Damn you, Irene!

This post is long and late. It almost didn’t happen, actually. I was supposed to be in New York City and, thus, this post was supposed to be about the glamorous grit of my favorite city in America and it was supposed to be written while I cozied up in my over-priced, midtown east hotel room. But, nooooo…. this, Queen bee0tch Irene checked ya girl. For real, for real. So, on Friday night I asked myself, “Self, does not being in your planned destination mean that you shouldn’t blog this weekend?” Myself replied just a few minutes ago, and said “Don’t let nobody block yo’ shine.” So, there! Irene – 0, Me – 1, and you all may, in fact, be the biggest losers of all. You all are stuck reading my free-writing on relationships. I apologize, in advance, because it’s sure to make no sense and have no point… Sorry.

Fact: I have no idea what a successful, amorous relationship looks like. But, I’m preaching matters of the ruptured heart, because that I know all too well. I spent the night of Irene’s DC debut downing Bota Box wine with my neighbor, watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, talking about failed relationships, dating in DC, online match making sites, and unrealistic expectations. I spoke to another friend on Friday about why she deserved better than the inconsistent and partial reciprocity she’s been getting from the love of her life. Before that, I spent days talking to a friend about his ex-girlfriend dependency gone awry, and why his ex kinda, sorta asked for the shiner she got from the new guy she’s seeing/sharing (read: silly hood rats get away with treating good guys like doormats and, when they deal with scum bags, the likelihood that keeping it real will go wrong increases exponentially- NO SYMPATHY!). And before that, I was at Georgetown Harbor chatting it up with friends about why men should pay for every meal & why I’m used to paying for meals; why men should always plan dates & why I pretty much have planned every date I’ve ever been on. The list continues, but it is far too embarrassing to share further.  After we exhaled, my Bota Box partner sent me home with a prayer and her arsenal: Iyanla Vanzant’s In the Meantime and Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I’m a little scared to read the former. I spent all day reading the latter. And now I’m depressed.

First, I don’t know anything about men. Who are they? I get the idea that what they make and what they do, is defining, but I don’t get why that’s just a male characteristic. Trust me, I’ve worked harder, better, faster, stronger to get where I am academically and professionally than many of my peers – male or female. So, after 6 years, 2 ivy league degrees, 4 continents, 2 passports, countless fully armored vehicles, 300+ overtime hours of Blackberry harassment, and an impending 16% pay cut, I’ve earned my stripes. I appreciate a man’s hustle when it’s real and on point. But, in a ball busting contest on careers, I’m not backing down. I’ve been through them before, because most men hint that they won’t have a serious relationship with me unless I leave my job.

So, let me spell this out. Nice and C-L-E-A-R: for children, anything is possible. But, for a full grown, adult, partner, with all his faculties: I’m not compromising. I’m not stroking ‘neh body’s ego, if the ego is all he’s got. Either you’re doing your thing or you’re not. Don’t worry about me, cause I stay winning. I can bet you dollars to donuts that I’m not that worried about what you’re doing, if you’re doing something worth something. And if I’m not worried, I will make you a happy man. Support is one thing. But, if you’re not about yours, then frankly you’re not doing me any favors. So, explain, why do I have to fake it til’ you make it? I am not…wait for it…the one.

Second, I was born in the mid 80s. Hence, I caught the tail end of Jody Watley – not Joan Cleaver.  I swear, until about December of last year, it never occurred to me to think about my partner as a provider for me. Our future, fictitious children? Yes. Me? Hell to the naw. What do I look like? I’ve worked since I was thirteen. When I started my own mag, I found a way to pay off 20Gs in start up costs in 5 years – while in college, full time. Point? I am Joan Clayton with Toni Childs’ never go back to Fresno (ahem: Newark) fund. I’m not never going to be without. The messages, subliminal and overt, I learned from childhood all screamed “don’t depend on any one for any thing, ever. For ever, ever? For ever, EVER!”

I went to a women’s college. I had boyfriends who weren’t complete douche bags. I mean… really… I thought I was doing ok, not being dependent on guys. Not asking for gifts, paying for meals, being as undemanding as possible – aside from asking for the freedom to be who I am. And, let’s be honest, who I am is not easy to put up with.

A mani, pedi, brow wax, brioche french toast, tall iced soy mocha, American Apparel leotard, 7 peanut butter cookies and 24 hours later, Steve Harvey’s Stacy Adams suit wearing self comes to tell me, I’m effed up in the game? DAMN DAMN DAYUM! So, how do I walk it back? How can I be so good at telling my friends about their really crappy relationships and I can’t see the more subtle, but definitely present, dead ends right in front of my face?

I haven’t been beaten or cheated on (to my knowledge), so I guess I’m ahead in some ways. But, do I really have to give a man the big piece of chicken to keep him around? I don’t eat meat. Do I really have to stop doing the adventurous things I love to do, because he can’t protect me while I’m doing them? I think bullet proof vests are heavy, but still kinda cool. More importantly, if I’m really in charge of setting the tone for the relationship, at what point am I supposed to hand over responsibility to him and let him ‘lead’ our family? Guide to transitions please!

When I read this book all I heard was (1) a guy likes a woman who has it all together before he meets her, and (2) he certainly expects that she’ll unravel all of that togetherness if she wants to keep him for life (togetherness exceptions include taking care of kids from a previous relationship and going to church, because everybody knows that everyone who reads Black relationship books must be god-fearing Christians – SMH!). So, what about the hard headed, worth every dime, loyal, adventurous, nurturing, creative, adaptable, value added woman who actually likes who she is, what she has, and wants a guy to up the ante, but really, honestly, truly, has always worn the pants and doesn’t know anything else? How do we, I mean – I, I mean – she, get to the place where I’m supposed to be part Beyonce, part Carol Brady, and part Whitney Houston (pre-crack), when in real life, I’m part Jazmine Sullivan, part Hillary Clinton, part Jada Pinkett-Smith and all me?

I get that these guides to relationships make sense when you’re so fatigued by love’s evil twin, douchebaggery, that you’re so desperate to find a valuable partner that you’re willing to disregard everything you believe about life and your valued place in it. I also get that my generation is in this weird in between place where women are supposed to be 21st century independent everywhere else but in their own homes where they go all early 20th with their partner.  The recession means that my generation is full of highly indebted, late bloomers, so providing can be an issue and it has nothing to do with ambition. But, in DC, the majority of the single population is college educated and earning that contractor paper. The pool is large, but I’m a big girl and I swim in oceans.

Sometimes it’s dangerous, but it’s a big part of who I am: the woman  who actually does the stuff she says she’s doing, goes to the places she says she’s going, and isn’t afraid to be her beautifully flawed human self. Nuff long talkin’… time for action! Where does my integrity come in? After I’m done stroking your ego and being someone I’m not, then will you love me for life? Steve? WTF? I’m confused…

The real point is that I, like everybody else, want to find a meaningful relationship. You know, the fairy tale that’s grounded in today’s realities. But, I don’t want to stop being who I am to get it. AND, if I’ve never really seen a successful marriage, is scouring the negative space around all of my friends’, family members’, and ancestors’ failed and infuriating relationships the only tactic I’ve got? You know, aside from Steve Harvey’s bible on successful boo-loving?

How is this supposed to work? When is it too late to start over?  What if all this works, but I still think it’s a crock of crap? Am I too principled for my own good? Am I letting guys get away with too much? Do most guys cheat on their wives and then discover how to be good men? Are men really like children? If so, can I make mine go out back and get a switch when he acts up? My spirit is broken, my head hurts and I blame this all on Irene.

7 thoughts on “Damn you, Irene!

  1. First I want to say that I think Steve Harvey is full of crap and wrote a book to make himself feel better about his mistakes. I’ve tried that whole pretend to be everything they say guys want you to be in the end it left me feeling like a fraud and alone. I never bought into the fact that guys have to pay for everything or plan everything. I like paying for things sometimes and I’m a planner by nature. Women shouldn’t have to compromise who they are to stroke a man’s ego. In fact I think his ego should be large enough to not be deflated by her being insanely awesome. Not saying I have a problem stroking someone’s ego cause I’ll be his cheerleader as long as he is mine as well. I really want to believe that true love won’t hold you back from all your destined to become.

  2. I wish I could help, but I seem to be in the same boat. We all “think” we have meaningful, everlasting, beautiful relationships until the serpent rears its ugly head. You can be as stunning, powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous as you please and a man will still find a reason or excuse to treat you as less than what you’re worth [examples: Bill and Hillary, Wiener (aka I wanna show my weener) and Huma, or even Arnold and Maria]. They want you to be superwoman, which includes accepting their short comings. They have double standards, they don’t show love but want to receive love, and the list can go on and on. A woman can give her entire universe to a man who in turn, in that same moment, can give her his ass to kiss. So after my most recent blunder (giving up my entire universe for a man, who in turn gave me his ass to kiss…lol) I decided to find happiness within myself. And I must say, it is tough but I’m making it slowly but surely. I may miss out on the white picket fence and the babies, but I’ve come to accept that maybe those stars don’t align for me. I wish I could have helped more, but it seems like another case of the blind leading the blind…any who, stay wonderful and don’t let anyone (man, woman, or hurricane) make you unhappy. Because, as Chris Breezy says : Don’t let them bring you down, the beauty is inside [of] you 🙂

  3. J. Lucas is back in this B!

    I have a couple (more like several) statements to make. 1) this blog post is way too long. 2) You should have never read that Steve Harvey book. 3) Women like to be protected and men love their ego’s stroked. 4) Are you the “break the window out your car” Jasmine Sullivan? (I always imagine a team of women riding in an all black SUV listening this song while they head to the ex/current – boo’s crib to destroy his car). 5) Be the person that makes you happy (that matters more than being in a relationship) 6) Small compromises are good things 7) I don’t know what a successful marriage looks like either. 7) Unless you want a long distance marriage you shouldn’t date guys who aren’t comfortable with your work situation. 8) Nafeesah is one of my top 10 favorite people.


  4. Ex-Girlfriend Dependency gone awry is an addiction & disease. So is Steve Harvey’s literature. I’m a recovering addict & I hope to only get better. Thank you for lettin’ off 2 shots in the air for Me Nafeesah.


  6. This reponse is long overdue. I hope that Steve H. didn’t throw you off balance too much. As you know, I have read that book several times and the biggest point I take away from it is the idea that you should ask hard questions at the beginning of the relationship (perhaps even before it becomes an official relationship). After ending a 5 year relationship recently, let’s just say I have been doing a lot of reflecting…on myself, the (ended) relationship, men, marriage, etc. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I did learn something. I realized that if I don’t set standards for how I am treated in a relationship, I will get treated any kinda way that he feels is acceptable. Having self confidence is knowing when to draw the line…but what about when that line is blurry? Why is it so hard for some people to find a good relationship, when it seems like everyone else is able to find a new man with the ease of finding a good deal at Marshalls?

    As far as you, my dear, don’t you dare even think about leaving a job that you love for any man. The right man will accept and support your career. And he will be proud of you for what you do to bring home that cheddar.

    Can we do another wine night soon??

  7. Girl, I read that Steve Harvey nonsense on the toilet. Then through it in the trash. Glad I didn’t pay. Useless garbage.

    In other news, wine? who’s got wine?

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