Sunday, January 27, 2008

Clichés about the Opposite Sex

I got this image in an email from the secretary in my department of anthropology and sociology at Baruch College. It's amazing that in one quick image we can sum up the clichés we love to use to shorthand stereotypes that we forget often short circuit our experience with the opposite sex. And it is all about circuits given that everything about our interactions is ultimately about choosing to interact, interface, intercourse, and procreate in one way or another from the bedroom to the boardroom.

I've been thinking about how my own relationship to being single and being alone has been short circuiting my heart and my willingness to break out and meet new people in new places. Today someone said you just need to choose being living alone and being single cuz' that's the way it is right now.
TO CHOOSE: to select freely without consideration or reason (Landmark Education).
He also got me to see how much I am a renegade about life and relationships. Gotta always be "this is not it" and "I know better". That leaves me trying to fix and change everyone else or invalidating everything I am.

My coach invited me to consider being a renegade FOR my promise. My promise is being "ready, willing and able to embrace and be empowered by any communication, eye to eye with the oneness of humanity." I think it can be fulfilled for the world by 2036 but it begins with me now.

I love how the men in my life, this coach, men I've been dating, and father figures, have been providing growth and development opportunities for me to get about myself. Women do it too, but it means something for a single woman to get "trained" by the men in her life whom she is and is not romantically engaged with. So I am choosing being alone and being happy in that instead of feeling like "this is not it." Nope, this IS it and life is passing me by the other route. I can be fully present to the not knowing it all but leaving my heart open to be filled with this moment and any other I choose to create including being in a committed partnership.

So what's been going on with my dating. Remember I posted an ad for dates on New Years Eve and I got a few hits and went out on some really nice dates. What I have seen for myself lately is how easily I give up on my dream, how often I force what's not working, how much I lie to myself and others about all that, and how unwilling I am to be straight that I am not fulfilled (like that means something) but staying in communication with this wonderful men I meet. I don't usually meet uninteresting people. That is rare. Some I long to be with. Some I don't. But if I am really going to cause the passionate, romantic, committed parternship that I've dreamed of, I gotta keep playing openly, wholeheartedly and bravely for what's possible not only for me but for all of us -- satisfaction, peaceful, powerful parternships that transform what has been for black men and women whether we are dating each other or every kind of people in the world. So goes black folks, so goes the world.

I started out writing about clichés. It's so easy to say the same thing over and over again and lose sight of you'll never get a different result in your experience if you view it from the same ideas. This is why I say it is essential the in the SUCCESS with the OPPOSITE SEX: GET RELATED not DATED (TM) events that there are no generalizations. Clichés are a form of generalization.

On the train yesterday, a brother was selling books of his poetry. He held up multiple copies of his self-published pamplets of poetry saying "And this one says..." and he quote a line or two of a poem and flip to the next book "And this one says..."

He got to the third book as the train slowed to stop at the Nostrand Ave stop on the A train towards Brooklyn. "And this one says 'You know how you can tell the difference between an ugly girl and a pretty one?" He pauses. You know how New Yorkers on the train listen but they won't look. He has us and just as the door to the train opens he says "The ugly ones can cook!" A young sister, I'd say an ugly one, but maybe she didn't cook, started up with him and he ran from the car of the train and hopped on to a later car. She was a little salty about it. I kept thinking what offended her? The poem itself offending all women? No. The implication on her? Probably. Whether she was pretty or not is irrelevant in the case I am trying to make. Clichés and generalizations also have predictable reactions that are in some way not at all our own. They have nothing to do with you here and now. It has Everything to do with the past which has no real bearing on what's possible. They thought we'd never go to the moon, fly (see the Wright Brothers), or maybe a closer example is black persons winning presidential elections (We'll see with Obama but even his win in South Carolina is breaking from the past).

I put a quote by Hilary Clinton in my document of quotes. How ironic it is that she said:
“The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."
The challenge in relationships between black men and women globally speaking (in romance, business, hip-hop, education, parenting, schooling, etc.) is practicing the art of making what appears to be impossible between us possible and clichés can never get us there. But I am looking forward to creating a new cliche about black presidents and black men and women being for each other.

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