Update: Brand NEW Posts Coming Soon!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Police Lives Matter

Today I heard an anchorman refer to the mostly peaceful demonstrations happening around the country as "anti-police protests." I don't think most of the people protesting publicly or on social media are against the police. I think they are actually FOR the police. They are FOR just, lawful, and fair police officers that make communities safer for everybody. They are for appropriate punishments/legal ramifications for cops that violate the same laws they are expected to enforce. And they are FOR "liberty and justice for all people" regardless of race. It is precisely because "police lives matter" that filthy, unlawful police officers need to face the full penalties of the laws they break!--because otherwise those police officers are sullying the badge and uniform they wear and making it hard for law-abiding police officers everywhere.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dear Santa Claus,

Hubba hubba hubba. Is that one of Santa's helpers? 

I have been a very good girl this year and for the last few years as well. And like most people I have a huge sense of entitlement and  think my efforts at being basically decent should be rewarded so I am asking for a huge present. But I don't want any of the conventional gifts like money, real estate, cars, or vacations--although I would gladly take advantage of these if you are offering. No, this Christmas I would like to find something a lot more difficult to find. I want something elusive, rare, and that can't be purchased with money. This thing is so elusive that I am quite sure that it is extinct or certainly endangered. I am talking about a virtuous man. Now, because you haven't exactly been reliable lately (say for the last 30 years), I cannot say I trust your judgement so I have outlined the following specs for your convenience.

1) Physically attractive. Yes, I like hot men (and I cannot lie). But because I am well-rounded, I tend to like all kinds of men. He should be taller, bigger, and stronger than I am, but I don't have any illusions of him being Adonis-like.  Bonus if he is from another country and has a sexy accent!

2) Employment. Yes, he should have a job. What kind of job? While I'm partial to engineers and computer geeks, I am open to dating anyone who has a reliable job and some sort of ambition.

3) No Kids. I know Santa is into children and all that, but I'm not looking to be a mother. EVER.

4) Hygienic. Yes, I have been around dudes who do not wash up, use deodorant or change their underwear. While status symbol cars and lofty employment are not important to me, basic hygiene is non-negotiable.

5)Kind. Everyone says this. Everyone's holiday man-shopping list includes this. But what is" kind"? Nice is not good enough. Nice is how you behave when your trying to be polite. Kind is who you are. It radiates from a person naturally and effortlessly. There's no need for an act. Few things are sexier than a big-hearted man who authentically likes you for who you are.

6) Values. We need to share the same values. I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, so I don't want someone who engages in those things. While I want someone who's different enough from me that we can engage and challenge each other, values are non-negotiable. A partying, porn addicted, atheistic, republican and I aren't going to have much in common. Values include having similar religious beliefs, attitudes towards finances, and similar political world views.

7)Smart. Intelligence is hard to define. But someone who has at least a cursory understanding of politics, current events, and culture and can talk about these things in a coherent, respectful way is a must. Intelligence is also sexy!

8) One in a million. I'm strange, rare, and complicated. I stand out from the crowd. Someone who gets me has to be a little different.

Everything else is optional. Hair color, eye color, ethnicity, education, location, etc.

So Santa, any guys like that up at the North Pole? Do you have some kind of assembly line that manufactures them? I've dated too many guys from your naughty-list. I've made lots of mistakes and now I'm ready for something deeper. So what you got for me Santa?

P.S. I do not want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Please do not confuse me with a freckle-faced 6 year old girl with a bad lisp. If you send a hippopotamus to me I am going to hop the first reindeer to the North Pole and I will find you. I mean how many bearded obese dudes in bright red coats could there be up there anyway.

NO NO NO NO NO NO!!! Do you hear me! NO!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why Black Men Don't Even Believe That "Black Lives Matter"

I have been reluctant to weigh in on the Brown, Garner, Martin etc. cases here on the blog because my opinions are as complex as they are controversial. I could write 100 blogs about how I feel police in this country have too much power, how instructing cops to shoot to kill is disastrous and unnecessary, how police seem to do more harm than good especially when it comes to their interactions with minorities. But this blog is for black people, especially black men. Before I start in I want to say that my heart goes out to the Brown and Martin families. I feel so connected to these cases because they involved children (Brown was 18 which in my opinion still makes him a child). Nothing I say on this blog condones the murder of the defenseless. America as a country has a lot to answer for (more in future posts), but as I said this blog is about black people.

You can glean a lot about a culture based on the way it treats its women and children. So let's take a look at some statistics.

Black women face an increased rate of domestic abuse and we are more likely to die from it!!!! (citation)

The proportion of Black children in families who lived with their custodial parent (mother-emphasis mine) while their other parent lived outside their household (49.2 percent) is more than twice as large as the proportion of White children. (citation)

Approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18. (National Black Women’s Health Project)

The divorce rate for black Americans is 70%.

64% of women with STD's are black women and their infections are the direct result of sexual relations with black men. 

So we have a culture of oversexed men who embrace misogyny, abandon their children, assault their women and jettison their marriages. This is down-right pathological.

Let's look at some of our most vocal black leaders and see how they treat women.

-Rev Jesse Jackson has made himself irrelevant because of his publicized affair and embezzlement
-Rev Al Sharpton cheated on and divorced his wife of 24 years and traded her up for a young model, as if she were a used car.
-Bill Cosby has made many noteworthy comments about the state of black affairs, which I endorse 100%, but a cursory glance at the news will show you what he thinks of women.

I don't say this to disparage these men or to take away from all they have accomplished for black people. Please don't get it twisted. I want to get at the root of what I think is really destroying the black community: black men.

As an aside, black lives matter: but do they matter when the victims are female? If Trayvon Martin had been a girl would we have seen the outrage, the protests. If Michael Brown were a young black female would the entire black world now be upside down. The same of Eric Garner. As a whole the black community does not value women and girls (see the stats)!!!! I find this ironic because one of the biggest problems with the black community is black men! Black women outrank black men in education and financial attainment. Most of the positive statistics about black people as a whole are due almost exclusively to the contributions of black women, and yet I am not convinced that our community appreciates us. The fact that 10% of the few black men that we have marry white women is, in itself, an indictment against us (citation).

The elephant in the room is that there is something not ok with the behavior of black men in this country, but when they are down we rally behind them, coddle, handhold and make excuses instead of making them accountable for their own behavior. The bottom line is that black men behave like trash and as a result society treats them like trash. I know we can argue that the poor treatment of black men by society explains why they behave the way they do: why they value having sex with multiple women or why they seek out violence and crime all as ways to prove their manhood in a culture that does not value them. I agree, but society has not changed. We keep having protests, rallies, and vigils, while society takes a proverbially dump on us. Black men need to stand up and take responsibility. Black men need to value education. turn the hip hop and pornography off, leave the drugs alone, develop a love and respect for women. stop having out of wedlock children, take care of the children they make,  and become more than just a big penis. They need to become strong enough to go against the grain. They need to stop perpetuating the stereotypes, which inevitably refuel America's hatred of us.

I'm so tired of black men in oversized street clothing, speaking ebonics, and crying about how society has let them down. Talking about how they never had a father, how it's hard out here for a brotha, while they play their xbox's and smoke their blunts. They run from one bedroom to the next  at alarming rates in search of their next sexual high instead of building relationships that can help buffer them from the stresses of a racist society.Oh, and last I checked colleges still accept black men, just as they accept black women, but black men don't work hard to distinguish themselves. They are too busy getting suspended from schools and throwing their opportunities away. Then they die years younger than their white counterparts. They leave nothing behind but more grim statics, out of wedlock children, and poor credit scores. 

We can argue that white men do the same things. Yes, there are white men who treat their families poorly, who commit heinous crimes, who are misogynistic idiots who probably don't deserve air, but society values them so they never have to change. Their whiteness make them worthwhile. . After all, no one's holding up a sign saying, "white lives matter"-- we understand that implicitly. If we want to matter, we need to behave like we do. As a young black professional I have to pay a black tax. I have to work twice as hard as my colleagues in order to be seen as almost equal. I have had to deal with all kinds of crazy that I am not allowed to type on this blog just to remain employed. It is the same thing with black men. They have to work harder to overcome, they have to be honest people. People with bone deep, inextricable integrity and inextinguishable convictions. They have to pay the tax, and prove to society by their contributions that they do matter. I am not talking about fair. The so called black tax has never been fair!!!!!!! I am talking about doing what we have to do in order to survive and thrive in a culture that hates our very existence.

Pop Quiz: If a black man and a white man commit the same crime which person is going to go to prison? We know this! Every black person who lives in this country knows this!!! So my question is why the heck commit the crime in the first place!!! Take a look at our incarceration rates.
  • African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
  • African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
  • One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime (citation)
These statistics aren't staggering--they are flippin jaw-dropping!!!
And here are some more grim stats.

Only 54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white and Asian students.(Citation)

For most young adults, aged 20 to 24, the No. 1 cause of death is car accidents, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. For black men in that age group, though, the top cause of death is gun violence; they are four times more likely to be shot and killed than they are to die in a car accident. 82% of these cases are homicides (citation).

Although 45 percent of black men 25 and older have attempted college, only 16 percent have a four-year degree (citation). 

African American men accounted for 42% of HIV cases diagnosed among men in 2011 (citation

A majority (72%) of African American men with HIV contracted the disease by male to male contact. 

The statistics of black male STD rates make me want to vomit!

We say black lives matter, but our actions say something entirely different! I am not trying to blame the victim. Brown, Martin, and Garner did NOT deserve their fates. But I am saying that black men are erasing themselves. Black men are black men's biggest problems.  If a man's greatest asset is his character, then the above statistics show just how bankrupt black men really are. If a culture can indeed be defined by how it treats its women and children then the black community has essentially reduced itself to irrelevancy.

"Black lives matter!" is the rallying cry and I believe that from the bottom of my soul, but its time for us to act like we do!

*Note I know there are isolated black men who keep on keeping on and I applaud them here , but I am talking about black men collectively.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shutting 'Em Down

I'm usually quite a nice person, but every once in a while someone manages to get on my bad side. The problem is not that this man sent me multiple messages, but that he demanded a reply. Well be careful what you ask for, because this man did indeed get a reply from me.

We'll he asked for it.

 That is how you shut a man down. (Forgive the typo's. I didn't bother to proof read). I must have really scared dude off, because he's no longer on the website. Oh well.

I have a really thought provoking blog for next week! Stay tuned!

UPDATE December 13, 2014: He's baaaaaack. You'd think that after all I told him he would never contact me again. Well I guess he has a short memory. Here's what he wrote me just a few weeks later.


Update December 20, 2014

What am I suppose to say. I deleted and blocked this guy. At this point it's just funny.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why I Hate Okcupid, But Can't Really Complain About It Because It's Free

Because I am 30 and therefore obligated to date and inevitably get married, I decided to check out the online dating scene. A few years ago a buddy of mine convinced me to join okcupid. My experience on said website has ranged from entertaining to exasperating. I have gotten so many horrible messages that a month ago I decided to screen shot them and save them on my pc. But the real reason I hate okcupid has little to do with the miserable pool of single men, the tastelessly bad messages (e.g. invitations to perform sexual acts) or how quickmatch restricts you to people only in or around your city. Alas there are other reasons to hate the match-faking website.

First, all dating sites benefit from single members staying single. Translation: websites make more money by keeping members single and therefore actively using their dating websites. Okc actually admits to lying to its users and manipulating match data.  Next, understand that okc is really just one big social experiment: every person on the site is a guinea pig. None of that means that sites like okc are inherently evil or that people cannot find love online. But we need to understand that the system has some major bugs. Enter the notorious Okc algorithm. 

Okcupid's algorithm is a major point of contention for me. In my perfect universe I would answer a few dozen out of the infinite number of questions, indicate through my answers which questions are most important to me and okc would hook me up with people who answered similarly. Unfortunately, okc is much more convoluted than that. According to about.com

"With every question that you answer on the site, there are folks that essentially get removed from your search results, and you from theirs. Unless you search for a very small subset of the site , you're only going to see people with certain markers in common. This means that The Perfect Person For You might have a fantastic picture posted to catch your eye, and match with you 97%, however because of the way the site is setup you'll be hard pressed to randomly run across them, or them you."

This of course supports my theory that ALL dating websites benefit from keeping people single. Why would a dating website intentionally hide perfect matches from its users? Think about it. Okc doesn't stay okc because of some kind of benevolent love for its users. Its stays okc because of the advertising dollars that keep it financially solvent. Lets say you joined XYZ dating service and after completing a profile and filling out a personality questionnaire about your interests and morals 20 minutes later your inbox was flooded with attractive, like-minded people. How would XYZ dating service or its competitors benefit from that? Hey, I get it. I don't mind staying on the site for a few weeks or months or even a year to find someone compatible with me. But I have been on okc on and off for over 3 years and I have not found one person who I would consider having a serious relationship with. 

I love the idea of online dating, but it doesn't always
work in practice. 
Last week I was matched 99% with a very attractive agnostic even though my profile clearly says I'm Christian and serious about it. About 90% of my matches are republican which, while not an absolute dealbreaker, is interesting because I am a prochoice , climate change believing, minimum wage raising, affirmative action supporting, card carrying liberal! Lastly, I indicate that I do not have children, do not want to have children (EVER) and do not want to take care of other people's children. So who am I matched with? Only those people who are gung ho about having kids, or who have children from previous unions. I wish I could set my preferences in stone and dare okc to match me with people who do not share my faith, my values, or my opinions on procreation. I could save a lot of time and so could the poor saps who write me and wonder why I do not respond when we are a 98% match. Lastly, I wish there was a way to account for racial preferences. While I am an open minded non-racist person, several men on the site indicate a strong preference to date exclusively within their own race--otherwise known as a preference to remain prejudice. I am so tired of being paired with white men on the site, reading their profile and thinking we would hit it off well only to find out that they are racist! (Hint: if you refuse to get to know someone based on their skin color you are racist). 

Other issues with Okc include having to constantly update your profile to stay relevant (um so many okc users are busy young professionals that don't have time to live on okc: that's why they are on okc!!!!) the fact the okc tries to use words in your profile to match you (all kind of problems with that one) and that quickmatch gives you a picture and a person's self summary and with that information you are supposed to like or dislike the person (hint: it would be better to use the My Details box, it's faster and makes it a lot easier to weed poor matches out).

So after all my complaining am I going to quit the site? Yes, but not right now A) because aspects of it are entertaining (eg. collecting horrible messages) b) it's like the proverbial carrot on a stick. If I keep running maybe I will be lucky enough to catch the prize. I'm sure the same logic drives gamblers to stay at the roulette table just a little longer. c) the site is free. Yes they are collecting data about me and using me as a guinea pig, while simultaneously reducing my chances of finding love (therefore toying my emotions and my future) but it isn't costing me any MONEY. Besides, Okc is actually head and shoulders above it's pay-to-contact competitors. Sigh. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

18 Free Things That Make Me Happy

I am no optimist and this week has not really been a good one. It would be easy to sit here and mope and count all the things that suck about the world and my corner of the universe. Instead, I'd like to list some of the small free things that bring me happiness. These are not listed in any particular order. If you have had a bad week, I encourage you to write a list like this too.  If you want to add to my list feel free to write in the comment section. Here we go:

1) Kitty Kat Kisses. Anything involving cats really. I like nuzzles, headbutts, and paw shakes.

2) The sound of waves crashing against the

3) The smell of hot chocolate, coffee, or fresh baked goods

4) The feel of the warm sun on my skin. It's like getting a hug from nature

5) The scent after the rain

6) Watching snow fall from the confines of my warm cozy house

7) The pleasure of a really good book

8) The fresh joy the comes from making someone laugh

9) Tasting something new and discovering that I like it

10) Long hot baths or showers after a stress-filled day

11) The endorphin high after I've worked out

12) The feeling of accomplishment after I've gotten my to-do list done

13) A memorable conversation

14) Clear blue skies

15) A surprisingly good movie

16) The therapy of writing

17) Cake (nuff said)

18) You! Knowing that someone in the universe cares to read what I have to say brings me immense pleasure

See you next week. I hope it's a good week for both you and me!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

How to Date Black Men

Since black men benefit from black male dating privilege a) because there are millions more black women then there are men and b) because of a myth regarding the size of their genitalia and subsequently their assumed virility, it stands to reason that there are many women of various ethnicities who are clamoring to gain the affections of one of these prized specimen. This blog is for you. I've made it easy to get with and keep a black man. Ready?

Always be accessible. When he calls or text, no matter the time of day, no matter what you are doing, no matter if you are at work and your employer has a no cell phone policy, you need to answer your phone or respond. I do not care if you are holding the hand of a dying relative, if you want to keep your relationship you need to be there for every text. Replying to "Sup Girl" is much more important than anything going on in your life.

Never Have Your Own Opinions. When women have opinions and their own thoughts it tends to upset the equilibrium of the male ego. Do not make it worse by actually stating what is on your mind. Keep those pretty little lips sealed. Smile a lot. Laugh at his sexist jokes, do any and all activities that make him feel manly. Remember he is your world and you are blessed to even share the same air with him.

Be willing to do all the work. Who asks who out? Who pays for the first (second, third, etc) date? Who drives? Who follows up? Who keeps the conversation going and ensures that he is having a fun time? Who text to say, "I had a great time. Let's do that again." You do! Don't like it? Date another man. A black man is extremely valuable simply because he is not only a man, but because of stereotypical assumptions made about his sexual prowess. So if his first time meeting you is at his dirty garage where you have to sit on a cold metal tool box bored out of your mind and watch him fix his car, then you do it and pretend to be memorized. After all you are in his presence--this may be the only chance you get because he has a steady rotation of other women to entertain. When he finally emerges from under the hood covered in car goo you fling yourself into his arms and tell him what a great time you are having and what an original date idea this is. And don't forget to buy him presents. Whereas women appreciate flowers and candy, men tend to prefer costlier items. Try for things that come from the Apple Store, or Best Buy, etc. 10 pts if you find out where he buys his clothes and you purchase an entire wardrobe for him!

Your body belongs to him, no matter what. This should be self-evident. He's a busy man with way too many options. If you want him, you have to do what it takes. When you meet him be sure to have plenty of skin showing. So what if he tries to kiss, touch, or maul you on a first meeting. He's just showing his interest. Feel proud that you get to be the source of his sexual attention. And never, never, ever say NO. NO is your opinion and we've already been over what your opinion means. NO, is you trying to assert control over the relationship--do that and you've lost him forever. You've been warned

Romance is sex. There are no nuances. Why are you so special that you deserve flowers, notes, unexpected gifts, and other thoughtful tokens of affection? HA! Courtship rituals died right along with chivalry and integrity. All the romantic tripe that women gush about...not happening. Romance exists exclusively below the belt. Most men are not into romance, but you definitely won't get any from a brother. You want tenders gazes and affectionate touches watch a soap opera or read some chick lit. If you want to keep your man, understand what's important in life: sex, sex, sex and more sex.

There is no such thing as dating down. You think you are something because you have an MBA or an MD. Think again. Let's keep it real, you could single-handedly launch yourself into space in a shuttle you made with your own two hands out of household materials and pin an American flag on the moon and you are NOT special. You are only as valuable as a black man says you are. So what you are accomplished. So is he; he has a penis! In this society having a penis is, in its own right, an accomplishment. Follow the logic: penis = worthy, so therefore having a larger penis (even if is a myth) means you are more worthy. Get it? Don't act uppity like you can't date someone who doesn't have a job, has several kids he's not taking care of with multiple baby mama's, or because he lives with his parents. What kind of snob are you! His employment, his character, his past or present relationships should not matter to you.

You do not matter. This is the true secret to success if you are really interested in being with a black man. All those rules are easily expressed in this one statement. The moment you pretend to matter, you've already lost him.

If you can follow these simple rules you will always have a black man by your side (or at least one to share with other women). The best thing about these rules is that they can work well for men of other ethnic backgrounds as well. Happy Dating!

That could be you half-dressed on a dog leash with your very own
black man that you get to share with other women!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How Men Can Be More Successful Dating Online

After writing an open letter to single women, a friend of mine encouraged me to write a post that was geared more to the single male. Against my better judgement, or perhaps as my patriotic duty, I am here to offer men some advice if you are SERIOUS about meeting a woman online. Men on dating sites are constantly complaining that they send out tons and tons of messages but get few (if any) responses back. These tips will help place you head and shoulders above your contemporaries and make you a more successful online dater.

1) Your profile picture. Take 2 whole minutes and really really think about what picture to post as
Not a good idea for your dating profile
your main photo and what it says about you. Remember this is online dating. A person has a second to decide whether or not to click on your profile or to go to the next one. Your profile picture will literally be the deciding factor for whether or not someone wants to talk to you or keep it moving. I know that sounds shallow, but consider that online there are thousands of other profiles! You're a lil fish in a big pond (and, no, Plenty of Fish did not inspire that last line). You may be tempted to post the shirtless photo, but what kind of a woman do you hope to attract by doing that? The photos of you getting wasted, those pix of you holding a gun, the one of you in your Halloween costume, the one where your face is obscured, of you with another woman (who cares if she's your sister!) or with a woman cleverly (or not so cleverly) photoshopped out of it are not good bets. Other runners up for bad photos include the phone in the mirror selfie, the classic bathroom selfie, and the one with you standing with a large group of people. Have a close female friend select a nice photo of you looking intelligent and charming.  Then post a few more of you smiling, acting like a civilized human being, and fully clothed. (FYI you do not have to post a bunch of pictures of your international travel. One or two are cool, but save your scrapbook for the real dates).

2) Your profile. Where do I start? In a few words I need you to describe yourself, what you do, what you are looking for, and why we should care. Simple. Swearing makes your sound dumb. Poor attention to grammar makes you look dumb. Name dropping--Dumb. Trying to sound intelligent by using obscure words or antiquated language makes you look dumb. Talking about how you hated your last girlfriend(s), how there are no good women out there and how nice guys always finish last makes you look, you guessed it, dumb. Oh and for those of you hoping to come off as the strong silent type and refusing to fill in your profile, you not only look dumb, but you look like a douchebag too!

3) Honesty. We know you are not 6'2 and that you do not make over $100,000 a year. Don't even go there! In fact while we are on the subject, don't even post your income at all. If you feel the only thing you have to offer is your money, than you are only going to attract those women who are only interested in spending it. Besides in a real life, face to face interaction would you really tell a stranger how much money you make?

This was literally his first email. He just invited me to be his baby mama.
4) Cut and Paste. You think you are so smart cutting and pasting flirtatious messages then sending them to every pretty face you see. No, you are not smart and you will rarely get responses that way. First, use the search features to narrow down the particular kind of woman you are looking for. Then read her profile. Yes, I know it's tough, but I have full confidence that you are indeed capable of reading! Find something of interest to talk about. The one word "Sup" in a message, however poetic you believe it to be, makes you look dumb. "Hi, I'm John, I noticed you like the movie the Count of Monte Cristo too. It is one of my favorites. What's your favorite scene?" is a much better introductory message.  This shows that you read her profile (at least your skimmed it) and that you would like to engage her in conversation. Heck, even, "Hello. I'm Frank. How's your day going?" is a step up.
Another real first message. 

5)Integrity. I know it's a big word and sort of a lost art, but we should all strive to be people of

integrity. This includes online as well. Your character is not just determined by the large decisions you make, but by your day to day choices and how you treat other people. Live life by the golden rule: treat people the way you want to be treated. Seriously! It is easy for us to point to examples of morally bankrupt people and wonder how they got that way, but in doing so we forget that each of us has a huge propensity towards evil.  Choose to be a trustworthy person-- a person with bone-deep integrity. A person any woman, online or in real life will want to be with.

Thanks for reading,

For tips on how to evolve from general douchebaggery to charming gentlemen please see this article

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What We Can Learn From Makeupdoll: "Natural" Beauty In An Image-Obsessed Society

A while ago my friend showed me this meme. Like everyone else who has seen it, I was amazed. In fact I swore to my friend that the pictures were of two separate women. No way that's the same girl! A few days ago as I surfed youtube, I stumbled across Makeupdolls channel and watched her expertly apply her makeup. I am not one of her many fans or subbies. In fact, I was initially critical of the young lady myself. And then I stopped to think.

Since this meme went viral many men and women have had some ugly things to say which brings up questions about the role of beauty in our culture, whether cosmetic enhancements are inherently deceptive, and how women can cope with the enormous pressure of living in a world that expects them to look beautiful all the time. I want to try to address some of these questions as best I can here on the Purposeful blog.

Let me say that I feel conflicted. I mean on one hand I understand where Makeupdoll is coming from and no one can deny that she is a very skilled lady. Her make up application is phenomenal. On the other hand, I would feel uncomfortable looking drastically different than myself. I tend to be a minimalist. I didn't even start wearing makeup regularly (regularly being defined as a few times a month) until I turned 30. But suppose I had a major skin condition and behold here are some products that could make me look fantastic, I would take advantage of the products. That is what Makeupdolls has done.

What I do not understand are the haters. Everyone has a right to choose how they present themselves to the world. Everyone uses cosmetics to enhance themselves in some way. Whether it be skin correcting chemicals and treatments, fragrances and colognes, hair processes, products, and extensions etc. The question then becomes how much is too much? Is there a point where a person is being disingenuous? I cannot realy answer those questions because I grapple with them myself. In the case of Makeupdoll, I am not convinced that she is being deceptive--how deceptive can you be when you show your bare face to thousands and thousands of people on social media regularly?

Some people believe that everyone should just be natural. That's easily said, but I want to go on record saying that naturally I look a hot mess. Yes my hair is natural in that it is unprocessed, but don't get it twisted, I go to a stylist at least once a month. I also benefit from a variety of wigs and hair extensions. I wear contact lenses (can't see without em), use acne meds when my skin flares up, brush my teeth with baking soda to make them white, and hit the gym when a few pounds creep up. Naturally, I also smell pretty bad too. In fact when I wake up and look at myself in the mirror--smelling bad, looking crazy with crust all in my eyes, and hair all over my head I can admit I am "naturally" a mess. I do what is needed, albeit minimally, to present a polished version of myself to the world. WE ALL DO. But we point fingers and name call, and get all up in arms on the interwebs to judge someone else. Shame on us.

I have written quite a bit about beauty on the blog.  In one post I commented, "first a society decides that all women should be beautiful in order to have worth and then we shun those who don’t meet the inflexible standards we subject them to. This is most tragic!" Women are under pressure to always look good. So if a young lady chooses to enhance her appearance she's maligned and insulted, but if she does nothing she's still maligned and insulted for being thought "ugly". Some of the same people throwing stones at Makeupdoll would be saying, "Dang, girl you need some makeup," if they saw her clean face in public. I am not immune to the beauty standards either. It is impossible to have naturally perfect everything; perfectly manicured nails. long thick tresses and eyelashes, flawless skin, a knock-out physique, and a gorgeous wardrobe. How does any real, natural woman pull these standards off with out some assistance? If she gives in and purchases the products that make her socially acceptable, people ridicule her and say she is inauthentic! No! Inauthentic is the male-driven standard that exists in the first place!!!

And while we are on the topic, so much of the mudslinging against Makeupdoll was done by men. Men need to get over it! I say that wholeheartedly. Either a) accept that women are not perfect and be willing to love a natural woman for who she is or b) accept a woman that meets your standards by utilizing the full array of her cosmetic options! There is no choice c.

So how can women survive and thrive in a world that marginalizes us. Previously, I thought the answer was in throwing out cosmetics altogether and refusing to yield to the status quo. Yes, there is power in going against the grain, but I think the answers are deeper than that. This is a societal problem. It requires a rethinking of how we define beauty in our culture. It requires a revolution in how we view women as a whole! That's beyond the scope of this blog. However, I would encourage women to stop defining themselves by the way they look and to discourage the next generation from evaluating their worth based on their appearance.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that there is nothing inherently wrong with looking nice and using whatever is at your disposal to present yourself as beautiful. As a feminist, however, I do not believe that a women's # 1 motivator for taking care of herself should be a man's opinion (or to compete with other women over a man's opinion). Look nice for yourself! Create your own definition of beauty. And don't forget to be beautiful where it matters the most: inside. A generous spirit, a kind nature, and a compassionate character will do more for you than any color pallet or foundation regimen ever could.

It takes skill that's for sure. Can I really fault someone
for trying to look good in an image conscious society?
(Can't see vid? View it here)

As always leave your thoughts below in the comment section!!!!!

Bonus Material:

 Both of these women have skin problems. Both use make up to transform their appearances. One woman gets praises, a modeling contract, and appearances on the daytime tv. The other woman gets trash talked on the internet and has demeaning memes made about her. Hmmmm. Kinda makes you wonder. Can't view vids? Click here and here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I Hate Fall

This post needs no introduction. I loathe fall. I have always hated fall. I always will hate fall. Let me count the ways.

1) Fall reminds me of "The Fall" as in the fall of humanity. Imagine Adam and Eve leaving their pristine garden home and thrusts into a world where things literally die. Sorta reminds me of fall. Dark, dreary, rainy, Oh and things are dying!

Me in the Summer. See how I glow!!
2) My favorite seasons are Summer and Summer and more Summer. Some people like Spring, but where I live spring is more of a fascinating idea--a nostalgic longing, than it is an actual season. I like almost everything related to summer: warm weather, cuter fashions, longer days, beaches, and beautiful beautiful sunshine! As a warm weather freak and sunshine addict, I have a hard time adjusting to the darkness, sadness, and cold that accompany fall.

3) The main reason I hate fall so much is because it is a prelude to winter. I debate which one I hate the most: winter with its piles of snow and ice and treacherous travel conditions or fall with is a long cold, dark introduction to winters' snow, ice, and treacherous travel conditions. Winter brings a tiny bit of hope because towards its end the days get longer again and we start seeing signs that "Spring" (see reason number 2 for why it's in quotation marks) might be on its way. Fall on the other hand has no such hope. 

4) I stay cold. I am one of those heat on in the summertime, electric blanket using, sweater carrying people who just cannot get enough warmth. In my view, weather in the 70's is ok or great depending on humidity, 80's are perfect! 90's are nice, and 100's are a bit warm but still better than any cold alternative. 

5) I tend to get a little sad this time of year. "Weather" or not (I know bad pun) I have true Seasonal Affective Disorder is up for debate, but this part of the year I have to try extra hard to hold on to my happy. 

6) And the final reason for my strong fall bias is that fall is not summer. In fact, this year it hijacked my summer by coming early :-(

But regardless of the season, I hope you will live blessed. Keep your head up and keep tuning into the blog for more of my particular brand of madness. 

PS: Leave me a message in the comment section and let me know what you think about fall. Or if you share my hatred of fall, how do you cope with it? 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

God's Political Party

When I lived in the Midwest I had an aesthetician who frequently baited me into political discussions. Over the course of our professional relationship she learned that I was a Christian so she automatically assumed that I must, of course, be a Republican. One day she brought up the environment or abortion or some such controversial topic and thought that I would approve of her opinions. Naturally, I could not. I am a card carrying Democrat to the core and I do not pretend to be bipartisan. However, our interactions made me think, why is it that we associate one particular party with Christianity? In fact, why do we assume that God has (or even needs) a political party?

When we examine the parties we see that the Republican Party more closely aligns itself with Evangelical Christianity, which is not a problem, unless you happen to believe in separation of church and state (which I do).  In fact, overall the Republican Party is a pretty homogeneous group, made almost entirely of whites, males, rural dwellers, older people, people with higher incomes, and less formally educated people. In fact, minorities in general are extremely unlikely to associate themselves with the conservative party.

The Democrat Party on the other hand is made up of every one else! Blacks, Whites, Mexicans, Asians, educated people, lower income people, Christians, Atheists, Jews, gays--a much more diverse group of people. So it is faulty thinking to assume that "Christian" automatically equals Republican. My faith informs my vote just as a conservative's faith informs his. My faith is no less authentic, no less meaningful. My belief that God created the world, for example, informs my belief that we should take care of the planet we live on. My belief in equality (see Galations 3:28), colors my views on social justice for all people, regardless of gender, race, social economic status, or sexual orientation. (Recall that Christ's message is for everyone Rev. 14: 6. and that Christ himself ministered to the very poor, the tax collectors, women with bad reputations etc.) These views, which I believe are biblically supported, lead me to desire health care reform, make me less inclined to support the death penalty, and make me long for a government that promotes the betterment of its citizens in whatever ways it can. Lastly, my biblically-based belief in the freedom of choice ( recall "choose ye this day who you will serve") discourages me from foisting my religious views on other people, so I wholeheartedly defend separation of church and state.

 The issue I have with my conservative friends is that they often view their party as THE Christian party! Subsequently, their party is most likely associated with "values", to the point where we hear phrases like "the religious right". But remember from history that white slave owners were also religious. In fact they were so religious that they used the Bible to justify the abominable institution of slavery! Just because a party or group is affiliated with Christianity, does not mean that said party is Christian or that the so-called "values" espoused are in keeping with God's word. Some people act as if God himself ordained the Republican Party; as if to distance oneself from conservative ideology is tantamount to apostasy!

So does that mean that God, by default, endorses the Democrat Party?

To be honest, I do not believe that God has a political party! I can point to instances in both parties where I know He would be displeased. I can list examples of several politicians from both camps who have openly violated at least one of the 10 commandments. And though I argue passionately about my beliefs, I realize that my political party is far from ideal and the the present administration didn't exactly usher in a new Utopian America.

Daniel 2:21 describes God as having the power to remove kings and set up kings. This verse means that God has the ultimate authority. He is more powerful than any political entity we have down here. In the same chapter the prophet writes that God's kingdom obliterates the kingdoms of this world and only his kingdom is forever. That's not to say that God is indifferent to our sociopolitical plight down here, but it does mean that His authority is bigger and wider and certainly more permanent than anything we dream up in this world.

Of course I have my opinions about which political party more closely mirrors the principles of the Bible, but that's a whole other can of worms. For now, I would like people to stop using God as some kind of political chess piece and to disabuse themselves of the idea that God loves/supports/endorses one political group over the other. After all, Christianity existed long before the Republican Party and it will continue to exist long after it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lessons From Julius

On August 23, 2014, just 5 days after I decided to have Max euthanized, I adopted a kitten from a local shelter. His name is Julius. Julius is smart, adaptable, funny, adorable, and one of the worse mistakes I made this year! People tend to love kittens because, well...
because they are super cute. Often people adopt a kitten without knowing exactly what they are getting into. However, as someone who has had animals all her life, I knew. I cannot claim ignorance. I also know myself and I LOVE adult cats because there are no surprises. You know their personalities and can predict their behavior. Like us, they tend to be calmer and more settled as they get older.

But grief over Max, and a little prodding from a loved one convinced me, a young professional who is at work 9 hours a day, and who adores solitude and leisure, that I could be a good parent to a rambunctious, highly energetic, go-getter kitten. Can we say big mistake! The first week I had Julius he did not allow me to sleep. Sleep deprived and exhausted I changed his sleeping environment--I tossed kitty out of my room and slammed the door. Meanwhile kitty and I battled over what to feed him. Several foods caused him to vomit, and one food gave him a 3 day bout of explosive diarrhea. Then came the unlimited energy. An hour of play time and literally running through the halls together was not enough for the spirited Julius. When I could not entertain him he...well less just say he found less productive ways to entertain himself. But the behavior that made me want to pull my braids out from the roots one by one had to be the suckling. Julius was the most determined nurser on earth! He tried to nurse my blankets, my comforter, towels, clothing, bath robes, ME! Nothing could deter the behavior. 

I finally couldn't take it any more. The shelter I adopted him from has a provision that allows a family to return the pet within 30 days. Not a light decision for me. I am a huge cat advocate. I have rescued and re-homed strays, volunteered at my local animal shelter, and I have taken care of cats all my life. Had Julius been an older cat or a cat with health problems I would have kept him, because I know his chances at being adopted by a kind family are slight.  Let's be clear, I do NOT advocate returning a pet to a shelter unless you are under a provisional period like I was, or unless you are in dire straits and you have exhausted ALL other viable options (e.g. you suddenly find yourself homeless).  But beautiful Julius is a highly desirable pet. In fact, I am confident that he will have a new home by next week. 

Adopting a cat is a 20 year commitment. Cat's are people too, in that they have the same needs and desires that we have. That said, the decision to adopt a pet is a serious one! Probably up there with deciding to purchase a house. Once you purchase it, the house is your for years and years to come. I made a bad decision. I know myself well. I know my lifestyle and energy level. I work a stressed-filled job that leaves me depleted at the end of the day. I should have taken all those factors into consideration. I didn't. And now I'm paying for it. Surrendering Julius was a tough decision. I miss him and love him, but we were ultimately a poor match. 

I kept trying to make something work that just wasn't working. We do that in our people relationships. We try all sorts of things to keep certain people in our lives. We compromise, struggle, and fight, but as the old adage goes, "if it don't fit, don't force it."

Though I am sad to lose Julius, on so many levels I feel relieved. I know I made the best decision for both of us: now Julius can find a good family that can care for him in ways I would never be able to (as a small kitten he is highly adoptable). And now I can find an adult cat better suited to my personality, who will lounge with me, and snuggle, and enjoy gentle play. I had regrets about keeping Julius, but I have no regrets about letting him go so that he can find someone who will love him entirely, suckling and all. We can learn a lot of lessons from our pets. I have learned a lot from my ill-matched kitty friend. Perhaps the biggest lesson is that if you love something, let it go. 

Julius never got tired of playing. 

Looking for a pet? The Purposeful Blog advocates purchasing a pet from a reputable shelter. To find pets near you please visit www.petfinder.com or http://www.petango.com/.

Update September 13, 2014: Julius was adopted by a kind family on September 8th, just two days after I returned him to the shelter and on the same day he was put back up for adoption. I wish Julius all the happines in the world.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Open Letter to Single Women

*Single here is defined as not married, or seeing anyone. This article is for single WOMEN! I am not a single MAN; so I’m not qualified to address that side of the issue.

Dear Single Women,

This is the best free advice you are ever going to get so listen carefully:


I want you to know that I am single (never married and not seeing anyone) and have been for a quite some time. I want you to know that there are lots of single women out there and that they understand where you are coming from. I don’t have any of the typical Cosmo, Glamour, Style etc. advice for you about how a new sexual position, outfit, or make up tip will make you magically appealing to the weaker sex.  But I am here to say that pining over a man won’t get you one and complaining about men (even though it’s good entertainment from time to time) won't change them. I know, I know men are selfish, sex -obsessed, narcissistic, blah blah blah. In fact you can insert any other adjective and I will totally agree with you, but how does that help YOU? I’m a huge fan of self-acceptance. There are so many things in life we can’t control. Whether someone is sexually attracted to us and eventually comes to love us is not a factor we have too much control over! That’s tough for women, because we like control. That’s why we read all those relationship books, that’s why we spend money and time on dating sites, and why we stomach inordinate amounts of dating advice from well-meaning friends and family. But part of being an adult is also learning to accept the things that you cannot change. I know, I know your church has a singles groups, and your minister is praying a special prayer for you, and everyone is telling you that if you are single it’s your fault and that you need to change, or that singleness is a gift, or that God is preparing you for yada yada yada.

The fact is women are relational. We love relationships. We love talking about relationships and when our relationships aren't right we are not happy. Being single is a lot more negative, stigmatizing, and potentially heartbreaking to women, just because we are so relational. So here are some things to consider if you would like to be both single AND happy.

1) It is probably not your fault that you are single. I know everyone is blaming you, but in most cases it’s a simple numbers game. You haven’t done anything wrong. Look at your friends who are married, are they really that much more wonderful, enlightened, mature etc. than you? You may still wish to take the time to do serious introspection and work on those things that may hinder positive relationships, but if you are scratching your head and wondering, "why am I single?," it’s probably NOT you that’s the problem. It could be just a bad break. It could be where you are located, and it could be that the other gender is the problem. More than likely women are single because of a skewed male to female ratio or a severe shortage of quality single men. In short, dating is a numbers game!

2)Please enjoy your life. When I look back at some of the best times in my entire life--those defining moments, those times when I was happiest and at my best, I was single! Really examine your life and the things that matter to you. In fact, my regret is wasting my time pining over some guy. When I was fresh out of college I had a good social network. I was always going to parties, game nights, restaurant etc. I had so much fun, but often I put a damper on these great experiences because I was worried over being single, sad that I wasn't pretty enough, and discouraged because Mr. I-forget-his-name-now didn't like me. All the time I could have been and should have been enjoying myself and cultivating meaningful friendships with other people.

3) Leave dem relationship books and seminars alone! Sure the advice may be good, but is it healthy to constantly hear that you are doing it wrong? That if you change x,y, and z factors you will get the incredible man of your dreams? I do not think it helpful to fixate on this stuff. It’s a recipe for depression.

4) As a rule, I don’t go to weddings. Not because I’m a mean person, but because a wedding is no place for a single woman! As a single person, you may not be able to plan your third cousin twice removed's wedding. Those bridal magazines are NOT for you. Those articles on marriage are NOT for you. Drink too much of this Kool-Aid and you will start to believe that you are defective and that marriage will lead you to your happily ever after. Our society knows this is not true. Look at how many marriages end in divorce or how many people stay married out of a sense of obligation but are neither in love nor happy. The bitter truth is that very few people are happily married.

5) Please have fun. I say this because so many people postpone doing those things they have always wanted to do until they have found a partner. Why let life pass you by? Where have you always wanted to go? What are your goals? What fulfilling things can you do with your time? What types of experiences add meaning to your life? These are questions the single woman should ask herself. We only get one shot down here on this planet. We are here, quite literally, for a limited time only! So what things, within your control, can you do that will help add to your happiness and joy (doing things for others can be one of those things). For me, I like to read, play old school video games, plan vacations (even if I can’t afford to go on one right now), take up new hobbies, study chess strategy, write blogs etc. etc. These things add to who I am and make me unique and interesting. I love to learn. I try to teach myself a foreign language, how to play an instrument, how to bake, etc. Fun is a priority to me. When I am having fun I am a better person, a better friend, and yes more attractive! Don’t let society tell you how to feel, what the timeline on love is (e.g. Oh my wow I’m [insert age here] and I’m not married!!!!!!), or what you are worth as a human being!

6) You may have to change your friends. I once had a group of friends who only wanted to talk about relationships. I became angry and bitter. I didn't want to talk about being single every time we got together. Some commiserating is healthy, but as mentioned above fixating is not. On the positive, if you have great girlfriends you have a wonderful blessing. Enjoy each other!

7) Don’t do anything that reinforces the "you're single = your broken = you need to do something about it” message. You may have to quit the singles ministry. You may have to stop pursuing relationships for a while. Leave the blind dates alone, or shut down your okcupid profile etc.

8) Do not settle. There is a reason you don’t date men who smoke, party, harm animals, etc.We all have deal breakers. I don’t date men who have children, who are unemployed, and who don’t practice basic sanitation and hygiene. When you start compromising on things you said were unacceptable you may cease being single, but I assure you, you will also cease being happy and cease being you.

9) Yes men as a gender are (insert bad adjectives here) but how does that fix anything? How can you become better and not bitter?

 I’m all about living life to the fullest. I’m about going out, having a good time, meeting new people sharing new experiences, laughing, and in the process hopefully doing something that makes a difference down here. I am a complete person, with thoughts and feelings, and goals. The best advice I can give to single women is to live life in such a way that someone has to be truly exceptional  in order to compel you to change your single status. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Tribute to The Max

On Monday I had to make a decision that no pet parent wants to ever have to face. I had to decide to put my beautiful tabby, Max (Maximilian Maxwell Maximus aka The Max) down. Max suffered from a common cat affliction, Feline Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) or kidney disease. No cure exists for CRF so a diagnosis of kidney disease is a looming death sentence. For more information about the disease please visit http://www.felinecrf.org/.

 Max was a fighter. He was diagnosed in early 2011 and I was told that he would probably not live through 2012, but The Max lived more than a 2 and a half years past the doctor's expectations. Apart from a roller coaster appetite and the occasional spot of  lethargy, Max never had any real complications. He responded well to treatment and he played, ran, jumped, and thrived until last Saturday when he slowed down. He had had enough. On Monday, I took him to the vet and decided that the most humane decision I could make for him was to put him down.

Life without The Max is like a life without music. 

But this post is not about his death. This post is dedicated to Max's life. Here are some of my favorite memories of  Mister Max.

This is Max when I first brought him home in the Spring of 2010. He was dirty and suffering from a fungal infection.Though he loved hanging out in the bath tub, he hated getting wet.
Max and his roommate Precious taking a bath together. (Precious my favorite cat of all time died at the age of 20 in November 2012.)

He loved having his picture taken and would often pose in front of the camera.

Max in the hall closet

He frequently slept just like this or completely on his back

This is why I'm hot

Silly boy
Wearing a Hawaiian leis

He had an appreciation for books 

Smile for the camera
A handshake

Him and his dog

We were a family.

The last photo I ever took with  Max two days before he died

The name Maximilian literally means "the greatest." So here's to a cat who lived his life to The Max! Rest in peace, boy.