Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Chivalrous of You!

Chivalry [ˈʃɪvəlrɪ]

1. (Historical Terms) the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honor, justice, and a readiness to help the weak
2. courteous behaviour, esp towards women

With modern technology, lack of fathers in the home, and the emergence of the I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman do you think it has become common place for men not to complete the acts of kindness that were once considered gentlemanly norms or chivalrous? 

I occasionally spend time with a man who is the ultimate gentleman. He actually gets upset if I open my own door. His kindness and courtesy got me to thinking about the 21st century social norms in my life and those of other single women. It has become a habit for me to open my own doors, pull back chairs and find ways to carry heavy items. I’m used to doing my own chores…my house, my mess, my responsibility, right? However, when I told my friend I was going to cut my grass he looked at me like I had suddenly grown antlers and said, “I’ll take care of it this Saturday.” Other men I’ve told I’m planning to cut my own grass this weed growing season pretty much laughed at me and told me to call them if I need any pointers. Who's right? Who's wrong? It was no biggie to me because I didn’t expect them to offer to do it for me. I bought the lawn mower so I could cut my own grass.

From my experience, the average man has no problem opening the car door for a woman if he is already outside the car too but how often do you see one get out of the car, walk around to your side and let you in. Especially, if he was already in the car. It seems so much easier just to reach over and let you in or if you’re both already in just to let you get out, right? Heck, some men don’t open car doors. They hit the automatic lock and let you let yourself in. I’m guilty of not expecting a man to do those things. I'm not even insulted when they don't open the car door. Now doors to buildings I have a problem with, but I don’t sit around waiting for a man to pull out chairs or help me carry heavy things, either. I simply break them down into smaller bundles I can carry or I start looking for a dolly. I generally don’t wait for a man to help me with my coat nor do I expect him to lay his coat over a puddle so I can walk over it to keep me from messing up my shoes.

I've encountered men who don’t even think to help a woman. I’ve had men stand there and watch me struggle with a door because my hands were full. Fortunately, that hasn't happened often. Most times I had no problem getting someone to at least open the door. Whether a helping hand was extended or not, I shifted packages and contorted my body to get a hand around that knob. I don't get mad if a man doesn't offer to assist...I JUST HANDLE MY BUSINESS!

But I can't be too hard on the men. Anytime I've even looked like I'm having car issues a man has stopped to ask me if I'm alright. I still get offers to pump my gas. Albeit, it is to strike up a convo in order to get my number but it's still a kind gesture. 

Such gentlemanly gestures like opening doors, pulling out chairs, helping you take on or off your coat and lighting your cigarette may be considered luxuries now a days (as the old folks say) but they sure do feel nice. They make a woman feel like a lady. Do you think chivalry is dead or is it just on life support?

To all the men who still do all of those things, you are appreciated. I wonder if paying for the date qualifies as chivalry. LOL That's a whole 'nother discussion.

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her books, Someday and Someday, Too are now available on Kindle and Nook.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When the Cover Doesn't Match the Contents

I was recently at the gas station and a man who looked like Lil Wayne’s cousin Poochie approached me. He had unkempt dreads, a bottom gold grill, his top teeth were brown and he had multiple tats on his face, neck and hands. His conversation centered around trying to get my number, but it was one of the most entertaining debates about why he couldn’t have my number I have ever had. Every reason I gave him he came back with an intelligent, articulate and hilarious answer. My reasoning was I'm taken and I don't need any new friends. No, I won't take your number. I can take care of myself and us getting to know each other would only lead to trouble. Yes, I was lying but that is easier to make a persistent man understand than you are not my type. Trust me, I've had that conversation and it often leads to someone being offended and possibly being called a five letter word simply because you don't want to talk to him. Anyway......throughout the conversation I found myself smiling and laughing loudly and wishing I had some teeth whitener. I was quite impressed with his reasoning skills but no deals. After about ten minutes, he gave up with a smile, and I shook my head as he walked back to his car with his pants almost to his knees and his plaid boxers showing.

His cover definitely didn’t match his contents. I actually enjoyed his conversation and he might have been a lot of fun but I know when I’m out of my circle. On to the next one……..there’s a Nicki Minaj out there somewhere just for him. I wonder if there is a guy out there who looks like Shemar Moore who can impress me just as much. 

Jae Henderson is the author of the inspirational romance novels Someday and Someday, Too. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rihanna & Chris Brown Back Together?

Just like everyone else I have heard the news/rumors that Ri Ri and Chris Brown are getting back together musically and physically. I’ve heard the remixes they have collabed on and personally, I’m not impressed by either one. Now, the news of them getting back together was not a shock to me. If you looked at the stats it is not uncommon for the victim to return to her abuser. 

On a different note, I never liked the way that entire situation was handled. Yes, Chris was 100% wrong for putting his hands on a woman. However, I had a huge problem with Oprah Winfrey and the rest of the world making him the poster child for domestic violence. This problem existed way before him. The issue always needs to be addressed, especially among our youth who are experiencing such violence more and more as they grow in their relationships and learn what love is and what it isn’t. However, taking one man and throwing him under the bus and then dragging him through the gutter internationally was just wrong to me.  He needed help not persecution. Fast forward today, the courts have concluded that he has served his time and evidently Rihanna feels the same.  After such a horrendous experience, losing his girl, declining record sales, poor ticket sales and other loss of income I hope Chris Breezy has learned his lesson about putting his hands on women. It seems many of the jurors in the court of public opinion would have him banned from award shows, radio and concerts for life and left to rot in has been hell. In life we make mistakes, we learn from them and then we move on. However, being banned from Rihanna’s life is a totally different thing. That’s her decision and however much we hate it, we must respect it. 

I was extremely proud of how Rihanna handled the situation. She could have played the part of the victim and screamed abuser from the highest mountain, done hundreds of interviews and written a tell all book bashing him and allowed herself to become the poster child of a survivor for publicity purposes. Instead, she did interviews sparingly, was tasteful and classy in her choice of words and poured her emotions into her next CD, “Rated R.” Some of the songs on there were very dark, but to me it was some of her best work. I loved almost every song and you could hear her growth as an artist unfolding before you. So many of her songs now are massively commercial and they sicken me. Hence my dislike of her new song with Brown, Birthday Cake. I’m so tired of sisters promoting their coochie and bedroom skills on the radio as if that’s all they have to offer to a young man they’re interested in.  It has a nice beat though……..

It’s obvious that those two still possess a great amount of affection for one another, but if Rihanna and Chris Brown’s collaborations are any indication of how their reunion is going to go they’re in big trouble. Although commercially successfully, artistically I think both songs suck.

Now, my  personal thoughts on her and Chris reuniting….NO THEY SHOULD NOT GET BACK TOGETHER for three reasons. 

For one, I’m not quite sure that Chris Brown has fully dealt with his anger issues. His responses to his critics are often angry. He was reported snatching a cell phone from a fan for taking pics of him in his Bentley and his rant backstage on the set of Good Morning America and then blacking out are possible examples of this. Do those court ordered anger management classes work? 

Two, as much as I hate to say it because she is a pop icon Rihanna has a certain responsibility to set a good example for her fans, especially her young ones. She initially said that is why she and Chris broke up. She realized if she took him back she would be leading young fans astray. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed. This thing is bigger than both of them and by getting back together it sends the message that  domestic violence is an easy fix and will give women around the world who should leave and never return hope that if they go home things will be different. Her not getting back with Chris seems to be for the greater good. Is it fair, no…but with great power comes great responsibility.

Three, if this ends badly Rihanna will be labeled the dumbest broad in history. I don’t see a need to elaborate on this point. 

There are so many ways to examine this. But I’m going to stay optimistic and pray that I am wrong. I hope Chris has learned his lesson, and they come out of this as a shining example that love does conquer all and an abuser can change. With God anything is possible. 

However, before I go I must ask…if the world can have sympathy for and forgive R Kelly for messing with underage children (Yes, I believe he did it), Michael Vick for abusing dogs, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston for their apparent inability to take control of their lives and kick their drug habit (I loved them too, but I have to be honest. RIP) and TI for making one dumb decision after another and repeatedly going to jail …..why isn’t Chris Brown worthy of the same? Each one of those public figures was welcomed back to work with open arms after paying their penance, beating their trial or appearing to have kicked their habit. I never said you have to love Chris but as Christians we are called to forgive. He did more than his fair share of crying and asking for it after the incident. 

That‘s my two cents……

This is one of my favorite songs from Rihanna's Rated R album. We've all been stupid in love before. 

Jae Henderson is author of the inspirational novels Someday and Someday, Too.