Swagaholics Anonymous: Addicted to the Cool Factor


At best, I’m a glutton for punishment.  At worst, I’m a masochist, but when it comes to affairs of  the heart—I must admit—I am an unabashed swagaholic.  I know many of you will argue the semantics of the now soccer mom appropriated term “swag“.  Others of you are simply turned off by it all together.  Even though “swag” is a relative term, and is likely going the way of bling bling very soon, for me it describes a ridiculously cool, quiet confidence that I suspect many woman find irresistible.

Swag is of course a slang for personal style appearance or attitude.   An abbreviation of  “swagger”, the term was popularized by hip-hop artists  several year ago, but it really entered the mainstream cultural moment with the hilarious Toyota Sienna Mini Van commercials.  Soulja Boy had a hit this year with “Pretty Boy Swag, you can argue the artistic relevance of his unique genius.  You can even like the Swagaholics Anonymous Facebook group, a page for people with so much swag they need group therapy;  it only has 43 members.  Suffice it to say, swag has been with us for a while and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  The terminology may change, but cool is cool.

Who does or doesn’t have swag is certainly relative, but it’s all about the image one presents to the world.  Yet my  penchant for cool  describes my addiction and it usually finds me head over heels for the  classic ladies man.  You know the heart breaker; the superstar.  He may or not be classically handsome, but he definitely has sex appeal. He  is  put together.  He has  his own sense of style, which usually includes a good shoe and a good watch.  While he won’t have too many words for you—when he does speak—he commands attention.  He is smart, but not pompous about it.  His cologne will always be on point.  He walks like a ball player or a rapper, but is gainfully employed; who says you can’t have corporate swag? He can match wits with the best of them, and always leaves you wanting more.  You want to lock him down because he seems so unattainable, and yet in the back of your mind you know if he gets the best of you; you’re in trouble.

For every guy I’ve fallen for like this, I can see the danger sign flashing above their heads from miles out.  Yet, I am like a moth to a flame.  The cost benefits analysis in my mind always comes out in favor of playing the odds that this time will be different.  It’s not just me.   I have met many women like this—swagaholics.  We all know the nice guy is the safer route.  Dating the one who is crazy about you is the healthier choice in the long run, but the passion and excitement of the bad boy or the ladies man can be very seductive.  I would  certainly never advocate compromising your dignity for this kind of guy; the first law of nature is self-preservation.   Yet, I’m convinced there is no shame in craving a hot boy.  What you do once you get him presents a whole other series of issues, but I digress.

It really comes down to the extent to which one embraces the nice guys finish last aphorism.  In Niceness and Dating Success: A Further Test of the Nice Guy Stereotype, Urbaniak & Kilmann (2003) write that:

“Although women often portray themselves as wanting to date kind, sensitive, and emotionally expressive men, the nice guy stereotype contends that, when actually presented with a choice between such a ‘nice guy’ and an unkind, insensitive, emotionally-closed, ‘macho man’ or ‘jerk,’ they invariably reject the nice guy in favor of his ‘so-called’ macho competitor.”

I suspect that any preference among women for the bad boy is probably a combination of one’s upbringing—a lot of us have daddy issues, what society and the cultural moment values as masculinity, a bit of evolution—the whole survival of the fittest thing, and the fact that many of us girls like a challenge.  A lot of us will say we want a sensitive guy because  its the right thing to say, but in reality we crave Mr. Swag.  Technically what we really want is a hybrid between the two archetypes, the sensitive and cool guy. Yet, it typically doesn’t work like that.  At least in my experience.

But you tell me you swagaholics out there.  Is there any hope for us or are we destined for 808’s and Heartbreaks?  Who has swag to you?  Pharrell? Kanye? Jay-z?  Idris?  For the non-swagaholics why do you prefer the nice guy?  Are these characteristics mutually exclusive, can a sensitive guy be swagged-out?

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If I Were A Boy….: Is Chivalry Dead and Did We Sistahs Kill It?


My so-called dating life is often a platform for improvisational comedy, so I am careful not to extend my romantic foibles and fouls to the whole of Black sisterhood.  Yet listening to my gal pals has revealed a pattern that I cannot ignore.  It seems chivalry is dead and according to Dave Chappelle women killed it.  In general, many guys—not all mind you—are not interested in courting us anymore and this saddens me.

First, I recognize this is not entirely the guys fault.  Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free? Frankly, it may simply be more efficient in today’s economy to skip the wining and dining.  Yet, I yearn for the days of flowers and chocolates.  A little romance would go a long way for the scorned and broken hearts out there. In fact, there are some real incentives to be had, if Black men and women decided to kick it old school style in terms of relationships.

You see I like classic  R&B groups like the Dells, Heatwave, and the Mighty, Mighty O’Jays.  These cats knew how to woo a lady.  The lyrics of love songs like “Stay in my Corner“, “Always and Forever“, and “When a Man Loves a Woman” illustrate what relationships should look like.  There was a time when a man would sing about taking the stars out of the sky for his girl, and now what do we get: “Blame it on the a a a a a alcohol” and “Why Would You Wanna Break-Up?

The once cultural norms of the guy paying for dinner, driving, and generally putting in work to get a ladies attention has been replaced with us doing all the work. We are chasing the guys down like the last pair of size-7, heavily discounted Tory Burche’s at a Nordstrom Annual sale. I see women driving around men.  I’ve been there.  I see women paying for meals.  I’ve been there too.  This role reversal does not feel natural to me and I think it emasculates men to the point where they no longer feel a desire to be the provider. Frankly, they do not put in work because there is no need.  The marriage statistics treat good Black men like a commodity on the dating market, while they simultaneously devalue  Black women.  Moreover, a lot of guys in my generation did not grow-up with  their father’s in the home.  These momma’s babies are so often ruined that by the time they get to us ladies, they simply expect to be catered to.

There is also the matter of the nookie and the cookies.  Guys will tell us, if you want to be chased then don’t give it up too soon.  Noted.   Yet, the sexually liberated among us will argue that we have the right to get ours, just like the fellas do and there is nothing to be gained by waiting.  Their motto: “if you don’t give it up, another girl will”. Yet if you subscribe to the anthropologically  proven notion that men are by nature hunters, then you must acknowledge there is a strategic advantage as well as a valuing of self that comes from resisting sex earlier on in a relationship.  All of us take an L in this arena every now and again, but when it gets tough I like to think of Anne Boleyn.

History buffs among you will know Henry the VIII became so enamored with Boleyn that he went on an unrelenting  pursuit to make her his mistress.  Yet she steadfastly resisted his attempts to seduce her.  He became so obsessed with Boleyn, he broke the entire nation of England from the Catholic Church to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled, so he could then marry Boleyn.  Moral appraisals aside,this man seceded his entire country from an entire church, and not just any church the entire Holy Catholic church, thereby changing the annals of history forever…and all because one chick would not give up the cookies.

Only thing guys will break-up nowadays is the dinner bill for us to pay our half.

I find myself sitting in the car watching my dates walk all the way into the restaurant only to find that I am not beside or behind them.  Many are shocked when I insist they not only open my car door but hold the door when I walk through the restaurant, as well. Most cats have so much swag there is no hand holding; or public displays of affection.  Moreover, they also want you to call them and text them, and we run the pace with a smile on our face because hell, a half a man is better than none…right?  I’d venture to say no.

I think there is something to be said for letting a man feel like a man.  This of course does not mean unwittingly meeting his needs—  i.e. cooking and sexing ’till the cows come home without acknowledging your own needs. It does, however, mean raising your level of expectation from what think you can get to what you truly deserve.

All of us deserve to be the princess sometimes and sure we will kiss some frogs, but when true love comes a knocking and you walk through the door, chances are he’ll be holding it for you.

Come Here Baby: You Sexy Motherf%#$@


Maybe it’s because growing my hair out makes me look like Frederick Douglass or because I have been feeling just a bit unpretty lately (need to get my eyebrows waxed), but I was all fired up today when I stumbled  upon a post entitled “Let’s Wait a While” on Sister Toldja’s blog The Beautiful Struggler.

The  talented and—please note—extremely attractive blogger was addressing her dismay at being referred to as “sexy” by a man she just met. In the post, her basic premise was that the term—as an immediate moniker—was too forward and a bit too tawdry for her taste.  She suggests the brothas need to slow the sexual innuendo down until a real connection is made.  To affirm her opinion, she asked her Twitter followers, “if they were cool with being called  sexy by a man shortly after meeting him.”   Many responded that they were in fact not comfortable with the term sexy after an initial meeting.

Guess I am an outlier here, but I love being called sexy.  And the closer I get to thirty, I notice this becomes a less frequent occurrence.  So now when it happens—call me a trash-box hooker a la Ne Ne Leakes to Kim Zoliak—but I am flattered.  Many men in the professional circles in DC are either so politically correct,  taken, disinterested, or otherwise neutered that good old fashion cat calling has gone the way of the 8-track. Quite frankly, you have to go to the hood to hear the long forgotten “heeeey seeexxxy” or the somewhat refined alternative “aaaay shawwwwty”.  I guess it’s just the DC in me, but I am not offended, insulted, or otherwise put off by the term sexy.

I’m the cutish funny girl in my group, so the late bloomer in me cannot tap the resolute feminist part of myself when it comes to this question.  Many of my far more gorgeous sister friends were really put off by the idea of a virtual stranger calling them sexy.  They suggested that it was too forward or made the guy seem like he was after one thing.  One friend suggested that a guy who called her sexy of the top could not get any play at all.  Yikes,  brothers I feel sorry for you because these girls are playing hardball, so chose your words carefully.

However, a few equally divalicious gal pals suggested they had absolutely no problem with the term “sexy”.  They considered it a compliment.  To them I say here, here.

The  informal poll among my friends based on Sister Toldja’s  question on the acceptability of “sexy” was about an even split between the ayes and nays. Yet, my suspicion is that the real answers for both groups lies somewhere not in the black in white but in that ever-present gray area.

Now…..if this guy calls you sexy after the initial meet; your probably going to be a little put off:

But somehow I suspect your tune changes, if this guys text you “hey sexy”:

Sister Toldja argues “sexy” is inappropriate on the jump because as a potential suitor  “sex is a space you should be invited into”.  On its face, I agree with that point.  Many of us have long grown weary of having are hands or worst yet behinds grabbed in the alcohol drenched atmosphere of a bar or club.

Nevertheless, part of me feels with the “sexy” bruhaha that we are being just a tad bit overly analytical ladies. I highly doubt most guys who refer to you as sexy are looking to bed you in side of a minute–albeit the exception for the nasty uncle types.  I mean most of the guys are insecure and probably think they are being flattering, when the acknowledge your desirability.  That is of course not to say that men are not carnal, sexually driven, visual creatures by nature; yet I’m not convinced at least for me slowing down is the answer.

Over here, as thirty is getting the reach on me and I get a little more sore and a little less sexy each day; I will take all the sexy I can get.  Bring sexy back, as far as I am concerned fellas.  We rock are “very sexy” Victoria Secret under armor, stilettos, and any number of sexy enhancing accouterments to bring the guys to the yard.  Yet, when they get there we have a lot of rules and hang-ups about what they say. In its everyday use,  I’m not convinced sexy is not necessarily  synonymous with wanting to lay it down.  In contrast, I would argue that the term has become increasingly innocuous over time.

So what do we think ladies?  Is “sexy” off limits or does it matter who is saying it?  If your boothang calls you sexy is that cool?  What about the guy at the bar or bus stop?  Please take the poll below.

I’m A Highly Educated Single Black Woman and No I’m Not Lonely


I should be depressed.   Why? I’m newly single and everywhere I turn I keep reading, hearing, and seeing so-called consensus couched as definitive evidence that as a highly educated black woman, I may be that way from here until eternity.   The lonely black girl narrative is being embraced with very little interrogation in this cultural moment and I for one am ready to put the Kabosh on it.  So, here it goes:

I AM YOUNG, BLACK, HIGHLY EDUCATED and NOT THE LEAST BIT LONELY.  I’M SINGLE AND HAPPY!

I mean sure, I would like to go to Applebees and have some nice conversation with a gentleman suitor, as much as the next girl; but I am not the least bit desperate or disillusioned at the prospect of not marrying again.  I’m leaving that  aspect of my life up to God’s providence, which means not settling, accommodating, rationalizing, or rearranging to fit into someone else’s context.  No sir. Imma be me.

Any questions? 

However, I digress.  I can certainly acknowledge that the startling statistics on the state of the Black marriages and the overall decline of the Black family are culturally and economically significant, if not a sign of the Black apocalypse.   Hence, why I found a recent article sent to me by a sistah friend worth sharing. Found in April’s Economist Magazine—the latest mainstream media outlet to foray into the now well tread ground of the lonely black girl narrative—the article entitled How the Mass Incarceration of Black Men Hurts Black Women takes a look at how the mass numbers of homies on lock down results in declining marriages in our community.

I encourage you to check out the article in detail.  It has all the oft quoted statistics on single motherhood, black male incarnation, disproportionate educational levels etc. etc.   We know this story.  We live it every day.  We live it when our dentist girlfriend gives the blue collar brother a chance, even though they have next to nothing in common, aside from melanin; or when our aunt, the professor, settles for being the other woman, “just to have somebody”.  Accordingly, the part of the article that stood out to me is captured below:

“I thought I was a catch,” sighs an attractive black female doctor at a hospital in Washington, DC.  Black men with good jobs know they are “a hot commodity”, she observes. When there are six women chasing one man, “It’s like, what are you going to do extra, to get his attention?”

Bing. Bam. Boom and preach. As a native Washingtonian and current DMV resident, I can testify that this woman is speaking nothing but the God’s honest truth.  I haven’t dated in the last really ten years and I can tell you that it is viscous out there.   There are many successful, Ivy-educated, community service doing, church-going, peach cobbler baking, supermodel good looking women in this area and accordingly  it’s a man’s paradise.

Therefore, while being single does not sadden me, seeing my sistahs compromise in the name of love does.  The competition is so fierce that you have Rhodes Scholars dressing like cocktail waitresses to get attention. I’ve found black women are losing the unique expressions of our beauty, becoming carbon copies of this video model aesthetic with mythic long weaves, skin-tight ultra-short spandex dresses, and stripper platform heels.

I do recognize that men are visual and you have to show a little skin to bring the boys to the yard, but as of recent the hemlines and push-bras are getting out of control, not to mention the butt pads and felatio classes.

I for one refuse to play.  I’m almost thirty.  I don’t have the energy or desire to compete for a man who probably won’t even take the time to call me anyway.  I’ve learned they only text now. I’ve been out of the game a while.

Perhaps I’m content in my singleness because I’ve been there and done that with the whole marriage thing and realize that once the gardenias are wilted, the marital union is probably the most challenging endeavor one will take next to raising and child and battling a terminal illness.  It is more important in this life who you are becoming not who you have.  I believe when you tap into that; the right person will be revealed, regardless of race.

I am not a marriage hater; I’m just a singledum embracer.  The guys get it.  The 25 – 35 years old men I know do not seem to be rushing to jump the broom.  Most are keenly focused on reaching their professional goals and dreams, chillin with the boys, traveling, partying, and when and if they have time, they may get up with you. Maybe.

So where does that leave us ladies?  Do we keep playing the game?  Sacrificing, compromising, and exploiting ourselves in the pursuit of love?  Or since most of these dudes out here think they are living some real life version of For the Love of Ray-J, do we change the game up?  I’m advocating saying goodbye to the getting caught in the thick of thin relationships and focusing on the real purposes of our lives.  I’m saying don’t settle for crazy. You are worth more.  The good news is the right one will come along.  Providence will step in, when you are fully loving you, growing your character, and embracing each tomorrow with joy and exuberance, whether single or not.

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