Afua’s Guest Blog

Treat Her Like A Lady: Chivalry isn’t dead, but am I killing it slowly?

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As I mature, I am finding that there are some things that I need to be deliberate about doing and being, and sometimes this means proactively (re)teaching myself to…well… do and be. One of these such things is ‘Being a Lady’.

Yes, you read right.

For the most part, I think I can safely assume that it is pressed upon most women, myself included, that a man will only treat you how you carry yourself. And it’s not that I’ve ever carried myself UN-lady like, but I have never proactively embraced the title. I don’t think I’m alone in this quasi-struggle either. I am a woman. Yes. I am a female. Yes. I am a lady. Hmm…sure?

Last week, Amma’s boyfriend took me to dinner (Amma, you like that ;) ). When the check came, he confidently reached for the bill while I turned around to grab my purse – this was my first time meeting him and I didn’t want to assume anything. As I reached for my credit card, I made a light joke about whether we were going to do this ‘the African way’ or ‘the American way.‘ Given that he had already put his card in the sleeve and on the edge of the table by the time I turned around, I already knew what way we were doing this; however, for kicks I wanted to continue the conversation (for all I knew it could have been an opportunity to write a blog  a learning moment for me). Interestingly, Amma’s boyfriend was visibly confused at my query when I posed it, so I elaborated… ‘You know the African way means a man pays and the American way connotes ‘splitting the check’. My assumption here was that his confusion lay with which definition was being assigned to which label. However, the look of confusion still lingered on his face following my explanation, so this is where I became confused… that is until he calmly explained to me,

‘Afua, there’s only one way, and that is the gentleman way. The gentleman way, my friend, transcends culture and continents.’

Boom.

Well looky there, my new friend taking me to school.

So of course I had to relay this information back to Amma. ‘Your dude’s correct, abi.’ As we spoke about the incident, I openly told her that even though tumblr_lxha9imnHz1r91fqbo1_500we attribute paying as a cultural norm for African men, in Ghana I don’t assume a man will pay (outside of a first date situation), to which she responded… ‘Really? Ghana has spoiled me, I always assume a man will pay. I don’t even pretend to reach for my wallet anymore. If I even think that there may be a slight hint of ‘American-style’ behavior, I will literally shame you into paying [because you will actually have to open your mouth and say something to get me to contribute].

Saa**, is that how women are rolling these days? Shaming men into chivalry? Hmm… But then what’s wrong with me… Why am I not demanding/expecting such behavior AND why isn’t chivalry the default behavior for guys towards me?

The more I thought through this, the more I saw things as a self fulfilling prophesy. Cyclical behavior which begins and ends with me expecting men not to pay (somewhere in between is me giving off an aura of ‘I’ll pay for {take care of} myself, because God forbid you thought I was ‘one of those girls’).

Sadly, this isn’t a new thing for me. I have a distinct memory of getting on a campus bus during my second year of college, and it was packed. When I got on the bus, a guy friend of mine was seated and asked if I wanted his seat. I said no [in some witty feminist leaning- 21st century I don't need a man kinda way]. The experience is quite etched in my memory, not because of the utterly horrified ‘I feel so sorry for you (and your way of thinking)’ look my friend gave me, but because to this very day I don’t fully understand why I said no. I really don’t. < So then this is the part I play in the cyclical behavior. But there’s more…

Within the last year, I went to dinner with a guy friend and I remember when I inquired why we were splitting the check when he invited me to dinner, he said: ‘Afua, you make more than me and you’re not one of those girls that cares about these things’ < Here we see another component of the circle… really one that isn’t even initiated by me.

Another male friend this year had the courtesy to ask me, ‘Afua, would you be offended if I paid?’ Noting that he didn’t want to assume I was a certain type of girl [one who likes to pay] and unintentionally offend me by paying. But if this guy had to ask, then there must be a look, an attitude, an aura that I am putting out which makes a man’s default with me be: ‘she likes to fly solo’. <This is probably the last in the construction of the never ending circle.

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Amma and I at AIM last year

So around and around the merry-go-round we go. My behavior> ‘His’ behavior> My attitude/aura (and what I believe should be). And there are many more stories to fill in this cycle.

But let’s forget about how much I make and my educational attainment for a second, because these things have no bearing on the definition of a lady. Ie. I know women who I went to grad school with who earn circles around me that I can emphatically say [a majority of] men would never allow them to pay for themselves. So clearly this is a much larger issue being represented through a small gesture of settling a check. Even for women who seemingly have ‘it’ all (whatever all means), there are men that view them in a different light than they view me. It’s a mindset difference of ‘I deserve to be treated like a lady’…. and  just because I can take care of myself doesn’t mean you should allow me to.

Case in pt: I ran my first half marathon at the end of September (whoop whoop) and something new to the Accra International Marathon (AIM) this year was bicycle escorts from the accra cyclist club. There weren’t enough cyclists to escort every half and full marathon runner, however somehow I received a personal escort for essentially the entire route. When the escort first came alongside me, instead of initially seeing it as a blessing, I went into my feelings: “Why are you cycling next to me? Aren’t there other runners you can escort- What you think I need an escort? I don’t look like a runner or that I can finish the race? Urgh.” Ya, I never said I was rational. In any case, I didn’t say anything and kept running. A quarter of the race in, he became my silent safety blanket- shielding me from (ignorant) drivers who didn’t want to stick to the inner lane, riding ahead of me on curves that had dangerous blind spots and telling me to run closer to the edge when appropriate. There was a time when he had to briefly leave my side and attend to an injured runner, and the whole time he was gone all I kept thinking was, ‘Blankie come back!’ lol ;) I do not know how I would have fared without him on the course, but what I do know is that it would not have been as smooth of a ride. Thus, being capable of taking care of myself on the course or paying the bill isn’t the point. For me, the real lesson here is letting go of control and allowing someone to take care of you. And this is mutual in a relationship, I’m just talking from the woman’s side (which happens to manifest itself in being treated like a lady).

Like I said earlier, men treat you like you carry yourself and how you demand to be treated. So this is more than the (fake) grab of the check or credit card, or the shaming of a man into paying, this is really what me, Afua is demanding/expecting and what I’m (re)teaching myself to receive graciously when it is given. We all know it’s a continual work in progress for me. But small small, I’ll get there. When he offers me that seat on the bus, I’ll take it now; when he wants to open the door or walk on the outside of me, I’ll allow it abi; when the cyclist wants to escort me, and me alone, I sure as hell won’t fight it … … externally. :)

** Ghanaian slang for ‘is that so?’

Hedging: Play Now, Pay Later

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“To protect (one’s investment or an investor) against loss by making balancing or compensating contracts or transactions.”

According to my Mac Spotlight dictionary.

A coward who’s scared to make a permanent decision on a woman.

According to Afua’s dictionary.

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Let’s get into this a little, because it’s one of the most annoying things known to a Woman. So… you meet a guy, he’s chill… hence why y’all start Chilling. And then in some distant, not-so distant future you find out: he’s definitely wifed up. And NOT in the sense that he’s actually said the I-do’s, but that he is near-married, near-engaged, near-co-habitating… near-COMMITTED (however you want to package it). So then the questions start flying, “Why in God’s name was he hanging out with me, with no mention of his “wifey”? ” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Hedging. 

The art of protecting your prized asset (your arse heart) from an investment you’re not 100% sure will produce the future returns you once calculated thought. The art of diversifying your portfolio to see whether higher returns can be made elsewhere… because any half brain could tell you that going all in on something you’re not 100% sure of is just plain stupid, right?. . . Have you heard of counting your chickens before they hatch? (Usually in reference to a woman eagerly awaiting a proposal, which may or may not ever come). Well hedging is in essence not counting anything… at all.

I’ve heard enough stories of hedging now to know it like better than the back of my hand:

  • boy meets girl (or girls), who he is attracted to. Girl(s) could be new, girl(s) could be old, it’s equal opportunity.
  • boy begins to implicitly or explicitly, or both-ly (?), make moves. ie. inappropriate behavior for someone in a “committed” relationship. This can vary in degree, from acting oblivious or nonchalant about his current relationship’s future… to making propositions such as, “hey, how come you’ve never thought about us being together; we’d make a good pair.” … to outright physical cheating. Note: in all this, boy can disclose or conceal his current relationship, this is also equal opportunity.
  • boy then comes to his senses. And… full stop.

A rather predictable fable, no?

So what makes hedging different from cheating? I’m glad you asked. The important distinction between hedging and mere cheating is that we’re not talking about people who have been dating some few months to maybe a year or two. We’re talking about people who are going on damn near 10yrs (lol naw, but more like anything over 2-3yrs). When generally it’s time to start making moves towards a forever-type situation. For hedging to take place, it must be preceded by movement towards a deeper level of commitment.

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GIrls are tired of relationship wahala

Interestingly, (as noted in my neatly bulleted synopsis) what I’ve seen from men who engage in hedging is that they end up marrying wifey anyways. Therefore, it all becomes just a lot of wahala to make them feel more confident in the decision their actions have basically already made- – please ask yourself, what have the last 5years been about then? If that 20% of her that you’re not sure of really makes you want to step out, but that 80% kept you in for 6yrs… chale chale girls abr3 paa**. This thing is just a waste of everyone involved’s time.

I’m guessing another question on your mind is: what happens on wifey’s end? …Welt, let’s first make the assumption that wifey actually knows hedging is upon her (sadly, for some women this is a big assumption… And understandably – I’ve been with you for five years, why wouldn’t I be secure in what we have?). So assuming she actually knows, then perhaps she weathers the storm and banks on the fact that her asset can keep the investor committed, or at the very least fend off other attractive investments long enough for the investor to surrender to come to his senses. Or perhaps she does some hedging herself, to hedge against the hedging… <?> dear God, my head actually hurts thinking about this. Really, I just don’t get it. After a said amount of time, haven’t y’all made a decision? You’re telling me in year 3, year 4… year 8 maybe, y’all didn’t stop to think ‘wait, why are we doing this again?’ Whatever happened to road maps before a journey begins? Or a compass even? *sigh*

I think my frustration lies in the fact that I’ve seen a few too many hedging situations of late. Maybe it’s always been there, and now I’m just at the age where those around me are the one’s actually involved in it. I know life blogger-image--1298430667is complicated- obviously it’s not a small task to have to pick someone to spend the rest of your life with, however to me… I think we get too hung up on the picking part sometimes. When the foundational things are solidified and you’ve picked (judging by your actions of being with this person for 10yrs already), then it shouldn’t be much to take that leap to the next level, no? Perhaps if we were less worried about the picking part, about getting someone who ticks more boxes than the last, about hedging against the hedging, then we could work on the stuff that actually matters… you know, the real hard work that comes afterwards (which will happen regardless of who the woman is). That daily grind of sacrificing oneself for another individual, which will still take place whether it’s Jackie from school or Abena from the next cubicle. I mean at some point you just pick. No hedging, no temporary backing out, and for God’s sake no hedging against the hedging. You just make a decision, and stick with it. *shrug*

**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)

Engaged.

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aaa ya, not me. I know that’s what you were thinking, given my silence for the last few months. But no, the title refers to my friend’s ex.

You know that‘ ex, the one you always thought may would come back. That one that you can’t really put your finger on why ya’ll didn’t get your act together (simultaneously). The one that captured your heart and then went on to capture and permanently lock down another’s. Ya that one. He got engaged not too long ago and I had the privilege of producing the evidence.

. . .

“Afua, you up?”

{…I was, because somehow the wee hours of the morning are my friends}

“Si.”

“I just found out that XXXX is engaged. Can you stalk his Facebook page for me? I unfriended him.”

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{…hmmm… It’s in moments like these that one must assess your level of love for your friend. On one hand, you’re her ride or die… doing anything she would have need of you to do; on the other hand, you’re. her. ride. or. die., which calls for making tough decisions about things that could possibly bring her more harm than good}.

“Hun, you sure about this? I mean there is a reason you unfriended him, right?”

“I know, I just want to see what folks are saying and what the ring looks like.”

{Now that just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me, but let’s be honest… i get it. I’ll most likely be in the exact same position within a year or so, and I know the fight of wanting to not want to know is a losing battle. Given the question of how I would want a friend to handle the situation for me, the answer was very simple…}

“Fine, here you go.”

What followed next was a flurry of screenshots of congratulatory messages; twin statuses professing love for ‘the only being in the world to fully understand me and love me like I deserve’, and him liking it so much that he “put a ring on it”…paired with a gazillion nods of approval. You know the drill.

“I hope it rains on their wedding day.”

My reaction on the other end, a childish smile marred by a cloud of silence… Some things just don’t need a response.

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.

 

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“You okay?”

“…ya, I think.”

“I mean I knew it was coming, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t just a slight bit hurt. I just thought…  “

. . .

She didn’t need to finish the thought, because I knew.

I think what’s worse than not being with an ex anymore, is seeing them (seemingly) happily moved on while you haven’t quite yet. When no amounts of “You’re amazingIt’s his lossYou’ll find anotherThere’s a reason for everythingHe wasn’t the one for you” can mask the pain of flat out rejection. He didn’t pick you. Even if it was a blessing in disguise (even if you don’t want him anymore). It. still. sucks. that. he. didn’t. pick. you.

If you can remember this post some time back, specifically the article All the Single Ladies. There’s a story the author retells about her ex, which used to send shock waves to my system:

“After the worst of our breakup, we eventually found our way to a friendship so deep and sustaining that several years ago, when he got engaged, his fiancée suggested that I help him buy his wedding suit. As he and I toured through Manhattan’s men’s-wear ateliers, we enjoyed explaining to the confused tailors and salesclerks that no, no, we weren’t getting married. Isn’t life funny that way?

Wedding shopping? Really? Hmm… so how can one get from praying for rain to that Things_Finger_Pointing_UP?

Perhaps I’ll discuss that in another blog at a later date… But for now, I’ll say this- I know my friend well, and I know she’ll be fine. There will be a time when the hurt is gone hurts less and the ‘what ifs’ subside. The key is getting to a place where you recognize that even being single trumps being with someone that you’re not supposed to be with. And if there are regrets, it’s about accepting things (because sometimes you’ll never really know if you chose the right path), and learning from the situation and moving forward… in any way you can (even if that means deleting him from social media).

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Just in case you were wondering- Regarding my last post: I never called. He did, eventually. Just not in time for my interest to still be intact.

I’m not the most traditional girl, but… (First date protocol)

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I went on a date recently. It was one of those good ones, you know where you have good superficial (enough) banter that is still character revealing. A drink or two in a relaxed atmosphere… chill times all around.

However, when I didn’t hear from the guy within a few days I casually logged it under the ‘that’s life’ pile. It was cool, there was no harm done; I had a good time and if he didn’t want anything else, it is what it is.

But what is it exactly? Because I thought things went a certain way…

I shared the experience with a close friend in passing:

Me (AE): “I mean I’m not the most experienced dater, but I think I know when I’m on a date and the both of us are having a mutually good time.”

Friend (FD): “Did you call him?”

AE: ” I’m not your most traditional girl in any sense of the word, but there are some things related to the first date that must be on the man, I think. Following up initially after the date is one of them, no?”

Couple enjoying dinnerF1: “Honestly, I don’t see what’s wrong with calling him. It doesn’t even have to be a call, could be a text message to him to remind him that he has something there… and that you’re interested.”

AE: “I did the follow up thanks text saying that I had a nice time. Isn’t that enough?”

F1: “No. I’m referring to a day or two after. There’s no rule anywhere that says he has to call first. And Afua, strong woman like you, you’re not empowered enough to call him, that’s odd. “

AE: “No, there isn’t a rule. But I think at the beginning of something, a man should set the tone. If I can’t even get a call after the first date, then that initial drive to be with me isn’t there. A guy doesn’t need reminding that I’m ‘there’ within a few days of a date.”

F1: “Well maybe he read your interest in him wrong. If you’re wondering why he hasn’t called, it means you wanted him to call, which means you’re interested. So call him and keep it light. You have nothing to lose.”

Hmmm… food. for. thought.

So RR should I have called? Are my arbitrary rules stopping me from being great?

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Find out what happened at the end of this post

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Vulnerability is a Learned Behavior.

photo (3)I’ve generally been a late adopter of things… I was probably the last of my friends to switch from a flip phone to a blackberry, likewise one of the last to get an iPhone. I’m only now jumping into the yoga phenomenon, and I just decided to give this natural hair thing a real try (yay for transition period… I think lol :) ). Thus, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s taken me this long to fully embrace vulnerability.

Over the last year or so, I can proudly say that I’ve been working on my ability to be vulnerable with people that I care about. It’s been a rocky road, but I’ve thankfully seen concrete progress. It hasn’t always felt good, but it’s definitely been good for me.

I used to have a real issue with being vulnerable. If you recall I wrote about this briefly HERE as a response to one of my favorite guest pieces on the blog, by Eli Tetteh (HERE). I know that fundamentally the issue stood with me seeing it as a sign of weakness. Let’s pause for a sec, because there might be some questions as to the relevance of this post to our generally fun happy-go-lucky dating stories. Welt, 1. I think the topic is important- because, just like it was for me, a lack of vulnerability can lead to the downfall of some of our most intimate relationships. And 2. It’s my blog and I get to write whatever I want this is somewhat therapeutic for me.

unnamed (1)In any case, over the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to come clean to myself, my God, my close friends and other relationships more than I have ever done so in the past. This has included opening up about my fears, insecurities, and failures to close friends; telling someone that I loved them for a long time although I knew he never shared the same feelings for me (and knowing the admission meant closure of a chapter in my life); and yes, even becoming way more open on this little ol’ platform right chere through pieces like this, thisthis, and who could forget this. The consequences of doing these things, I will tell you have not always been as I would have liked, BUT I’ve learned a lot more about myself in how I love others and how others love me… more than if I had never opened up. I’ve learned that there is no intimacy without risk (intimacy… … into me see… … see into me). There’s no seeing into me, all of me, without risk. I’ve learned that we tend to fear vulnerability, not realizing that without it our hearts aren’t able to fully love… For if we cannot open ourselves up, we can’t appreciate the wonders of what is inside (BOTH good and bad). And this also has ripple effects on our relationships.

Be your authentic self, and trust that those that are supposed to be with you will be drawn to you, and will stay.

I’ve also learned a lot about the power of vulnerability to take relationships to a new level, and to also sift out relationships that are not meant for you. I’ve learned that people need to earn the right for me to be vulnerable with them (spiritually, emotionally, and physically)… because any time you give up power, you have to trust the person you’re giving power to. I’ve also learned that just because someone earns that right for me to be vulnerable with them, doesn’t mean they are necessarily able to handle the weight of my vulnerability.

I know I am saying ‘learned’ for all these things, but the truth is that I am still ‘learning’.

So again, why am I writing this? It’s mostly because I know I’m not alone. And I want to pass on the message… Being scared of rejection and failure because of vulnerability is in essence being scared of love. True love. You cannot separate the two. I’ve included below a Ted talk on the Power of Vulnerability by Brenin Brown (BB). It’s a really powerful video on how to have a correct view on vulnerability and how being vulnerable is the only way to fully love and be loved for your authentic self. If you’re on any kind of journey of self development or exploring why certain relationships aren’t working, I’d encourage you to watch the vid.

I jotted some notes while watching the video (for those that do not have time to watch):

  • It takes courage to show your imperfections.
  • Authenticity produces connection.
  • When BB observed people in her study who were vulnerable, she saw that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful  (which is sometimes contrary to what we tell ourselves: “what makes me vulnerable makes me ‘ugly’ “)
  • Vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness (to be loved), but it’s also the birth place of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
  • You can’t selectively numb the ‘bad emotions’, without numbing the good emotions… Letting yourself experience emotions such as fear, shame, vulnerability allows you to better experience emotions such as joy, peace, love.
  • Lastly, and this isn’t directly from the vid, but my big takeaway this year is:

Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a sign of strength.

Amma? Readers? Thoughts? What’d you think of the video and how does it relate to your personal life?

Not All Women Want to get Married – - and Other Half Truths.

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Soooooo… we didn’t win. Tear. If you recall, we were nominated for Best Blog for Ghana’s 2014 Social Media Awards, but unfortunately we didn’t win. I know you’re wondering who on earth could have possibly beaten us…? We are too. But it was the lovely ladies over at AdventuresFrom (the bedrooms of African women). We have nothing but love and mad respect for our big sisters in the blogosphere, so we say a HUGE CONGRATS to them!!!! Y’all have stepped up the game in (female) African blogging, and give a great platform for women to openly share whats on their hearts and minds regarding sex and sexual health.

 

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The Social Media Awards Ceremony was held at the end of Ghana’s Blog Camp event held a couple weeks ago in Accra . Despite not winning, we did have a blast leading the Blogging 101 breakout session and interviewing people for Google’s youtube corner. I’ve included some pics below of the event, and a highlight video at the end of the blog.

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Main session

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Afua and Social Media Extraordinaire, MacJordan

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Amma and Afua leading breakout session on Blogging 101

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Ok. It’s time for a short blog now.

 When we started RR, I made the decision that whenever Amma and I engaged in a back and forth, I wouldn’t respond to Amma’s reply if I had started the discussion… trust me, this has been no small task, especially when Amma likes to bust out diagrams of the highest inaccuracy. BUT I’m going to break my rule today, and say a few words in relation to something she said in her last post:

Who says we all want to get married in the first place?

Sigh… I love my feminists, I do. In most circles, I am considered one of their strongest advocates, allies, and yes even, leaders…. so my next few statements might actually come as a shock to some. I’m sorry in advance. :)

The feminist movement is not old enough for people to be tooting around that ‘not all a critical mass of women want to get married’. This seems to have become a default response in the never ending discussion of what women should do (career v. family) and when they should do it; it’s become a defense mechanism of sorts… from what?, only God knows I do not quite know. But it’s as if the admission of wanting to be committed to someone (gasp, someone with 1 Y and 1 X chromosome) is some sign of weakness… or contrary to the movement. In any case, as it stands now what we’re seeing is a delay of marriage rather than an outright abolishment of it. Delaying marriage to do other things such as make a name for yourself in your career, do you as a single person for a while or whore around make like you’re a man with no emotional attachment to sex, is not a complete abolishment of marriage. Until data proves otherwise, you won’t be able to convince me that the majority of single, never been married women at 45 wouldn’t prefer to be a long term committed partnership, you just can’t**. You can’t because as much as some in the movement want to yell, kick and scream… there is biology/ human nature at play here… something one cannot fight (regardless of whether you believe in Adam and Eve or evolution). For the majority of feminists screaming this message of ‘we all don’t want to get married’, these women are a. still young enough to be able to eventually say yes to a lifetime partnership if they choose marriage(ie. in their mid to late 30′s) b. screaming these statements as hypotheticals with one or two examples of ‘people they know who are happily single and never been married at 45, c. jaded about marriage because of what they’ve seen in the media and in their own lives, d. think ‘feminists’ wanting marriage have been somehow brain washed by religion or society, or e. just plain outliers.

I feel a little passionate about the above, because I’ve seen a trend of some feminists demonizing the desire of would be fellow feminists to get married (particularly before a certain age). But to me, feminism and marriage are not mutually exclusive. More so, the choice to get married (and whenever you want to) is fully in line with the spirit of feminism: the ability to choose (and do) what is best for you without hindrance due to your gender (even if that means cutting short your promising Fortune 500 CFO path to have … babies).

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There will always be women (scabs, as Amma puts it) stopping female collusion from being great. They, in all their awesomeness and glory, will never be thinking about nobody’s desire to get married as they try to get theirs by sleeping around, and feigning saying that their end goal is never to be married. However, my question is, ‘are these women singing the same song at 40, 45, 50?’ How many heterosexual 40/50 year old single, never been married (or in a long term partnership) women do you know that are happy as a clam saying they’re glad they never got married or into a long term partnership?

And that’s my point. Thus far, the majority of women eventually come around to the idea of ‘settling down’.

Alright, I’m done.

 

…sorta.

I must conclude by saying that I do recognize that a lot of people have a very messed up view of marriage, either from their own parents or others; I’m not going to sit and pretend that the baby boomer generation didn’t systematically suck at being able to choose one person to be with for their adult life, to love, sacrifice for, cherish, and be faithful to for better or worse in sickness and in health, BUT that doesn’t mean the fundamentals of being committed to one individual should be thrown out with the bathwater. I know I’m probably not the best person to speak to this because I have a great view of marriage – my parents have been happily married for 30 yrs, and I can’t think of many divorces in my extended family- yet still, removing me from the equation as the messenger, just because people suck at marriage doesn’t mean the institution in and of itself sucks. And neither does the fundamental idea of loving one person for life, and longing for companionship and partnership with them.

**so we’re clear: notice I said, “never been.” Those who have, and no longer want to be again are a different story. And even for these, let’s also make a distinction between regret of being committed to the wrong person versus saying you wish you never entered into marriage or a long term partnership (and don’t want to engage that type of relationship again).

 

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Highlights from the #BlogCamp14 event, our session made a cameo @ 4:10-4:47

The Economics of Sex: The Game Has Changed [Part 1]

rrYou would have to be living under a rock to not have seen The Economics of Sex vid on some timeline, tweet, or status update in the last few weeks. I’ve included the vid below. It’s only ten minutes, but I know y’all won’t watch (…I do look at our blog stats), so I’ve given you the run down of the main points:

  • Pop culture says everyone around you is enjoying casual sex; elite culture insists that women and men are exactly the same in this regard, however “On average, men have a higher sex drive than women… On average, men initiate sex more than women, they’re more sexually permissive than women, and they connect sex to romance less often than women… Women on the other hand are likely to have sex for reasons beyond pleasure: to express and receive love, to strengthen commitment, affirm desirability and for relationship security” …it just is what it is.
  • Women are the gatekeepers to sex, and men are the gatekeepers to commitment.
  • If we look at this purely in economic terms, if sex is ‘her’ resource, how does a woman price sex? A few drinks and compliments? A month 3 months of dates? A lifetime promise of commitment?… The pricing of sex isn’t in a vacuum, because the market value of sex is part of a social system of exchange – ie. what others are buying and selling sex for has an influence on your individual price.
  • In the world of simple supply and demand, when supply is high prices drop, but when something is hard to find, people will pay a premium for it. And men these days know that the market value of sex has decreased.
  • There has been a splitting of the female mating market (those looking for sex vs those looking for marriage), largely as a result of the pill [I'm adding in my own bit here and saying also because of society, condoms, media, etc.]
  • So what does this mean for women:
  1. Women get to be selective for SHORT-TERM sexual relationships – because the supply of men (wanting Short Term sexual encounters) outnumbers their women counterparts. [To see this displayed in all it's glory, all you need to do is go to any bar on a Friday night]
  2. However, the reverse is true when women want to settle down.

. . .

I’ve always said I’m an economist at heart… somewhat. That’s why when something is explained to me in economic terms, I get it.

photo 2I get that you don’t want to settle down with me now, because let’s face it… you don’t have to.

I get that you can have casual sex with women who like having casual sex AND with women who think it’ll make you wife them, AND THEN when you’re done making enough money, getting to that certain position in your career, growing up, sowing your wild oats, there will still be the ‘good ones’ out there waiting to be wifed.

I get that you have lowered your standards, because women have lowered theirs.

I get that whenever you choose to get married, as long as it’s not after the age of 50 70, there will always be droves of women willing and able to take up that burden privilege.

…I get it

…I got it

…Good.

So what do ‘we’ (women wanting commitment before the clock strikes menopause)  do in this case? How do we circumvent the game, and swing things back (even just a lil bit) in our favor?…inquiring minds wants to know.

I’m going to briefly describe what the vid says is the way women can gain back power. However, I want to make a quick note that after Amma responds to this later this week, we will also have a male guest post on the subject matter (whoop whoop testosterone… yes we’ve heard your nagging, cries,  complaints constructive feedback) :)

So how does the vid say women can gain back the power? Drum Roll pleaseeeee…

BY STICKING TOGETHER.

Somewhat of a kumbaya/ yaya sisterhood of sorts. But that’s as simple as it gets. Women no longer have each others backs in the mating market… now they’re each others competition. And in order to get the attention of men, women appeal to what they believe men want, sex.

I was in Lagos last week and a group of ladies and I were talking about the male market, when one summed up the group’s sentiments quite simply: ‘no one wants to truly commit anymore.’ This was a group of Americans AND African women, mind you. As I sat there, I kept thinking ‘are women asking men to though (by their words AND actions)?’ According to the Economics of Sex, men aren’t actually afraid of commitment *cue shock and awe*, rather they tend to behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives permit. [please read that over. again. let it resonate]. Thus, economists have concluded that collusion – women working together – would be the most rational way to elevate the market value of sex. If women demanded a higher market price in exchange for sex, we would be seeing:

photo (4)

on avg

1. more impressive woo’ing efforts

2. greater male investment

3. longer relationships

4. fewer pre-martial partners

5. shorter co-habitation, and

6. more marriages

A woman’s power in this economy is to know what she wants in a relationship and signal it clearly …but none of this seems to be happening, so for now the economics of contemporary sexual relationships favors men and what they want, even as what they bring to the table diminishes.

As this commentary on the video put it, “Sex is her resource. She decides when it happens, in a consensual relationship… The pressure to have sex weighs from all sides, when at the end of the day, she holds the power. “If girls did actually come to realize that they’re “in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex (and if sisterhood really were powerful), they could change the market entirely, having sex only when they were ready and only when they saw a serious commitment on the part of their partner.”

So, we ask…Given that we can’t make it mandatory for women to sit through a ‘ya ya sisterhood’ sex-ed course in high school, middle school, elementary school, pre-k, how do we get this message of holding men accountable and looking out for your fellow sister across….?

My guess is as good as yours. But I’ve found that talking about it, and actually living it out is a good start… *shrug*

Amma, thoughts?

Also, don’t forget to VOTE for RR for Best Blog for the 2014 Ghana Blogging Social Media Awards: Instructions are HERE!