Can I holler at you for a second? I just want to tell you how much we love you. We really do. But when we ask for love in return, we get something different from what we expect. Maybe that’s simply because men and women think differently—maybe it’s because you really don’t know what we need and how we need to be loved. Whatever the case, I think you might want to tune in. I’m about to let you in on the few secrets of the Sisterhood I am allowed to share, for the sake of unity and everlasting love.
Money does not equal love. Yeah, there are some sisters out there who always want to get in your pocket. But the majority of us want more of you and not your dollars. Most of the time we want to see your face, and hear adoration in your voice when we talk. It’s admirable if you work twelve-hour workdays to pay the bills at home. But what is Wifey supposed to do while you’re working all that time? Yes, it’s nice to have all the bills paid, but it’s even nicer to not have to worry about our man’s health while he’s slaving away at a nine to die. So when we ask for love, please don’t go into your wallet and throw money at us. At least, if you do, please tie the bills together with some quality time from you.
And the whole Give Wifey What Your Homeboy Gives His Woman thing? Wrong answer. If we wanted what your homeboy had, we’d have gotten with him in the first place. Just because he takes care of all the manly chores at home and his woman is grinning from ear to ear doesn’t mean we want you to change the oil and take out the trash–or fix something. What about staying in bed late on the weekends instead of heading outside to wash the cars? It would be so wonderful to snuggle up next to your warm body, still languorous from a good night’s rest, and listen to your heart beat. And who says we want a brand new house because the Jones’ have one? We might be more than satisfied with an older, fixer upper, as long as we get to spend time with you doing the fixing up.
And contrary to popular belief, if we ask, “Does this make me look fat?” we do expect an honest answer from you. A thoughtful honest answer. We value your opinion, and would rather find out from you that we look like a sausage in our outfit than find out from a stranger on the street while we’re thinking we’ve got it popping. But there’s a way to deliver the answer. Please, don’t gaze at us with a glazed look in your eye, over your spare tire we’ve learned to love and accept, and say anything like, “Yeah. You need to take that off, because it’s way too tight. You need to lose some weight.”
Perhaps try something more along the lines of, “I really like you in ABC outfit. You’re banging in that. The one you have on isn’t nearly as nice on you.” Too many words to come up with off the cuff? Even, “Why don’t you wear that one I really like?” would suffice. Just please make sure ‘that one you really like’ isn’t even more unattractive on us than the one we’re inquiring about.
While we’re on the subject of clothes, please allow us to dress our age. I know, I know. Some of us at thirty-five have the bodies of twenty-five year olds. Most of us don’t. But we at thirty-five might have teenaged children who would be mortified to see Mama dressed like them. We probably have childbearing war wounds that prohibit us from showing too much skin, even if you don’t think it looks that bad. What about those colleagues who we’ve spent most of our adult lives trying to best at the work place who seem to always pop up at the corner grocery store in our neighborhood just when we waltz in wearing a tube top with short shorts and four inch sandals?
We know many things are inappropriate for our age groups, and while we don’t want to look dowdy at any age, we don’t want to feel we have to constantly compete with teenyboppers for our man’s attention. We want to dress for you; we want you to love what we’re wearing and think we’re sexy all the time, even when the delights of our bodies are hidden under bits of cloth. You know what’s there, and we want to show you again and again—we just don’t necessarily want to show everyone else.
And above everyone else, we love talking to you, even when you don’t have much to say. We just want to know you’re listening to us, by the way you look at us, and the way you share the feelings we’re conveying. When we say our girlfriend was acting skanky, we really feel that way. If we’ve had a bad day and feel the world is dumping on us, we really feel that way. It doesn’t help at all for you to tell us, “Buck up,” or “Stop taking everything so personal.” We do take everything personal, because most of the perceived slights we complain about are real. Even for the ones that aren’t, please just give us a hug, or pour us a glass of wine and let us vent. We just want your support.
Feeling that you support us is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. You are so strong, and knowing you’re on our side makes us go all mushy inside. Alternately, knowing you don’t support us or even thinking you don’t can wreak havoc in our hearts and the entire household.
Okay, you might be the primary breadwinner. If Honey has a knack for drawing, indulge her when she wants to enter a few art shows. Have an aspiring writer on your hands? Lend your ear when she wants an opinion on her work. And if she wants to go into business for herself, show her you want what’s best for her and do whatever you need to do to allow her to follow her dream, especially when you know in your heart she is a hard worker and will do all she can to be successful. As long as we aren’t selling the children and putting fifth mortgages on the house to start a business, stand by our sides and be our loudest champions.
We love to champion our men and cheer you on: in the workplace, to our friends, and to the world in general. It really isn’t a natural instinct to most of us to cut a brother down where he stands. We’d much rather stand tall with him, bragging on him, and nurturing our relationships. We hurt when you hurt. And if you come to us carrying a ton of emotional baggage, we will usually try to help you discard it. But if we come with our own, we’ll need help with ours, too.
Just please bear with us and understand that just as you may not be the brother who dogged us out in the eleventh grade or our overbearing father, these relationships may well worm their way into the middle of our happy home. It’s probably not something we plan, but if it happens, we need your help in working through these issues. On the same hand, we ask that you don’t pin us with the labels of the sinister sisters in your past who might have caused you to pack your own bags. Just love us, emotionally and physically.
Physical love; now we’ve reached the sex thing.
There’s quite a few secrets in this section, so please, make yourself comfortable. First, we do not want sex like in the pornos. That bangity, bangity, no foreplay, and slap the woman on the bottom stuff is no fun when it happens that way all the time. Take your time sometimes. Slapping the bottom might not be bad, actually, if preceded by thoughtful, titillating stroking and sucking. We desire you, and we want to make love with you. We even want to have straight up, hair pulling, sheets tangling, downright wonderfully nasty sex with you sometimes. But whichever goes down, it has to be accompanied by some kind of prior attention. Call from work and say, “Baby, why don’t you put on something sexy for me.” Leave a love note in our car, requesting a date in the bathtub later that night. Just your making the gesture will turn us on.
We are sometimes turned on by different things than men. Watching you bathe our children sets our passion temp immediately to high. You thought allowing Baby Girl to play in your hair with a comb made you sort of soft, but Wifey was selecting her negligee for the coming night after she saw that. Maybe you feel frustrated with the way you talked to Mother when you insisted she wait until the next day when you could get off work early to take her to the mall instead of her driving herself because you are so concerned about her—but Honey only wants to give you a back rub that night and make slow, sweet love to the considerate man she hooked up with. We chew through burned dinner every now and then, but we’re soldiers through the meal you so lovingly cooked, and the work of eating the dinner is diminished by the thoughts of all the naughty things we’ll let you do to us afterwards.
You are the only one we can be naughty with and still hold onto our self-respect. We feel most comfortable with you, Our Lover Man, because we can see in your eyes what you feel for us. When those windows reflect bad feelings, or rejection, we are simply crushed. If your mouth is saying, “Oh, yeah, I love the way you look,” but your eyes are saying, “I can see better than this on music videos,” we will know. You may not know this, but we are usually dissatisfied with our bodies and how we look, anyway. Those same music videos, movies, and society in general make us feel if we aren’t a size two we are ugly. And even if we are a size two, we constantly get the message that we should be a zero, then.
If you’re tuning in to those messages and sending the same ones, please watch out. There are some sisters out there who are dealing with these ill feelings from her man and it seems he’s getting away with murder. She still fixes him dinner every night, may even put it on the plate and serve it to him too, and then runs to run his bath water. This is the exception, and not the rule. Just because she’s still there for the time being doesn’t mean she isn’t plotting her escape. You might come home from work one day, after having spoken with her just minutes before, to a half empty house.
If you really don’t want the relationship to continue, please have enough respect for Honey to just man up and let her know before things reach that point. You might love her bunches; however, if you know you want something else, or just aren’t willing to give her exactly what she needs, clue her in and allow her to go. That way, she will harbor a little respect for you when she thinks back on how she spent that chunk of her life.
You are our entire lives. We live to make you happy. We shop for food and clothes with your likes and dislikes in mind. Even when we don’t admit it, your opinion matters a great deal to us. We want to respect you, and we want to love you. Forever. Because once we find The Lover Man, all the barriers come down. The stripper heels come out the closet and the whip is unwrapped because we want it straight, down, and dirty. Afterwards, we might want to fix you a little food.
Simple secrets? They’re probably not so secret when you really think about it. Think about it, please, Mr. Lover Man. For the sake of unity, and everlasting love.
Photo Credit: Woman in Red, Eva Peris, https://flic.kr/p/a7hFtQ