Sidechick Etiquette 101 & All The Unwritten Rules!

Famous Sidechicks: Emma Frost (top left), Olivia Pope (top right), Mary Jane Paul (middle left), Joseline Hernandez (bottom left), Amina Buddafly (bottom center), and Mary Jane (bottom right)
Famous Sidechicks: Emma Frost (top left), Olivia Pope (top right), Mary Jane Paul (middle left), Joseline Hernandez (bottom left), Amina Buddafly (bottom center), and Mary Jane (bottom right)

Olivia Pope, Mary Jane Paul, Joseline Hernandez, and Amina Buddafly are now household names. Besides being women what do they all have in common? Their “sidechick status.” Yes the great and revered Olivia Pope, the responsible and enlightening Mary Jane Paulk, are now categorized with reality ratchet starlets from Mona Scott’s “Love and Hip-Hop” series.  It’s very easy for us all to say we abhor cheating, cheaters, and the people they cheat with. Nevertheless, television ratings and our personal relationship decisions say otherwise. Was it not just yesterday when being the other woman was a shameful secret; so much so she and her kids were social pariahs. Now, it seems like these ladies on the side have all the benefits and none of the responsibilities of a relationship. When did wives, fiancées, and girlfriends become benchwarmers to, as Monica so nicely describes them,”sideline hoes.”

As a man raised by women and a loyal advocate in all of their causes; I find this status quo hard to swallow.  You should too! This is a fantasy! Most men do not leave their relationships for mistresses. Unfortunately, these side peices are just outlets. Yes, I said it–OUTLETS! A supposedly stress free way for him to have all the benefits of a relationship with none of the responsibilities. The only thing more tragic than a woman knowingly being a bench warmer, or second stringer, in a man’s life is when she does not even know it. So in this post I’m going to tell you how to deal with a side chick, what to do if you have unwittingly become a sidechick, and if you are comfortable in your “sidechick status” the rules you MUST abide by.

How do you deal with your man’s sidechick? YOU DON’T! Your quarrel isn’t with her, it’s with him! When confronted with this situation the best approach is the direct approach. Let him know you will not tolerate sharing him with another woman. Be firm and steadfast, your dignity is on the line here! Remember no matter how difficult it is you will be fine with or without him.

Have you just realized you are his chick on the side? Well, you are fortunately at a crossroads. You can opt to remain in your role, or choose to be a free agent. As the former, expect to be treated as an option and not a priority. As the latter, your possibilities are ENDLESS! You can find a worthwhile man of your own and avoid the stigma associated with being his number two. Relationships require work, but there are said benefits to them. Sidechicks don’t get introduced to the family, taken to church, reap the benefits of his health insurance, etc. As you can see the best route is to be his main squeeze. His ONE AND ONLY!

For that increasingly common woman who comfortably assumes the sidechick/mistress role; there are a few unwritten rules for you to abide by:
-Stay in your lane! Don’t assume main squeeze duties because you will not be reaping the benefits!
– Maintain a generous amount of respect and distance from the main squeeze and any children she may have with your mutual man.
– Just because the main squeeze knows about you doesn’t give you the liberty or freedom to go public. Maintain the status quo!
-Keep things going on slow nights (uneventful nights that do not intrude on holidays, special events, or special occasions!), at hotels, and NEVER at the main squeeze’s house!
– Always be on the lookout for your next man, because this is only a temporary situation!
– No side babies are allowed! Keep a healthy supply of condoms, Plan B pills, and birth control.
-Keep your children out of your business. No one should know their mother is a benchwarmer.
-You’re free to date! However, you can’t be a sidechick to two separate men. It complicates things. Your dates are never to know about one another.

Well there you have it! If you follow ALL these rules and realize your position in this man’s life you won’t have too many issues. Remember ladies at the end of the day it is your life! No man should dictate your worth based on his decided level of commitment. You decide what you want to be. Take responsibility for everything that happens in your life and be the best YOU, that YOU can be!

Unrequited Love: How To Get Past Rejection and Be A Good ‘Rejector'”

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Rejection–it happens to ALL of us. Maybe you weren’t picked for a team, didnt get into the college you wanted, or didn’t get the job you know you’re qualified. Nevertheless it is never good feeling. Still, of all these aforementioned examples of being passed over, none sting quite like the reaction from unrequited love.

Unrequited love is defined as, “love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such…” Sounds lopsided and half – hearted, right? It is no wonder why in the “dating game” of the 21st century, indifference and subtle emotions are prized over grand displays of affection and love. This epidemic of people wanting others who don’t want them makes for an endless cat and mouse game. So what do you do when the one you love, doesn’t want to be with you? It’s easier said than done, but if you follow these few steps you can minimize your heartache and move on with your life.
-Distance yourself emotionally and physically, if possible.
– Don’t settle for anything less than what you want from them. Ex. When they offer friendship and you really want a relationship.
– Don’t feel guilty about dating other people, unless you’re going steady, or are in a committed relationship, then you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket! “Options” is not a dirty word!
-Refocus your energy. Find a new craft or hobby to occupy your time.
-Give your heart a break! Don’t fall too soon or too quickly for the next pretty face.
– Realize people don’t always know why they reject another person. In many cases it is a subconscious decision.
– Allow yourself to receive the apology and closure you will never get for them hurting you.

Now, if you’re the person that just so happens to be doing the rejecting then you have the responsibility to make it point blank clear that there is NO chance of you two being together. Do not throw in phrases like “I just need some time,” “I’m not ready for a relationship right now,”  “I think you would make a better friend and lover,” or my favorite “I’m not dating right now!” This give people false hope that eventually you would be into dating or being with them. Furthermore, friendships can NEVER be offered in place of relationships. What you do with friends you would not do with a lover! Friendships are also no easier to forge than relationships. Finally, remember they cannot help how they feel for you anymore than you can help for how you DON’T feel for them! Be kind!

As you can see, whether you’re the rejector or the person being rejected; you have work to do to make things right with someone else or within yourself. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the longest relationship you ever being the one you have with yourself and that’s what you always gotta be working on. Don’t let who you see in the mirror be the person you ultimately reject!

When “Pretty” Isn’t Enough

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Long before our births, and in many cases our existence, our parents prayed for healthy and beautiful children. Many of us live up to the healthy part, but only a margin of us achieve what is now considered “pretty,” or true beauty. Indeed, being physically attractive comes with its perks. In fact, if you’re attractive you’re more likely to recieve higher pay, promotions, better grades, and are more likely to survive potentially deadly illnesses. Why? Because everyone from your boss to your doctor wants you. Hey, you can’t help it! You were blessed with “good” genes. So herein lies a rarely asked question: Is it ever a problem being pretty? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Particularly when it comes to the pursuit of love and relationships.

Oddly enough, these “Olympian specimens of human perfection” are the latest victims of infatuation. Attractive, or “pretty people” as I like to call them, have a much harder time finding mates who genuinely love them. They also tend to be marred by trust issues–from their partner and their own insecurities. Most people are surprised to learn this. The mean girl, or the debonair pretty boy, are written off as arrogant or distant because they seem to have top bidding when it comes to friendships and relationships. Often times they’re never more alone. Due to their physical appeal, these individuals become commodities no different than sports cars or designer clothing. Unfortunately, they often encounter liars who uphold facades simply to win them over. This causes them to become distant, distrustful, and reliant upon their looks to gain, or keep their status in the world. Case in point, my boy Tonio, a rarity amongst the local Atlanta population. He has a social life on par with any rock star, and every since puberty everyone stares at him–boys and girls. He’s the holder of a thousand hearts, and ten thousand knives–in his back! On one of our many cocktail nights, during a semi-sober moment he said to me, “Mike sometimes I wish I didn’t look like me. Because then someone would love me for me and wanna hang with me for just being me. You feel me?” Honestly I didn’t know, or feel, what he was saying. I’m the boy who squeezes his beauty from a bottle on a daily basis (Discounts or hookup on Proactiv anyone?). So what’s the remedy to all this? How does one so pretty find someone who truly loves them for them? The answer isn’t easy. It involves time teppered with discernment. If someone is coming off as too good to be true, then they probably are. Wait until you see both the good, and bad, this person has to offer.

It’s true how someone looks is the initial bait that reels us to them. However, call it cliché, but it is what’s beneath their golden exterior that will keep us around. Pretty is fine, but still it’s just pretty. The day we all finally learn how to treat others based on their actions and not their appearances is a long way off. Nevertheless, it can start today. There are no greater truths than God and The Mirror, so a little prayer and introspection are just the things these people–ALL people–need to leave a “pretty” good life.

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#SingleSundays-Verdell Burley

Verdell Burley

Verdell Burley

Love, and the pursuit thereof, is the most beautiful thing in the universe. However, the process can be arduous and tedious– so here I am to lend Cupid a helping hand! My first single lady in this venture is near and dear to my heart, Verdell Burley. I’ve known her my  entire life and one thing I can tell you is the girl knows how to have fun! Beautiful inside and out, I doubt she’ll be single for too much longer! Check her out in my first addition of #SingleSunday!

-Mikey

1. Age-50

2. Zodiac Sign- Taurus

3. Favorite color-Black & White

4. Favorite Quote-“Thank God everyday…”

5. Occupation- Financial Counselor

6. Religion-Christian (Baptist)

7. Children- 3 sons

6.  What She’s Into: reading mystery novels, enjoying comedy shows, and going to jazz clubs

7. Favorite Food & Restaurant- Seafood, and Houston’s.

8.  What She’s Looking For In Her Partner-“He should be open-minded, have a sense of humor, be honest and most of all ENJOY LIFE!

9. What She’s Looking For- “A friendship that will grow into a relationship…”

10. Her Guiltiest Pleasure- “I can’t get enough of watching the ID Channel!”

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**Interested in getting to know Verdell? E-Mail her at verdell_burley@yahoo.com.  Remember all things work with love!!!

Glass Houses–Does Anyone Have The Perfect Relationship?

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Three fictional characters have profoundly influenced me through my adolescent, and now adult,  life. The first being Batman, the second being Optimus Prime, and last, but certainly not least–the one and only–Carrie Bradshaw! Initially, like most teenage boys watching “Sex & The City,” I was in it for the “sex” and not so much for the city. In fact, Samantha Jones, was the first naked woman I had ever seen! However, as I aged and noticed the show’s stellar writing content I fell in love with its central character. She and her show became a mainstay in my life.

Oddly enough, no matter what I’m going through or how I might feel, Carrie has a way of saying something that will alleviate, or make me positively rethink the situation at hand. As I watched an episode the other night one of her many sayings caught my ear. She said, “When it comes to relationships, maybe we’re all in glass houses, and shouldn’t  throw stones. Because you can never really know. Some people are settling down,  some are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than  Butterflies…” Profound right? It got me to wondering. Does anyone have the perfect relationship? It seems like love is everywhere and you’re the single stranger, stranded in a sea of couples. To you these couples have it made, and perhaps it even seems like they already have what you can only dream of. Interestingly, we find ourselves with the answer to a question we already know deep down inside. That answer is NO!

Case in point, my glamorous girlfriend “Gia.” Gia had the life most girls only dream of. She has three beautiful children, a colonial style mansion in Buckhead, servants, and a husband with pockets that rival a pocket dimension. He supports her every endeavor–charity work, career choices, church duties, and extravagant vacations lasting months at a time. Their five year anniversary was a sight to behold, easily on par with any ball Cinderella might crash. Sounds like a fairytale right? At least that’s what we (her family and friends) thought as well until she filed for divorce the day after. Apparently her many long vacations involved speedy recoveries; as she had been verbally and physically abused for years. After selling most of her possessions, she currently works for a living as an executive assistant and is filing for custody of their children. Over lunch one afternoon, my curiousity compelled me to inquire on what went wrong. She simply replied in between bites of her waldorf salad, “Mikey… all that glitters ain’t gold.”

Indeed this is true, as no relationship is perfect. Relationships crack like glass, many filled with microchasmic-sized fissures so tiny that no one sees or realizes they are there until pressure (i.e. sexual issues, money, children, family, friends) is applied. However, just because there aren’t any perfect relationships does not mean there aren’t any healthy ones. Nor that you’re unlikely to find yourself in one. It simply means you have to do the work–compromising, properly communicating, empathizing with your partner, and fair fighting. Yes there is a such a thing as fair fighting, it means only arguing about the issue at hand. No sideswiping insults or mentions of past indiscretions that have been resolved or supposedly forgiven.

It’s so interesting that glass houses have become synonymous when describing our own durability and our interactions with others. Perhaps there’s a divine clue to this metaphorical glass and the properties of real glass in their transparent traits. Perhaps transparency is the best policy for dealing with the ones we love? Only when we’re truly “transparent” or open to love are we truly able to feel its full force. Oddly enough, even that leads us to a greater question. Are any of we “glass people” ready for the transparency true love requires?

Disclaimer: The names of my case studies have been changed to protect the privacy of said individuals.

Treat An Ex, Like An Ex

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Its almost inevitable at least one of your romantic relationships will fail in your lifetime. From the ashes of what once was beautiful, endearing, heavenly rises the corpse of all things gone wrong.  That wonderful person that you were so deeply in love with has lost their luster. They cease to be the person you fell in love with. Now you’re left with the sole option of moving on. Simple right? Apparently I’m wrong.  More often than not, people are not completely moving on from their exes.

What’s caused this phenomenon? My Nana (God rest her soul)believed in keeping it old school: “If y’all don’t got kids, they don’t owe you money, and ain’t no property involved–then you go to the left, they go to the right and y’all keep that shit movin’.” Was she wrong? I think not. Nowadays, people seem to be doing the opposite and keeping not just their recent ex, but previous exes around–like some weird sports team. The joke is you become the sport!

Your ex became an ex for a reason–it didn’t work out. Remember why? The fights, the arguments, the personality changes, etc. Some of you might say “my ex and I ended on good terms,” or “we were friends first.”  That’s good and all, but it’s in the past. You are using your shared past as a crutch to keep you from bravely moving on with your life. I get it, past loves are familiar and safe; life without them can seem very scary and disconcerting. 
Here’s the thing though; the only way to move on is to actually move on! This means cutting off ties with them and giving yourself some much needed “me time.” Moving on doesn’t mean move on to someone else right away, no one should suffer the woes of being your immediate rebound. Instead do some of the things you wanted to do while you were in a relationship. Shift your energy accordingly to something that you’ve knowingly sacrificed or put off. You’re single now, but you are still in a relationship– with yourself. After all the longest relationship you’ll ever be in is the one you have with yourself; and that’s what you always got to be working on.

For those of you that move on to a new relationship, cutting your ex off is a must. Think of your new, fledgling relationship as a newborn baby. Then think of your ex as a corpse. Would you dare have your baby in the same room as a rotting, oozing corpse? You certainly wouldnt! The constant presence of your ex can taint your new relationship. Your current partner, no matter how secure, can feel threatened by someone else who knows you so intimately.

You might say you still care for your ex and want to keep them in your life. As difficult as it may be learn to care from a distance. You two are no longer there for each other like that. Besides that can set you up for “ex sex.” The one thing that will only complicate your life further. Don’t allow pleasure for an hour to ruin your chances at happiness. Once this is done the waters are beyond muddy–emotions rise, old feelings begin to stir and you may end up worst than where you originally resolved to run from.

With all that being said; moving on is easier said than done. The world of dating is like a jungle filled with ravenous predators it’s okay to be cautious about abruptly ending any serious relationship. Be wise, weigh the risks, and know that if it’s meant to be it’ll work itself out. BE BRAVE!

Things To Do:
-Change your number
-Remove them from your social media
-Be cordial if you run into each other by chance, are in mixed company, or hanging with mutual friends. You don’t have to be swirled in negativity and awkwardness all the time
– Get rid of any haunting items that’ll make you undo everything I’ve just told you to do.

Things NOT To Do:
-Don’t make mutual friends choose sides. They’ll unwittingly do that on their own.
-Don’t expect his family to remain in contact with you even if you were once treated like a member of the family. What battle lines are drawn you’re find blood is so much thicker than water that might is as well be crude oil.
-NO EX SEX!!!
– Don’t lie to your new partner about who your ex is to you if they happen to meet.
– Dont subtweet or make anonymous social media posts concerning your ex only gratifies them and someone is going to let them know. It keeps drama going!
-I repeat: NO EX SEX!!!

Are You Gonna Stay The Night? My Guide To The Perfect “Overnight Bag!”

Staying the night is more than the lyrics from a song by Zedd. It’s that time while dating–or hooking up–when you’re having “intimate” time with your partner or potential (Mikey slang for cut buddy/love interest). Even here there are rules to apply. I could mundanely list every single detail that should encompass the night, but let’s keep it real. When doing the wild thing, spontaneity is preferred! I will, however, dish with you on the basics;the most basic of basics, when it comes to this exciting dating “must have”–an overnight bag!

What Is It?

Your overnight bag is just that an overnight bag! The bag you’re going to put all the essentials you need to get through your intimate night. You might think this is a no brainer, but toy’d be surprised how many people lack the knowledge of that they’ll need for the night–even if they’ve been doing it since “Rugrats” were popular. First, your overnight bag needs to be a good bag, and when I say good, I mean one that isn’t tattered, being held together by a thread and a prayer, and efficiently mobile (not so big you can smuggle refugees in it). A medium-sized bookbag, gym bag, or purse will do. Restrict this bag to overnight use. Criss-crossing use can have some unpleasant side effects to the contents of your bag as you’ll find out in just awhile (i.e. No overnight/gym bag, no overnight/accessory bag, etc.).

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The “PERFECT” First Date

Dating…that six letter journey that can lead us all to tragedy or triumph. You’ve done it since your teens, avoided it in your twenties, and for a few of us on the cusp of our thirties– rush through it like a bat outta hell towards the ultimate, heavenly goal of matrimony!

Nevertheless, regardless of how you may feel about dating, in most romantic endeavors it is a critical precursor to a romantic relationship. So what do you do after you’ve gotten through all that awkwardness of checking them out, checking them out some more, staring at them so hard you’re burning holes through their souls, finally speaking, and then (drum roll please!) asked them to go out with you? You set up an awesome date! Believe it or not the formula to it is actually quite simple.

Setting

First and foremost is the setting. Pick a place away from where you reside! No first date should be at anyone’s house, apartment, condo, dorm, or Mama’s basement. The setting dictates what you’re ultimately looking for from that person. A residence shows you have something to hide and sets the tone for a casual sexual encounter (not cool right away if you’re looking for anything long term). A simple sit down, not fast food, restaurant will do. For my less privileged readers; a sit down restaurant caters towards couples and families, has chairs and booths, has a waiter and hostess, lacks a dollar menu, and lacks the prefixes and suffixes of Mc-, Chic-, and King. I’m sure some of you were thinking of a movie–you would be in the right lane– if you’re planning a two-event date. If that is the case, eat first THEN go to the movies. Movies mangle conversation and the whole goal of the first date is to get to know the person–something you can’t do without conversing.

I personally recommend a diner.

Diners are long forgotten treasures of the restaurant industry. Whereas recently many of them have been relegated to tourist traps, truck stops, and nostalgic 50s hangouts in “Happy Days” reruns–in developed and developing cities like Atlanta they are perfect for getting to know your potential (AKA romantic interest). They are well lit, generally spacious, and have a vast array of universally appealing dishes. My personal picks–Landmark Diner 60 Luckie Street NW, Atlanta, GA and Majestic Diner1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA

Ordering

Preview the menu of the place you’ve chosen for the date ahead of time. Know what it is you want or how much you’re willing to pay on a date! No one likes waiting fifteen minutes for you to decide between the salad or the fish, or have you gripe about prices! Choose a meal that won’t sour your disposition or breath during the course of the date. Even then have some Tums, a mint–or two, on hand! Put your orders in at the same time. If your food comes before there’s wait to eat it until there’s is delivered–in most places you can request this service.

Conversation

First date convos should be kept light and fluffy. This is after all a formal introduction to one another. This is also the most critical part of the date when you gauge interests, compatibility, and daily lives. Avoid controversial, heavy, and deeply personal conversations this includes politics, religion, your sex life, exes, and flaws. Their day, hometown, hobbies, travels, family (the basics–siblings, mother, father, pets), and career are all on the table. Be patient! The deeper, darker aspects of their personality will show in time. If it rears its ugly head on this date–run for the hills!

Payment

As a rule of thumb, the initiator (the person who asked the other person out) should pay! Yep I said it! This includes the “not so rare chance” now when a woman asks a man out.

Wind It Down

Let them know you appreciated them spending time with you. Time is the one thing no one can ever get back. Consider yourself blessed they gave you some of there’s. You’ll know by this time whether there’s some chemistry you’re interested in investigating further. if so, suggest a second date and inform them you’ll correspond with them later to set it up. If you were not feeling them, still thank them for their time and DON’T suggest you two be friends. It’s okay to let someone know you are not romantically interested in them. It’s NOT okay to be rude about it.

The Kiss

Should you or shouldn’t you? That is the question. The answer is why not. A first kiss is a great closer to the first date. There’s a lot to a kiss–sensuality, romance, passion–you name it! Keep it simple though, it’s the first kiss, not your first time! No Frenching!

The Text

It’s okay to text your date after the date. Keep it light and simple as well. A simple: “I enjoyed myself tonight. Sleep tight.” Is endearing, shows interest, and a softer side of you. DO NOT blow their phone up with massive texts or calls, recounting every detail you enjoyed on the date–they were there—they know!

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So there you have it ladies, gentleman, and all those transitioning in between; the schematics for your “Perfect First Date.” Remember it’s the first date– not last, there’s no rush!