Good Men in the Making


YTurnerSommore

   

Good Men in the Making

 

It started out as just a friendly conversation based off a simple question asked often in Louisville “Where’d you go to high school?”  My response was Waggener.  The other people around then stated their answer, but one person started with, “Well, um, well first I went to Valley and then was at Doss…”  You could tell that the story had more behind it.  The guy then went on to say that he stopped going to high school his sophomore year and never finished.

 

However, 17 years later he is now back trying to complete his GED.  He wants to better not only his life, but his kids’ lives too.  This entire conversation happened in the St. Stephen Family Life Center right by the cable cross over machine.  The three men in the conversation all had tattoos, some had gold teeth.  They talked about their stints in jail and how they now have a better perspective on life.

 

They went on to discuss how they used to be a “n!gg@” but now are men and the difference.  They used to run around and do things thinking only about themselves but now they put their family first.  But the conversation continued to improve.  They started quoting Bible verses that kept them motivated.  One mentioned be able to freely now show his sensitive side.

 

And I just sat there in awe.  Here were three men that on the outside could be intimidating to some people.  Three men that have done others wrong.  Three men that have served their time.  But, also three men trying to make it RIGHT!  I felt so blessed and fortunate to be able to stand and listen while they continued their conversation.  They are trying to make a difference in others lives, but they already made a difference in mine.  Remember, your story still has more chapters in it and you don’t have to be defined by your current character.  If you want a better life, do something to guide you in that direction!

July 2011

Neva Gonna Get It

NaturalHeart  

 Neva Gonna Get It?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the process of going natural.  An OnyxLouisville reader emailed the following:  “I have been told numerous times by my guy friends that the average Black man does not want a woman with natural hair…and that as long as I am natural, I will be single.”  I wondered if this was true so I did some investigative work.

I talked with some natural females.  One person said that a guy told her “if I wanted to see all that natural ish, I’d go to Africa”.  Another woman was in a longterm relationship with a man and as soon as she cut her hair, he completely left the situation.  Another person enjoyed her natural hair but ended up getting a relaxer because of the pressure from her boyfriend (and they are no longer together).

Some said they the haven’t had any trouble dating since they went natural.  I remember last year we did a “Singled Out” event.  I tabulated all of the matches.  One female had a lot of men interested in her.  I actually looked her up on Facebook to see who she was and she is someone that wears her hair natural in locks.  That was a true indicator that the words love + natural can go together.

The men that commented had one general view.  Many men said they like natural hairstyles that are nicely kept.  One guy said “Men are very visible and I’ve seen some natural hair on woman that looks a hot mess.”  So, it’s more about whether or not it’s natural – it’s more about how you keep it styled.

I also found that men seem to generally prefer long hair (either natural or relaxed).  Many women with natural hair found that as their hair grew longer they started receiving more compliments from men.  The great thing about the people in the discussion is that the majority of the women in the discussion are currently dating, engaged or married!! So love is definitely possible.  Kevin Wigginton summed it up best – “Brothers and Sisters please keep in mind Natural hair is just that Natural. Some of our Sisters have hair that’s Straight, Curly, Kinky, and Wavy. We have to remember not only do we have different shades of beauty but different grades of hair. All of which are Beautiful Naturally. Be proud my Sisters no matter what your hair texture is or the amount melanin that’s in your skin because all of you are beautiful.”

CLICK HERE to read the discussion and give your view

From a Man’s Perspective

‘From a Man’s Perspective’

Aug08-3I’m yielding my column this week to my counterparts and letting the man’s voice come through.  I spent the past week interviewing men on their perspectives on dating.  These were all men that I have never dated and the majority were men that I have never even met.  The only things these men had in common are that they are OnyxLouisville readers and they are all 30-39 years old (and single).  I’d love to hear your perspective on this as well, so please click on the message board at the bottom to give your input.

How much weight is in a date?  First of all, a date is simply a date and nothing more.  Going on one date does not mean that you are exclusive with that person.  Most men date more than one person for an extended amount of time until they feel they are ready to settle down.  It may take several dates before a man knows that he is truly interested in getting to know you better.

In the club? The men also stated that when they go to out and meet a woman, they are generally interested in getting to know her better and not just take her home.  However women, be careful of the late night breakfast line!  Most men will take your number, but if they meet someone else that same night, will get that number also.  It’s all about options to find the right one.

But how do you know if he’s interested?  If a man is interested, he will call you on a regular basis.  He will initiate asking you to do things and inquire about you and your life.  ‘I will make her my hobby to learn, study and have fun with and hopefully love may grow.’  When he is not interested, he may call once a week (usually out of boredom) or hang out with you just because he needs something to do.  Some men are straight forward and will tell the person he is not interested while others will just let the situation slowly fade.

What’s attractive?  Men love a women with great style, personality and a sense of  humor.  They also like a great hairstyle.  Men dislike women that are loud, burp, curse a lot and don’t take care of themselves.  Most don’t mind a woman with one child.   But having a van full of kids changes the story.

What about sex?  The average amount of time and man will wait to have sex with someone is two to three months.  Few would have sex on the first date, but others would be more cautious.  Some (not most) will even have sex with more than one person.  It is not until a conversation is had that a man and a woman enter into an exclusive relationship.  I asked one guy why sex and exclusivity are not synonymous.  His answer was simple, but true – greed!

Pet peeves about dating in Louisville?  Many men said that women want men to bring a lot to the table, yet don’t have anything to offer in return.  Some women are stuck up – when a man approaches them with a simple hello, women give a fake smirk and turn their back. Women are also bringing baggage from previous relationships and automatically assume each man will treat her the same way.  Men want women to put more trust into the new man instead of making the man prove his worth.   Louisville is a haven for dating someone that your friend has dated.  While this can often be frustrating, most men would still give a woman a chance that only casually went on a date with one of his friends.

So, what’s all this mean?  Since I don’t know most of these men, yet assume their answers are all true, I do think men are really looking ultimately to settle down.  I think they take a different approach than most women.  However, it all boils down to their actions.  Men (and women) can say all that they want to, but it’s their actions that truly tell you what’s going on.  Who initiates most of the conversations?   Is he spending quality time with you or always giving you an excuse that he’s busy?  Is she showing you that she cares or solely waiting for you to do something for her?  If he/she hasn’t told you it’s exclusive, then don’t make the assumption!

As we enter a new month, I encourage everyone to participate in OnyxLouisville’s ‘DATE ONLY ONE PERSON’ month.  Try it.  For the month of September focus your attention on only one person and see where the situation can lead.  Trust me, you won’t miss out on anything, but could gain true romance!  You have a little over a week to take applications and determine the winner!  I can’t create the DATE ONLY ONE PERSON month, unless I participate so I guess I’ll end so I can get started!

M.Y. August 2008

The Good, the Bad and the U-G-L-Y

‘The good, the bad and the u-g-l-y’

Aug08-2I learn a lot from my married friends and vice versa.  They find both excitement and humor in the happenings of today’s single world.  Who needs reality tv when you can just talk about what you did over the weekend?Here are some of my recent adventures. Names have been changed to protect…. (well not really to protect anyone, but nicknames sound much better).
‘Mr. Out of Town’
The good:  He took me on a tour of San Diego so I could see all the sights that I didn’t get to see while at my conference.  The bad:  He chose to see the movie ‘Don’t Mess with the Zohan’ (it wasn’t that bad of a movie).  The ugly:  While pulling into the parking spot at the theatre, I hear a screech sound.  We get out and there is a large white line all along the passenger side of his black Navigator from where his car hit the pole. (He actually had a good attitude about it and didn’t let it bother him the rest of the night)

‘Mr. Executive’
The good: while at a competition out of town, he offers to buy me a hotel room (one that doesn’t include him) so that I won’t have to drive home late at night.  The bad: he leaves my place and once arriving home out of town says he thinks he left his credit card holder at my house.  The ugly: I find the card holder and happen to glance at his driver’s license (I was curious) – only to discover that he is five years older than he told me.  (Why lie?  Is 39 really that different than 44?)

‘Dr. Ho’
The good: we attend an outdoor concert together and share our first kiss while slow dancing and being serenaded by a classic song.  The bad:  On our first date, he randomly, out of the blue, feels the need to tell me he hasn’t been circumcised.  The ugly:  After several more dates he tells me that he wants to take about six months to get to know me, however, if it were up to him, we’d be having sex since day one. (Wow, some thoughts are much better kept on the inside – and from a distance!)

‘Young Ivy League’
The good: Although younger in age, he’s a Harvard grad with a lot going on for him.  The bad:  We know some of the same people, yet many people said they question his character.  The ugly: On a ‘date’ he takes me to a car wash – in an alley – in a guy’s garage – a garage filled with about 20 dudes – all of which are smoking and drinking – and he pulls out a beer and asks if I want one. (I am not your hommie from the hood!)

M.Y.  August 2008

The Dating Game

“The Dating Game”
Aug08-1I HATE the dating game because that’s really all it is – a game.  I took a short break from figure competing  toward the end of May and also actively jumped back into the dating scene after a lengthy hiatus.  It has been an interesting experience and one that I can say I don’t miss.

First let me explain my dating philosophy – 1. You meet various people and ‘hang out’ with them.  2. You find someone you’re interested in, and you exclusively date that person.  3. You like him/her, he/she likes you and you establish a relationship.

In June, I met a plethora of nice, single men in some of the most random places (I attribute it to the short haircut!)  Examples: I met a flight attendant from VA at my gym, I met a guy from Louisville at the airport in Denver, a guy from Cincy at a competition, one online, one person was introduced through a mutual friend -.  None of them were men I met in the club.  It was great to have multiple dates in one week and meet some wonderful men doing great things with their life. However, at some point emotions get involved and the game gets more intense.

Some of these men  developed feelings for me.  For some odd reason, one guy thinks I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.  And while I think he’s a nice person, that’s where it stops.  I enjoy the conversation but don’t see him as the next “Mr. Yeager”.  For the most part I’ve been just enjoying the ride trying to see where all of these situations could lead me.  There were a couple of times where I thought I’d move to phase 2 with a gentleman, but I think it was just gas since the thought didn’t stay around too long.

Also, Louisville is such a small place, especially for black young professionals.  There is a great chance that the person you date has either dated one of your friends or at least someone you know.  If you’re both in the ‘hanging out’ phase, you run the risk of both being out to the same movies or a restaurant (on dates with other people).  And timing also plays a major role.  If I would have met my “Mr. Right” back in March, I wouldn’t have given him the time of day because I was constantly with my man “gym”.  You have to BOTH be in the right place at the right time in order for it to work.

Everyone comes into your life for a reason.   I am blessed for each man I have met and have learned a lot about myself in the process.  I know that my other half is somewhere out in the world and I feel like he is just around the corner.  If you’ve met him, make sure you tell him where to find me. Until then, I will be patient until it is our time to meet.

M.Y. August 2008