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Grown Man Confidence

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed to see two amazing musicians, known for their persona of sex appeal almost as much as their mind-boggling musicianship and artistry.
I saw Prince two weeks ago, and saw D’Angelo last night.
Seeing these two amazing performers in the same month had to be Kismet, because there were a few things I peeped about them, that made me think about why people are so enamored and attracted to them. It also made me think about how most women are looking for similar elements in men. You don’t have to be a genius musician, but there are some basics that can be applied to anyone, to achieve real sex appeal and that intangible… attraction.
1. Confidence. So everyone says confident people are the ones who win at life. Being in the presence of confident people make us feel more at ease. Confident people seem to be in control and seem like they will be able to handle whatever is thrown at them.
I will say this about confidence. People say, oh, if you don’t have it fake it. But I say that’s putting a band-aid on a gaping hole in your flesh larger than a paper cut. Confidence develops over time, and is grown and cultivated and forged by failure and being embarrassed and bouncing back after being told no. Confidence develops when you do something someone said you couldn’t do, or when your version of good enough drowns out everyone else’s assessment.
2. Doing things you’re good at and pushing yourself to be even better. Nothing builds confidence more than doing things you’re good at. When people watch you do your thing (whatever that is) and you make it look effortless, watch people get drawn to you. They’ll want your opinion, they’ll want your approval. Watching D’Angelo and Prince perform made me want to pick up a guitar and sing. Now I’ve taken guitar lessons and it’s hard freaking work. I’ve played the drums for years, and it took practice not to suck. So people who have developed a level a mastery for what they do aren’t just sexy because of natural talent, they are sexy because they take it to the next level with hard work, dedication and discipline. There’s a certain devotion musicians have to their work, and trying to get better and experimenting with new sounds and being fluent in music and other artists. They are sponges, they have people they look up to, they study certain sounds or riffs over and over, and then they interpret it, weave it into their own sound to make something unique and new, rooted in the old. That’s levels of sexy.

3. Being yourself unapologetically. Prince and D’Angelo have taken some serious fashion risks. Sometimes they don’t come out with an album right away. Sometimes people don’t get their music. Some people may think certain songs are too sexual, or too political. R and B fans may not like the songs with a more rock edge, the rockers may not like the songs that sound more like R and B… but it doesn’t matter. These artists do what feels right to them, they wear what makes them feel good. Does it stand out? They pull it off because of confidence, but being yourself unapologetically and moving past all of the reactions, leads to the sexy confidence.

4. Inside out. Sexy grown men let the sexy radiate from the inside out. There are some men I know now that aren’t as thin or as muscular as they used to be, but a warm smile, an easy laugh, the sweat they build up from fixing something around the house or an auto repair, makes them irresistible. I’ve read articles that after the massive success of D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” he struggled with body image and having to keep up that BODY that teased us in the video. Today’s D’Angelo is thicker, healthy looking and still making women swoon. He has a sly grin that seems like he’s about to lead you into some trouble and you are down for the ride. He had so much energy on the stage, there was joy on his face while he was working the crowd and receiving the love from the crowd. The man was in the moment. There have been times when I’ve observed men I love doing simple things, quietly, looking serene and self-satisfied. In those moments, they were sexy, and in those same moments when I catch them, I might offer them a hug or kiss without a word, because I appreciated seeing them in that moment. They’d wonder, “Oh, what’s that for?” and I’d just kiss them or hug them again and walk away.

5. Maturity. One of the greatest gifts of getting older and living is experience and maturity. Mature people can be confident without being arrogant. They can understand the power of confidence and how it may lead to influence, but they don’t abuse it. They don’t have to win every argument, but can firmly and passionately make a point that sticks with you well after the conversation is over. Mature and confident people don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Frankly, they don’t want to and they aren’t going to. Who they are and how they handle business and how they treat people in the face of adversity or in the pit of failure, in their mind, says what needs to be said. As far as they’re concerned you can take them or leave them, and it doesn’t change their life or who they are, they’re going to keep being who they are. I won’t say that nothing phases confident people, but criticisms, or suggestions don’t turn their world upside down, or represent an accurate reflection of who they are. When people know that, they hold on to their power instead of giving it away to every person with an opinion. They gather more strength to say no when they mean no and yes when they mean yes.

Do you know of any other qualities that make a grown man sexy?

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Counting the Mile Markers

If you’ve ever done a lot of road tripping, as I have– especially alone– you constantly find yourself establishing mini goals along your trip to just get through it.
Sometimes you do it by exit numbers because they’ll either go up or down, depending on the direction. Sometimes your landmarks of where you are going to stop are based on places your parents or other people like to stop when you travel with them and it’s just a habit. It’s familiar.
Either way, throughout a trip, especially when we are tired or hungry or have to pee, we say, let’s go just a little bit further down the road.
I’m feeling like that as of late.
I’m just shy of about three weeks left of this module for school and of course I feel like I’m hungry, running out of gas and about to pee on myself, but I have to keep driving because we haven’t gotten to my favorite Waffle House yet.
Maybe I’ll pass two other Waffle Houses on the way, but getting to that specific landmark means something in my head. From that landmark, I can establish that I only have but so much further to go. When you stop sooner than you’re supposed to, you’re still further behind than you wanted to be.
That’s what this journey through school as been feeling like. To others where you stop and take a break may not matter at all, as long as you take a break before you end up in a wreck.
But for real specific-minded people the break isn’t just a break. It’s a marker, it’s a goal. It allows you to calculate if you’ll make your destination ahead of schedule, right on time, or a little late.
Markers give you an emotional boost the closer you get to them. Mile-by-mile. Inch-by-inch. We need markers not only to guide us, but to show us we are making incremental progress. I love seeing the distance between me and a destination get smaller and smaller.
I love the relief and excitement of getting there even if you’ve driven all through the night and made very few stops.

A New List of Things You Need To Know As A Woman In Your 30s

I feel like I make this list like once a year. Normally, I’m inspired by a conversation I’ve had or an experience.

I’m just avoiding studying. But please add these things you need to know as a woman in your 30s. I may repeat some I’ve said before.

1. If you like it buy it in every color.

I was in NY and Company the other day and I found pants and tops that fit well, and I straight up bought multiples. You’ll see how important this is. You need ONLY things in your closet that make you feel good about yourself and like you are the finest person walking the earth. Facts.

2. Own at least one freakum dress. It doesn’t have to be scandalous if scandalous is not your thing, but going back to number one, it needs to fit and flatter your body and your favorite assets and make you feel sexy when you wear it.

3. Embrace your shape, understand it and find things that work with it.

Sometimes this means you can’t go with the crowd. Or the latest trends. If there’s something that looks awesome on you, stick to it and don’t let go, you will be timeless and polished.

4. Accessorize. I’ve always noticed that older women had tons of jewelry, real, costume, hats, scarves, brooches. They adorn themselves. Lately, I’ve noticed the power of adding a statement necklace to a simple outfit and it takes my ensemble to another more mature and unique level. It helps bring out my personality so I can stand out from the crowd. And shopping for accessories is just fun.

5. Never underestimate the power of the T. Whether you get cheap tees or more expensive ones, plain black or white tees make you look like you woke up like dis. Keep it simple, rock it with a blazer for work, and amp it up with a great necklace and boom. You look all effortless.

6. Keep mints, lip gloss, tampons and at least $20 in your purse at all times. The last part is most difficult for me as I’m always reaching for plastic. But the times that I actually do carry cash, it just feels like a safety net juuuuust in case!

7. Read stuff.

Read anything, read the newspaper, read the magazines, read books, join a book club. Grown women are informed and keep growing and have interesting things to talk about and an opinion. Books are easy ways to develop opinions and provide good party chatter.

8. Vitamins.

I had to learn about this one the hard way, but for real for real, B complex has changed my life this week. I can press on just a little bit further thanks to these energy boosting vitamins recommended by my doctor.

9. High/Low As a grown woman, you have every right to indulge in an expensive handbag, pair of shoes, suit or fantastic coat or pair of jeans. So for big items that you’ll use forever, I say go for it if you can afford to or save for it and then buy your cheaper items to go with them. When you’re grown, you want to stay polished. That’s the goal.

10. Have a signature drink you like to order, signature fragrance, and signature dish you can cook and cook well EVERY time. It just makes you feel good about yourself.

11. Take dance breaks. Throw on your favorite jam and just dance.

12. If you are wrong, beat folks to the punch and own up to it.

13. If you know you are wrong before you do something and you’ve made the decision to do it anyway, then George Bush that shit. Don’t hide. Bask in your wrongness and if anyone has something to say about it, say you did it for America and keep it pushing.

14. Truth over everything. When you know better you do better.

15. Try something new. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, fail, or look silly. Just try. Trying shouldn’t be for kids or folks screwing up in their 20s. As long as you are breathing you better find the sweetness of life and the feeling of accomplishment when you do something you’ve never done.

16. Travel. That’s it.

17. Be cool with going out alone. Start with the movies or a play. Something that doesn’t require anything but your attention and everyone shutting up. Then elevate and take yourself to dinner, but don’t get a table for one… have dinner at the bar. You’ll meet interesting people and bartenders like to give you free drinks or discounts for bringing more boys to the yard who’ll pay full price.

18. Be kind, be giving, be gracious.

20. Smile at yourself, laugh at yourself out loud when you do ridiculous things or look silly or fall down. Like, there are times I got so into it, I couldn’t stop laughing and that felt good. I’m serious though take a moment to smile at yourself in the mirror at work in the bathroom. Don’t give yourself a fake smile either, smile at yourself like yo, I like you. You’re cool people. And after you say that, if you’re me, you’ll start laughing at yourself for even saying something like that. But to see yourself naturally smile at yourself or laugh at yourself, it’s kind of nice.

21. When you have a tingle to check on someone or just ask them, how are you today? Or are you alright? DO IT! IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Even if you text some one and say “I’m thinking of you.” Or tell them something you like about them, it makes all the difference in the world.

22. Say you’re not ok, when you’re not ok. Some folks ain’t gonna know how to react to this. Expect their inability to react because they are used to folks lying, so this is going to throw them off. Tell them it’s ok that you know they have absolutely nothing perfect to say to fix it, but you are just satisfied with them caring.

23. Ask for help. If you don’t know, ask for help and be bold about it. I don’t know, I don’t understand, but I’m smart at other things, so my ego isn’t bruised. Help me so I can be good at this too. Most people will appreciate that you kept it so real and be very eager to help you understand. This is truth.

24. Be proactive. If you see things about to take a twist or a turn and you know you can prevent it or lessen the blow, then do so.

25. This is linked with 24. DON’T WAIT ON NOBODY ELSE TO FILL IN THE BLANK. If there’s something you want to do and folks keep making excuses or blowing it off go back to number 17. If you need courage go back to number 20 and remember number 15.

26. You are in charge of your narrative. Don’t let anyone else write it or define it. You do that. You represent you. If folks have it wrong, you have every right to correct their uninformed asses.

27. Stop cussin. LOL. Only do so for emphasis and impact to let fools know you ain’t playing and that this is not a drill.

28. If you did it right, the walk of shame is a strut of satisfaction.

29. If you really regretted it and didn’t have a child from the situation, you can subtract that bad situation from your “number” I’ll allow it.. like twice. But don’t get carried away.

30. If you are a woman in your 30s, you already know that you’ve never felt this alright with yourself and secretly looking forward to how bad ass you’ll be at 40.

The Ikea Game I Like to Play: Bae or Brawn?

I was in Ikea today. Yall know how I feel about Ikea. A long time ago I devoted an entire post to the wonder of the cheap chic home furnishing mecca.

Today was one of my comp days after working eight grueling days straight. So after getting a restful sleep, I hightailed it over to Ikea, because among all of the other things I have going on right now like graduate school and a full-time job that seems to want me to do more as of late, I’m redecorating my bedroom.

Looking for the perfect dressers and nightstands to go with my new bed arriving on Friday, I wound up at Ikea on a weekday before lunch.

First of all, my ovaries thanked me for abstaining and safe sexing it about 94 percent of the time over my entire life. Because I’m not about that mom life. During the weekday, it appears stay-at-home moms and even day care providers throw their hands up and say screw it, and take the munchkins to Ikea to burn off energy.

Then when I got in the cafeteria line to cop some Swedish meatballs, that ended up being crab cakes (yes, Ikea has crab cakes now, not bad either) I noticed a woman ahead of me who ordered three kids meals and a little sumthin for herself and her total came to $5. My eyes bugged out of my head.

Then I saw the specials for each day of the week. Those little jokers eat free on Tuesdays! No wonder the moms and the day care folks were literally having a field day.

So while I found the furthest spot away from everyone to eat my lunch, I reflected on how happy I was not to have the responsibility of parenthood in my life right now. I know it’s a beautiful thing. I don’t knock that choice, but it’s not right for me at this stage in my life. Yes, I’m 32. Yes, I’m supposed to have some kind of clock, but I don’t get all excited around other people’s kids. I don’t want to cuddle them, I don’t want to smell them. I’m just not envious of that lifestyle. I’m good. I’m great.

But the one thing that did interest me were the couples or couplings of people.

I’ve decided when it comes to Ikea, the man you bring to Ikea is bae (as the kids call the main man, your steady Freddy) or your brawn.
So, I like to play a game called “Bae or Brawn?” I basically look at how a couple interacts and I decide if guy Ikea escorts are boyfriends/husbands or dudes brought along simply to schlep, haul and assemble.

Let me break it down for you.
Your bae is your man. That fool is contractually obligated to go with you to Ikea, even if you don’t plan on buying a damn thing and you just want to go for “inspiration.” This means you are nesting, and you want him to agree with all of the stuff you like. Women just wandering with dudes, are either boyfriends/husbands/ are dudes who are on that track. Men who simply want to smash, they aren’t going to even go through the charade of walking around Ikea with you because you always have to walk through the entire store. Unless you are a chick with a Brawn YOU WILL WALK THROUGH THE ENTIRE STORE, ALWAYS. EVERY INCH, THE WAREHOUSE AND IT’S JUST BOXES. BUT YOU’LL STARE AT THE BOXES AND SAY YOU’LL COME BACK. You’ll look at the rugs, the lamps, the art. You’ll think of reasons to buy a 40-piece dish set because it’s $29.99. You’ll get hangers for your skirts and hangers for your pants. You’ll lust after the fancy kitchens and paw the granite counter tops, you’ll rest on a bed, you’ll open and close closet doors to see if they squeak.

If you are buying something with bae, he’s going to be the one to schlep it to the car, tie it down securely and help you get it into the house and set it up.

You are contractually obligated to fix him a cool glass of water, lemonade or iced tea whilst he’s building that Swedish instrument of torture (because someone always gets hurt in the process), later fix or order him a good meal and then put it on him something fierce and hope you don’t break the cheap ass furniture he spent all day assembling. You’ll wake up in the morning together admiring his hard work and your great taste. A house is now a home.

Now the other category dudes fall in when going to Ikea with a female is the Brawn. Actually, there’s one more. Your gayfriend. He’s helping you get your decorative life and making sure you don’t make a horrible decision. He’s telling you when to pass on the cheap stuff and invest in a quality piece or fabric from someplace else and cracking jokes about other patrons to your delight. He’ll be down for that 75 cent frozen yogurt on the way out.

But back to the Brawn.
If you are a single gal and you don’t have a bae, but you still need to get some Ikea furniture transported to your place and assembled, you may have to look to Mr. Brawn.

Brawn is a guy you are cool with. You’ve probably let him hit a couple of times, and you put it down good enough but don’t harass him about much else, that you can call in such a favor without him being worried you are trying to be in a serious relationship with him and he won’t actually flake.

When men hear about Ikea, they get nervous. So when it comes to Brawn, you have to be direct, have a plan and a time to use him and his large truck.

With Brawn, you don’t need him to walk around and pick out stuff or get inspiration. That is going to frighten him and annoy him. He’s not your man. You know this, he knows this.

With Brawn, you better had already walked around and figured out which area of the self-service warehouse your stuff is in and what aisle and bin your non-descript large brown box of pieces are located.

With Brawn, you take him directly there, have him load the crap on the cart and go directly to the check out line.

Brawn will load his vehicle and take your stuff to the house.
This might seem messed up, but I suggest you also fix brawn a cold glass of water, and change into some boy shorts and order that man a pizza.

***The alternate plan is to let him bring the stuff in the house and you assemble it yourself, semi-independent woman. You can send him home and not even worry about the rest…

You may also want to get it in on the newly assembled furniture with Brawn as you would with bae. The same risk hazards are involved in the assembly of Ikea furniture, so Brawn needs to get broke off proper too. Face it, you’ve done it with him for much less.

If you are totally single with no bae or brawn, you can always pay extra, have it delivered and assembled, tip the dudes and still order pizza and eat it in your boyshorts on your new furniture and pour yourself a glass of wine because you got the job done!

Either way, get you some new furniture girl!

Silencing the Noise

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have already heard that I quit Plenty Of Fish.

Like, I quit for real, for real. I didn’t just hide my profile and take a little break from it, I took myself out of the game completely.

There were a few times before where I thought about deleting the profile, but I’d get pulled in by another message from a new guy showing interest. Even if I wasn’t interested in them, it still made me feel wanted. So for that reason alone, even though I was getting pinged all day and all night because I had the app on my phone, it was a form of validation that I had been wanting that I, was indeed desirable.

The trouble with Plenty Of Fish is I’m not the only one.

If I don’t respond, the person on the other end really isn’t going to be heartbroken, he’s just going to click on another profile and try again. A catchy profile and some cute pics didn’t make me special. Inboxes full of faux admiration didn’t either.

I actually hated when dudes off the bat would call me sweetie, or love or gorgeous. It felt so… ugh. It felt so phony.

This weekend, I had a bunch of crazy revelations.

Somehow my good ex hit me up again on Friday night when I was doing absolutely nothing. So I started talking about dating and how difficult it’s become. I complained that it’s at a point where everyone is dating like robots, following a script.

Simply he just said, “You ain’t gotta. Do you.”

I don’t know why what he said seemed to just shoot through me like lightning, but it was so simple. It made so much sense. I don’t have to keep going on date after date. Introducing and reintroducing myself to men I’m really not that interested in, but trying to be “open-minded” too.

That message kept ringing true at not one, but two church services this weekend. The focus was on women in both. Both talked about loving yourself and giving things up so you can receive God’s blessings which may or may not include a man.

I had a thought today about Idols. I posted on twitter that “One way or the other, God will remove your idols. You determine how drastic He has to be in order to get your attention.”

Plenty Of Fish was becoming an idol. It was consuming a lot of my brain space. It was causing me to either be excited about people I knew nothing about or completely aggravated with people I knew nothing about. I was expecting people to be accountable and ready-made after one date. I’d be surprised if I didn’t hear anything from certain guys with whom I had great conversations. I’d replay what I’d done or if I wasn’t attractive enough.

But it all boils down to this, we are all out here doing the same thing. We are evaluating people on highly superficial levels and not taking the time to build. The possibility of the next, better person that you may be missing out on always seemed on the horizon and one click away. But that’s not real life.

I’m about to devote two years of my life to a master’s degree. I devoted four to college and 10+ to being a writer and reporter and editor. Cultivating anything takes time and effort. I have friends of 20 years. I know everything about them and they know me. It’s scary, but look at all the time it took to get to that level of mastery in my friendships, and I’m still working on them and giving to them and nurturing them.

One year of online dating and the revolving door of men wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. It was a great social experiment in what’s out there, but I realize right now, it’s not where I need to place my focus or my energy.

So I deleted my page.

My mind instantly got quiet again. I wasn’t turning over in the middle of my sleep when my phone started to buzz, or checking messages at a stop light. I wasn’t spending time “man shopping” when I was bored, looking at profiles hoping that there was some coded language my Mr. Right used so he could find me.

I didn’t have to be disappointed anymore.

I could focus.

Even today, I’m realizing the dating site was taking a lot of my good energy and brain space.

My good ex did remind me of how confident I used to be. He told me things like putting on weight or how I wear hair was not going to matter. And I was confident. I just have to get back to that again. I knew the first place to start was silencing the POF noise.

I’m not knocking the site at all. I think it does open the door to help you meet people you may have never otherwise met. But as I review the last year of online dating, people are either not quite serious at all, or they are so serious, they come of desperate and scary. Online dating pushes you to the extremes of non-committal or super clingy. You can’t even truly be you. You are always on, you are always auditioning for someone’s affections.

And nope. I don’t want to do that. Not anymore.

So I said a prayer. I said I wanted to give this up and not look back and whoever is for me, he’s already out there. It’s time to stop worrying about it and it’s time to let it go. It’s time to let go of my insecurities and shut up the NOISE, most of which I’ve created in my own head that has been limiting me.

Noise was making me settle and noise convinced me I was widening my net and not being picky or stuck up. But noise was causing me to entertain folks I really didn’t see any kind of future with at all. I tricked myself into thinking it was a numbers game and that it was science. The right guy would have to come around if I kept putting myself out there.

Well, putting myself out there made me lose valuable energy. Putting myself out there led me to making rash decisions.

I need my head space. I need it for things like work, and school and my family and friends. So right now, I honestly don’t feel like I took a loss, deleting my profile. I reclaimed space in my mind and soul.

I decided that if there were men in my phone who managed to have my number and we still keep in touch, I will be nice. I won’t press them to ask me out, I’ll let them ask me. If I feel like sending a text or saying hello, I’ll send one.

Sometimes you have to lose to win, as Fantasia said in one of her songs. I’ve never found myself leaning so much on God and my faith, or praying as often or looking at the little things to help me see other things more clearly. God is in the details.

When I was at EssenceFest and heard Iyanla Van Zant speak, she kept saying, “Do the work.” “You’ve got to do the work, beloveds.”

She is right. God didn’t let me marry the wrong person for a reason.

I’m single right now for a reason, not just to work on myself or take on bigger goals I would have never considered if I was someone’s wife right now. I’m made for a purpose and I’m working all of that out. The pain I’ve felt makes me more compassionate to others and it makes me qualified to love folks in a more real, mature, honest and even non-judgemental way. In the way a grown woman has to decide to love HER man. The one.

I used to pride myself on loving people through stuff even if it took all of my energy.

I was doing it wrong.

I had to learn that I had to put on my life-preserver first before I started helping others and that it is perfectly ok to do so. You aren’t supposed to deplete your entire energy loving somebody. Giving and receiving love in itself should energize you. The person you’re loving should love you enough not to allow you to do that. And they won’t allow you to do it. People who love themselves for real can recognize love in a number of forms. And they can recognize when and if they aren’t pulling their load and they want to pull their load. People who love themselves want to pull their load because that means they are living up to their own expectations of themselves and how they want to treat important people in their lives.

Maturity. Self love. Wisdom. Discernment. I want all of these. I continue to pray that the man I’m supposed to be with, God give me the vision to see him clearly and not get bogged down in the noise. I want to hear God in my choices. This is no exception.

 

 

 

 

One Artist Pays Homage to Exes Though Shoes, My Exes Make Great Sandwiches

It’s no secret that I love creative pursuits.

I also love shoes.

I also love love and have tried to become a student of relationships.

So when an artist made shoes based on his exes, I totally perked up. I had to see it and it’s so freaking awesome.

Check the link: http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/12-shoes-for-12-lovers-1386699601-slideshow/the-jet-setter-photo-1386704733985.html

So that made me think of my exes. Then I wondered what could I make that would represent our relationship or qualities each man had?

Then my mind wandered to sandwiches.

So here we go. I’m going to describe my exes/relationships through sandwiches.

The high school ex. PB and J with potato chips. It was simplistic and childish, and you can grow tired of eating it.

College ex #1 Bacon, lettuce and tomato. This relationship managed to be light, but still gave me everything I needed. It wasn’t excessive and when it was over, it didn’t leave a mess.

College ex #2 Tuna tar tar sandwich. This guy was pretentious and unnecessarily complicated. It’s tuna folks. Nothing more. If you got to do so much to it to make it taste good, it ain’t right. When it came down to it this dude was fishy from start to finish and started to stink after awhile.

Ex #3 Philly Cheesesteak. This guy was like your favorite college sweater. You could burp and fart and exchange rude jokes, he got along with everybody and was fun to be around. Not the most sophisticated person in the room, but the realest person in the room. Hard worker, manly, crazy about sports, big on family. All American guy.

Ex #4 Sloppy Joe with ground chicken. A hot mess. A hastily thrown together meal with basic ingredients. No one gets out without getting dirty. One false move, your outfit is ruined. And you can’t avoid it. But think you want it so bad you accept the consequences. It’s not the best choice, but when you’re really hungry it looks really, really good. And I chose chicken for obvious reasons. Punk ass. It seems sensible and safe, but if you have a more sophisticated pallate it won’t satisfy you. It takes longer to get the stain out of your favorite shirt than it did to eat it. And your favorite shirt may have a faint mark no matter how many times you spot cleaned and washed it. Yeah. Yeah I said it. LOL. 🙂

Should Your Man Have a Say In What You Wear?

This blog is called 29 to life. So when I write about certain things, I write from the perspective of a grown woman who understands compromise in relationships and values it.

Recently, I saw a bunch of bloggers or people on Twitter with various opinions about Rapper/Actor T.I.’s reaction to his WIFE’S let me emphasize WIFE’s sexy Instagram photos.

And he said the following on social media:

“You have so much more going for u other than you a**. Although it is magnificent, I think u should spend just as much time showcasing those other things as u do ya #booty…Awesome pic tho. Luv.” – See more at: http://madamenoire.com/346855/t-checks-wife-tiny-showing-much-skin-instagram/#sthash.S5n4IXYA.dpuf
A lot of the websites are saying he “checked” her or put her in her place.
So of course all of the “independent women” chimed in about Tiny flaunting her assets.
I see it from two sides of the coin. I see it from Tip’s point.
That’s his wife. The mother of his children and most men want you to be appealing and attractive and they feel good about having a good-looking woman, but they don’t want your goodies all over the net. And they don’t want you to pose in ways that are suggestive in your photos.
I agree with this.
On the flip side, as a woman who is now into her 30s, I can see why Tiny is posting the photos. Tiny has like five kids.
It looks like she’s lost some weight and she’s probably very proud of herself and her body and is feeling really sexy.
I’ve already told folks, even if I lose 15 pounds, you can’t tell me nothing. I’m going to be feeling myself. And when you get older and have kids, you have to work extremely hard for your body.
But the best thing about getting older is if you are lucky and you’ve learned something, you really start knowing who you are in the inside and feeling good about that person. So when your outside is looking right, grown women can’t be stopped. So, I also understand where Tiny may be coming from too, wanting to show off a little bit.
I’m more on the modest side and I do think with age you can keep it sexy, but the more simple and subtle you keep it the more appealing you are. Times have changed. Women in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s (hey Michelle Obama!) are looking fabulous, taking care of themselves and wearing great flattering clothes.
We aren’t going off into that dark night with a whimper. And I love this.
But within the confines of a committed relationship, does the husband/boyfriend have a right to express his dislike for how a woman dresses or conducts herself on social media? I do like the fact that he didn’t tear her down, he did say it was an “awesome” pic. So he wasn’t out there just being a hater.
Some people have argued that should have been a private discussion. But I’m glad T. I. did it, because it opens up dialogue about how far should people in relationships go with semi racy photos online.
But there’s also a third leg to this chair. Women like Beyonce and Gabrielle Union are in committed relationships. But they have a different body type than Tiny. I think Tiny looks great, for the record. She would be considered thick in my opinion (and my scale of thickness is a sliding scale, I also think Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius are thick. I consider myself thick too). There’s a part of me that wonders if when women like Bey or Gabrielle wear bikinis or revealing outfits, their bodies are more accepted? I wonder if T.I. would be less critical if Tiny looked more like the chicks in the Blurred Lines video, or if his reaction would be the same…
What say you lifers?

Treat Me Like A Lady

I wrote a post awhile back about vulnerability being one of the greatest gifts of womanhood. We make it look beautiful and through our example, we can create an atmosphere for others to do the same when in our presence. It’s something that should be applauded and celebrated.

But let us talk about reality.

Within the confines of romantic relationships, we can only be as vulnerable as we are trusting of the person we lay our burden down to.

Go ahead, retweet that.

So what does that mean?

Our romantic partners have to earn our trust. Our romantic partners have to show us stability and loyalty and discretion. Can they keep our secrets? Are they quick-tempered? Are they judgemental? Do they make us feel absolutely comfortable? Can we be ourselves around them? Can we be our silliest self? The nerd? The freakiest freak? Are our partners open and honest? Are they judicious with their words? Are they being genuine? Do they think about how they respond and react to us? Do they anticipate our reactions because they truly know who we are? Our thoughts? When we are being irrational? When we need support?

I come from a long line of very strong-willed, fiercely independent and free-spirited women. I surround myself with friends who come from the same ilk.

I have friends who have endured physical and emotional abuse, death of dear loved ones, great loss. We (I’m including myself) have battled depression, we’ve questioned ourselves, we sometimes didn’t like what we looked at in the mirror.

We’ve had very, very horrible days and equally horrible thoughts. Thoughts that brilliant, beautiful, smart, talented women are told that we shouldn’t have.  We’ve contributed to the caricatures painted of us as superwomen, because we don’t want people to know that underneath the great clothes, the pretty hair, the degrees and success, that we cry alone non-stop til our heads are throbbing with pain, we worry about our futures, we get scared and shame ourselves for even feeling this way– as natural and human is it is. We’ve convinced ourselves that sucking it up is the best way and that we have to do it alone, because no one else will do it right, or even understand us.

But we’re wrong. We aren’t using the grand gift of vulnerability. And smart, independent women are always supposed to use our gifts.

It’s crazy to think this way. But when I think of having a man enter my life, I am a realist. He does have his hands full.

As tough as I think I am, I am equally fragile. I’m more fragile. I’m made up of so many things– my flaws, my strengths, my fears, my accomplishments, my grit, my wit. It will take a special kind of person to look at my messy self and see the mess, and see the beauty still shining through.

I told a friend today that the essence of what I want in a man is this: Someone who makes me feel like a lady.

I think there is a distinction. I’m a woman. Every damn day. I’m doing what I gotta do, I’m working, I’m paying bills, I serve as support to my family and friends and co-workers and I take these things on gladly.

But when I’m a lady, my main purpose is to be light and fabulous and sexy and mysterious. When my man allows me to be a lady, he figures out the details. I just show up and I’m a stunner. I am on his arm, without a care and he handles the rest and I’m confident that he handles it. I won’t micromanage, I won’t emasculate. I won’t even reach for my purse. He takes care of me, he dotes on me and he is in awe of me.

I want a man I can chop it up with like the homies, I want to be madly in love and feel passion. I want to share my thoughts and fears and dreams with no reservation. And I want him to make me feel like old Hollywood. Like silk. Like Chanel number 5, like pearls and pill box hats, and mink stoles and red lipstick and stockings with back seams. He MUST make me feel like a lady. And as a modern woman, there is nothing wrong with being strong and independent and wanting that too. I don’t want to make all of the decisions. I don’t want us to assign gender roles to how we express our feelings. You’re acting like the man! You’re acting like the woman!

We react to things, the way that we do because of so many factors. Because of how we were raised, because of whatever life has done to us along the way. We are simply acting and reacting like ourselves. If a man cries, and shares how he is feeling, he is not acting like a woman. If a woman cusses, or if she won’t cry, she is not acting like a man. People are acting and reacting in ways that are most natural to who they are.

If a person earns your love and your trust. Be vulnerable. Take it to the next level. Push back the fear, and give them a shot to love you more deeply. It’s a risk and that person has to deserve it. But if they’ve proven themselves. Do it.

Things That Scare Grown Ass People

I was inspired by awesome fellow blogger from Choices, Voices and Sole. She recently discussed the most scary thing to single women who are dating and I thought it was so funny.

The struggle is real when you can’t zip up the back of a dress and you are running late. Missing your birth control pills and realizing you missed not one but two days, oh yes. You have quite the moment. So I want to not just talk about single women, but me as a grown person, things that scare me.

In no particular order.

1. Traffic cameras

2. Women who wear jeggings as pants and won’t even wear a long shirt or sweater to cover their butt.

3. Kid germs. (I haven’t built up an immunity to them. Being single puts me at greater risk when working parents with sick children share bathrooms and office supplies. Getting sick from them is the absolute worst.)

4. Being out of Nutella

5. The ice cream machine is not working

6. Getting medical test results back, whether you are healthy or not.

7. Stepping on a scale.

8. Blind dates.

9. IRS tax audits

10. Speaking in public

11. Responsibility

12. Poorly lit parking lots

13. Missed or late menstrual cycles

14. Unemployment

15. Committment

16. STD’s

17. The words “We need to talk.”

18. Jury Duty

19. Being trapped in an elevator

20. Gas station restrooms

21. Hotel bed linens

22. Children allowed to make their own plates at buffets.

23. Being alone for the rest of your life

24. Online dating

25. People touching or biting food or taking a drink of something and offering it to you.

26. Bugs or rodents

27. Running out of gas or breaking down in a rough neighborhood.

28. Cell phone battery dying when you run out of gas or breakdown in a rough neighborhood.

29. Your final total in the checkout line at Target.

30. Sitting front row at a comedy show.

31. Your fat pants don’t fit any more.

32. Someone blew up the bathroom, and as you leave, another person greets you, and then smells the smell.

33. Chicken in a can.

34. DC tap water

35. Realizing you forgot to put on deodorant and you’ve already left the house.

36. Forgetting an important password.

37. Leaving your cell phone at home.

38. Traveling with a feeling that you forgot to turn off the stove, or you left your door unlocked.

Calling My Inner Aggressor (WARNING: This post is for mature folk, I’m talking about sex)

Just the other day, I looked at some of the blogs of my followers and I was a little nervous when I discovered one of my followers is 16. It kind of reminded me all kinds of people are out following blogs. So this post is for grown folks. If you still read along, young followers, please. Sex is a big deal. And it involves way more than your parts. It’s a tangled web of crazy when you aren’t mature enough to handle it. And I know people in their 30s who still aren’t mature enough to handle it and have gotten into a lot of drama from it. You’ve seen Maury. You not bout that life. Don’t desire to be bout that life. You should be safe and selective and just honestly focus on school and finding out what you are good at. And please don’t say you’re good at sex. Cus you’re not. No really, you’re not.

And on with today’s post.

I’ve often heard from men that they really like it when women initiate sex.

And it makes sense.

Men want to feel good about themselves and feel as if they are desired, just like women do. ANNND with all of these stories coming out about rape and the recent and increasingly popular analysis of rape culture, I think men feel like if a woman starts the party, there is no question at all that she is 100 percent consenting to what’s about to go down.

That has to be a relief. The clarity must be freeing and I believe allows both parties to have a much better experience.

Which goes back to the chicken and egg situation of women wanting to own their sexuality and be initiator without the stigma of being a freak or slut or ho. (Within the confines of a committed relationship, this shouldn’t even be an issue.)

Most men I know, who I’ve had this conversation with, including my own boyfriends, they’ve said that they don’t want to be the one always getting things started. And even if women had the fear that they’d get turned down, most guys I know say they aren’t going to turn it down unless something is really, really wrong, so women should go for it more often.

As a woman, I think taking on the role of the aggressor/initiator can be a whole lot of fun. You are running the show, you are dictating the fantasy as you see fit. You’ve made the decision to wear or not wear whatever you want, and take the man off guard.

I’ve thought of the times I exposed my gangsta, literally and I laugh about it.

I have been the girl who showed up to the house in a trench, heels and nothing else. Did I mention it was winter?

I once requested my ex-fiance go to the bank and ask for $100 in singles, because I was going to dance for him on his birthday. And he did. And I put on quite the show.

Sometimes it takes courage and feeling completely comfortable with someone to be the “aggressor” and I think that’s the main reason why women don’t do it.

Sometimes we don’t feel good about our bodies because of the women we see on t.v. We may know the favorite female celebrity of the guy we are dating and we know we look nothing like it.

But, some how, some way, we owe it to ourselves to as J. Cole says in the song “Crooked Smile” to not “see what you lackin, but see what you packin.”

You have to believe it, sell it and the man will follow suit. A good friend of mine and I always joke about her ample bosoms and my large behind and we agree it’s important to be proud of our assets and play them up to the fullest. You do have to love what you are looking at in the mirror. Some days I put on a pair of little shorts around my house and I know I’m awesome. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because the days I don’t feel awesome, I really don’t feel awesome.

Being an initiator is more mental than just seducing the man. It’s a mental and emotional exercise that I have to build up to. For me, it isn’t spontaneous. Aren’t you shocked by this? Outwardly, I seem super sexy and confident, right? 🙂

I actually put a lot of thought into it. I listen to sexy music all day long. I primp and pamper.

I start early and send dirty texts all day long.

I make sure I’m well-groomed, smelling good and with the softest skin imaginable.

I wear my hair in a way that makes me feel sexy.

And I won’t lie, I may pour myself a nice stiff drink. (ONE LADIES. YOU CAN’T BE SEXY AND SLOPPY, THEY DON’T GO TOGETHER).

Sometimes you have to put on your prettiest undergarments or even buy yourself a garment that feels good on your skin.

Go to a pole dancing/exotic dance class. They are fun and they allow you to see yourself in a new light and help you get more comfortable with your inner aggressor. And you get to see and meet women of all different shapes and sizes also feeling good about themselves and just trying. I honestly think all women should try it once. Because they are women only classes, it’s not about sex. It really is about self-esteem.

Think about the things that you like, then ask your partner for it. There are times you hope they do certain things and when they don’t you get upset. You are in the room too. Tell them what you want.

You have to feel your absolute best. And I think that’s something men need to understand too.

A friend of mine was saying he doesn’t want to feel like he’s always begging for sex, even though nine times out of ten he’s always down for it.

But even though men tend to be down for it a lot, I think emotionally women do have to be THERE too in order to enjoy it and not be in it just to satisfy the guy. A lot of women are phoning it in and not mentally or emotionally into it and it’s crazy, because we have the power. We dictate whether or not it goes down. Our bodies are precious.

And it’s crazy that as a young woman, I really kind of didn’t think about myself or how I felt or how I wanted to feel. I would often just think this guy really wants me and let me be good at sex and not even for me, but for him.

How backwards is that?

So where is the happy medium?

I think it’s easier when women are more selective about who they sleep with. I think it’s easier when a woman really cares about the man and knows the man really cares about her. It’s a heck of a lot easier when the woman is attracted to the guy. And it’s super easier when the woman knows the guy can satisfy her. If you’ve had bad experiences, and you are trying to hang in there with the person because he’s a nice guy, or he’s good-looking, it’s hard to get excited about him getting off every time and you getting nothing in return. And some men will pick up on that, and because you always agree, they will always take advantage, whether you enjoyed it or not. And you don’t want that kind of guy in your life. EVER. And you don’t deserve that kind of guy in your life. EVER.

If you had someone put it down with precision, you think about it at work, in the shower, when you wake up, when you go to sleep and that already builds the anticipation for the next time. You aren’t going to want to keep your hands off. Being the initiator will come naturally just off of that. So good luck, gals. Go get em.
In honor of TLC’s really awesome movie that premiered this week. And as queens of liberated, independent women who get what they want and “Ain’t too proud to beg”…

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