learn from their mistakes. And we will honor their experiences by doing better than them. I see Love and family in our future. Vulnerability will be the new Black! Let’s work to bring it back!

Just something I was thinking about. Happy Black History Month & look out for my next piece, 13 Reasons Why I Love Black Men!

Sex and the City


Four beautiful women in their 30s sat around a small table discussing the new post-chivalry dating possibilities of the millennium.

I Love the Sex and the City writers for staying so true to real life. In the end, the only one who gets the fairytale Love is the one who never stopped believing she could have it.

“Look, if you’re a successful single woman in this city you have two choices,” the blonde one roused. “You can bang your head against the wall and try and find a relationship. Or you can say screw it and just go out and have sex. Like a man.”

“You mean with dildos?” the brunette asked, confused.

“No! I mean without feelings.”

The other two women–another blonde and a redhead–listened eagerly as the first blonde explained a prior sexual escapade where she felt absolutely nothing for the man in her bed. But the brunette’s eyebrows furrowed in bewilderment. The concept of “having sex like a man” flustered her. She still believed in romance. And she doubted the blonde’s ability to feel absolutely nothing.

As I listened to these four women talk, I was reminded of the troubled state of my sex and womanhood in the 21st Century. I, too, had gone through a period in my dating life where I approached things “like a man.” I took what I wanted and didn’t particularly care about the other person’s feelings. I called back if and when I felt like it. And I had sex without feelings. So I asked myself if the two-can-play-that-game attitude–pioneered by women in the 90s and carried on by women in the 2000s–really did us any good? It didn’t help me have better relationships with men I wanted to take seriously. It didn’t get me a proposal from some guy amazed by my ability to f**k him and leave him. It didn’t keep me from getting my feelings hurt by men. And it definitely didn’t even leave me with a stack of mind-blowing sex stories :(. My days of “having sex like a man” resulted in the same thing it often results in for men–emptiness and no true connections. I filled myself on temporary comforts only to end up hungry again. I do not regret experiencing sex without emotion. It created a needed boundary between sex and Love in my mind. But it wasn’t a completely fulfilling and satisfying experience–physically nor emotionally. And as I contemplated what I’d been through, seen other women go through, and the gripes of those four women at the table, I wondered why did modern women want to be like men so badly?? What is so bad about being a woman??

I have a theory. It would seem that us 21st century girls have been suckered into subconsciously hating ourselves. We are overrun with and internalize the sexist propaganda that comes with life in America. We have somehow systemically learned that emotion is in fact weakness. And we’ve distanced ourselves from our abused, battered, and manipulated mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. We have watched them accept things from men (or other women) that we would never accept ourselves. And in our frustration with the women of a different era, we’ve found solace in what we perceive to be masculine behaviors. Instead of being the abused, we’re the abusers, the oppressor instead of the oppressed.

Any woman who actually has “had sex like a man” without any emotional attachment knows how powerful that can make you feel–at least initially. But when it’s time to explain to a man you really like how many guys you’ve been with and he doesn’t really want to hear anything over 5, you feel like shit again. Or when it’s your birthday and you want one of those guys you’re just sleeping with to make you feel special  and you realize that none of them can–and none of them want to. If women were honest with themselves and with their EMOTIONS, we’d realize the truth–that casual sex poses emotional dangers for us. Because at the end of the day, we want to feel Love. Women, after all, were created for Love.

Whether or not casual sex is good for women is a highly debated issue (check out Can Women Enjoy Casual Sex? from Psychology Today). And even though I am leaning more towards the side that says it’s not so great a practice for MOST women, I am in no way advocating that women should NOT have casual sex. I know. Now you’re sitting at home like “wait, but you just said…” I know what I said. I also believe just like the four women illustrated above women do not fit into a single box. There may be women out there like the blonde (aka Samantha Jones) filled with enough self-Love that they do not need life long companionship. I’ve never met them but I’m sure they’re out there. Even I’ve had casual sex that made me feel sexually empowered not because it was so great but because I was exercising my pussy power. I got to say when, where, and how it would be done. And if he didn’t like it, he had to go. What I am trying to say about casual sex is examine your motives as a woman and do not deny yourself your innermost desires. If you want Love (like the brunette and the other blonde), say you want Love.

I’ve come across many women who try to deny themselves their own nature. They say things like “it’s not that serious”, “I’m not that kind of girl. I just wanna f**k”, or “I’m just having fun”. But when the right person comes along, they’re swept up faster than you can say Swiffer. Not realizing that all they are doing is denying their own humanity, they’re own womanhood–feeding into the propaganda that tells us it’s not okay to be vulnerable and emotional and to want a relationship. We feed into the messages that tell us somehow men are more powerful and have more control because they’re less sensitive. But it takes the most strength to be vulnerable–whether you’re a man or a woman. The hardest thing in the world is sharing your heart–not your bed. If you are having casual sex while maintaining the ultimate Love for self  and not compromising on what you want, than by all means “do you booboo”. But do not fall into casual sex because you’re afraid to pursue the Love you want and need. If you put yourself out there for Love, the Universe will not return to you empty-handed.

“6 Questions To Ask on a First Date”


What questions do you ask on the first date?

If we’re all honest, the first date can be very awkward (Read about my first date with Mr. Right-For-Now here). And the only thing worse than having a friend set you up on a blind date with a gremlin is having nothing to talk about with said gremlin. Even a date with Mr. Perfect or Mrs. Perfect can lull in the conversation department. You guys don’t know each other well enough yet to know what to talk about. Hell, even people who’ve slept next to each other for 30 years straight don’t know what to talk about. Sometimes landing on the ultimate conversation piece is a bit like finding Waldo–it happens on accident! But a good first date already knows what questions to ask. I read an article recently on SingleBlackMale.org, a website run by (ding ding ding you guessed it!!) single black males that like to talk about any and all topics relevant to black men. This particular article, “6 Questions To Ask on a First Date,” gives the black man’s perspective on the types of things you should be discussing between sips of white peach sangria.  And I’m the type of woman that’s all ears when black men have something to talk about besides their disdain for Lebron James. I found it pretty insightful and thought provoking. It included some valuables like encouraging women to ask a man about his relationship with his family. It left me wondering about my first date behaviors. Admittedly, I’d been a lot more interested in Mr. Right-For-Nows past relationships than how many times a day he called his mother. And apparently, my priority of inquiries might have been a little out of order. Check the article out here!

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