Does Independence Trump Being Submissive?

As someone who grew up in a single parent household, I saw my mother be the leader, provider, and protector of our home.  Of course when I would visit my father during the summer I saw that, too, but what I saw over an 8 week period didn’t overtake what I saw for the other 44 weeks of the year.  I thought my BFF in high school was crazy when she told me her father told her mother she couldn’t cut her hair. (WDDDA???)  Living in a house with a woman who was fiercely independent and growing up to be her clone, I couldn’t fathom a MAN telling me I couldn’t cut MY hair. 

The Bible tells us that a woman is to be submissive to her husband.  When this topic comes up for discussion with my friends, I always tell them, “I have no problem being submissive, as long as my husband gives me something to be submissive to”, which essentially means that if he is allowing God to be the head of his life and the overseer of our household, I have no choice but to follow him.  But…can a woman be submissive without loosing herself? 

Cooking seems to be a big thing when it comes to the dynamics of a relationship between a man and a woman.  Besides Southern Dad, I’ve only cooked for one other man in my life.  (And it just so happened he called me when I was about to eat dinner and sort of invited himself to my house.)  Cooking is sort of a personal thing for me.  A friend and I are supposed to hang out with her dude and his friend this weekend, and as we were going over the menu, I was stunned for three reasons: 1. This woman is the EPITOME of independence and feminism; 2. This woman embraces cooking, cleaning, and going when her man calls; and 3. Why am I about to cook for a man that I have never seen and probably won’t see again after this weekend??? 

I totally understand wanting and needing to spend time with your significant other, and I have to admit, sometimes I get a little salty when I make plans with my girls, then when one of their men calls, they drop everything and go running.  I have to admit I don’t really like this aspect of myself because I never want to be the bitter, single friend.  And for the most part I check myself because the last thing I need is somebody telling me I’m the jealous chick.  But I wonder if this is a part of being submissive or something totally different.

And then I wonder, will I, Elle, the fiercely independent, “I’m Every Woman”, “I make my own decisions” person, become this woman who submits to a man?  And if I do, will I still be true to the essence of me?  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I can do that.  Like my mother, I’m a worker.  And like my father, I want things to go my way.  I like to that when I am a part of a relationship that there will be a nice balance of Elle independence and submissiveness.  I never want to ask permission to go anywhere or do anything; I’ll say where I’m going and when I’ll be back.

For those ladies who are married, engaged, or in a relationship how do you remain yourself but become submissive to your mate?  Or do you say to hell with being submissive and remain the same woman you were before you were in a relationship?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Southern Girl Movie Review: “Jumping the Broom”

In my effort to support good Black film, my neighbor Ms. V and I went to see “Jumping the Broom” on Mothers Day.  I was very excited to see this movie as it has some of my favorite people in it-Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, and Pooch Hall.  Mike Epps is always good for comic relief, and Tasha Smith was superb (and almost typecast) as Rosetta Devine’s “sister-girl” best friend.  Laz Alonzo and Gary Dourdan are ALWAYS nice eye candy, and you all know how I feel about Meagan Good…or maybe you don’t. 

While I LOVE Paula, her character got on my nerves slightly.  She was a little too bubbly.  (I wonder if that is some type of manifestation of self-hate because I felt the same way about Anika Noni Rose in “For Colored Girls“.)  But, I could totally relate to her character-tired of encountering the wrong men and just wanting to have that one true love.  (deep sigh)  But I digress…I loved how Laz Alonzo’s character went over the top to show his girl how he felt about her.  I didn’t like Loretta Devine’s character being rude to her son’s fiancee’.  And for no good reason; she didn’t even give the girl a chance!  Meagan Goode is someone else who I think is about to be typecast; I mean, she played a hot girl in the latest season of “The Game”, and now she’s heating up the kitchen with the chef for the wedding weekend.  Also, it was hard for me to believe Meagan and Paula’s characters as best friends…but that’s just me. 

There were some pleasant surprises, and because I value you all, I won’t give away any secrets from the movie.  But I do hope you guys go see it.  It’s well worth it.  The acting was great, there’s plenty of laughs, and a few moments that will make your mouth drop.  I have to admit Ms. V and I were genuinely surprised at some of the events in the movie.  What I will never understand though is why Black people feel the need to clap at the end of movies.  It’s not a play and it’s not like the actors can interact with us…*shrugs*  I will say I appreciate this movie for showing that Black people are not monolithic.  We know that, and it’s good to see something on film that could potentially happen to me or someone in my circle.  Actually I think people from my maternal and paternal families could fit with most of these characters. 

If you saw the movie, what did you think?  If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely make it a date night movie, whether it’s with your boo, your girlfriends, or (one of) your mom’s belated Mother’s Day gift.  😉  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

This Past Week in the News

Happy Saturday! I’m thoroughly enjoying my time in Atlanta, but I didn’t want to leave you all for too long!  Some pretty interesting things happened this week, so let’s do a quick re-cap!

First, the wedding of all weddings, according to some people, took place yesterday between Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I’m extremely happy for them and love it when people decide to share the rest of their lives with each other.  I’ve seen re-plays of the wedding and must admit it was a beautiful ceremony, although I don’t get into all the hype.  Her dress was beautiful, and her make-up looked very natural.  I wish them both a lifetime of happiness!

Next, devastating storms hit the South and parts of the Eastern seaboard earlier this week.  The videos and pictures of the destruction are pretty horrific.  Two schools in GA are closed for the remainder of the school year due to all of the damage. Please continue to pray for all of those affected by the storm.

The NFL Draft took place on Thursday.  That’s all well and good, but it means diddly-squat if the players remained locked out.  Pressing on…

I’m still pretty heated about President Obama revealing his birth certificate to shut up Donald Trump.  Unfortunately, it’s reminiscent of when free Blacks would have to show their “papers” to prove that they were in fact free.  I’m not going to talk about this, because I’ll get upset all over again.  I will say as much as I would like to see NeNe go off on Star tomorrow, I’m skipping “The Celebrity Apprentice”.  But I will be watching the Obamas on “Oprah” on Monday! 🙂

Lastly, a fun time was had by all at last night’s launch party of “Mood”, and I’m looking forward to the “Walk-A-Mile In Someone Else’s Shoes” fundraiser tonight benefitting Families First.  You still have time to make a donation.  Make sure you bring your heels! 🙂 I hope to see some of you all there!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

The Carmen Jones Effect

This weekend I had the pleasure of watching “Carmen Jones” from beginning to end.  (If you’re not familiar, let me break it down-Army boy has Good Girl as his fiancee and is ready to marry her-he meets Aggressive Woman who makes him forget about Good Girl-Aggressive Woman meets a new man and dumps Army Boy-tragedy ensues-The End.)  My friend AGinDC and I had a blockbuster night, complete with movie, red wine (which I normally don’t like), and pizza.  AG and I were able to point out various things, specifically where we and another one of our friends, whom I will call Lola, fit.  I said that I was in-between Cindy Lou and Carmen.  I was quickly told by AG that I was Cindy Lou, she was in-between, and Lola was Carmen.  I scoffed at her-I was slightly offended-but she broke it down for me.  AG told me that I “embrace my traditionalism and ‘good girl’ persona. You’re also predictable and don’t offer any spontaneity.”  After she said that I couldn’t really argue, except with the predicable part.   But we both whole-heartedly agreed about our friend Lola being Carmen.   Lola is aggressive, assertive, and a free spirit.  If she sees something (or someone) she wants, she goes after it.  And people (both men and women) are drawn to her like moths to a flame. 

The major realization I had after watching this movie was that men will leave the “good girl” to go to the woman who is more assertive.  And the more assertive women don’t back down until they get what they want.   Now, the Joes of the world do try to thwart the advances of the Carmens, but something happens where they forget all about the Cindy Lous and let their hormones take over.  I don’t think I even want to know why.  I’ve come to accept it as fact.  Now, AG and Lola seem to think I should become more like Carmen, but won’t I lose a little bit of the Cindy Lou?  I like being traditional, I like being the good girl, but I can say I want to be a little more un-predictable…I just have to plan what I’m going to do.  (Kidding. :))  But I do know I don’t want to end up alone with Joe sending me back home to my ma, so a plan must be devised. 

What do you guys think?  Do you know men who have left a Cindy Lou to be with a Carmen?  Was he happier with his Carmen or did he wish he had stayed with his Cindy Lou?  Is it our responsibility as women to embrace a little bit of Cindy Lou and Carmen in our personality?  Or is “Carmen Jones” just a movie that has no parellel to real life?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Today’s Black History Month Fact is about Harry Belafonte, one of the stars of “Carmen Jones”.  He passed up the opportunity to star opposite Dorothy Dandridge again in the movie “Porgy and Bess” due to its racial stereotyping. 

Way Back Wednesday- Thanksgiving with the Family

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  That’s right, folks.  Tomorrow official starts the beginning (at least in my mind) of the holiday season.  (We’re not going to talk about how my place of PT employment has been decorated for Christmas for nearly a month.)  I talked to Southern Mom this morning, and of course we were both agonizing (but trying to be strong for the other) over the fact that I will not be home for Thanksgiving.   And this of course got me to thinking about the holidays growing up.  Since my parents are divorced I would spend Thanksgiving with one parent, then Christmas with the other parent and vice versa for the next year.  Specifically for Thanksgiving, each family had their own separate yet unique traditions. 

Each year since I was in the 2nd grade, my mother has hosted Thanksgiving at our house.  I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but my mom bought her first house when I was in the 2nd grade and moved the week of Thanksgiving.  To help her move, my family kicked into high gear, helped us pack up, and had dinner at my mom’s.  From there, I think it just stuck.  Everyone brings a dish, the men (and some ladies) watch football, others gather around the dining room table, and when it’s time to eat, we all gather around the table, say grace, and dig in!  It’s a wonderful time for all of us (my grandparents, my grandmother’s siblings, my mom’s siblings, and my cousins) to get together. 

My dad’s family is a little different.  Even though it’s probably about the same amount of people as my mom’s family, it’s just my grandparents’ children, and their children (and now their children’s children!).   We typically used to have dinner at my Godmother’s house.  We gather, say grace around the table, and eat!  I always enjoyed going to see my dad’s family as they lived about 4 hours away from me, and I didn’t get to see my cousins that often.  We played catch up, the older cousins picked on the younger ones, and you may see a game of Spades going on.   Before the night was over, we all picked a name for Christmas gifts. 

Sadly, as I’ve gotten older and have moved away from my family, it’s harder for me to get to SC to spend the holidays with my relatives.  Thankfully I have friends here in DC who have adopted me and taken me in and invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them.   I wish you all a joyous, blessed, Thanksgiving holiday.  I’ll catch you guys next week.  (Oh, I’m supposed to be making a peach cobbler tomorrow-should be good!)  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

This Week in the News

Before I begin today’s post, I just want to send special prayers to the families of Zenani Mandela, great-granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, and Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown.   Both were senselessly and unexpectedly killed early this morning. 

As each week brings tons of news to us from around the world, I have decided each Friday I will (attempt to) discuss topics that are hot right now (or at least have people’s tongues wagging).  I’ll share a little bit of the story and provide my lively commentary to what’s going on. 

First, what seems to be the talk of the hip-hop world, is Slim Thug’s comments to Vibe magazine regarding Black women and relationships. (To read the article in its entirety, click here.)  Before I read the entire article, I was a little perturbed at what he said, or what people were quoting, which was pretty much all of the bad stuff.  Despite what I think about him as a rapper or a person or what have you, he did make some valid points about relationships.  Now, he really should not have generalized his statements as all ethnicities are probably guilty of what he accused Black women of, but his derogatory comments were too much.  My advice to him, which I have put into my own personal practice, is don’t make generalizations from a few people that you have met.    But quietly, I’m thinking that he made these comments on purpose.  Is Slim Thug really relevant anymore???  Did he make these comments just so his name would still in people’s mouths???

Next up, Joran van der Sloot.  Do I REALLY need to say more?  This guy, at only 22 years old, is all sorts of trouble.   First, a woman, 21 year old student Stephany Ramirez, is found dead in his hotel room in Chile-the reason?  According to van der Sloot, it’s because she found evidence that linked him to the Natalee Holloway disappearance.   Next, he tells the Chilean authorities that he will reveal the location of Holloway’s remains, but only to Peruvian authorities.  Lastly (or at least the last thing I heard), was that he was arrested for extortion as he contacted the Holloway family to pay him $25,000 to reveal the location of Natalee’s body.   (Read all of the details in this article.)  I really hope that if he is guilty (as we are all innocent until proven guilty) he gets the maximum punishment.  It really seems as if he has no remorse.  And did he really think that contacting the family and asking for money was smart?  I mean, doesn’t he know that they would unquestionably contact the proper authorities and his butt would be arrested?!?!?  I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up on an episode of “World’s Dumbest Criminals”.   The guy does have to be pretty smart to elude prosecution so far, as he had to be let go (twice) from police custody for lack of evidence.  I do hope both families get the closure they need and both girls get the justice they so rightly deserve. 

The NBA Finals- I have only one thing to say…  GO CELTICS!!!  I’m so glad I was able to watch the last few minutes of the game last night.  I really feel like there is a competition going on, and I can’t wait to see Game 5 on Sunday! (Wait, it is Sunday, right?!) 

Last, but certainly not least, is the breakup of the 40 year marriage of Al and Tipper Gore.  (Yes, I know this is last week’s news, but I still feel the need to discuss this.)  Ok, seriously, who does that?   As someone who truly believes in true love and all that, I was very disheartened when I heard this news.   This is not a good look, at all.   After going through so much and still sticking by each other, they’re just going to throw 40 years away.  Some experts say that due to longer life expentancies more long lasting marriages are ending in divorce.   This does not sit well with me at all.  So, this message is for my future husband, whomever and wherever he may be- I don’t plan on getting divorced…ever.  I’m in it for the long haul, and you should be, too.  If you’re not sure you can make a lifetime commitment to me, then I may not be the one for you.  (Ok, thanks for letting me take that little break.)   And to add insult to injury, their oldest daughter Karenna is getting divorced as well.  *Sigh*  But the Gores say their split is amiacable, so I guess that makes it ok…(no it doesn’t, but I’m trying to play diplomatic.)

So, what are your opinions of what’s going on?  Feel free to comment on any of the stories I mentioned, and please share some news of your own or anything that I did not mention.   I want to hear from you!!!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Marriage: Is It for Everyone?

This must have been the weekend of love.  Two of my sorority sisters got engaged! Yes, very happy occasions, and I can’t wait to hear the details of how their fiancees proposed.   But, on the other hand, a friend of a friend celebrated her 30th birthday this weekend by having dinner Saturday night, and a number of people thought her boyfriend was going to propose to her.  She has been with this man for almost 12 years (they met and started dating in undergrad) and is about to move in with him (I said she’ll be pregnant within a year-that was harsh, huh?!?!).  And come to find out her best friend, who was also in attendance at this dinner, is set to marry her fiancee next August.  A group of us have discussed this young lady’s situation in length-how she has been with this man for years, and they show no signs of getting married.   While we in our personal lives and the media make a big deal out of getting married, not every woman’s goal is to become a Mrs. one day.

Now, as a little girl growing up in the South, I was very traditional-to the extent that I knew I wanted to get married, have the house with the white picket fence, 2.5 children (the national average a few years back), a cool SUV (’cause I am NOT driving a mini-van), and maybe a family dog.  It never dawned on me that not every little girl dreams of getting married.  A co-worker pointed out to me that may be the case with a few people in society.  To use her as an example (hope you don’t mind!), my co-worker had been married for about 20 years (they’ve recently divorced), but neither she nor her ex-husband wanted to get married.   She felt pressure from family asking, “So, when are you going to get married?” And even when it was time for the big day, her future husband asked her, “Why are we doing this again?” 

As I grow, mature, and EVOLVE, I’m happy to know that I don’t know everything, and to really expand my mind so I can take others points of view into account.  I can say that my eyes have been opened wide.  While I know I want to become a Mrs. one day, I am not rushing into it by any means.  But  I also know that not everyone wants to get married, and 20 years ago when people thought others were crazy for not getting married, that doesn’t seem so crazy now.  I mean, a woman doesn’t need to have a husband to have a child or paying her bills or for “after hour” activities (ya’ll know what I’m talking about) if you want to take it to the extreme.  While I still think my friend’s friend is crazy for not marrying this boy after 12 years and moving in with him, I’ve decided that we must let people live their lives and do what makes them happy. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts on marriage for the masses.  Have we gone away from tradition?  Is it right to be a bachelor/bachelorette for our entire lives?  Until the next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.