How Sexy is a Man’s Ambition, Really?

A few months ago,a friend put me on to Single Black Male–a blog once exclusively devoted to relationship fodder that is now transforming itself into a media hub for black news and opinion. I was instantly hooked and tried not to drool when I met Slim Jackson, the blog’s executive editor, at a conference back in June. My drooling was less over the blog and more over Slim because he’s simply hot. And, Slim if you ever see this, you know you’re hot so let us not front.

Today, I read an article on SBM entitled “10 Things Women Find Unattractive About Men But Won’t Tell Them.” Number one on the list? Ambition imbalance. Well, duh, most women don’t like men who don’t have ambition. But, the blog’s author Patia Braithwaite offered an alternative way of looking at ambition.

“I love a purpose-driven man. I am insanely attracted to men that work hard, have a vision and are actively trying to achieve that vision; however, if I get the sense that a man would stab me dead and step over my cold body to get to the top, I can’t take him too seriously. Men, keep that in mind when we meet at the bar and you try to impress me with stories about your cut throat attitude and your proclivity to check your Blackberry during sex. I’ll nod and smile, but you can’t be my boyfriend. Conversely, if you have no job and/or no ambition, we can’t be together. Ambition is a necessary spice of life, but it’s not the entire meal.  Savor relaxation, savor balance, and savor me.”

Patia is on to something.

I used to think smarts coupled with ambition were the zenith of admirable qualities in men. They were the beginning and the end, the cherubim and seraphim, the…well, you get it. They were important. But now a more acute understanding of myself, relationships and the world around me has revealed that someone’s potential buying power is in no way correlated to their ability to love, nurture, support, and lay the smackdown. (Obviously I’m referencing a wrestling ring.)

Of course, if I were looking for a potential mate boyfriend cool guy to share my company with, motivation and smarts would still be top of mind. After all, we look for that which mirrors ourselves and I’d like to think I’m not a lazy imbecile, contrary to what my closest comrades may say. Nonetheless, I’m not instantly impressed by a guy’s stock investments, aspirations to be a CEO by age 30, or list of post-graduate degrees. Those things are cool…until they’re not. They’re a conversation starter but soon enough, you’ll shrug and, if you’re anything like me, search for something substantive hidden in someone’s soul. Or you’ll at least wait for a witty joke or some quirky gesture because let me tell you, there is nothing sexier than an offbeat man who may tweet some obscure phrase 20 times in a row just for the hell of it. No? Oh, maybe that’s just me.

I once had a conversation with a guy that went something like, “Yeah, I’m really competitive at work. I love competing.” My response: “Oh.”

Wait, were you looking for more from that last paragraph? Yeah, well I was looking for more from that conversation so I guess everyone loses.

In the end, we all have goals. We all have aspirations. But, what’s amazing about them is they are personal and they are all ours. Maybe we talk about them; maybe we don’t. But ultimately, the best goals in life won’t change our ability to be loving, honest, soulful human beings. They may start the conversation but they certainly won’t finish it. And, even the biggest aspirations won’t suddenly edit someone’s ugly spirit.

How would little old me know these things? Oh, honey, been there, dated that.



Does Anyone Date Anymore?

I decided to emerge from my cocoon and, after a solid 10 months devoted to myself, re-enter the dating world. Or, so I thought.

Surprise, surprise, it’s still in the abysmal state I left it in.

I was hoping I would leave and come back to the dating utopia I conjured up in my head where men ask women on dates and people get to know each other over dinners or long metro rides. Oh, and where men wear argyle socks with their dress shoes. They have to wear argyle socks.

Nonetheless, not so much. For the world of early twenty-somethings, dating still seems to be synonymous with “let’s hang out” and hang out is synonymous with sit on someone’s couch and watch a movie and watch a movie is synonymous with a host of activities that constitute everything other than watching a movie.

The bra-burner, Rosie the Riveter, independent woman in me would like to believe that dating the old school way and waiting for a man to ask you out is a complete crock of bull. In most life matters, I am straightforward and if I see something I want, I go for it. However, I’ve had a few influences, male and female, that have changed that outlook when it comes to members of the opposite sex. If there’s anything I’ve learned from pouring through Demetria Lucas’ Formspring account day after day, it is this: if he’s interested, he’ll call. If he’s not, he won’t. And, if there’s anything else I’ve learned from the handful of platonic male friends in my life, it is this: when they are interested, they pursue. When they’re not; they don’t.

I’m sure there are millions of independent booty-shaking women out there who have pursued a relationship and gotten it. And to those women I just want to say hey, the shoes on my feet, I bought em, too. But, my guess is these women are the exception, not the rule. And, even if they are not, it doesn’t change the fact that I want to be courted, dammit.

Yes, I am said it. Deep somewhere beyond the contemporary woman who shutters at words such as “submissive” and grimaces at phrases such as “act like a lady,” I still want an old-fashioned romance. It sounds simple enough, except for the fact that there are countless books, blogs and articles telling women how to (and more importantly how not to) date. But, aside from the “f*** off” stamp I just decided to peel from my forehead not too long ago, I’m not sure how else to run around letting men know I am available to date. I even decided to start smiling, a rare occurrence if you know me and the many free club entrances I have nearly cost my friends by scowling at the bouncers. :)

I am still sticking to my guns that I am going to date the old school way. Because, I’ve done the FWB shimmy one too many times and my feet are tired. It’s all fun and games until you look down and realize your heart isn’t quite as icy as you pegged it to be.

At 22, I’m not too jaded. I have faith. Lots of it, in fact. I still believe that men ask women on first dates. I still believe in flowers and forehead kisses. I believe two individuals can fall head-over-heels-jump-to-the-moon in love with one another. I believe there are men who genuinely value women in a way that is fearless and refreshing and nurturing. And, I believe there are women who value men just the same. I believe in love that shatters the Earth and rebuilds it more beautifully. And, I believe in these things not just for the early twenty-somethings. More importantly, I believe in them for myself.



Confessions of a Cool Kid: Christopher Roberts

I met Chris during the second semester of my junior year when we both performed in UMD’s first installment of . Since then, his prolific Twitter feed has kept me apprised of his adventures all the way on the left coast. He’s a creative soul, an energetic spirit, and just plain good people. Learn more in this cool kid’s profile.

Age: 24, Aquarius shawty :-)

Current location: Oakland, California

 Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

 Undergrad: University of Maryland, College Park

Major: Sociology, Social Stratification

Graduate School: San Francisco State University

Area of Study: M.A. in Ethnic Studies, Africana Studies

Your blog has a quote from Fred Hampton, “I believe I’m going to die doing the things I was born to do.” What is it you were born to do?

 The quote from Fred Hampton is unique to me in that it reminds me daily to be inspired. Fred himself, was a young man in his twenties when he was assassinated, yet lived a life that has left an indelible mark on this world. I believe I was born to love on accident, live on purpose, to empower others, to be empowered by others, to create, and to be fearless in the pursuit of freedom for my people.

 Who are some of your favorite artists?

Some of my favorite artists huh?? Hahaha. There are SO many, but i guess I can give you eight. Kara Walker, Audre Lorde, Joshua Mays, Elle Varner, Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye, and Emory Douglas, and Haile Gerima

 What’s your favorite piece you have ever written and why?

 There is not one particular piece that is my favorite. I believe that each piece has a purpose, and each word has its worth. So I don’t necessarily have a favorite piece, my favorite thing about poetry and spoken word is sharing. I believe that poetry is freedom in practice and everytime I share my practice of freedom with the world that is my favorite poem.

 What inspired the name for your blog, “ie the revolution?”

The name of my blog came from a line in my poem “My Dreams.” The line is “When you look up me, in the dictionary, it’s gonna say i.e. the revolution, cause I eat, I sleep, and I… breathe the revolution.” The term i.e. translated from Latin means “that is.” On my blog I would like for people in some way, shape or form to read any of the content on the blog and say to themselves “Hey, that is revolution.” Revolution meaning a lucid departure from the oppressive monotony that is this capitalistic American experience, that said, for a moment I hope that my readers find freedom in my phrases and liberation in my lines.

 What is something most people don’t know about you?

 There was a time when I was one of the top 100 Pokemon Trading Card players in Baltimore, D.C. Maryland, or Virginia.

 Any words you live by?

 Live life as if living is something you enjoy doing. Love is the only word that really means anything. Speak the truth. Forgive and remember. Pain will consume you until you release it. Black is bombastic and beautiful. My ancestors deserve my best; I have no choice but to do this. ← there are more phrases like this but these are some of the ones that are often on my heart and mind.

 What do you do for fun?

 I party and bullshit for fun. Like I really love to party. I kick it with my friends and classmates on the weekends to check out all the dope parts of the bay. Bars, clubs, art shows, community events, open mics, we do it all. I do exactly what I do everyday for fun. I read for fun. I write for fun. I teach for fun. And I breathe for fun.

 Where will you be in 10 years?

 In ten years. I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. I’ll have this M.A. and PhD by then so that’ll be nice lol. I just know I want what I do to involve young people, art, culture, hiphop, education, and transformative change. Maybe Philly, maybe Oakland, maybe South Africa, maybe Baltimore, or maybe some new place that is created out of a revolution of oppressed peoples across the world. To be honest, I just want to be where freedom is.

 How long have you had the locs?

 11 years for the locs.

 What are you currently reading?

 I’m currently reading three things. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was reading just one book. I’m reading Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde, and The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles edited by Sholeh Wolpe.

 Anything else we should know?

 If you are reading this I really have love for you; if not I have love for you as well. You are good enough. Tyece creating this space is amazing.  

Where can we find you? 

People can find my thoughts and my work at and on twitter

Confessions of a Cool Kid is the Twenties Unscripted profile series that features, well, people doing cool things. If you or someone you know is a cool kid, hit me up at

We’ve All Functioned In Dysfunctional Love

On Sunday night, Rihanna sat down with the media queen Oprah and gave a candid and authentic interview. Thanks to the suckers at Verizon who want to charge me an extra $25 dollars to own OWN, I didn’t watch the interview. But, per usual, the Twitterverse and, the following day, blogosphere, didn’t spare me any details. What I gathered is that Rih Rih dished heavily on her relationship with her father, her tough girl facade, and, of course, her relationship with Chris Brown.

Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, I pulled this quote from the interview:

“We’ve been working on our friendship again and now we are very close friends,” she told Oprah. “We’ve built our trust again. We love each other and we will probably always will. That’s not anything you can change or shut off if you’ve ever been in love.”

It’s pretty easy for anyone’s mind to flash back to Grammy night 2009 and the absence of Rihanna and Chris Brown from the red carpet that night, followed by the media frenzy, the violence, the fallout and everything else we’ve heard way too much about at this point. I think it’s also pretty easy for lots of people to cut a side eye at Rihanna, wondering how she could make amends with Brown. I was quick to dart that side eye until I thought a little more about my own life and mistakes.

I specifically remember Googling “verbal abuse” a few springs ago. My now ex-boyfriend was going to be on a bus that same night to visit me for the weekend, despite a particularly vehement argument the night before. During the course of our 2-ish year relationship, I was hit with more than my fair share of verbal darts. I was told, among other things, that I was clueless, I was an idiot, and I needed to use my middle name on my resume because I would never get a job with my actual name. (For the record, I’m gainfully employed with the name Tyece but that’s neither here nor there.) In retrospect, it’s hard to believe I listened to a fraction of the things he said to me that dismantled my spirit. I’ve now implemented much more of a zero tolerance policy for the bullshit. But, at the time, it just didn’t seem that easy.

It wasn’t easy because I tried to make it simple: I loved him. The verbal darts were always later met with bandages of “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t mean it” or “I love you.” The night he visited, I talked to him over dim light about how I thought some of the things he said qualified as verbal abuse. He apologized profusely and promised it wouldn’t happen again. Weeks later, to preface more of his degradation, he said, “Don’t even try to say this is verbal abuse.”

So, I don’t say this to play the victim because I’m not. I’m in a healthy and happy place now. I also don’t say this to parallel my experience to Rihanna. No one ever deserves physical, emotional, verbal or mental abuse and I can’t fathom what she has dealt with. I say it to say that dysfunction comes in many forms.

We could easily say Rihanna should walk away from CB and never look back. That is, until we remember the many times we looked back, walked back, laid back down, and did it all over again with that same person who caused complete chaos in our lives. We can say what Rihanna could or would or should do but only she can decide that. And when she truly decides that, it will be beautiful and it will be real and she will mean it.

In the end, for most of us, we have functioned in the middle of dysfunctional love. Love is consuming. It’s blinding. It envelopes us in a way that’s so intense, it’s eerie. And, when it does that omnipresent dance around our brains and our bodies, sometimes we just don’t make the smartest choices. Especially when it’s a first love. We’ve never had it before and we worry we’ll never have it again. But, I think as we mature and learn about ourselves and the world around us, we realize love isn’t dysfunctional or painful. It doesn’t attack or bite or sting. It doesn’t taste delicious one day and then sour the next. It’s patient. It’s kind. It’s supportive. And, if it’s not those things, well then honey child, it’s not love.



A Shout Out to the Introverts of America

During my freshmen year of undergrad, I took a little personality assessment by the name of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I remember little about the assessment’s results aside from one thing: I was an introvert.

At the time, my 17-year old mind dismissed the results as inconclusive. I had friends. I liked being social. My mom stuck me and my sister at the front of the church every Sunday for years and had us sing; clearly, I was outgoing. Duh. The test was hodge podge.

I took the assessment again as a senior along with the students I taught in a freshmen orientation course. Same result. Introvert. This time, I reflected on the many nights I turned down offers to go to Route 1, UMD’s premier bar scene rampant with fake IDs and sequined dresses that should only be reserved for New Years’ Eve parties. I passed in favor of staying home and watching Love Jones for the 170th time. Hmm…maybe these Myers and Briggs folks were on to something.

I think introverts automatically get a bad rep because most people equate the word with being shy or, worse, self-centered. But, according to those Myers and Briggs smarties, introverts recharge their energy from being alone (on the opposite end, extraverts recharge from being with other people.) Additionally introverts prefer substantial interaction with others as opposed to frequent interaction with others.

I’ve dropped enough psychology on you to last awhile. Now, to the point.

In college and even in my post-grad adult life, I have more than a few times felt as though I were cheating on my youth with my introversion. I am 22 years old which means I should be going to happy hours and dancing on dimly lit dance floors to radio tunes, exchanging sweat with complete strangers. I’m young, damnit! These are my best years!

I’ve done and still do those things. Every now and again, I suffer through the beautiful pain of a pair of pumps, dance with a stranger whose first and last name I do not know and buy unreasonably priced drinks at clubs. But, admittedly, on more than one occasion, I’ve declined offers to go out or, worse, bailed because, well, I just didn’t want to. I just wanted to stay home curled up on the futon I paid for in the apartment I paid for watching the cable that, you guessed it, I paid for. Even as I sit here and write this blog post, it is Friday night, I’m listening to John Legend in my skivvies and my cat is doing some skiddish run around the house. I do not know if Friday nights become any more perfect than this.

Somewhere along the line, I became a proud introvert of America. I learned that this life is too short to do things I just don’t feel like doing with people I don’t feel like doing them with. Life is already making me do things I don’t want to do. I spend 40 hours a week working and 40 sleeping. So you can bet your sweet ass in the remaining 88ish, I am going to do what I want to do. As should everyone.

In three weeks, two of my close friends and I have planned a trip to Miami. Miami’s a place of sex, sun and sand, in that order. Admittedly, I am far too awkward and not-sexy-in-a-Kim-Kardashian-way to really pull off Miami but I appreciate it for the spectacle it is. However, the thought of clubbing for three nights in a row exhausts, not excites, me. Nonetheless, I know my best friend, one member of the trip’s trio, is going to see this blog post and call me a grandma. So, best friend, do not fear. Grandma bought three new slutastic dresses to wear to the clubs in Miami. She’ll be there right with you. Cane and all.