Black Brother, Strong Brother…My Brother’s My Keeper: 6 Things I Learned From Watching My Brothers

Latest at Madame Noire.


I am the youngest of a large rambunctious family and I have three older brothers.  I think it’s a wonderful thing to grow up in a house where brothers are present.  My brothers are significantly older than me and watching their maturation, or lack thereof at times, taught me so much about life in general and a boatload about “boys.” My brothers, especially the two youngest, were the handsome, life-of-the-party jocks of their crews.  They were extremely popular with the ladies.  As I witnessed a barrage of young women flock to and from our home as my brothers got older, I learned some really simple—yet important—lessons.  These lessons didn’t reveal profound truths, but they provided nuggets of wisdom that I continue to remind myself of today.  You know, sometimes it is so easy to forget that which you’ve already learned, but my interactions with men are always much simpler when I remember the things that I learned while watching my brothers. I offer these same lessons to you, not as new information, but as necessary reminders.

1. Good men are not always good guys.
My brothers are good people, good men, nice men even, but not “good guys.”  They are the kind of men that you can call if you ever need anything and they will genuinely do their best to help you out.  They are big burly men who in tender moments go to my mom’s gravesite and pluck up weeds and lay fresh flowers. My mother raised them right, so they are kind and respectful in general.  But in the case of women, they are not “good guys.”  They do not always do the right things; they are not always exclusive; they are undeniably natural hunters.  I have seen these brothers of mine remain relatively good men—men who honor and protect the women of our family—and consistently fail at being good partners. Watching my brothers taught me that every good man is not a good guy and that if a good guy is what I’m in the market for, that settling with a good man can sometimes prove to be problematic.  I know lots of good men.  I don’t date any of them.

2. You can’t make a man want you.
I know that this is no revelation and that we’ve all heard it before, but let me say it again. You cannot make a man want you. Baby girl, I know that you’re beautiful, you’re fly and you’re educated. You ooze sex appeal and are used to being coveted. But if HE doesn’t want you as more than someone to bed, he doesn’t want you and there’s nothing you can do to change that.  Sure, you can make a man lust for your body—he is a man after all—but you can’t make him want you in any real way once the sweat dries.  I’ve seen women try hard, try the right things, try the sleazy things and all the in-between things.  It seems the harder they’d try, the more disinterested my brothers would become.  Most people like being in control, but there are some things we simply can’t control, another person’s interest in you is one of those things.  Watching my brothers taught me that rather than “trying to get chose” it is always a better option to be myself instead…eh, he’ll either love me or leave me alone.

3.  A man will continue to do what you allow him to.

Over the years, I’ve seen my brothers end up in some unfortunate situations.  In the ugliest of these, I’ve learned painful lessons.  I believe that love is patient, and that when you truly love someone you should exercise patience when they inevitably make mistakes.  No one’s perfect, but I’ve learned from my brothers that in this life I should know the things that I can live with and the things that I cannot.  I’ve learned that a man will do what you continue to allow him to do.  My brothers taught me that when mistakes occur, I can forgive but cannot forget, so when situations arise that I do not want to reoccur that rather than continue to talk about it, I should choose to be about it instead.
I can tell a man, with tears in my eyes that I want him to come home at night, that I want to be the sole object of his affection and desire; Yeah, I can tell him. Or I can leave the first time he walks out our door at a time far past the hour when nothing but legs is open.  I can choose to communicate with my actions that a man can’t have me and continue with undesirable patterns of behavior.

4. You cannot change a man, but you can be the kind of woman who inspires him to be a better man.
My brothers taught me that men do not change for women. Women will change their appearance, alter their personalities and switch up their routine when in hot pursuit of a man. But, while he may send his best representative out on the first few dates, a man will be who he is and he will do what he does.  He will not change for you. I’ve seen women continue to get with my brothers and men, in general, who have consistently shown who they are.  And despite all of the evidence that suggests otherwise, these women believe that they possess something that will cause men to be different with them than they were with all the other women in their lives.

I’ve learned that people tend to truly change only when they become uncomfortable with themselves.  I’ve seen my brothers remain exactly the same with women hellbent on making them change.  Yet, ironically, women who refuse to get involved with them or discontinue their involvement with them because they don’t meet the standards they’ve set for themselves have a different effect.  I’ve witnessed women who have a presence about them who have caused my brothers to examine themselves. Through examination they’ve become ashamed of certain behaviors or recognize insufficiencies and truly desire to become better men because of it.  My brothers taught me that while it’s not likely that I can change a man, I can totally be the kind of woman that inspires him to do and be better. However, even with that, I’ve learned that it is best to not consider yourself the exception to any rule and to engage men who are already in line with what you want instead.

5. A man likes a good challenge.
How can a possible relationship with someone really go if within the first few weeks of just getting to know them, you’ve already put yourself out there for a guy completely (as in, you’ve given up the goods with the quickness) and you’re doing any and everything he asks? While you don’t need to be hardheaded or put up a front, having standards and knowing a good man can wait goes a long way. The ladies who bend over backwards for a man they really don’t know much about are the ones brothers usually get with their friends and speak of as just another notch in their bedpost.

6.  Men are simple.
There are some simple things that most every man I know wants.  I’m not trying to minimize the things that men want in life and I’m not trying to be crass, but it seems pretty straightforward.  Most every heterosexual man I know wants to have work that fulfills him, a woman that excites him, a home where he can have peace, a stomach that is consistently full, and a penis that is consistently empty.  Please forgive me for that last one, but it’s kinda true.

I send a big thank you out to my brothers Walter, Terrence and Derrick for having such colorful lives that I learned from them simply by paying attention.  So that’s my list of lessons learned.  What do you think?  Do you agree or have you leaned something entirely different?


That’s That Ish I Don’t Like…Mary Kay Consultants: Why I Respect Your Gangsta, But I’m Not About That Life

Reprinted from Madame Noire.


Not long ago, I was sitting at a local bar enjoying a quick bite with a friend.  As he and I dished about life and sports as guy and gal pals do, a lady comes over to our table and she says to me, “You’re beautiful.”  Flattered by her words, I tell her thank you and let her know that I really appreciate the compliment.  I intend to get back to the conversation with my friend, but she continues.  “And you’re very graceful.  I noticed you when you first walked in.  Are you a dancer?  You have the body of a dancer.”  At this point, I’m still flattered but I’m definitely getting a little uneasy.  I politely thank her again, and let her know that I am in no way a dancer and that I could only dream to have the body of one.  Surely our quick exchange would be over at this point and I’d be able to go on with the conversation I was clearly having when she walked over.  Yet, she continues: “May I ask what kind of skin care products you use?”

It is at that point it hits me and I could hear the voice of Florida Evans crying out in the background, “Damn, damn, damn!!!”…I’ve been caught by a freakin’ Mary Kay lady.
Is it just me, or are Mary Kay consultants highly aggressive?  As the young lady starts to explain to me that she owns her own Mary Kay business and would love to talk more about the products the company offers, I know instantly that it will NOT be easy to get rid of her.  Even after explaining to her that not only do I rarely wear make up but that I also have a really simple and natural skin care regimen that doesn’t involve a lot of products, she refuses to give up.  Now, I’m the kind of girl who rarely gives out my information.  I think long and hard about giving my number out even to men I’m actually interested in.  But the Mary Kay lady walked away with my phone number and email address.  That’s how aggressive she was.

I can think of at least three other separate occasions when I have been borderline accosted, in very similar fashion, by Mary Kay consultants.  Walking down the street, shopping, dining out, I’ve been blindsided by members of the pink brigade while doing all of these things.  It always starts out innocently, usually with a compliment, and just when you start feeling yourself and plan to give a quick “thank you” and strut off—they go in for the hard sale.  They do not take no for an answer.
I recently found out that I’m not alone.  A number of my friends have had very similar experiences with consultants.  In fact, one friend compared the tenacity of some Mary Kay business owners to that of followers of a certain religious faith who are usually very eager to share their beliefs.  We’ve decided that of the two, Mary Kay is definitely more aggressive.  They’re gangsta.  I respect it, but I’m simply not about that life.

While I’ve decided to, henceforth and forevermore, run in the opposite direction when a Mary Kay lady makes her presence known, I know that the company offers some very positive incentives for women.  Mary Kay allows women to go into business for themselves and to do so in a way that affords them the flexibility that many other careers fail to offer.  In an economy as tough as the one we’re currently enduring, that’s nothing to smirk at.  Consultants are able to take advantage of a 50 percent discount on products, making a 50 percent profit on all products sold.  There are leadership opportunities that allow women to transition into director positions and help other consultants build their businesses. And we all know about the infamous pink Cadillacs that Mary Kay Consultants can earn; add diamonds and luxurious trips to the list of enticing incentives as well.

For some, a Mary Kay business may be just what the doctor ordered.  Lots of people are searching for the perfect way to create additional streams of income for themselves.  For me, I’ve been scarred and I am indeed scared.  I like to tell a woman she is beautiful and keep it moving, but that doesn’t seem to be the Mary Kay way.  Eh, different strokes for different folks I suppose.  Since I have yet to find a successful way to emerge from an encounter with a Mary Kay consultant without giving her some sort of information, I’m just going to try to avoid these saleswomen at all costs.  What about you?

Have you been in any situations when you’ve come unsuspectingly face to face with a Mary Kay lady?  How did it go?  If you are a Mary Kay lady, have you enjoyed your experience working with the company thus far?

Like You Went to Yale, But You Probably Went to Howard…HBCU Love: I’m So Glad I Went to Howard U. What About You?

Reprinted.  Latest at Madame Noire.

Source: Fashionbombdaily

There is something about attending a historically black college or university that isn’t always easily summed up in words.  There is something special, reverent that—if you are fortunate enough to have attended and graduated from one—you can’t always explain to someone who explored different higher education options.  Some people doubt the relevance of an “all black” school in a “real world” that is far from all black.  Some dismiss the caliber of education received at HBCUs as sub par.

For those who chose to attend an HBCU when they very easily could have chosen their pick of the litter, you know what others do not.  You know that there is no place that can embrace you, challenge you, love you, frustrate you, prepare you and propel you into destiny quite like the right HBCU.  You, like I, didn’t reserve your alma mater as a back up plan.  You surveyed your myriad options and decided that it, hands down, was the best choice.  When others tout their degrees from other institutions they deem more rigorous and acceptable, you smirk because—without taking anything from their accomplishment—you know the truth…and the truth never needs to be argued.  It stands alone.

There seems to be a kinship shared amongst graduates of historically black institutions.  If you’re out and you come across someone else who graduated from an HBCU, it’s as if there is an immediate commonality, even if he or she attended a different school.  “You went to Spelman?  Man, I went to Hampton.”  And so the conversation goes.  It’s almost like we’re all a part of this overarching fraternity.  Yet, at the same time there is unending rivalry as well.  It is understood that not all HBCUs are created equal.  As such, it is common for alumni to one up each other in a quest to solidify their institution of choice as the best.

I recently attended a fundraiser where another attendee asked what school I graduated from.  When I responded, he followed with a quick, “Ok, so you graduated from the second best HBCU that exists huh?”  Baffled, I asked which institution was considered the best.  He informed me that his alma mater, FAMU, was.  I chuckled because, again, the truth never needs to be argued.

You see, I am a proud graduate of Howard University, the place we alums affectionately refer to as the Mecca.  Like many HBCUs, Howard feels like home.  In fact, as you walk onto the hilly campus, you are greeted by a sign that literally says “Welcome Home.”  You are surrounded by a sea of beautiful blackness.  And while it may seem sometimes that it’s just about looking the part, Howard’s campus is filled with brilliantly beautiful minds.  As you walk through the hallways of Douglas Hall, you are reminded of legends who walked those very halls centuries earlier.  It is difficult to not be humbled by the sheer weight of the importance that such an institution, and other institutions like it, has played in the history of people of the African Diaspora.  It gives me great pride to be associated with such a legacy of excellence.

I recently saw a poster that said that the first African American Supreme Court Justice, African American U.S. Senator, female mayor of a major city, African American female lawyer, African American U.S. governor, African American U.S. Ambassador, African American General in the U.S. Army, and I could go on and on, were all graduates of Howard University.  That is what an HBCU education will get you, for those who were wondering.  To all of my fellow Bison, I send an “awwwww HU” your way.  And to my HBCU companions who didn’t choose Howard, I love you too.  But like Kanye, when he hopped on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift, I submit to you “No disrespect to your school, Howard is the best; in fact, it’s the standard.”  I kid.  Not really.

While I am clearly biased—I unabashedly, indubitably, and unequivocally herald Howard as the best—I am sure that if you are a graduate of a historically black institution that you have a similar pride in your alma mater.  Let’s talk about it.

Are you proud that you attend or have graduated from a historically black institution?  If so, what sets your school apart from the others?

Their Hearts Say Move Along, Their Minds Say Gotcha Heart, Let’s Move It Along…As Good As It Gets: The Problem With Staying in an Unhappy Relationship Out of Fear

Reprinted.  Latest article at Madame Noire.


It’s been said that love is a dangerous necessity, a world class mystery.  No one is its master. Perhaps one can suppose that as doctors practice medicine and as attorneys practice the law, that individuals merely practice love.  As people hop in and out of relationships in search of love, it can certainly be said then that there is no one right way to behave in a relationship.  But while we acknowledge that no cookie cutter formula exists and that no absolute, definitive road to successful relationships has been paved, let us not be remiss in thinking that there are not approaches to relationships that we can absolutely and definitively file in the dead wrong department.

I’ve listened a lot lately to people speak about their relationships.  And while I, frankly, am much more comfortable in the platonic lane these days, I love love.  It creates great joy in my heart to see people who truly desire to be in committed relationships hopelessly and effortlessly in real love with people they’ve entrusted their hearts to.  As such, I’ve been struck by how frequently people are admitting that they remain in relationships not out of love but out of fear—fear that although they are not truly happy, that what they currently have just might be as good as it gets for them.

Some women remain with men who they aren’t excited about because they treat them well and have the ability to be great providers for their families.  Some men remain with insecure women who lack emotional maturity because they possess all the physical attributes that keep them visually and physically stimulated.  I’ve had women admit that there isn’t much compatibility between them and the man they’re dating, but say, “But I’ve never had anyone treat me this well before.”  I’ve also had men admit that it is hard to get past their woman’s childish and insecure ways but say, “But I’ve never had a woman who was on my level professionally AND came in a package that looked like this before.”  These same men and women have been extremely apprehensive to walk away from relationships that really aren’t working because they’re afraid that they may not be able to find the highly desirable traits they have in their partners with other people.

I certainly understand that there are those who come along and break the mold.  They are game changers, and once the game’s been changed, there really is no going back.  But ladies and gentlemen, we have to acknowledge that the mere fact that someone is a good catch does not always make them a great catch for us.  You can’t hold on to someone because they are the best you’ve had so far and you’re afraid that you won’t find someone comparable if you let them go.  Well, you can, but you probably shouldn’t.  Happiness is paramount, and if you aren’t truly happy…you can’t force it.

I am a firm believer that people can have whatever it is they believe they can have.  If you believe a person that you really should leave is the best you may ever have, it’s likely you’ll never have better.  But imagine what possibilities would exist if you’d rather choose to believe that if you had it once, you can have it again…and maybe even better?  Imagine who could come into your life if you’d simply change your perspective?  Instead of having the attitude that you may be losing out on a good thing, use your experiences with this man or woman as proof that people like him or her do indeed exist and that they happen to be attracted to you.  Although your current relationship won’t last, you know now that a relationship with a man who treats you extremely well is possible.  Or, you recognize that your bad chick game has just been upgraded.  You can rest in that and move on with joyful anticipation of what is to come.

When you find the person who truly melts your butter, we’ve agreed and voted that you make your own rules in your practice of love.  But, let’s agree right now that this whole staying in relationships because you’re scared of the what-ifs business is wack and should be filed away in the dead wrong department we talked about earlier. Why? So you can give yourself a chance to truly be happy.  Pinky swear?

Let’s Flip the Track, Bring the Old School Back…My Momma Used to Say: Mother’s Day Love for the Old School Mama

Reprinted.  Latest article over at Madame Noire.

As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches, I find myself reflecting fondly upon the woman I will be eternally grateful to have called mother.  As I grow older, I appreciate her more and more, and even her antics become more endearing.

My childhood was probably not the most typical for the time period in which I grew up.  You see, my mother was 44 when she gave birth to me.  Which means that while I was busy growing up in the 90’s, my mother was comfortably settling into her 50’s.  My friends had young, urban parents who were still trying to find themselves—not to mention most were also trying to figure out what the mom thing was all about.  Me, I was being raised by a woman at least 20 years their senior who had already raised most of her kids (I’m the youngest of a large family) and knew the major pitfalls to avoid.  Let me add that my mother was from the South.  Now, I’m a city girl and would not have it any other way than to be born and bred in my native Chicago all over again.  But, I’ll be the first to admit that there are probably a few pointers that us Northern women can take from our Southern sisters.  But I digress.  I said all of this to say that despite growing up in the 90’s in the inner-city of Chicago, I had an old-school Southern upbringing.  For that I am tremendously grateful and this is why…

My mother’s rules were sometimes ridiculous, but all the time purposeful.

She made it clear that what I chose to do as an adult would be my own business but while I was in her home, we’d serve God.  The one of the Black church persuasion.  If church was in session, we were in attendance.  Sunday School, first service, second service, YPWW, Bible study, choir rehearsal, prayer night, Vacation Bible School, revival and on New Years Eve…watch night service!

My mother was intent on not only raising me to be a certain kind of woman, but to be a lady.  She taught me to have such high respect for myself that it commanded respect from others.  She taught me to depend on myself and not wait for others to do for me.  BUT, now to each its own, my mama taught me that women also cook and clean.  She’d say “you don’t be inviting nobody to your house and it ain’t clean,” and she was something serious about a woman knowing her way around the kitchen.  She was the kind of mother who taught me to make everything from scratch.  And ladies, may I just tell you that this cooking thing scores me mad points with the fellas when I’m not even trying to win.

I learned from my mother that ladies dress like ladies and not like, well, whores.  She made sure that things were properly shaved, I wore stockings and a slip, and that she was never EVER able to determine what kind of underwear I was wearing. She taught me to work on the kind of inward beauty that draws people to you rather than attract attention by being scantily clad.  I remember when midriffs started becoming really popular amongst my age group; I had this Calvin Klein number that I loved.  I’d make sure to pull it as far down as possible when my mother was around, but I must have moved too swiftly one day and my mother caught a glimpse of my bare stomach.  If she didn’t almost fall out!  She promptly informed me that either my shirt was too short or my pants weren’t high enough.  In fact, she added that any pants I owned should cover my navel!  My navel???

I can imagine that we’ve all heard older folks talk about the days when they had to be in the house when the street lights came on.  Try 1998!  I have siblings who are much older than I am, and a couple of nieces who are about the same age as me.  One of these nieces came to live with us when she was a preteen.  Now, when she became a teenager, my mom gave her a curfew of 10:00 p.m.  We were close but different kind of people, so we didn’t always hang out together.  She had her friends and I had mine.  But, I vividly recall this day we decided to kick it.  We had all kind of fun in the sun and made it home in time for “our” curfew.  I walked in the house and my mom appeared out of nowhere and hit me with the “just where do you think you’ve been?”  I explained that I was with my niece, who’s a year and a half older, and that we weren’t too far away.  She promptly read me my rights and informed me that while Trice’s curfew was 10, she fully expected me to be on the block the minute the street lights came on.

I should also say that my mom did NOT play when it came to boys.  I was 15 before my mom let a boy CALL me!  And probably a year older before she “allowed” me to have a boyfriend.  As a grown woman, I still remember the day she first let my boyfriend darken our front door.  Both he and I thought that there must be some kind of ambush that lay in wait.  Luckily for us, she was just trying to cut us some slack.

I know not everyone’s parents were as strict as mine and realize that this kind of upbringing is not one that everyone would relish.  However, I am so appreciative that I was raised the way I was raised.  I’m not knocking young and more progressive mothers who successfully raise balanced kids.  But…if you had an old school mama who didn’t play and you’re a better woman because of it, will you join me in a standing ovay for that right there?

And if you had an old school mother, then I know I’m not alone in these embarrassing my mother didn’t play that stories. Do tell.  What was your mother simply not having when you were growing up?

U.N.I.T.Y. That’s a Unity… Who You Calling a Bit**? A How-To On Properly Addressing Women

Reprinted.  Latest article over at Madame Noire.


“Who you calling a bit**?” Yeah, here we go.  Apparently, I gotta let you know I’m not a bit**, a broad or a ho*.”

This is not a feminist manifesto.  A strongblackwoman rant it is not.  It is not a compilation of musings to be dismissed as chick logic.  This is no angry/bitter woman’s monologue.  A Mz. Independent, you better r.e.s.p.e.c.t. me, nag fest this ain’t.

To my Polo wearing, cool is forever, in search of Clair Huxtable, steeped in hip-hop culture brothers (whom we love), THIS is an open letter from colored girls who’ve abandoned suicide in favor of homicide when recounting daily doses of misogyny and declaring ENOUGH.  Let us acknowledge that a bit** is a female dog, a ho* a garden tool and broad an adjective used to describe things that are wide and of great breadth and extent.  And while some are indeed wide with supple rolling hills of wonderment, neither of the aforementioned terms is an appropriate moniker for a woman.

Now, I understand the politics of respectability and I agree that by and large women can do better in respecting themselves and thus garner greater respect from men.  With that, I can already anticipate the argument that not every girl is a woman, but before we go down that road of differentiation—let me submit one thing.  Let’s be real, some of your mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins and friends have or will exhibit the same kind of behavior that promptly causes you to label a woman a #yourchoicewordhere.  Is it okay then for me to use this same term when referring to your mother?  Are you planning to use similar language for your daughter whose behavior WILL be influenced by the culture you continue to architect with your mouth?  Would it not be a more honorable and affirming practice to do away with vile and violent terms and to refer to the fairer sex as women instead, albeit calling those things that are not as though they were at times.

Let us have another frank moment.  I have not seen such display of unfaltering loyalty than that displayed by the black woman on behalf of the black man.  Even in the face of so many all out media affronts that would have one believe that there are very few dateable black men available for black women, black women continue to express their preference for black men rather than date outside the race.  Black women continue to herald such preference amidst very vocal proclamations of some black men that they prefer to date women who are indeed not black.  Black women will accept a man’s baggage and will embrace and treat children their men fathered with other women as their own.  In some extreme cases, black women will accept collect phone calls, deposit money into commissary accounts, and make the trek to prison to visit black men they love.  Many of us know women like the one Lupe Fiasco references.  You know, “the down baby mama who he really had to honor ‘cause she was his biggest fan,” the one who even let him use her Honda to drive up to Dallas when he opened up for amateurs and “let him keep a debit card so he could put gas in it.”  Man!  That’s a black woman for you.

I’ll leave the painful conversation that includes the bitter truth that black men simply are not as loyal, are not as devoted, are not as committed to black women as we are to them for another day.  But, today I will ask that you do not repay our stalwart allegiance by calling us bit**es, broads and ho*s.  It is disrespectful; it is painful; it is outright unnecessary and uncalled for.  My mama named my Sheena…you should call me Sheena.  I am someone’s daughter, sister, the aunt that nieces and nephews look up to.  I am the friend who affirms those around me and gives them the liberty to be themselves, the companion who is committed to remaining the object of your desire, who makes sure that your stomach remains full, your intellect tickled and your spirit fed, the one who understands your struggle and vows that you will be respected and built up rather than torn down by the words of my mouth.  It is from my bowels, my womb that all of civilization was birthed.  I am a (black) woman.  Call me that.  And for those whom you do not think worthy of the term, call them women anyway.  Call them women until they begin to behave as such.

May I go further?  Don’t call me a female.  Yes, I understand that I am indeed female.  I have two X chromosomes, a vagina that I am quite fond of, a uterus and ovaries.  I’m not denying the obvious.  I am, however, pointing out that calling me a female is another instance where you’re neglecting to acknowledge me as a woman.  How many times have you heard a woman say “I tell you about males” or start a sentence with “males today” while simultaneously shaking her head?  Chances are, never.  You may not understand this, but referring to a woman as a female is usually seen as pejorative.  And despite whether you understand it, if I express to you that I find it disrespectful, you should probably just refrain from using it.  Men arguing for the use of female in place of woman is like white people insisting upon calling black people colored or negro instead, thin people calling overweight people fat, and those who believe they themselves are actually sane referring to mentally ill people as retarded.  While a small case can be made for the use of some words, all of the people in favor of making said case should just take several seats.

Cues U.N.I.T.Y.  Can I entice you my Polo wearing, cool is forever, in search of Clair Huxtable, steeped in hip hop culture brothers—whom I love—to simply love a black woman from infinity to infinity?  She’s not a bit**, a broad or a ho*.  And though she may be female, don’t call her that!  If you can’t call her by name, by all means call her woman.  She just might be the Clair you covet and in turn call you Brother to the Night…let you be the blues in her left thigh and become the funk in her right.  Alriiiight?

What About Your Friends, Will They Stand Their Ground, Will They Let You Down Again…Friend-Ventory: A Good Girlfriend Is Like A Good Pair of Shoes

Reprinted.  Check out my latest post at Madame Noire.  Paying homage to my girls and every girl’s best friend…shoes.


I’ve heard it said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. While I can’t knock the allure of cut clarity, color and carats, I can and WILL say that my heart sides with a deeper Marilyn Monroe quote: “Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world!” There are two things that a woman can never possibly have too many of…really great girlfriends and shoes, of course. In my book, shoes are just like friends; they support you or take you down. I promise that every “friend” you have can be described in terms of shoes, and with that, ladies, I submit that every now and again it’s simply good business to do friend-ventory: To open your (proverbial) closet and check out your shoe game.

Source: Old Navy
Flip Flops

There are definitely girlfriends who are just like flip flops. They are no fuss, no muss. You can be completely exposed, yet so comfortable when they are around. They are not pretentious and don’t require you to be fancy–nor do they judge. Like flip flops, they represent T-shirt and jeans kind of comfort.



Who doesn’t love a laid back loafer? While ladies love to lounge around fancy free in flip flops, there are some situations that just don’t allow it. It’s always nice to slip on a comfortable flat when this is the case. Some friends are like loafers: they just feel right. You may not bare your soul to your loafer friends, but you are totally comfortable around them. They are easygoing and they just don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is simple around them and refreshingly free from drama. Loafers are definitely a must have.



Every woman needs a good pair of pumps. There are girlfriends who are as classic as this staple of a shoe. They are versatile. A pump friend is one who can run in your professional circles but who you can dress down and mix with the casual crowd as well. Pumps can be a bit conservative at times, but they are certainly consistent, reliable, and—in this case—prudent. This is the girlfriend whose opinion really matters to you. She doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear; she tells you what you need to hear.



 Animal Print Shoes

Not everyone can get with and get away with animal print. It definitely clashes with a lot of the things in your closet and you, for sure, can’t wear it everywhere! But, when you luck out and find an animal print shoe that works, you keep it around for as long as you can. There are girlfriends who are just like this. They don’t mix well with all of your friends and there are places that you don’t want to take them and they don’t want to go. These chicks are wild and crazy unbridled fun. They define themselves and bend all the rules and encourage you to do the same. When you’re with them, you have an edge that doesn’t come out as easily with your other friends. Just like an animal print shoe turns an otherwise bland outfit into a statement, this friend is known to turn mundane girls’ night out activities into epic experiences.



There is nothing like a great boot. Boots protect a woman’s delicate feet and elevate her style. There are girlfriends who do similar work. They are the ones who are fiercely loyal, unwavering friends. They are supportive and protective. No one can say anything negative about you without this kind of friend coming to the rescue. These friends make you look and feel good. They don’t steer you in the wrong direction; they make sure you put your best foot forward.

These are the friends that you can count on for the long haul. When things get tough, they are there. Everybody loves the sunshine, but your boot friends have your back all winter long.


Now women, and men I may add, love stilettos. They are a delight to the eye. We all agree they look so good, but we should all agree that they hurt so bad! And while a woman admits that the pain can be as high as the heel, she continues to buy them because she likes the image they project. You walk differently in these shoes because one misstep could leave you flat on your face. Ladies, know your stiletto friends. They are the “me I’m supa fly, supa dupa fly” members of the team. These women are divas in every sense of the word, from appearance to attitude. It’s about the glitz and the glamor with them all the time. There is no laid back with them, and when these friends are around, you’re definitely fancy! Like stilettos, you love what they do for your appearance, but you know they aren’t a practical choice. This type is good for going out, but don’t be fooled into thinking they are an every day option. You instantly feel fierce when you put stilettos on, but you wear them too long and all you’ll feel is pain. Message.

*Cues music.* “Friends, how many of us have them? Friends, ones you can depend on.” So ladies, what’s in your closet?