Many of the problems that I hear people complain about, and that I have commented about, come from an avoidance of ‘the work’. This shirking of basic character (and personal responsibility) is at the root of more of society’s ills and people’s individual struggles than we all realize. To have a strong community, there must be strong people, but we seem to believe that strength can be borrowed or given, or even purchased—none of which are true.
Does anyone want to earn their place?
I spend a lot of time looking at the world philosophically, I’m a natural analyst. When this concept of the desire for free credibility struck me, I found it to be foundational. I am sure that many, maybe most,–possibly ALL of our problems come from the refusal to do the ‘the work’, whether in the moment, or through life; whether the individual, the group, the institution/organization, or even as large as a nation or races of peoples.
People, and in focus for this essay, women, want to be desired. Not a problem—but what is a problem is wanting to be desired without having done the ‘work’.
If you want the cred, to be in that ‘spot’, to have the rep, to be ‘that dude’, or ‘that chick’, you cannot elbow your way into that status, or pay your way in, or fake it, or guilt the world into accepting you. You have to do the work.
One of my influencer heroes, Kevin Samuels, used to say that “You can’t cheat the game.” Eventually you will be found out, discovered, exposed.
Men have to do the pull-ups, the push-ups, the sit-ups. Or spend hours in the gym with the weights. And always the diet with running. Likewise ladies, you have to do something—a dance class, crossfit, or run, and again, the diet. And learn etiquette.
With that out the way, now I can go in.
The intersection of Saint John’s Place and Smith Street, downtown Brooklyn, eighty degrees on a weekday afternoon, four young women inappropriately dressed. That would be tantalizing for many a young man if they had done the work, but the cellulite thighs said no work had been done. The rolls of blubber said no work had been done. The cheap underwear underneath the tangerine catsuit said no work is intended to be done, “I’ll make my dreams happen by being cheap instead”. In an effort to distract the eye from the flaws of physical negligence, each wore ludicrously long eyelashes, weaves that looked like ‘Party City’ Halloween wigs, and cartoon make-up that failed to hide their street life for all of them and the years of cigarette smoking for the oldest one. The others looked (and behaved) in age about low twenty-ish, cursing loudly. It was embarrassing to look at and hear.
These kinds of women almost never look like the ‘Melanin/African/Black Queen depicted on their T-Shirts.
It would seem that rather than engage in the work of frequent intense physical activity over time, it is easier to forgo exercise, and adorn oneself in purchasable quick fixes. These women insist themselves ‘Queens’ but do not look like, dress like, or act like ‘Queens’.
You can’t cheat the game.
In my opinion the ordinary everyday black women of previous generations were queens; well dressed, dignified, polite, graceful—even in modest lives. My mother and her sisters and friends and the women of the time were dignified women, even when poor by the standards of the time. They laughed, joked, and attended evening affairs without a bunch of cursing and ‘carryin’ on’. And even the girls of my age group were dignified, would never be caught being loud (but this is when the black female attitude thing seemed to start growing). My female cousins were pursued by decent young men, and all were well-spoken and rational women who carried themselves with class and still do.
How the look at right fell out of favor is beyond me (Josephine Baker, Billie Holliday, Dorothy Dandridge).
Remember when these ladies exploded on the music scene? Everywhere black men were rabidly asking who are these girls? Beautiful voices, beautiful faces, shapely–modest lashes, believable makeup, no tattoos, not a bunch of cursing in their music, just class and grace. They did the work, look at their arms; and most young women of the eighties/nineties were similar size. There wasn’t a cat out there that didn’t want to pick his wife from En Vogue.
This new crop of young women are clearly imitating some of today’s female personalities from music and the still-new medium, social media. The work to be sophisticated has been eschewed for cheap fixes. They want the credibility of being a ‘baddie’ without having done any of the work. I see this all over the city, it is a visually perplexing trend. And that’s what is at the heart of this ‘body positivity’ bullshit. “This is me”, “Accept me as I am”, is a social gimmick for women who want the rewards and credibility of being a desired woman, but do not wish to do any of the work required to be that desired woman.
So, they attempt to buy it with lashes and cheap weaves and ridiculous make-up. Note that I pointed out ‘cheap’—not all weaves. I like a good weave or wig, but some of these purchased hairdos look like they were bought at Party City. And whether cheap or expensive, they seem to strategize the hair will conceal the cellulite and foul mouth. They buy heels that they have never practiced walking gracefully in. Tight, stretchy (and sometimes see-through) clothes to suggest a figure, but the discerning male can see the gadgets underneath struggling to form an hourglass figure from this blob. Make-up to conceal the hard street life of girl-fighting with other skanks in her peer group.
I heard a new term on the social media streets to describe this: “Whore Culture”. Whore culture apparently is this wave of young women who publicly make spectacles of themselves with their manner of dress, public behavior, and sexual behavior. We’re not discussing tight jeans, this is now shorts that show some of the butt cheeks, blouses that show far more than a little cleavage but a significant amount of breast, spandex that is either see-through or so tight that it is stretched to the extent that it becomes see-through. Cursing and arguing loudly in public spaces and engaging in explosive violence for anyone who looks at them askance. Even dancing in a sexual nature in public for no reason (two-o-clock on a Tuesday afternoon I witnessed a young woman at a bus stop bent over vibrating her cheeks for passing cars). Later that day, another young black woman/girl shaking her ass in the middle lane of Atlantic Avenue at Vanderbilt Avenue as traffic dodged around her at upwards of thirty miles per hour. When car horns blew in protest, her middle finger went up.
Something is on the loose out there.
When I met the future Mrs Queen, her sexy was built around business skirt suits-her corporate attire. She had a closet-ful of these skirts that varied between full length to just above the knee, each with a matching blazer or pinched suit jacket, some single breasted, some double. Some of these fineries went from the office to the evening without being inappropriate in either situation. My favorite was a red double-breasted skirt suit, the skirt was tapered, stopped just above the knee, and her brown legs extended down in dark hose into a simple black leather two-inch heel that she moved in with ease. The jacket with black buttons pinched at the waist and ended at the hips, there was a figure there, but not exaggerated or suggestive. At top, the jacket lapels met just above the cleavage so that one would NOT SEE cleavage, though there was a bosom present, and the shoulders of the jacket had small shoulder pads that squared where the sleeves met the body of the jacket. From behind, it fit maybe even snug, but never exceedingly tight
Pam’s dresses similarly fit in a manner that were feminine, but not overtly sexual. Maybe it was proper tailoring, maybe it was a figure that fit into almost anything quite well. Pam was probably a size six, sometimes an eight, just enough to be curvy, but not so much that proper fit was a problem. Her hair was maintained, shiny, but no loud colors—the occasional African braids, and once or twice modest bronze highlights. No lashes, but she did do gold or bronze lipstick once in a while, which I found mesmerizing.
To quote one of my cousins describing Mrs Queen, “That girl can walk a shoe!”. My wife had seemingly been trained in the wear of the heeled shoe, and could walk in three inches effortlessly and gracefully. It was marvelous to watch and a privilege to have her with me. And most young women of the time were of similar nature. Not so today. In these times, some young women are experts, others are in desperate need of help.
And though I have focused on the Black community for this communique, it can be said of other ethnic/racial groups, though to a lesser extent. Somehow the nineties grunge rock look has returned even worse, young white women pale and exceedingly covered with hideous tattoos and jeans that appear to have survived a bad motorcycle accident or so washed out they appear to be falling apart. I probably sound like an old man, but what happened to those white women we saw on TV or in film right up to a few decades ago? Admittedly, this isn’t my lane, so I may be speaking out of turn. If white guys dig this, then retract everything preceding; but I know enough of them to know they are wondering what is going on their women.
The only group of women that doesn’t seem to be lost are Hispanic women who haven’t bought into American counterculture and some groups of Asian women. Not surprisingly, in response there is a growing trend of American men of ALL races going to Latin and Asian countries seeking brides. I look at the young women from among whom my son will someday pick his wife, and they are not an impressive group. There are standouts, but as a whole it is troubling.
Men used to worry about what young man their daughters would bring home.
Boy has that flipped.