Category Archives: Simply Stan

Today’s Word is… MONSTERS

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Here in Boston, our minds and hearts are with the family of Jassy Correia, a 23 year old mother who was first reported missing after getting separated from her friends at a local club, then tragically her body was found in the trunk of a car of the suspect in Delaware.  This coming just over a month after another woman, Olivia Ambrose was reported missing after getting separated from her friends at a local bar.  (Thankfully, she was found alive several days later, and tragically she had been taken and held against her will).  In both cases, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the immediate reaction of “so where the fuck were her friends?” I’m sure people reading this right now had the same reaction.  I’m not even going to say that it’s wrong, just misdirected.  The only person responsible for Jassy Correia’s death is her killer.  Not her, not her friends,  not her babysitter, not the club. It’s the reality of rape culture, in a perfect world women wouldn’t have to be taught to travel in packs, never take your eyes off a drink, send locations to friends…but this world is far from perfect and if Jassy had not been separated from friends, she could’ve got taken in a uber, just snatched walking down the street, attacked in her home by someone she trusted.  We’re surrounded by monsters.

It’s a fear I don’t have as a man.  I’m far enough removed from the life I used to live that I don’t even think about other hoods. If my boy leaves the party with a random woman, I don’t fear for his safety.  Hell, I tell a nigga be safe he might get offended (when you think about it, it is ridiculous that we get defensive about that but hey, fragile masculinity or whatever).  Our monsters are the ones who are supposed to protect and serve but that’s a topic for another day.  I think about how I had the same curfew as my older sisters, the reaction to me dating in comparison to theirs and how women are raised to survive rape culture more than men are raised to fight it.  Even as someone who likes to consider himself as being raised with some got damn sense.

Jassy should be home with her daughter right now.  Olivia is going to have to deal with those horrifying 3 days for the rest of her life.  Women across the world constantly having to deal with living among the monsters.  As a man, I’ve had to accept that while I’m not a monster I fit the description of one.  While I’m in the party with good vibes and intentions, to her I’m still a stranger and possible monster.   I think about how men talk about the cockblocking homegirl, the girl with the RBF who ain’t trying to talk to anybody, the girl who is only there to dance with her friends and the mild inconvenience of not being able to get a shot off pales in comparison to her overall safety and comfort.  Screaming #NotAllMen to the heavens don’t erase the reality that there’s still men who are.  (Probably the main ones screaming #notallmen).  The energy used to show you aren’t a monster can be used to hold accountable the ones who are, and being aware and vigilant.  You don’t have to be a hero, but you have to be decent.  If not, we’re coming for you too.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… BEG

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I’m gon swallow my pride, say I’m sorry.  Stop pointing fingers; the blame is on me. I want a new life, and I want it with you.  If you feel the same, don’t ever let it go…

That’s that good ol fashioned begging R&B.  That I can’t eat, I can’t sleep shit.  Wanya made up a whole spirit to get his queen back.  We don’t even know what he did. But he sorry.  (probably a break baby…then again Boys II Men are too lame to cheat, he probably just ignored her call and overreacted).  Gen Xers lament that music don’t have this same level of vulnerability, today’s R&B is too passive aggressive, too prideful.  Because well, millennials are passive aggressive and prideful.  It’s not baby please take me back, it’s more like damn, I wanted to marry you one day. Welp.  The vulnerability starts and ends at acknowledgement that they might not be good at this love shit.  They aren’t going to DO anything about it, but at least they know now.  I could include myself in that same vulner-ish category (I mean, well, it’s been well documented here).  While millennials are flighty, we’re also lazy so that leads to a large number of couples breaking up, getting back together, breaking up again, getting a Tinder, remembering dating is trash, getting back together, moving in together, seeing their friends from college get married, wonder why they aren’t at that point yet, getting a puppy, one person really wants to get married, they getting another puppy instead, they break up and even though there’s two dogs, someone gets both.  Perhaps this generation doesn’t beg because there’s too many options (or at least the appearance of such).

Personally, I’m admittedly too proud to beg, at least at this point in my life.  I’d fight for my wife, I’d fight for my family, a girlfriend? Girlfriiiiiiiiend *Soulja Boy voice*  It gets a little more dicey.  Frankly, I just don’t believe it works.  Even when it does, you never get the same person back, never get the same relationship back.  Begging is easy when it’s a surface issue, like infidelity.  You fucked up, you know exactly what you did wrong and how to fix it.  Apologize and behave from this day forward. Problem. Solution. Now, it’s just an “up and down” in your relationship story.  (and no one loves telling that story more than a man who cheated and got forgiven.  He”s gonna bring it up in every birthday post, every anniversary, if you die first it’s going in the eulogy). Never mind whatever issues led up to the infidelity or even acknowledgment of the fact that you might not even be ready for this relationship you just lost because it’s now simply about the cheating.

When it get’s more difficult is when the issue isn’t something surface, but foundational.  I’m not happy, I just can’t do this right now, how do you beg to be with someone who just feels like the timing isn’t right?  (Spoiler: You don’t, they just don’t want you).  It’s one thing to be left when you clearly violated the relationship, it’s another when they just don’t want the relationship anymore.  Damn trying to get them back you’re still taken aback by the fact that they decided they didn’t want YOU anymore.  It’s a different blow to the ego than I got caught cheating.   Sure, you can just swallow your pride and accept all blame like Wanya, and now you’re in the same position as the cheater, fighting tirelessly to fix a relationship while the other person holds the leverage.  And you didn’t even do anything wrong, you just don’t want to lose this person.  Maybe they’re worth it.

I’ve had relationships end and deep down, I knew if I just called, begged, made a gesture, forgave things would work themselves out…Hell, there were times I did.  It worked for a few more months, but over time I was still me, she still her and our issues still our issues.  Or I found myself being the only one truly invested in keeping the relationship togehter.  Then there was times where I just…let it go.  You leave and the door locks behind you.  Breaking up, making up and begging only prolongs the inevitable.  Sometimes things have just run their course, or you want different things, or no matter how hard you try there’s too much baggage and the slate will never be clean.  And that’s ok.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GILLETTE

I’m never buying a Gillette razor again!

I’m fucking with you, I’ve never bought a Gillette razor. Black men don’t put razors on their face. It was something my father taught me early, just as I was taught to respect women. So when I saw this new Gillette ad circulating the web, my reaction was, well said. Not what I was expecting from the company that literally sells lower quality pink razors to women for the same price but hey, baby steps. When I started to see the backlash for the ad, I had to watch it again…maybe there was something I missed; surely men aren’t losing their minds because a razor company told them to be respectful members of society. Break up fights, don’t bully, don’t harass women on the street you don’t know. I feel like these are things that shouldn’t be up for debate. They could’ve went much deeper, but then again it’s just a razor company commercial. If anything, they threw a soft ball right down the middle. They are simply asking men to be better, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news, ain’t nobody playing anymore. Adapt or be swiftly removed from the paint. Like I was saying last post with the cookout, there’s no reward for being a decent person, it’s the damn standard.

But Hell hath no fury like a man being held accountable (see Hart, Kevin) so it opens an ironic dialogue on is the idea “toxic masculinity” toxic itself. (it’s not). Pretending to be taken aback by the notion of toxic is the same as being offended by the word privilege, largely full of shit. Having privilege does not mean without struggle, without oppression, without outliers and toxic masculinity does not mean that masculinity itself is toxic. Toxic masculinity alludes to someone acting within their own expectations of what a man is, often exaggerated, often inauthentic. It reduces male identity to sex, violence, bravado and aggression. It turns a workplace into a frat house, hell, it creates frat houses. We live in a society (for now) where it’s rewarded. We watched an imbecile bully his way to the White House simply by being the biggest man in the room. We see people live in toxicity so long they become a part of it themselves. Bully or get bullied, only the strong survive… We are conditioned to believe that toxic culture will change you before you will change it and so we play into it.

I’m not exempt either, growing up it was ride for your hood, get this bread, get at these girls. Virgins got clowned, dudes scrapped over simple shit, we did what we saw the older dudes in the hood doing. They had their own OGs. No one really thought about how and why things just were this way, they just were.

If only we had saw a Gillette commercial, we would’ve turned over a leaf must earlier in life.

I’m just fucking with you. Black men don’t put razors on their face. Which is why I was surprised to see other black men in their feelings over this ad. Like, we don’t even go here. And on top of that; violent, aggressive, sex crazed…that’s how *they* try to paint brothers already. We’re more than that, we’re above that, that’s not what makes us men.

The cycle has to end eventually and there’s no time like the present. Gillette isn’t saying act less like a man, they’re saying act more decent because frankly, everyone else on the planet is kinda tired of your shit. And what do these toxic men do in response? They stage an online boycott and throw their innocent razors in the trash. I guess it cut deep.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SWIPING

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In a distant (maybe real distant) future, it’s my wedding day. There I stand, hopefully hairline still intact, beside my best man, probably my best friend Shizz, who I’ve known since I was 6. One of us asked the other to play one day and we been friends ever since.  Even as our lives took different paths over the years here we are as men, his hairline not intact. It’s been gone since we were like 20. My brothers would probably complete the roster, what’s a man without his family. Most importantly, they would all know the golden rules, that it’s swing on sight for anyone trying to Dwayne Wayne my wedding. Swing on sight for anyone trying to propose at my wedding. Weddings ain’t cheap, B. Across from me would be her wedding party, her best friend who at this point is more like a sister. Maybe it is her sister. Her homegirls, her council, maybe her line sisters (God if you’re listening, don’t send me no more Greeks). They’ve been there from picking out her first date outfit in the group chat, talking her down when things got tight, and now we all here.  Then comes my beautiful bride to be, who I saw on an app, liked her pictures and swiped right.  That’s just how we do things now.

I’ve spoke before about my dislike of dating apps (then I met someone not on a dating app so maybe this is just part of the process).  More appropriately I’d call them swiping apps with not much dating to be had. It’s a necessary evil because where are the single people? On apps. As of this year, there are 50 million people on Tinder. 50 million people finding love (or otherwise) via swipe, perhaps the most primitive gesture the human body can muster. An endless deck of cards and no matter how unimpressed you are you can’t help but keep swiping because maybe this one is the good one. Whether you swipe left or right, the immediate reward of a new profile releases dopamine and encourages you to keep going through the oddly satisfied pile of potentials waiting for one that actually intrigues you. Nope, okay that one…Nope…hmm this one looks interesti… Nah, never mind. Why does she take pictures so close to the camera, why are hers so blurry, is she black or tanned? Septum piercing? Pass. Don’t I know her? I wonder if she swiped right on me already. (Ok, so this did happen once, I had swiped right we matched but I hadn’t messaged yet.  I get to work the next day and I see her in the cafeteria.  I may or may not had unmatched her after that.  I’ve seen her around since then but we haven’t spoken. It’s a little weird)  And you swipe away without giving much thought to the actual people depicted. Maybe you’d like him if you had met at a concert because 5’9 is taller in person, maybe she’s just bad at pictures. You’re looking to meet someone but just casually rejected 25 people in 2 minutes with a thumb motion so how serious are you really?

No surprise, studies show that swiping apps are incredibly ineffective in finding relationships. 18%, about 1 in 6 people. It’s a slot machine. You won’t get what you’re looking for but the addictive simple nature of the app will keep you engaged, and advertisers just trying to advertise without any regard for your cuffing season dreams.  Hell, they’re incentivized for you not to meet someone. They can see you tend to swipe right on a certain type, so why not spread THOSE ones out and put them behind an ad?  Not much unlike the casino, the game isn’t for you to win, it’s for you to play. Which is why the first thing you see when you open Tinder the first thing you see are not your matches, not even yourself, it’s a new face to swipe on.  Happy swiping.

Not to go all Black Mirror about it, I’m sure with the proper level of expectations, it can be fun.  I think take a flattering photo, I’m quick witted and not a creep… theoretically I should clean up on there.  But I go on for a few days, play the slots, most of the time I’m swiping right on women just to see if it’s a match or not (I attract a type) and then deactivate until the next time I get bored.   I also think that maybe I’m just too old for this shit.  The median age of Tinder and other swiping apps is 26, while the median age of more traditional dating sites like Match is 40+, which leaves me kind of  in the middle too apathetic on swiping and too young to be dating y’all divorced aunties on E Harmony.  Which leaves me, going back to the basics.  Link with the squad, find a wave, and ask the cute girl at the bar what she’s drinking? That looks good.  Or, maybe I’ll just get a puppy.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… VOTE

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After what has seemingly been the longest 2 years ever, we have arrived at Election Day, Ballotine’s Day, Votesgiving or whatever. Not to sound so unenthused, I’m moreso exhausted. For one, after 2016 I don’t trust white people with anonymous ballots anymore and two, if there’s anything but a big Blue wave, it’s gonna our fault. We didn’t tell Pookie to go vote. We let the ancestors down. We took our asses to Black Panther but didn’t take our asses to the polls. Even as just 12% of the population, elections are won and lost on our backs. Ain’t that America. Black people aren’t allowed the privilege of apathy, we must vote like our lives depends on it, because well, our lives kinda depends on it. Even if it’s for the devil we know. I don’t say that to discourage voting, I vote. I voted for Obama. Twice. Would’ve a third time if I could. (I’m black so it’s funny when I say it). I guess I tire of the only way to try and garner the black vote is to get Obama & Oprah to talk down and guilt us into it as if we aren’t also citizens who have issues and demands. It’s a frustration I touched on last year when discussing buying Jordans; there’s just this assumption that black people simply don’t know better. I become annoyed at chicanery like click bait links and trolls to get people to register, text alerts, and Snapchat filters and maybe I’m just getting old but…speak to me like a constituent.

For example…

However, I do see the other side of it. People literally fought for this right. Beaten, harassed, killed for this right. Just 50 years ago. To stay home because you just really liked Bernie or you just don’t see any difference is an affront. If your vote actually “didn’t matter” like your hotep cousin on Facebook says, there wouldn’t be so many measures to try and suppress it. Reshaping districts, purging voter rolls, new voting ID laws, revoking the voting rights of those with past criminal records, closing voting locations in minority neighborhoods, to say your vote doesn’t matter is simply ignorant. When you see such overt voter suppression it’s hard not to then turn around and look at the apathetic non voter and want to scream at them for not at least doing their part. These people are literally silencing the people and you have the nerve to just not vote because you don’t feel like it? Fuck you, Pookie. You too, Spencer.

To be fair, we are not a monolith. Some people need a foot in their behind, some need their hand held, but most just want to be inspired again. We don’t need people dragging their feet to the polls, they should be marching. There’s less talk about what we’re voting for and more what we’re voting against. Even in my home state of Massachusetts, both Gubernatorial candidates aren’t really, saying anything. I’m more compelled to go to the polls for the ballot questions. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our parents were very much alive at this time when black people were being terrorized out of their vote, they wasn’t just voting for their right to vote. They were voting to be heard, voting for change, voting to be a part of the solution. As aren’t we, today. There’s more to be done, more to be addressed and I feel like beyond trying to make sure young black people vote, there should be as much effort in making sure their issues are being heard as well. I would hope decades from now, I would be able to try and engage the younger generation to vote by saying this that and the third was done and not, well your ancestors died trying to vote, how could you let that be in vain? They’d be less need for shaming if there was actual results to display. Ultimately, people do what they WANT to do and instead of guilting, maybe the aim should be to make people want to. While Snapchat ads to register to vote is cute, where is the same energy to educate voters, and to make sure candidates know what these newly registered voters want? Fuck Donald Trump is a mood. It’s a good YG song. It’s not a sustainable party platform.

All that to say, take your ass to the polls today.*

*Because you want to because this is your damn country and you’ll be damned if it goes to hell without at least your input

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Today’s Word is… PILLOWTALK

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There’s just some spaces where a black man feels safe to be…vulnerable. There’s the barbershop, the unofficial country club for black men, where on a good day you’ll leave with a fresh cut, about 3 wild stories, and 4 absurd sports hot takes. There’s groupchats, which are essentially the digital barbershop. There’s the basketball court, where the fatigue of a few pick up games will get the teammate you played 4 games with and don’t even know their name will get a text from a girl and be ready to tell you the whole life story. (This has happened on 3 separate occasions). I’m sure plenty of tea is spilled in a smoke session but that’s not really my ministry. And of course, there’s the ultimate tea house…in bed, laid up next to bae. Don’t let there not be a TV in the bedroom. (you get better sleep when there’s no TV in the bedroom #themoreyouknow) So when Pusha T decided to give an interview about an interview about a 5 month old diss song and drop the plot twist that he got the silver bullet from none other than Drake’s best friend, 40 pillow talking some woman it sounded completely plausible. (For what it’s worth, I don’t believe it, that’s TOO convenient)

We’re all guilty of pillow talking, yes you too Mr real niggas don’t gossip and ladies y’all talk too gon brush your shoulders off. When you factor in oxytocin, the hormone released during orgasms and most closely related to trust and bonding feelings in the brain, it makes sense that after sex one would find themselves feeling most vulnerable and most willing to talk intimately. (So maybe if they aren’t pillow talking, get your bars up). After (good) sex, your body is literally yearning for some more connection such as well, more sex, cuddling, and of course intimate conversation. Boom. Science. I’m well aware that I’m guilty of it, it’ll start off as just a funny story, and then you’re giving backstory, and then weeks later you’re giving follow ups and next thing you know y’all are at dinner and she just blurts out some shit. (I was dating one girl who couldn’t hold water worth a damn smh). It’s almost like dude at the basketball court, we can be laid up I get a text from a friend and I go from quickly explaining what the text was about to telling the story about that time we almost got arrested.

For actual couples, pillow talking is almost essential to the health of the relationship. Just taking some time out to learn something new about each other, Lord forbid you fall in love with someone and find out they eat candy corn or they never listened to Jay Z. It’s an opportunity to be completely vulnerable with each other and you have actual brain chemistry helping your cause. Pillow talking isn’t talking about what you got to do later, rehashing an old fight she lost 3 nights ago but now her groupchat gave her some new points to make or bringing up how you like them but you still seeing other people (be honest they said, she’d appreciate it they said), the bed should be a safe space. Sex, sleep, secrets. A place where you can gossip about your friends and assume it doesn’t come back and bite you in a diss record.

Yet and still, there’s rules to this shit. Such as, watch what you’re saying; there’s of some things you need to keep to yourself no matter who you’re sleeping with. Deep personal things, illegal activity, anything you absolutely don’t want to come out. Then there’s watch who you’re saying it to; know the difference between a spouse where y’all share everything (seriously, you tell a married friend anything assume its a 2 for 1), a significant other where y’all share a lot, and well, what allegedly happened with 40 and ol girl. If we are to believe Pusher Terrence, 40 was coming off that oxytocin high and just spilling his soul to this woman who wasn’t even feeling him like that. Major violation on his side and hers. He should’ve knew better than to be telling an outsider all his business and while she doesn’t owe him anything, it’s still a shitty thing to do. What happens in bed should stay there anyway. You’d like to think you can trust the person you’re having sex with but in this age, nothing is sacred. At least when I be learning entirely too much about her homegirls and their drama it never leaves the bed. (Even if after we fall out and they friend throwing shots on social media, I could return fire but won’t because God is working on me). What’s shared between us stays between us. I say that even as someone who literally writes about his life fairly often. Pillow talk is still inadmissible. I could only wish for the same in return but for all I know I have an ex talking to some new dude about some shit I told her. This game cold, B.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… TRAVEL

go-find-yourself

It was a little while back, I had just got my annual review, there was some stuff about how I need to network and communicate more and yeah yeah, where that bag at?  I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do with this bonus, I was going to take a trip.  Take my entry level Spanish to Barcelona, maybe go to London and find my future ex wife, go post up in Santorini like Rick Ross (apparently everybody went to Greece this year because there’s so many pictures on social media now), Tokyo always seemed like a cool place to visit, or I can go back to the Motherland…well, I ain’t get THAT much.  (Seriously though, a $1000 flight to Accra is white supremacy).   At this moment, I’m determined to do this and I’m going to go solo, no time like the present and I don’t want to be held back by anyone else.  I look up vacation packages ($250 single surcharge is also white supremacy, because reasons).  I look up flights and tried not to be turned off by the flight times, I’m sure I can find half a xan somewhere.  Then trying to find a hotel and plan an itinerary…I need a vacation from planning a vacation already.  I just started a new project I can’t just leave for a week, and so I delay it a few months…and a few more…that turns into well, let’s see next year but then the reality hit me that, I just don’t really want to.

*Gasp*

When you’re young, single, childless and have a few extra pennies you’re supposed to travel, broaden your horizons, take in some culture, it’s what makes you a more well rounded individual and makes that “loves to travel” line in your Tinder bio not bullshit.  It’s not that I’m opposed to it completely, I just don’t care that much.  As someone who is very interested in art and history, there’s so much in the world I would love to see. Perhaps I just need a travel agent or about a 30% pay increase because I’m just not disciplined enough to save.  I don’t get up and work every day just to eventually have enough money to walk around Europe for a week.   Shrug life.  However, when you say that out loud it’s like when someone expresses a desire not to get married or have kids; you’re expected to aspire to travel even if you never do.  So even if you end up flying over 2 days, staying in a hostel and only get 27 likes on your picture so now you have to repost 3 more times with the “take me baaaaack” caption because how the hell did your banana bread get more likes than fucking Patong beach, it’s worth it because now you have an anecdote.  It’s become a status symbol; “I don’t spend money on material goods, I pay for experiences” meanwhile you barely left the resort.  Travel is a hobby, either you’re into it or you’re not but some people just need to feel superior.  People stress traveling in your 20s ironically implying that it’s something irresponsible and should be done before you start adulting adulting in your 30s even though you would be more stable and more comfortable then.  I’d much rather travel in the next few years, than have scratched and clawed my way years ago just to say I’ve been.

I have friends who love to travel, they come back and their stories and photos at best make me think about seeing for myself.  It’s hard not to log on social media see your peers “living their best life” all over and feel like you’re slacking.   But I live my best life in my apartment catching up on TV and buying shit I don’t need on Amazon Prime.  I can afford to travel, just not quite on my terms yet so what’s the rush?  (Well who knows with Toupee Fiasco…I might just hurry up and get to Cuba while I still can) Right now, international travel that just feels more trouble than it’s worth.   I’ve probably taken about a dozen smaller, domestic trips in the last year or so because ‘Merica still has plenty of offer. (Well, maybe like 3 more cities than I’m done).  That isn’t to dissuade others, if you have the travel bug by all means scratch it and go as far as your budget allows and make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not the ‘Gram.  We don’t care. I promise.

-Stan-

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