Take It From an Old Person

When was the last time you have had a conversation with an old person? When I say old, I don’t mean older; I mean over 65 years old. Considering that “old” is in fact a relative term, 65 is still 37 years older than myself. The point that I’m making is, talk to an old person. The things that they say can range from rude and humorous to wise and profound. Depending on your sensitivity level and state of mind, talking to an older person can be painfully awakening. You have to keep an open mind a lot of times, because they will say whatever they feel they need to say or you need to hear. Some kind of way though, when they say what it is they have to say, no matter how offensive, often times you will listen.

Why?

This is because most people who have lived to that age, have come to realize what is important in life and what is not. The silliness of getting what someone else has simply because they have it, has passed years ago. At this point in their life, keeping up with the Jones’ is the last thing on their mind… They watched Mr. Jones die of a heart attack working overtime to keep Ms. Jones happy. So they know that enjoying each other is what’s important, instead of trying to make life’s enjoyment out of the accumulation of material things. Therefore, anything they say to you, will be simply that which was said. There will be no drama behind their statements. They will not be in competition with you, or striving with you, or will have any ulterior motives behind whatever they say. When you hear honesty on that level, and don’t have to consider where or why it is being said, it’s easier for you to listen.

Now I know that every person 65 or older will not be this way. It has to be someone who is content with being where they are in life and can truly appreciate the journey that they had to take to get there. If they speak from that point of view, they will only say things to advise well, or warn you of pitfalls. For example, if an older lady tells you, “I don’t think you should pay $500 for those shoes,” she saying that probably because she knows better the value of $500 than you do. Now if a peer told you the exact same thing, you may think, “She just don’t want me to have them because she can’t afford them.” Now this may not be true at all, but the receptiveness of the same message from an older person versus a peer makes the world of difference. There are plenty of older people though who have not accepted their roles in life as being advisors and examples to the youth, and instead want to stay in the runnings with them; these are not the ones I’m talking about and you can tell the difference.

The good part is the amount of information you can learn from them. They basically give life lessons for free and look forward to conversing and sharing with young people. There are Big Brother and Big Sister clubs all about the nation. I would be an advocate for a similar program where young adults were paired with a eligible senior citizens to simply talk to a couple times a month. Because with the generational gaps being blurred by the family breakdowns, Stellas getting their grooves back, Cougar towns, and Papa’s stones rolling all over the place, the respect and reverence for older people are slowly disappearing. Preserving that respect is key to the cycle of building a successful society/culture. If children really are the future, there has to be a clear cut difference between generations so that the youth will know who to learn from and go to for life advice. Some things can not be taught from a peer; so I, personally, spend every chance I get asking and probing older people for information. What I want to happen is that I learn as much as possible from a senior citizen as young as I can. That way, by the time I make it to their age, not only will I know what they knew, but maybe I will have learned even more to pass down to the generation beneath me.

The most recent bit of information that I received from an older person was simple, but extremely relevant to common socializing. It’s something that nearly all of us go through with our friends. We have all had that friend who continually does the same dumb things over and over, right? The advice that I was given to that type of situation was:

“If a person’s conscience don’t whip them, then you can’t whip them. You can’t change a person’s mind; they have to do that on their own.” So basically, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You hear cliche´ phrases growing up without ever really knowing what they mean or how to apply them— but if you talk to an older person, who has been where you are, you might be able to learn that lesson a few years ahead of schedule if instead of waiting on experience to teach you.

Another thing I heard just last week was: “Those are some ugly shoes.” He just forgot to turn off the filter that connects the brain to the mouth. I laughed because that’s truly how he felt about the shoes I was wearing. Even though I felt as though they were fashionably acceptable and appropriate, none of that meant a hill of beans to an old man who knows that life is more than vainglorious coverings. Now if someone my own age had said the same thing, I would have probably had a totally different reaction. A man of seventy plus years has earned the right to at least say what’s on his mind, and if I can’t humbly take his statement as an vocalized opinion of an elder and someone that I should learn from, then I may be the one with the real problem. I pray that in my old age, I carry more tact in my speaking though. Maybe that is what I can add to the chain for the next generation.

Bottom line— Try to spend more time talking to older people, especially if you have some easily accessible to you. You may be surprised at what your eyes can be opened up to or what you can learn. That way, when we all get to be old, we will have actually accumulated valuable life lessons to pass down to the next generations, and not just material things that can neither add or take away integrity, honor or moral value.

Be Proud of What You Do

Being proud of what you do can save you a lot of energy and stress over a lifetime. I feel as though no one should spend time doing anything they cannot do so proudly. In order to do that though, it takes more practice and determination than what it sounds like at first. When you decide that you are  going to do something and set a goal and a plan to get it accomplished, there will be more distractions that have never presented themselves to you.

Proud: Feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or credible to oneself

Now it would seem that being proud of what you do or what you stand for would be fairly simple; But that’s not always the case. The first thing that you have to find out is who you are. Find out what your passion is and what it is that you do! If you have to write out a list and number them in order of importance, then do that. Let your number one God. Christ should be your center and will hold the rest of the priorities in place. That is where the necessary balance will take place, because there is a very thin line between being proud and being arrogant. Humility is a must. One thing that I have always been taught, is that you can humble yourself by giving glory and honor where it is due, instead of wanting all the credit for oneself. Or instead, you can enjoy a pedestal seat until your own ego and reputation outgrows your character. When that happens, humiliation is around the corner, and it will be especially difficult to accept correction and change. Humility can be learned anytime, but the sooner the better. Learning a lesson can be an inconvenience if you’re a slow learner.

Learn to deal with being different. If you have a knack for cars, working with your hands and enjoy fixing things, you may make a great mechanic. That may sound silly, and because of that silliness, someone will deny themselves a life that they would really enjoy. Why? Because “No one wants to be known as a lackluster mechanic.” That’s an opinion that someone who is not in your shoes may have… And if someone is not in your shoes, do not let them dictate where or how you walk. Everyone is different. If your different is a bit more different than your peers, that only means you have a larger area to grow, less congestion, job security or whatever you want to call it. This could possibly be the hardest part of learning to be proud of yourself though; being different. Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, how you should do it, where, and why you should do whatever it is you decide to do. At the end of the day, your vision will have done a complete 180 degree turn from what you had in mind when you started. If fixing cars does not work for you, let it be because you found out that it wasn’t what you thought it was. Try it. Experience it. Never let it be because you were convinced that it was not a good idea before you even attempt it. If you are convinced that it wasn’t the best choice before you try it, at least let it be because to talked to another mechanic. A dentist can’t a provide you with the proper information you need for the life you are trying to live as a mechanic— which leads me to my next point:

Surround yourself with likeminded people, doing what you are doing, and going where you are going. It’s easy to lose focus of your goals when you are surrounded by people with different goals. If becoming a mechanic is your goal, but you go to class with aspiring dentists everyday, at the end of the semester, you will be more dentist than mechanic. The bad part about that is, because you did not fully commit to neither, you will in turn be neither dentist nor mechanic. I’m using dentists and mechanics as examples, but you can apply whatever it is that you want to be to the same principles, whether it be a Christian, relationships, careers or whatever.

I’ll give you an example: I was talking to a very cool guy a while ago; older guy, but cool. While discussing family and marriage and all, he told me that the best thing he ever did for his marriage was to get a side-girl. I knew then that, I could not take any marital advice from him. I mean, really?! I think we’ll stick to the sports conversations.

Once you make up your mind what you are going to do and start on that path with likeminded people, you can stand tall against whatever fears you might have faced before. Fear and confidence do not get along together. Without confidence, you can’t be proud of what you do or who you are. You have to get past your fears and self image. If you have a failed attempt, let that failed attempt, be a lesson learned, not a reminder that you failed. Let the failure stay in the past, and bring the lesson learned forward to further your progress. Never let the past scare you into an attempt not to try again. Practice and redo and then practice and redo again.

Once you follow these steps (in whatever order you may), and put in the time, you will be able to stand and be proud of your work. If someone has something in your field better than yours, you won’t feel inadequate, but instead will set a new goal since you are already learning and growing. The feeling of inadequacy only comes when you have not done what you know you can to excel. I am convinced that if find your gift and purpose in life and wholeheartedly put in the necessary, you will accomplish what you set out to do.

Summarized List

  • Keep God first
  • Find yourself
  • Find people like yourself
  • Deny fear and failure
  • Be proud! Announce yourself as what you do, not what you are. Speak it as though it is; until it is. BE PROUD!

Mama’s Boy

If you ask me if I’m a mama’s boy, you probably couldn’t even give me an accurate definition of what that term means. It will probably be vague like, “You do everything she says” or “You tell her everything.” What I have done is defined the term in to four categories; two of which are healthy, and the other two, not so much.

The first thing that you have to realize is that under normal circumstances, the mother is the first woman that a guy will learn to deal with. Every standard and view of a woman that he will have, will initially be from what he has gathered from interactions with his mother. So in turn, if a guy loves his mother (which most guys do), the girl that he chooses to date or marry will more than likely share some characteristics with his mother— even if it’s simply physical resemblance. So if he chooses to pursue you, then you are already in a pretty good place— unless he has been pampered into adulthood. If that’s the case, you may be being viewed as another mother.

What a lady should try to figure out is not whether her guy is a mama’s boy or not. What she should try to figure out, is whether he’s the good kind or the bad kind. Every man should have a healthy relationship with his mom. I’m pretty sure every (normal) woman would like to have a man who shares a healthy relationship with his mom. I think what most women want are non-expressive independent mama’s boys.

I have put together a pretty simple chart that breaks down mama’s boys into four basic groups.

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The type of family and the man’s placement in that family will weigh the most in determining which one of these categories that he will fall into. I have also broken the type of family placement for the man down into four categories with slight variations. They are the only child, the only boy, the youngest child, and the eldest child.

Placement in the Family

Only Child:

The only child is almost a given. He and his mother will be inseparable. That is her only child so every bit of maternal instinct that she is possible of providing will all go into him and his well-being. By the time he is old enough to date, I believe it’s a natural defense for her to be suspicious of any other female coming into his life. By this time I think it is safe to say that the young man will have learned to trust completely in his mother which will make it extremely difficult for any woman to get close to him. When you have a boy that has been raised as an only child, he will typically fall under the category of captive expressive.

Only Boy:

The only is a tricky one. He will definitely be used to being catered to. Sisters will have some of the same characteristics of a mother has, so the effects can be pretty bad. More than likely he will probably fall under the captive category… And the expressive category. Even though the only boy would still commonly fall into the captive expressive category, they are still pretty rare.

Youngest Child:

I think the youngest child is a wild card. It’s almost impossible to determine what category the youngest child will fall under. This category is the only one where the other two factors (which are discussed below) outweigh his placement in the family.

Eldest Child:

The eldest child will definitely be expressive. Whether or not he is captive or independent will depend on the other two factors discussed below. The eldest child is just that. The first that the mother will do anything with. The first that the mother will learn to parent. And the eldest will immediately become an extended right hand helping the mother as responsibilities grow, especially with added siblings. The bond between the eldest son and mother is almost the same as the only son and mother.


Two Key Factors

The Father:

The first of the two key factors outside of child placement in the family is fatherly input. What type of role the father plays in raising his son, can tilt the scale in any direction. Just to give a personal example, when I was 16 years old I went to work with my dad one day. My met us at work to join us for lunch. Since we were riding in my dad’s pickup truck, I got in before my mom to let her be on the outside. My father told my mom to sit next to him and let me sit on the end because I was “learning to be a man.” Back then I thought he just wanted my mom to sit next to him, but it made me feel like tough stuff.

There was another instance when I was about 19 or 20 years old. A friend of mine was on her way to pick me up one night. With me being the eldest child, my mom automatically did not care too much for the young lady. On my way out my mom talked about how she did not think I should be hanging with this girl and how she just rubbed her the wrong way. If my dad had not been present, I would have stayed home to make my mother happy. My dad ushered me out of the door and said, “Have a good night and be home on time.” It clicked for me then that, I have two parents that I have to consider and get input from when making a decision. Looking back at those two simple gestures of fatherhood saved me from being like Terrence J from “Think Like a Man”. From growing up with a father, I have learned to take suggestions from mother and strongly consider and value each and every one of her opinions. However, if dad says “Yes” or “No”, then thats what it is… because mama can’t teach me to be a man.

Number of Siblings:

The second factor is the number of children the mama’s boy is raised with. This is where having a lot of siblings come in handy, especially for the younger boys. When I started getting older and bringing girls around, it was the saving grace of my father that I could even talk to them. I was the oldest boy and this was my mother’s first time having to deal with “outsiders”. Being the oldest of seven, and five of which are boys, my mom didn’t have much time to spend on saving me from strange girls. Now that she have four boys of dating age, she’s used to it. She secure with me being responsible in who I choose to be with, while only gently guiding the younger boys. It was a learning curve that she too had to go through being taught by life, her own boys and her husband. Overall the more children a mother has, the more it dilutes the effect of the mama’s boy syndrome. By the time all of my brothers are grown the term mama’s boy will be something that my mother will find amusing. She will probably be tell some younger mother, “You have to learn to let them grow up.”

Hopefully this can be somewhat of a guide to figuring out what type of mama’s boy you have. If you take into account his placement in his family, the role of his father, and the number of siblings he have, you can just about stick him in one of these categories. Another thing that you can not leave out is what you see. You know what you see and what you hear, from him and his mother. Don’t make excuses for him. The wrong type of mama’s boy will have you caring for his mother and neglecting your own.

So the answer is yes. Yes I am a proud independent expressive mama’s boy. I’m also a daddy’s boy, a brother’s boy and a sister’s boy. So don’t let the term mama’s boy frighten you. More than likely if you get a good guy, he is going to be a mama’s boy to some degree, but just like anything else, there has to be balance.

Thirty Seconds Ago… The Honda

There wasn’t anything at the house to eat. It was too late to fix anything, but right at the point when I was about to decide to go home and go to bed, I took notice of the Wendy’s. I made an anxious right turn from the left lane headed towards the drive-thru. The Honda didn’t respond the way that I was used to though. It was a bit sluggish; and had been for a while, now that I thought about it. Pulling into the lot, my parents’ voices echoed through my mind, “Reggie, you need a dependable car.”

“Whatever.”

The Honda had been a great car. It was a gold 1995 two-door Honda Accord that had taken me everywhere I needed to go. Over the last few months though, it had been showing symptoms of meeting its end. However, you always find a way to look past what you don’t want to see; so in my mind, The Honda was practically brand new.

So I pulled up to the drive-thru speaker in my “brand new” battle-scarred Honda and placed my order. “That’ll be $5.35,” the speaker announced. I pulled up to the window and prepared my payment. “Your total is $5.35,” the cashier repeated as I placed a ten-dollar bill in her hand. At that very moment, there was an extremely loud popping sound. The cashier snatched back her arm, and left me wide-eyed and startled. I immediately noticed the heat gauge on the dashboard far into the red area. Still not completely sure of what was happening, I noticed that the cashier was locking and backing away from the window. She was staring at me as if there was a timer on my forehead; and it was ticking down from seven, six, five, four…

At the four count, white smoke enshrouded the front of the car. Not wanting to be inside the car for the final three counts, I undid my seatbelt and launched myself from the passenger side of the car James Bond style. There were now two cars behind mine. The third car in line threw itself in reverse and went out of the parking lot the same way that I came in. I almost suggested for the second car to do the same as I stood in the cold waiting for The Honda to explode. After about thirty seconds of waiting, an explosion never came. I had come to realize that the car had run hot and blew a hose somewhere under the hood. It was steam that was I was seeing; not smoke.

I cautiously made my way back to the car and let it roll into a parking spot. Under the hood it was just as I had suspected; a blown hose that would only take about twenty minutes to replace, and The Honda would be back in action. As I sat in my car to look up the needed parts, my stomach reminded me of why I was here to begin with. I had never received my order, or my change, from the cashier. The drive-thru line had continued. Now all I could hope for is that the cashier had placed my order and change to the side. That way, I would simply walk up to the window, take what was mine, and return to my immobile transportation.

The walk back to the window seemed to take forever. I waited for the car at the window to leave, so that I could jump in front of the next car and sort out the issue with the cashier. As expected, the transaction was nowhere as simple as I had hoped.

“Umm, I ordered a number three and had to pull away because of car issues.” I tried to make it sound as if I didn’t abandon the vehicle in fear of an explosion. The cashier tried to contain her laughter as she looked at me explain the previous events. “See what happened was,” she started with a smile. “In all the commotion, I gave your order to the car that was behind you. I have your change, but you’ll have to place your order again.”

“I just had a medium number three with a coke.”

“Okay, I’ll place that order now,” she said near laughing. “Just wait here so that the cars behind you don’t get your order.” With that, she disappeared out of sight. Another girl peeked from behind a wall at me and quickly retreated in a fit of laughter. It was only the $5.35 keeping me from walking away and leaving the entire situation. I couldn’t wrap my mind around giving away any amount of money over a little embarrassment. I tried to play it cool as if I wasn’t standing at a drive-thru window in front of a line of cars.

However, it got to be too much when I overheard the children in the car behind me. They were chanting, “IN-VIS-ABLE CAR! IN-VIS-ABLE CAR! IN-VIS-ABLE CAR!” I turned to see exactly where the tormenting incantations were coming from as their parents tried to quiet them out of pity for my misfortunes. I gave up. “Forget the food; I’m not even hungry anymore… And the money.” I started walking towards my broken-down Honda. Halfway to the car, I heard the window slide open and, “Sir, here’s your order.” I walked back to snatch the bag and finally make my way to the comforts of my tinted windows.

Until this very day, I still do not visit any drive-thru without checking every gauge on the dashboard.

Daniel and the Toddler (Part 2)

Daniel sat tiredly on the tube, drifting in and out of sleep. It was almost 7AM. His flight did not leave back to the states until nine, so he was making great timing. Even though he enjoyed his much needed vacation with his best friend, there was still something weighing on him. He had slept late, saw sights, ate well and had what should have been some of the best times of his life. Now, however, he felt as though it might have been a waste of time and money.

As I looked at the young man, it occurred to me that maybe he wasn’t as young as he used to be. He wasn’t old, but he definitely wasn’t as young. It seemed as though he was coming to the realization that the single party life was starting to run out. The fact that he had to travel all the way to London to visit his last single friend should have been obvious proof of that. As a matter of fact, even his last single friend was not-so-single.

Daniel rubbed his eyes together his eyes as the train pulled to a stop at the next station. Not wanting to make eye contact with anyone, he checked his phone until everyone had settled and the train was moving again. Across from him, a mother sat with a little boy that was staring directly at him. As soon as Daniel met the gaze of the toddler, the little boy looked up at his mom and asked:

“Mommy, is that man going to work?

He has a tie like daddy… And a blue shirt?”

Something about the way the child’s curiosity was peaked by Daniel’s blue shirt and tie woke him to full awareness. Daniel scrambled around in his pocket for something to give the boy. Pulling what he had learned to call a “fiver” from his pocket, he asked the mother, “Do you mind?”

“Not at all.”

The wide-eyed boy shyly accepted the money, but continued talking to Daniel.

“I’m going home with my daddy.

He gives me money too.

I came here with my mommy

But only to ride the tube.”

As I watched Daniel, a smile spread grew on him, that seemed too big for his face. He picked the boy up and sat him in the seat next to him. “What’s your name, Big Guy?” The boy looked at his mom as if to asked if it was okay to answer. She nodded and said, “Tell him your name.”

“My name is David Lucas, Jr.

Just like my daddy.

Except his name is David Lucas, Sr.

It’s almost the same… So I’m still happy.”

He fondled the bill in his hands folding it over and over while smiling at every thought of his father. “Well my name is Daniel, but you can call me Dan.”

He smile at the intro and said, “Hi Mr. Dan.

When I see my dad I will say hello for you.

I’m going to tell him you were a nice man,

And you gave me five pounds and your shirt was blue.”

The little boy’s smile now matched Daniel’s. His short legs kicked from the edge of his seat seeming to be in direct correlation with his happiness. Maybe this is what Daniel had been missing.

The train pulled to the next stop where the mother gathered her child, thanked Daniel and exited the train. The doors closed as the little boy waved back at Daniel with the bill flopping about in he hand. Daniel also waved as the feeling of tiredness crept back — but this time accompanied with a feeling of loneliness. The train pulled off and left the boy and his mother in the past.

I watched Daniel fidget back and forth between phone and books until the train finally arrived at his stop. He seemed so detached from everyone and everything; as if he were completely oblivious to the reality of anything. The doors opened and I stood to the side as he eased by me and off the train. “Excuse me,” he said. It was surprising to hear him say anything after watching his mood flatten. He made his way up solemnly up the escalators as the doors closed between he and I.

“Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,” I murmured. “You have to open up to yourself.”

Week 5 Recap

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has been checking in to read and share in my perspectives. Even the smallest amount of support goes a long way, and I really do appreciate the support. If you don’t support me, but you at least took the time skim through; Thank you too. 🙂

Secondly, for those of you who have followed Perspective Park, I would like to apologize for the short week of posts. I was on schedule to post last night but was not completely comfortable with my chosen topic. I would much rather that you become more accustomed to me and my views before I introduce too much controversy. Since I am only five weeks into creating an identity for Perspective Park, I am still making a first impression. If we met in person three times a week, you would already know that I mean no harm in anything that I say. However, since this is basically a one way line of communication, it takes a bit more time to establish a personality.

Over the weeks, I have scattered about in a variety of topics typically based on what I have felt like. Going forward though, I would like to provide you with a weekly recap that will cover two things— what was discussed that previous week, and a preview to what will be discussed in the upcoming week. I believe this process will help me to maximize productive time, while shortening the learning curve to blogging effectively, and giving you – the reader – more room for input.

With that being said…

Recap

  • On Monday, October 11, I posted Beauty: In All Forms. I simply discussed how I felt about the conditions of being comfortable within yourself. The way you perceive yourself can have a lot to do with how you carry yourself and your overall perspective of life. The media also plays a lot into how we define beauty. Don’t let those images become your standard. Real men like curves anyway.
  • On Tuesday, October 12, I posted Relationship Failure Theory: Revisited. In this post, I elaborated a little more on women’s responsibilities in relationships. In the original Relationship Failure Theory post, it seemed as though I had placed all of the weight of the relationship on the man. However, I was only speaking from the perspective of the man.

Preview

  • On Monday, October 20, I will be adding to Daniel and the Romantic. The fun thing about writing something is that it can always evolve. That’s what happened with this short. I used the story as a cover for the poem as I am still not very comfortable with poetry. Within the story, The Romantic was actually the main character, but I have changed that. Since first posting, I have scripted a five-part story following the same format about Daniel. I think you will enjoy it.
  • On Tuesday, October 21, I add on yet another Thirty Seconds Ago… story. I spent this week writing dealing scraping my brain on real issues. Next week I will loosen up a bit.
  • On Thursday, October 23, I will tackle the issue of the Mama’s Boy. This is every girl’s worst nightmare, but from the right perspective, maybe I can explain what a Mama’s boy is. I will say though, that the Mama’s Boys who gives you the willies are simply boys altogether. There is a difference.

If any of this interest you, be sure to check back in and see what’s going on. Even if you have ideas or opinions before next week, feel free to comment or even email me directly @ reginald.richardson@me.com. The feedback helps a lot, and gives me more perspective on my own life as I see it.

So once again, thank you all and have a wonderful weekend!

Relationship Failure Theory: Revisited

After speaking with a few people about my previous post on relationship failures, something became apparent to me. It seems as though I have placed all of the responsibilities of the relationship on the man.

“See, Reggie, that’s what I’m talking about. I wish all guys thought like that.”

Well there’s only one thing about that; when you meet a guy who thinks like that, he will be expecting the same mode of thinking from you. Just because a man has the criteria set for the relationship, and has everything together for a comfortable life, you still have to be able to compliment him. For example, if he has spent the last ten years working hard and saving money, he will probably choose from the women who have done the same. The women who have spent the last ten years partying and spending money, should not expect a hard worker and money saver. It is just not fair.

I wrote the last post from the perspective of what the man should do to secure a sound relationship. I did not anticipate that it would excuse the woman from all responsibilities on her end. I was not writing from the female perspective, but from the males’ point-of-view and what we should do.

Now, for men and women alike, if you are satisfied living a three-star lifestyle, you should be satisfied with a counterpart with three-star criteria. I am not one to tell anyone what they deserve or should have, but I do know that you will work for what you want. You will be disciplined and dedicated to that cause. Now if you are happy with a life with no God, no morals, no values and no money, the one-star route may be the way to go. When the Reverend announces that you are now man and wife, you can both punch each other in the throat, so that the entire congregation knows that you both have a clear understanding of what you are agreeing to.

Please understand too, that the criteria set does not have a dollar amount on it or beauty scale. I hold my religion, morals and values as the primary set of criteria. After that, the most important things would be how many children she wants, physical appearance, and what your food tastes like. Does this consist as five-star criteria? For me, it does. I know that there is a lot more that goes into choosing someone to spend the rest of your life with, but that is where my checklist begin. The rest of the details will be ironed out. For example, there is a 10 and a 7 (we all know what the number scale is), and the 10 wants two children, but the 7 wants five; I’m going with the 7… Hands down. The important things that life will actually be centered around, outweighs the vanity that will only last for a few years. It’s up to every individual, man and woman, to set that standard though. The criterion is not for one-half to set and the other to simply follow and/or be carried; there is a balance that must be met.

Men are called chauvinist or shallow for wanting a good-looking girl who can cook and clean and wants to raise children. Women are called gold diggers for wanting a nice man with a good job, house, and car. How about we decide that those things are all needed to make the typical dream relationship work, and drop all the labels. The labels intimidate both sides into stating what it is that they want from a partner. If you don’t want to raise children, don’t call me a chauvinist, just understand that we have a different set of criteria. I won’t judge you if you will only date a guy who makes a certain amount of money. That is what you require for yourself and it’s okay. Whatever it is you want though, you are expected to play your part in attaining it.

There is one thing that I did not consider though:

“You don’t know what it’s like trying to find a good man out here these days.”

Honestly, I do not. I have never been out looking for a good man. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s when I run out of things to say. I don’t know what a woman considers “good”. It seems like I know a few “good” guys myself, but they all have the same story. It usually goes something like, “she said I was too nice”, or “she said I was boring”, or “she said I don’t make enough money”. I’ve been that guy (typically to unholy women, so it’s fine). The baffling part is when you have to sit and watch her go to a cheating dog of a two-star man simply because he drives a hot car. The “nice guy” will be sitting there thinking, “What the heck just happened?”  The hot car may not be the reason the girl went to him, but that’s all the good guy will see.. Because he’s obviously what you, the woman, have already labeled a dog. So I don’t know how to set the criteria for women, so I didn’t address it. Understanding women has already been said to be an impossible task. So the only one that I will even attempt to understand is the one I marry; and from what married men tell me, I will never even figure her out.

All I can tell you is that everyone should be what they are looking for, and that you shouldn’t expect any more than you put in. It’s just that simple.

Beauty: In All Forms

Preparing to make a left turn into the parking garage this morning, I was opposed by a vehicle with a British flag vanity plate. “This is America, Jack,” I mumbled under my breath. That’s a phrase from my favorite movie Coming to America, that I normally quote when watching international sporting events. However, I say it pretty much every time I see something British. Rebellious American pride against the UK? Maybe; nevertheless, no harm intended.

Yielding the right-of-way, I allowed the proud vehicle to turn in front of me. Now I am forced to stare at a license plate uniquely spelling out the word “British”. Well the driver of this car wants it to be clear that they stand for their country no matter what. I don’t blame them though. I’d be proud too… But I have to see what they look like now. My curiosity is peaked.

I pull up next to the car, and it is not what I expected… At all. In the car was a lady whom I had always assumed to come from some part of Africa. I’m not a fan of stereotypes, but they are normally formed on some basis of truth. She’s an older lady with a beautiful deep carob skin tone, a broad nose and a large set of lips. She has dark deep-set eyes, long black dreadlocks, all atop a large, robust  5’11”  or 6’ frame. She is an appealing woman with strong features that I am pretty sure are rooted in the Motherland Continent.

I try not to assume. It is a horrible habit to have. However, right now, I really want to know does her enthusiasm for labeling herself as British have anything to do with the way she looks. I’m not the most culturally versed person by a long shot and I will not try to be. Even so, I am aware that there is a large population of people of African descent in the United Kingdom, so I do not deny that she is from there. I am wondering would the assumption that I made (that she is from Africa) have anything to do with it. I believe I would be annoyed if people constantly asked if I was from Alabama because I looked like it. Maybe after enough of that I would walk around with only Georgia apparel on, even though I am extremely proud of my Alabama background. I would much rather that be the case than the other alternative I mapped out.

America has popularized a standard of beauty that, unfortunately, does not accommodate quite a few women. Whether it be because of size, complexion, facial structure or whatever else, some women may feel left out. It has not been until recent years that plus-sized women were as accepted as they are now, and I dare say that it is simply because of media highlights like Beyonce. This woman that I saw though, is plus-sized, dark-skinned, and has broad facial features that you would find hard to find on the typical model in America. Considering the fact that she is also older, means that she went through her younger years, when the more natural and cultured look was not as appreciated as it is now in the more liberal world of modeling and media. Could all of the British labels be to disassociate with stigmas linked African roots?

Now I’m not saying that either of these assumptions about her is true. It’s just that my brain runs a million miles a minute trying to figure out why some things are the way that they are; especially when it comes to issues like these. Little dark-skinned girls in America will have to face these issues, whether we ever realize it or not, and quite frankly, I hate it. They can grow up always feeling inadequate without anyone having to verbally say it, because the media will do most of it.

Another thing is that so many times we look at this issue of being one that only affects the female population. I am sure that females are more susceptible to it, but it affects guys too. Take me, for example; it took me until I was a full-grown adult until I was comfortable in my own skin. If I were to be completely honest, I’d say that I was twenty-four or twenty-five years old. Up until I learned to love who and what I was, I found every imperfection there was to find on me, and I shunned any compliments from nearly everybody. So I can personally attest to the fact that if you do not love yourself or what you are, it is impossible to believe that anyone else does.

IMG_6268
In this picture you’ll notice the crook at the top of my left ear. My beard refuses to connect which results in a natural Wolverine/Shaft.
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More Shaft on the right side of the beard. And notice how the bottom lips swells into a bubble. If it were any bigger, you couldn’t find my chin. BUT, the eyelashes and brows are cool 🙂
Notice how the eyes are not completely aligned. The nose is what we refer to as a broad-tipped bell pepper.
Notice how the eyes are not completely aligned. The nose is what we refer to as a broad-tipped bell pepper.
Even when I smile it throws my right eyebrow into an unexplained fit. But I smile nonetheless. I'm me!
Even when I smile it throws my right eyebrow into an unexplained fit. But I smile nonetheless. I’m me!

The point that I’m making is that we all have to learn to be happy with who and what we are. It took me far too long to do learn it, but now that I do, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. We have to be ever so careful to not let the media or others shape how we view ourselves. It gets harder and harder as time progresses, but as long as you have an open Perspective, you will be okay.

Relationship Failure Theory

Over the last few years, experts, and media and everyone else in between has provided an answer for every possible relationship problem there is. However, divorce rates continue to climb, and marriage rates continue to decline. So what’s the problem? Why isn’t all of this advice working? Why aren’t all of these books and movies improving the situation?

Comment to the attached link
First of all… I don’t take people named “derpderp” seriously (in reference to the link above)

It’s because these solutions are only patches to the problem. Most of the time they are solutions that simply cater to the moods of individuals to keep them happy; they are no fixes to the founding basics of the relationship. The foundation of any relationship is what is going to hold it together; and if the foundation is not right, then guess what? “It isn’t going to work.” I put that in quotes because I literally just said it out loud while I was typing.

With that being said, there are two pillars that must be in place before a relationship can work the way that it should. This first one is Christ. I thoroughly believe that if you have a relationship that is not founded on the teachings of Christ, your relationship is always on the verge of failure, despite what it may look like.

Welcome to Perspective Park, where 99% of my perspective is from a Christian Perspective. The other percentage is from the fact that I am a randomly awkward individual that loves french fries. 

I say that to simply clear the air about how I come to the conclusions that I do. You don’t have to agree with them, and your feedback is always welcomed. However, on this particular topic, the statistics in America shows that even if you do not agree with me, does not change that fact that you will probably be divorced or continue being single anyway. So your opposition on this matter is futile.

The second part of the foundation needed to stabilize relationship statuses in America is Man. Simple as that. If men would be men, that would resolve just about everything.

Within a relationship, it is expected that the man knows exactly where, when, how and why the couple is going wherever they are headed in their life’s journey together. If you are going to have a successful relationship, it is best that the man have set this criteria even before he finds a partner to travel with. The man should be able to meet a woman and explain to her what his plans are for his life. He should be planning his life to accommodate his better half even before he meets her. I understand that this is not always the case and a lot of times relationships will work even if two people just happen to end up together. However, within that scenario, the man still has to take the lead and steer the relationship.

For this to happen, the man has to be goal oriented. He has to have a purpose and destination set for himself, and he must be striving to get there. Men within the Christian circles like to quote “We are more than conquerors” when it comes to accomplishing goals. Even though that is taking the scripture out of context to apply it to material gain, if that’s what you are going to use it for… Get to conquering!  Go and prepare a kingdom to bring a queen into… Conqueror. A lot of times when it comes to a relationship, the man only wants to work hard enough to attain the prize, and once he has her, complacency sets in. You can’t win a woman over and then just stop working at everything. Or guess what? “It’s not going to work!” When she comes home and you are sitting on the sofa in a tank top, with one hand in a bag of chips and the other in your pants, it’s going downhill from there. She is going to quietly walk past you as you, greet her with, “Sup, babe.” She is going to go and reevaluate her decision on choosing you as a leader. Her realization will probably be summed up as, “Alexander the Fake”.

This even goes back to whether or not it’s a big deal on who makes the most money. For the longest time I thought women were lying when they said that they could care less if they brought home more than their man. Now looking at it from another perspective, I can see how they wouldn’t care. I woman won’t care about that if her man is continuously working and growing to become a better man and develop himself. However, if the man is just complacent with the woman making more, and is just riding the financial wagon that she’s pulling, she’s going to get tired of that. Then when she starts giving you demands, you are going to want to pull the “I’m the man” card. But what have you done to establish that position? Your wife or girlfriend would love to see you grow into a more nurturing provider. She wants to be taken care of and pampered; it’s her nature. You can’t just accept that she makes more than you, and cough it up to, “If she’s cool with it, I’m cool with it.” It shows her your lack of ambition… It’s not about money. I guarantee that she will be cheering you on for your promotion at The Fry Guy so that she can keep more money in her pocket.

Another thing is to be aware that the more you want out of life, the more work you have to put into the criteria of a relationship. A man has to know what he needs from his counterpart for him to be a better leader. He can be the best leader in the world, but if he attaches to someone who doesn’t compliment him, then guess what, “It’s not going to work!” He’s going to get tired of her. Nonetheless, that is why the woman cannot be held responsible for setting the standards in the relationship, because if she starts to realize that she’s making all of the decisions and keeping things together, “It’s not going to work.” She wants to be a support for a solid pillar of a man; not the other way around. The best thing to do when you realize the foundation of your relationship may be shaky, is to stop right then and there to fix what’s wrong. Stutter stepping and second guessing only breeds uncertainty for both people, which it the most dangerous poison in something being built on trust.

A man has to know who he is at all times. Certainty is his strength, but it will be his wife’s security. His character should be synonymous with confidence and wisdom. By the time he is ready to carry the weight of a relationship, he should have set a reputation for himself that no matter what happens, I can handle it. If he can be all of these things, most women who think they have problems submitting to a man will no longer feel that way. He will have provided her the security she needs to love, honor and obey him, by simply taking care of all her needs before she even got there. Even if they start together young, he has to be able to consistently reassure her that she is forever safe with him, and they will be fine. Sometimes it takes a failed relationship or two to realize these things, but if you didn’t learn anything, the relationship was worthless to begin with. The more you learned from it, the more meaningful it was.

We need men to teach men though. Especially in the black communities, the lack of father figures is really the biggest problem we have. Every problem that our society faces, could be resolved with proper leadership from honorable men; not just in relationships. Relationships is probably the most important one though, because that’s where the family stems from; and everyone knows that family is the backbone of any society.

Men should be able to be proud of what they are and how they take of business. Father’s Day is for fathers, but men should have a day when they brag on fulfilling the requirements of being an honorable leader. You don’t need children for that. Unfortunately, that would probably be called chauvinist in today’s world. The only way I can brag on being a man is in a Dos Equis or Old Spice commercial. I don’t want to be a satirical man. I want to be a man the way that God intended men to be; dominant, yet loving. Bold and kind. Courageous, but humble.

I know some men like that –  and they all have happy wives and families. When I sit and talk to them, they never tell me how easy it was though. It always took constant work and self discipline to set good examples and role models for those looking up to them. Sometimes it meant sleepless nights and double-shifts, but they stuck to it and learned to be the men they are now.

So overall, I feel that the advice columns, movies, books, Facebook memes and everything could be eradicated simply by men stepping up to the plate. We need to learn to accept responsibility for our mistakes and work them out as an example to those who we expect to follow us. We need to learn to neither bow, bend or break, but to be solid, secure and protect what we stand for. Most importantly, when all is said and done, and life has turned out just right, give glory and honor to God for the knowledge and wisdom to accomplish it.

It’s intimidating sometimes, but it’s just a shrug of the shoulders these days. A man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.