Thursday, September 18, 2008

Caterer or Servant?!?!?!

My blogger friend sent me this blog post. It made my heart heavy that people equate submission with being subservient. So let's go to the dictionary...


  • The act of submitting to the power of another

  • meekness

  • the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness

  • the act of yielding to power or authority
  • excessively submissive
  • abjectly submissive
  • characteristic of a slave or servant
  • useful in an inferior capacity
So they are not synonyms. Now that we have that cleared up...

This blog post is about Beyonce and Jay-Z's relationship. While I am not a Bey fan at all, I am a Jay-Z fan. But that does not negate the fact that I don't know the inner workings of their relationship, and neither does anyone else.

Allowing your man to be the head of your marriage is not a southern thing, It's a Biblical thing! (maybe I should get shirts made with that...LOL)

To add insult to injury, someone said that we need to look at Oprah as an example...HUH?!?!?! I love Oprah to life, but she speaks directly against God's institution....marriage. So I don't count her a credible source on relationships either.

Here are some additional comments:

Southern Queen Dee said, "And there’s something wrong with her taking care of him. We southern women were taught that a man is the head of the household. Women today wanna be all independent like they’re above taking care of a man. That’s why we have so many divorces in this country. If you won’t do, there’s always another woman willing to."

Vali-Girl said, "Read the book of Ruth in The Bible, since you want to refer to the Bible and a woman’s role. Ruth was a bold woman, living in purpose. She put her needs out there and it was for a purpose. And Boaz saw her boldness and purpose and they became man and wife. So a woman’s “role” is not to be subservient or abused or belittled by her man. It is ok for a woman to be bold and assertive, so long as it’s for a greater good and a good purpose. Men are not to treat their wives like sh*t. They are to care for, love and respect their woman, as God mandated." **

Kingsmomma said, "Unfortunately, alot of women have been forced to play the role of man and woman (myself included) and must be independant, provide for themselves and thier family so when it comes time to relinquish part of the role to your husband it seems foreign. I guess I am having a hard time with the words “submissive, subserviant” because I adamantly believe we are both equals and as a result neither of us needs to be submissive to the either. I will respect you as my King, as my protector and provider (knowing that I can provide for my own) I don’t need another father figure. You are my husband, you are the icing on the cake.You are fully correct, there is no need for anyone to shout to the rooftops about being Miss Independent, when you see me what i have accompolished you already know."

There were many other comments along these lines.

Each woman has to determine what works best in her own relationship and what that looks like. Attempting to mimic other's relationships will never work.

For a traditional woman, Beyonce's "Cater to You" is a testament to how they treat their man on a consistent basis. Other women either don't do this at all or may do it on their man's birthday. I remember getting into a serious discussion about this with a listserve I was on. Most of them didn't believe in doing this AT ALL. But then, I had to look at their relationships. If they had one, it was extremely jacked.

So is Beyonce a caterer to her man or a servant to him? No one really knows. But I'd prefer to pay as much attention to my own relationship as I do to theirs...that is the one thing I do know.

**I'd like to point out that in the book of Ruth, Ruth also sat at the foot of Boaz's bed all night long while he slept and went behind him and picked up the left over harvest. Ruth is a really short book, I'd suggest you read it for yourself to get the totality of the story

*"subservient." Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 17 Sep. 2008.>.

"submission." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 17 Sep. 2008.>.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Women and Manners

Women make both the manners and the morals of a people. Neither rises higher than the gauge which women set in a community.... Where a woman has bad manners, it always has in it an element of vulgarity which is more painful than it could be in a man. The result will be a society hopelessly vulgarized...with no end but to sink in an ever deeper abyss of vulgarity."

~ Thomas Nelson Page

I totally agree with this statement. The one thing that hurts, angers and disappoints me is to see a woman with bad manners. My biggest pet peeve is a woman who cusses like sailor. I don't think it's cute, endearing or witty. I tell the girls I work with that you cuss when you run out of intelligent things to say. You have no more argument left, so you resort to cussing.

Any man reading this post is about to get whiplash from shaking their head so vigorously in agreement with what I'm saying. There is very little as assaulting on a man's ears as the sound of his woman using the same language, tone and mannerisms as his boys.

I have discussed this with any and every man that I talk to for more than about 10 minutes. Inevitably we get to the "what are you looking for in a mate?" conversation. I use this opportunity to take an informal poll and ladies I have to tell you that it's at 99.5%. I think there was a guy once who said he didn't mind, but changed his mind about 5 minutes later (after I gave him a brief demonstration...LOL).

This is one of the first internal struggles that I quickly overcame. All it took was a couple of experiments with different men to convince me. For much of my 20s I was the queen of "if I thought it, I said it." I was the Christian, black female equivalent of Howard Stern. I went for shock value. And boy did I get it. But I also rarely received another date or return phone call. It only took a few times of this to think that maybe it was time to try something different.

When I decided to make this change, I adopted the following mantra:

A wise women thinks twice and speaks once--if at all. ~Maya Angelou

The first thing I did was lighten my voice. I made it a bit softer, lighter and tried to make it sexy (LOL). I admit, I thought it would drop my IQ 10 points, but it didn't. I still said much of what I wanted to say, but it seemed to be received differently simply because of the tone of my voice. This works with my S.O. right now...shhh don't tell him I told you that.

Secondly, I learned the art of asking questions. We as black women are famous for "I'm gonna need for you to..." or if we ask a question, it's "How about you...?" (insert neck rolling here). So I decided to ask his thoughts on things or if he had ever thought about something a certain way. 9 times out of 10, he pauses and then says, "No, I haven't thought about that. You are probably right." BAM!
Ladies, let's face it, we set the atmosphere and tone in our relationship and in our home. Remember the cliche, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" Bet you're wondering what that has to do with bad manners. If you're happy with yourself, you carry yourself like a least attempting to exude the same positive feelings you have inside. When you're unhappy, you don't care how you look, act or sound.
One thing that is interesting about feminism is how it lacks community responsibility and promotes self-gratification. I believe feminists have little concern as to how their actions influence those around them. They are only concerned about them being able to do what they want to do, no matter the cost. A real woman knows that she not only represents herself, but her family, friends, community, etc. Yes, ultimately each person is responsible for his/her behavior; but as women we are often the ones who set the moral and emotional compass for those around us. Most women don't understand what a position of power that is. That moral compass results in laws, legislation, programs and services that align with the moral compass.
But when we as women, especially women of color, have bad manners, the moral compass is off. I believe that we are the only ones that redirect not only ourselves, but our families, friends and community. And that's where real strength lies.

Lesson Learned: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

Challenge for the Week: At least try to lighten your tone this week with your S.O., kids, co-workers, etc.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Closer to Him

I want to be closer
Just don't know how to balance you and the world
I know how whole I would be if I just let you in
because I have been there before
How did I ever go astray?
Realizing I need you in my life and I want you
But my flesh constantly reminds me of what I'll miss
Trying to live the purpose driven life
Temptation grows stronger everyday
Can you be single, saved, and having sex?
Sassy and sanctified?
My soul longs for your embrace
Yet I only call on you when things are tumbling down
I realize I have to change that
Why would I choose worldly pastimes, over eternal happiness?
My friend sent me this...

Friday, September 12, 2008

PSA: How Much Are You Worth

You have no idea how timely my Steve Harvey post was yesterday. A man wrote a post saying that even if Steve writes a book, he will never stop the game. That playas will stay up all night to figure out how to play women to get what they want. I hate that I overslept and missed some of this conversation. I went to the email bag (you can too by clicking the title link) and read some of the audience response. This one brother, Rodney Wilson from Charlotte, NC, posted this WONDERFUL Public Service Announcement:

How much are you worth?
Does he take you out, but goes home to someone else's house?
Are you only worth a movie?
How much are you worth?
Does he spend most of his time with his friends, unless he spends the night with you?
Are you only worth a lay?
How much are you worth?
Does he conveniently call you when child support trials are near.
Are you only worth the time when he wants to reduce child support charges?
How much are you worth?
Does he take you to fine restaurants, but hits you when you get home?
Are you only worth a nice dinner?
How much are you worth?
Does he take care of all the bills, but sleeps around?
Are you only worth a car note?
How much are you worth?
Stop accepting only what you can get, and start demanding what you are worth!
Now most feminists will agree that this is actually characteristic of "traditional" women. Women who are weak and depend on a man to totally take care of them. And to a degree, they are right. But the last line really speaks to some so-called feminists. A lot of independent, ambitious and intelligent women accept what they can get. They go for a pretty face, fat bank account and house on the hill....yet get treated worse than a slave. They think that their intelligence and assertiveness can change men like the ones described above. They take on these men like projects at work. But one day some of them wake up and don't even realize that have become the women they claim to despise.
Some of the most sought-after women are seemingly quiet, meek, weak even. But under that subdued exterior is a woman of confidence and determination. She knows her worth and what she deserves, and refuses to settle. She will politely pass by a dozen men who "look good on paper." Her girlfriends think she is crazy because she is passing all of these good men up.
A bee can pass by a dozen types of flowers, then find "the One" that they want to pollinate. The same thing with a woman who knows her worth.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Great Advice Giver!!!!!!

I am a HUGE Steve Harvey fan!!!!! I mean HUGE! I wake up to his radio show every morning. I lay in bed laughing, getting angry (not at him though), sometimes crying. Over the last two years or so that I've been listening to his radio show, I have counted him as one of the gurus of relationships. Yeah, a comedian!

For those not familiar with his radio show (you can listen online), almost every day he has a segment called "Strawberry Letter". During this time listeners can call in and ask for advice on any issues they are having in life from Steve and his co-host Shirley. I really try not to miss this segment. I will sit in the car in the parking lot at work or dash into my office or simply just stay at home til the segment is over...LOL

Throughout the many Strawberry Letters and other segments of the show, I have learned soooooooooo much about how men think and how to navigate relationships, especially in the beginning phases. Like my grandmother says, "Start out like you can hold out." Here are some tidbits of revelation (some with my own spin) that I've learned from him.

Men are designed to protect, provide and profess. Steve believes it's innate in men that they provide for the people they love, protect them from any harm and profess publicly their love for their women.

Tell men how you do NOT want to be treated, and let them figure out the rest. I've tried this...IT WORKS! It's relatively easy for any person to do what they know (because you've told them) you want them to do. But to really see the heart, sincerity and integrity of a person, let them try to figure out what it is that makes you happy. If they do nothing, that's probably what they will continue to do. If they attempt things (even if they fail miserably), then you know they at least want to try to make you happy.

You cannot do what a man does and still be considered a lady. This is my mantra!!!! I tell it to the teens and young adults I work with. I know in this new day of equality, sexual freedom and women having as much game as men do, it seems archaic. But no matter how we hate it, men will not commit to a woman they think is promiscuous or as my grandma called them "fast!" So just like you have the choice to "do you" the man has the choice not to "do you."

Being a lady is a lost art that needs to be resurrected. Think of the respect, adoration and admiration you would receive from people (men and women) if you carried yourself in a manner that is ladylike. That is as Teddy Roosevelt said the art of "speaking softly and carrying a big stick." Actually, I like to think being a lady is the new definition of "feminism" (I think I'll write a blog entry on that!)

Boys shack, men build homes. Steve didn't say this directly, he quoted someone else he heard on TV. But I love this saying! So often we women think that we can expedite a man marrying us by living with him first. We buy the malarkey about "getting used to living with each other." Steve says that if you're good enough to live with, you're good enough to marry. I personally rarely, if ever, see any good that comes from co-habitation. Even the most independent of women end up getting flustered, frustrated and bewildered. They think that they can cajole, impress and negotiate a man into marriage. But they are the ones who have gotten hoodwinked with lines like "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." "I love you and live with you, why I gotta marry you?" If feminism is about choice, then by co-habitating with a man (especially one who isn't marriage minded) aren't you giving up your choice to be married? In my opinion, women who do not have the standard of a man marrying them give up their choices and are actually subject to the rule, whims and desires of the man they "live with." Is marriage a guarantee of "happily ever after?" Heck no, but it least it comes with some kind of warranty. Shacking is totally an "as-is" decision!

The 90-Day Rule. This is basically not to have a physically intimate relationship with a man for at least the first 90 days. This gives you some time and opportunity to see where his mind is at. He is really trying to get to know you for some long-lasting relationship, or, as Steve puts it, is he just trying to get the cookie. Even those of us who burned our bras long ago (or never wore them to begin with) feel and behave differently once we give up the cookie. You can act hard on the outside, but when no one's looking, you've changed. That man, good or bad, has left his imprint on your heart, soul and body.

Have standards. Steve actually says it more eloquently than I do, but that's the gist of his statement. In the quest for choice and equality, have women given up their standards? In order to be viewed as equal, women have developed "swagger" (which in and of itself is a good thing), behave worse than some men (cuss, fighting, promiscuous, doing things in excess) and have generally hardened their demeanors. Now that's not to say that an assertive, ambitious woman of intelligence doesn't have standards, because they do. But are they the right standards? I don't want to be treated as an equal, quite frankly I want to be treated better than that. I am not a man and do not want to be treated like one. I want to be treated like the feminine precious creature God made me. I don't want to get in a pissing contest with my man. He can be a man, I am a woman...and more specifically, a lady.

I'm not saying that some of the things men do are right, justified, mature or called for. But when you know how a man thinks and behaves, then you can make your own decisions and choices and adjust your behavior so that you always protect yourself and your heart.

Steve says he's working on a relationship book. I can tell you I will be one of the first in line to get one. He has an amazing insight into men, especially black men, that we all can benefit from.

Madden Doesn' Have to Be Maddening

My S.O. and I spent a wonderful Labor Day weekend together. We both marveled at the fact that despite being with each other for 3.5 days, we didn't argue. We enjoyed a laid back, fun-filled weekend.

He indulged my quirks and things I liked to do (even though I think he enjoyed them too). We went to my favorite restaurants, drank coffee and read books at Barnes and Noble, and of course did some shopping.

Sunday evening we're lounging around and he decided he wanted to play X-box. Well we had such a good day, I thought, "Why ruin it by secluding yourself in a room and playing a dumb game?" I felt myself withdrawing and getting a 'tude. But the next thing I know I said, "I wanna learn." I'm thinking, "What?!!?!? Who said that?" Minutes later, I'm sitting there, joystick in hand, trying to read the instructions at the same time. LOL....yeah I know!

Needless to say I sucked. The score was 38-0. It got to the point that I was just pressing ALL (and I do mean ALL) the buttons--at the same time!!!!!! LMBO

And surprise, surprise it wasn't that bad. My competitive nature kicked in and I actually made some decent plays. But what was more interesting was my man's reaction. He was really impressed that I even wanted to play. He's brought it up several times since then--giving me my "props."

That 1 hour of video games was one of the best moves I could have ever made. Could I have done something else during that time? Sure. Could I have copped a 'tude, which could have led to an argument? Sure. Could I have put a damper on the day by making an issue out of his video game playing? Definitely.

But my goal was to spend time with him. And it really didn't matter what we were doing per se. We talked, played, kissed and had a good time while doing what he loved. So my man got the best of both worlds, I got time with my man, and we connected on yet one more thing.

Now I'm not saying to indulge your man if he's a video game zombie and plays games 2, 3, 4, 6+ hours a day; shirking his responsibilities and such. No, that's something you have to speak on. But if your man does it occasionally and it doesn't interfere with his responsibilities at home or in the relationship, why trip? In my frame of reference, this is a mole hill that many women make into a mountain.

Have you ever thought that your man's hobby is his way of de-stressing or relaxing? His way of processing information or relieving stress before he deals with the added responsibilities of home and you? When you don't allow your man this opportunity, where can he direct his frustration, stress or even anger?

We want our man to be interested and fully supportive of our hobbies, but we often do not give them the same courtesy in return. We banish them to the basement or garage to indulge in "their little hobby or interests." I'm not saying to turn your home into a frat house, but just be considerate of what it is they like to do and what they are interested in.

My grandmother says, "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar." Just call me the Queen Bee (and NOT Li'l Kim either).

Should I turn in my feminist card by giving into the hobbies and wants of a man? Perhaps. But it made him smile, kept the peace and required little effort on my part.

Lesson learned: Madden doesn't have to be maddening.

Challenge for the week: Try to indulge in your S.O.'s hobby or interest for a day, or even an hour. You might be surprised at his, and even your, reaction.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Love In Style

Article from Clutch Magazine....

I like to think of myself as a lover of fashion, something like a fashionista. One, who admires, respects and loves to play around with the various vogues of fashion. I’m guessing that’s why it’s so hard for me to rationalize purchasing the same piece of clothing or accessory in a different color. No matter how much I love the shirt, shoes, pants or bag I refuse to be complacent and duplicate it, with the awareness that there are so much more diverse options out there to choose from. It’s so easy to multiply a pattern or style so you don’t have to run around town looking for something else that fits you. But what’s the fun in that when there are so many designers and fashions out there? I’m sure my fellow fashionistas can relate to this feeling. I sternly believe that repeating the same patterns in clothing hinders your ability to experience the other thousands of fabulous artifacts that you may like and grow to love. The only thing that it does is create a boring look both inside and outside of your closet.

This same theory on fashion should also apply to the way we “style” our love lives. Our lack of self-love and true love is mainly because we often repeat the same fashion faux over and over each season. Even when our “patterns” (i.e. issues) are unhealthy, we continue to use the same “material” (i.e. thought process, illogical behaviors, etc.) with different “threads” (i.e. men) and ultimately end up with the same old “outfit” (i.e. results and outcomes). Yet frustrated, bored, hurt and depressed, we continue to visit the same “stores” because we know what to expect when we get there and know exactly where to find our “size”. We don’t even have to go the dressing room anymore because we know how everything fits. Naturally, we shop at these “stores” so often that we receive discount coupons, credit cards and a host of other enticing features that ultimately serve us more harm then good in the long run. Nonetheless, we are left only with another “bill” (i.e. pain and heartache) and “receipts of purchase”. And although we may fuss and complain when the payments are due, because we can’t remember what we bought, we still continue to shop there.

This common “shopping spree” is what our lives look like when we don’t change our patterns and behaviors to produce healthy and fulfilling relationships. I can’t stress enough, how important it is to love and respect yourself so anyone who comes into your life must do the same wholeheartedly and consistently. When you chose unhappiness and complacency over change you put yourself on the clearance rack - half the price for something that should be worth a whole lot more. And that is one bargain that is not worth wearing.

Begin to shop around and try new styles. Be that trendsetter and create that make over you deserve. Trust me, he will love your new “outfit”, and so will you.

Happy love shopping!