Category Archives: Relationships

Joys of Washing Dishes

My main chore growing up was vacuuming our carpet ocean and rug islands. Every rug was seemingly made with frills flowing from the border, designed to repeatedly jam vacuum bristles. Attempting to rush inevitably sat me down to unwind frills under the foul odor of a burnt motor. There were countless attachments to keep track of, and being tall, my back used to hurt prematurely from hunching over the hose into uncomfortable positions, to clean beneath furniture and into the creases between stairs. Needless to say, vacuuming became my least favorite chore. I preferred ironing, folding, or doing laundry. When I got my own space, I went so far as to sweep what little carpet I already hated to lay; when will someone make affordably heated wooden floorboards?! Ironically, washing dishes is my favorite chore to date, and I was never asked to do it as a child.

Before all of my relationships went to hell, we always agreed as a couple that I would wash our dishes everyday and she would vacuum our place every week. Even as a bachelor, I like a clean sink. Especially after breakfast, after my first sip of water and before my morning shower, I feel the most refreshed pouring water over my hands while soaking dishes and utensils. Everything gets soaked, utensils get wiped first in two alternating strokes with a soapy sponge, rinsed off, and place in a rack to dry. Dishes follow a similar pattern, then pots, which occasionally require extra scrubbing. Quick household hack: I routinely use a rolled up bit of foil in place of steel sponges. My self-admitted dishwashing flaw is constantly running water during the entire procedure. I hate piling soapy dishes on the side, while my skin dries, until I rinse them all off. Most people, especially older folks with a history of limited resources, scold me for the waste. The very sound of running water is soothing though, as are the feeling of my wet hands, so much that I can’t imagine wearing bright yellow rubber gloves, nor can I imagine not applying a moisturizer afterwards. Maybe I really just like washing my hands, except that wouldn’t explain my disdain for dishwashers or the concept of pre-washing.

Still working on my house husband resume, and my original offer still stands for my future wife. I also give great massages, I’ve been told, if you like strong hands.

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Women, Please

Ask a group of men about women and we’ll readily admit that we’re stupefied. Ask a group of women about men, and prepare for a torrent of misinformed garbage spew from their delicate lips. Ladies, for the supposedly smarter sex, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Some blame magazines, I blame absentee fathers. If no one took the time to outline simple terms for a desirable relationship, then I’ve teamed up with David Cesar to combat some misconceptions and respond to unrealistic checklists like the above and below:

By no stretch of the imagination is the following list complete, although we have agreed that each point lays an admirable foundation for compromise:

  • Cleans the home wearing stilettos and lingerie, cleaning the home is optional.
  • Eagerly trades massages for home cooked meals, and vice versa; we’re always eager for either, no man turns down or sulks over a massage or home cooked meal in return for the other.
  • Makes a sandwich after sex, we would if we weren’t immediately exhausted; we kill spiders, your evolutionary advantages are just as important.
  • Reciprocates compliments; we appreciate your beautiful ability to make yourself any more beautiful.
  • Saves as much as she spends; because ten pairs of Christian Louboutins amount to the opening cost of retirement property.
  • Calmly expresses her frustrations, and welcomes assistance to overcome obstacles; we really want to help, we would do anything to end perpetual sob stories.
  • Doesn’t invite ratchet television, friends, or relatives into our home; we make repairs with ratchets, don’t break our home.
  • Public disposition between Angela Basset and Phylicia Rashad.
  • Private submissive hedonist between Kim Kardashian and Ciara.

You’ve been given the recipe; reverse engineer at will. If you insist on being stubborn, a unique snowflake, or legion to the same Marilyn Monroe who died of a drug overdose, then here are four final tips to best relate to the man in your life:

  • Play with his dick
  • Play with his dick
  • Play with his dick
  • Play with his dick

Finally, no, I am not a chauvinist. I love women, I treat women respectfully, I have argued in favor of suffrage more times than I care to disclose. If you’re still not satisfied with these suggestions or their ethical nature, then imagine each suggestion comes with a bottle of Merlot, or add a sense of humor to the list. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hit on in Tampa

As a moderately handsome man, I have a few of these stories, I know your plight ladies; hell, accept my apologies for every failed attempt at wooing your sisterhood. I vividly remember this one time in Tampa, Florida. I was on the bus, can’t recall where I was going, and I sat next to a rotund lady with a friendly face. Her face was friendly, not attractive; for anyone adamant about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, I did not behold beauty on that bus. On some days I wear a titanium wedding band on my left ring finger. Like an ethical fool, I always seem to reveal my farce when someone inevitably questions my marriage. Besides my bachelorhood preference, the ring subconsciously relieves pressure from conversations with females, their friends, colleagues, and so on; I’m also very well mannered, I can generously compliment, and by nature my intentions can be confused. I mention the ring because it’s been forgotten as she strikes a conversation.

We get to the fact that I arrived from New York, which is a desirable trait for all women without ties to New York; then her questions became more personal: Are you here with anyone, to see anyone, away from someone? I’m paraphrasing, I can’t be exact this far after the fact; what I do know is, I kept saying, no and no one. Finally, she asks if I want to hang out some time; I tell her, no and never. This doesn’t dissuade her from expressing her feelings; I’m flattered, and that doesn’t dissuade me from scoffing at her date proposal. My faux wedding band suddenly comes to mind, at which point I showcase it and blurt out something about my wife’s approval. Instead of referencing the omission of a wife from my previous statements, this woman proceeds to instigate an affair. These were her words, you’ll have to envision her easy callousness: if she’s not with you, then she won’t mind! Just like that. We’re not talking about *insert gorgeous woman I would briefly picture nude before rebuffing nonetheless* here. I must have blacked out after she so unceremoniously offended my matrimonial sanctity, because I recall hearing myself, like a spectator, say, I love my wife more than anyone will ever love you. And I promptly exited the bus a full stop early. Florida heat is tragic; I will always remember that walk. I’m still trying to forget that woman.

Expletives and Insults

For the most part, I quit outright cursing, ever since the emotional expression of vulgar language was proven to momentarily shut off your brain; the occasional “fuck you” or “fuck off” escapes for the dry humor. Being the loudest person in the room has never been in my best interests either. Not to be disillusioned, my passive aggression is very smug despite my best attempts to seem aloof. When I’m in a groove, with kind honesty at my disposal, I can forego the first and last word, raised voices, and embellished lies. There’s a very important difference between snaps and insults, laughter has no place in contempt.

Fuck, as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, is too ambiguous. For one, the words sex and fuck are voluntarily interchangeable. Lustful connotations aside, exclaiming a fuck denotes an inability to properly express the grounds for disagreement. Shit and bitches aren’t literal observations of a human being, nor are they detrimental metaphors. On the other hand, reminding a remedially educated adult of their limited vocabulary can occasionally be self-gratifying. As a sadist, I imagine masochists can feel berated by figurative language; from afar, watching children cry themselves to sleep can be equally entertaining.

For me to truly hate something, is to prefer said object be at my disposal, rather than oppose me; then it’s a compliment. My ideas of insults don’t slap you in the face; they firmly clench your soft hands and shake your weak wrists. I’m the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, the harbinger of self-loathing; because when all else fails, I remind you that we’re going to die, and this conversation won’t mean a thing; besides a wasted opportunity to be more than two negatives.

If you immediately thought, “two negatives make a positive;” not when they add.

Pro Homo

On OKCupid, there are questions used to compute your compatibility with potential mates for a relationship, as friends, or as enemies. Whenever I encounter a high enemy rating, I’m always assured that woman is a Christian with extra-marital children, and they hate homosexuals. I’m that heterosexual black male who endures flak for drawing a civil rights analogy from the homosexual movement for marital equality. America has statistically disproven the efficacy of marriage, denying the right to be federally observed as a matrimonial union is a senseless affront to the Bill of Rights. The internet, our final modicum of democracy, has logically argued, “Oh, you don’t like gay marriage? Then don’t get gay married.” And that makes sense.

I would love more gay male friends, their typically impeccable style complements me, and they have a knack for attracting attractive women. Gay females on the other hand, have shared far fewer benefits in my favor, especially being menage opposed; sorry ladies, I’m sure you’re wonderful people nonetheless. If I must confess distaste for anyone, it’s for obscenely flamboyant people; gay or straight, I’m an introvert, that much attention is nauseating. For some helpful insight from my inexplicably accurate gaydar, ladies meet kegels; because once a man mentions anal sex, then he’s obviously bored of your most feminine feature.

Two people have ever asked me if I were gay, one privately gossiped as much, another thought he could insult me with a public insinuation, and multiple gay men have hit on me; I was flattered every time. Because, even as a heterosexual black man of West Indian descent, the second most homophobic region of the world outside of the Middle East, I don’t associate homosexuality with bad or wrong. At the same time, there’s another internet meme that asked, “What if homosexuality is nature’s way of preventing over population.” And I can find the humor in that, the same way I can be entertained by Django Unchained, Dave Chappelle skits, and rap music. It’s easy to digress over the suitable nature of potentially offensive humor, butt fuck it; everyone deserves a fair chance.

Being Biased

Everyone has their preferences. Remember to be tolerant. Lesbians don’t accuse straight women of sexism; some biases are implicitly respected to that point. For clarity, because there will be semantic detractors, a preference is a tendency is a partiality is a bias by relative synonyms; the title uses the term bias because I’m partial to alliteration.

To my point, it’s my belief that we’re all biased; an example for your credulity, we innately value our family over strangers. You know the question: what if you had to make a choice with a gun pointed to your head? Against a stranger, you’d have to more than hate a family member to save the stranger instead. Then it’s not unreasonable to find our biases subtly expand. We humans are creatures of comfort, we find comfort in regularity, and nothing is more regular than our reflections; itself an instinct recognizably adhered to by virtue of our homogeneous relationships. Of course, all rules have exceptions, ironically often products of biases themselves: short women who only date tall men for example.

To be clear, my purpose is not to validate offensive behavior. Circumstances inevitably arise during which we feel excluded due to inconsequential biases, such as demographic marketing, like browsing the melanin scrubbed Task Rabbit service. However misappropriated, this constructive reaction is more admirable than the anger that results from forgetting our own perpetuated exclusions. While some scenarios can insult our sensibilities, science has proven that explaining a problem can help alleviate the associated stressors. You’re welcome!

Instead of preaching mythical purity, let’s acknowledge that our tolerance and biases define our individuality; and along the following lines, do not impede your growth:

But today most black Americans not hampered by poverty or prejudice take for granted their right to study Italian, listen to Britney Spears or opera, play in the NHL, eat Thai food, live anywhere, work anywhere, play anywhere, read and think and say anything. —Stephan Talty, Mulatto America, 2003

Martin Luther King Jr.

Growing up in America, most children my age veered more towards adopting a Malcolm X disposition, rather than accepting the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) ideology. As an adult, it’s irresponsible to believe a chasm existed between these gentlemen; their differences aren’t black and white, they didn’t face off as violent virtues versus peaceful virtues. These gentlemen essentially knew and respected one another; choosing one over the other detracts from the fact that their individual achievements ultimately complement one another in the annals of history.

I know of black men who engage in deep intellectual conversations under the influence, sell the influence, and lose all influence in prison. I meet Ivy League black men with the most afro-centric names who openly detest other black people, in very specific terms. On social networks, I follow black men who post pictures of themselves dressed in formal garbs framed with thoughtful captions. We’re all over the place as a people. There’s an obvious yearning for information to self-identify with, somewhere between the entertainment we accept in its place; sometimes the two collide, where we lambaste Bill Cosby for blaming ourselves, or chuckle over the Boondocks’ rendition of future MLK. I’m a big reader, although my library is limited to fictional novels for the most part. Even then, while I have read Malcolm X’s biography, I have not read an MLK biography to date. As conscious as I believe myself to be, I can honestly recite more rap music than civil rights speeches; I would admonish such an admission if it weren’t a normality I were already fighting against.

Yesterday I attended the 7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration presented by WNYC at the Brooklyn Museum. This year’s celebration incorporated excerpts of a play titled Reunion, which provides the opportunity for MLK, Malcolm, and Medgar to jointly address issues they were previously denied. The following is a compilation of quotes from the panelists, actors, and my key takeaways:

  • Medgar Evers was killed June 12, 1963
  • Malcolm X was killed February 21, 1965
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was killed April 4, 1968
  • Every African American’s bucket list should include a personal expedition to Birmingham, Alabama museums and civil rights sites.
  • WNYC was willed unedited, previously unheard of, interviews with MLK, and made the recordings available free online.
  • This year marks the 150 year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • James Baldwin, an openly gay civil rights activist, is my most important post-modern writer – Dr. Peniel Joseph
  • In 1963 black people knew they were oppressed, it’s harder for black people to feel their oppression today despite its obvious effects. – Dr. Joseph
  • Ms. Baker, an important figure of the SCLC and Grassroots movement, was a strong believer that, strong people don’t need strong leaders. – Dr. Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson
  • MLK thoroughly practiced his non-violent ideology, his belief despite the tragedy, dictated that spilled blood was redemptive – Dr. Nelson
  • Remember post-Mecca Malcolm, the gentler, less extremist Malcolm. – Dr. Nelson
  • Being that he was so disciplined, and rallied black people to take arms in self defense, how would Malcolm feel about the epidemic of black people killing black people? – Dr. Nelson
  • Despite their relative omission from this discussion, African American women were the backbone of the civil rights organizations. – Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammed
  • Today, MLK would speak against the war on education and culture, he wouldn’t make it his responsibility to browbeat our children over their poor fashion sense. – Dr. Muhammed
  • Dr. Brenda M. Greene is Talib Kweli’s mother, she is a queen and raised a conscious young man.
  • Gangster rap music is essentially about low income black people demeaning low income black people. If they were demeaning white people, then it would be an issue. Even demeaning upper class black people would raise a flag; try disrespecting Michelle Obama with rap lyrics, even the demeaned low income black people would raise an eyebrow.
  • Modern black culture lacks a meaningful and enriching program for our youth. Our story is not being told, a story is being sold.

Over the course of the event, I’ve been identified as a prophet of personal responsibility. I am not a civil rights activist. My contributions to the cause are to be a role model, volunteer my time, and teach what I know; no one has asked me to speak on their behalf, and I would not do so without their express consent. These men we continue to honor are my heroes nonetheless; their limited lifetime of achievements gave way to limitless lifetimes of achievements. Thank you gentlemen, not on behalf of anyone else, certainly in conjunction with everyone else.