“‘Become the man you want to marry.’ I’ve taken that on. What qualities do I find attractive, and can I find them in myself? What am I missing? Can I be that for myself?” – Michelle Williams (actress), 2009
This blog was born out of two things: Michelle Williams’s quote above and an IM with a friend of mine. His name has been changed but not the message.
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
I’m sometimes like a love guru – a pro bono relationship therapist. I just wish I could use my infinite wisdom of men and relationships on myself. But anyways, that’s another story. A friend of mine (you must be tired when I always start with ‘a friend of mine’ – but I can’t divulge the names of my clients) called me on Saturday with a dilemma. He’s typically been a ‘bad boy’ most of his life with a heart more secure than Fort Knox. Despite all that, he’s never lacked attention. The women still fawn over him. But he recently decided to do things a little differently and be open to expressing his feelings. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out. He opened up, liked someone a lot, expressed it openly, and got nowhere. Then he reverted back to bad boy status and already has other options! So he called and said, what’s the deal?
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
God created us, his children, male and female, in His own image. In a way, we carry his genes. We are his creations. Perhaps this is where our innate desire to bear our own children comes from.
According to research, women from as early as age three think primarily about two things – marriage and motherhood. And in Ghana, and most other African cultures, one typically goes with the other. A woman is naturally expected to get married and have children.
Last weekend, I went by my cousin’s place and the first thing she said was ‘oh you got your hair braided.’ The last time she saw me was weeks ago when she relaxed my natural hair. I got the braids probably like a week later. I rarely have my own hair these days. I have a lot of excuses for why; it’s the U.S. weather, its expensive and time consuming to take care of real hair, I just want some length and body, etc. Anyways, she said Chris Rock was on Oprah talking about ‘good hair’. Thankfully, I tape every single Oprah show (I don’t watch them all, but for some reason, I just want to have them). The show was hilarious. Chris Rock was hilarious, and his documentary ‘Good Hair’ looks like it will be fun. The shocking part for me was Oprah really has great hair! Seriously, it’s all hers. Chris ran his hands through it from her forehead to the back (key step in verifying real hair). You’d think being a billionnaire would be enough for Oprah, but oh no, she had to add all that hair to the mix. It was long, thick and healthy looking. Is there a God out there?
A few weeks ago, a guy friend asked me to help him out with one of my girlfriends. He liked her, but it seemed he wasn’t getting that message through to her, so he wanted ideas. He wanted to send chocolates. I said no, that would be corny and predictable. A co-worker came by then and I told her about his dilemma. She suggested he take her out for a nice dinner. I said Ghanaians don’t really the do the ‘dinner’ thing. That’s more of a foreign dating ritual. She asked what we do back home then. And then I was stumped. I said we talk on the phone, visit each other, sit in the car, get fast food or just chill out, nothing really. For days, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How do guys ‘woo’ girls back home? What do couples in Ghana do? What constitutes dating in Ghana?
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She couldn’t peel her eyes away even if she tried. She reached out and touched the lace embroidery gently. Her fingers slowly traced each line, each sparkling sequin all the way down to the tightly cinched waist line. She took a deep breath and circled the dress, gazing speechlessly at the beaded motif chapel train. This was it. She was really doing this.
“Did you find it? Did you find it?”
Carly looked over the mannequin at her best friend Adjo.
“This is just stunning. I have never seen anything like this before. Look at the detail on this, the hem, the bodice, right here on the back. I’m actually getting a little excited.”
Adjo laughed and hugged her friend.
“Thank God! We’ve been looking for months. I thought you were being difficult and picky on purpose.”
Carly sighed and clasped her hands nervously.
“I just want everything to be perfect, to be just right.”
“Come on, let’s go find a sales associate and get you inside your dream dress!”
Carly hugged Adjo tightly, tears in her eyes.
“I guess this is really happening. It’s been so long.”
Adjo hugged her back.
“You deserve all of it.”
This blog is referring only to straight friendships or relationships.
Don’t you love Sunday debates? My cousins and I began our Sunday with this question: can men and women really be just friends? Out of the four of us, two said yes and two said no. I was on the ‘no’ front, till I defined what I was trying to say a little better. What sparked the whole debate was a link one of my friends sent me. On Good Morning America last month, Steve Harvey discussed the question, can men and women be just friends (View the GMA Steve Harvey segment here).
Steve Harvey said NO, nah uh, nope, absolutely not. Here’s my answer to the question. It is possible to have a completely platonic relationship with someone of the opposite sex. However, and this is my key stance, there’s a level of deliberate effort to maintain the relationship as purely platonic.
This is my personal opinion. Men and women aren’t built to be just friends. It is not a natural thing. We weren’t created that way. We were created to be together, romantically and sexually. To maintain a purely friendly relationship, we all have to work at it. We may not always be conscious of the effort we make to stay just friends, but it’s there.
A friend of mine called me one Sunday, going on about Ghanaians and expensive weddings. He was particularly disturbed about the diamond ring craze, and said one girl told him if her boyfriend doesn’t spend at least $20,000 on the engagement ring, it’s not happening. I joined him in bemoaning how very unrealistic and unreasonable some Ghanaian women were being these days. I mean, come on, do you have any idea what $20,000 could do for you and your husband and you want to wear that money on your finger? One finger on top! I was just as upset as he was. Then he sent me a link to a jewelry store, DeBeers, where I think this girl wanted her ring from. And then I briefly lost my sanity. OMG!
Ladies, I urge you to exercise restraint as you view these sites. Men, just stay away, trust me.
I know this is probably one of the most relative, and elusive concepts, but I’ve decided to take it there because I’ve heard so much over this weekend that has stirred my thoughts on beauty.
One of my cousins was talking about a friend of his and he said, ‘she’s a nice skinned girl with nice hair.’ I thought that was an unusual way to describe a girl. He tends to describe girls in a weird way, emphasizing key features like nice nose, nice hair, nice smile, smooth skin, etc. I think that shows a little depth in his perception; noticing details means he takes time to appreciate people. But I could be mistaken, maybe smooth skin, nice hair, etc, are his definitions of beauty.
I’ve been rolling with guys all weekend, and it’s almost like I have ESP. When we’re walking in the mall, I know exactly when they’re going to turn and take a second look at some girl. There are some key features that warrant a second look; the body, lithe and firm; the hair, long and thick; the skin, light and even toned; and everything else is just an added bonus.
So what the heck is beauty? Is it really subjective? Does ‘beauty lie in the eyes of the beholder’ or is it just something we say to ‘excuse’ ourselves and our choices?
I must first say I’m grateful I’m sitting on my bed, alive, breathing, typing, and watching True Blood. Life is beautiful right now, but a few days ago, something absolutely surreal happened.