Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury



A couple of days ago, a friend sent me an article by Newsweek reporter Allison Samuels. The piece, on Newsweek's website, is titled, "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Swedish Ex-Model: Elin Nordegren Woods and the myth of the angry black woman."

It's a good article. Samuels basically notes that women, no matter what race, creed, color, religion, ethnicity, etc., will become angry when they are betrayed by a loved one. It's not, in my words, a Black thing.

But one line in the piece really stood out to me. Samuels writes:
"…the golfer reportedly told a friend shortly after the incident that his wife had gone "ghetto" on him."

WHAT ?

What does that mean? Can somebody please tell me what that means ?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Salahis: "They Looked Like They Belonged"
















Last week, I wrote a blog and mentioned that I would never have gotten into the White House State Dinner because, "I'm not blond. I'm not thin. And I don't make the men of the Secret Service blush..."

In the blog, (Thoughts, Dec. 2, 2009), I wrote:
"Let's just face it: We live in a society where beauty is everything. An attractive person can get into places and do things "average" people can't. They have access to people "ordinary folks" don't. With a smile, flip of the hair or a beautiful red dress, they can go any where... even to the White House."

Well, a friend disagreed with my assumption and admonished me for this claim during a late night dinner.

But in Sunday's Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning fashion columnist Robin Givhan, seemed to agree with me. In her column titled, "Why They Got In: They Looked Like They Belonged," Givhan wrote that the Salahis were able to get into the White House State Dinner, pass security and Secret Service, because they "looked the part. They looked well-off."

Givhan reminded us that, "Women who look like Michaele Salahi get more than their share of lucky breaks. …The Bergdorf blonde…is the epitome of the trophy wife." Michaele Salahi, Givhan wrote, "conforms to the cultural standards of what a wealthy, privileged, important person is assumed to look like…tall, thin, white, blond, privilege."

Givhan noted:
"As much as people hate to admit that decisions about who belongs where, who is important and who should be believed without question are based on appearance, it happens all the time. …Appearance trumped caution, skepticism and safety…The Salahis weren't on the guest list. But instead of turning them away, the Secret Service waved them in. Would they have been so gullible if it had been a young Black man in a tuxedo or a short, squat, gray-haired woman in a modest black dress…"

Or what about a short, not-thin brown girl with locks? I think not.
So, I stand by my statement — I would have never gotten in.

To read Givhan's entire column, click here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

tiger, tiger, tiger


For some reason, I'm fascinated with this Tiger thing.
I mean, everyday some new woman comes out claiming she too had an affair, fling, or whatever with Tiger. One media outlet noted that the number of mistresses is now up to ten: The Tiger Ten. Another outlet has nicknamed the famed golfer, "Lion Cheetah." (that's funny)

Most recently, California Congressman Joe Baca has withdrawn his proposal to honor Tiger with a Congressional Gold Medal — a Congressional Gold Medal, now that's big.

And the media keeps adding fuel to the fire.

In her latest article about the Tiger "situation," USA Today columnist Christine Brennan writes that, "What Tiger Woods has caused to happen to himself and his image over the past two weeks is the sports world's most remarkable fall from grace, ever. No athlete has ever held a perch so high in our culture — right up there with President and Mrs. Obama, and Oprah — and fallen so far so fast."

She goes on to write, "When he does come back to the golf course, he will return without the aura of invincibility that won him so many titles. How will competitors ever fear him again? They might pity him, or make fun of him under their breath, but fear?"

Wow. Really?
Michael Jordan cheated on his wife and for many he is still considered the world's greatest basketball player. And I don't even have enough room to name the countless entertainers, athletes, politicians and dare I say clergymen, who have "fallen from grace" and have gotten back up with wide support. (Didn't Bill Clinton get reelected?)

Donald Trump seems to think Tiger will weather this storm and come out even stronger. Trump told the entertainment show Extra that Woods "is going to be hotter than ever - mark my words."

What do you think?
Do you think Tiger's "transgressions" have ruined his career or do you agree with Trump that he will recover from this, "hotter than ever?"

I guess only time will tell.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Monogamy Overrated?


Okay, I should be learning new Jazzercise routines right now, but as you can see I'm blogging.

In an exclusive interview with E ! Online, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner says that he is surprised that people are so surprised to hear about Tiger Woods' infidelity.

In the story Hefner says that "marriage is just a convenience" and that "the notion that monogamy lasts forever is a wish !"

Wow.

Am I living in some kind of fairyland? I know that I can be idealistic at times, but what's wrong with expecting faithfulness?

Call me naive, but I don't want to be in a marriage where I am "not surprised" if my husband cheats.

What are your thoughts?

What Would You Do?


So, The Huffington Post, quoting from TMZ, has said a fourth woman would be coming forward to admit her affair to golfer Tiger Woods. According to The Huffington Post, using reports from Radaronline.com, the 26-year-old woman is claiming that she had a two-year affair with Tiger.

Wow. Tiger's been "busy." ggrrrrrr

According to People.com, Tiger and his wife, Elin Nordegren, are in intense marriage counseling right now. The magazine Web site has reported that the pair are renegotiating Nordegren's pre-nup from $20 million for 10 years to $55 million if she stays with him just two more years - just two.

My question, would you stay?
Two years isn't a long time and $55 million is a nice lifestyle.

OOOOH, WEEEEEE



That's what I said when I saw TheRoot.com's list of 100 emerging and established African American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions.

More than half (nearly 60) of the list are men. I don't know the marital status of all the men. I do know a few are married. If I eliminate those, there are about 20 that I wouldn't mind meeting for coffee.

They are smart, creative, ambitious, accomplished - and in my age range (late '30, early '40s).
These are good guys. Well, on the surface (or as they say, on paper) - they seem like good guys.

Check out TheRoot.com's list here: http://www.theroot.com/views/root-100.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thoughts?



What are your thoughts on Tiger Woods and his "situation"?

Do you think Serena Williams' punishment was too harsh?

What about the White House Party Crashers?

Well, I tell you one thing. I would have never been able to crash a party at the White House. I'm not blond. I'm not thin. And I don't make the men of the Secret Service blush...

Let's just face it: We live in a society where beauty is everything. An attractive person can get into places and do things, "average" people can't. They have access to people "ordinary folks" don't. With a smile, flip of the hair or a beautiful red dress, they can go any where... even to the White House.

I'm still wondering... who found out they were party crashers (and then told the media)?

Monday, November 30, 2009

50 compliments


This weekend I caught an episode of the VH1 reality show Tough Love. If you're not familiar with the show, a matchmaker puts nine manless women through a bootcamp to help them find love.

One bootcamp member who used to be overweight continues to struggle with self-esteem issues and has had a difficult time loving herself or believing that someone else could love her.

Confidence, the show's host revealed, is sexy. Men are attracted to women who are confident. So he instructed her to write 50 compliments about herself.

Like the bootcamp member, I also struggle with self-esteem issues related to weight, so I took on the challenge too.

I could barely write 10 compliments about myself. I finally tweaked out 25, but there's no way I could get to 50. I mean, there's just so many times I could write "cute feet."

This is your challenge this week: Sit down and write 25 compliments about yourself, just 25.

Let me know if this was a difficult or easy assignment for you. How do you see yourself? Did you learn anything?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Right now

My neighbor's boyfriend is banging on her door accusing her of cheating.
He said, "if you don't have nothing to hide, then open the door."

I don't want her to open the door.

She's a widow with 5 kids. Her youngest is 4.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Housewives - Orange county


Okay, after last night's episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, I felt the need to write about it.

It's interesting to me that the only one not suffering financially — Vickie — is the one who doesn't count on a man for money. Vickie runs her own business. She is about working hard and enjoying the fruits of her labor. While the other Housewives are crying about how hard times are, they are not out there looking for a job - which is perplexing to me. I guess someone told them that as long as you're beautiful you don't have to work.

Real estate agent Jeana bought her kids homes and cars when the real estate market was booming. Now that the market has gone bust she is facing foreclosure. She's also had to sell some jewelry and other things to make ends meet. I know she provided for her family generously when she had the means, but now that she's struggling I wonder where is her son who plays professional baseball. He would always talk mean to his mother.

Also, I was upset last night when Lynne agreed to allow her 16-year-old daughter to get a nose job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this young lady's nose. She's beautiful. But her superficial mom says, "It's a lot of competition in Orange County." Like Judge Judy says, "beauty fades, but stupid is forever." Why isn't she encouraging this young lady to study hard or get good grades to get a scholarship to college? Why is she so focused on her looks?
Lynne did say that she believed a nose job would boost her daughter's self-esteem. Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes, no matter how much we change on the outside, we still don't like ourselves. She may have to do a little inside work. But this is not surprising at all, because Lynne herself is obsessed with staying youthful looking. She is contemplating a face lift and basically lives in the gym. Like the other Housewives, she doesn't have a full-time job, but I must give her props for starting her own line of signature cuff bracelets that she's selling to high end department stores. Do you think she would be able to do that if she wasn't on the Housewives show?

I tell ya, these chicks go around all day with their pretty dresses and lunch at expensive restaurants and when the money is all gone they're crying on TV. I don't wish ill will on anyone, but I wished someone would have talked to them about being self-sufficient.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love Him or Leave Him?

The latest Heart & Soul poll asks: "If my significant other cheated, I would...."
a. Leave

b. Retaliate

c. Get counseling and work it out

d. Stay, but make his/her life miserable

e. nothing


Interestingly, 47 percent of respondents voted that they would leave the relationship and 53 percent said they would get counseling and work it out.

How would you answer this question? Does it depend on the circumstance?
Please go to heartandsoul.com to vote.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Your space?

Okay, so I'm working on my school project about "The State of the Young Black Male."

I google the phrase to see what kind of articles
or studies have been written about the subject.
I come across a blog by a young man. It mentions
something about the life and times of a young Black man
in the subhead. He has links to his twitter account, myspace, facebook and Morehouse college.

The young man's blog include his thoughts on various
issues - the gay marriage debate in D.C., unemployment,
education, Michael Vick, Tyler Perry v. Spike Lee, the
Henry Louis Gates episode, etc. There are also several photos
of him, including one where he's wearing a Morehouse t-shirt.

cool.

So, I'm quickly scanning through the different blog posts and come across
one about his latest one night stand.
He writes how he went to a club in Atlanta, met a guy and followed
him home. He talked about the guy's Mercedes Benz and his huge, uh, "house."
Then he went on to discuss how they had sex for an hour and how
the guy gave him breakfast in bed the next day.

okay.

I get to another posting and it's about how he met a guy at Morehouse. He learned that the man worked on campus. One day, he went to the guy's office. They talked. Then he mentions something about an oral sex session.

huh?

After his post about a lap dance from a guy he had a crush on, I stopped reading.

What do you guys think about this?
What if a potential employer "googled" him? Is this any different than me talking about my bad dates?

My professors always warn us that what we put on the internet could follow us or for a better term "haunt" us for a very long time.

Thoughts?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Second Time Around

I came across a beautiful story in today's Washington Post.
It was about a man and woman who had found love again.

A year ago, the 75-year-old business executive and 78-year-old stylish woman with "gold earrings and auburn hair" were living in the same retirement community. One day he asked her to a ballet performance. Soon after, they were inseparable.

""We had a lot of cups of tea together. A lot of hours of conversation," the woman said in the Post article, "really getting to know each other."

They found they had a lot in common. Both of their marriages had lasted more than 50 years and both of their spouses had died in December 2007 from long-term illnesses.

And they both believed that they would never love again.

After dating for several months, the couple planned a trip to California. But before their visit, the gentlemen did the proper thing: He got on one knee and proposed to his lady love.

"I wasn't going to take her there and try to sleep in the same room without marriage." His petite wife agreed, saying, they weren't going to be "shacking up."

The couple got married this summer and are still adjusting to their life as newlyweds. They are both happy they found love - again.

In the Post article, the great-grandfather emphasized the importance of their union: "You're so used to sharing ideas, so used to planning, so used to doing for, doing with. It's everything," he said of their companionship. "It's everything."

I found lots of lessons in this story.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To Love and "Obey"

During the Real Housewives of Atlanta episode last Thursday,
former football player Ed, jokingly told his wife, Lisa Wu,
"You better to sit down and obey your husband."

It was all in fun of course. But what do you think of "obey" in terms of marriage?

Do you think wives should "obey" their husbands?

What are your thoughts on this?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Do-Over

In this month's O, The Oprah Magazine, columnist Lisa Kogan asks, "If you could redo just one moment in your life, what would it be?"

Kogan talks about how she regrets ditching her grandmother one evening for a friend's birthday party. The next morning her grandmother went in the hospital and she never came out.

"If I could just get one night back," Kogan writes, "I would have taken off my coat and sat back down, only this time I'd have faced my grandmother instead of the driveway. I never told her how smart and talented and brave and lovely I thought she was. I never found out what she did to make her skin so soft and her matzo balls so firm. I never thanked her for being my go-to grandma in the unconditional goodness department."

I know we're not suppose to live a life of regrets. But there are a lot of things I wish I could "do-over." There are some things I wish I would have said - to family, to friends, lovers. There are some things I wish I would have done - financially, professionally.

I would be in a better place now. Or would I?

I can only guess about what "could have" been. Ultimately, however, I have to live with the decisions that I've made and make the best of them. I can't live with an attitude of "woulda, coulda, shoulda", because when it boils down to it I "didn't," - do what I was suppose to do to become the person I want to be. My lack of courage or self-esteem are mere excuses for the due diligence and hard work, I "shoulda" done.

But hey, what's life without a little learning? Experience is always the best teacher.

What about you?

If you could redo just one moment in your life, what would it be?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seven Whole Days

I was looking through my Oprah newsletters and came
across an interesting question she had posed to her readers:

What Could You Give Up for 7 days?

When my car radio went out a couple of weeks ago,
I thought I would go crazy. But my daily commute
became peaceful, even meditative. I had the opportunity
to think about so many things in my life.

I realized that I really didn't miss the radio in my car that
much. But honey I was glad when it popped back on.

I know I can live without a car radio, that's easy.

But is there something (or someone - lol) that you absolutely
cannot give up for 7 days?

What are some things that you believe that you just can't live without?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Do You Need a Man For?

Okay, I'm listening to Michael Baisden right now
and he's asking the ladies: What do you need a man for?

He's referring to studies that have found that women who are financially
stable are foregoing marriage because they don't want to deal
with men's "issues." (yeah, one of those reports)

So, Michael's asking, if you don't need a man to help
with the bills, what do you need him for? Romance? Sex?
Intimacy? Companionship?

Personally, I needed someone to change my light bulbs
because I have high ceilings, then I bought a ladder (lol :))

But seriously, I think there's a difference between
a need and a want. And in my humble opinion, a man is both.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Simple Act of Kindness?

So, last week I noted on my Facebook page how my 1997 Honda Accord needed about $1500 in repairs. A guy I used to date responded that he had a mechanic that could help me out. The guy was good with reasonable prices, he said.

I told him that I had no plans to get my car fixed anytime soon, especially since I was in school. Also, I noted, the Honda folks had been telling me the same thing for the last five years and my car was still going strong. (except for the fact that my car radio goes out for weeks at a time and then just pops back on)

Anyway, he told me that he admired me for going back to school and offered to get my car fixed.

Huh?

He said he had funds available to get my car fixed for me.

I just laughed and kindly declined his offer.

Now, I went out on one date with this guy about 12 years ago, around the time I first moved to the DC metropolitan area. He was a nice enough guy. But there weren't any sparks. I had not seen or talked to him since that time. We only became reacquainted on Facebook earlier this year.

He is now married with children. (I know he has at least one)

Do you think he was offering to fix my car just out of the kindness of his heart? You think maybe he just wanted to help out an old friend who's in school? Was this just a simple act of kindness or something more? Why would a man (a married man) I hadn't talked to in 12 years offer to have my car fixed?

I'm not sure how to read this. I don't want to jump to conclusions and immediately think ill of someone because he is a nice person.

Your thoughts?

Monday, September 28, 2009

God's Grace (It's No Oridnary Love)


Every Monday and Wednesday I teach a Jazzercise class for Washington Parks and People's "Heart & Soul" program. The class is located in one of D.C.'s most impoverished and violent areas. Even though the class is free for residents who are on some type of government assistance, it has been difficult getting participants.

Today, I got an email from one of my students saying she going to join another fitness program. Right after, another email came: one of my most loyal students said she had to care for her ailing parents and didn't know when she would be able to return to class.

Man, I was down. I love teaching this class. It's a service for an area that is often underserved. My city councilwoman even comes.

But the class was already small and losing two students was devastating. If we lost any more students I would have to close the class.

However, when I got to class today, I had four new students. Four. By the end of class, they all signed up and said they would be back on Wednesday (we'll see).

See how God works?

Just when I was thinking about giving up, God stepped in. When I lost two, he gave me four.

Even though this is only a Jazzercise class, it's often the small things that remind me of God's grace and mercy. It is he who is in control, not I. It's not an ordinary love.

What about you?
Have you ever wanted to give up (on anything), but God stepped in?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Love Lost?


So I'm in the Honda dealership this morning and hear a conversation between a man and a woman. The woman looked to be in her mid-40s, the man, in his 60s. They were talking about their kids. She has three teenagers — 17, 16 and 13. His children are a little older — two sons, ages 40 and 31.

The gentleman was concerned about his sons' singleness. It seemed they wanted to be bachelors forever. He noted to the woman:

"I just can't get my sons married."

"They've had good relationships, but they don't want to get married. We've met a couple of young ladies that they've brought home for holidays or on the weekend, but I think they're looking for a young lady like their mother. We've been married 43 years."

"They go to the Dominican, stay a couple of weeks. Then go to Jamaica, stay a couple of weeks; go to Puerto Rica for a few weeks."

"My son always talks about so many broken marriages and so many kids being born out of wedlock. Very few of their friends have settled down. Some got married in their mid-40s. One got married in his early '50s. His '50s !"

"My oldest son was engaged twice, one young lady he had known since middle school. She would come watch him play football, go to his high school games. We thought she was the one. But when my son was ready to settle down, she was always traveling, going back to her country. It was disappointing to him."

"The young lady had an aneurism at age 36. She is now in a nursing home, paralyzed on the left side of her body. She was beautiful, beautiful. You should see her now, wouldn't recognize her. Her speech is blurry. She has a twin who got married this year."

"When we visit her in the nursing home and she sees that my son still hasn't gotten married, she says, 'he's waiting on me.'"

"After her, I think he sort of gave up. It's disheartening. It's sad."

Soon after, the man left. But he gave me a lot to think about.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Strong Black Woman?

Last month I attended an event and there were several young African American women there. I would guess that they were in their mid-20s. During a discussion, two of them felt the need to debate every little point. They were argumentative, at times shouting to voice their displeasure or disagreement with others.

They wanted to be heard. I understand. But sometimes I felt that they just wanted folks to know how smart they were. I wanted to say, “Sweetheart, just because you haven’t heard of something or haven’t seen something, doesn’t mean it’s not true or that it doesn’t exist.”


In her article, "The Strong Black Woman Syndrome," journalist Kimberly Seals Allers writes, "I am afraid that we are unintentionally breaking down our families and creating a dangerous legacy." The article is featured on the blog, momlogic.com. Please read it here .

Allers writes in the piece:

"When we perpetuate the dangerous myth of black women as indefatigable, unshakable, and tireless, we are not allowed to be whole human beings with a full suite of emotions. Some of those emotions, which we as humans are entitled to experience, include being vulnerable, needy, and, for lack of a better word, scared sh*tless. We have a right to be that."

Allers asks if we are damaging ourselves and our families with our strength or our 'I don't need anybody or anything' attitudes.

She writes, "Sometimes we do need help, and sometimes we are not okay."

What do you think?
Do you think our "Strong Black Woman Sydrome" sometimes hinders us, our families?

Do you think this impacts our ability to have loving, lasting intimate relationships?
(some men are turned off by what they call "strong black women.")

Do you think you'll be seen as weak if you reveal your vulnerability or allow someone to see that you may not have it all together?

Think about how we look at women who can't seem to hold it together at work, who may be a little emotional. Are we judgmental?

There are many who believe they have to put on a strong face to the outside world - at work, etc. —  but what about at home? Shouldn't you be able to let down your guard and share your fears and tears with the ones you love?

I think there's a delicate balance that ALL women have to achieve — showing people that we're no pushovers and at the same time, also showing that we are compassionate and caring human beings.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Serena, Kanye





Wow. It was an interesting weekend.

Serena got upset and Kanye was, well, Kanye .

What are your thoughts about the
outburts of these two talents over
the weekend?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Here We Go Again

Last Friday, while I was in Mississippi visiting my family,
I missed a story on NPR's Tell Me More titled, "Black Women: Successful
and Still Unmarried." Please read the story here . (Be sure to read some of the 91 comments that follow the piece.)

The story referenced results from a new Yale study which found that "highly educated black women are twice as likely to have never been married by the age of 45 as white women with similar education."

Surprise. Surprise.

Obviously this isn't anything new or groundbreaking. Many Black women are living this reality everyday.

The two young ladies featured in the piece were smart women, both with advanced degrees, but mateless. They noted that "black women are often encouraged to choose advanced education, but sometimes at the expense of personal relationships."

One specifically said that when she went to graduate school at age 21, marriage really wasn't a priority in her life.

"I thought either you do school or you do marriage ... but never thought of them as being able to co-exist," the young lady said in the story.

I can definitely relate. When I went to Ohio State at age 21, marriage was the furthest thing from my mind.

But maybe my priorities were in the wrong order.

If I hadn't gone to grad school, I could be married with 2 or 3 kids — going to Girl Scout meetings and Little League games. And when I think about it, my advanced degree hasn't really help me make more money or even get a better job. Instead, I'm single and broke ! And this degree doesn't keep me warm at night.

LOL.

Okay, who am I kidding? I don't think I'm single because I went to grad school. It was only a year out of my life. I wasn't ready at that time.

Now I'm ready, and there's nobody to be found.

I think about my two stepsisters. One is on her third (or is it fourth?) marriage and she isn't even 40 yet. Her sister will be getting married for the second time next June, she will be turning 30 soon. They both got married right after high school and have never had trouble finding husbands.

One of the ladies noted in the NPR story: "Men tend to become 'distinguished' as they get older. Women just get old."

Ouch.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Father Knows Best?


I may need to move back to Mississippi: The slower pace. Family. The good home-cooked meals (I can just taste my grandma's peach cobbler). The low cost of living.

But most of all, I have no trouble attracting men.
They like my voluptuous curves and surprisingly don't seem to mind my natural hair.

When I was there for Christmas, I met a nice young man at Target, a single father, mild mannered.

During my most recent trip to Mississippi, I met another nice young man. I was looking for a comforter set in Bed, Bath and Beyond when he walked up to me; told me that I looked very nice.

His name was Ricardo. He was from Houston, had gone to school in Oklahoma (on a football scholarship) and had gotten a master's degree in Chemistry (a scholar-athlete, love it!). He was in Mississippi for Dental School, his first year.

He seemed, on first meeting him, like a really nice person.
Too bad he was only 27. (I'm nearly a whole decade older than him)

But that wasn't my major concern.

At this point in my life, I would like to date someone in which
there is a relationship that leads to marriage.

It would have been fun to go out with Ricardo for a nice dinner, but I know
ultimately I could not have a serious relationship with him that leads
to marriage.

Ricardo is a Mexican-American. My father would kill me if I did not marry a Black man. He would disown me, think ill of me, say mean hurtful things about me. You should hear what he says about my cousin who married a Latina woman.
My father is a racist and he's told me so. He doesn't even want me to marry someone from Africa: "You'll be one of several wives," he warns me.

He doesn't know that I've dated men of all nationalities, ethnicities, religions (yes, I went out with a Jewish guy a couple of times. He was nice). The last guy I dated was Nigerian. As a student at Ohio State, I went out with a guy from Kuwait. I mean if someone was nice, I saw no harm in going out to dinner or enjoying a movie.

As much as I like going home, there's a certain freedom in not living there. I can date whoever I want without someone (mainly family) judging me about my choices.

I know you're probably saying, "It doesn't matter what your father thinks, it's your life."

But it does.

I want my father to like and accept whoever I choose as my lifetime mate. I don't want to hide my husband or have to choose between my husband and my family.

Although I would also PREFER to marry a Black man, I don't want to feel bad for liking or even falling in love with someone who may not be African American.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mean Girls


Recently my mentee, Norquesha, returned to school at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. This summer, I met one of her good friends, Carmen. She was smart, well-spoken and had plans to get an MBA.

Carmen revealed to me one day that she didn't initially like Norquesha because she would "walk in class with her head up and shoulders back."

"I said, 'Who is this little girl walking with her head up,'" said Carmen, laughing at her silliness.

I was like, "What? You don't like someone because how they walk in a classroom?" I was taken aback.
Norquesha is tiny, maybe 4 foot 9 (and that's pushing it) and 95 pounds soaking wet. I would always tell her to walk with her head up. But I never thought people wouldn't like her because of that.

Later on, Norquesha revealed to me that a lot of girls on campus didn't like Carmen because Carmen drove a BMW. Her father had given her that car.

Wow. You don't like someone because their parents gave them a nice car to drive?

But I had to remember being their age. Did we not like someone just because of how they walked or what they drove? I can't remember being so petty in college, but maybe I was.

Even today, I'm sure you've run into folks who don't like you for whatever reason - (maybe because you're hot and smart :)

What about you?
Can you think of a time you didn't like someone for superficial reasons? (she think she cute, she think she all that, she think she smart, etc.)
Have you ever had an opinion of someone before meeting them, but once you got to know them you realized that the person was really cool?

Are there folks who didn't like you for whatever reason (and maybe still don't)?

Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Affair of the Heart

On Good Morning America this morning,
Sheryl Weinstein talked about her
21-year affair with disgraced Ponzi
schemer Bernie Madoff. You can read the
story here .

In her tell-all book, on sale at a bookstore near you,
she reveals that she had an intimate, sexual affair
with Madoff for only a year and a half, but was his mistress
for 20 years. (She's been married for 37 years)

hmmmmm. I guess I can understand that - sex for only a year, mistress for 20 years.
I'm assuming they mostly went to dinner, long walks, long talks —
essentially an emotional affair.

Man, I would love that.

I mean, I would love to have someone buy me lots of
jewelry, clothes, cars, art and a fabulous condo (in the Caribbean)
— without ever sleeping with them.
They would give me gifts basically because they liked me.
We would have an "emotional" affair.

I like this idea. I can get all these great gifts, go
to the best restaurants, travel — without
feeling pressure to have sex with a man.
I mean, if he's giving generously, who am I to say no?

I'm down. I can definitely do this relationship.

Or can I?

I'm afraid I may not be able to do this because
of my doggone good heart. I know I'll feel guilty,
like I'm "using" the person or "taking advantage."

I'm so lame.

What about you?
Could you have "an affair of the heart" in which a guy
just buys you stuff but you're not sexually intimate with him?

But sometimes the "emotional" affairs are more dangerous
than the physical ones.

Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Need Not Apply

Okay, I met a guy Wednesday night.
I had just come from my Jazzercise class and
stopped by Harris Teeter before going home.

As I was heading to my car with my groceries,
a guy stopped me. Tall. Dark.

"Hey, how you doin'?"

"Fine."

"You look like you workout? Do you workout?"

(I had my Jazzercise clothes on - a t-shirt that said "JAZZERCISE" and black pants)

"Yeah, I teach Jazzercise."

"I like women who look like they work out. My name is Ron."

"Hi Ron."

"What's your name?"

"Lottie." (see, I gave him my real name :)

"So, where do you teach? Can I take your class?"

"No, it's for women."

"I like to workout too. I play ball."

"Really."

"Yeah. I played ball when I was in college in Arkansas."

"You went to school in Arkansas? Are you from there?"

"No, I'm from D.C. Where are you from?"

"Mississippi."

"Mississippi? How long you been up here?"

"More than 10 years."

"You mean you been up here 10 years and ain't married yet? I can't believe that."

(oh, here we go...)

"Well, can I take you out sometime?"

"Depends. Are you married?"

"I'm divorced."

"How old are you?"

"43."

"Do you have any children?"

"No."

"What do you do?"

"I"m a 12-year veteran of the police force."

"So do you always pick up women at Harris Teeter, Ron."

"lol, no."

"What did you major in when you went to school in Arkansas?"

"I went to school but I didn't finish."

"What?"

"I was there 6 years and I was a semester from graduating when I left."

"A semester? Why don't you just go ahead and take those last few courses
so you can get your degree? It's never too late."

"Yea, I know."

"I tell you what Ron, we can go out when you enroll in school and take
those last few classes to graduate."

"lol, you serious?"

"Yeah."

"Can I at least call you?"

"Sure."

We exchanged numbers and I left.

Later on that evening, I received a text from Ron:
"It was nice meeting you lady. Hopefully we'll cross
paths again. Ron."

Maybe I should have given Ron a chance. He seemed like an okay
guy. I have a friend who's married to a cop and he's really nice.
They've been married for 10 years and have three children.

And just the other day, a friend and I were talking about how
it really doesn't matter if someone has a college degree or not
because even the so-called "college-educated" can be idiots.


In fact, I have a friend who has an MBA and is happily married to
a manager of a department store. I have another friend who is a doctor
who is married to a mechanic. Both seem happy with their choices.
They obviously looked beyond the surface and found good, caring, kind men.
They are hard-working brothers who are all about taking care of their families.

I guess I'm learning that I shouldn't be so hung up on
college degrees. Some of the most successful folks didn't
attend or finish college. And I know a whole bunch of folks
that are smarter than those who did.

Who knows? Maybe Ron will text me again, and maybe I'll go out
to dinner with him.

It couldn't be any worse than Pookie #1 and Pookie #2....

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hard Times, Hard Choices

If you were laid off today and had a mountain of obligations (mortgage, insurance, food, gas, clothing, etc.), what would you do to survive? Would you, or could you, work as a stripper?

In her memoir, "Never Make the Same Mistake Twice," NeNe Leaks of the Real Housewives of Atlanta reveals that she became a stripper to survive hard economic times.

A recent story on People.com has a few excerpts from Leaks' book on their website.
Leaks says she was about to be homeless when she answered an ad in a newspaper for dancers. A single mother, she needed a way to feed her son. She ultimately got a job at "the most glamorous upscale gentlemen's club in Georgia." Read the article here .

In her book, Leaks writes that, "“My son was in private school, his father wasn’t chipping in for pull-ups or food, I had no job and no money coming in, the rent was past due, and the super told me and my roommate that our condo owner was about to put us out. So I did what I had to do.”

Leaks says that the experience was “the ultimate power trip,” and helped build her self-esteem: “With every piece of clothing I took off, the more I got my life back. I worked this body like a well-oiled machine, and every movement got me closer to my goal of financial independence for me and my child.”

Obviously, NeNe felt she did what she needed to do to take care of her and her child.
I know one thing, she probably made way more than I do as a writer.

Today, she is happily married, lives in a beautiful home in an upscale community in Atlanta and is on a successful television show.
Not too bad for a former stripper (who can't do math). With all my degrees, I don't have that.

What do you think of NeNe's choice?

What about you?
If you were a single mother, out of a job and about to be
homeless, what would you do?
Would you strip?

Let me know your thoughts...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pookie #2

Okay, I had another date last night with a young man
who doesn't fit into my little box. As you may know,
I'm trying to "expand my horizons."

I met him in the Safeway last week. He's an electrician.
He seemed okay, so I decided to give him a chance.

Well, Pookie #2 was interesting. We had agreed to do something
Sunday evening. He text me Sunday afternoon and followed up
with a phone call to discuss details. We said we would meet
between 7 and 7:30.

7 o'clock comes.

7:10.

7:15.

7:20.

7:27 - rrrrrrrinnnnggg.

"How come you didn't call me," he asked. "Aren't we suppose to meet?"

"I'm not suppose to call you. Boys are suppose to call girls," I said.
"Plus, we never said where we were going to meet."

"Well, what kind of food you like?" he asked.

"I can eat basically everything except seafood. I'm allergic," I explained.

"AH, MAN !!! You can't eat seafood? That means no crab legs," he said, a little frustrated.

"Well, what do you like?" he asked - again.

"Mexican, Italian, Thai, mostly anything, it really doesn't matter," I said.

Well, this went on for about 15 minutes until I ultimately just asked him to
choose a spot. At first he said Rosa Mexicana on 7th. "We won't find parking," I said.
Then he said his favorite restaurant was Outback.

We finally decided on McCormick & Schmick's in Crystal City.
He insisted on picking me up.
Learning from my previous experience, I told him I would just meet him.
But he kept insisting on picking me up.
I put my foot down and said I'll meet you at the restaurant at 8:30.

He called me at 8. "Have you left the house yet?"
"I'm leaving in 15 minutes because it only takes me 10 minutes to get there."
8:30 - He calls. "Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm at the light. I'll be there in a few seconds."

I arrive at the restaurant. He's there. We walk in together.
The host asks us if we would like to sit in the dining area or the bar.
He acted as though he couldn't open his mouth, so I said, "dining area."

We were seated. The waiter brought us a menu and water. We talked.

I learned that he's 34. He's never been married, has 4 children: ages 15, 9, 6 and 5. The last three children are by the same woman.

Strike 1.

After taking forever to decide what he wanted, we finally ordered: I had the grilled tilapia. He had the ribeye and shrimp.

Drinks? He ordered a Patron Margarita. I had sweet tea. (I had gone to a wine tasting earlier and didn't want to drink anymore alcohol.)

Once our food came, he asked the waiter to bring us some hot bread because he didn't want me to be eating the bread that had been sitting on the table for 20 minutes.
I thought that was nice.

We talk. He mentions that he wants to go to the Cadillac Ranch at the National Harbor to see me ride an electric bull.
"Why?" I asked.
"I just wanna see you ride the bull," he said with a laugh.
"Well, I wanna see you ride it," I respond.
"Oh, no. You won't see me get on no bull."
okkaaay.

Check comes. He gives the waiter his credit card. The waiter comes back.
He signs the receipt.

"Aren't you going to leave him a tip?" I asked.
"The tip is included," he says. "Haven't you heard of gratuity?"
"They didn't include gratuity. Look at your receipt. We need to leave him a tip."
"naw, I'm cool. Plus, he would have to swipe my card again."
"No, he doesn't. He's already swiped your card. You just have to write in your tip."

Was he serious? I couldn't believe this guy didn't know how to write in the amount of his tip.
Strike 2.

So, I took the receipt. Looked at my tip card and decided how much tip we were suppose to leave the waiter. He was a little upset, saying he wasn't going to be able to eat lunch this week.

The waiter comes back and he asks if he could get a styrofoam cup to take his drink out. The waiter explained that he would get in trouble if his boss found out, but he'd
help him out.

I just about died. Who would ask a waiter for a styrofoam cup to sneak alcohol out of a restaurant?
Strike 3.

We leave out the restaurant and Pookie#2 walks me to my car. We talk for a little while. He wants to go out again, wants me to be with him on his birthday - Labor Day weekend. I explain that I'll be in Mississippi that weekend.

"Our next date is going to be at your house. You're going to cook me dinner," he said matter-of-factly.

"Hmm. No, I'm not." This guy had jokes.

I told him I couldn't date him. He asked why. I said that I really didn't want to date someone with 4 kids. Then he told me he didn't have 4 kids, that he was just joking.
I didn't believe him.

He wanted a hug before we left. I gave him a pat on the back.

I don't know. This date wasn't as bad as the other one. Pookie #2 was ghetto, but he also had a nice, gentle side that I could see. I actually laughed on this date.

Who knows, I may even see Pookie#2 again.
I mean, I do need someone to fix the electrical outlets in my condo.

What are your thoughts? I think I'm doing better...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Worst Date Ever

Okay, I thought I was being "open-minded", "broadening my horizons" when
I went out on a date with a fella I met at Ozios two weeks ago.

Bad idea.

I should have known when I met him that he wasn't my type, but hey,
I didn't want to be close-minded. Sometimes God shows you things in
packages you don't expect - right?

So the date:
First, he showed up an hour late. We went to TGIFridays, obviously
a big hang out spot for him and his friends. He left our table several
times (for long lengths of time), to go talk to his friends. He never introduced me when his friends came to our table. Then He got upset that some of his friends couldn't join us at the table (aren't we on a date?) and then he got upset with me because I didn't want a drink. (I declined to get an alcoholic beverage because I had school the next day and needed to be alert).

Anyway, we walked out the restaurant and he saw several women he went
to high school with and commented to me that all of them were "b$tches, I can't stand them. They think they're all that, and on and on and on." oh, my.

I explained to him how I couldn't stay out too late because I had school the next
day. (as many of you know I have class every Saturday from 9am-5 pm). He got
upset, "What are you, a little girl? You got a curfew?"

I definitely knew by the end of the evening that I was not interested in this person and would not go out with him again. But when we got in the car, he asked if he
could come over and give me a foot massage. Huh? Was he serious? "uh, no."
I just knew that would be the last of him. He couldn't have possibly thought this was a good date.

I was wrong.

He has been texting me nearly every day:
"When can I c u?"
"I need a pic of you to go to sleep"
"I'm here babe"
"U don't miss me?"
"Can I come c u later"
"it's going to be beautiful Wed. take off so we can go to 6flags"
"call me when you get out of class please"
"r u getting ready 4 school" (this was at 6:30 in the morning)
"r u ignoring me?"

When he called me last Saturday at 12:45 am (actually Sunday morning), I became afraid and called a couple of my friends. What should I do? One suggested I contact the police. But we learned from an acquaintance that he was out of town. I felt relieved. But I am going to have to eventually address the situation and let him know that I am not interested.

I thought I was being open-minded. But this is what I got when I didn't stick to my standards. What's so wrong with wanting a college-educated professional man who's never been married and doesn't have any kids?
This guy was rude, disrespectful and I really don't think he knows that. This is his normal.

I understand that by being so rigid, I could be missing out on perfectly good guys — good men who are caring and kind (and it shouldn't matter if they didn't go to college or are divorced or have a kid or two - right?).

Some think that I have "unrealistic" expectations.
I'm still open to dating guys who don't fit into a certain criteria.
In fact, I met an electrician in the Safeway this morning....


Tell me. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Met a Guy



Yes. I met a guy tonite.

I was at the berry stand at Harris Teeter, looking at the fresh
blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, when a man walked up and asked if the blueberries were really that cheap (they were on sale - 4 pints for $6.00).

I wanted to make a smoothie and we talked about fresh fruit versus frozen.
He noticed the items in my grocery basket and commented on how healthy I was — I had some yogurt, almonds, frozen berries, flaxseed oil, skim milk.

"You workout?" he asked.

Yeah.

We talked about the grocery stores in the area - how there weren't any
good ones.

He held out his hand.

"I'm Ron," he said, with a strong handshake. "I like your hair."

"Thank you," I replied with a big smile. "Nice to meet you."

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Simone."

Okay, if he wasn't 65 I would have given him my real name - and maybe even my number.

Nice guy. wrong age.

Oh, God - you're heading in the right direction. Now can you just please give me someone 30 years younger !!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson: The Greatest of All Time


I needed to write about Michael. His music. His life. His pain. This man's music made such an impact on the world. He was a global phenomenon whose voice touched more than four generations.

He began singing with his brothers at age five. 5.
He was 10 when they signed with Motown records. 10.
He was 11 in 1969 when the Jackson 5 had their first hit.
Forty years later, in 2009, at age 50, Michael Jackson is dead.

As a child, Michael's voice was so pure and soulful. You felt his words.
Has anyone heard Who's Loving You? lately?

My aunt Debra had Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album. On her wall hung a huge poster: Michael with his wide, dazzling smile and big afro, looking quite the handsome fellow.

In The Wiz, he was a perfect scarecrow to Diana Ross's Dorothy as they tried to "easy on down" the yellow brick road.

But it was Thriller that really touched my life. The album came out in 1982, the year my mother died.
It was a sad time. But even in the midst of sorrow, music can lift the spirit, if even for a brief period.
My family would take me, my sister and our friends to the skating rink in Jackson, Miss., and we would skate and dance to Michael Jackson: PYT (Pretty Young Thing). You Wanna Be Startin' Something. Billie Jean. Beat It. And they would show a video of Thriller on a big screen inside the rink. We sat on the floor, mesmerized.

In college, I watched the Remember the Time video with my suite mates (Suite 103) in the honors dorm. We gathered in someone's room, crowded around a small 13 inch, marveling at the intricate dance moves. But my favorite Michael video was Smooth Criminal - the "smooth" lean forward still amazes me.

I think Michael's albums after Thriller were all underrated. When I heard Keep It in the Closet recently, I was like, "wow, this is the jam." (Anyone remember the video with temper-tantrum-throwing Naomi Campbell.)

Two years ago, I was home for Christmas. My stepsister's 15-year-old daughter only wanted one gift that year: Michael Jackson's concert DVD. I think he was in Germany.

"Michael Jackson?" I asked. "Michael Jackson," she said emphatically.
I wondered why a 15-year-old, whose world was ruled by Lil Wayne and Beyonce, was interested in Michael Jackson. However, that Christmas evening, the whole family sat in the den and watched Michael Jackson's concert. It was simply a joy. We sung his songs. Danced. Laughed. And had dessert in between. From the oldest to the youngest, we were all quite taken with Michael.

Last year, I went on an outing with my friend Hilary and her 4-year-old son, Daniel. Hilary mentioned how Daniel loved Michael Jackson. I gave her a puzzled look. "What?" And at the sound of his name, Daniel kept saying, "Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson."
His father had introduced the young lad to Michael's music and little Daniel was an instant fan.
I was like, "Wow, a 4-year-old loves Michael Jackson?" I just couldn't believe it.

If Michael only knew that his music, admired by those of my generation and before me, touched 15-year-olds and 4-year-olds today. He was still making an impact.

Millions love and loved Michael. Yet, he seemed so lonely, isolated on that Neverland Ranch.
It was a double-edged sword.
It was because millions loved him that he couldn't lead a "normal" life.
And he "longed" to be normal.

At his memorial service, watched by millions worldwide, his brother Marlon told of how Michael once dressed in a costume to go into a store (but Marlon recognized him anyway). Michael just wanted to be able to go into a store like everybody else and not be hounded.

But "he couldn't walk across the street without a crowd gathering," Marlon noted.

In a recent interview, Deepak Chopra's son remembered how Michael went to a Halloween Party wearing a mask. He kept the mask on the entire time. As he danced, people stopped. "Who is that?" they wondered. It was one of the few times he was able to dance freely.

I can't imagine the life Michael Jackson lived. During the star-studded memorial service that featured Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Stevie Wonder, Marlon mentioned how Michael was often "judged" and "ridiculed."

"How much pain can one take?" Marlon asked. "We would never understand what he endured."

Sure, some people thought him weird, a freak, a wacko, a pedophile. For years on end, there will be debates on his abusive childhood at the hands of his controlling father, his plastic surgery, child molestation charges, wives, the prescription drugs and debt.

Michael was a flawed man. But his talent was undeniable.
It seems, from a very early age, Michael knew he had a special gift and wanted to share that gift with the rest of the world. Yet, he still wanted to be thought of as "a person, not a personality."

His whole life was music. Michael lived to be 50 years old - 45 of those 50 years he was a star. He gave of himself, until he could give no more.
In fact, he died still trying to give what he could - his music. That's all he knew.

Others will come along who can sing and dance. But as talk show host Larry King said, "There will never be another Michael Jackson."
Indeed.
There was something otherworldly about Michael that just can't be duplicated.

During Michael's memorial service, Motown founder Berry Gordy said that Michael had accomplished everything he had dreamed of and that he was "simply the Greatest Entertainer that Ever Lived."

And he still lives, as singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson noted during the memorial service. Robinson, who read statements from Nelson Mandela and Diana Ross, wrote the Jackson Five's Who's Loving You?

"He is going to live forever and ever and ever," said Robinson.

Indeed.

For though Michael is physically gone, his music
remains - and is more popular than ever.
(Did anyone see Britain's Got Talent? Little Shaheen Jafargholi sounds remarkably similar to Little Michael)

In his last days, Michael was getting ready for his, "This Is It" show. It was suppose to be his last concert. His final farewell.
Maybe Michael left us because he knew he had nothing else to prove.
From California to Maine, London to Brazil, Africa and Asia, his music united a world — even dancing Filipino prisoners.
It was only in death that we realized his global impact.

I say goal accomplished, task finished.
Job well done Michael. Take a bow.
You can go home now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Year of Freedom

Yesterday, I met a gentleman from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
He told me he was on his way to Hawaii.
"For how long?" I asked.

"I don't know. I'll just stay there until I feel like coming back," he said.
"I'll see if I can find work or what not."

I loved his free spirit attitude about life.

I would love to just go to an island and stay until I felt like coming
back, I told him.

"Why don't you?," he asked.

I went into a long drawn out monologue about how I had bills and needed my
job, blah, blah, blah, blah.... I couldn't just pick up and leave. I have
responsibilities.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a responsible, dependable person. I admire those who do what they want, when they want.

I once dated a guy who lost his job at a computer company during the dotcom bust. He took his payout and boarded a cruise to Barbados.
He didn't come back until a year later - a year later.

I can't just pick up and leave.
Or can I?

Right now, I go to work, school, teach jazzercise, and try to volunteer whenever
possible.
What exactly is stopping me?
Is my job really stopping me?

Well, first of all, you have to have the financial means to just get up and
go. I'm not a millionaire - far from it in fact.
I work so I can pay my bills.

But what if money was not an option?
Where would I go? What would I do?

I would love to go to a luxury spa for about a month where there is hiking, horseback riding, yoga, healthy meals and great pampering services.
Of course, I would take a few weeks to visit cities in France and Italy.
I would like to go to South Africa, Ghana and Egypt.
Next stop? One of the Caribbean Islands, where I could just write and relax.
I may even audition for a Broadway play when I get back. I could definitely
see myself on Broadway.

That's a good year off.

What do you think?

If money was no object and you could just pick up and go anywhere —
for a month, a few months or even a year — where would you go? What would you do?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Liar !



A couple of months ago, I found out that a guy I recently dated had been married before.

He confessed that he had been married for 5 years about a decade or so ago and it didn't work out.

He said that I had never asked him if he had been married.

LIAR !

First of all, my Dream Mate has the following qualities:
1) college-educated
2) professional job (financially stable)
3) never married
4) no kids
5) (must be honest, spiritual, trustworthy, caring, kind, etc.)

Please note the words "Dream Mate."

Anyway, some of the first questions I ask a guy are:
1) Are you married?
2) Do you have any children?
3) HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MARRIED ? (are you divorced?)

So don't sit up here like I'm stupid and tell me that I never asked you if you had ever been married. I did ask you and you lied. LIAR !! You are insulting my intelligence !

I'm reminded of a song in the movie, Waiting to Exhale called, "It Hurts Like Hell." For though this is not an instance in which a person has been caught cheating, I still feel betrayed.

I don't know.
Why can't I just meet a good, honest person? Why?

Do we have to do background checks on men we meet these days?
I mean, what if you find out a person is not the person you thought they were?
Lots of time wasted and love lost.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Men Can Learn from Barack



For the past two weeks, I've received the same email: an essay by JeneƩ Desmond-Harris titled "What Single Women Can Learn from Michelle." In her piece Harris discusses how many intelligent, professional, successful Black women dismiss perfectly good guys for superficial reasons. This is not something we haven't heard before. In fact, Harris notes, "The idea that things are hard for Black women who want to date Black men who match us in academic and career success is a well-worn cultural narrative." But her point is the reason Michelle Obama is now the First Lady of the United States is because she overlooked the small stuff - the odd name, the goofiness, the oversized ears. Instead, she focused on things far more important: Barack's goodness, his warm smile. (The fact that Barack was a Harvard Law grad probably didn't hurt either). Michelle saw the big picture. Now she's married to the most powerful man in the world.

Harris' essay was so popular that there was a followup essay written by a man. In his essay, "What Single Women Can't Learn from Michelle," David Swerdlick gives us a list of things to consider before the next man passes us by. He suggests that Black women stop comparing men they meet to Barack, stop looking at how much money someone makes, stop dismissing men for not being perfect or ideal and try dating outside the race.

But I have to disagree when Swerdlick says, "we're [Black men] not letting a winner slip past us just because her ponytail is tucked up under a ball cap."

I cannot tell you how many beautiful, intelligent, professional, successful, philanthropic Black women I know who are definitely "winners" yet, they somehow "slip past" successful Black men because they were not of a certain hue or a certain size. (and should I even mention hair?)

This is what Black men can learn from Barack: Stop looking for Halle Berry and start looking at the good - someone who will be by your side, have your back through it all. Smart, confident, ambitious, Michelle was a great catch. She was the prize, a winner and Obama knew it.
But Obama is a rare man, a special kind of guy. As many of us know from experience, there are some Black men, who, once they become successful, no longer think Black women are good enough for them, let alone a woman with beautiful brown skin.

The fact is many Black women are single, not because we are superficial, but because men are. For example, I remember one of my male colleagues telling me he didn't think Oprah was all that because her nails looked jacked up. What? You're dismissing the most influential woman in the world because of...her nails? Another male colleague, a 40-something entrepreneur, often laments how he can't find the right woman. I suggested one of my good friends, a definite "winner." He said she wasn't his type. What's your type I asked? He pulled out a picture of his ex-girlfriend who looked like the late R&B singer Aaliya. Then there's my former co-worker, now in his mid-50s, never married, who refuses to date women whose dress size is more than one digit. Speaking of dresses, a man I once dated didn't like the clothes I wore. He thought I dressed too conservative, old. He wanted me to show a little skin. He missed out on a "winner."

Even Harris admits in her essay, that men can be superficial, "We expect men to resist what society tells them about ideals when it comes to us — God, help the brother who admits a preference for skin or hair displayed on every magazine cover; or the arrogant fool who holds out for his own Clair Huxtable, not acknowledging that The Cosby Show was fiction."

Let's face it. Men seem to have an upper hand in this. They have choices we don't. A young man once told me at a party, "I'm a Black man with a college degree, no kids and a good job. I can be choosy." I couldn't argue with him. He was right.

But as Harris accurately writes in her essay, Black women "who do seek to have relationships with black men of similar circumstances might need to open up a little... we must start to question our assumptions about what our ideal really is."

My ideal? At this point, I just want someone to hold my hand; a hug would be nice too.

What about you?
What are your thoughts on this issue?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nine Commandments of Joel



Okay the Joel I'm speaking of is not a prophet or some obscure disciple in the Bible, though he may think his commandments are biblically based.
The Joel I'm referring to is a 41-year-old Black man I saw on "Divorce Court" today.

Joel's 27-year-old wife wanted to divorce him after just three months of marriage. 3 months.
Why?
She couldn't handle his "rules."

Here are the Nine Commandments of Joel:
1) What I say goes
2) Must have sex when I want it
3) The woman must take care of the kids
4) The woman must keep a clean house
5) The woman must have a job
6) When I go out, the woman must stay home
7) No Back Talking !
8) No riding in my car
9) Any questions? Refer to Rule #1

Joel's commandments were posted on the refrigerator. You know, just in case his wife forgot what they were. He told the judge that he learned how to treat women by observing his grandfather. His grandmother, he said, did whatever his grandfather told her to do. She knew her "place."

The women today, Joel said, needed to go back to the "old ways." He said that every woman needs rules. He told the judge that he's "training" his daughter, teaching her that she has to obey her husband when she gets married. He's also teaching his son that a man is suppose to "run the woman."

Did I mention that Joel doesn't work? He's on "disability" for a back problem. Yet, his disability doesn't seem to keep him out of the clubs where he parties until the wee hours of the morning.

But I digress.

Joel's young wife said he laid down his rules only a few minutes after they said their wedding vows. She didn't know what she was getting into. Marriage, said Joel, means the "Man is No.1. She belong to me." For some reason he had a hard time understanding that a wife was not property.

When the judge noted that most women today would not accept his antiquated way of thinking, he said "somebody will."

Unfortunately, that's true. Joel will find someone else.

Tell me: What do you think of "Joel's 9 Commandments?"
Do you think women need to go back to the "old ways"?
Would marriages last longer?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Failure to Launch


I got a call from one of my high school classmates a few weeks ago. It was a pleasant surprise. He reminded me that our 20th class reunion was next year. Next year? I couldn't believe it. I've been out of high school for 20 years? But I look so young !

I have to admit that this is not the life I had imagined for myself when I was in high school. Having unrealized dreams is sad, a tragedy even. Joan Rivers once said, "If you're not doing what you want to do then you're a fool."

I'm a fool.

I've asked myself often — what is keeping me from becoming the person I want to be? Why aren't I doing what I really want to do? Why am I not living the life of my dreams?

There's a host of culprits: fear. procrastination. complacency.
I don't know where to start - that first step, that first phone call.
And at this age, is it even possible to become the person I want to be?
Is it still worth it to pursue my dreams?

At this moment, I don't want to attend my high school reunion.
I feel like such a failure — personally and professionally.
This is not what my life was suppose to be. I'm not living happily ever after.


What about you?
Are you where you thought you would be in life?
Are you where you want to be?
What's holding you up?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Manderella?



Okay ladies,

I was listening to the KANE show this morning on 99.5 and the host posed a question, which I will pose to you:

Would you date a Man who did not have a job?

About half of Kane's female callers said absolutely not.
But interestingly there were actually some who said they would date a man who did not work.
One female caller admitted that she was currently in a relationship with a man who did not have a job and it was kind of nice.
He cleans her house and has dinner ready when she gets home.

(Not surprisingly, 9 out of 10 men said they would absolutely
date a woman who did not have a job — as long as she was having
sex with him.)

I guess you would have to take a few things into consideration.
There are a number of reasons why someone may not be working (medical, physical).
In this current economy, millions of people are being laid off every day.
Just because someone isn't working doesn't mean they are lazy or shiftless
or no good; Maybe they were laid off from a previous gig and looking for a new one.

But what about those who quit perfectly good jobs or those who just can't
seem to hold a job for more than a few months?
What about those who say they can't work for anybody and are working on starting
their own business — "the next big thing"?

I don't know how I feel about this.
On one hand, a man is suppose to be a provider, supporter.
On the other, you want to be understanding and empathetic, especially
of certain unique situations.

What about you?
Would you date a man who did not have a job?
Would you RESPECT a man who did not work?
Would you consider today's economic circumstances (the layoffs, etc.)
or other unforeseen events?
Does it matter how long the person is out of work?


Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness



There was always something about John Edwards that I couldn't quite put my finger on. For some reason, I didn't trust him. He seemed, I don't know...slick.

Call me clairvoyant, but did you catch Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah last week or on the Today show this morning? You can watch Matt Lauer's 15-minute interview here .

Though she is promoting her new book, Resilience, her appearances have mostly centered around the former presidential candidate's affair.

Elizabeth revealed that she had asked for only one thing as a wedding gift — just one thing.

"I wanted him to be faithful to me, that was the one thing I asked for, that was really important to me," Elizabeth told Oprah , in an exclusive interview to be published in the June issue of O magazine.

She was not into material things — jewelry, clothes, fancy cars or a big house.
All she wanted was for her husband to be faithful. That's all.

Growing up, Elizabeth Edwards had seen the impact of her father's infidelity on her family. Her beautiful mother had loss confidence in herself and her abilities.

Now Elizabeth was going through the same thing.
After 29 years of marriage, John admitted that he had been unfaithful.

The affair had leveled her she said. When her husband disclosed his indiscretion, she had gotten physically sick. She cried. She screamed. She blamed herself. Like her mother, she lost confidence in who she was and began to question her own sense of self-worth. She wondered: What did she do that caused this to happen? Was it the weight? Was it how she looked at night with curlers in her hair?

Elizabeth Edwards still loves John. She said that he's a supportive husband, a wonderful father, a great provider.

"This is a really good man, who did this very bad thing," she said. "You take out this one thing and you have a perfect man."

Elizabeth acknowledged to Oprah that she was looking for perfection. She's learned, however, that "no one's perfect. People make mistakes."

But this is a new reality for Elizabeth. It's hard rebuilding trust after nearly three decades of marriage. She quietly said, "the way we were, is no longer the way we can be."

Today Elizabeth, who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer, is living out her last days in a dream home on a 28,000-square foot estate.
But she never asked for a dream home. The material things didn't really matter.
She wanted a dream man: a husband who was faithful.
But as she noted to Oprah, "Things interrupt your dreams."

What do you think?
Was Elizabeth Edwards being realistic in asking her husband to be faithful to her?
Is it too much to ask for a faithful husband?
It's so easy to give material things — clothes, money, cars, jewelry, homes — but why is it so hard to give the one thing money can't buy?

My boss, who's been married more than 25 years, has always said that faithfulness is a choice.
It hurts that too many men choose the wrong option.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mo' Money, Mo' Money


Okay, just a quick Question of the Day:

If you had "just a little more money" what would you do?

I'm not talking about winning the lottery or getting a
new multi-million dollar contract.

But just a little something extra each month.

Have you ever said, "If I had just a little bit more money,
I could do ____________?" (you fill in the blank)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Your Cheatin' Heart



I was listening to Michael Baisden during
my drive home this afternoon and a caller
mentioned that some women were "trained"
to stay in relationships with cheating men.

What do you think?

Are women conditioned to "tolerate" cheating men, dismissing their actions as "boys will be boys"?

Cheating is hurtful.
But love is deep.
Women stay in situations for a host of reasons (the kids, financial or economic; for (gasp) love).
Sometimes things aren't so black and white.

Would you remain in a relationship with a man who
has cheated?
Does it depend on the circumstances?

Is it really cheating if you're not married and haven't
exchanged any type of vows?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friends



"How many of us have them.
Friends
Ones you can depend on."

Those of us who grew up in the '80s and early '90s, remember
this rap classic by Whodini. My pastor quoted this song today
as he preached about friends (and enemies and associates).

He made some good points about friends:
Friends help us and heal us.
They are good to us and good for us.
They are with us through thick and thin.

It's when you get in trouble, when you're struggling — that's when
you really learn who your true friends are.

The preacher mentioned that the older we get, we find out there
are fewer people who we can actually call "friends."

I know a lot of people. But I have only a few "friends."
I don't know if I have anybody in my life that I can tell EVERYTHING and
trust they won't tell anyone else.
Friends keep your secrets close to their hearts.

What about you?
Is there someone in your life that you can share everything and you know
they won't tell anyone else?
Can you point to those who you know will have your back when times get hard?
Who can you count on when life's in a bind and you're in too deep?
Who do you feel comfortable sharing your dreams — and failures — knowing they will not be judgmental or negative, but encouraging and supportive?
Who can you run to?

Have you ever been disappointed with someone you thought was a "friend"?
I must admit, I've had a few disappointments.

Think about it.
How many "friends" do you have?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wifey




Last week, a guy I had dated about 8 years ago sent me a text message
inquiring about my "status."

Are you married?
No.
Kids?
No.

Good, he said, "because you're suppose to marry me and have my babies."

I was confused.

When we dated, it was nice for the first six or so months, then it quickly went downhill.
On the outside he was everything I wanted: a southern gentleman who was financially stable, never married, no kids.
On the inside however, he was unreliable, irresponsible, dishonest, and sometimes disrespectful. There were times when he would make me feel small, inadequate, not good enough.
At the time he didn't believe in the bible, but would quote scripture about how women were suppose to be "submissive."

Toward the end, he was more interested in strip clubs, drinking with his friends and going to the gym than spending time with me, so the relationship ended. We went our separate ways, keeping in touch about once a year.

Now in his mid-'40s, he told me that he's in "a different place now and is ready to settle down."
Are you? he asked.
Why me?
He told me that though he has dated a lot of women over the years, none were as "wifey" and motherly" as me.

I guess I should be flattered that someone feels that I am good "wife and mother" material. On the surface he is still a good catch: great job in the medical profession, never married, still doesn't have any children.
But I don't know if this person has really changed or if he's just running game.

I guess men do get to a point where they stop playing around and want to settle down and have a family. Some eventually have a family, but never stop playing. They never really settle down.

I don't know. I'm not feeling him - right now.
But at this age, I can't be choosy. Right?
(I can hear the men now: That's why so many Black women are single, they are so damn choosy !)

Shouldn't I just be happy that someone is interested in making a lifetime commitment with me? Maybe he HAS changed. Maybe he IS in a different place now, more mature maybe.

On one hand, I do want to settle down, have a family, be happy.
On the other hand, I don't want to choose someone out of loneliness or desperation (or because my dad is breathing down my back).

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pimp in the Pulpit?



The members of Riverside Church in Manhattan are mad.
They recently learned that their new pastor, Rev. Brad Braxton, will be receiving more than $600,000 in annual compensation.

According to a story in the New York Daily News, the congregation voted for Braxton last fall and he's suppose to be installed as the new senior pastor on Sunday.

But a few in the 1,500-member congregation are trying to hold up the installation and have filed suit in the Manhattan Supreme Court. They feel that his compensation package is outrageous considering the country's economic crisis (and the fact that some church staff have not received raises).

Braxton's compensation package includes:
$250,000 in salary.
$11,500 monthly housing allowance.
Private school tuition for his child.
A full-time maid.
An allowance for entertainment, travel and professional development.
Pension and life insurance benefits.
An equity allowance to buy a home.

Some church members are also upset that Braxton hired a new second in command at an annual salary of more than $300,000.

Man, I'm in the wrong business.

Some feel pastors are like CEOs or presidents of large companies. And we know how much CEOs get paid (some get tens of millions of dollars a year).

Do you believe the church members are wrong to try and stall the installation of Braxton after they voted for him in the fall?
Do you think Braxton should forego some of his compensation package because of the economic crisis?
Do you think he should give raises to the church staff that have not received raises?
Should pastors lead lavish lifestyles?

What do you think of Braxton's compensation? Do you think it's too much?