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No One is Entitled to a Relationship [Response to Afua’s ‘Plight of the Single Returnee Women’]

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I must say, I am still, even a week after, in total shock and awe. It feels like just yesterday we were sharing witty banter and light exchange. I feel like I was robbed a little. I have heard such great things about Komla Dumor, and he was so accessible. I was just getting to know and become a true fan. And just like that. Gone.

Funnily, we were just talking about his love life… and about his wife who he proudly pronounced was a fellow Harvard grad from Ghana. I cannot even IMAGINE what she is going through right now. My prayers are with her and the rest of the family. The world has lost a renowned journalist, but his family has lost a son, a father and a husband. May he rest in peace and may his family be encouraged in this time. This is a response for which I am certain he would have approved. 

This blog is a response to Afua’s blog on the Plight of the Single Returnee Woman:

Ok Afua… tell ’em why you mad…

You mad, right?

All of us know the value of hard work. When I consider the demographics of our readership, I think we have all generally bought into the ideas of meritocracy (real or perceived). And while I could go on about the fallacy of boot strapism and the social constructs that inhibit true meritocracy… I think we all agree that generally if you work smart, you’ll get the things you deserve. We spend our lives accumulating titles, certificates, and accolades to prove to the world how talented we are. Somehow… these titles don’t earn us the one thing we want: relationship.

I read an article recently entitled 5 Ways Success May Be Hurting Your Love Life. The title itself is like a ‘Boy… BYE!’ type of call and response, but then when I got to the second point, I stopped and thought about it:

2. You may think you’re entitled to love because of your achievements

Hmmmm.

Well.

Apparently, love— like many other realms of life, is the furthest from meritocratic. Take Kanye for example. I mean, this guy is (in my opinion) a lyrical genius. College Dropout was like a rapper’s thesis on critical race theory and marxism (see: Slave Ship). I don’t think Kim K. deserves him. Yes, they are both narcissistic but Kim is generally… well… useless. Like the world isn’t more beautiful, or wise or enlightened because she stepped into it. She’s got many more years though (God willing). Maybe her impact is forthcoming. In either case, it seems a bit unfortunate that for all his genius, he ended up with Kim K. As JayZ would say, ‘I feel bad for you son’. And you might say, but he’s happy. To which I say, nah he’s delirious. Even Barbara Walters agrees. I guess the other lesson you could take is that maybe you can find enduring true love in a hopeless place. *shrugs* For purposes of this post, I will focus on the former. I will say that he (was) a nice, talented guy with great artistry and impeccable taste. He sort of earned someone better, in so far as one can earn someone at all. And I suppose that is just the point. That you can’t.

Similarly, Afua’s rant on the plight of the returnee in Ghana is another picture of a meritocratic dream deferred. That’s why I was concerned for her when she sent it to me… like Girl, you really want to say all that?! Essentially, the narrative here is:

I went to really good schools and I’m super smart.

I have a really good sense of humor.

I’m worldly in all of the ways that matter but I love Jesus and you could take me home to Aunty Martha.

I remember to throw on some mascara from time to time and I’m fun.

I can even cook a decent meal (if I am forced to do so)

perfect

It is therefore unfortunate that a woman so well rounded has yet to find a match. I mean, really, where is the justice in the world?! When our parents tell us ‘get good grades, be respectful, love Jesus,  don’t sleep with everything you seedon’t date until you are married…’ aren’t we earning credits towards our future wifey status— among other desirables? I mean it seems to work well for us in work and personal passions. We find that all the goodness about ourselves comes together perfectly to earn us promotions and favor. We see that we make friends relatively easily. We get a chance to sit at the table with the best and brightest. Why can’t this also warrant a (decent) relationship as well?

We are basically saying, we are perfect above average normal, so why haven’t we found our perfect match?!

Laughable isn’t it?

To say something SO presumptuous.

But why else do we feel we are entitled to a great relationship with an even greater man (preferably tall, dark and ballin’)? It really is about how highly we value ourselves. While there is nothing wrong with knowing your self worth, love is no respecter of persons. That’s what is frustrating about relationships. That there is really no exact science or even art to lasting love. It mostly requires faith. Faith that even if you weren’t as awesome as you are, or in spite of all your supposed awesome-osity, there is no way to circumvent time and circumstance. And that in due season, at the appointed hour, things will come in line.

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So yeah, we do throw shade when we see the Honey boo boo’s of the world in happy relationships, while our own team (that’s killing the game in every respect) is single and ready to mingle. It does feel like the universe is out of wack when Halle Berry is still waiting to exhale after 2 marriages and a kid. But love doesn’t see beauty or accomplishment… and the sooner that is internalized, the sooner we can stop having these pity parties and focus on making the most of the single time. Use all your hard earned cred to do something meaningful and in due time… it will happen. One girl wrote:

“I’ve been living like God owes me something. Like He hasn’t held up His end of the deal. He has given me the desire for relationship and marriage, and He just hasn’t followed through.

I’ve been living under the impression that I deserve a relationship.

People talk all the time about pursuing people or things for the wrong reasons, but maybe we pursue God for the wrong reasons. Maybe subconsciously I’ve been treating God like He’s a vending machine. And my pursuit of Him has really been a pursuit of someone else.

Each day is a gift, and I’m not waiting for it to get here. It is present in every moment, and it begins anew daily. “

I think that eloquently sums it all up. To be in the present and allow time to do its work, as we continue being great.

I could go on to further critique Afua’s assumptions about what makes a girl ‘relationship material’ in the first place (being “too known” is a sure fire way to un- earn potential wifey status, just FYI), but that is its own commentary for another day. For now, I think it’s best to understand that relationships are not earned. They are not given to you after you have acquired a specific number of personal attributes. Relationships… much like the Grammy’s, may sometimes go to the seemingly undeserving, but when you get down to it… what does it even mean to ‘deserve’ someone’s loyalty and love? At the end of the day, we spend each day becoming better people and productive for the world, and hopefully… someday someone will be willing to join us for the ride.

Ok, Afua?

okay
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Maybe Kim Kardashian Should Try an African Man: 8 Reasons to Date an African Man

By now you’ve probably heard the news: Kim K is getting a divorce after 72 days of marriage to Kris Humphries. It’s interesting that I wrote about Kim’s marriage to Kris just a few weeks ago, and how women should take note of how to get down the aisle within a decent amount of record time. Kim is famous for dating black men, and though these may be great guys, perhaps she’s not dating the right type of black man. Madamenoire recently listed eight reasons to date an African man: http://madamenoire.com/82252/8-reasons-to-date-an-african-man, and I think Kim should take note. I have to agree with the author of this article when they say that, “For some, the idea of dating an African man conjures up a lot of myths and fears like the image of the over-controlling man.” However, there ARE great African men out there; make sure to join www.bandeka.com to find some of them!

Below are snippets of the list. Enjoy!

1. They are chivalrous 

“It’s that simple. They have good manners and a strong sense of chivalry – something that is quickly eroding amongst all our home-grown American men… So don’t worry, he’ll for sure be a gentleman and pay for your first date, second date, etc. We know that sounds like common courtesy but these days, it’s no guarantee.”

2. They are the cream of the crop

“If you’re dating someone from Africa, most likely he went through a lot to make it [to the US] and that’s a testament to his work ethic and his sense of commitment for paving a better future for himself and his family. Hardworking? Check!”

3. They have a more balanced perspective

“Poverty and civil wars plague many countries in Africa, giving many a more balanced perspective on life than most Americans who are used to a certain, comfortable standard of living. A man who doesn’t take life for granted is someone who has his principles in order.”

4. You’d get to travel

“Chances are your potential African boo not only has family and friends back in his homeland, but also has folks all over the world like Dubai, London, Australia and Germany.”

5. They know how to cook

“They might have been spoiled by their moms [sisters, and aunts] growing up, but they sure paid close attention to [those] recipes growing up. So go ahead, enjoy his egusi, chicken yassa or pilau.”

6. They’re neat

“Okay, so I’m going off personal experience here but a lot of the men I know who were raised in Africa are super neat. Maybe that ties into the principle of not taking anything for granted, being resourceful, and being grateful for the things that hard-earned money can buy.”

7. Your children will get to learn a second language and be exposed to another culture

“Your future … children will get to be exposed to another culture and maybe also a new language by practicing with their father and spending summers with their paternal grandparents.”

8. You’ll inherit a big crazy fun family 

“It may be expensive to hold down a large family but lord knows big families are a lot of fun. Not only will you have a lot of in-laws to entertain over the holidays and many social functions to attend but your children will get to visit cousins all over the world.”

I find it quite interesting to read the comments at the end of this article. So, what are your reasons for dating African men?

A Sprint to the Alter- Taking a Page out of the Kardashian Book

You must have been living under a rock for the past few months if you haven’t heard about Kim Kardashian’s wedding on August 20th. Kardashian wed Kris Humphries in a lavish style wedding- reports say it cost between 10-17 million dollars; the wedding aired on E! last night and will air again tonight. I knew the couple had not been together for a long time before they got engaged, but I was surprised to learn that it was only for 6 months (Kim had dated Reggie Bush on and off for three years previously). For Kim’s dating history, visit here.

Quick engagements and marriages isn’t new to the Kardashian family: Kim’s younger sister, Khloe got married to NBA player Lamar Odom almost one month to the day they met. Though this is not the case here, studies show that marriages resulting from online dating have shorter courtship periods, so I am wondering: is there a minimum amount of time you need to date someone before you know that they’re ‘the one’? And with age, does this time shorten?

I love reading relationship pieces by male authors, so here’s a very frank article on how long a woman should date a guy before getting him to commit: http://www.singleblackmale.org/2011/09/01/commit-or-die-even-good-relationships-should-have-an-expiration-date.

The discussion was sparked following a couple tweets:

@WisdomIsMisery: I’m thinking there is no reason to date a man over the age of 25 longer than 12 months if you want a ring from him. There, I said it.

@WisdomIsMisery: If you’re still “seeing where things go” on the 13th month. BREAK UP. You’re wasting your time.

What do you think? The author of the article, who is also the author of the tweets, makes some good arguments in this piece:

By 25, you should know the type of woman/man you do not want to date. You may need more time to determine the type of woman/man you want to be with but if you can’t figure out the type of people you do not want to be with you are behind the learning curve

Ladies, if a man is dating you for 12 months and he does not know what he wants from you (assuming you know what you want from him), another 12 – 36 months will not help.

I’m going to be honest with the ladies – fellas forgive me – the average man knows where he wants a relationship to go in 48 hours (or less). —> really?  I hope to address this in a subsequent post.

A man knows long before a woman whether he is going to commit to her or not…Often times, however, he will put off the inevitability of his decision for as long as possible, especially if you are not forcing him to choose. If a relationship was a boat, men are the captain. They know the destination but that doesn’t mean they have to tell you…

…the longer you date a man in an undefined relationship the odds of you ever getting a commitment from him decrease, not increase. Nine times out of 10, if a grown man is keeping you around, while refusing to commit, it’s because he is looking for something better.

Why else would he do it? Who is this guy, Barack Obama? What is he doing that is so important in his life that he cannot commit to you but he can do everything BUT commit? If he sincerely thought you were irreplaceable, why on God’s green Earth would he risk losing you? I’ll answer: He doesn’t think you’re going anywhere and he is likely looking for an upgrade; give him enough time and he will find one.

In closing, if you want a commitment, date men that want to commit and hold them accountable. It’s really that simple.

It seems quite simple to me. I have some comments regarding this article, but this post is already quite long. As the author points out, the average US man will marry by 28 and the average US woman by 27, so it makes sense not to waste time in pointless relationships after 25. Chew over it and let me know your thoughts, have you ever been in this situation before? Did it work out? Do you know others who have? Guys, is this pretty much on the money?