Yes, There’s Even An App For That!

I have been thinking about this “casual sex” business. Yes, while most of you are either voting for or worrying about the joke that is our political reality and the rest consumed with the “whiteness” of our social landscape, I have been worrying my bottom lip trying to understand just how one can legitimately place the word ‘casual” in front of sex. So, please take a break from your very valid concerns and, let’s address this

Throughout my thus far very substantial life, while I have had my share (okay…and maybe some of yours as well 😉 ) of sex, I am proud to announce that I have never had what I have come (not to be confused with that other, “cum”) to understand is that kind of sex that is deemed “casual.” Despite the success or seeming failure of any of my relationships, I have always prided myself with the knowledge that everything about me and what I both share and demand far surpasses every level or understanding of flip, or casual.

But, I do admit to being quite intrigued by the culture. Indeed. I am fascinated by the notion that anyone could be that hot, sexy, monied or successful enough, or even that I could be that ruled by my libido – shit, that horny – that I could consent to sharing with them the second of my personal prized possessions (yes, second only to my soul) – my body – on a casual level. That I could ever agree to have any member or limb touch me there with it being attached to someone whose full name I neither know nor care about. Without coming off (as opposed to, getting off) like a prude (because Lord knows I am far from!), how, or better yet, why would anyone consent to that?!

Okay, hear me out on this – the reason I am so flabbergasted by this is because not just sex, but my sex is way too intimate for that. I don’t know about you, but I figuratively and literally get all up in it! Too much so for some casual encounter! The way I love (physically) dictates I trust. Every part of me is involved in a sexual encounter, so that demands intimacy; and that cannot be achieved with anonymity.

I have had friends tell me I “do not know what I am missing” with regard to the heat that is sex of a casual nature. Truth. They believe I limit myself by not at least attempting it “at least once” before I condemn it. They try to convince me that “sex is sex” and that it can rise to the exact levels of satisfaction I experience in intimacy, in the casual realm. To that I say this, “Yes, if an orgasm is all you are after.” You see I do get it (and, I mean, I do get it), if your end-game is to release, then many things will do – a casual partner, a blow-up, or any vibrated device. No question. So I am not confused at the success of a casual encounter; I am confused by the appeal of same.

I worked in Corporate America and, I got quite excited in the summer when the first ‘Casual Friday’ began. Even as I enjoyed the process of getting dressed up in my best corporate-attire-with-a-twist every day, I truly did welcome the casual aspect of Summer-Fridays that allowed for me to truly express myself. On those days once a week for three months I got to show these people who I truly was. So to me, ‘Casual Friday’ was the time that didn’t signify sloppiness or unfettered freedom, quite the contrary – for me, it meant a time of careful self-expression, pride and thoughtful intimacy… with myself. As I noticed people around me use it as the time that they placed little to no thought to their appearance, it had a distinct opposite effect on me. It is no wonder I cannot grasp the concept of sex with little thought; I cannot even get dressed without a commitment J

Me aside, there is no question that not only do people indulge in this culture, it is so very common-place that there are social sites dedicated to just this. Sites with apps that many unabashedly display on the home-screens of their devices. So does this then mean that the problem is solely mine? That despite how progressive and permissive I believe I am, I am a prude by nature? Does the fact this so makes my nappy hair straight mean that I am not only old, but disappointingly old-fashioned as well? Should I not be proud, but in fact slightly ashamed of the fact that in my fifty years on this earth I have never had a “hook-up” with anyone beside those I have been boo’d-up with? Sigh.

Listen. Yes, I am afraid of diseases. I am allergic to complications and confrontations by irate partners (mine or theirs). I am full of pride and admittedly, insecurities – I need to know you’re going to call me in the morning. But all that aside, my biggest reason for staying away from the realm of “casual” when it comes to my sex, is intimacy. The things I need to do to my partner require, well familiarity, dedication, history, intention, friendship, respect, monogamy, it requires trust. And there ain’t anything casual about trust…

… And The Home Of The Slave.

Every time I hear a news report on the latest Donald Trump shenanigans, I shake my head in wonder and amazement.

But shortly after every jaw-dropping moment, I remind myself that not only the race for, but certainly the occupancy of that House have seen its share of the colorful… and more recently, the coloreds.

So, it stands to reason that since we have (further0 pissed them off with our bad-ass President refusing to know his place, lacking in appropriate gratitude for the privilege to not only speak, but to actually have millions listen and the opportunity for shelter for him and his entire brood – shit, his downright rejection of his role as a very high-profile (White) House Nigga – that we follow this colossal “oops” with someone who is dedicated to ensuring we all know exactly where we belong.

I am not one to constantly espouse my “blackness” or to see discrimination and racism in every interaction or rejection by those White people. But even I know that when one gets out of line… well, fuck the Ghostbusters, you call the “Massa”!

God bless us all (sorry Pope… we need the big guns on this one).

Flak History Month.

On Wednesday night I had one of those very unpleasant experiences while commuting. Not sure if you’ve ever had one – the kind where at the end of a very long day of work and school, when all you would like to do is get home, take your pack off your back, remove your heels and your bra, get a beer… and exhale – and instead, you encounter one of those bitter, ignorant females whose behavior takes what was just a long tiring day and tips it over the edge into the abyss of “What the fuck?!?!?”

Yesterday morning during one of my favorite classes of this semester – a multi-ethnic literature class (you see where this is going, yes?) – a conversation was sparked that addressed whether responsibility should be ascribed to parents with regard to the names they give their children. Oh, let me be frank here… I am the one who sparked that particular conversation in response to one student’s outrage that black urban (is that redundant?) America cannot express their pride in their heritage as others (aka “white people”) can. That the ‘Sh-nee-quas’ of the world seem to be immediately discriminated against. Well, d’uh! I was off and running!!!!

Let’s address this – what is your opinion on this matter? Do you agree with the young man that an exhibition of pride should not only be allowed but respected; period? Or do you tend to lean more in my direction that yes, pride in one’s culture, background and heritage is a beautiful thing, but that that should be tempered with a very liberal dose of common sense? Seriously. Where do you stand? Okay, before you agree or disagree with either him or me, let me elaborate – not only on this topic, but also explain why I started this conversation with that little snippet about Wednesday’s shenanigans.

I got good and mad! And, I was (and in some ways still am) highly disgusted! To state it as plainly as I can, I am quite fed-up with having to be bombarded with all the hash tags and sound-bites that aim at insisting that ‘White America’ sits up, takes (positive) notice and begin to treat “us” blacks with respect. And here is why – because I want the hash-tags and the sound-bites to begin to aim themselves at “us” – insisting that we sit up and begin to treat each other with respect!! I have stated this before – I will begin to go after the “others” for better treatment when I am content with the treatment I receive from those supposedly like me.

The bullshit on my commute emanated from a black woman, who for whatever reason took one look at me and immediately fell in that “bitter black woman” stance – lips curled, face like she was sucking on a lemon and body as rigid as a boxer prepped for a blow. The eyes spewed hate. She then proceeded to refuse to condense both herself (which was considerable) and her belongings into the one seat that was allotted to her, so that I could occupy the other seat that my fare entitled me to. Ridiculous! I sat, because my 130lbs allows me to fit into tight spaces and also because I would be damned if I allowed her bullshit to deny me of what is my right!

But I admit her (and there have been so many other hers and his) behavior pissed me off to the point of resounding expletives. It rattled me; and not because it is unfamiliar, but because it is prompting me to denounce the entire culture. I am getting to the point of gross negative generalization. But my reactions aside for the moment, the sad reality is this – until Blacks can get to the point where they adopt the old adage, ‘Charity begins at home” we will continue to inhabit a space that has barriers. We truly need to stop looking outward to pinpoint what the problems are and begin to accept responsibility for our own damage and destruction.

Responsibility. When I presented that word to the class as it relates to what we name our children, it appeared as if they had never heard it before; some were outraged! When I tried to explain that taking the first few letters of your name and marrying it (because in many instances that is all that gets married) with a similar block of the baby-daddy’s name, well, all hell almost broke loose! Some were upset at my use of “Baby-daddy” and some said the responsibility is not ours to deny our heritage, the responsibility belongs to the world to change its perceptions.

Okay. I did not coin the phrase “baby-daddy” so I am unsure why it raised such a furor. I am frankly quite fed-up of people missing the forest for the trees. If I adopted their thinking, I could say, “I do not need to stop saying baby-daddy, you need to stop having them!” People the reality is this – the ‘Sh-nee-quas’ (and, I am not trying to insult anyone with that name; yall know this name has become the go-to when employing an urban message) of the world should absolutely not be eliminated from employment or global entry because of their name; but the chances of just that elimination happening are great. People whose names bear the flashing neon sign of their heritage may be just the ones this world needs to educate through their contributions, but hear me on this – we will not get their contributions if they do not have a voice. If because of an ill-advised name they are never given the opportunity that they deserve and that we can all benefit from, then who should accept that responsibility? Society or the parent? I do not care how much we shout that the world needs to change and broaden its sense of acceptance and tolerance, the reality is until it does, we will be wise to set ourselves and our children up in a manner that will allow for entry – placing them in a remarkable spot to execute said change.

Listen don’t get me wrong and don’t start with all that other bullshit, “sell out” that is not what I am advocating. What I am saying is that we do not yet inhabit the world we are entitled to and in order for change, we need to be smart. If a person opens their mouth and no one is listening, do they still have a voice? If we want to be heard, we need to plan, be strategic and stop deluding ourselves that what we do, how we do it and what we call it do not matter. They most certainly do. We do not yet live in the world we deserve. We may not ever get it. But while we move in that direction, let us use this time to plan ahead and let us give our children the tools they will need to flourish where they already are.

That woman on the bus took one look at me and hated my existence. I will not concern myself in speculation as to what her life is like in an effort to understand her immediate responses to me. To do so is not only pointless, but it is to also continue to perpetuate a vicious and unproductive cycle. I refuse to “meet her where he is” sometimes those of us that know better are called upon to do better. Her lips, face and posture denoted something extremely ugly; mine did not. I refuse to lend my support to any culture that promotes or allows that sort of demeanor or behavior. What she may have possibly (accurately) determined that my heels, dress and book bag meant which may be excluded from her reality is her problem; not mine. The reality is that as I do not know her struggles, her fight or her successes, neither is she privy to mine. Her assumptions as to “Who do I think I am?” will never begin to alter the reality of what it has cost me to be able to get to this place.

I get up and I fight. I fight in the way I can for myself, my child and the space I inhabit. I fight in the way I can – with these words – because thankfully I have a voice. I have a voice because way back when, someone was insightful enough to set me up in a manner that did not hinder my future. My name, my education, my upbringing all reflected their wisdom, desire and responsibility for and investment in my future. It did not deny my heritage. And, it did not change the color of my skin. Look at that…

“Stop And Smell The…” Listen. Just Stop And Smell!

This morning I threw out some cottage cheese that suffice it to say, the smell when I opened the container not only stung my eyes and brought tears, but I am confident was pungent enough to revive a boxer who had been knocked out cold by his opponent. My God!

Here’s what had happened – periodically over the past week or so, whenever I opened the refrigerator I got a strange whiff and couldn’t ascertain what it was or where it was coming from. And, to make matters even more confusing, sometimes I just would not smell anything wrong. So, I would put it out of my mind in those times; unattended. Until I caught the next whiff. Then, I would look at the things in and around my refrigerator in an attempt to determine just where that unpleasant smell could be emanating from…never seeing anything wrong; no visible signs.

Until this morning, I never opened anything. Everything looked perfect; so I assumed I must have been imagining the whiffs I had been getting. This morning however, I could no longer deny its existence and decided to dig deeper. I zeroed in on the cottage cheese and as soon as I lifted the lid… My God! The smell! The color! I will spare you the very graphic description of what I found, but suffice it to say I am absolutely mortified that not only did I live amongst that, but that I was able to ignore what was happening literally under my very nose for so long.

You’re smart… you see where this is heading, yes? As true as my story is, I cannot help but to marvel at its analogous component. Don’t know about you, but I know damned well that at times during this life of mine, even as I have gotten a “whiff” of something bad, something going rotten around me, I have chosen to ignore the stench… until the very last minute. In some situations, I had opted to attempt to over-power the bad smells with as much smell-goods as I could; hoping to drown out the obvious noise of something curdling. Sigh.

Sometimes life is like that – some things, situations and people have passed the expiration date and it is simply time to get rid of them before they stink up the place (yes, I could try to say it nicer, but we are way passed superficiality, aren’t we?)! Oftentimes we hold on to things and people way longer than is good for either them or us; hoping for what? That maybe this time it wouldn’t’ smell? That maybe, just maybe if we turn the temperature up on that thermostat just a bit more it would preserve things a bit longer?

The desire to hold on to the familiar, to what may look good or perfect is one that is universal – most of us prefer to maintain the status quo than to shake things up. The familiar, even if bad, seems to bring most of us a sense of security in a way that the unknown never can. Sadly for many, a stinking fish is better than no fish at all. Sadly. But it can bring you harm. Let’s say for instance I had ignored both the stench and the sickly color (come on, just pretend with me for the sake of my point… sheesh!) and decided to place a dollop of this cottage cheese next to a clump of some plump grapes and eat it, the resulting food poisoning or effect with some fancy name I would have invited onto and into myself would have been note-worthy! I would have done myself harm and would have had no one but myself to blame!

The signs are there. Truly. Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not is entirely and solely up to us; but they are there. At times they are obvious, like my cottage cheese (with its stink and expiration date that was in November 2015) and other times they are a tad more subtle; but they are there. When something goes bad, if we are paying attention, something will always alert us. Situations or people rarely turn without some sort of siren going off – an unsightly color or a sickly stench – something.

When it is time to move on or to throw out, try as you might to walk past or ignore, trust me when I tell you you can only keep that up for so long – sooner or later, the stench will get you!

Sniff.

 

 

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