So…about that boyfriend…

Fellas,

Women lie.  I know this isn’t a secret.  Most people are untruthful at one time or another, even if only to themselves.  That’s not what I’m here to discuss, so stop queuing up Maury clips to prove your point.  I’m talking this one simple lie almost every woman tells to one strange man or another:  “I’m sorry, but I have a boyfriend.”

You may ask yourself, “Well, what’s so difficult about telling the truth?”  Nothing about it is difficult, except…everything is.  Telling a person that you’re basically not interested in them isn’t the easiest thing to do.  It’s not that women believe your world will end by letting you down; it just seems a little harsh.  Especially if the guy seems like a nice dude.  If the chance is slim that we’ll see you again, “I have a boyfriend” is often viewed as a means to bypass an unpleasant situation with a cool person.

But not ALL of yall are cool.  There are seven types of fellas that warrant an unabashed lie:

1.  He’s old enough to be our Dad

…’s dad.  It’s unfortunate that you squandered your youth, and woman your age are over your foolishness.  It’s even more unfortunate that you’re looking for love at Love.  I’m 34 and consider myself too old for Love.  What are you doing playa?  You’re trying to get these young ladies’ phone numbers because what?  You presume that they’re not smart enough to be up on your tired game?  Or do you need a young pair of eyes to check your blood pressure monitor?   I  need you, your corn pads, your Grecian Formula and your “shote set” to evacuate the premises.  My fake boyfriend doesn’t like it when I come home smelling like Theragesic.  Please and thanks.

2.  He has all the signs and symptoms of a Bugaboo

Some of your brethren have that wild look in their eyes.  A look that says, “I can’t wait to call this woman until her battery commits suicide.”  Virtually everything about this type of cat seems normal, but something is just off.  That’s the part of their mind that has decided it’s okay to call, hang up and hit redial for 48 straight hours, and when you finally answer, say something inane like, “Hey stranger,” or “Oh…I didn’t expect you to answer.  You busy?”  I once mistakenly gave my number to a guy with this look in his eye.  Within fifteen minutes of meeting, he’d called me three times.  Then proceeded to call 37 times that day.  Once you give him your number, you’ve told him you’re free, so do yourself a favor. Lie!  You might want to make your fake boyfriend a Navy SEAL or something.

3.  He’s this guy:

You’re not even a closet bugaboo.  You won’t give a woman the opportunity to say they’re gay, straight, single, married, terminally ill or joining the French Foreign Legion.  This type of guy doesn’t even require further explanation as to why he’s on this list.

4.  He’s a Serial Thigh Rapist

It’s 2011, and thigh rape is still a rampant club activity.  If you are a man and are being told, “You know how to attract strange women?  Run up to them without introducing yourself on the dance floor, and start humping her leg like a sexy, but frustrated terrier,” punch him in the face.  He’s only telling you this so that he can collect the women that are running away from you.  If you’re dancing with a girl and yall are mutually bumping and grinding, I’ll let you cook.  But your erection should not be your calling card.  So yes, if you ask for the digits, we’re suddenly booed up.

5.  HE doesn’t even like himself

Sometimes people just present themselves wrong.  Almost every woman knows the self-proclaimed nice guy who is a chronic complainer.  If the first impression of you is someone who is irritable and ill at ease with themselves, we don’t want to be a part of that.  You’re not that nice…and you’re kind of boring.  In the spirit of sisterhood, we’ll make up a boyfriend to spare the NEXT sister from hearing your woeful tale as a nice guy that finishes last.

6.  He looks like he’d bust a cap in our ass

Some of you are flat out scary.  As a young woman, I was always taught to be cautious about how to turn men down.  In my family, there’s always been a story of some woman who was hit, stabbed or shot by being just a little too haughty in turning a dude down.  Sometimes, it was just a matter of having the gall to turn a dude down at all.  If you look like you know how to hide bodies or turn a bar of soap into a weapon, a fictitious (cop) boyfriend is a lady’s best bet.

7.  He’s some unfortunate combination of Numbers 1-6

And he looks like this

Some fellas take this alleged man shortage TOO seriously, refuse to develop any discernible social skills, and has decided that personal grooming and plummet back into the pit of hell from which it descended.  Not being interested is NEVER enough for this guy.  He demands a Motion and Order in Support of My Right to Deem You a Fuck Nugget.  Oftentimes, he’s making these demands with breath that smells like 25 pounds of GetBack.  For this guy, it is important that you not only create a boyfriend, but befriend some normal guys in the area, because you’ll need reinforcements.

If you, or someone you love fits one or more of these descriptions, take the steps to incite change.  Reach out to give or receive the help that is so desperately needed.  Friends don’t let friends remain leptons.

What I wouldn’t give for a room

“…a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved.”
– A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

My greatest adversary is fiction.   Being a woman who tries hard in real life to offer bare-faced – albeit tactful – honesty, creating stories out of thin air is a struggle.  It’s not that I can’t do it; my imagination is a force to be reckoned with.  The truth is, once i get those fiction writing juices flowing, great things happen.  Getting those juices flowing, however, is a problem in and of itself.  Because I am a woman without a room.

To have a “room” isn’t just a physical place, although it is necessary.  It is having the existential room to breathe.  I would like the right to say, “This is the thing I do, and unless the earth’s core sees the light of day, you are not to disturb me.”  And it is not just about being “Mama;”  It is being woman, sister, lover, daughter, girlfriend.  That nurturing spirit makes people believe they hold rights to your time.

I don’t fault them. I LOVE being there.  I adore the fact that my friends know that if they need me, no matter what time, I’m going to make myself available.  I have no problems with them.  It’s the “oh, I see you can’t call nobody,” people, or the people who immediately swan dive into their issues before you have the chance to tell them you don’t have the time, that get my goat.  I won’t even get on my kids.  Would you believe that there have been times that I have carried my laptop to the toilet with me, in hopes that at least the sanctity of my gastrointestinal needs would be respected.  It only works half the time.  When I am “befriended,” that brings up a whole new crop of issues.  My last dating situation led to a sharp decline in my writing, because dude was flat out monopolizing my time.

I know how it works with men, and it’s what I admire most about you.  You stake your claim to time and space, and everything else has to work around it.  “This is what I’m doing.  I’ll be back.  Don’t call me.  Don’t text me.  Don’t send a carrier pigeon.  I. Will. Holler. When. I’m. Finished.”  And that’s the end of the story.  Anyone who steps into that zone is met with the simple question, “Didn’t I tell you I’d be [doing this] until [time here]?”  Love that.  But I believe most women at least have the natural inclination to bend their situations around people.  Not that women are lacking in drive of focus, and not that we can’t.  Just far more often than not, taking time for ourselves is not our knee-jerk reaction.  Women who do that are seen almost as revolutionaries.

Time, large chunks of it at that, is a critical element in fiction writing.  You need to be all in.  It takes time just to remove yourself from your own psyche and decide, “Okay, I know what I’d do, but what would she do?”  It requires the type of thought that doesn’t come in five minute bursts between telling your dad you’ll call him back, sending your best friend a text and screaming at your kids to “stop fighting because you do NOT want me to get up from this computer and change your life.”  (Yes.  I’ve said that to my kids. And…?)  The more I struggle with this novel that has come to mean so much to me, the more I realize the importance of carving out this crucial space for myself.

To my sisters of the quill, here’s to creating our own room, and only emerging when it is time.

Going Wireless?

If you’ve been a reader or a follower on Twitter  (You do follow me on Twitter, right? You should. I’m great there.) for more than three months, you would know that my weight is an oft-bemoaned topic.  I’ve always been chesty, but once I gained weight, my boobs got set on a hundred thousand trillion.  Not in the scary “Ahhhhh, warn the townspeople and grab your pitchforks!” way.  In the awesome, “I think I’ll give her a few extra slices of turkey after I’ve printed this label at the deli” way.  But with the boobs, come the bra; and with the bra, comes the wires and hooks.

All in a days work, right?  WRONG.  Those wires have declared jihad on my fleshy parts.  The boning on the side impales me in ways that should be saved for those who have committed high treason against Beyonce, and should one of the underwires ever break, you better hope you’re right with your Creator. Love handles under siege.  What part of the game is this?! A few months ago, when I spoke with one of my fellow sisters in boob, she declared an absolute nay no on the underwire bra.

It was as though she spoke a foreign language.  Every bra that I saw that didn’t have wires looked like my mother’s.  Nothing gave me the impression of security like those thin metal wires which both support and abandon me at will. Plus, the ones I saw look just a little too much like they would match with a couple of pairs of my granny’s bloomers.

So what say you ladies?  Wireless or landline?

Girl…What that KITCHEN smell like?

“Girl, if you want that man to stay around, you better cook something.”

You can look like a model with a career and ambition, but you’d better know how to make a mean lasagna, because looks, money and even the flyest of shoes can’t keep you warm at night.  You need to get you a man.  In support of this, ask any brother the importance of a home cooked meal, and they’ll tell you the same thing, “That’s what keeps a man coming back.”

I’m not an “independent-superwoman-who-doesn’t-need-a-man-to-validate-myself.”  (The fact that feminine independence is viewed as a quality both desired and deprecatory is it’s own topic altogether.)  I enjoy companionship.  When I meet a gentleman whose company I enjoy, I will ultimately cook for him.  When I was married, I loved cooking for my family.  My Sunday morning breakfasts are still the stuff of legend.  I get down on my Southern hospitality, and I love sending friends home with good times and full tummies.  However, knowing my first name and carrying a ‘Y’ chromosome does NOT equate a free ticket into my kitchen.

I will once again blame the media-hyped man shortage for this explosion.  Brothers from thither and yon are not only demanding that women get in the kitchen, but chastise any that don’t.  Fifty years ago, the onus was on men to prove that they were able to provide for a family.  If you’re in my age group and had old school parents, we can push that up to twenty years ago.  (When my oldest friend’s now-husband asked her father for permission to marry her, his response was, “I really like you, but, what do you do and how much do you make doing it?”)  Men went out to work, women stayed in house.  My own mother only worked outside of the home when we were in dire straits.  In those instances, part of a woman’s job description, as it were, was providing a home cooked meal.

Today, being a stay at home mom is a position held by a select few, and in this economy, even stay-at-home wives are taking on more work-at-home projects.  If I can accept that times have changed.  If I were to even consider chastising a man for asking a woman to marry him with the knowledge that she would have to work outside the home, I’d be strung up by lunch.  As such, I think you can accept that in 2010, when women can draft legislation, go to into space, fight for our country, research cures for diseases and become Secretary of State for one of the most powerful nations in the world, to label a woman a “failure” for not being able to cook a pot of gumbo is rather ridiculous.

I won’t understate the importance of cooking.  To prepare edible meals is crucial to self-sufficiency and survival.  Additionally, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with preparing a meal for your king.  I will not go into what makes a man worthy of being or not being your king.  If he is who you selected as a mate, govern yourself accordingly and get down for your crown.  Cooking, and other thoughtful gestures extended toward the people in your circle are acts of love.  But a lot of folks are pulling out five star meals for the court jester.  Guys who have no intention of serious and respectful dating, much less a long standing relationship.  Simply put, if a good meal is what keeps a man coming back, what if I don’t WANT you to come back?

There are great guys who get the raw deal from women that only want to be taken out, without offering much in return.  If my words don’t apply, let it fly.  These days, people are performing illicit sex acts just to get groceries in the house.  This is for some of your brethren, who reek of Axe’s Bootycall & Bad Intentions, demanding sandwiches made from my $9.99/lb cajun turkey, $7.99 Swiss cheese and $3.99 bread, then suspiciously eyeballing my Claussen pickles and toaster oven; yet bringing nothing more to the table than their two cents and appetite.  Do. Not. Want.

Before you start handing out labels on how unsuitable “some of these females” are.  Check yourself.  What are YOU working with?  A LOT of you aren’t even coming through with fresh laundry, or any discernible cooking skills of your own, but want the sister girl Martha Stewart that can orally service you from the back with a crazy straw (c. The Champ).  Pop that U-ey and take it to Wendy’s fam.  I’m selective about who dines in my establishment.