Post-Holiday Recovery

Unlike alot of people I know, I had to work today. I have never partaken in the Black Friday madness.. and its usually MADNESS! I work across from a mall and the parking lot was bananas when I arrived at 8:30 a.m. Just thinking about all those people pushing and shoving down the aisles of Target drives me up the wall.

But I'm sitting here struggling to hold on. I definitely overate yesterday. I usually feast in moderation, but yesterday was different. I visited three separate families since I live thousands of miles away from my family. I've never done that before and I definitely failed to pace myself accordingly! Everything looked so yummy - as my grandma would've said, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who ate too much yesterday. I had planned to work out after work, but alas, I forgot my gym shoes at home. I will get back on my gym routine tomorrow. This definitely shows that, if I want to avoid unnecessary weight gain, I have to be dilligent around holiday time. Especially since the next holiday is only weeks away.

No More Mr. Nice Guy (Part II)

I have been in the midst of Thanksgiving dinner smells for the last few hours. I figure that the best distraction from the succulent scent of turkey is to go ahead and write part II of "No More Mr. Nice Guy". Only two more hours until its time to dig in!

Lately, I've been hanging out with a friend who recently broke up with her boyfriend. Her and her ex-beau had been together for nine years (that, IMHO, is entirely too long.. and deserves a post of its own). She found out that he'd cheated on her - even went so far as to introduce her to the sideline chick. After a while, the sideline chick felt compelled to come clean, and the sh*t hit the proverbial fan. So I try to check on her as much as she can tolerate. I know the pain of a broken heart, and I just couldn't imagine what it must be like for her. She seems ok... for now.

As I pondered the Julie Hudson criticism and the role of Mr. Nice Guy, I realized that alot of self-proclaimed Good Black Men are not that 'nice'. I was really cool with her guy, and had no indication that he was capable of that level of deceit. This was not a guy who constantly ran the street, who had questionable habits or treated my friend with disrespect. In the end, however, he was a liar. And lying to someone you love is not a nice thing to do.

According to the site No More Mr. Nice Guy (no relation to this,
A nice guy's primary goal is to make others happy. Nice guys have been conditioned to believe that if they are good, giving, and caring, they will be loved, get what they want, and have a smooth life.
  • Nice guys seek the approval of others.
  • Nice guys try to hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.
  • Nice guys put other people's needs and wants before their own.
  • Nice guys sacrifice their personal power and often play the role of a victim.
  • Nice guys tend to be disconnected from other men and from their own masculine energy.
  • Nice guys co-create relationships that are less than satisfying.
  • Nice guys create situations in which they do not have very much good sex.
  • Nice guys frequently fail to live up their full potential.
I'm sure we all know a really nice guy. The kind of guy who doesn't have an ounce of bass in his voice; the guy who is always there for you in a pinch, who's really sweet and ultimately would make a great boyfriend or husband if you were attracted to him. Which you probably aren't.

There's nothing wrong with this type of guy. Really, there isn't. Mr. Nice Guy gets a bad rap - but Mr. Nice Guy is not really real. I think the Mr. Nice Guy persona stems from personal insecurity. So the guy who would wear this mantle is not the guy he portrays himself as. Instead of being assertive, aggresive and/or selfish, this type of guy goes the other extreme and becomes somewhat passive. He probably thinks that if people perceive him as being this great guy, then he'll get what he wants. In essence, the Mr. Nice Guy persona is an elaborate manipulation that ultimatey doesn't work.

Underneath the facade of MNG is the heart of a vain and selfish man. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.. we are all selfish to a certain extent, and part of our personalities seeks outside approval from others. With MNG, that part is bigger than in other people. And the falsity in MNG stems from his attempt at manipulation, not his genuine nature. If a guy is really a nice guy, he is kind, giving and sweet to others out of the generosity of his own heart. There is no ulterior motive behind his actions. And because his actions are sincere, he doesn't become upset when others take him for granted. Because he actually likes to give. MNG, on the other hand, uses his actions as bait for attention from others. "How nice he is, how considerate of others, how sweet!" we exclaim.

But after a while, this is all we see. Because the real man is hiding behind the smoke screen of being nice. And the real guy is afraid to come out, to shatter that perfect image, to have us see who he really is. So we see nothing. We see the guy who'll always help us when our car breaks down, we see our boss who won't say anything if we take extra time at lunch or miss deadlines, and we see the guy who's been trying to get with us for years, but is stuck in the friend zone. In his frustration, MNG blames everyone else - the Thugs and Bad Boys who act on their feelings, and don't hide behind a mask; the Hot Black Women who they wear this mask for, who are attracted to bold, assertive men, the opposite of what MNG has allowed himself to become; and even the everyday women who would give them a chance, if MNG weren't so busy being nice to Hot Black Women. Everyone else gets the blame, because MNG was nice and no one appreciated him for it. If MNG hadn't smothered his personal power behind the mask of being nice, he wouldn't end up blaming others for his own mistakes. He'd be secure enough in himself to say what it is he actually feels.

What's interesting though, is what happens when MNG does get the girl. I'm not saying I'm a Hot Black Woman (in my mind, I am..) but I have dated Mr. Nice Guy. All of those nice, sweet, good actions go away after you are wooed and won. A mean sort of selfishness sets in, as if MNG is saying "I'm taking what I want, and holding onto it firmly, since I don't know when I'll get what I want again." Which is another extreme behavior/attitude. A guy who is truly 'nice' wouldn't lie to get what he wants (like my friend's ex did), wouldn't have you believe that he's someone he's not, and would know how to assert his own wants while being respectful of yours. These types of guys never say "the nice guys finish last" because they are never placed last; you see them for the real guy they are and not an invisible front that they show the world. And they don't have to tell you they're nice, because you already know it.

I wish all MNGs knew that they'd be accepted, embraced, noticed, if they were just themselves. Its great that a man would feel compelled to do nice things for others and be a respectful person. What's not nice is to have these actions lorded over you by a man who wasn't genuine about them. The myth of Mr. Nice Guy would die if men who felt safe hiding behind the mask of niceness would learn to act in a manner that respected his desires while treating others well simulaneously.


Black women have so much to be thankful for this holiday season - not the least of which is an incoming black president and his phenomenal wife. I hope everyone enjoys their family, friends, and the spirit of gratitude that emerges on Thanksgiving. Let's dwell on the positive things today (and enjoy the wonderful dinners that we're blessed to partake in)!

Greatest Rapper of All Time

I must've been asleep to miss this - a biopic about the Notorious B.I.G. will be released in January 2009.

Best believe that I will be there! Biggie was my dude in high school. The Southern girl in me couldn't get with NYC hip hop back then. Maybe some Wu Tang every now and then, but No Limit, Trick Daddy, and sometimes Cash Money stayed in my rotation. Biggie was the one exception to that rule. I'm interested to see how his life unfolds on screen, and even more interested in how Derek Luke will pull off playing Puffy.

Michelle and France: Two of my faves

My friends know that I'm enraptured by two things: Michelle Obama and France. What black woman isn't in awe of Michelle? And what black woman that's been to Paris didn't fall in love with the city? I was very pleased to read about Michelle's feature in Paris Match magazine, courtesy of Black Voices:

Future First Lady Michelle Obama has been featured recently in Paris Match,
the Vanity Fair of France. Looking as elegant and radiant as ever, our new "Mrs.
O" already has international appeal as a fashionable public figure.

I'm swooning over here... I love it love it love it!

No more Mr. Nice Guy

I'm back for the second time... life happens sometime and prevents me from posting as much as I should. I'm adjusting to my new job, and my schedule is constantly changing. But as much as I can be here, I'll be here.

Anyway... I've been composing a response to the tragic events that happened to the Hudson family. I also wanted to wait until the buzz died down from the Obama campaign victory. Its not that I wasn't excited; I don't think there were many people (besides McCain supporters) who weren't. Its just that the blogosphere and all media outlets were inundated with Obamarama. So I felt that I'd ride the wave out and continue the black woman's journey to self-esteem and our own unique standard of beauty outside of that. I have to note, however, that the black woman's image has improved exponentially with Michelle Obama's ascension to First Lady. I hope that new, positive image becomes permanently etched on America's collective cornea.

The topic of this post, as I was saying, grew out of the Hudson family tragedy. I noticed that alot of the comments directed at Julie Hudson's supposed poor judgment criticized her choice in men. Don't get me wrong; I join most who wholeheartedly believe that a mother's responsibility to her children is their protection, first and foremost. And I see where the lack of vetting skills in choosing a mate can permanently affect the health, welfare, mental and financial stability of children involved. But what I don't understand is how the black community can fail to recognize its own hand in this tragedy. People were so quick to blame Julie for choosing to be with a criminal monster... but where's the blame for the monster? That's one of the hardest mantles that black women face - we seem to be the scapegoats for errant black male behavior, no matter what we do. If we had only done this or that, the outcome would have been different. I say, why not blame the person who actually did the thing, instead of the victim, the person who is perceived to 'let' it happen?

That's not to negate Julie's part in the tragedy - choosing to be with a man who has a criminal record should not be condoned - but how many black women are urged to 'give a brotha a chance' (I'm sure y'all know by now I hate that mindset)? No matter what wrongs the brotha has formerly committed? No matter what state he's currently in, no matter his goals and ambitions in life, or his willingness to actually commit to a long-term or permanent relationship? If the black woman would only help prop a tired, trifling brotha up... if only she would look at his potential and give him time to develop into the responsible, committed, enterprising man he is *supposed* to be... if only she would recognize the heavy burden of racism that has weighed down his actions in life (even though black women carry that same crushing weight, along with the equally heavy burden of sexism, that black men often inflict on us as well)... and, often, if only she wouldn't be uppity and choose a black man outside of her socioeconomic status, just because he's black... black women wouldn't be lonely/single mothers/unmarried/fill-in-the-negative-blank...

Oh, that's right, we're not supposed to blame anyone but the black woman.

Another surprising contender in this blame-the-black-woman game has emerged (surprising to me, at least): Mr. Nice Guy. If only the Julie Hudsons of the world would stop choosing Thugs and Bad Boys over the Nice Guys, they say, atrocities such as their family experienced wouldn't happen. If only black women would stop overlooking these Good Black Men, the state of our community would be so much better, they say. Maybe its just me, but I feel that Mr. Nice Guy Black Man is a myth, a figment of the black community's imagination. If I'm wrong, then where is he?

Because for every Good Black Man, there is a Good Black Woman who does not date Thugs or Bad Boys. For every Good Black Man who is crying into his Xbox or Playstation controller at night, there is a Good Black Woman (or 2...or 3) who's tired of being alone. There are two things I see with men who claim to be Mr. Nice Guy: they extend absolutely no effort in pursuing women and they are not really that nice. I'll address the first point here, and the second in Part Two of this post.

There was an article in a recent issue of Essence magazine (the issue with Beyonce on the cover) that caught my eye. I can't remember the title of the article, but it was written by a black man who claimed to be a Southern gentleman. In the article (I didn't read it... Essence is on some bull and hasn't received my money in years), the author shared his woes as a Good Black Man who gets overlooked. Maybe I'm being insensitive.. maybe I'm making generalizations.. but if that isn't a load of crap, I don't know what is. GTFOOHWTBS..

I'm sorry sistas, but some of us have low standards. I don't care how gorgeous, accomplished, talented, or financially well-off a sista is, you will see a black woman with a man you perceive to be below her level and think "how'd he get with her?" In our fear of being alone (which is constantly nurtured by the black community's urgings to 'give a brotha a chance' and only date black men) we accept men who are not only incompatible, but who don't really have a black woman's best interest at heart. The only ones who really care about a black woman's chances at finding a healthy relationship are, for the most part, black women. But we put our desires, and ultimately, our hopes for successful relationships, on the back burner in order to Have A Man instead of having the man that's right for us.

So when I see men like the author of the Essence article bitch and moan about being overlooked, I don't feel sorry for them. I joke that all a black man has to do is go outside... he doesn't even have to iron his clothes - he'll find a black woman who'll iron them for him and make him a sandwich while she's at it. To me, the real issue is not that these men get overlooked - but that they get overlooked by women they consider to be 'dimes' or the creme of the supposed crop. The women who are the female equivalent to the Thugs and Bad Boys they blame for their loneliness. To these men, they overlook the Good Black Woman and only have eyes for the Hot Black Woman.. and then blame the GBW and average sistas when they didn't have time for us in the first place. For example, a few years back, Essence ran that same type of article written by a financially successful black man. In the article he noted his accomplishments in his career, some of his material possessions and the fact that he's a 'mover and shaker'. Then, on the same page, he wrote about his frustration with meeting women who were only after his money. But those were the types of women he repeatedly chose, and then had the gall to blame us for his singlehood. That doesn't make sense to me - if you constantly pursue women who are into material things, you can't get mad at those women because they want your material things. That just doesn't add up.

On the flip side, I know several men who claim to be Good Black Men, who put absolutely no effort into meeting women, then express bitterness toward black women for not choosing them. Call me old-fashioned, but when did this expectation of pursuit fall to black women?? What kills me about it is, black women who pursue men are accused of being emasculating.. again, we can't win for losing and this is another situation that turns out to be our fault. I know at least 3 men who never go out, who put no effort into how they dress or into grooming themselves to be noticed by women. When I point out that they are black, live in DC, have advanced degrees, above-average salaries and are attractive, highlighting their chances of dating success if they would just go outside (see joke, they pout that that's too much work. They refuse to enter the dating game and play by its rules. They also have stringent criteria and only want to meet certain kinds of women, no matter how much effort they extend to do so. When this happens, then another Good Black Man has been overlooked. When it happens to a black woman, then sistas need to stop being so picky and get out there and meet men.

Sorry, but I don't buy it.

What women admire in Thugs and Bad Boys is their ability to be bold, to make the first (and subsequent) moves, to literally charm the pants off them and provide a feeling of security. Sorry fellas, but women don't admire timid men. If you don't pursue women, if you wait for women to notice you, of course you'll get overlooked because there are other men (regardless of good intentions and criminal backgrounds) who have the balls to go after what they want. If a man packages himself for meeting women and proceeds to show women attention, he will get that attention returned. If not by a certain type of woman, then by other types. Blaming women who don't return that attention is a waste of time and contributes to the situation I describe: men who are bitter toward women who are out of their league, who have removed themselves from the dating game altogether. That is not to say that women don't play a significant role in the dating game, but most of us accept that role and know how to play it.

Every black man who I'd label as a Good Black Man is off somewhere, actually being good to a woman. They're married or in committed, long-term relationships, being honest and loving to their women and present in the lives of their children. That is how I measure the level of goodness in a black man, not by his level of fiscal responsibility or his lack of a criminal record.

(Stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll discuss how Mr. Nice Guy is really not that nice.)