exes

On Being Better than Basic

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This is a response to Afua’s most recent blog post “Go Check Your Wife, Now!”

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Amma: “Yo…I saw you called. You never call. Whats up?”

Afua: “Girl! Guess who texted me”

Amma: “<insert names of many an antagonist in the Afua Telenovela of Life>”

Afua: “No…. ***’s wife”

Amma: “Who?”

* face palms*

* rolls eyes *

*<shows other general signs of incredulity>*

I HATE… with a scathing hatred, when women approach ‘the other women’ about their relationship issues. Does that even make sense to you? Do you really think that if your man is going to step out, the woman is some seductress trapping your man with fetish powers and flirtatious text messages? Are you a fool?!

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That is what I wanted Afua to say to her, but as Afua noted, she decided to take the high road of not even responding at all— well aside from the blog post. In a secret fantasy of mine, I hope she happens upon the post and sees how ridiculous the situation even sounds. After we had a ‘could one person be so dense’ fest… I started thinking about Afua’s stance on keeping in touch with exes in relationships… and now I am starting to wonder if it is all a function of age.

In high school, when it was all, semester long relationships… maintaining a meaningful friendship with an ex was an excusable thing because a) you could totally fall in love again in college or after and b) what you shared wasn’t deep enough to throw a whole wrench in your social calendar. No reason to make going to the movies with the group this big awkward experience.

In college, when you thought you would marry on your graduation day and you didn’t, it still made some sense to at least KIT. I mean… networking. Plus…you could always fall in love again in five years if you were not married and there was no one else (was I the only one making these social contracts?). In any case, maintaining a superficial relationship with an ex… the kind Afua described in her last post, made a lot more sense at this stage than in the next one.

In Quarter Life, when people are actually getting married,having kids and forming these intricate family/ friend relationships with their play groups and reading clubs for moms, it would seem really out of place to insert yourself in that situation at all. Like how does a conversation as a single woman sound when you are checking in with your ex who has three kids and is planning a family vacay? Surely the banter you cherished will be a little– distracted, no? Plus… there’s no chance of rekindling the flame at this point. Don’t let  bollywood nollywood hollywood fool you… we can’t all be The Good Wife.

So maybe Afua should amend her rules. No talking to exes who are married— with kids, unless they can literally get you a meeting with the Obamas period.  Because clearly folks go ham to protect their family unit… even if the main threat to the said unit— is an actual member of. the. said. unit. #noshadeImage

My favorite part of this is how much people have been commenting on Afua’s insistence that the wife is a basic chick. I haven’t met her… and she is probably a lovely girl with many qualities that make her wifey material (hashtagcancook hashtagwifeytings). Furthermore, she is at least very committed to eliminating all threats at any cost… which is the sort of Ride or Die, thug lifeness that most men dream of… so I have heard. So at least she has that as a redeeming quality to her ‘basicness’… and she was the one he wifed… which threatens me to ask: is better than basic… better? 

I mean… maybe at the end of the day even the most sophisticated of men don’t want that in a pairing. Perhaps having a women who, “…hasn’t traveled much or at all, hasn’t gone to university, she’s quiet, (very) young- there’s about ten years between the two of them, and she’s the seemingly shy and submissive type.” is a better long term investment. I had the most interesting conversation with two guys I work with. They were explaining that as folks who have experienced both US and GH living, they seem to be at war with themselves. On the one hand they want to be around someone who pushes them, challenges them and provokes them… but mostly they don’t want to come home to a two or three hour session on the latest in political economy. **guffaws**

Who is out here trying to give you three solid hours of political economy?! You get the point, Amma.

I do.

So here we are going in on the basic chick… but she is the one that has the quote ideal guy unquote to sleep next to every night, while Afua is left to her intermittent discussions of political economy once every six months.

Again… is better than basic really better?

*shrugs*

Clearly a woman of more style, grace, class, wit, and sense would have avoided the aggressive text message in pursuit of a 3 hour long conversation with her husband about how the political economy of their household was bound to come crumbling down like the Roman Empire if he did not delete his ex’s facebook, twitter, phone number, instagram, snapchat, googleplus, email, and LinkedIn (what have we come to…!!). And perhaps the right response for the actual woman of style, grace, class, wit and sense is to just avoid all of the exes who hold no future value in terms of relationship and marital bliss.

But maybe… the real lesson here is that: being a basic ride-or- kill die chick >>>> the better than basic chick– chick.

#jussayin’

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Go Check Your Wife, Now.

Pls stop been friends with my husband if u want to live long.**

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A few weeks ago an ex reached out to me- not unusual because he reaches out from time to time, so I didn’t think much of it. His infrequent bursts of communication usually involve 1. Some random way of getting a hold of my # (I’ve been in and out of Ghana for the past few years and my numbers have changed), 2. Him reaching out to me 2x a week or so for a short span of time to discuss world politics, Ghana politics and the economy, and how he plans to take over the world. 3. Him disappearing as quickly as he appeared.

Rinse, and repeat. In a year give or take.

This time around we had a few conversations and exchanges of text messages in the span of three weeks. Now this ex is married. And let’s park here for a moment. He’s been married for almost a year and a half now. And he is married to what I can politely say is a ‘basic chick’… What does this mean? This means she hasn’t traveled much or at all, hasn’t gone to university, she’s quiet, (very) young- there’s about ten years between the two of them, and she’s the seemingly shy and submissive type. If you think this is pure stereotyping, you’re imageright. But this gives context to the blog. I’ve never met her, but this is my impression from things people have said (people being him, and members of his family and mine). In any case, in my last song and dance routine with him I toed the line carefully, trying not to text back or pick up every time he called (for obvious reasons), however he is an friend acquaintance and mildly entertaining so yes we held a few superficial conversations about life, Ghana, and the pursuit of political dominance (his, not mine). Let me insert here, because I’ve touched on being ‘the other woman’ and ‘the ex’ in this space before, that my philosophy isn’t that one can’t be friends with someone of the opposite sex after you’re married, but that you need to be careful and you can’t have a best friend of the opposite sex after marriage. But I digress. A few mornings ago, I woke up to the afore-quoted text, from a number I didn’t recognize. I will save you all the hoopla I went through in the 30 minutes that ensued after waking up to this text, but it did include a highly annoyed call to my ex’s brother (there was no need for any more communication trails between the ex’s phone and mine), and a ranting session to Amma… standard. What I will offer now is some things to consider for Mrs. Current Wife and other women like her:

1.  Nobody I don’t want your man. Because this text was sent at the crack of dawn, my assumption is that you snuck into his phone read a couple text messages that you didn’t like and your head started spinning, fine. But if you took some time to read the txt messages carefully you would have seen the platonic nature of our relationship, at the very least from my end.Not every single lady having a conversation with a married man wants to jump their bones. 

image (1)2.  Hun, you received your ultimate result, because the BARELY existent friendship I had with your husband will for all intents and purposes be NON existent going forward, but it has nothing to do with your asinine threat, rather it is because continued engagement with women like you and their partners on matters such as this is beneath me. If you believe I am the biggest threat to your newlywed status, I do wish your marriage a very big good luck.Sometimes women feel threatened because they know how they acted prior to marriage, and they believe all single women are of the same bred. We’re not.

3. Grow up. To stoop so low as to hide behind a text and threaten my life, makes me feel so sorry for you. If you want to grow up a little, try having a conversation with your husband if you suspect infidelity, and IF there is need to speak to another woman about overstepping boundaries, try a conversation where you show your face (or own up to who you are) and speak to me as a mature adult.There are cases, I’m sure, when men believe certain behavior is appropriate when it’s not, or they get off course and need their woman to steer them back, however This. Is. An. Internal. Affair. Clean up your own house before you come threatening someone else’s.

These are just the top three things I wanted to say. I know Amma is itching to chime in on this though… Read her response HERE

** text was written verbatim (see below- yes, this is the picture of the actual text)

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Lastly, Amma I’m not ignoring your last blog/letter. I’m going on public record now that I will respond to it 🙂

We Should Have Just Been Friends.

edited-12943We were sitting on a couch together at one of me and roommates famous house parties. He was flirting, I was flirting. It was fun times. I’d do my lap around the room, playing gracious host, but somehow I’d always find myself returning to that couch. He was cute. Correction, he was hot. He was sweet too. And above all, he was into me. Done. Numbers exchanged and we were off into dating bliss for all of…two weeks.

There was a chink in the armor.

Actually a few chinks. But I ignored them… after all, he was so sweet… and hot.

A couple more weeks and a couple more chinks. Hmmm ya, this isn’t going to work. But… he’s… so.. sweet. Like that kind of, take you and your roommates out, sweet. Like that kind of, come over and cook for you, sweet. I must Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Perhaps the chinks aren’t really chinks, perhaps I’m being too picky, perhaps I’m comparing him unfairly to the previous one, perhaps…

Perhaps, these chinks ARE real. Very real.

Against all my better judgment, I think… I had to end it. But now what?

But of course, we stay friends…let’s hang out when we can or speak from time to time.

Nope, was his response. Why would we do that? I have enough friends.

Ouch.

Hmm k, well I guess that’s that.

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But it isn’t just that. I genuinely miss him as a friend, and although I didn’t fancy him as anything more, I hoped we could continue to be friends. He didn’t though. He saw our relationship as one of all or nothing.

Maybe my desires were selfish, who knows. He does have the right to pick and choose his friends, right? In all honesty, I’m not sure what else I could have done to steer clear of an outcome like this. Perhaps we should have never dated. Now I see him frolicking with my roommates… ‘so you can hang out with them, can you… thought you had enough friends‘… yes, I’m a little salty annoyed. Perhaps we should have just been friends.

I suppose one can’t be too mad because if I look at the reverse, just a few months ago I did the same thing:

‘We can ease up on this friendship thing for a while.’

And I find my actions completely reasonable when I’m the one dictating them *shrug*. I guess this is just one of those casualties of dating. But, I wonder… how does one minimize these types of outcomes? If you knew losing a friendship could be a possibility, would you be deterred from dating someone? In my case, looking back, prob not.

Response to White Women Part II

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I think there’s some expectation for me to begin this response with some form of unwavering support to the original piece:  ‘It is so cliche now to see an intelligent/ well-to-do African man with a white woman’ or some other biting statement, but the truth is that this type of response is so cliche… another bitter angry annoyed black female blogger writing about black men and white women. It’s a waste of time and energy, doesn’t help anyone, and is such a bore. Although, I can relate to the sentiments discussed in the piece (and the scenarios as well), once we come down from the ‘ranting and raving’ on our soapboxes, I think there are some things to address as African women, with the role we play in ‘letting our men go to other races white women’.

My last longterm situationship ended last year and following the demise of the relationship, I had to take a hard look at the role I played in its demise. Not only because I don’t ever want to repeat the situation again, but also because I felt as though I let my fellow African sisters down. It’s a bit difficult to convey this feeling because I don’t fully understand it myself I’ve never felt a particular sense of devotion to my fellow African woman. However, in some strange way I felt as though I let the past, present, and future African woman down. Namely on my part, I contributed to the stereotype of not being able to ‘hold your African/black man down’, ‘love and take care of him like he needs’… and accordingly, I was not able to help the world see what real (educated) black/African love looks like in the 21st century. Please note before you keep reading, the only thing I am addressing in this piece is me. I am writing this in hopes that it can help someone out there, because I think we do ourselves a disservice if we’re not learning lessons from others.

When a close black guy friend read the White Women guest piece I am responding to, he sent me this:

I don’t totally agree with the premise, but it was humorous.  If I had to answer the question of what is the difference between the Black Woman and the White Woman, it is as simple as this: Black Women spend more time talking about “What I’m not going to do…” where White Women spend more time talking about “What I’m open to consider…”  Thus, they get the man they want, because they’re willing to consider things where Black Women immediately put up the no and set the ultimatum for the Black Man to take it or leave it, and we see what he usually does…Leaves it.

UPTOWN_barack_michelle_obamaWhat’s said above is spot on. From what I’ve seen, a lot of African women are brought up with very principled backgrounds, which leads them to an attitude of ‘I don’t do this, I would never do this, I only do this this way… take it or leave it’. Like the guest blogger mentioned at the end of her piece, “I am not moving to anyone’s country where I do not speak the language, cannot cook the food and burn every time I go outside unless there are ring(s) on it…take it or leave it.” Whether it’s from watching what has occurred in their own households (how the women in their lives didn’t compromise, or did compromise and got burned); or it’s from growing up in strong christian or traditionally valued households which have framed what they believe a lady should and shouldn’t do for a man… these things play into what women give up and give in for their men.

In my personal case, I held on to things, rightly or wrongly, which I believed trumped being with him. When I was eventually ready to lay aside “my ultimatums”, it was way too late. My point here is not necessarily about being principled about certain things, but it’s more about understanding the situation. We, African women, can’t get mad when African men pass us up (because of this issue) when other white women are more willing to, for all intents and purposes, ‘sacrifice for their man’. And ladies, the amount of times I’ve heard (and said) ‘well if he loves me, he’ll oblige, and if he doesn’t…then he can get to steppn’ is beyond countless. And there is some truth to this, BUT there is also truth to the fact that you may not be giving him the chance to fall in love with you with all your barriers placed, so you can’t get mad if he doesn’t decide to stick around long enough to figure out whether he can love you.

Second thing, and this is a little paradoxical to what I just mentioned, is that for me, I didn’t demand anything in terms of commitment from the guy. And I think this is more common than not with black women. Though I wasn’t content keeping the relationship as it was, I thought because he didn’t say anything about things, I didn’t want to rock the boat… so we remained non-defined and that’s an equation which will never add up: Not requesting commitment + Having demands 1,2,3 now or before we are ever to take it to the next level = diaster. Perhaps what should have happened is a discussion of commitment and what that entails on both our parts, which would have also helped with the issue of ‘giving in’ and ‘giving up’. I think some African women put barriers in place because they don’t have the commitment they want or they are scared that they won’t get the commitment they want if they let down their guard. This is not to say the fear isn’t unfounded, but at the end of the day love is an art not a science… you go all in and try. When Beyonce said, ‘if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it’, I don’t think she meant neglect telling a man what you want in terms of commitment before the ring stage. And I’m not saying to do this to any guy, but this is for a guy who you believe is serious about a relationship with you.

Of course this is my one-dimensional take on things, and I have not exhausted the list of my faults in the relationship, but I think these two things stand out as dear lessons learned, which I thought I would pass on to my fellow African woman. So no Kanye, ‘he didn’t leave my a$$ for a white girl’, really he just left my a$$, period. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what color the new girl is, because it’s less about that than it is about what the two of you couldn’t do and be for each other. White women aren’t stealing African men as much as they are offering them something ‘WE’ won’t or don’t. Until we’re willing to change that, or at the very least acknowledge it, we can’t be mad when another bites the dust.

I must separately address this idea of not being African enough or foreign enough, because it’s so intriguing to me. I have to say that unfortunately for me, I was privy to this guy’s thoughts about our compatibility after the fact… and I was indeed hit with the ‘you wouldn’t fit in with the fam’ chorus… so it was a little fascinating to see that family compatibility would exist with a white woman. However, the one foot in/one foot out explanation makes a little sense now. It is excusable when a foreigner acts as a foreigner, but when someone brought up in an African household acts as a foreigner, perhaps traditional families are less forgiving with this. This is definitely a topic to continue exploring… I wonder readers, what’s your experience on African men opting out of relationships with African women who are too foreign?

On an ending note, perhaps me and ms. guest blogger should be encouraging our fellow African women to become more open to scenarios such as the one on the right **KanYe Shrug** ->