All Articles Tagged "serious question"

Serious Question: Should You Cover Up In Religious Neighborhoods?

July 29th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Should You Cover Up In Religious Neighborhoods?


A series of signs have started appearing in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn. The signs ask people to “show some respect” and to “dress modestly this is a Jewish community.”

For those who don’t know there’s a strong Orthodox Jewish population and presence in the Crown Height area. But it’s not just a Jewish neighborhood. There’s also a very strong Caribbean population. And it’s New York City after all, so anyone is liable to walk through there.

When I first heard about the signs I thought about my trip to Egypt last year. Egypt is an conservative, mostly Islamic country. And women are expected to be covered. Or at least women from the area.

The rules are a bit more lax for women who aren’t from there; but still the men aren’t used to seeing legs, arms, cleavage etc. But yet there was one women who wore a spaghetti strapped tank top, booty shorts with a visible thong. It was a bit much to say the least and I found myself thinking this was grossly disrespectful. You know the culture and the religion, no one’s asking you to convert but this are very strong, long held beliefs. Certainly, one should respect that.

But something about the signs in Crown Heights elicited a totally different reaction from me.

One Rabbi in the neighborhood happened to agree with the signs and told Pix 11: “A woman should cover up, she doesn’t have to display what she’s got.” 

A woman, who was wearing a short skirt and a halter top disagreed saying that the Orthodox community should show tolerance to other people as well and should be particularly understanding when the temperatures are high.

Another woman, Elisheva Schwartz, who is Orthodox, said she was offended by the signs. She recognizes that Crown Heights is not just a Jewish neighborhood. And she also said, “I think it is very important we don’t inflict our views on everyone.”  She said it’s the diversity that makes Brooklyn what it is.

As someone who lived in Crown Heights for a summer, it’s interesting that there are signs calling for modesty when I’ve seen, on several occasions, Orthodox Jewish men standing outside on Eastern Parkway gawking at women in bikinis and carnival costumes whining up and down the street during Labor Day weekend.

I have to agree with Schwartz. America is not like Egypt. Our nation was built on religious freedom, the same religious freedoms that allow Orthodox Jews to live and work peaceably in Crown Heights. It is possible for people to have respect for their customs without adhering to them. And I don’t think it’s too much for the Orthodox community to do the same.

But that’s just me. What do you think about the signs? Should women cover up when their walking through neighborhoods with large conservative populations?

Let us know what you think?

Serious Question: Can White Women Be #TeamNatural?

July 2nd, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Can White Women Be #TeamNatural?


As if there isn’t enough debate when it comes to Black hair — particularly natural versus permed hair — a new element has been added to the discussion: white women being heralded as #TeamNatural.

The issue arose late last week when a White hair and beauty blogger, Waterlily716, was featured on CurlyKikki last week proclaiming, “There’s something very freeing about accepting your natural hair.” Waterlily, real name Sarah, has apparently been “natural” all her life but only recently started wearing her hair out (as opposed to in buns and ponytails), which is why she started her vlog to teach other women like her how to manage their curls.

The key phrase there might be “like her,” as Sarah and her 3a and 3b curls which she prefers to style via a wash n’ go don’t exactly represent the ideal behind the natural hair movement that has been growing in numbers in recent years, which is to celebrate kinky, koily hair that is so often labeled as needing to be tamed and encourage healthy, chemical-free hair. Sarah may know a little something about the latter, but it’d be hard to believe she’s ever been directly or indirectly oppressed for her hair texture — a tale far too many Black women can tell — hence the uproar over here feature.

Six hundred comments and running are currently debating the necessity of a white woman being highlighted for her curls, which, for some, reignites the pink elephant in the natural hair room, which is the preferential bias toward even natural-haired women with longer hair and looser curls. As Ebony Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux wrote:

I’ve been surprised and disappointed to see how much of the natural hair movement has centered on “curly” hair, when that isn’t hardly the most common hair type among our people. Until recently, due largely to the efforts of bloggers/vloggers like Jouelzy and the team at 4C Hair Chick, who have taken up the charge of highlighting kinkier hair textures, there has been too much visual representation of sisters who have what has been described as “multicultural hair.” No shade to biracial women or those of us who get asked “What are you mixed with?” because of their hair texture, but the natural hair movement is at its most powerful when it encourages sisters to celebrate all our biologically-determined hair textures, not just the ones seen in rap videos.

To be fair to Walton, her site is not about Black hair or Black power. The “About” page states “ was created to serve as an online ‘hair therapy session’ for those struggling to embrace their naturally curly hair.” Her mission is clear: affirming those who wish to embrace a certain hair texture. But I think it’s worth considering what sort of precedent could be set here if more bloggers embrace an inclusive approach to natural hair.

In other words, there are plenty of places for White women to be uplifted and validated so is it really necessary we push diversity and inclusiveness as if we’ve forgotten the natural hair movement and such platforms that celebrate it were created for Black women to have a safe space to discuss and triumph over deeply-rooted hair issues White women could possibly never understand?

Seeing the backlash, Sarah wrote a rather lengthy response addressing the criticisms of her post, noting:

I’m not denying my privilege. And I’m not trying to upstage other women’s struggles, or erase the connotations of the natural hair movement with African American women.It ‘s horrible that little girls are suspended from school because of their hairstyle; it’s awful to think that women are told their natural hair is not professional. The military shouldn’t have a place in telling women that styles like braids and locs are not permitted. These things all happened, but it doesn’t mean other women of other races don’t struggle because of their hair as well.

But I’ve been calling my hair natural for years. Lots of girls of different races who have looser textures struggle with accepting their natural hair as well. My story is not a story of a large struggle, and I tried not to paint it that way, but I have subscribers who come to me after they’ve relaxed or straightened their hair for years! It’s just as life-changing and uplifting when those girls learn to embrace their natural hair… To me natural hair is about hair, not race or texture. I understand that natural hair is often associated with black women, but other women have a claim to the term as well. The term is not specific to any race.

While Sarah is right about the term and there are no doubt plenty of women who benefit from her advice, the fact that her story is not a story of a larger struggle implies her story isn’t our story. In the same way Black feminists had to break off from the larger feminist movement because their struggles weren’t quite like ours, the term natural hair may belong to everyone, but there’s a bigger cause behind #TeamNatural and the Black women who rep it.

What do you say? Can White women be #TeamNatural?

Serious Question: At What Age Are You Too Old To Be Fist-Fighting?

December 31st, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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Source: Vh1

Source: Vh1

I’m sorry but grown women are not supposed to fight. That’s what the little cousins and nieces are for.

I say that in (sort of) jest but I do have to raise eyebrows when I read stories about women of a certain age, still bringing the ruckus in dank nightclubs. And of course, I’m alluding to TMZ’s story about 42-year old Chrissy Lampkin being arrested yesterday morning for aggravated assault and disorderly conduct after allegedly beating another woman down in a New Jersey bar. According to TMZ, the alleged beat down came after Lampkin got pissed that the alleged victim accidentally bumped into someone – after taking an unauthorized seat on the same lounge sofa they happened to be seated at.

I’m sure (hoping) that there is more to this story. However judging solely based on how Lampkin used to jump off on women, with virtually little provocation, during the first couple of seasons of “Love & Hip Hop: NY,” it is not hard to believe that she probably went a little HAM on the alleged poor girl. And if the reports are true, I have to say that this is a pretty sad situation for Lampkin as well. I don’t know about the rest of you grown women but fist-fighting seems kind of silly, just like a grown woman wearing ponytails and bangs – in the front and in the back.

Personally my need to aggressively compete, or what I swore at the time was my right to self-defense, wore off in my late twenties. The last time I remember it well: My very best friend and I were in the bathroom of well known Philly lounge, when these strange women approached us and asked my best friend if she knew a dude named Darnell? Of course she didn’t and that’s what we told the girl before walking back into the main lounge area. Ten minutes later, our new friends from the bathroom reappeared. This time, they sat on the other end of the couch and stared us down accusingly. We did our best to ignore them, although it was obvious they had no intention of being ignored. The ring leader started in again, “Are you sure don’t know Darnell?” It was a question but it was clear by her tone the answer was irrelevant. Needless to say, we were past the point of annoyance. Our egos were telling us to bait this girl on. After all, she and her corny goon-squad came over here looking for trouble. And ain’t no way, we are going to let them, get the best of us. But what exactly would we feel the need to prove? My best friend and I shared a similar glance. It was one of totally weariness and boredom. We were on the same page. And without even saying a word, my best friend and I got up, left that club and found a less contentious and friendlier place to party.

It might seem punk-ish to some but nowadays, I do my best to avoid fighting. Trust me, it is not out of fear of taking a loss. More so, it is really out of concern of the consequences. Like loss of employment. Or a messed up face and other permanent scaring. Or medical bills, or even being legally responsible for someone else’s medical bills. Or even prison. In short, fighting is for young girls and boys, who don’t have to pay fully for their lifestyles. That is not to say that I haven’t cursed out a deserving person or two – or several. And even through my thirties, I have even been tested to the point where I have threatened to put them paws on ‘em. However it never went any farther than that because I just wasn’t going to let someone have control over my emotions like that. And there is just as much power, and winning for that matter, in walking away as there is diving head first into an unnecessary “fight” that does more to harm you than it does to move you forward in life.

Plus, I really do believe that with age and experience comes wisdom. The wisdom to not only get better at picking your battles  but also the skill of defense without having to Hulk-smash everything in sight. A nice eye roll and a shady comment for starters. Heck, walk away while theatrically, and publicly, declaring your obliviousness to why you mad. Trust, that bit of humiliation cuts way deeper than a punch ever could. Short of acting out on some of hormonal imbalance, food allegory, diabetic reaction or truly the act of self defense, the act of fighting in the club is just a matter of maturity – or lack thereof.

Serious Question: Is It Selfish To Be Mad When 3 Out Of Your 6 Bridesmaids Pop Up Pregnant?

December 18th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

This Saturday I received a text from a friend of mine that read: “As my friend and bridesmaid, can you please not get pregnant before September? Thanks.” Before I even got to ask what prompted that message, my girlfriend went on to inform me that half of the women in her upcoming wedding are now expecting — “literally half.”

Immediately I felt bad for my girl — and simultaneously perplexed about what’s in the water back home. This was the third time within no more than three months that she was telling me another friend or relative she chose for her bridal party was unexpectedly expecting. And though these things sometimes happen — although something should be said for family planning here — three women is a lot, especially considering how long this wedding has been in the works.

My friend got engaged in July of 2012 and her wedding isn’t until September of 2014, which means these ladies essentially had a full two years to take care of this business. Now, suddenly one bridesmaid is due in March, the matron of honor in June, and the maid of honor in July. And though those due dates are all a few months before the actual ceremony that’s also crunch time for the big day which means the help the bride-to-be would have had from these very important people will now be shifted to tending for their little ones, and understandably so.

But that obligation to motherhood doesn’t feel any less frustrating for a blushing bride who has been dreaming of a time that would be all about her and this important step in her life and who now has to be sympathetic to the needs and concerns of new mothers in her circle as she prepares to jump the broom. Those were the concerns my friend laid out to me as dreams of partying it up in Vegas with her girls for a bachelorette party went flushing down the drain and she asked me: “am i being selfish?”

Without hesitation I told her no and said I sympathize with how she feels. Her upcoming nuptials are a very important time in her life and, unfortunately, now three of her closest friends will also be experiencing one of the most important milestones of their lives at the same time and it does take away from attention and assistance that was expected to all be directed toward her. Of course you can’t be mad your friends didn’t adjust their ovulation schedules around you or that they won’t have as much money to spend on celebrating your big day now because they have to spend it on their child, but to sum up the bad timing in a phrase, it sucks.

I, personally, keep having visions of Tia and Tamera on the first season of their reality show when an engaged Tamera basically had to cater to a pregnant Tia’s needs before her wedding day instead of things being the other way around, as initially expected. Tia seemed to have this attitude that her pregnancy was more important than Tamera’s wedding, and though I don’t want to get into an argument on the difference between bringing a life into this world and getting married, I think we can all agree that these are two of the greatest milestones in most women’s lives and you want to be able to celebrate each unapologetically with those closest to you.

Since all of these pregnancies are in their early stages, only time will tell how these situations will play out and what sacrifices will be made on whose end, but I’m planning to step up my bridesmaid duties from afar to help shoulder the burden for everyone and, at the very least, due my part to not be pregnant by next September.

What do you say on this topic? Is it selfish to be a little upset your bridesmaids are pregnant or is the frustration understandable?

Serious Question: Is It Just Me Or Does Ginuwine Not Want To Win?

December 5th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

I’ve been tip-toeing around this subject for months now because I didn’t want to be too hasty with the criticism, but after observing what was supposed to be the comeback of TGT this year, and the person who seems to be the common denominator in all of their failings, I can only come to the conclusion that Ginuwine’s saddle is no longer waiting for fans to jump on it and he is so not anxious about winning in the music game.

As you know, earlier this year Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tank made a big to-do about their TGT supergroup reunion and even dropped an album this august called Three Kings to show us they were serious about taking the insecurity out of R&B and making music people could respect. Fans bought what TGT was selling — literally — and the album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 76,000 copies in the United States in the first week. And then…nothing. OK, technically, some things did happen but nothing would have been better than what surpassed.

Backing up just a taste, I will say I already began having reservations about these “three kings” in July when I attended the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Actually, I wasn’t concerned about all three of them, just one: the G. See when the men hit the stage to perform on opening night, this is what Ginuwine did during his solo set:

A hand towel dance break? Really? I won’t even get on the fact that the audience sang his songs more than he did, but just know this is the point when I realized that in 2013 Ginuwine just planned to get by on his looks. And that I could get behind, so long as he didn’t mess up Tyrese and Tank who can both sing and appear to actually want to get on stage and perform and — shocker — rehearse before doing so.

Enter TGT’s WLNY performance when it became clear to the world and Ginuwine’s groupmates that sitting there being cute doesn’t look so cute when you’re smack dab in front of a camera on a news channel. In fact, it makes you look high as a kite, which is the allegation that followed Ginuwine after this womp of an appearance. His excuse? Red Bull.

It appears Ginuwine has an excuse for just about every blunder of his these days because three weeks ago when the singer started tweeting illegibly about love and relationships while watching the Dallas Cowboys game he came back the next day and blamed his incoherent ramblings on the sleep drug Ambien. And now he’s acting as though he doesn’t owe anyone — like his fans — an explanation about just deciding not to show up to the Soul Train Awards last month, tweeting: “I wasn’t there and that was it u wanna make more out of it then let’s go who ever!!!!!” I’m sorry, what else did you have to do that day?

I say all this to say that from the outside looking in, it appears Ginuwine’s work ethic and general concern for his own image as well as that of his group is nonexistent at worst and lackluster at best. When your group only has three members, there’s no room for one to be gazing off into “all of the lights” while hocked up on Ambien or “Red Bull” — especially when that one member “doesn’t like to sing background,” as the guys told us when they came into the office for an interview. If you want to be the front man, you have to do front man work. At this point, Ginuwine’s acting like he’s a lighting director backstage who doesn’t need practice because they “do this.” Nah homie. You need practice. Lot’s of it.

All I’m saying is, don’t get women across the world — OK across the United States — OK a few thousand women across the United States — all amped up for the “return of real R&B” only to come out looking like a 40-something hasbeen daddy of eight who just showed up to get a check (even if that’s what you are) because the thing is TGT should work. Tank has an enormous amount of talent — and sex appeal — Tyrese is nice on the eyes and can sing his little raspy heart out, and Ginuwine, well, he brings the mainstream success and fans. But right now he’s acting like he doesn’t want it, and given the small window these gentlemen have to actually make us care about what they’re doing and download their album or buy tickets to their shows, he needs to give us something more than no-shows and microphone mumbles. That’s if he actually wants to win and judging from this slew of mishaps I’m convinced he doesn’t. Anyone else feel the same way?

Serious Question: Is Having Sex With Your Husband Once A Week Enough?

November 21st, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Is Having Sex With Your Husband Once A Week Enough

Source: Instagram

On Sunday night’s episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” we watched Cynthia Bailey and Peter work through their relationship issues. Cynthia was attempting to get her health back in order after suffering from fibroids; Peter was worried about getting their sex life on track after he was forced to go without.

To call Peter’s concerns overtly selfish would be an understatement, as even after knowing his wife wasn’t having sex with him because of her health issues, he was still whining and crying like a depraved little boy. However, my opinion switched just a bit as Cynthia talked about how the couple’s sex life would improve after she was back to 100% health. She said once she got over the fibroid hump, she’d be down to have sex once a week, stating that that should be enough and adding that if she didn’t have to work she’d be perfectly fine upping that figure.

Now for my full disclaimer: I’m not married, nor anywhere near, but I have been in monogamous relationships and I have to say once a week sounds pretty low to me. Shoot, singles can get sex once a week if they try hard enough. And though I rarely agree with RHOA’s Kenya Moore, as I read her thoughts on Cynthia and Peter’s sex life in her Bravo blog this morning I could do nothing but nod my head as she wrote:

“I’m not a sex therapist and I’m not married. But sex is a huge part of a successful relationship. Once a week is not enough! Cynthia girl, get some female Viagra and some sexay Agent Provocateur and get to work! I hope she works that out… Literally! LOL!”

Cynthia’s reluctance to get busy more than once a week sounds like it may be tied to her being, or at least feeling like, the breadwinner of the family. I’m not sure if Peter’s bar/club/lounge is still in operation, but it does appear the Bailey Modeling Agency — and Cynthia’s participation in reality TV — is what’s keeping the family afloat and when a woman is stressed and feels like all the burden is on her, sex definitely tends to take a backseat. However, if we’re just talking about working on a daily basis as most married women do these days, Cynthia, honey, you might have to step your sex game up.

Sex is a lot of work, and we know men tend to want it more than women, but it’s also vital to be able to meet your man at least halfway on this need — not because you’re afraid what you won’t do another woman will (hate that phrase by the way) but because sex builds intimacy and tells your partner you care about his needs. No one wants to feel like they have to beg you to sleep with them, which was one point I did sympathize with Peter on because it’s clear he feels Cynthia’s lack of desire for sex is tied to a lack of attraction for him or his inability to please her and you never want to make your partner feel that way. On the flip side, you also don’t want to make your wife feel like sex is her second job. It’s truly up to couples to determine a sex schedule that works for their individual libidos, but I don’t think I’m too off target when I saw sex once a week between two healthy, consenting, in love partners is not nearly enough.

What do you think?

Serious Question: Could You Be Happy If You Never Married And Had Children?

October 17th, 2013 - By Prudence
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"Black woman upset on phone - PF"


Last month my cousin celebrated her 24th birthday. My cousins and I grew up relatively close when we were younger but as we’ve gotten older and moved away from one another, it’s gotten harder and harder to keep in touch. But we do make an effort to speak to one another on our birthdays. So after I screamed Happy Birthday into the phone, I asked her how she’d been doing. What was new in her life since… New Year’s Day.

She explained that she and her boyfriend of the past four years had just broken up. She told me all the sordid details of how their once precious relationship fizzled and then ended. Naturally, I sympathized with her, especially after she told me that she really thought she was going to marry this man. That hit me. A regular breakup is one thing. But breaking up with the person you thought was your future husband is something entirely different. I tried and probably failed to comfort her. I told her that you never know what can happen. Things change, people mature etc. And I also told her that we’re young and we still have plenty of time to find men and all that jazz.

Then she said something that really struck me. “I know, I just don’t want to be 50 years old hugging my pillow at night.”

Dang. All I could do was sigh. We have aunts who prioritized their career, or have failed relationships and are in that very same position. But we also have a cousin, who said something very similar to that just before she went out and jumped into a relationship and had a child with a man who wasn’t about her or their son.

I sighed. I wanted to stress to her that finding a man just to warm the other side of the bed wasn’t going to cut it. She’s not the type to just jump on any ole thing but you never know what fear and desperation will cause you to do.

Anyway, our conversation had me thinking about a few things. In my own life, I know I’ve certainly prioritized my career, my dreams and my self actualization before relationships. There have been opportunities that have come that I’ve intentionally or subconsciously pushed away because I thought and still think that I have time.

I believe I have time. But our conversation left me wondering, if I never got married and had children, something I’ve envisioned myself doing since as early as 5 years old, would I be okay? Would I be emotionally fulfilled? Would I feel like something in my life was missing? Would I be depressed and despondent, scowling at couples pushing strollers in the park?

Things change and maybe one day I’ll feel more pressure than I do today but I don’t think so. And I’m not putting this out in the universe because the Lord God knows I’m not ashamed to say I want a husband and kids, (two, a boy and a girl). But I also believe that I would be content if I were to die without a man to  rub up against me at night or children to change my adult diapers. If I find myself unmarried and without child, I think I could be content being that 60 year old lady taking vacations every three months, eating ice cream for dinner and wasting money on unnecessary purchases without the money I would have saved not having had to put kids though college. Hell, without a husband I might even live longer. Ya’ll have heard of the Delany sisters right? Like I said, I still think I’m young and I’m not pressed today. If I’m still single at 35, I’ll do another self check.

What about you ladies, married single or somewhere in between. Do you think you could be happy if you never married and had children? Why or why not?

Serious Question: Would You Demand Regular HIV Testing After Marriage?

October 8th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

HIV and STD testing are a no-brainer when it comes to casual hookups, partners you’re dating on a semi-regular basis, and even monogamous relationships, but an area that seems to get a little tricky — for some — is the idea of continuing these tests after marriage.

This past weekend, I attended the Blogalicious Five Conference in Atlanta, and in a relationships panel, Jacque Reid, Demetria Lucas, Telisha Ng, and OBGYN Dr. Tosha Rogers Jones, discussed the topic of safe sex, based around the new OraQuick at-home HIV testing kit. Once the discussion moved past the usual subjects of when to bring up testing, whether you should get tested together, and the awkwardness of trying this test at home, Dr. Jones spoke on how frequently couples should get tested and recommended partners doing so once every year — even after marriage. And that’s when the ball dropped.

From the women seated at my table alone, I heard remarks of disbelief as a few questioned, “after you’re married?” More than one woman gasped and a couple more added that their husbands would not go for that. To those reactions, Dr. Jones simply restated, “yes, after marriage.”

Not being married myself, I can’t say whether this would be a pleasant conversation to have with my non-existent husband, but what I do know is that this doesn’t sound like a bad idea — in fact it sounds like a damn good one. Over the course of a 10-, 20-, 30-, 40-plus year marriage, who’s to say someone won’t slip up? I’d much rather deal with the issue of infidelity when it’s not compounded by concerns over my sexual and reproductive health. There’s also the issue of some diseases just not showing up rapidly. Let’s say you meet, begin dating, get engaged to, and marry someone all in the course of six months to a year — when those initial test results come back negative, can you really be certain that there’s nothing else lurking under the surface that hasn’t shown up yet?

I get that walking down the aisle with someone and vowing to love, honor, and obey them all the days of your lives carries with it an expectation of unwavering trust, but I don’t think requiring annual STD and HIV testing has to be looked at as an, “I’m about to catch this mother f***er up if he’s been cheating on me” scenario — particularly if this is a routine you establish early on in your relationship. Two women at the conference — one engaged, the other married — shared that they get tested with their partners every year on World Aids Day as more of a social awareness thing, as opposed to a relationship checkup and that works well for them. That’s the approach I’d like to bring into my future relationship so that testing becomes a part of our annual doctor’s appointments like anything else — and at the same time if something does comes up funny, I know who I’m coming to with questions. JK!

For women who haven’t already established this testing routine, I can imagine their husbands hit them with the side-eye should they all of a sudden, a few years into their marriage, suggest annual testing. But like Demetria shared, just blame it on the doctor. Say, “Hey my doc told me we should be getting tested annually as a preventative measure and I agree with her, so let’s make it happ’n capp’n.” And like Jacque Reid pointed out, any man who is adamant about not wanting to get tested has something to hide. Therefore, his reluctance may be all the answer you need when it comes to the health of both your body and your relationship, know what I’m saying?

Again, as a non-married woman, I can’t speak on the delicacies of a union declared before God and how someone may get into their feelings when it comes to a sensitive subject like this. So, married ladies, tell me what you think about demanding STD and HIV testing after you jump the broom. Would you do it?

Serious Question: Why Aren’t There Any Relationship Books For Men?

September 24th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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There’s a simple answer to all of this. Because men wouldn’t buy relationship books. And in the words of my father, “that’s a dat gum shame.” (Clearly our people are from the south.)But despite all of the male-written literature on how women can improve themselves for the betterment of a relationship, where are the female-written counterparts? Lawd knows women aren’t the only ones who could use a little assistance when it comes to interacting, communicating and understanding the opposite sex. Men need plenty of help just like we do. Maintaining relationships, of any nature, is hard work. Would a “Think Like A Woman” book written by Mo’Nique fly off the shelves? Probably not.

But for some reason, men either don’t think they need it, don’t care enough or feel like they can figure it out as they go along. You know, just like the old sitcom bit where the man, usually a husband, out and out refuses to pull over and ask for directions even though he and his frustrated wife or girlfriend have been driving around in the same circle for the past two hours. Maybe it’s the same thing with relationship books.

I’m sure my experiences are limited: but, with the exception of what to get a woman for a gift, I can’t even think of a time where a man has asked me for relationship advice. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Just this past summer my 15 year old cousin asked my sister and I to tell him how he can tell if a girl likes him or not. I didn’t tell him this but I thought it was so precious. And I admired the fact that he was thoughtful enough to ask former girls turned women instead of talking to one of his knucklehead friends. Hell, at 15 it probably would have been “uncool” to ask his male friends such a thing. The expectation is that by the time you reach middle school, you have your mack game down pact. But as the girls and even women on the receiving end of that “game,” we know that’s not the case.

Which actually brings me to another point. In one of our editorial meetings, months ago, we were talking about how women often rely on a [small] network of people when things get rocky in relationships. I know it’s not good to have everybody in your business; but because I trust these women, anytime I have a problem, in any life arena, but particularly relationships, I almost always discuss it with my mom, sister and best friend. Of course, I mull it over in my own head first but for some reason it seems too cluttered in there. When I say it out loud, to someone else, I can hear whether or not I sound crazy or like I’m overreacting or if it’s actually worse than I’ve made it out to be. During the meeting we suggested our assistant editor ask her boyfriend who he talks to about relationship issues. She reported back that he said no one. He just tries to figure it out himself.

What a concept!

So maybe that’s the thing. I’ve heard several times now that men are problem solvers. They like to see the situation, identify the problem, find the solution and be done with it. And I’ve heard and even lived the generalized notion that women like to find a solution too. But sometimes we want to find several solutions and weigh out the pros and cons of each of them before ultimately making a decision. So maybe we’re more inclined to seek outside help and men are hellbent on figuring it out themselves.

But those are just a few of my theories. Have you ever had a man come to you for relationship advice? Why do you think men don’t buy relationship books?

Serious Question: Has A White Person Ever Told You, You Can’t Grow Black Hair?

September 12th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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has a white person ever said you can't grow black hair

Source: Tumblr

I was just on Tumblr when I stumbled across the image above. Underneath the caption reads:

When white girls say we cant grow hair, I be like…

My initial reaction was “Boom!” Then I chuckled. What white girl would say, to a black woman, that our hair can’t grow?! That would be bold as all hell. And just as soon as I was about to dismiss the comment as being funny but unrealistic, I thought about my middle school homeroom teacher, Mr. Litts.

Now, before I share the comment Mr. Litts made about black hair, I have to tell you I don’t mean to totally piss on his life and legacy. Mr. Litts was a pretty cool dude and a great art teacher. He solicited students to paint murals all throughout the hallways, he let our homeroom class do a dance at our school’s pep rally; and so we would look cool while we danced, he personally airbrushed t-shirts with our nicknames on it. (Ya’ll know airbrushed t-shirts were everything back in the day.) He dee-jayed all of our school dances, complete with a fog machine. He was very passionate, genuinely cared about us, his students, and I’m sure he imparted some wisdom I’ve since forgotten over the years. Good man. Great teacher.

But in this particular story, Mr. Litts let his ignorance hang out. The details are fuzzy right now but he was telling our homeroom about one of his pieces, a painting or something in which he had depicted an African American subject. As he was telling us about the painting he got to the hair. As he’s describing the texture of the hair he said, (I’m clearly paraphrasing as this was over a decade ago.) “You know, black hair is thin and short.”

Uhh what?!

He said it so quickly, the room, comprised of mostly black 8th graders, didn’t have a chance to challenge him. Mr. Litts was the type of teacher you could challenge but this was a lesson that was going to take far more time than our 30 minute homeroom would have allowed. Instead, we all just tore our faces up and looked around the room at each other, silently asking “Can you believe this dude?” I shook my head, thinking it really didn’t bother me. But since I’m talking about it over a decade later, it clearly did.

The rest of that day I couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Litts’ words. I knew I had thick hair and a lot of black folks had/have thick hair. But I also had a perm the time. And though my hair was still thick, the perm made it look thinner and in some instances broken and unhealthy. I thought perhaps, in the midwest, before folks started wearing their hair natural…again, that was the type of black hair Mr. Litts was familiar with. But then I thought, naw! Just as there were times when my hair was thinning, there were also times when it was thick and luscious, majority of the time actually. Even if Mr. Litts hadn’t paid attention, he’d surely seen blacks in the ’70’s when the afro was in. And if not that, he had to have at least glanced at Oprah on the tv everyday, for all those years. Back then, I really didn’t know, could not figure out how he could say that.

Today, I can see Mr. Litts was just underexposed to black folk, even though he spoke to, taught and is still teaching predominately black students everyday. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. I know there are plenty of black folk there but that’s because I’m black and I hang around black people. Sometimes it catches me off guard but every once in a while, there will be these glaring reminders that a lot of white folk are largely clueless about our lives. That can be good, bad, annoying etc, but it just is what it is.

But anyway, I bring all of this up to ask you has a white person ever told you, you can’t grow black hair? If this has ever happened to you, did you take the opportunity to educate them or did you just shake your head and walk away?