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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!

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‘Make Your Own Damn Sandwich’ and Reasons Why We Can’t Surrender to Love

Man, I have been so inspired by a recent article in the New York Post.

This woman’s situation raises so many questions and thoughts and the reaction of some readers also raises thousands more.

I was particularly touched by the story because I totally know the power of sharing and showing love through cooking food for people. It just feels good, you feel good doing it, you feel good seeing and hearing the reaction and seeing a plate picked clean by your loved ones.

A few days ago I made the most awesome turkey wrap ever, and as I ate it, I thought to myself, “I’d love to make this again for my man after we’ve made love. Well, after my post-coital nap, THEN, I’ll make it.

So seeing this article today, had me beside myself in laughter, because while folks were raging on about it, I had a good laugh and I understood.

http://nypost.com/2013/09/24/i-wooed-my-man-with-a-sandwich/

Long story short, this woman happened to make her a very tasty sandwich one night and he loved it. So she started making him more awesome sandwiches and one day he blurted out that if she made 300, he’d put a ring on it.

So of course, people started tripping off of what was probably originally just a funny in-the-moment comment and began to go in on this dude, for “demanding” she make 300 sandwiches.

Homegirl took it literally and started her quest to 300. She’s somewhere around 127 and counting. I have to say after seeing some photos of these sandwiches, I like men very much, but if she was making those kinds of sandwiches for me everyday, I’d switch teams for a minute to reap the benefits. I kid.

But the sandwiches look original, creative and delicious. I actually want to try some of the recipes myself.

So I read the article from Facebook where a number of black women sounded off. Even in the article this chick is catching a bit of hell.

I’ve mentioned before I believe in feminism and I stand in solidarity with black feminism and all of its nuances and complexities. It’s some other ish, and the people I follow on twitter who are part of the black feminism movement have really educated me and gazillions of others.

Most people agreed aiming for an arbitrary number of sandwiches to get to 300 specifically just to get a ring isn’t a good idea.

And under most circumstances, looking at that idea at face value is ridiculous. What does making a great sandwich over and over have to do with marriage? Isn’t it about love and reciprocity and respect and loyalty and honor and discipline and responsibility and maturity? Yes, yes and yes.

And through this sandwich-making, this woman is actually showing all of those qualities.

If you read the description of their relationship, she says she adores him. She says he cooks amazing things for her (a perfect filet mignon), they travel together and they have been accepted and loved by both families. They live together and seem insanely happy.

So what is making a couple hundred sandwiches?

And trust, if their relationship is solid, and she really loves this man she’s got thousands of sandwiches to go. She’s not going to stop at 300, just because she’s got the ring, or 301, just to be on the safe side.

Love is built on various unselfish acts that we do for one another every single day.

But people can’t see past the sandwich, or the fact this intelligent, attractive woman is taking time from her day to do this.

I guess they want her to cure cancer or something instead.

She’s been called a Stepford Wife and accused of setting women back.

Women who attack other women for consciously wanting to reciprocate love to a man that’s treating them well, is what’s setting women back. REAL TALK.

The majority of women responding in the negative on the Facebook post were black women.

This is part of the reason why we aren’t winning. I’m not going to get on the already beaten and bludgeoned dead horse about why black women– particularly successful black women are single. But these kinds of attitudes contribute.

I’m going to add another layer to this. If you haven’t read the article, the woman featured is African-American and her boo thang is a white man.

So, some black women may be up in arms about this educated, attractive sister making sandwiches to “earn” a ring from a white man (who has clearly shown that he’s probably going to marry her anyway), but already planning “Scandal” parties for next week, making sandwiches for their girls, drooling while a married, white president Fitz, fabulously sexes down the brilliant and gorgeous Olivia Pope.

American black women can be a little touchy about relationships with American white men, due to our horrible history together in this country through sex and slavery.

The venom is misplaced.

I think there’s some hate and jealousy in the mix. This woman is getting what she wants. She wants to be loved, she wants to share her life with someone who appreciates her.

And isn’t that the goal? They share a lovely home together, they travel, he cooks. Like he really cooks. Shiiiit. 300 sandwiches ain’t nothing. If Idris Elba asked a black woman to do it, she’d do it in a heartbeat.

We have parameters on who we love, and a dysfunctional sense that if we consistently do something nice for a man like cook or clean or iron or sew a button, we have demeaned ourselves. We’ve made ourselves lesser.

I’ve told you all the story about my sister bringing my brother-in-law his dinner, on a tray to his man cave. The younger me hated it. And I thought she was being weak and a Stepford. But that was her style of giving love and making him happy and making him feel like the man of his house. I know my brother-in-law to be a very hard worker, often working two jobs to support the family and give them everything they need. He adores my sister and you can feel it the way they laugh and joke and play with each other.

In order to enjoy mature love, both sides have to be vulnerable and show a lot more humility and not be afraid to do so. Many of the black women I know, we want to be in control, we want to know what’s going to happen in the future and we want an established record of good behavior from a man in order for us to completely give ourselves over.

But it seems us expecting love to work that way is not working FOR us. That attitude is working against us. We should be cautious and discerning when we pick our partners. Yes, but we have to trust we’ve done a good enough job in the selection process, that we should want to show love in ways others might see as domestic servitude.

We want men to fix things for us, to get up in the middle of the night with a baseball bat against a potential gun if there is a home invader. We want men to lay down expensive blazers in a puddle and or get rained on so we don’t get our hair wet; we want them to kill bugs and remove critters and dispose of garbage— things that an educated man could scoff at, just as educated women could scoff at cooking and cleaning and declare as things a man can “do his damn self” — but would we do all of those things our damn self, if we had a good man who doesn’t have to do it, but chooses to make us feel safe and loved and appreciated?

It’s something to think about.

If I know that I have a great man who loves me, I want to want to do things he likes for him even if it may inconvenience me from time to time, because I know he’s doing the same for me. I’m not going to keep score and with hold my love or positive loving actions because I’m waiting for him to do something for me that I consider equal or greater to my action. That’s not love.

Soon as I get home from work. Babyface

People hated Cater to You by Destiny’s Child. But basically this is the point of today’s blog. If you grown, you get it.

A Tale of Two Sisters

I have had a million things on my mind.

What else is new?

I had a strange feeling yesterday as my sister sent me a lovely photo of her, my brother in law and nephew after church.

They looked like the perfect little family.

It was like three in the afternoon, I didn’t go to church, I was still in my pjs and I was alone. I was feeling guilty that I hadn’t gone to church in weeks. But I really didn’t have the energy to sit through service as people went on about their mothers. I love my mother and I’m thankful for her, but it’s not a day that I really enjoy because of how complicated our relationship is.

I was a little bit jealous looking at the photo, but at the same time so happy that my sister managed to find her happiness and find her place and her lane.

My sister has been the kind of woman who settles down and always appears to be content. Sometimes I confused that for her playing it safe, and settling, meanwhile I was always the one to branch out, do something different or crazy and test my limits and my independence.

Sometimes, it made me feel superior.

I often wondered, why don’t you want MORE? What is out there that you dream of or feel like you lack? Why haven’t you just gone for it?

It confused me. I felt like we were made up of the same stuff, surely she had a desire for more. I looked up to her. She was a great student, a good athlete, very smart, very beautiful. I felt like she hid from her greatness. It was like her greatness was more than she could stand, a burden, a sin and she wanted nothing to do with it. It would draw too much attention, and it would be too much.

That bothered me, since I thought so much of her. I but I actually still do think highly of her. But she’s not me, and I’m not her.

She is still a little bit of a mystery because a decade separates us. She was off to college when I was eight, and she never came back home.

She never stepped up to meet it her greatness and look it in the face and accept it, I thought. Even when I tell her how beautiful she is and how she should wear her heels higher and her jeans a little tighter, she’d just shake her head. It wasn’t comfortable to her.

Why didn’t she she what I saw?

I’ve come to the conclusion, my sister is satisfied.

Sometimes, I am jealous of her ability to be satisfied, while I’m always in search of the next, the better. I can’t stand still, and more and more, I say what’s on my mind and what I won’t accept and then I don’t accept it.

We’re two sisters living in two different worlds.

She admires my independence. I admire her groundedness.

Things aren’t perfect. And she’s had her struggles. Her frustrations with work, my nephew has had some medical scares with seizures, but she’s had an amazing husband who has stood by her and seems to adore her still.

I had a long talk with my cousin Friday night, and I asked her if I was too independent, too selfish for a real relationship, marriage? Would I be able to subdue my often independent and creative and impatient nature and would my future man accept it?

It seemed like my sister was highly suited for traditional, stereotypical marriage. She didn’t have a rebellious streak in her at all. She did everything she was supposed to and without complaint or grumbling. She was a good kid. She rarely got in trouble or talked back to our parents ever. I had the smart mouth. I would question. I would act a fool in the store.

She would occasionally stand up for herself when necessary, but like myself, she calculates her moments and tends to be non-confrontational unless she has to be.

When I was engaged and preparing for marriage, I was trying to mimic what a good wife was supposed to be– full of self-sacrifice, totally supportive. I put everything into my relationship. However, my creative side was lacking. I was afraid if I didn’t faithfully put a certain amount into the savings account we created together that we agreed upon, I’d be letting down my man, I’d be cheating him and I wouldn’t want him to think I wasn’t pulling my weight. Our accounts and our participation in contributing to them allowed us to live as we pleased without worry. It was smart. I wanted to always be attractive to him, I wanted to be able to do the things he wanted sexually. I thought that was what good wives were supposed to do. The best wives seemed to be the ones who sacrificed the most.

So here I am.

I know myself better than I’ve ever had before. But I worry.

I’ve seen a lot of pain. I’ve seen a lot of selfless acts in my family. I’ve seen people fear and or deny their own pleasure and happiness and wants because they had to take care of someone else out of love and duty.

I don’t want a life like that. I want to feel like I’m being mutually loved, nurtured, protected and taken care of. Love should be freedom. The person you love should make you feel free. Yes, you have a duty to them, but you should feel most like yourself. You should feel free.

The stakes are getting higher and higher for me because I see how quickly life can change how life is filled with joyous moments, but also highly painful ones that require support networks free of judgement, and full of acceptance and love.

It’s strange how I don’t want my man to feel like he has to sacrifice everything for me, but I want to just know, like I know my own name he would if he had to, but because I love him just as much and I’m giving too, he doesn’t have to… Because that’s what you do for love.

You don’t trap people.

You accept them. Even when they change, because they are going to change and grow and you are going to change and grow too.

The goal is to change and grow in a way that benefits the unit.
I think people in relationships are allowed to change and grow.

But the vision for the relationship should always remain the constant. You have to agree to that from day one. Even when children come and when they’ve left the house, even when there is success, even when there is failure.

You both are looking at the same goal.

Sometimes I wonder if I already know this man. I wonder if I have to fall in love again and fail once, twice or even three times, before I’m supposed to be with him. If I’ll be mature enough or worthy enough to be allowed to have the one finally revealed to me.

I wonder If we’ve met before quickly and brushed past each other on a busy street, or we’ve sat and had easy conversations that lasted well into the night, laughs lingering in warm air. I wonder if he’s right around the corner, or living half way across the globe, doing all of the things he’s supposed to be doing so he can find his way to me at the exact, preordained time. I wonder if it will take ten years from now to find or rediscover him.

The timing isn’t up to me.

Who he is, isn’t even up to me.

It is up to me to recognize his voice when I hear him.

His touch when he touches me, his kiss.

To look in his eyes and see him and know.

That kind of love is out there.

I’m sharpening my skills to better identify it.

I’m getting closer.

I was told not to worry. That he’ll find me and love every bit of me. He’ll accept those dark things that occupy my mind that makes me quiet and moody sometimes, and he’ll love me through it. He’ll give me just enough space, but he’ll know exactly when to come in, not say a word kiss me on my head and hold me close.

Everyday, every action, we both are getting pulled closer.

I believe.

Meet Estrogena, The Pink Incredible Hulkstress

On this blog, I celebrate the ups and downs of turning 30.

I tell myself and I tell you that this is an age of discovery and an age of the beginning of accepting yourself for who you are, for real.

I talk about trying not to make yourself crazy if you aren’t married yet. Or if you are married, it’s not a big deal if you haven’t cranked out kids yet, or if you haven’t cranked out a brother or sister for the kid you already have.

I keep this theme of you are enough, and it all is timing. It’s better to be where you are then where you think you are supposed to be and totally unhappy.

Well today, I don’t feel that way.

Today, I feel like I should be married to a great man who protects me and helps me pay my bills, like the huge, expensive car repairs I’m staring down the barrel of over the next several weeks, because well I don’t have nearly $2,000 just lying around.

I would have it if I didn’t pay an ever growing rent alone, or put gas in my car, or eat or survive.

I love my independence, but the shit is expensive.

While I say this, I know better. My married sister always tells me, that yes, financially your husband helps you out, but more often than not, your bills are bigger. You have two cars that break down, you have a much larger home, that requires more resources to operate. Your money is gone to handle business whether you are single or with someone, so there isn’t much of a difference, but having their support is what matters and makes you feel better.

I’m sure my married and divorced readers can attest to my sister’s wisdom.

It’s not just about the money.

Going through this time of separation from my local friends, it would be nice to have someone to hold me and say it’s ok, you’ve got me, or that they will come around, or whatever.

I cried myself to sleep last night, because I wanted to stop loving someone. It’s been a year, for crying out loud.

But why did he have to recently say he still loved me?

Why did those words keep ringing in my head?

Since he said those tragic, beautiful, hopeful, dreadful words, why did I shut myself off from men who were either just as good-looking as him, who definitely had more money and more assets and better careers?

Why do those exact words, coming from him, mean more to me than the combined incomes, good looks and success of all of those other men combined?

Because I guess I hate myself equally as much as I love him. I’d have to hate myself to go through such torture.

But what does him still loving me mean anyway? What would be different this time?

What set me off? Why am I so emotionally unstable today?

My car repairs, and being a stupid Pandora by doing what I said I wouldn’t do.

Go on Facebook to look at who wished him a happy birthday. (I already know. I should have de-friended him a long time ago. I couldn’t do it, and neither did he. If he did first, I would have been mad. So round and round we go.)

Not only did one bitch wish him a happy birthday, she went on about how glad she was to celebrate with him and how they would have to finish their conversation later. And ended with a damn smiley face.

Smiley face.

It mocked me.

It taunted me.

This chick probably still dots her i’s with hearts.

I need to stop. I use smiley faces too.

But see? See how ridiculous one can become because of stupid feelings?

Feelings  make normally very rational women, turn into her worst enemy…

A hormonal, estrogen rage-induced, emotional nut bag.

Think a pink incredible Hulk with a weave, skirt, painted fingernails and toenails, ripping an encyclopedia in half with just her kuckles.  I’ll name her, Estrogena. The Hulk is so scared of pissing her off, he’s not even on Facebook. He deleted his account when he still didn’t change his relationship status a day after they became official.

A year later, with all the progress, all the fasting and praying, and bad mistake making, and enlightenment and business-starting and promotions; all the feeling stronger in my faith, all the relearning to love me, all the going to Zumba, all went out the window in one moment.

None of these amazing things I accomplished by my own strength and intellect mattered.

Facebook. One wall post that could have meant absolutely nothing, or absolutely everything on top of  an enormous bill for car repairs, and having to acquiesce to another year of living in this apartment, paying more than I think it’s worth, having to put off said car repairs for two weeks, winging it, praying the wheels won’t literally fall off my car (as the repair man warned) between now and then.  Finally, contemplating having to give up one or both vacations I had been looking forward to in order to be fiscally responsible, pushed me to my breaking point.

I told a dear friend I’m at the point I may go back to trans fats, heavily drinking and mindless sex with worthless men.

Then, I said I’d write.

Then work out, then take a shower and pray and cry while I’m in it and let the water and my tears become one indistinguishable rush of liquid on my face.

So here I am, writing.

Today, being 30, independent, alone, momentarily emotionally unstable and being fully aware if it, ain’t shit.

Smiley face.

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