Monday, October 15, 2012

The Myth of "I Like You Prettiest Without Makeup"

The other day, one of my friend’s Facebook status proclaimed: “I appreciate a girl as real as her hair.” As a weaveless woman, my reflex was to toot my own horn. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the notion that someone’s “realness” has a correlation to whether her hair was homegrown or not was ridiculous.

My friend’s Facebook status is part of this pseudo-enlightened view that has become cool and hip in the past several years. A few variations of this theory you can expect to hear are:

 “I like girls natural… the less makeup, the better.”
“How can you trust a girl with fake nails, fake hair, fake boobs, etc?”
“Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on; that’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.” Philosopher Aubrey “Drake” Graham

That’s cute. Here’s the thing. I’m not buying it. Before you tell me, “How dare you tell me what men like, ain’t you a woman? Ya’ll always think you know what men want…” and blah blah blah, hear me out.

I’m not saying men are solely attracted to women with Nicki-Minaj inspired makeup, but I’m not buying the argument that men are most attracted to women who haven’t made any type of investments in her appearance. Most women do quite a bit to adjust what you may think is natural.  Eyebrows are plucked, waxed or threaded. Legs and armpits are shaved. Some women even bedazzle their hoo-ha. Our bodies smell faintly of lotion, our faces are washed with Proactiv, and our heels are scrubbed with pumice stones.  I could write a separate blog post about the deep conditioning, co-washing, trimming, coloring, curling then straightening, voluminizing then smoothing, twisting, and teasing we do to our hair to achieve something appropriate for both the workplace and the happy hour afterwards.

Interestingly enough, doing all of these things to enhance our appearance isn’t considered fake. It’s considered by most to be basic hygiene! Never mind that failing to shave your legs doesn’t increase the incidence of type II diabetes. Ashiness doesn’t lead to asthma, but God forbid you have a gray elbow. Massive manipulation of your own hair is perfectly ok, but if a woman adds extensions so that she can protect her hair from heat damage or she extends her nails by a couple centimeters then not only is her look fake, she is a woman who can’t be trusted! She might just possibly be a liar who goes out of her way to present a false persona so that men will fall into her icky trap. The true sign of an evil woman, to hear some men tell it, is an acrylic French manicure.

Let me tell you what I think men are REALLY asking for. Men want a woman who LOOKS like she’s not trying. They want a woman whose cheeks just happen to have a bit of glow, with lips that naturally produce a sweet tasting liquid that makes them shine, and women whose hair on their head grows like a unstoppable weed, while the hair on the rest of their body appears to have endured chemotherapy.

Here’s the thing; I don’t think it’s completely men’s fault. Photoshop, professional airbrushing, and most recently Instagram, have provided men with endless streams of false reality. Men drool over Zoe Saldana, Republican Stacey Dash, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, and Gabrielle Union not realizing that they’re drooling over a piece of art, not an actual person. 

There’s nothing wrong with having preferences. If you like women without weave, that’s cool. If you prefer women who keep makeup to a bare minimum, that’s cool too. Honestly, all the fake stuff is really expensive; we’d probably appreciate a relief from it all. But don’t pretend that you don’t appreciate any of the 20th and 21st century’s tools to tweak, remove, add, and enhance women’s natural beauty. That would be really fake of you. *Wink*

 P.S. I shared this post with a a guy friend  to ensure I wasn't completely off base, and he said that a better post would be about how society defines beauty and why we think plump lips or youthful skin is attractive. But I'm employed and in school and I don't have time to learn all that, much less teach it. One of you should write it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Overrated Things in the Black Community

In order to be in good standing with our brethren, us Black Americans have a lot of rules. Not only am I required to memorize the lyrics to Juicy, I have to master Spades, and learn an ever growing list of words specifically related to the care of natural hair. To top it all off, there are some things I’m supposed to LOVE along with the rest of the Blacks. Welp. I have failed at all of the above. Unfortunately, I’m incapable of completely throwing logic out the window to fit in with my alleged ethnicity’s idea of what’s amazing.  Below are a few things that as a member of the Black race I am supposed to love, but that I deem overrated:

Awkward Black Girl – The web series premiered in February 2011 and has quickly become a cult classic among Black women. To me, the line between the ratchet music spoofed in the show and the character’s actions and dialogue is certainly blurring. Latching on to ABG because “we all we got” is an insufficient reason for me to tune in. The most recent episode featured use of the ABG invention “Mexinigga.”  Funny doesn’t have to take cheap shots or fall on clich├ęd tools of comedy. In fact, it’s not funny; it’s just tired, overdone, and yawn-inducing.
Tip: Why not support a web series that you can be proud of AND that will make you laugh? Check out info on Very Smart Brothas pilot: The TV Series
Editor's Note: My issue with ABG stems from the fact that I KNOW Issa Rae and Tracy Oliver (the writers) are smart folks who are making what I consider to be easy, time-honored choices versus risky, creative decisions with their work. I initially loved the show. I've seen every single episode and continue to watch in hopes that it will get better. I think as Issa Rae's popularity and following have increased, so has her work load. I actually watched her new series, Roomie | Lovers | Friends and I've noted the growth. I just want her to live up to the accolades that people have given her. I wish her the best and I'm certainly thrilled to hear that she's got something in the works with ABC. We need more filmmakers. Just do us proud; we deserve it! This note has been sponsored by @Hautemommie and @MrAudacity

The Boondocks - If you read the comic strip, then you know why this is a disappointment. The comic strip was a scathing but keen criticism of everything under the sun, with a focus on social issues. The television show was not. 
Tip: Instead, you should watch The Mindy Project, a new show on Fox, which is basically Awkward Indian Girl. Except it’s funny.

Waffle House – People leave the South and spread this myth that Waffle House is the pinnacle of good breakfast. They fail to mention that the real reason people go to Waffle House is:
     1. It’s usually the only place open at the time most folks stumble in.
     2. It’s super cheap.
Here are the facts:
     1. It's dirty.
     2. The servers are typically surly.
     3. The waffles are nothing to tweet about. They're good. But not special. 
Tip: Instead, consider patronizing the local mom and pop diner. In most major cities, there’s at least one that stays open late. You’ll support a small business, become a regular, and probably score free drinks.

Roscoe’s – People like Roscoe’s because you only find them in Southern California. They're the hometown favorite. That’s it. The low supply of restaurants with the Roscoe’s logo at the door creates a high demand elsewhere. The chicken is good. The waffles are good. None of it is life-changing. Probably the most hilarious thing about Roscoe’s is if you offer up criticism of the chain, LA natives will say “Well which one did you go to? Mmmhmm, shoulda went to the other one… Now what did you order?.... tsk tsk. Shoulda got the number 9.” How good is a chain if it’s only good if you go to ONE location and order that ONE specific thing? I call shenanigans.
Want good chicken? If you’re in LA, go to Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken. Thank me later.

Anita Baker -  Her voice reminds me of the mom from Gullah Gullah Island. I enjoy Anita’s hits, particularly Sweet Love which is an excellent karaoke choice. I just find the deification by her rabid fans a bit overwrought. And her hair looks like John Mayer’s. It makes me uncomfortable.
Tip: Check out the BEST COVER OF I WANT YOU BACK that I've ever heard. In life. 

Sade - Whenever I hear Sade's music, I find myself comparing suicide methods. Once, I got as far as writing the note for my friends and family, complete with the song I wanted to play at my funeral, until my then roommate came in and turned on some Carrie Underwood. 

Tip: Wanna hear something different? Something to get your heart rate going? Check out my girl Solange's new video. (And by my girl, I mean.... an individual who I've never met, but whose records I have purchased.)

Welp. Now that I have probably single-handedly pissed off probably 90% of my readers, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Can you think of anything else that’s highly overrated in the Black community? Enlighten us!

Monday, October 1, 2012

5 Most Annoying Groups During Election Season

One thing liberals and conservatives can agree on is that we're entirely over this election season. I'm pretty sure I saw a Romney hologram in my shower. Talk about denying a woman the right to choose! Geez. In addition to being tired of hearing "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message," I've got 5 other people I don't want to hear from during the election season. Here goes:

5. Negative Nancys. These are people who don’t have a pro opinion; they are just anti something. The first time I noticed this was in 2004 during the Kerry/Bush election. Many folks (mostly liberals but arguably the majority) were so disgusted with then President Bush they were basically willing to take anyone. This time around, it seems the rallying cry of conservatives, is “Get that Communist/Muslim/Fascist Outta There!” I always question the validity of passion that stands against something instead of FOR something. Why say “I hate this and that! And let’s get rid of that! And he sucks and she sucks too!” Why not say, “I support this! I like that! This is a good idea! Let’s try some of this!”
Pro Tip: Get a Pinterest account. I don't have one, but it's full of examples of people listing things that they actually DO like! 

4. One Issue Voters. No one with a working brain completely agrees with a politician on every single issue. There are pro-lifers who support gun control and supporters of capital punishment who also support welfare programs. A keen voter does an elegant balance of ALL the issues and decides from there. 
Pro Tip: Create a Pro/Con List. 

3. "My Preferences/Personal Choices Should Be Everyone's!" This may seem like a pet peeve only espoused by liberals, but ideologically speaking, it should resonate with conservatives and small government advocates too. If you want government to be small, then don’t suggest more laws that limit other people’s freedoms. For example, if YOU think that women shouldn’t be seen in public unless they’re wearing a burka, that’s cool. The women in YOUR household will wear burkas. But it’s silly to create laws based on your personal religious beliefs and/or preferences.
Note: Do not be the idiot that makes this about a slippery slope and says something like “Soon murderers will want the freedom to kill people; should we give them that??” Obviously I’m referring to rights and freedoms that don’t infringe upon others’ access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Loser.
Pro Tip: Read the Constitution and pay close attention to the Bill of Rights

2. Undecided Voters. When people say they are undecided, this is actually a desperate cry for attention. We are not deciding between M&Ms with peanuts or M&Ms without. Don’t say you’re waiting on the debates. The purpose of the debates are really just to serve as televised pep rallies.  You don’t walk away from the debates with a new home team; nothing they say will truly change your belief system. Either you think we should balance the budget with Bush era tax cuts or Clinton era tax rates. Either you think we should provide preventative healthcare for the uninsured or they should visit the emergency room, with a bonus ride via an ambulance. You know what the deal is! Pick already!
Exception: The only exception to this rule is people considering a third party candidate like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. You may strongly believe in your candidate, but wonder about the value in voting for someone that has almost zero chance of being elected in this country’s current two-party system. I get that. It’s a tough call.
Pro Tip: (If you legitimately are like “I don’t know what to do with my hands!” take the quiz at 

1. Non Voters. Your complacency is unpatriotic and somewhat nauseating. Whether you choose to vote or not, your presence on the planet still impacts your community, even if it’s just a census count. Don’t allow decisions that could help or hurt yourself, your neighbors and your fellow citizens be made for you. It’s… so not sexy.
Pro Tip: If you need help figuring out where, when, and how to vote, visit 

Your turn to sound off. Let me hear it! :)