When It Matters

vin

So the above image has slowly been making its rounds across the internet and as a friend of mine duly noted last night —  “Being male isn’t entirely a matter of birth, but.. yeah“.

As I have seen that quote in a couple of places this year, lately as a tagline for a men’s fashion blog on Instagram, I decided to do a little digging and found the following:

Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice.

This is credited mostly as a “Coleism” by Edward “Ed” Cole founder of the Christian Men’s Network. Cole is nearly as infamous in christian circles for his quotes and witticisms, as the late, great Yogi Berra was infamous in baseball for his. However, Cole and in various places online credits the italicized quote above to evangelist Ben Kinchlow of the 700 Club, another christian organization for those not familiar with it. This explains the initial thinking behind the first line. Though to be fair, acknowledgement, respect and acceptance of a person’s chosen gender identity when it differs from the birth identity is still something relatively new to modern society and the original quote certainly predates our glacially gradual acceptance of such.

Therefore the pictured quote, if it is indeed a statement from Vin Diesel, I conclude is more than likely his unknowingly paraphrasing the original. Or possibly, a fan of Diesel’s saw the quote floating about online and attributed it to him via creating this photo quote.

All of which, in Life’s funny little way of doing things, brings me to this morning…

A regular Tuesday morning rush commute. A young guy on train, legal drinking age – maybe is humming along with his music relatively quietly until he suddenly decides the song on his iPhone was something to be listened to by all of us, whether all of us wanted to hear it or not.  Understandably, there several objections to this and most emphatically let him know. Embarrassed or emboldened by the public chastisement, he does what any man-child brought to task sometimes do. He starts singing a different song, when it was obvious that the first song had not finished. But this one was clearly meant as a bird flip to us all as it contained explicit language. With his head, back eyes closed and head phones he had effectively tuned us out. Unfortunately, two seats down from him was a tyke who, as most youngsters that age are prone to do, managed to echo every other dirty word and phrase the young man uttered from the song.  The little boy’s mother was into her own music and oblivious to her child until a woman sitting next to her, brought it to her attention. She gently chastised her son for saying bad words (again), but understood where the real blame lay. She reached over the woman next to her and tapped the young man on the leg.

“Hi. I get you want to enjoy your music, but must you sing out loud with it? There are children on the train who don’t need to be hearing all that. ”

An older woman standing next to me grunted her opinion, clearly not a fan of his behavior as well. He rolled his eyes at both women claiming he’s a grown and can do what he wants.

Sometimes, I think I have a mild form of Tourette syndrome that’s activated by abject stupidity as a snort of disbelief came forth. In for a penny… as they say so I continued. “Just because you’re  a male who has reached legal adulthood does not make you a grown man.”

“You saying I ain’t a man?”

“I’m saying being a male is a matter of identity, being a man is a matter of reaching an age where you know you can do what you want, but being grown gentleman is a matter of choice in knowing when it sometimes matters not to. ”

It did not magically resolve the situation on the train, but who knows as the young man exited at the next stop with much attitude, but without another word or song.  I mentally smiled realizing what I just said was a take on the Diesel conversation last night. So now I guess I am the first to quote my friend by paraphrasing them all  Glenn, Diesel, Cole and Kinchlow.

Timing is everything.

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Let’s see how other’s are slicing up their day —

Slice of Life – Two Writing Teachers

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

 

The Power of Speech

At six I didn’t sleep for over a week
Fear of being damned for a kiss on the cheek
Words my pastor were constant to preach
Ah yes, the power of speech

Working for my degree made my nerves fry
Kept hearing the words “It never fails to try”
Encouragement is a subject not required to teach
Ah yes, the power of speech

Her beauty takes my breath away
“Nice boobs” was all I thought to say
Her slap corrected that social breach
Ah yes, the power of speech

Two years later I have a different surprise
The diamond of intent bringing tears to her eyes
“Yes” brings in a star once out of my reach
Ah yes, the power of speech

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dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Open Link Night : Week 153

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: The Look of Loath

As a colleague and I are crossing a street, I spy a “gentleman” waiting for the bus at the corner. He coughs up what seems to be some three-quarters of his lungs, generating considerable phlegm in his throat.  As the Neanderthal did not have enough manners to at least step to the curb first, he aims away from his own person in complete disregard of any other person near him, causing a woman near him to flinch out-of-the-way as his personal refuse lands near her foot with quite an audible splat upon the sidewalk.  Charmed, I’m not.

At this point he looks up, sees me crossing, wipes his mouth with his coat sleeve and breaks out into this most beatific smile. Regrettably, there is no question at all that the smile is for me as I knew there was no one close enough behind me for this and I was reasonably sure it was not blown at the burly E beside me. No, really? He cannot be serious? Surely he is aware of what I just witnessed in the past 30 seconds?  I audibly groan to E’s bemusement.

Loverman then blows a kiss in my direction, quickly dashing any hopes I held that I was mistaken in his intended target. I think it is fair to surmise that my aversion was clearly shown on my face as the smile was quickly rescinded.

“You mean you don’t want to swap saliva with him?” E, having witnessed the whole thing, does not try to hold his laughter, to my annoyance.

“Oh, not is he, the most beguiling of man? How near swooned with most ardent desire was I, upon his visage gazed.” I grumbled as I angle our direction to clearly indicate I was not walking towards the would-be Lothario, just in case there was any doubt. E, not up on my latest butchering of Elizabethan, raised an eyebrow not understanding, so I translated:

“The dude is disgusting! I nearly passed out in revulsion at the sight of him.”

And it’s only Monday morning people.

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Let’s see how my fellow Slicers are doing on the 23rd day of the challenge:

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She Had It Coming

Watch this first:

He smacked her like she cussed out his dear mother. Like a mother smacks her child for using a really bad word. Like a soap-opera actress slaps her paramour after discovering an affair. Let’s just say he slapped her – hard. So hard I said “Damn!” and rubbed my own face.

The initial reaction most have had he didn’t have to smack he like that, but I also add – she had it coming.

I have no idea what instigated the young woman clowning all over the young man, but clearly she had been running her mouth for a bit before the start of this video. Yes, she was talking much mess, but it was all words. She was all in his personal being stupid and he was mostly ignoring her. With instigating of her girls as Greek chorus riling her up to spew even more bullshit, she was getting worse by the minute. The additional audience of some of the other passengers laughing did not help and realizing she was being filmed on a cell phone only made it worse; escalating the situation rapidly.

When the target of her tirade had enough, whether he had reached his stop or not, he had started walking away from her. Let me repeat that; he was walking away from her. When you do hear him speak at last, it is evident he has an accent, but she tells him he sounds stupid. I bet she did not give one thought to what she must have sounded like to him while she was going off. He took all her bullshit pretty much wordlessly, but he had enough and called her out of her name. Was he wrong in how he chose to call her out?-yes. But was he wrong in calling her out?-no. After all the crap she spewed to him, he earned a call out.  That she did not like it –too damn bad– she had no business slapping him in the back of his neck because of it.

She clearly took a couple of seconds to think about it before she punched him – that was an intentional response. Granted, he had no business smacking her in retaliation period, but he just as clearly did not think about it; immediately turning back to slap her – that was a gut reaction. He did not beat her, he did not punch her. He did exactly what she did – slapped and stepped back.

Some females count on the adage that a man will never hit a woman and misuse it to berate men. She had a public audience; she had her girls as back-up and she was surrounded by other men aw swell. She was so secure in the knowledge that she could mouth off, being all Betty Bad Bitch and get away with it knowing he was not going to be stupid enough to touch her. Or so she thought. To quote Lincoln – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” and that girl was acting “all kinds of fool” as the old folks say. I think he was trying to be a gentleman and let her act like the clown she chose to be.  As I said at the beginning of this, it was all words. However, once she slapped him all bets were off.  Even in the imbroglio that followed, it was less about the other men protecting the female from the one guy, and more keeping the females off the one guy.

As Mama always said: Keep your hands to yourself.

I feel no remorse whatsoever for her, it was not right, but she had it -and all the memes that are now spinning from it- coming.

Yes All Women

I fully admit the character limit of Twitter and I are not the best of friends.  Still every now and then, even someone as verbose as I must concede on how much can be said with so little. If you have not joined the conversation I urge you to follow, read, absorb, think and engage in the #YesAllWomen conversation happening on Twitter.  Do not dismiss these voices as ranting and/or misandry.  Read it, not just the surface words on pixels, but the words of those who have put their stories in 140 characters or less.

Read it, not just the surface words on pixels, but the words of those, female and male, who have put our stories, our hearts for your perusal  of the female experience as it pertains to men, in 140 characters or less.

Yes, several of the stories told are tragedies, but the fact that this still needs to be a conversation in the day in age is the bigger one.

#YesAllWomen on Twitter

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: I’ll Be Damned

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So, a guy emails me through an online dating site:

“I am going to assume that my profile is too casual/risqué for you, but I thought I’d shoot you a line anyway. (You have a fetching smile.)”

Of course I check out his profile. He states he wants a FWB, not looking for serious dating and is desirous of a woman with intelligence.

Got it – he wants a fuck, just not a dumb one.

My response?

“Hello,

My dentist and I thank you.

“Check you out!” as the kids say, throwing down the gauntlet on the opening play.

If I respond in the negative I come off as looking prudish, yet a positive one is indicative that I am open to only being someone ‘beneficial’. If I am open to such with you, who else have I been beneficial to? Providing I am someone simpatico to your intelligence and views to be worthy of said fornication.

Damned if I do and damned if I do. Fiddley-dee, whatever is a woman to do?

Oh, I can pick up that gauntlet and cyber strike you across the face with it. (Insert emoticon with tongue sticking out here.) [<– Yes, I actually wrote it out as such.]

Ya gonna take that?

Rai”

This is not to say I would or would not go for a roll –or a few- in the hay with him. He is attractive and arrogant and just the sort of ego balloon I like to stick my pins in and pop.

Regardless, one has to prove worthiness of my wrapping these thick juicy thighs around, and that ain’t the way, Bub.

Two Black Suns

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In light of the weekend’s Micheal Dunn verdict in Florida, I feel the need to bring this post to the forefront again.

NY Daily News: NYPD Allegedly Assault Staten Island Family – Killed Parakeet

I am the mother of two suns.
Two black suns.
Two black suns in this country, this United States of America.

My late-husband and I together did our best to navigate them through the minefields.

In their Sesame Street days, they are taught – this is the land of opportunity. They learn, that the color of your skin shouldn’t matter. And we said shouldn’t matter because even at that young age of theirs, neither of us as black parents could get past the ugly truth lodged in our throats and say that it ‘doesn’t matter’.

In their grade school days, they are taught – this land of the free. They learn that some of us have to work twice as hard most times to afford it. When in stores, they learn do not touch anything unless you have the money to buy it. We do not yet teach them that they are not being watched because someone might think they will break it, but because someone might think they will steal it, but they learn.

In middle and high school – they are taught this home of the brave. They learn as long as they are brave within the accepted boundaries, and those boundaries are fluid. They learn that the police officer who was their friend in day care and grade school, may not be so now that their voices have dropped and their awareness of the world at large has risen. They learn this even when sometimes that officer is an officer of color.

I am the mother of two suns.
Two black suns.
Two black suns in this country, this United States of America.

Our parents and my generation learn for the all the Martin Luther Kings and Malcom X’s there were the Emmitt Tills. That for the Rosa Parks there were the Eleanor Bumpers, for the Jesse Jacksons there were the Michael Stewarts, Yusef Hawkins and right around the corner from where my parents used to live when my sons were still children, Anthony Baez.

And as my sons made their way to manhood they learn that there are too many Rodney Kings, Amadou Diallos, Patrick Dorismonds, Abner Louimas, James Byrds, Sean Bells and now Jordan Davis.

In between what they are taught in school they are taught manners and respect and pride and faith, yes because it is the right thing to do. But they learn it may also keep them alive.

Yes, we were strict. Yes, we had rules. They learn to think of others as well as of and for themselves. They are taught responsibility and, like all children/teens/young adults, begrudgingly learn it.

They eventually learn curfews are not because I did not trust them to go out into the world, but because I did not trust the world to give them back to us. With one son sometimes too nice for his own good and the other sometimes too hot-tempered for his, if they are in the house, I am not worrying at 1am, at 2am, at 3am. I am not worrying if this will be the night, the night that the nightmare comes true and we get the call. The call that is the nightmare of every parent that must raise black boys to black men.

The nightmare that became the unfortunate reality for Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin – because like Stewart, Hawkins, Baez, King, Diallo, Louima, Dorismond, Byrd, Bell and Davis we know there are far, far, far too many Trayvon Martins out there never heard about in the news.

I am the mother of two suns.
Two black suns.
Two black suns in this country, this United States of America.

They were taught that red of our flag is for the valor in fighting for the right to live free; the white for the purity and innocence of our thought and purpose and the blue for the justice to protect those rights. Though as black men those inalienable rights wouldn’t be put to paper for them for another 100 years, and to some form of actuality for another 100 years hence. They learn it can also be the red of their blood on a baton, the bullet from a gun, the edge of a blade or a fist from the white-hot rage of someone having his or her worst day that encountered them having one of the worst of theirs and the blue of their body growing cold in the morgue from the result of that confrontation long before I get the call.

They learn that their All American names will get the door to open. Then they learn that their not so all American looks will sometimes have those same doors close in their faces.

They are taught that though it is certainly better than it has ever been, they learn that there is still quite some ways to go.

My suns are now adults, living their lives as men. My late-husband and I did the best we could with what we had. We got them through the minefield to black adulthood relatively unscathed. I no longer have nightmares of the call. I go to sleep at night trusting we will all safely see the morning unharmed. However, I am guessing, so did did Evelyn Lugo when chaos crashed through her door.

Things like this happen and a mother’s worry does crop up again on such occasions – after all…

I am the mother of two suns.
Two black suns.
Two black suns living their lives as black men in this country, this United States of America.

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Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

Friday 55: I Know

3am wake-up to catch a 5am flight. Don’t want to wake him yet, so I trod to the bathroom in the dark.
The splash of cold water on my cheeks is bracing and I cuss waking him anyway.

“Crap! I know, sorry!” He yells.
“What do you know?”
“I left the toilet seat up again.”

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Just having a little fun with today’s Friday Flash 55

I’ts Never “Okay”, But…

Most football fans have finally stopped cheering/grumbling/talking/ about the New York Jets win over the New England Patriots due to the enforcement of a new rule in the NFL that went against the Pats. However, an incident after the game may very well eclipse all the brouhaha over the controversial call.

Videos of a male Jets fan punching a female New England fan have gone viral over the past couple of days.  One of the videos of the altercation starts with the alleged attacker, wearing a Wayne Chrebet (No. 80) Jets jersey, is being pulled away from a fight in progress. It is not clear how the initial altercation began, but a woman, wearing a Patriots T-shirt in the videos, steps forward to confront the alleged attacker and tries to push him, before he responds with a punch to the left side of her head.

If you’re interested in more details of the event, you can Google it. This post is not about the above incident in and of itself, but about the adage that “it is NEVER okay for a man to hit a woman”.

First, let me preface all else I am about to say with the following: It is not acceptable for anyone to hit anyone. Regardless of gender, there should never be an acceptable time for someone to use violence to solve a problem. And please note that I said should. Unfortunately, we do not live in a white knight world and there are certainly exceptions to that rule.

As a mother of two sons (now adults),  I am well aware some women, safely cocooned in the belief that the man will always be considered at fault should he physically hurt her, will use that to their advantage and push, goad, provoke and/or physically attack a man.   Knowing such, I fully admit I could not teach my sons such a hard and fast absolute.

I’ll refer to men/women here because it is easier to use the hetero standard, but this applies regardless of orientation.  People have to realize not all women are defenseless and not all men are necessarily stronger than their partner. On the flip side, the physically smaller partner is not necessarily the weaker one, especially when there is any sort of weapon involved.

If the woman is yelling and screaming – let her.  You know what’s reasonable and what’s not.

If it’s starting to piss you off that you’re even thinking of doing something physical, it’s time for you to either a) leave for an hour or so to call down or b) leave temporarily and consider whether or not it is time to c) leave permanently.

However, if she’s coming at you with a cast iron skillet or a pot of hot cooked grits (some of you will get that reference), and you by that look in her eyes that tells you she means business  – what you both did so wrong that it got to that extreme point and what should be done to fix it, if it can be fixed – can be figured out later – you very much have the right to knock her on her ass, but ONLY ENOUGH FOR YOU TO GET TO SAFETY.

If your partner/significant other/spouse is beating the crap out of you, you should be able to defend yourself enough to get to safety, until the police arrive if necessary, regardless of gender.

When it comes to my sons, the only person allowed to even attempt to take them off this earth is the one who brought them into it, and I have told them as much.

Swinging this back around to the incident on Sunday…

The controversial call that that cost the Patriots the game/gave the Jets was likely the first spark to heated words between the fans.  I’m sure once all the investigation comes out; there likely were copious amount of beer involved on both sides further kindling an already contentious rivalry between both teams and their respective fans.  He (the alleged attacker) is just wrong.

  • Regardless of what kicked-off the initial altercation.
  • Regardless that she was yelling at him and even ran up and tried to push him.
  • Regardless that she was able to just shake it off.

She had no weapons and posed no physical threat to him as he was nearly twice her size.  Were this between two men, 1) this would not come up for discussion and 2) he would still be just as wrong.

As all parents tell their offspring at some point while raising them – which many seem to forget upon reaching adulthood:

KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF.

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Slice of Life Story Challenge

It’s A Thin Line…

Got on the train in the midst of a married couple having a major lovers’ spat on the subway. Nasty hygiene, who slept with whom, the whole laundry basket. Everyone around them were interested in their books/tablets/music etc. The desperate were highly engrossed in the subway advertisements farthest down the car.

I could hear them through my ear buds. And yes the iPod was up as loud as I dared after the crap I overheard the other day (my Facebook friends know about it, I’ll spare the rest of you).  Still, after a solid 1/2 hour I could not take it any more and screamed at them. “For Christ’s sake, if you can’t get along together at home, stay the hell apart when you’re away from it! You are our *elders*! The ones who are supposed to be our examples of love in longevity and longevity in love.  You wonder why we young ones don’t know how to be together? Who the hell are we to learn from when you behave like this?! “

Now mind you, who is a couple of weeks shy being 50? This gal. We young ones? HAH! Boy, was I on mini rant.

They, and several commuters; turned to me stunned. I actually, I was pretty surprised at myself. I sat there fully prepared to be cussed out and put in my place for getting in grown folks business. Because yes, Ma Pot and Pa Kettle Black were well into their 70s.

Surprisingly, after apologizing to everyone within earshot, they did not say another word for about 15 minutes until they disembarked. Then they were all ‘Honey’, ‘Sweetness’, lovey-freaking-dovey. The crazy part is it was clearly as genuine as the arguing earlier.

No matter the age, it’s a thin line indeed…

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