Saturday, March 8, 2008
In this particular video she responds to the question of how an individual goes about dating and seeking a relationship if they are unwilling to have sex early on. In our microwave society where everyone is predisposed to instant gratification, particularly men, she nails this question. Women really do need to reach an elevated level of consciousness in which they are so content with their selves, so willing to acknowledge their innate divinity, that they are never "lonely" seeking to fill some void. When we attain the substance we seek in a partner for oureslves, on a spiritual/psychological level, we will inevitably attract that. My mother always said, "The moment you stop looking you'll find him." Hell, a lot of our mothers said that. This is what she was unknowingly explaining. When we seek relationships from a place of shallowness, we attract shallow people with shallow intentions. The universe is governed by this law of attraction.
Preach Alexyss Preach!
Happy Saturday Divas,
I was so impressed by Romona Keveza "Legends" Fall 2008 collection that I had to feature one of the gowns. This sweetheart neck line mermaid dress with lace overlay on the bodice and a generous tulle cloud at the bottom is in my opinion, the center piece . This dress exemplifies the modern bride; it is sleek, glamorous, romantic, body conscious and fashion forward. The black bow around the waiste adds a touch of vintage whimsy, demonstrates the bride's individuality, and the sprinkling of black details is an emerging trend on bridal runways. I think this dress would be perfect with a silver, grey, black, or red bridesmaid ensemble.
-flyness and funk,
Friday, March 7, 2008
“This girl is sprung over me and it’s driving me crazy!” he said in anguish. “I have to keep lying to get her off my back.”
I frown. “I mean…how did she get that way? Did you have sex? Did she give you a professional?”
“Yeah, we did all that.”
I rolled my eyes, having heard this scenario far too many times. “Well then, you know why she’s sprung.” I told him, hoping he wasn’t silly enough to think that she was caught under the spell of his loins.
“Nah, I put it all on the line beforehand. She knew that I didn’t want anything beyond sex and that if she wasn’t down, she didn’t have to.” I laughed. This guy clearly had forgotten who he was talking to.
You are a fool if you think that any man, or woman for that matter, truly puts it all on the line before prematurely doing the deed. For a man to put it all on the line would be for him to pause kissing and suckling on his female subject long enough to make a heart felt confession. He’d admit that he is only interested in her body, which at this moment right now he wants to thoroughly taste and enjoy, and if it’s good, maybe dine a few times more. “Baby…Your behind has been far more engaging than anything you’ve said since we met. Matter of fact, what was it that you were telling me in the car? Honestly I was trying to remember where I stashed that pack of condoms…well that and predicting whether or not you were wearing regular panties or a g-string. I see I was right.” He’d wink, laugh at his little joke and then go on to confess that “Yo, this moment will never lead to anything substantial and sweetheart, you’d be silly to think so. In fact, right now I’m talking to a dime piece and I’m not trying to ruin things with her by doing exactly what I’m about to do with you. I just needed something to tide me over. You know how a brother has needs.” Then he’d definitely have to tell her about that press release he’ll send to his boys the next morning. Promptly. And if she requests, he’ll be kind enough to forward her a copy too. And finally, before undoing the last notch in his belt, his face will become very serious. “Baby please, promise me one thing. After tonight, do not call, text, two-way, page or message me. Don’t ask my friends where I’m at. Don’t have your girls call my phone to see if I’m ignoring just your calls, because I probably will be. Don’t swing by my house. Don’t swing by my job. Don’t even send me a post card. If I want you, I’ll holla.” Then he’d walk over to the stereo, turn the Jodeci back up, do a few quick stretches and with great skill, he’d blow her back out.
Wait, wait, rewind. Screeeech!! Most women would be gone after that first line, leaving a trail of dust in their path. I suppose the tragedy is that there are some women that even after the most sincere confession would willingly get down with the get down. But you are not one of them. The truth is that no man truly puts it all on the line, at least not verbally, because that would ruin the mood. The point is to get some. And he’s going to manipulate the woman’s greatest weakness in order to do so; her desire to be desired. To be upfront and honest about superficial intentions is just not sexy.
There is often a miscommunication between the sexes. Women are verbal, refined, and cultured creatures. Through out the ages, we have softened and feminized civilization. And while many feminine traits have since been adopted by men, they still are far less verbal in articulating their emotions than we are, and than we expect them to be. In many ways they do put it all on the line before jumping in the sheets, but rarely with words. You have to hear his actions, not his words. Actions don’t lie. If you’ve been ‘talking’ for weeks and still have yet to meet any of his friends, if he arranged that ‘date’ after nine o’clock PM that evening, if you hooked up the same night you two met, if you’ve eagerly divulged your life story but you still know very little about him, if he’s a notorious womanizer and you’re on the mission to change him….well stop. You are his sexual object. You are not his soul mate. You are not even a lover. You are piece. Maybe a piece of ass. Maybe a piece of paradise, but for heaven’s sake, he is not taking you home and he is not trying to be in a RELATIONSHIP!!! (many will chill at the Relation Port, but few will sail that Relation Ship)
Women get so caught up in the ideal of what a man could be that they resist seeing what he really is. The best place to hide something is in plain sight and dating is no exception to that rule. We could all be diagnosed with PCC, the Prince Charming Complex, hypnotized as little girls with endless fairy tales and fables of the gallant man that will one day sweep us off our feet and we wait for this dashing suitor, foolishly expecting each man to be him. Well consider this. I don’t believe that to each person there is only one soul mate; one person that God designed just for you to spend the rest of your life with. I think we have several soul matches and with the help of patience and divine intervention, we meet one, maybe two in a lifetime. But even if there are three men out there designed for you, chances are the man trying to get in your pants right now, on date number two, is not him. Statistically. So be a lady. Cross your legs, get over it and get on (well... unless you're in it for the same reason as him).
It’s really a shame. Our foremothers had far better game than we will ever have, yet like idiots we reject their priceless pearls of wisdom. In all honesty, your grandmother probably could have sealed the deal with your crush back in her day, better than you ever could. Why? In the frenzy of female equality in education and the labor force combined with the explicit nature of our culture, the art of seduction has been lost. And seduction is a highly specialized and refined feminine art form. If you don’t believe me, read Robert Greene’s 400-plus page book The Art of Seduction . The most famous seductresses in history, Cleopatra being perhaps the paragon, have understood that men are powerful creatures. Until just the past few decades they have overruled women entirely. However, men have several daunting weakness: visual stimulation, Sex, and validation.They also can't resist a chase (well some can, but those brutish men are whack) Seduction takes advantag of all these tender spots.
Alexander von Gleichen-Russwurm is one amongst the historians who have recognized a woman’s seduction as a powerful art form. In his work, The World’s Lure, he writes “The important side-track, by which woman succeeded in evading man’s strength and establishing herself in power, has not been given due consideration by historians. From the moment when the woman detached herself from the crowd, an individual finished product, offering delights which could not be obtained by force, but only by flattery…, she had discovered the might of lust, the secret of the art of love, the daemonic power of a passion artificially aroused and never satiated. The force thus unchained was thenceforth to count among the most tremendous of the world’s forces and at moments to have power even over life and death…”
It is much more effective to make a man fall in love than lust. Love is emotional and hard to relinquish. Lust is fleeting. Seduction works on the imagination, making courtship a whimsical journey in which the woman leads the man astray from his every day life and delights him with the pleasures of her beauty, and her cultured, and cunning self. She creates a pattern of giving herself to him emotionally and spontaneously withdrawing herself. She feeds him warmth and coldness. Hope and despair. This heightens her enigma and the man’s desire to please her. Her power doesn’t lure his body, but his mind. He becomes enamored. He falls in love. And then sex becomes the ultimate surrender… for him. (Let it be noted that not all seductions follow this complete pattern... it's a sophisticate conquest. I needed to simplify.)
Many mistresses had come before her, but when Cleopatra seduced Julius Caesar and then his successor Mark Antony, both times she was given Rome. And it is this clever restraint that our foremothers understood.
Modern culture has cheapened sex, reducing it to a simple physical act of pleasure. Actors reenact it, rappers rap about it, singers sing about it, companies use it to sell you their products. You want to just do it. You want it in 57 varieties, and you want to have it your way. The truth is that unlike diamonds it won’t be forever, it sure as hell won’t be the real thing, and probably won’t even be good to the last drop. Sex is more than what we make it. It is about the surrender if you want to think about it in terms of seduction, and about solidification of new love. It is your zenith, your inner most you, your crown jewel, your highly anticipated finale even.
Most people preach abstinence. No, no. I don’t. Restraint is not necessarily about purity or religion. I preach common sense. You want him to stick around, seduce him. Don’t just sex him. Even if you rock his world, lust alone won’t keep him. Make it like a precious commodity that only a select few can have, and he’ll long for you…and it. Don’t devalue yourself. And for my readers of African descent…yes, brown women are built sexy. Our hips, our lips, our breasts advertise our tantalizing secrets to the world…. But don’t give in to the exotic fetish the world creates of us. Guard it, even when you also want it like hell, and you’ll be rewarded in the end. “Nobody wants to be with a girl that’s been passed around like a joint at a rap party” as my dad would say.
To return to my friend’s dilemma over his sprung psycho-ex, I ask that you not turn into this tragedy. She knew she’d been played. That’s why she kept calling him, hoping, just praying he’d show her affection and prove her instinct wrong. Clearly he didn’t. Few of us make it to twenty-five without a “What the hell was I thinking” morning after experience, but take one of those for the road and learn from it. If you really want that special guy, you too can put it all on the line. Make your feminine mystique as sexy as your body, tease him, play with him, entertain and delight…and he’ll be back for more. And when he finally blows your back out, there will be no walk of shame involved.
Flyness and Funk,
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
So i'm in the middle of taking an arabic exam that will surely add detriment to my class average when I look up upon recognizing a horrible sound. Is that the pitter-patter of raindrops against the window? I can't believe it! There was no sign of rain in New Haven as of an hour prior. Nevertheless, in a classic case of anapaphobia, I dash out of class, trying to outrun the raindrops as I make my way to my dorm room. I am not sucessful. To my disdain, the rain has ruined my 'do revealing the line of demarcation between my natural "pressed" hair and my bone-straight hair extensions.
Ahhh well. I pull out some Kay-Vel's, the best pressing creme ever, and turn up the heat on my electric straightening comb. Meanwhile I sit at my lap top and crank out a quick blog. In the midst of trying to figure out the intentions and logic really of my Sig-O (see "Fly Speak" for definition) I have been meaning to drop a little knowledge on blemish removal.
Now blemishes be they from cuts, scrapes, or acne scarring are tramatic for women of color because they significantly hyperpigment our skin and seem to last forever! I grew up with exzema, a skin disease that can go into remission but never truly goes away. In my adult age I have been able to control it beautifully but it is exacerbated by stress which is a daily reality for me. The stressful holiday season in particular caused a severe break out all over my chest and cleavage area. It was horrific as it left dark scars all over my smooth, almond skin. I was mortified. It was also around the time that my Sig-O and I began seeing each other and I remember wearing high knecks and button up shirts with knecklaces strategically placed to disguise the scarring.
Nevertheless, about a month later I was back wearing my v-necks. Scarring doesn't have to be the ruin of skin or of existance. It's not that difficult to treat, at home too. Most women are just misguided. Most lightening creams offered to women of color contain hydroquinone, a chemical that inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase and thereby restricts the production of melanin. That's right, "bleaching creams" don't literally bleach the skin. They reduce the amount of melanin, or pigment, that your skin can produce. Hydroquinone, found in popular products such as Ambi, does work but there are several caveats to be aware of. First of all, out of all the lightening agents, hydroquinone has the most severe effects if used for a prolongued period of time or on skin too sensitive to it. Furthermore, as it is a dangerous agent, over the counter products can only contain up to 2% hydroquinone which, to be honest, is not all that effective.
Hydroquinone is the most popular bleaching agent, but the least safe and the least effective. Other agents such as azelaic acid, kojic acid, and glabridin in adequate concentrations are more effective than 2% hydroquinone alone (thought kojic acid must be used in moderation) and will often be found in lightening agent in combination with hydroquinone. The best lightening agent on the market now is glabridin. It is the safest and the most effective. Glabridin is actually extracted from licorice and can be found in upscale lightening products such as Godiva, which I use and can attest that it is wonderful.
Please be aware, there is large market for skin lightening products directed towards Black women in Europe, America and the Carribean. Many of these products are cheaper, less effective, and very, dangerous. In fact, most lightening products that you may find in your local beauty store are banned in Africa for having negative, irreversible, potentially lethal effects. If you want a product that works, look for more expensive products that are marketed to other ethnicities such as Indian women, Asians, and Phillipinas (essentially any post-colonial society where there is an aversion to darker skin). This is a sad precaution to have to take but it is necessary. Manufacturers of these skin solutions are simply trying to sell a product. They have no concern about the health of their Black consumers.
Back to removing blemishes. The lightening agent is only half of the solution. The second process is chemical and mechanical exfoliation. Because the topical cream inhibits melanin production in the new skin cells, the goal is to remove old, dead, hyper-pigmented skin and encourage the fast production of new, healthy, and brighter skin cells. This is done in two ways. Mechanical exfoliation involves vigorously rubbing the skin with a pumice and loofah in order to slough away surface layer dead cells. This is good, but not nearly important as chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation involves the application of an alpha-hydoxy (lactic or glycolic acid) or a fruit acid (like vitamin C) to the skin. These products essentially kill the top layer of cells and encourages their rapid replacement. High concentrations of like substances are present in chemical peels. These products are also essential in skin resurfacing (such as removing irritation after a rash or acne break out).
If a woman of color wants to get rid of a blemish she must use a product or products that combine a lightening agent with a chemical exfoliant. The best is glycolic acid. Two products that I use and highly recommend are Black Opal's skin retexturizing complex which contains high levels of glycolic acid and other fruit acids for safe and rapid results and Avene 'Diacneal' which contains 6% glycolic acid adn .1% Retinaldehyde. This product is one of the best on the market but quiet expensive.
If you have blemish prone skin and/or you're trying to get rid of a scar you should also remember to wear sunscreen. I actually wear an SPF 15 on my face year round and increase it (45) in the summer. The sun stimulates melanin production so nothing will work if you don't shield yourself from the sun. Also, while many women of color don't believe that sun can damage Black skin, it can. Prolongued exposure to sunlight increases your chances of developing skin cancer and premature wrinkles and it darkens your blemishes and makes them more difficult to treat. The best beauty remedy is prevention. Begin wearing sunblock today! I recommend Aveeno's Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15.
Lotions and creams that contain shea butter and vitamin E are also a good way to keep hyperpigmentation at bay and quicken your skins recovery. I hope this was helpful. If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them in the comments.
Flyness and funk,
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
You can agree or disagree, but I'm a firm believer that men and women can't 'just be friends'. They can be associates, colleagues, even close acquaintences but not a true friend in the familiar sense. She can't be one of the boys who is always around, calls and texts him back and forth and keeps it platonic... No. Hello no!
There are only three reasons why a man and a woman are supposedly "just friends". They used to have sex. They are having sex. They want to have sex.
I have a serious aversion to 'the friend'. Call it suspicion or call it experience. All of my life, ' the friend' has been taking my man. There is something about me that sends 'the friend' in to overdrive. There is something about my presence so threatening to 'the friend' that it compels her to finally complete her mission; remove me from the picture, and claim him for herself. And I know some of you divas can relate.
Freshman year in high school I had a burning desire for this kid in my spanish class. We had a mutual female friend. I was shy then (can you believe it) but I talked about him incessantly to my girls. "I'll hook you up. I just know he has a crush on you too," the mutual friend said. And it turns out that he did have a crush on me. And for a week or two he finally began talking to me and just when things were on the upswing.... BOOM. He and our mutual friend were boyfriend and girlfriend. What the hell just happened?
I had a crush on a guy who was a year ahead of me. He ran track. He was sort of captivated by me for some reason and rather than be my typical, bashful, adolescent self, I flirted back. Soon we began talking regularly, walking home together, and all that cute stuff that high schoolers do when getting to know one another. Well... he had a friend who had a huge crush on him. I knew this. She'd joined the track team just to be around him. When she caught wind of us spending time together she moved in quick. Within two weeks they were boyfried and girlfriend.
Having arrived home in tears, mom chided "Don't ever let these women know your business. If you like someone and he wants to get to know you, keep it to yourself." It was sage advice that I practice to this day, but it was incomplete. She should have told me to be wary of the female friend. It would take a devastating heart break seven years later before I finally realized this lesson on my own.
The "just friends" situation is difficult to maneuver, and could very well be the deal breaker for the unprepared woman. In most cases, when there is a female tag-a-long, she wants your man. He may or may not be oblivious to this, and it is much more difficult a situation if he is in the dark. You see, as women, we plot. It's in our DNA. We know that ultimately we must secure a man with whom to biuld a fort and bear kids and we are willing to do so by any means necessary. It's strategic warfare really. A woman will put the same amount of effort into conquering a love interest as a man will put into taking over a small country. Men have always underestimated this quality in women. That's why they're often so easily dooped...
I like to operate on intuition and experience.
So why would a woman go through the pains of taking the platonic route? It's safer and highly effective. Perhaps they used to date, it didn't work out, but she still has visions of them marrying in the next five years. Play the friend. Suppose he is highly desirable and she's worried that if she approaches him as an admirer she' ll blend in with the crowd. Play the friend. Suppose she's insecure and needs a stealthier route into his heart. Play the friend. Suppose she doesn't believe that the time is right for a relationship or there is some obstacle in the way of romance... like distance. Play the friend.
This summer I met an amazing older man. Let's call him Mr. X because he had rhetoric like Malcolm and a career that compelled me to keep him anonymous. Mr. X was a beautiful; chiseled asiatic bone structure, robust mauve lips, and fiery eyes. His face portrayed the intensity of a lion and his body was strong and lithe, like a runners. Mr. X was militant and cerebral; the type of man whose brain was always going, always creating, and constantly analyzing things. His intellect turned me on.
Nevertheless, Mr. X had a friend. A female friend, who was like a sister to him. A homegirl. In fact she, upon discovering that Mr. X was intrigued by me, even played Cupid. How nice of her! (ladies, don't ever let a woman do your dirty work) But my instincts told me there was something more. I felt like there was a always a third person in our pre-romance (as you will discover in a few lines, it never made it past innocent flirtation). The two of them talked all the time. He discussed his feelings and qualms (as he was significantly older) about me with her. I felt that with her constant input, she was turning the knobs of our relationship. This woman had too much power, and I knew early on this was not good.
A few weeks after meeting him, his homegirl contacts me and says that because I have alluded to my interest in Mr. X via my profile on a certain internet social-networking site, Mr. X no longer wanted to have anything to do with me. I was to him write him a professional e-mail at once, pulling out of the pre-romance, and agreeing to be professional acquaintances. She added of course, "Have I ever given you bad advice?" Well.... She did hook us up.
What a fool I was, in retrospect.
I discovered later that day that he did not think my slip-up was all that bad. "What's with the letter? You act like you murdered someone!" he laughs on the phone.
"Your homegirl told me you were appalled. She told me to write it."
"Oh no! Don't mind her. She's just very protective of me. We go way back."
Oh really... ?
A month later he vanished from my life without explanation and I ultimately discovered that it was because of his homegirls clever machinations. I was naive then. Very naive. But God will give us scenarios in order to teach us valuale lessons and from that point on, I would be ever weary of the friend.
Fast forward to 6 months later. My current interest is preparing to open for a chart topping rap star on my campus thanks to my negotiation on his part. He is standing amongst his entourage of good-natured, talented, charismatic, charming men... I mean, I like his friends. There are few there that I don' t know, so in between chatting wiht his friends and my coy flirtation with him, he introduces me to a few other people. And then a woman approaches and I notice that when she does, his body language changes. He stiffens. He looks away. He backs up about three inches changing our relative distance from initimate space to platonic space.
Hmmmm. I'm suspicious. And I've seen her before. She was at another event and he didn't bother to introduce us. She is also in a slew of pictures with him.
"Oh, who is this? Why don't you introduce me to your friend?" I said with the smile of a confident social butterfly.
"Oh yeah, that's my homegirl."
His homegirl. I am introduced and satisfied but I notice that when she is around my interest is much less interested.... So I bid them good bye, say have a good show, and go find my friends. I have a way of shrugging people off, you know, like I'm too good for this shit... but I don't know if that's a good thing in this case.
Half way into the rap stars performance, I stumble back stage. My interest and his entourage are still back there, watching the show from the wing, as are several of my other friends. He makes no move to greet me, so I hang out for a while with my friends. Eventually I walk over to him to tell him he had a great show and we get to talking as usual. I'm cracking jokes in his ear, making sure he smells my Obsession... penetrating his ethos.
She is beside us, looking disturbed. This woman is more than friend! Well, apparently she is his rap groups official photographer and she thought that she should take some photos of the group.... and of her and the group... and of her and my interest, while I was standing there. My, how appropriate?
Good, I think. This woman is good. She can think on her feet. What better way to get me away from him than to make me feel like a fifth wheel? She took one look at me; a beauty queens assurance, 4.5 inch Donna Karen heels, a killer silk Nicole Miller Tunic dress.... and she decided that I'd have far too much pride to be fifth wheel. And she was right.
I give a curt good bye and make my way over to my friends. I need to drink. I'm all confused. And hurt, much more hurt than I care to show or admit.
"Ayesha..." My friend says a few moments later, snapping me out of my blank stare.
"Is that his girl?"
I glance over my shoulder to see the two to of them hugged together and HYAH!!! It's like I've been drop kicked in the stomach. I feel myself deflating like a helium balloon, my ego shriveling like a dream deferred. For that one moment, I felt so hurt and humiliated and bewildered.
And then Ayesha returned. I left with my friends. Indulged in some food and some spirits until I was playfully off-balance. Dabbled in some debauchery. Partied some more. Passed out sleep. My defenses kicked in. The defenses that develop around a woman scorned multiple times. Let him go! Pay him like last months phone bill. My best friend implores that I lose his number. But why? Why should the homegirl win? I'M TIRED OF THE HOMEGIRL WINNING!!! I NEVER WIN! For once, I want to not lose to calculating woman. For once, I want the good-hearted, fly woman with genuine feelings and intentions to be the victor. For once, I want the man to use his head and his heart.. together. Just once! For once, I don't want to be bow out of the game because some manipulative woman out-witted me... or to spare my pride (it's very important to me)
Alas, my true feelings have interrupted my pride and now I'm in limbo. I like him but will absolutely not stand for a man stringing me along until he decides that he actually is in love with his homegirl ala Brown Sugar, for those of you who've seen the movie. I'm too good for that.
I hate to get you to the end of this rambling, wordy blog to tell you that I have no solution. But I don't. I honestly have no idea what to do except to shrug it off, become aloof, take a huge step back, and entertain other options. But do I like him more than that? Does he even realize that what he did was humiliating and disrespectful? Perhaps I'll stay in the ring and fight this time. Perhaps he's worth it.
Perhaps i'm worth it.
Flyness and fun(ky days in the future),