Tag Archives: Relationships

The hookup?

8 Jun

Its early up here in my little corner of the world, in fact we haven’t even gotten the girl child off to preschool yet. So I am sitting here reading my paper online, sipping a cup of hot delicious coffee and listening to NPR. This is pretty much my routine everyday, consume caffeine and consume news….the world doesn’t feel right unless I do those two things early in the morning.

Anyway this morning, I heard a report on NPR about young folks and hooking up. In case you are like me and a tad old, and not familiar with this term it basically means young folks no longer date or even have a random one night stand. They just hook up, they get their sexual needs met…by the way the hookup may or may not involve intercourse unlike say a one night stand. Though it does have a sexual aspect to it.

See, it seems dating is just notdone. You have your crew of buddies that are your friends and then you have folks you might want to get the hook up with….hook-ups apprently are not meant to evolve into a relationship. In fact they had a young man speaking about how costly a date can be, that he doesn’t bother to take a young woman to the movies after all its at least $43 to $50. Wow! It seems the women don’t expect a date either…

Look, I hardly had a vibrant dating life as a teenager since I was a Black girl in the 1980’s in a predominantly white setting and that was before interracial dating became the norm, so that meant that I rarely had any dates. However as a young woman in my twenties between husbands (remember I married the first time straight out of high school) I did have a chance to date and the norm was for a man to take you out on a date. A date consisted of a meal, some entertainment maybe in the form of a movie, a a play or stopping to hear some live music. On this thing called a date, the man paid for the date….look I am a equal opportunity woman who considers herself a womanist but at the heart I am still old fashioned and expect men to pay. Heck even my best friend who is a man pays for our outings even though I don’t expect it but he too is a old fashioned cat. The only man I ever dated whom I opened up my pocketbook to, turned out to be a less than honorableman. So yeah, I am old fashioned. If I became single today and a man wanted to go out but expected me to pay, it would not happen and if it did he would not be comsidered relationship material. He would be a buddy, not man material.

Anyhoo, back to this story..the interviewer spoke with folks from various backgrounds, Black, White, college-educated, not educated…they all seemed to agree that the hook-up is here to stay. One young woman admitted she wished for more but that was not how things are done these days.

Ok….putting on my Mama hat. What the hell is wrong with people? Look sex between two consenting adults can be a wonderful thing but generally it gets better, the better you know each other. I have  tried a hook or two type deal when I was single and as my Granny used to say…that’s for the birds. Connection is a beautiful thing. Its a once in a lifetime deal when we meet someone and connect immediately buy even those explosive types of connections are still superficial. After all you don’t know the other person. If you just need a release, get a damn toy. If you are a man, use your right hand.

What’s even more scary to me aside from the hook-up is how folks use social media to make the connection. It seems we can meet via a shared friend say on Facebook, we exchange texts and other messages and eventually we make the connection. Now if this was turning into an actual relationship I would have no issue with it, I have several friends who have met their partners online…that’s cool. No I am talking we meet online only to have sex and not even evolve into a friendship…sorry, I am officially old because that just seems sad and wrong.

No, as a mother it scares me to think that this is the brave new world my kids are in since elder boy is already there and one day girl child will be there.

So humor me…what are your thoughts on the hook-up? Is it a good thing or bad? Am I just being an old stick in the mud?

For the ladies especially the single ladies

17 Apr

My Pops used to have this corny ass saying “Don’t take advice on growing hair from a ball-headed man” now on the surface it seems rather cheesy but there is a bit of truth there. Case in point, I see both in real life and online, women who have never been married giving advice on men and marriage. Yep, I am about to go there. Look, we all are entitled to our opinions and thoughts but let’s be real, maybe getting your advice on having a man from someone with no man is a bad idea or taking advice from a man who has been married a few times and possibly stole his book idea from a woman (hello Steve Harvey) is also a bad idea.

I have been married 11 years, been with my husband 13 years, he is in fact my second marriage but I am his first. The first time I got married at 18 and it was just a bad idea, so I ended the relationship and marriage. So one could say I know a few things on marriage, my own parents were married 31 years, it was a true to death do we part situation.In the 5 years since my Mom’s death, my Dad has no desire to be with another woman, instead waiting to be reunited with my Momma when he dies. In fact he says that since her death, he no longer even has “those” thoughts and desires…

So I come from marrying stock as you can see, no missing Dad, shit at times when I was a kid I used to wish I could have a single parent home like many of my friends had, of course now I am thankful for what I had…we may not have had much money but I saw the blueprint daily on what a marriage looks like.

Oh, they had their bad times and good times, it was not all happy in the hood but they stuck it out and in some ways its those memories of how a marriage looks that keeps me grounded when I start thinking of flying the coop up here in Maine. Of course we get urges its just that as an adult I have to think about the choices I make.

Anyway I often see and hear single women particularly single Black women creating a checklist about what they want/need in a man…lets see most lists seem to include college-educated, good job (financial stability), attractive looks, no ex-wives, no baby Mamas, no Mama boys, no down-low history (that means he creeps with men at times for those not in the know), no prison record. I think that seems to sum up the list of requirements most women I know who are currently man-less seem to seek.

On the surface it seems like a good list, however as a woman who has been married a bit, that list makes me laugh, it seems so childish. I mean a man can start off with all those things but as life goes on shit happens. Shit, my own hubby is looking at a mid life career crisis, 13 years ago he met that list truth is life has gotten rocky. Thankfully the most important thing we have is friendship and love, its that love that carries us in these rough times.

I fear that many women particularly Black women have no idea of what is truly involved in marriage and we will create barriers to having relationships because we cling to some fantasy idea of what a man should or should not be or we base his worth of what he has, rather than his accomplishments as a human. Look, by all means no one needs to date or marry a hardened criminal, or share a no-good man…hell no! On the other hand I know some sistas who have their advanced degrees who only want a man with an advanced degree. I have a masters degree but truthfully if I were single and seeking a man, I would not require or need a man that matches me in education. Instead I would seek a man who is curious about the world and seeks out knowledge, there are a ton of assholes with fancy degrees who are intellectually limp. Once they got out of school, they were no longer curious or engaged with the greater world.

Also to have a relationship that lasts I think we must be flexible, I think inflexibility is the death of any relationship. You have to be willing to continue to redefine and renegotiate the relationship so  that it is mutually agreeable for both parties. I think when we are with a man and wondering if he is the one, you need to envision yourself with that man should his good looks start to flee, his amazing job and thus financial stability goes south and life throws you curve balls (death, any other bad things) yet you can still find yourself happy with that man, then he might be the one.

One thing I have  learned over the years is that life happens and it happens when we are making plans but those plans don’t always go the way we want them to…so look for a man that you can imagine being with when life is at its worse. Love is easy when all is well in our lives, the real test is when life sucks its at that point we know and learn what love is about.

Love is hard enough without setting up superficial requirments as to what we think we must have in a man.

Electronic front porch or something else….

20 Mar

I will admit I am an internet junkie, I spend way too much time online. It started almost 10 years ago when I was contemplating going natural (translation, no more chemical relaxers in my hair), at that time I knew no one in my day to day life who was natural and needed some support. Since the first time I tried to dread my hair at 18, it was a failure since I didn’t know at that time that dreads on relaxed hair don’t work. (I basically was just washing and going with no combing…it was a hot mess)

So almost 10 years ago I came across an online community of women of African descent who were either natural or also contemplating the move. It was a great little community and allowed me to also connect with women who lived in Chicago as well so I could get some live examples. At that point in time, my internet usage was still pretty tame since I was in Chicago and not relying on the net to fill any voids in my life.

Then 7 years ago we moved to Maine and a sista was lonely with a capital L, starting all over 1100 miles from family and friends is no joke, despite daily calls back home, the only person I talked to daily face to face was the spousal unit…it was a rough time.

A year after the move was when my Mom got diagnosed with cancer and thus started the journey that ended with her death 8 months after being diagnosed. By then the sistas from my online discussion group really did become my support, after her death the women from our board organized and sent a gift to help my family out since they knew that my Dad was out of work and I had been helping my folks out.

It was after my Mom’s death that I truly knew the women in my group were not just online folks but many are indeed friends, I know that I can travel to anyplace and if there is a sista from our group, I won’t be alone. In fact early in my time here in Maine, a sista came through and we got together.

That said as my time in Maine goes on, I reached a point where clearly I needed to find some real life buddies and in 7 years I will say that I have built a decent support group, though sadly one of my dearest friends is getting ready to relocate to southern New England. She is one of my few Black girl friends here and to say I am dreading the day she leaves is an understatement.

Now I shared all this to say that I clearly see real value in using the internet as a sociliazing tool, even Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends, so despite the many changes even Facebook serves a purpose.

However I must admit that as of late it bothers me how may folks use the internet to connect with versus face to face interactions, actually a dear real life friend admitted she sees Facebook as an electronic front porch of sorts…I don’t know but I don’t quite see it the same way.

I fear that as we gravitate to using text messages and mediums such as Twitter and Facebook, that it has the ability to take away from the human experience of connecting. Lately I have noticed that on Friday and Saturday nights I find myself online chatting with folks who are only 10-15 miles away from me and that just seems strange. No one can find the time to get together for a coffee or drink but we are all sitting in our respective homes on our computers chatting and while there is nothing wrong with that, I remember as a child that on weekends my folks had friends over or we went to visit others.

I sense we are losing a piece of our humanity by reducing ourselves down to digestable soundbytes to the point that even I have noticed my attention span is not what it used to be and that scares me.

While I realize I would never want to go back to life without this amazing technology, lets also not forget the value in really reaching out and connecting to one another.

Have a happy weekend and welcome Spring!

Too much information?

24 Feb

It seems that my most recent post discussing my marriage has created a buzz, since Sunday I have heard from a few real life friends who felt that I either went too far by putting the Spousal Unit on blast or the flipside has been a few of my girls who told me they are in the same place and never felt like they could talk about the issues I brought up.

I won’t lie, truth is I was very hesitant to publish that post yet at the same time, there was a real need to say what I did and not necessarily  to just one or two folks. In the past couple of years, I have watched several good friends get divorced and in all cases the divorces even the “nice” ones are still messy. I have been divorced and its not a pleasant thing, families fracture, kids get bounced around and the list goes on.

No, when I remarried years ago, I knew it was important to marry someone I could always be honest with since truth be told had I written what I wrote about the Spousal Unit about my ex-husband, there is a chance that well, it would not have been good and I will leave it at that.

Yet in the age of the internet, are there times when one can reveal too much information about themselves online? The answer is yes, but at the same time I think that while so many of us stay connected 24/7, I think the sad reality is that most of  that “connection” is superfical. We are living in a time and space, where we can facebook, twitter, and use a vast array of tools to tell folks how we are doing, yet let’s be real who states in their facebook update “I am facing a moral dilemma”? I have yet to see that and I suppose if I did, most folks who would reply would do so in a cute and superficial way.

Nope, we do a lot of talking these days and sometimes reveal way too much about ourselves but at the same time we don’t reveal our true selves…instead we reduce ourselves down to cute and digestable soundbytes. I will be honest, I am at a stage in my life where I am all about being real and honest and recognizing that my quest to be real and honest may at times cause folks to go WTF???

There is something about getting older and seeing society shift from a place where we talk a ton but say nothing that has me wanting to get deeper, I neither want nor need to be nice or stay only on the surface. I think about how in recent months as our nation faces the worse economic crisis in years, we hear about tortured souls who decide to take their lives rather than face economic uncertainty. After these folks kill themselves and in some cases their families, inevitably we hear that they were nice folks…no one saw it coming. Of course not, no one wakes up and says today is a good day to kill myself, after coffee and an Egg McMuffin, I think I will finish it off with a taste of bullet to the head.

Nope, these folks are often stewing and brewing for a while yet for many of us we no longer are able to connect in a meaningful way that might prevent such tragedies from happening in the first place.

So while I do think there is a line we can cross as far as going too far when it comes to revealing ourselves in a public space at the same time by dropping our masks we can create opportunties to connect with others in a meaningful way.

You, your man and porn….

13 Aug

I must admit that until I started hanging out with white women both on-line and IRL, I really did not know that so many women have issues with their man looking at porn. Now before I begin, I know there are women of color who also have issues with their partners looking at porn, but my unscientific conclusion is that white women seem to get bothered by it way more than the sistas do.

Me personally, it doesn’t bother me and nor do I feel disrespected by it. Shit, the reality is for months after our daughter was born a sista was not in the mood, shit I was tired and if the spousal unit needed to get his jollies off looking at some air-brushed babe, didn’t mean he loved me less or was being disrespectful to me. I didn’t feel his looking at the occasional nude pic meant he loved me less or had issues with women. Shoot, the mister is one of the kindest and gentlest men who is in touch with his feminine side but at the same time he is a man with needs and for me him handling his business was preferable to him pestering the shit out of me while I was recovering for almost a year after giving birth. Yeah, it was a serious drought around these parts.

Yet I am continuously amazed when I hear my white friends say if they caught their man with porn it would be a betrayal… um, no for me a betrayal would be if I walk in my bedroom and there is another woman on my bed, now that is some betrayal. A while back a good white friend confessed she and her husband only had relations once in a blue moon and that she had not given her ole man any special treats in about 5 years. Can I be blunt? As I heard this story and nodded my head, I thought to myself, are you sure your man is faithful? Now I know her husband, he is a nice guy but I know having had 2 husbands that if I only wanted to kick it every now and then, that would not make for a happy man especially since this same friend is anti-porn, in other words she don’t want the mister wanking off to images that are not her.

Um, I am ole school..reared by a Black woman and the one lesson I always got from my Moms is take care of your man and if your man handles his business correct, do not tell your girlfriends? Why, you ask? Simply put, you start spouting off about how your man makes your toes curl, you will learn who your true friends are.. shit, I learned that lesson back in my 20’s when a so-called friend stepped to my man. No, some shit you don’t share.

That said, back to the story at hand, seriously men and women have different needs, many of us women like to cuddle and have that quality time.. men, they like that too but at the same time, they like to blow off steam if you know what I mean and IMO if you are in a committed relationship, you need to take care of each other or else there will be a disconnect.  I am not saying have sex when you don’t want to, hell nawl to that but damn by laying down rules like no porn if that’s what your man likes, seems to me you are creating tension where there need not be tension.

I know that many women feel pornography is degrading to women, that many of the women are being taken advantage of but these days there is also a lot of quality women made porn, so I would think a couple could meet in the middle and find something acceptable.

One thing I have learned after 2 marriages and 2 kids, men do not like to be controlled anymore than we do and silly rules like no porn do not help a relationship. However if you feel your man viewing porn is fucking with your self-esteem then I suggest checking out Katt Williams in the sketch where he talks about how esteem is a thing of YOUR self, not anyone else. Men are smart, chances are your honey would rather have you than the woman on the screen, so keep that in mind.