Monthly Archives: April 2012

Saw another post that reminded me of this one. Guess it’s on other people’s minds too.

yetdoimarvel

Holding HandsLet me say first that I am a lover of love, regardless of race, and I am in no way attempting to submit language that divides or offends. Nor am I trying to change minds. I just have questions, nagging ones, so this title may be a bit of a misnomer because I don’t really have questions about interracial relationships as a whole. I myself have participated in, daydreamed about, and enjoyed them. And I have found interracial relationships to be dreadfully similar to same-race ones. My questions though are about Black professional athletes. And as another disclaimer, my goal is not to discredit other races of women as reasonable and qualified mates. I just want to know why dating women who aren’t Black seems to be such a status symbol.

My question stems more from a place of hurt than of mere curiosity because I notice that more often…

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What’s Wrong With My Social Circle?

So, according to Paul Brunson, when we get older “our social circles begin to shrink and the dating process becomes more challenging.” This makes a  lot of sense, but I am only nearing twenty-five, so what the heck is wrong with my social circle?! Although I play a lot of roles, I meet very few new people, especially not new guys. This is sad, but I don’t think I am the normal case, so I am going to take a moment to introspect and diagnose my own problem areas. Maybe this will be helpful to some of the other weirdoes out there like me (I doubt it).

  • Problem Area #1: Über-Coyness
    So, I’m so pressed to be coy that sometimes my slight diversion of the eye becomes an eye-roll and my grin is a snub. You won’t even get a hello unless you come up off one first.
  • Problem Area #2: Oh So Routine
    I go to the same places ALL THE TIME. And they are all in the same area. Granted, there is a nice pool to choose from in this area, but so far, no bites. But my desire to save gas and my irritability when I can’t find my way around prevent me from making any quick fixes to this one.
  • Problem Area #3: Not So Routine
    If I have been going to the same place for a while, and, all of a sudden, a guy who also frequents that place seems to be interested, I will avoid it altogether. Weird, right? But my nerves can’t handle the awkwardness of getting to know someone while I’m on my routine. A rare occurrence the other day might cure me from this one though (I really like that place and he was fine enough to endure the awkwardness).
  • Problem Area #4: I’M MUCH TOO COOL FOR THIS!
    Getting down those first three was such a dig, and truth be told, I think I’m too awesome to try to figure out what’s wrong with me. In fact, I really just thought it might be entertaining to share some of my own weird quirks; no real solution was ever intended. There is so much dating advice out there, but sometimes I am not convinced that it is really that deep. I marvel at how complicated we make this whole dating thing though…

Paul Brunson excerpt from Essence Magazine May 2012 issue.

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It’s Not What It Looks Like

ImageI was reading an article today about stars loving the “natural beauty look” this season. I thought I would find images of stars out in the streets looking flawless, yet normal, having left the house with only the convenience store lip gloss they found buried in their purses glittering on their mouths. Instead, I found red-carpet photos juxtaposed between the beauty products that made these looks possible. Then, the idea of the “natural beauty look” took on new form in my mind.

It’s really curious to me that popular culture presents so many ideal images to the public as if these images are reality. Just yesterday, I read about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s bust line reduction in her ad for the show “The Client List” in Entertainment Weekly. Her size went from a hefty DD to about a small C cup (based on my judgment). As a busty woman, I always assumed that a large bust was desirable and sexy. And this Love-Hewitt ad is sexy, but the altered ad is much neater. There is less cleavage showing and her lingerie fits her perfectly. In the original, her breast seem to pour out of the outfit, much more like mine would should I buy an outfit like it. But it seems that even sexy isn’t sexy enough if it isn’t also tidy.

Back to the “natural look:” What on earth is natural about makeup that makes you “look” natural? What does that even mean? I’m the last to knock people who wear makeup–I hardly ever leave the house without eyeliner, mascara, and bronzer–but I take issue with the concept of presenting this “look” as if it is how we should look naturally when it took more than one product to achieve.

Maybe we are just being merchandised. Perhaps Big Brother, The Man, whatever you wanna call it, just knows that if we were to ever embrace our natural beauty, a lot of people would lose their jobs.

I marvel at how content we seem in an altered reality.

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American Idol, The Lottery, and “Making It”

So, I have been thinking (duh!), and as I was thinking, I considered the celebrities and other wealthy people that we consider to have “made it.” Take for instance previous American Idol finalists like Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, and Kelly Clarkson. Or consider the “rags to riches” stories of people like Tyler Perry, Kanye West, or Oprah Winfrey. All of these people have at least two things in common: 1. A buttload of money, and 2. An encouraging story of triumph that helped them make it there.

Now, I too appreciate a story of someone overcoming poverty or a dangerous and emotionally damaging youth, but I am a little concerned about the message that our erroneous tendency to equate wealth with “making it” presents to those who have yet to “make it.”

Back to American Idol. At the conclusion of the season, winners receive a contract worth some hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even the runners up make out alright from exposure. But if these past and future contestants believed that these hundreds of thousands of dollars and notoriety would make their issues disappear, I am certain they were disappointed. Let’s try Fantasia Barrino, not to be mean; I truly respect her and pray for her, but her life is a noteworthy example. We have seen the Fantasia Barrino Story and know the hardships she endured. I remember watching her season of Idol with tears in my eyes, so happy that she had won, thinking even to myself that her life would be so much easier. But fast forward a few years from her win, and the money didn’t immediately make her literate; it didn’t keep her from selling herself short in adultery, and it didn’t keep her from a nervous breakdown.

If money is the emphasized goal, why isn’t it ever enough?

With an unclaimed Mega-Millions prize still lurking in Maryland, ever wonder what happens to past winners who swiftly run into windfalls? Bob West of Oregon died within a month of receiving his jackpot, with a canary Hummer still in the driveway yet to be driven. When Denise Rossi of California found that she was a winner, she divorced her husband without a word, I assume thinking she could hoard her millions to herself. But two years later, and husband-less, Denise was ordered to pay a hefty amount to her ex.

All stories don’t end this way, and I am the last person to suggest that money is bad. Even the Bible tells us that “money answers all things” (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Plenty of charities have been funded from lottery wins, and lives have changed, some for the better. But when it comes to having “made it” I am convinced that there is a deeper level of satisfaction. I always think about this scene from James McBride’s The Color of Water where his mother, Ruth, explains that her years shaking roaches out of her hat in a rickety old apartment with her oldest child and the husband she loved were the happiest years of her life.

There is something so internal to happiness that money cannot access. And furthermore, there are some things that money just cannot change.

I urge this unidentified winner to not be deceived into thinking he has “made it.” If he is insecure, money will not make him more secure. If he is crazy, money will not make him sane. If he is lonely, money will not give him meaningful relationships. If he is content, money will not make him more content.

What will the world do when it discovers that money ≠ “making it?” I marvel at the thought…

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