Give a Brother a Break

Prom dates, past missteps and present witch hunters

Dear 6 lb, 8 oz Baby Jesus - do not let me be judged for my prom date. When I saw that someone felt it relevant to dig up and publish pictures of our 44th President's prom, I rolled my eyes so far to the left and back to the right. Because for why... really?

My prom date, who went by the classy moniker of Duck, is in the penitentiary... again. To say our paths were divergent is an understatement but me from 20 years ago thought he was fine and exciting and different.  My parents thought he was a felon. Turns out they were right. Should I be judged lo these many years later for my judgment at 18 years of age?

This past week, Nouveau Beau and I had some (limited) discussion about one of my exes. (If you missed the crazy tale of PsychoMike, go ahead and enjoy) Turns out that Nouveau Beau knows PsychoMike by professional reputation and it ain't good. Since it's been over 12 years since I dated PsychoMike, he just shook his head and said, "Well now you know better." He then went on to say that he didn't want to know about my other exes. They had no place in our relationship so let's just leave them out of it. Whew! It was all I could do not to get up and praise dance in the middle of the restaurant. 

I admit I haven't always had the best taste in men and/or when I did choose well things had a way of going south (or left or whichever direction means no bueno). I own up to my part in these dissolved relationships but I sure didn't relish having to tiptoe down the long-ass highway of Doomed Relationships Past with him. I mean some of you all have been reading the blog for a while... it's a lot to take in. Particularly all at once. 

A girlfriend of mine has just started dating again after a particularly bitter divorce. Her new man is great but his sister? She is straight CSI'ng everything about Rosa's past. Rosa said, "I wonder if this is how Obama feels, having everything he ever said or did, anyone he ever dated under scrutiny by someone looking for the absolute worst spin." I said of course it is but then she could multiply it by a gazillion media outlets with millions of dollars behind them. The witch hunt is real.

All of this to say - should we really be judged by the people we've dated in the past? Okay, maybe in the recent past, yes but ten plus years ago? Is there a statute of limitations on relationship missteps and if so, what should it be? 

Do share....

He thinks they're meant to be, she... not so much

Catching up on Ask a Bougie Chick letters this week and I must say, this one jumped out at me. Not to sound sexist but I usually hear this from the ladies not the gents. Take a look:

Hi Michele, SBM recently turned 30, I'm in Charlotte and I've been reading your blog for a while and I noticed you have a belief in things being fated or destined. Is that true for relationships as well? I'm a guy who has been in a relationship that is on again off again with a woman for the last three and a half years.

When I met her I knew almost right away that she was the one for me. Everything about her was what I was looking for in wife material. Sounds a little sexist but I don't mean it that way. Our problem or my problem is that she (Lisa) doesn't see things the same way. Every time we get to a point where I think marriage is our next step she does something to sabotage the relationship. Then she thinks better of it and apologizes and we make up and start over again..

It's a lot of drama when in my thinking she should just say that she's not ready for the next step. Maybe not with me anyway. I'm college educated, not bad to look at and I think I'm a pretty good catch so Im thinking I shouldn't have to sell myself to my own girlfriend, know what I mean? I should move on. But I can't shake this idea that she is the one I'm supposed to be with. Shouldn't I fight for that? This might be a little emo for dude-speak but it's how I feel and I knew you and BnB would share your opinion. 

Lance, quit worrying about what's emo and what's dude-speak and let's get to the nitty and the gritty of this. First of all - I do believe that things happen for a reason. I also believe that things change. I totally feel you on this one. For years and years in the back of my mind I believed that I already knew who my one true soulmate was and as soon as both of us got our circumstances and lives aligned, we would be together forever.  But every time we got back together and took a step in that direction, he would do some raggedy ass shiggity that blew us up to hell and back. I would be wounded, put myself back together, date other people all the the while still thinking one day that dude and I would get our happily ever after.

It literally took years to absorb that fact that you can get more than one soulmate and maybe someone you thought was your soulmate just fit the bill for a season. Not to disparage what it is that you and Lisa have but if you're in a "push me-pull me" cycle where you keep getting hurt and waiting for her to realize how awesome you are? You need to walk now. Do not (I repeat) do NOT waste precious years of your life waiting for someone you are not married to yet to discover their inner do-right. Naw son. Nor should you continue to cosign her ratchet. When she hurts you, she knows what she is doing and you deserve (hell we ALL deserve) better than that. 

If you take nothing else from my blog ever, take this - life is too short to spend it wandering around "what if" land. I firmly believe (now) that if someone loves you, they want to do right by you. Period. If they cannot, you need to move on. Do not attempt to carry on a partnership by your damned self. Do not get so swept up in the mythical dream of a happily-ever-after with this one woman that you miss the reality of a together-forever-less-drama-life with someone else. 

[Plays Shall We Gather at The River on the organ and passed offering plate] My brother, as we used to say back in the day, get to stepping. Single, professional, 30, in Charlotte? Holla back, I'll have you hooked up by next weekend. You can do better. 

BnB, what say you? What's Lance's next move? Have you ever been caught up in that "meant-for-me" meme? How to let it go? Any single sisters in Charlotte looking for the hookup? I'm just saying... Thoughts, comments, insights? Do share...

The fellas ask: So we're guilty until proven innocent?

In the aftermath of the trust post from last week, I received a lot of emails and tweets. All levels and ranges of responses from the positive "Thanks for opening the discussion" to the other side of the spectrum. Some were saying that I was ignorant and/or irresponsible, that I was aiding and abetting rapists, that I was just as criminal in my thinking as the perpetrator, that I was racist. Others indicated that I don't know about the number of black women being assaulted. It went on and on. For those who felt I was insensitive or those who missed my point (which was not at all about rape or victimization or the criminal justice system) - okay, I heard you. Thanks for sharing. Let's move on, shall we?

There was, however; one line of questioning that I will follow-up on. More than one gentleman asked me - If women are so wary that they are assuming all men are guilty (of something) until proven innocent, how do we ever build real relationships?

Excellent question. As always, disclaimer first: I'm not a relationship expert. I've just been to the three-ring circus and seen the clowns more times than we need to discuss. Okay? Moving on...

Let's pull apart the premise first. There are several myths wrapped up in here. First being that real relationships are not being built everyday. There is also the myth that there are no good professional single straight men without eleventy million babies' mamas left in the United States. There is the myth that of the two decent men left, one of them is a dog and the other one only dates white women. There is the myth that women don't move on from their pasts but are quick to paint the next guy with the ex's brush. These are myths that need to be debunked, killed dead, buried deep and never no more resurrected.

But the allure of these myths is wrapped up in the unmistakable truth for many of my professional sisters- a good man is hard to find and hard to keep. (Bruhs, my bad - I know it's hard out there for you too)

All that being said, not all women believe men are guilty until proven innocent. However, many of us have encountered a rascal or two along the way so we may have to side eye you for the first 60 90 180 days. Nothing against you personally, gents. It's the whole once bitten, twice shy concept. We're going to try not to lump you in with your ratchet brethren that have come before but I gotta tell you, if we see some of those same tendencies and mannerisms in you, we're going to be right skittish. Like I once announced, "I'm going to try not to drag the entire seven piece matching set that is my relationship baggage into our thing, but this overnight bag is heavy on it's own."

"So what can we do, Chele?"

Well let me tell you, fellas... you're not going to like it. But you're going to have to communicate. You're going to have to ask why every now and then your new boo thang looks at you like she's waiting for you to pull on hockey mask and grab a chainsaw. Relationships are a journey and how will you know how to navigate without a map? That's how relationships go off target, folks get to barreling along without knowing they've hit quicksand and next thing you know? You're sunk. 

And you're going to have to be transparent. I don't mean oversharing. What I mean is that if you say you are going to say or do or be somewhere... let it be so. Consistently. Don't make a woman wonder where your interest lies or what you're really after. Speak plain and let your actions reflect it. 

Not to let the ladies off the hook. The same rings true for us as well. Far too many chicas out there making it hard for the rest of us. We've all run up against that guy who just got out of a bad breakup with a chick who cut such a fool, no one in his family even mentions her name. Yeah, don't be that chick. Don't expect a man to read your mind. They are not that magical (no shade, guys, IJS). When something is on your mind, speak on it before it becomes a festering wound. Again, transparency. 

SO beyond saying both sides need to just. do. better. I guess I'm saying, isn't it worth it in the end to put a bit of due diligence in at the beginning? BougieLand, what say you? Ladies, do you prejudge men based on your past experiences? Fellas, do you feel that you are being judged before you even have a chance to state your case? Do share...

Just let the man have the big piece of chicken today...

It's Father's Day. And I always was and steadily remain, ten years after his passing, a Daddy's girl. For the past few years on Dad's Day I've posted tributes to BougieDad and other fathers of his ilk - committed, caring, concerned, involved fathers. I've enjoyed it, even while navigating the "my dad wasn't about shiggity" or "my baby daddy ain't nuttin'" backlash.

Woo-sah. I get it. Some fathers ain't bout that life. But if I may, let me just say this. Single Moms - today is not about you. Mother's Day was last month. Yes, I understand that some of you are doing the work of both mom and dad. Yet and still, take a step back and let the fathers who are deserving have their day. Can we please?

I actually heard that there are some Father's Day greeting cards for single moms - just stop it. It's one day. A lot of us have to struggle through it. People have lost their dads, have tortured relationship with their dads, don't know who their dads are. Baby daddy ain't doing right, can't be found, doesn't show up on today of all days... there's a lot of emotional upheaval. Be that as it may - let the Dads who are doing what they can do have their day. 

Tomorrow morning is time enough to cuss ole boy out, bitch about yo raggedy daddy from back in the day, all of that. Chris Rock jokes in one of his routines about Daddy not getting the love. How it's all about Mama and making her feel the love. How all Daddy wants at the end of the day is a little love, a little silence and the big piece of chicken. For one day, ladies - let's take a seat and let those worthy of praise be praised. Give dude the big piece of chicken. Just one blogger's opinion...

Happy Father's Day everybody.

We're Southern... not stupid

Over the course of the past few weeks, significant shade has been thrown at Ben Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family. Attorney Crump is not a natural orator and his Southern seeps into every single (and sometimes extra) syllable. Many have assumed that because his speech is so very "Urban Floridian" that this somehow reflects his legal prowess and/or brain power. It's both an insult and a mistake to assume this. 

I don't know how many of you heard Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Magic Johnson or Deion Sanders (countless others) back in the day before the professional speech coaches got hold of them. Not. Pretty. I mention this to say that Mr. Crump requires a speech coach or a smoother spokesperson and nothing more. I'll admit when I first heard Mr. Crump, I longed for the silver-tongued effervescence of Johnnie Cochran. And then I went and looked up brother Crump's bio.

He has quite the track record of impressive wins and tackling improbable causes and coming out on top. He has worked hand in hand with Rev Al, Rev Jesse and other activists to shine light on racial injustice. He is considered a bright and talented legal mind with a shimmering future ahead. And he wears a navy suit rather well. (Sorry, just a sidebar. Moving on...)

As a child of the South, I grew up amongst a variety of accents and dialects. My mother speaks a very crisp combination of polished Baltimoran and syrupy Georgian. My father spoke British West Indian. I went to private school for the first 10 years of education so my Texan only comes out with I'm tired, tipsy or around a whole lot of twanging. 

I distinctly remember in my teens being on a group trip to New York where the other teens asked us, "So do you have horses and stuff? You sound like you live on a ranch." And they were stunned when we wiped the floor with them at the academic decathlon. 

Don't let the accent fool you. 

I will admit that I cringe (we were having this discussion on Twitter the other day) when I hear folks adding an R (or an R-uh) in where none sat previously. What is an uRsher board? Or when someone adds an extra "ed" to the end of a conjugated verb "I loveded you, girl!" Hearing the English language mangled unapologetically  sets my teeth on edge but I'd never mistake it for lack of intelligence. Lack of polish? Yes. Naivete that "others" won't hear that mangled speech and be dismissive? Yes. 

So I do see both sides. As a Southerner, I get how a pronounced accent tends to send a certain message. As a Southerner who was drilled on "proper" speech patterns and enunciation, it's a sore point when others in the public eye don't do the same. But I can't shade a man for his diction when his dedication and delivery of service are so on point.

Just had to share. Thoughts, comments, insights?

Ask a Bougie Chick - She doesn't date dark chocolate

I'm so mad about this letter, I could throw something. Not my laptop because it's new. *flings ballpoint pen across the room and kicks over trashcan* I simply refuse to believe that in 2012 we are still coming at each other with the paper bag test. *sighs and picks up trashcan* Read this letter and weep with me. 
Hi Chele,
Serial lurker here. I'm a 22 y/o guy, college student in DC. I found your blog by Googling "What do Bougie People do?" Your blog came up five times on the first page. Hat tip for cornering the bougie market :). Anyway, I had the oddest thing happen to me over spring break and I wanted to share and get your thoughts on it. 
I've been seeing a girl (Cheyanne) since just before Christmas. She is very attractive, funny, intelligent and focused. When we started dating she kept saying over and over again how she didn't usually date guys like me. I thought she meant tall, handsome, smart, a catch in every way. (I'm joking but I'm not modest haha) Things were going well. She's from Charlotte and I'm from outside of Charleston so we drove home for spring break. I stopped in to meet her family and was supposed to stay for a few days.  
When we pulled up to her house she said not to worry if her parents didn't like me at first. I really couldn't think why except for the fact that I was dating their baby girl. When they opened the door and saw me, their faces fell and then I knew. I was dressed well, hair cut, and hadn't even said anything. They were all light-skinned, I'm very chocolately.  
I introduced myself and reached out to shake her father's hand and he hesitated and then shook it. Her mom took her into the other room and I could hear them talking. Her mother distinctly said, "He's too dark for you. You know how things are." Cheyanne said, "I know but I really like him." Her father waved me in the house and walked away. I turned around, set her bags inside the door and left. She called three days later and apologized. We got back to campus a week ago and I haven't decided if I'm going to see her. I want to see her but I'm not sure I should. 
It never occurred to me that colorism is still an issue to this level. Racism yes, colorism though? It's one thing not to want your daughter to date outside the race but outside the skintone too? She had mentioned an Indian heritage and being able to trace her family tree back to colonial days which I thought was cool but not if it means her whole fam is about not diluting the bloodlines with any darkies. WTH, Chele? Have you ever seen something like this before? I really like this girl but I don't think I'm ready to be her exotic experiment. 
Hey X. Sad to say I have. I'm on the caramel latte side of the brown skin scale.  I distinctly recall one of the mothers in Jack & Jill lamenting that my mother and brother were darker skinned and that I was the only one really "suitable". Suffice it to say, there were no more play dates at their house. I once dated a very light-skinned dude whose sister held a grocery bag to my face and told me to stay out of the sun before I met their mother. Can you say cut pile? On the flip, I've had someone implore me to get some sun because I was looking passe blanc. :-/

I've heard ignant women say they don't trust light-skinned black men because they think they are too pretty. I've heard men say they would only date dark-skinned girls because they are more authentically black. Suffice it to say they are still plenty of uber-ratchet thoughts, words and deeds about skin color out there.

I've dated everything from vanilla to double dutch espresso - wait, that made me sound a little sleazy plus coffee obsessed. What I mean to say is what's under the skin is mo' betta than the color of it. Sounds like she needs more work on her inner beauty.

Only you can decide if you like the girl enough to put up with whatever her color-struck issues are. I'm so confused - her parents don't hang out with any people darker than they are? Or they are okay to hang out with but not to date? For cause why? Maybe she's been extremely sheltered and doesn't know any better? (Hard to accept since she's in Charlotte and not a one stoplight town) The fact that her father hesitated to shake your hand suggests a pathology that runs deeper than the waters you might want to tread in. Plus it took her three days to call you and apologize? Doesn't sit well with me and I don't even know you. 

BougieLand, what say you? If you were X, what what you do? Thoughts, insights, comments? 

So… some folks aren’t feeling Father’s Day?

Let Daddy have a day!

Yesterday something happened that I did not think was possible… Twitter shocked me. I really thought I'd seen everything there was to see in Twitlandia. But nothing prepared me for the outpouring of bitter bile over Father's Day. People went on epic tragic 140-character rants about the men who donated sperm to give them life. (Yep, someone described their father that way – wince.) I was informed that folks were getting down the same way on Facebook but I had not the energy to look.

I mean wow. I'm not naïve; I fully understand that not everybody had WonderDad but oooh weee, some folks either had Lucifer come to earth as their father or no father at all. But I have to wonder, what does sharing your "my dad wasn't shiggity" story to the whole world on Father's Day do for you? It's a vent, okay and now what?

I actually had someone tell me I was "rubbing it in" that I was raised in a two parent household with a good father. Um, I still miss my dad. I was trying to get through the day without weeping buckets. I didn't realize that it was some sort of competition: My dad is better than your dad? Really, after all these years? We didn't leave that behind in pre-school?

There was also the crazy dynamic of people trying to out-do each other with the most tragic "My Dad used to" stories. Again, what does airing all that scandal net you at day's end?

Oh, and lest I forget… the women going IN on their baby-daddys. Sweetheart, you thought that man was good enough for something at least one time. During that bump 'n grind were you worried about his deadbeat tendencies, immaturity and inability to connect emotionally? I'm not judging, I'm just saying no matter how trifling yo BabyDaddy may be; he's still the father of your child. Bashing him on the Innanets does nothing good. Truthfully, any bashing in a public forum is a co-parenting fail but I'll leave that to relationship experts to discuss.

Speaking of experts, I've been told by psychologists that children of devastating upbringing should be given to age twenty-one to face it, to age twenty-five to start dealing with it and to age thirty to put it behind them. The thought process being that at some point you cannot keep trotting out your childhood as reasons not to move forward and be all you can be. I don't know if this true but based on what I saw yesterday, a lot of folks still have a lot to deal with.

No doubt there's a time and place to call out faulty fathers, I can't say I believe that Father's Day is it. Let the current and future fathers that are striving hard to do the right thing have their day. Monday is soon enough to go in on the trifling ones.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this one. Is Twitter Daddy-bashing justified? Is there ever a good time to air your dirty laundry? Do these stories help or hinder? Am I just clueless? Comments and insights welcome…

In Defense of Professional Athletes with a look at “Just Wright”

So… speaking of professional male athletes: there are approximately 462 NBA players, 1760 NFL Players, 800 MLB players and 720 Hockey dudes. I don't know from golf, soccer and boxing but let's just round up and say that in these here United States of America (and a few parts of Canada), there are approximately 5000 current professional athletes and who knows how many retired. To hear folks tell it, every last one of them is a megalomaniacal, wife-beating, gun-toting, sex fiend who can't save a penny, speak coherent sentences or look beyond their personal bling.

Before I get into my personal experiences, I have to point out that I've been amazed and unamused at the sweeping generalizations attached to that group. Maybe because as a single black female, I've seen that kind of random media bias and subsequent shade-throwing up close and personal these days? The caricature of the spoiled, rude, 12-baby-mama-with-all-the-drama rich boys is perpetuated because that's generally the story the media focuses on. (Don't get me started on Basketball Wives) It's sexier to talk about Plaxico Burress shooting himself, Ricky Williams smoking pot and Dwayne Wade's divorce than to talk about the 400+ foundations, charities and kids' camps currently attributed to professional athletes.

There is a movie coming out May 14th that I'm fairly excited about. It's "Just Wright" starring Queen Latifah and Common (rise of the rapping actors, FTW!). Official synopsis from Fox Searchlight: Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a straight-shooting physical therapist who gets the gig of a lifetime working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight (Common). All is going well until Leslie finds herself falling for Scott, forcing her to choose between the gig and the tug-of-war inside her heart. Oblivious to her romantic overtures, McKnight is instead drawn to the affections of Leslie's childhood friend Morgan (Paula Patton), who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife. Is Leslie destined to play the role of "best friend" forever or will Scott finally see that what he always wanted is right in front of him?

One of my least favorite reviewers (who shall remain nameless because I refuse to send traffic to his site) said he thought the movie was way too bland. He felt that the main characters have been stripped of personality and he couldn't buy Common's character because he "is the nicest, safest, NBA player in history. I mean c'mon a nice and considerate NBA player?? Here's an idea…what if the film had made him an arrogant, loud mouth, annoying person (with maybe a baby momma somewhere) to hide the fact that he's an insecure, lonely person afraid his glory years as a player have passed him by? You know a REAL person."

For real tho? Have you met any players… in like… REAL life? Or are you stereotyping based on what you've read? Glory days as a player? Most athletes have 3 – 5 years of a career (if they're lucky) and then they're done. 72% of those playing never reach star (let alone superstar) status. If you knew you could only do your job for three years and then you have to do something completely different… that might change your outlook.

I've had the interesting life experience of knowing, dating, and hanging around professional athletes for years. Being bougie in nature, I was never one to gawk or jock. I never have been nor ever will be any flavor of groupie. To me, they were just guys with high-profile jobs and more change jingling than others. Of course I've seen the good, the bad and ugly. But I've seen a lot more good than bad and ugly. There's something that happens when you start depositing checks with nine figures and have a microphone in your face morning, noon and night. It doesn't happen to the athlete, it happens to the people around them and then the athlete is forced to react. The dynamic gets strange when people begin to think you're important because of how you move/protect/deflect a ball. Not everybody reacts well to having long-lost cousins call you up for bail/house payment/random loan at 3:00 in the morning, having your mother steal your credit cards, having your housekeeper put your personal items on eBay behind your back, having random women whip out their breasts and say "sign these" – all of these are stories that I have witnessed personally. Now if you don't have a strong foundation and support system, all of that is going to do something to your head. As one athlete said, "We're grown-assed men playing little boy games. And that we get adored."

My point is - selfish jerks with problematic lives are everywhere. Some have money and high-profile jobs, others do not. If regular Joe has a bad day, two people hear about it. If Superbowl Joe has a bad day, it's YouTubed and leading on ESPN Sportscenter. I'm in no way excusing the bad behavior that we've seen exhibited by some athletes (and the women that chase them). I'm just going to say it's not easy. These guys work incredibly hard. Even the most naturally gifted athlete has to maintain his athleticism, learn the nuance of his position and deal with all the extra stuff that comes along with being a multi-millionaire before 40. I know, I know – boo-hoo, he makes $52 million and has to work for it. I'm just saying… your paycheck probably isn't published on the Internet. Your performance at work isn't witnessed by millions and presumably, no one spits on you and threatens to burn your house down if you make a mistake.

I've had the pleasure of being around athletes that were grounded, those that planned for the future, kept the drama at a minimum and had an idea of who they were when the lights weren't shining and the game is gone. So-called "good men" trying to do the right thing for themselves and their families. I've also been around those other cats and just stayed out of their way. The same way not all men cheat, not all professional athletes walk around with an inflated sense of self.

I've also had the interesting phenomenon of being judged because I dated professional athletes. As if there is only "a certain type of girl" with a "certain kind of look" and an agenda that spends time with those guys. I'm going to call bullshiggity on that whole thought process. I've literally met a guy, he finds out the name of a guy I used to date and all of a sudden he's looking at me in a different kind of way. Le Huge Sigh.

Long post short? Stop hatin' on athletes unless you know some that have done you wrong personally. And even then, quit painting them all with the same brush.

Oh, and go see the darn movie. It may be watered down but that makes me happy. When we can have romantic comedies starring African-Americans that are just as so-so as those starring Caucasians – we're come a long way. And by so-so let's talk about anything starring that chick from Grey's Anatomy (27 dresses), half of Julia Roberts' (Duplicity) and Meg Ryan's (French Kiss) movies, that last movie with Sarah Jessica Parker (Did you hear about the Morgans) and something awful I saw with Amy Adams (Leap Year). I think we deserve the chance to be equally "just okay". I can't wait to check it out. Most of the folks I know that have seen advanced screenings enjoyed it. I personally love a BougieTale of romance up on the big screen.

So BougieLand, thoughts on the professional athlete? Have I altered your view of them and the women that date them at all? Who's planning on seeing "Just Wright"? The floor is yours.

My answer to Nightline: “They Don’t Know… Who We Be.”

I'm not going to critique or rant (any more) about the shibacle that was the Nightline FaceOff: Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man? For a great overview and breakdown, check out Melissa Harris-Lacewell's post at The Nation. Here's a sneak preview of the brilliant insights she shared:

The serious, interesting and sensitive social and personal issues embedded in these statistics were hijacked by superficial, cartoonish dialogue that relied heavily on personal anecdotes and baseless personal impressions while perpetuating damaging sexism. Wednesday night's program was co-hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and ABC News Nightline Correspondent Vicki Mabrey and welcomed guests Sherri Shepherd ("The View"), Jacqui Reid (journalist), Jimi Izrael (blogger) and Hill Harper (actor/author). Like other discussions in the genre, the Nightline special began with the Disney-inspired assumption that marriage is an appropriate and universal goal for women. Any failure to achieve marriage must therefore be pathological. With this starting assumption panelists were encouraged to offer solutions without needing to fully articulate why low marriage rates are troubling.

Clearly, I've gone in on this topic over and over again. I'm all talked out. Apologies to those who suffered my rant on Twitter last night, I'd had it up to here. There was nothing fresh, nothing new. Ladies raise your standards but not too high. Date outside the race. Have you thought about dating your plumber or an ex-con? Oh and if you meet a man at Taco Bell who pulls up on the bus, snap him up - he may be the next Hill Harper. One ninja said his woman should make him feel like Super-freakin'-man. Really, sir? Are you gonna make me feel like Wonder Woman?

Woo-sah... Instead of re-hashing all of my grievances, I'll just call on DMX, yes dammit – DMX the growling troubled rapper. Here's the cut…

Okay then, here's the deal. It's hard to say why this person or that person isn't married without peeling back individual and societal layers. There's no "one size fits all" cure to answer the question. AND I honestly believe that talking about it this much just makes it worse. I'll tell you what helps… blogs like this (said modestly) – a place were grown folks can talk openly and honestly (both the men and the women) and see that there are good, attractive, viable folks out there. And that happy successful relationships and marriages exist.

Another issue with the show: I guarantee that if we took an informal vote right here and right now NONE of the women would have elected Sherri Shepherd or Jacqui Reid as our spokespersons NOR would the fellas have picked Steve, Hill or Jimi of the tragic clothing choice. As a matter of fact, find the poll at the bottom of the post. Hill Harper made the most sense though he came up side-eye worthy a time or two. But all his bougenificence was drowned out by the flat-out no-buenoness of the entire event.

How about a show about getting out and meeting real people, staying optimistic, getting yourself together while you search? (Not a reality show, please. We need no more flava/rock/ray j of love) Some might find that marriage isn't your ultimate goal and it's enough to find someone to chill with. But I guess that wouldn't make sexy TV?

Where's my show about the long-time happily married couples and HOW THEY DID IT? (I would TOTALLY watch that) What about the ladies and gents who opted never to marry and are GOOD with that? Where's that show?

So my problem with the continuing dialogue about the SBF as downtrodden victim is that it simply doesn't encompass who we be. The dialogue about the cheating-ass black man who can't commit obviously doesn't reflect who we be. Women who date gangsters and men without ambition is not the end-all-be-all of who we be. I resent a panel of comedians, reporters, actors/authors and I don't know WHAT to call Jimi "I still wear Garanimals" Izrael spouting the same old yada-yada without representing WHO WE BE. We be (artistic license, folks) smart and dumb, greedy and selfless, needy and independent, desperate and satisfied, weak and strong. Above all else, we be survivors. We be human. Start with the flaws in the human condition, then make us black, then make us single, then make us female or male and let US decide how we feel about that.

I blame us for this to a point. Those of us that still watch this stuff, support those books, call into those shows and go to those seminars. We are feeding the monster. Believe me they would shut all this shiggity down tomorrow if it wasn't making money. So I'm asking each of you to think before you buy, watch, join things. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I'm officially done. Not one more post, rant, tweet about the overexposed plight of the single black woman and the men they can't find. Officially over it.

ABC, step your game up. And any other media outlet determined to beat the poor dead horse – if you're going to cover it, please come with something new that is solution based and positive. Come at me with degreed experts, not entertainers. Bring me stats, stories, witnesses and a good news story. Show me that you know who we be. Or just say nothing at all.

The floor is yours. Comment as you will.

Thursday Short: He's Baaack...

Michael Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles today. Being a Cowboys fan (Cowboys are in the same division at the Eagles), I'm conflicted. Therefore I'm adopting a "wait and see" attitude towards the whole thing. What does it mean for Donovan? Will Vick play as QB or something else? Will the Cowboys secondary be further exposed with Vick to face? Should I put him on my Fantasy Football roster? So many questions, so few answers.

At any rate, I will congratulate a man for getting a job in this economy. Way to get your hustle on, Mike!

(Sigh) As if Philly fans needed more excuses to bring out the crazy.