Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Relationships are Investments

We wholly accept the ‘try before you buy’ ideology when purchasing an item or making an investment of any sort. The general consensus is that one would view a house before they buy or rent it out and you’d test drive a car before you sign on the dotted line and take it home but it has become apparent that most people ignore/forget this general rule of thumb when entering romantic relationships for reasons I will never find in this lifetime.

A few months back, I ran into an old friend of mine who was completely distraught after having received a phone call from an anonymous lady claiming to be the girlfriend and baby mother to a boy she had been seeing for a few months.

Personally, I have no sympathy for women/men who become tempestuous after finding that their ‘significant other’ had conveniently ‘forgot’ to mention offspring they produced in previous relationships or overlook the necessity to end one relationship before entering another. For me, just as buying shares or steaks in a business, relationships are also an investment which require the sacrifice time, effort and resources so in my perspective it is logical to perform a SERVICE CHECK on potential romantic lover BEFORE entering into a relationship with them; make sure the rewards (even the less obvious ones) of the investment are ones that you desire.

Sidebar: In order to develop a formula for performing a service check, I have chosen various quotes I've come across during the course of my life. The names of those I heard it from first will be included and dates I can remember:

"The mouth that doesn’t open won’t get fed" [Mummy, 199since record began]
Ask questions. How many intimate relationships they’ve been in, why previous relationships didn’t last and the Whos, Whats and Whens. I admit this may seem like some sort of CSI interrogation to begin with, but whether or not we admit it, past relationships are the basis on which we build new ones. If we were hurt before, we put up fences to protect ourselves, If we were cheated on we’d distance ourselves in present relationships or even cheat first to avoid being the vulnerable party. Asking questions provides insight into personality types and forearms you in regards to any discrepancies you may face in the new relationship.

"Would you be friends?" [Jennifer, 199sometime in primary school]
Friendship is the basis of successful relationships. For a relationship to work both parties need to be realistic friends. Barbie and Godzilla are never going to be friends so it preposterous to expect that they’ll be a couple that works. Come past physical attraction and ask if you would be genuine friends with this person.

"The company you keep defines who you are" [Mummy, 199since records began]
Many girls complain about their boyfriends behave around his friends and vice versa. If his friends are hood rats, chances are he’s a hood rat. Likewise if her friends are local bikes, chances are she too is a local bike. The role outside parties mainly friends play in relationships is hugely underestimated. Friends are what I refer to as ‘outside thinkers’ that influence decisions we make and where we stand. Ever noticed that she now hates something she once thought was cute after her friends said it was disgusting?

"If he’s nice to you but an arse to the waiter, he’s not a nice person!" [Brian, 2010]
I’ve come to find that whilst out on dates, individuals are rarely themselves. They’re often nicer, smile more and are generally more promising but I’ve learnt to listen for snide remarks and look for reaction to wine spills or cold food. These often let you know what the other party doesn’t want you to. Often though, we’re too flattered by compliments and free food we ignore the very things we should look for.

Paying a million pounds for a car before knowing what it looks like means you may be presented with junk not worth one eight of what you paid for it.

    Bitter Chocolate and A Kiss With A Mouldy Mouth 

Monday, 6 June 2011

Playground Politics!

Recently, a friend of mine was shocked, appalled; dare I say in a phone conversation we had, after I mentioned to her that I was never part of any clique or ‘sisterhood’ in my school years. She on the contrary was part of a clique in school, a prominent one at that! One of those ones that assigned names and msn addresses to its members. The borderline ‘Gang in Holloway’ type cliques.

For her and many other girls at the time, cliques were important, it was never about what you knew but who you knew, never who you were but who your friends were and you could simply push in the lunch queue without any sort of aggression from a million hungry girls because they all knew the repercussions of 'crossing the line' with you (Your step brother’s uncle owned a pit bull.)

Despite the potential rewards or security that was to be gained by signing up to one of these cliques, I always kept my distance because,

I was taught to be a loner (waves to Dad) but more importantly I learnt very quickly that firstly, cliques were about as ineffective as water for deodorant and they limited my free-lance behaviour.

My genuine wonder was why anyone would want to be in a clique when if ever you needed them, the girls in the ‘macho’ cliques would be in detention for macho behaviour like defacing their planners or setting the fire alarm off and girls in the ‘ditsy’ cliques would also be in detention but for make up and dyed hair, leaving you alone to face feral (to say the least) maltreatment by other schools.

Sidebar: if a fight was planned and the defense (who’d be a girl from your clique) was absent, you’d get the beating. In fairness though even if she was there, you’d still get the beating with the additional knowledge that she’d in fact run away and left you for dead in the hands of the wolf pack…but you’d get a spud tomorrow though and have your praises sung whilst they got your lunch because you’d be wheelchair bound presuming if you got off likely…

But I digress.

More so, I found that although all cliques were different in that they had different motivations and aims (Like the African versus Caribbean cliques who’d spend all lunch time arguing about whether it was ‘Plantin’ or ‘Plantain’) they all had the same structure:

The leader around whom group ideals are created. The envy of the group. Consensus would crown her the prettiest. Large mouth, No substance.

The Bitch. She would be the very root of malicious gossip. Fight dodger. Makes many coup plots against Shay but fails. Every time.

The lovable nerd, although she tries to disguise her academic interest. Also known as the "snake" because she'd revise for the test at home after a group consensus to fail, then lie about having revised. She’s never half as brave as the machos or girly as the ditsys…but she’d plough on

Karen, Melissa, and Lucy: The followers. They’ll have no mind of their own and do as instructed even if it goes against their better judgement usually the ones that would be left fighting after everyone else has run away. The 'Funny' one might also be hidden somewhere within this subculture. 

No one cares. No one knows why she’s actually in the group. Group slave.

For me, cliques never did it. They just didn’t serve a purpose. They limited the freedom to talk to who you wanted for fear of offending one person or another and I find that groups of that nature took away individual abilities to think with individual minds. They acted as a group, without which insecurity and discomfort would only be too clear to see. 

The names aforementioned aren't necessarily personality traits of the bearers of the name. 

        Cold Tea and A Kiss With A Mouldy Mouth

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Light Skinned Vs Dark Skinned

Being a black girl, I have always be exposed to the light skinned versus dark skinned debate in microscopic doses but the recent uproar and hysteria surrounding the issue means that I have been bombarded with a few more doses than I have been used to in previous years.

The portrayal of the issue appears as if to suggest that irrespective of personal judgement, light skinned or girls of fairer complexion are more beautiful than dark skinned girls.

Until a recent e-mail from a ‘peace hater’ sorry I meant friend threw me in the deep end and explicitly asked where I stood on the debate; I managed to steer completely clear of the issue.

Sidebar: Please take into account the aforementioned ‘Personal Judgement’

Now, I could easily come to an easy end by concluding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (which I happen to disagree with) but I am far too controversial and drama hungry...

…Ideological state mediums have taught us that light skinned girls are more beautiful that girls of a darker complexion. It’s everywhere around us, seeing pop stars start out as cocoa beans and over the years transform into almond seeds and seeing models getting lightened and photo-shopped in an attempt to make black models appear more ‘European’ means that we forced to accept the superiority of light skinned beauty.  

What I think bothered me the MOST about the whole light skinned superiority hysteria was our willingness to accept the ideology with open minds. Without question, doubt or interjections.

Time spent over thinking the scenario brought to mind a question

‘If you didn’t look in the mirror, how would you know you’re black?’

Now most people would say you wouldn’t. Which is a fair answer but I beg to differ.
If you didn’t look in the mirror, you’d know you were black because of the way people treated you:
-Oxford University would be a dream in two nights away. ALWAYS
-The police for no apparent reason would stop you if you drove a nice car
-You’ll hardly be accepted in a modelling agency and
-When you go in a shop, the security would escort you around for the duration of your shopping trip even if you have no intention of shoplifting.  

There’s no doubt that for a long time, white skin superiority has been the accepted ideology ask students, models, drivers or go to an airport as an ordinary black person carrying Louis Vuitton luggage. What makes it even sadder is that even as a black community, we accept these ideologies and form our so called ‘opinions’ based on these ideas so much so that we’d rather see beauty in skin complexions that are closet to the white skin, find attraction in relaxed hair, weave and all things that make us a little bit more ‘European’ than the next black girl and then condemn the darker girls that wear natural hair because the look ‘Fresh’ and ‘Immature’

So light skin versus Dark skin?

Well, there is NO light skin versus Dark skin because light skin won when a world-renowned modelling agency said

‘Africans would be more beautiful if they were all white…’ and light skinned girls are simply closest to this ‘beautiful’.

        Roses with thorns and A kiss with a mouldy mouth