The homie Britni Danielle @ Clutch has an interesting article up, “Please, Baby Please” about the politics of Black heterosexual relationships.
The piece starts off in response to an article by Janelle Harris “Whatever it Takes to Please a Man”.
Janelle discusses how she considers that when her boo snack goes to the strip club that it is right up there with cheating. I appreciate her post because it is honest. It is not easy to write publicly about things about yourself that you are not proud of. I have done it before. It is not a game.
I also find Janelle’s piece interesting for two reasons.
First, she assumes that she can satisfy her boo snack by learning how to pole dance, and this will keep him from going to the strip club.
The thought that came to mind is paying a woman to allow you to touch her is an act of power in an economy that does not pay women the same as their male counterparts. If women earned the same as men for doing the same jobs and if women were trained and allowed and supported to do high income earning jobs, there would be fewer working in strip clubs. (Goldy and I tried to go to a strip club two months ago, they would not let us in. There is a post collecting dust in the drafts section about that excursion. o.O)
Second, Janelle is acutely aware of the fact that she is trying to be superwoman, she knows that it isn’t achievable, but is trying her damnedest to do it anyway.
During comps, at night I would read parts of Siohban Brook’s “Unequal Desires: Race and Erotic Capital in the Stripping Industry” which is a book about how race, skin color and body size impacts the money that women earn as strippers. She actually goes into the strip clubs and interviews men. I am inspired by and influenced by her work. Reading her work kept me going.
The whole time I am reading Janelle’s piece I am thinking of the fact that Brooks went into the strip clubs in the Bronx and in Midtown in New York city and asked men why they go. I also wondered what does Janelle’s gentleman friend think about her ideas around pole dancing and cheating. Because baby let me tell you, people buy what makes them feel comfortable.
So, in Britini’s post she says it makes sense that someone does the things that they need to do to make their boo snack happy. If this means, for instance, taking a cooking class to make the kind of food that your boo thang likes; then, this makes sense.
She then takes an informal poll of some men that she knows and asks them,
if they thought it was necessary for both parties to cater to one another in a relationship, and if they looked at women who seemingly went above and beyond the call of duty to please her mate any differently. To their credit, all of my brethren confirmed that they love to both please and be pleased by their woman. The guys felt giving was a necessary part of a relationship because it showed that both parties valued each other. But with one caveat. While they would like their woman do whatever freaky, sneaky (or otherwise) thing they desired, they overwhelmingly agreed that she should never do anything that made her uncomfortable just because he might like it, because they, for damn sure, wouldn’t either.
I thought that there was a bit of posturing here because of the issue of oral sex. I theorize that Black women are reluctant to perform it because of “the ho tape”, peace to Josephine. If I were Britni I would have asked them, if their lady friend does not perform oral sex, does this change how he see’s her? I would have also asked them if they would reciprocate.
She then goes on to conclude that,
On the contrary, today love is seen as something relegated for chumps. If a man does something nice for his woman/wife, he is called “whipped,” a “punk,” or less than a man. And if a woman wants to go out of her way to try something new to please her man, she’s sometimes called “desperate,” “thirsty,” or charged with having low self-esteem.
While I do agree that there is some cynicism and skepticism around Love, I would conclude that before we can talk about, or while we talk about the politics of gender relations between Black men and women, we also have to talk about how we Love ourselves.
For a fact, dead assed serious, the more I have come to Love myself over the last four years, the more it is reflected in not only the kind of person that I attract, but also the kind of person that I choose to date and remain with.
Notice the distinction between attract and choose to date.
Last year, while dating a giver, it upended me, because while I was interested in the relationship, I wasn’t ready to go whole hog. It was a bugged out experience to have someone be so daggumit nice to me, and for me not to want to run off and get murried. To just be able to sit still and enjoy being doted on was lightweight revolutionary not only for my sense of self, but also in terms of setting the standard for all future boo snacks.
I do think that there is a reading of being invested in someone as being willing to be vulnerable. I also think that being nice can be perceived as being “whipped” or “thirsty”, but I think we need to rethink both how we see Loving others and Loving ourselves as well.
In fact, earlier this summer a friend, a little bear who is younger than me, suspected that her girlfriend was doing some shiesty shit. She said she wanted to stay with her. I asked her, dead ass, “What does loving yourself look like in this moment?” #Ummhmm.
What I am getting at is the ability to Love ourselves is connected to our ability to Love other people. Trust, having loved a selfish one or two there is a world of a difference.
Being vulnerable doesn’t mean being someone’s rug. The goal is to be vulnerable y fearless. #boom.