Posts tagged ‘monday musings’

eating… men who don’t

Oral sex within heterosexual relationships to be specific. I’m talking to a friend who discloses that he doesn’t give head. I was surprised, but not that surprised. Every time I “discover” another man who doesn’t I’m reminded of that Chris Rock joke. Even though he directs it towards women I can relate to the bafflement.

I remember this joke purely b/c of the line singular line, “they still make you?”  I’m all about doing what you want to do and not doing what you don’t want to do when it comes to sex. So to each their own. That said, nothing hurts my heart more than men who don’t give head but want, ask, accept or expect head from their partners. Where is the reciprocity?* Where oh where?

They usually say things like:

  • she didn’t ask
    • This for me is usually a sign you haven’t/ don’t usually talk to your partners much about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, how it feels etc. Not a good indicator. Now if its’ a fly by / once in awhile I’ll give you a pass, but you can’t be dey wid somebody in a real way and it never came up. And since when is the onus on someone to ask? What happened to the chivalrious offer? Especially if she offers. Shameless men. Shameless.
    • Not all womyn out there have that Tanya Stephens, Lady Saw know-how to command the situation and say what they want. That silence around the issue, that uneveness in the exchange is likely to already make it more difficult for women to speak up, especially in the heat of the moment. Make yourself vulnerable nuh, have a conversation.
  • I’m sure I’m no good at it
    • Really now? Have you tried? Many of you have schooled many a young woman into technique I’m sure. You told her to hold back on the teeth, hum a little, keep it slobbery. Are you not invested in also learning? Getting some corrective feedback? Are we the only ones to be taught? Ahh the condescension.
  • I tried it once it’s not for me.
    • Again, I’m all about doing only what you want to do. But if you’re the woman #2 Chris Rock describes giving just enough to shut up. Way to make your partner feel great about her body… which leads us to
  • down there?
    • the perplexion men like to express about the vagina. The vagina they have no problem beating out, banging and all sorts of other terms that insist that a woman’s body and sexual organs should be controlled, tamed because it needs order to tame its wildness. Yeah… do some work my friend #misogynyisreal
  • me a bad man
    • Please don’t quote Capleton, Sizzla, or some obscure unreferenced Biblical verse. Very few of you are spiritual pillars of faith I’m certain.
    • And gangsta what… not buying it

So again, I’m not hating on men who don’t or women who don’t ask men to. What I am hating on is the absolute lack of conversation around it in many circumstances. The silence is deafening.

  • Womyn I implore you to ask if you want it, it’ll tell you a lot about the person you’re sleeping with. Men, I implore you to bring up the topic.

You two should be talking about what you like and don’t like in general… and once you’re in it, what you liked an didn’t like… Sex should be fun, surprise can be exciting but having confidence in your acts, in your sexy is largely built on not just knowing, but talking to you partner. As always, in a push for safer sex practices. Dental dam it up people. 🙂

* I love Lauryn Hill for teaching me this word.

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About my Hair

I stumbled upon a black hair site where women were talking about their hair in, what seemed to me,  code. First woman was all about her 4A and another was asking  for products compatible with 3 C. I was soo confused.

Thanks to search engines I was able to learn that there is an actual natural hair chart. I will not link this foolishness here as I trust that you all know how to use Google/Bing/Ask Jeeves if you care to find it yourself. An entire chart coding the texture of black hair, apparently created about 14 years ago, so that black folk can find products that best suit their hair according to curl patterns.

So it’s a marketing ploy that is assessed on curl pattern? I am all for thinking outside of the box but my hair does not have anything close to what I would describe as a curl pattern. Maybe a kink pattern, definitely more kink and less pattern.  For full disclosure my hair is locked and has been for about 10 years. Prior to that there was no curl pattern to speak of and my new growth is the same.

In my quick and decidedly disdainful review of the chart I noticed that of the 7 or so different textures, like 4-5 of them seemed to have bouncy, spiral style curls, all at least shoulder length and straight-out-of-a-magazine-style fresh. The few models with hair that looked something like mine were women with mini afros or neat cornrows, no beauty shots like the other women. hmmmm. Something seems to be missing.

My issue with this is chart and its categories is that it again seems to clearly prefer some textures over the other. This preference seems to be because it’s ‘more manageable’ and ‘easier to grow’ and all kinda other stuff that gives me pause.

She seems so calm and happy for someone who has very fragile and wiry hair.

Oh, there was talk on having healthy hair as well, complete with recommendations for products. In case you were wondering, the texture that looks like my hair is described as very fragile and wiry. Curly bouncy girl is described as thick and full with lots of body. How can you assess that across the board? I am no hair expert, but healthy hair is a combination of lots of factors and I refuse to believe curl pattern alone holds that much weight.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against hair products. I also do know that black hair comes in probably millions of different textures and variations and that all need to be acknowledged. I also understand and appreciate the natural hair community as a place to learn and share about our hair. However, please miss me with the hair hierarchy, it seems to me to be nothing more than divisive marketing ploy.

I gave up on my search after I got caught up in the web of hair texture charts as it really disturbed me.  What started out as a random search for new style inspirations turned into a strange new way for women, black women in particular, to learn how we can fix ourselves.

Alas, tomorrow shall be yet another side ponytail day :/

Go Team Go!

I was channel surfing and landed on Family Fued (Steve Harvey doesn’t annoy me as much as I wish he would and he makes for quite an entertaining game show host). The episode was almost over and  the feuding families were in the middle of the triple points round.  Down to the wire, one family had to make a guess in order to to steal the points and win big.  Dispersing in hopeful anticipation from their secretive thought huddle, the Mancini* family gives Steve their guess for the win. The board lights up in a giant red X, the opposing Jackson* family jumps for joy and I fist pump in celebration along with them.

Remember I just tuned in, I haven’t seen any of the game so why am I happy that the Jackson family won? Probably, because they are Black.

I almost automatically root for the Black people on the shows I watch: Project Runway, Top Chef, Next Design Star, Cash Cab, (apparently) Family Feud and I am not sure how I feel about this support. I tend to like the Black people on the reality shows and I feel that they deserve to win but I must admit they get my attention initially because they are Black.

There is a lot of unpacking that can or should be done about this. Feelings of association or solidarity, supporting the underdog, celebrating the few Black faces on the screen, accepting stereotypes, all possible reasons for that literal fist pump at the end of Family Feud.

Another complexity is that this support isn’t across the board. I do not get into the real housewives and Braxton’s stuff. I recently got over a slight addiction to Bad Girls Club and I plan to remain reality show girl-fight free. I also don’t do Tyler Perry and there are lots of Black people to support there, what’s the problem? I want to say this is due to personal taste, but I am sure there’s a bit of judgement in my choice to to partake in these shows.

All in all, I feel that just as I would support Caribbean representatives at the Olympics or the FIFA Cup I am drawn to pay attention to black talent on Project Runway. My Black favorites never win on the ‘talent’ based reality shows (Project Runway, Top Chef etc) and I think this further engages my underdog fantasies.  I usually have back-up POC favorites (trust that they are usually back-ups) who sometimes pull through with a victory and it feels good.

As I said earlier I don’t know how I feel about this. Should I take this more seriously?  I do want to check any stereotypes that may inform these choices, I don’t know any of these people and making choices based on skin color alone? Thinking about it out loud makes it quite scary. Do other people do this from their couches in the comfort of their homes? It’s only TV? Do I  think beyond this or pretend that I don’t think this way in polite company or when I have to make real decisions involving real people? It’s getting complicated.

Fyah family, what do you think? Is this something I should take seriously? Do any of you root similarly?

***names simulated for dramatic effect

my struggle with violence

A month ago a parent of a preteen asked me if The Dark Knight is excessively violent. I emphatically responded, “not at all”. I rewatched the movie a few days later, a movie I’ve watched many times  I was near dumbfounded by how violent the first 10 minutes were- the gun violence, the criminal activity, the language, the betrayal… I have pretty much accepted how desensitised I to violence I had become but I didn’t realise it no longer registered. I thought I was of the “oh that’s not scary, I’m not jumping out of my seat, or covering my eyes” garden variety instead that garden variet had a side effect, instead of being unimpressed by the violence, I just no longer think of it as violent. Looking at it with the eyes  of a parent made me much more sensitive to the level and amount of violence throughout the movie.*

I struggle with violence. It’s not that I’m inclined to violence… at least I don’t think so. I had the compulsory and thankfully short-lived physical altercations with you my younger sister until she got taller and stronger than I was. In primary school, I may or may not have had instigated a few tussles with boys in my class that got them into more trouble, since I ran in tears to teachers. Following pre-adolescence, I cringe in real life when I see people get violent, but I almost crave it in my entertainment. Sports, or soap-opera esque sports do not count, those are presented as real. I mean for the cinema experience I tend to enjoy violence. I can’t handle the romantic comedies, or anything too real which leaves out drama, so give me the action and I’ll take it in most forms- straight up, with comedy, thriller or maybe even some suspense.

But this is a problem. Why? B/c clearly I am allowing myself to be co-opted by the glorification of violence in media that makes us less likely to notice, be affected by, and respond to violence that we experience. witness, participate in and practice in our every day lives.

One of the few Independence celebrations I attended in Trinidad, was the Military Tattoo Exhibition. This may have been my first mistake, but was baffled me was how many children there were. It was clearly a family, and child friendly event. The marching displays, the bands… those were fine. However, the tactical displays- the reenactment of the “jokey bad boys” in the hills or on the block who had to be “dealt with”. Who were advanced upon with such care and precision. The dramatic portrayal of the “jokey badman” being tear gassed, shot, hurt and killed was met with delightful screams by the thousands of children present. This is a problem.

As far as I am concerned it’s not enough that the “good” guys won. We know enough about police corruption, policing of the poor and working class worldwide to know that often it is never quite as clear cut as the good and bad. But far more troubling than that is the fact that those same screams of delight come when adolescents watch movies where the “bad guys” win and outsmart whatever the law enforcement may be. We may think we’re glorifying law and order, but in fact the true focus, the true glow is around the violence and winning, regardless of what side you’re on… and I’d argue, what methods you use.

Whether our boys and girls look at officers jumping out of helicopters and think, “that bad!”, or they play Call of Duty and boast about their body count or beg their parents, older siblings and cousins to carry them to a movie they should be seeing, or stay up past everyone in the house to watch it even though they are not supposed to, imitate mobster characters they see on tv, or real-life dons they see on the block they are becoming more and more desensitised to the violence every day.

We/they are more likely to:

  • look at a song like this and say it’s just a song as opposed to recognise the violence both implicit and explicit in it
  • not be alarmed when we see a man assaulting a woman on the street**, or we might be taken back but never think to call the police
  • ignore our neighbour excessively beating their children on a continuous basis, b/c that’s private business
  • hear about police violence in our region and turn the dial without a second thought
  • watch the wreckage and debris in other parts of the world as the results of violence and dismiss it as life in “those parts”
  • be quiet.

I am not advocating censorship,  I’m not saying ban the music, ban the video games, ban the movies etc. I am however advocating critical engagement. We need to encourage ourselves and our children not just to recognise that it’s make beleive, but were it to be believed, it would have real effects on people’s lives. We need to talk about the fact that it is violent, what the messages are behind the violence, why we think they are so, and why we are so complicit with them. These are not easy conversations that I propose but they are certainly necessary and continuous ones. We can no longer afford to see violence and dismiss it so quickly.

Shout out to all the people taking action out there:

* Reason #452 not to have children: Too much hard work

** Please don’t tell me they were fighting, he was hitting, she was cowering.

Keeping it Together.

Take about 37 deadlines, add lots of  anxiety, generously stir in procrastination and thickly coat the top with hopes, dreams and excitement and you will have an idea of what it has been like in my head over the past few months.

In the midst of all that a girl needs some light moments to break the tension and just mellow out.  Here are a few of my favorites.

No judgement please :/

1. Sexy texting. I love a  sexy innuendo in uder 140 characters.  Not much can lift my spirits like a naughty message in the middle of the day. And I like to give as much as I receive *wink* wink*

2. Slack Music. There’s something about some old school beenie man and lady saw that makes me smile. I bust  out a pepper-seed and a butterfly and a bogle in my mind and that takes me back to the days when I didn’t have a thing to worry about.

3. Chatting with my sister.  She can always tell when I am stressed and likes to bring me treats whenever she can. Every single day she makes a point to call me and work to remind me to drink water and take it easy. She doesn’t understand why I don’t eat chicken since she finds it so delicious and regularly tries to get me to taste some of hers. We share a love for baked good and she always saves a piece of bread pudding me for.  What more could I want?

4. Rastafarian Music. I love the heartbeat rhythms, the devotion and spirituality, the honesty and rawness and the rebellion against white god doctrine.  When I am in a funk I sometimes draw for  Luciano, Jacob Miller, Dennis Brown, older Sizzla and to mellow me out. I am not a rasta but I do appreciate and respect the faith for rising out of afro-caribbean movements for justice and equality when what those people were trying to force upon us just didn’t make any sense.

5. Exercise. Sometimes when I am busy gym movements get passed over. When I  do make the time to go, within a week my energy and motivation is back up and I can get more done in the day.

6. Libations. Remember no judgement please. On the weekend or after  long day I fix myself a rum sour or a Malibu pineapple as I sit and watch HGTV or Law and Order or Bitchn’ Kitchen.  Enjoying my own company while reading a book is also a good time to sip on something bubbly.

7. Read trash on the internets. Again, no judgement. I like to pretend that I read the high-brow gossip on Jezebel, Ebony and Clutch but it’s really all the same. I do not watch the housewives and love & hip-hoppers but you would never know due to how much I read on these sites. The write ups are usually laced with the obligatory judgement but by virtue of there being an article in the first place, it’s still the same gossip. I don’t want to tell you how enthralled I am by the Prince Harry photo scandal, you can judge me a little for that one.

I actually had to cut this list down and that made me smile. I can refer to any of these when I wanna yell at someone or sit in a corner and stew and that kinda makes it all a little easier to manage.

Fyah Fam, what little things do you do to break the tension?

The Self Care Pledge – Revisited

Back in April, I told you about The Self Care Pledge. Since I start classes tomorrow, I figured now is a perfect time to revisit it. I have been excellent at taking care of myself this summer (it’s so much easier when you’re living at home!) – I lost some weight (and almost all of my ass *sad face* ) doing this gluten free, dairy free stuff, I exercised a bit, I slept well, it was good times. Now real life starts again and I need to focus. So another public pledge.

I pledge to go to bed early every day. Yes, for those of you who remembered/reviewed, this was the pledge I made last time. It is even more imperative now with 8am and 9:30am classes and living on a bus line that runs only every 30 minutes. I clearly will have to start this pledge tomorrow since it’s after 11pm now, but I am determined to make this happen.

I pledge to connect with my multiple families every week. You might remember I said I’ve been lonely. After a visit from one of my favourite cousins this week, Gchat conversations with my sisters and a few wonderful Skype calls from my chosen family, I’ve realised not having a close knit crew of friends in your city while not ideal, is not the end of the world. It just requires encouraging friends to travel and an upgrade of my long distance calling plan.

I pledge to take myself on a date every month. Similar to April’s pledge, I think it’s really essential to have that unpacking time. From what I remember of school, it’s also really important to have that alone, no school, I’m treating myself time.

Fyah stirrers, have you been good to yourself these days?

I’ll be on your side forever more

My father once pointed out to me that my sister and I have managed over the years to maintain several lasting friendships. He implied that we have had the same friends over the last ten years, but I would say more precisely (for me at least), I have always managed to have a close circle of friends at whatever stage of life I was in.

I had my high school friends. We were similar in who knows what but we had lots of fun. We were considered nerdy primarily b/c we’d come from private primary schools, spoke proper English most of the time and did well in school. I’m not sure I would have survived without them. We ate Klondike bars and Cheetos and decided MSG was our friend. We had mock queen shows on our verandas, we lips synced to boy bands, created dance routines, and moved from house to house planning various escapades. It doesn’t sound like much not but at the time it was delightful!

My university friends were by default other people Caribbean transplants. Very few of us were in the same programme or had overlapping classes. But we went to Caribbean Student Organisation + Buzz parties and wined from beginning to end, we played board games and cooked and ate food.

With my post-university Canada friends I went to book readings, poetry events, pride parties, I cooked, I ate… there were very adult dinner parties and very not-so-adult games nights. When I returned to the Caribbean, my work friends and I went to dinner, party cruises, regular parties and savannah limes.

I’ve had wonderful friends in my life and I’ve said all this to say, friendships take work. I wouldn’t always say hard work but they do require effort, at least my more meaningful ones have. I recommend being a good friend, but being a better one to yourself, reciprocity is key.* There must be balance, it’s not always possible depending on our situations but in the long run there must be. So continue to be a good friend this week:

make a phone call
write an email
send a package or card in the mail
tag someone in a facebook note
instant message 
have a Skype check-in

Thank you to all my wontabular  friends- past, present and future! 🙂

… the art of giving, loving, caring and sharing!

*another post on finding that balance to come

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