On D. Wade, Gabby Union, And Making Sense Of Non-Break “Breaks” And Condomlessness


(Today, Maya Francis makes her VSB debut with a piece that talks about exactly what the title says it would)

I’m going to keep it real with you all and say that there is a very, very small handful of celebrities whose happiness and success I’m actively rooting for. Among them, Janet Jackson and her gotdamnit-he’s-fine-billionaire-husband, Kerry Washington (and Nnamdi by association), Mariah and Nick, Idris and his bowtie.

I really don’t care anything about Dwyane Wade, his divorce troubles, or Gabby Union. I have opinions, and my opinions have skeletons, but I am not that invested.

But, when every single person in the whole entire world spent a week writing status after email after tweet after blog after thinkpiece deconstructing their relationship and our reactions to their relationship from every conceivable angle, I had two choices. Continue not really caring, or trick myself into believing that they’re not celebrities, and offer my opinion then.

I chose the latter.

And since I chose the latter, and chose to re-imagine new identities for Dwyane Wade (Carpenter. Yes, like Jesus.) and Gabrielle Union (Some chick working at Verizon), I have no qualms about saying two things:

1. There’s no such thing as a “break”

There is together. And not together. There is, “I’m need a couple days to avoid possibly murdering you,” and letting all calls go to voicemail forever. Sure, you might need some days to air yourselves out and regroup, but no part of that should include the next man/chick. When your “break” from me includes the addition of someone else, we’re using fuzzy math.

But, I’m aware some of you slept through math. And slept with your math teachers. So, for the Valtrex-sniffing portion of the population who do use sex with other people to get closer to their partners, there’s something else in this that doesn’t fit quite right.

2. Where the f*ck were the condoms?

I know this is a rhetorical question. At this point at least. Still, the whole condomless break sex thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine some time ago. Apparently, men don’t just randomly stop using condoms. There’s no man out there who is a serial condom user and decides on one special night not to use one. Men who don’t use condoms, he says, always choose not to use them. Since those last three sentences scared the f*ck out of me, I won’t even attempt to address them. Just wanted to put them there so they’d scare you too.

Anyway, condoms are $12 a box. You get one condom per dollar. That’s less than an Egg McMuffin. Hell, you could get them free from a multitude of places. I mean, they’ll be Durex or Avirex or whatever other off-brand condoms they give out at free clinics, but still. That’s better than nothing. So what never seems to curl all the way over for me in these situations is the conception of #BreakBabies who are living proof of the lack of foresight, or consideration, held for the health of one’s partner whilst sexing someone else… to get closer…to the partner.

One of my personal rules in life is “never make a mistake you can’t fix.” This is why I’m not a Delta. The problem with irresponsible sex – and I’m calling it “irresponsible” in this case because any way this is spun, I think we can agree that it was not the intention to make another baby – is that it’s a shared mistake that can have detrimental, unfixable consequences for individuals who haven’t made any personal decisions for themselves. Wade, and others like him, is lucky that the conversation is just about a baby. And whether you agree with Gabby’s choice or not, let’s just be glad she still had an opportunity to make one.

You can follow Maya @MF_Greatest. And, if you don’t do that, she will follow you. Like, in real life. She will literally follow you to your house. 

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: I Cheated On Him Some Time Ago. Should I Tell Him?

***The Champ’s latest at Madame Noire includes questions and answers from his weekly Facebook chat***

Jasmine: What is the most reasonable time period in which a woman should receive a proposal from her boyfriend?

DY: I don’t believe in an arbitrary set time for things like that. But, I will say if you’re in your late 20s and above, just “dating” for longer than two years probably isn’t the best look

Nita: Who comes first in your life, your wife or your mother?

DY: Wife. In my opinion, a wife comes before everyone else, including children

Cynthia: Why do today’s men want women to take care of them?

DY: Men, by in large, follow the path of least resistance. Basically, (some) men expect women to take care of them because (some) women are willing to do it.

Shahdae: Is it okay to date more than one guy at a time?!

DY: Of course! Dating is supposed to be when you’re out meeting people and finding out what you like/don’t like and need/don’t need. How are you going to do that if you don’t date multiple people?

Clarissa: If you cheat and know you made a mistake should you tell your man or take it to the grave?

DY: Honestly, it depends on when. If this happened some time ago and he’s unlikely to find out—and you know it won’t happen again—I think you should keep it to yourself. Although it seems “honorable,” letting a person know about something they’d never hear about otherwise—something that would definitely hurt them—would likely be more about you having a clear conscience and feeling better than anything else.

But, if this happened recently, you probably need to tell him because your sexual behavior has put him at risk. He needs to know that. Either way, your first step should be to get tested.

Read more at Madame Noire

How Petraeus Proves That You Can’t Outsmart Nature

When first hearing about the General Petraeus scandal, I wasn’t very interested in writing about it. I mean, “Powerful man cheats on wife with attractive young woman who admires him” is about as dog bites man-ey as a story can get. This is something that has always happened and will always continue to happen. Frequently. (In fact, some would argue that the main reason why men seek power is so they’ll have sexual access to a larger population of women — basically, power didn’t make him have sex with other women as much as his want to have sex with other women made him want to be more powerful — but that’s another discussion for another day)

After reading that Paula Broadwell was basically a female Petraeus clone — and after seeing pictures of Petraeus’s wife who, bless her heart, kind of looks like Benjamin Franklin¹ — the question isn’t “Why did he cheat?” but instead “Really? You didn’t think this was going to happen? Really?”

“So,” I can imagine you asking, “if this is such a non-story, why did you decide to write about it?” Good question! In a couple of the articles I’ve read about this, the authors were trying to piece together when this affair most likely began. It’s generally assumed that it started after she spent time with him in Afghanistan, but no one has really been able to pinpoint exactly when. I decided to write about this because, well, anyone who points to Afghanistan as the beginning of their affair is looking at it all wrong. There’s no need to check emails or text messages or phone calls to find an exact date. The answer is in plain sight.

From Slate.com’s “A General Lesson”

Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom he had this affair, writes in her fawning biography of Petraeus that they first met when she was in graduate school at Harvard and he came to give a talk about counterinsurgency strategy. She approached him afterward and expressed interest in the subject; they exchanged cards. Soon, she decided to write a Ph.D. dissertation on his leadership style and, when he took command in Afghanistan, asked if she could come observe him in action. He agreed.

This affair began the moment Petraeus decided to allow this young and attractive woman — a young and attractive woman who was infatuated with him, remember — to shadow him. Maybe they hadn’t actually had sex yet, but when he signed off on accepting her offer, he might as well as put his signature on her clitoris.

Now, I’m certain that, when first meeting Broadwell, Petraeus wasn’t thinking to himself “I wanna f*ck her while she’s screaming out random quotes from the book she’s going to write about me.” Actually, lemme rephrase that. He probably did think that — trust me when I say that you (women) really do not want to be privy to the surprisingly creative depths of the sexually deprived thoughts and fantasies that go through our heads when meeting an attractive woman — but thinking that and actually putting things in motion so that it will happen are two different things. Basically, I don’t think “I’m going to cheat on my wife with her” was the first thought that came to mind when meeting her.

The mistake Petraeus — an extremely smart and extremely calculating man — made was the same that most other men who’ve ever stepped out on their significant others also made. Regardless of how smart you are and how strong your will may be, you cannot outsmart or outwill nature. You just can’t expect to spend that much time — running together, sharing meals, speaking for hours, etc — with someone you may be attracted to and expect nothing to happen.

This is why I’m not a huge believer in true platonic friendships, why I’ve argued that men who want to avoid cheating need to avoid nightclubs, and why I believe that you avoid cheating by making decisions weeks, months, years even before the opportunity to cheat even enters the picture.

Affairs like Petraeus’s don’t begin when actual penetration occurs. They don’t even begin when you first start flirting and/or having conversations that aren’t really all that inappropriate yet. It starts when you first begin to entertain the idea that you enjoy having a certain person around you, and you start doing things to make sure you interact more often. You start going to lunch at 12:15 instead of 12:30 because it increases the likelihood of you “running into” her. You find bullshit excuses to text them or hit them up on Gchat, asking him questions that you could have easily just googled. You allow her to follow you to Afghanistan, work out with her daily, and allow her to stay in your headquarters.

Considering that it’s near impossible to be in a relationship and avoid everyone who you might be attracted to, I imagine that some of you think I think affairs, especially among people with options, are inevitable and unpreventable. If none of us can outsmart nature, those who want to stay faithful are doomed, right?

This is not true. There are two easy ways to help prevent something like this from happening.

1. Only commit to someone if you fill completely “fulfilled” by them.

2. If you’ve committed to someone who doesn’t completely fulfill you and you ever happen to encounter someone you think you may be attracted to, nod your head at them, take a deep breath, turn the other way, and run.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

¹Can’t take full credit for this observation. My mom actually made it while watching a news story about the scandal. Btw, thanks again for all the well-wishes regarding her health. She has a long road ahead of her, but she seems to be responding well to her treatment so far.

Once An Abuser, Always An Abuser…

...or maybe not

Now, it’s no secret that I’m no fan of The Increasingly Bizarre Chris Brown.

He makes shitty music (calling him a “poor man’s Michael Jackson” is an insult to Micheal Jackson, poor men, and lazy analogies), has shitty roles in shitty movies (The shittiest?Takers” — aka “The Screen Version Of Every Hennessy Ad That Ever Made The Inside Front Cover Of The Source”), has shitty advisers, and hasn’t appeared the least bit contrite for that excessively shitty thing he did to Rihanna three years ago (Again, I don’t personally know him. But, from what I’ve seen, heard, and read, he acts as if he was actually the one victimized that night. And, for people who think that people like me need to “let it go,” I’ll let it go when he stops acting like the one who was victimized that night. Actually, “victimized” isn’t strong enough of a word. “Brutalized” is better. For those who think I’m using too much hyperbole, please read the article linked above. Now, shut the f*ck up.)

Despite all of this, Rihanna seems to have forgiven him. Which is (obviously) her choice. They also seem to be dating now. Well, publicly dating now. And, because of Rihanna’s past brutalization, many — myself included — believe that he will inevitably brutalize her again.

But, what if he doesn’t? What if he all of a sudden becomes a model boyfriend, perfect husband, and doting father? Would the second chance he’s received from her be justified, or is the decision inherently bad regardless of the outcome? I realize that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior — and I do realize that serial abusers are called serial abusers for a reason — but just how I think Rihanna may be taking a very dangerous chance, we — people who assume he’ll beat her again — may be dangerously lazy with our thought process. How can we be so sure, so certain, that he will definitely beat her to a pulp again, especially when — to my knowledge¹ — that brutalization was the only time he abused her?

The Increasingly Bizarre Chris Brown and Rihanna’s star-crossed relationship aside, hearing stone cast beliefs such as like “once an abuser, always an abuser” and “once a cheater, always a cheater” never really sat right with me. They don’t account for any nuance. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” would make more sense if it were an addiction and/or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but sometimes people cheat once and never cheat again. And, more importantly, those types of statements reek of something a group of “good” and “self-righteous” people (read: people like me) created in order to make sure that people who once did something bad are forever branded and never forgiven. It’s our way of making sure they’re not “rewarded” for not being good.

The Increasingly Bizarre Chris Brown may in fact be my 2nd least favorite entertainer of all-time (R. Kelly will forever hold the top spot on that list). I wouldn’t trade a hot bucket of cat piss for one of his albums. I also realize that Rihanna getting back with the man who publicly brutalized her sets a terrible example for her millions of young female (and male) fans; many of whom will look at their situation and think “Well, Rihanna took Breezy back, so a couple punches can’t be all that bad.

But, despite how I feel about him, can I say with any confidence that if he and Rihanna stay together, he will definitely abuse her again?

No, I can’t. And, since I can’t, I won’t.

¹I’m not super well-versed in Chrihanna news, so if there are any other documented instances of him abusing women that I haven’t heard about, please let me know

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Another Question About Cheating.

I’ve always felt like the wives and girlfriends of athletes and politicians, and well, men in power really got a raw lot in life. I think that they are almost guaranteed to date and/or marry a man who is going to step out on them at some point. Of course, not all athletes, politicians, etc are going to cheat. I know this.

Conversely, they are also privy to many riches and to a status that most people will never know or achieve. And I’m sure that there’s a certain long-term cost-benefit analysis that goes into marrying certain men anyway.

This might be a good place to mention this, I’ve spent time trying to decide if a man who married a politician woman or whatever really felt any type of way about their woman stepping out on them and my guess is that most of us just wouldn’t sweat it. Not that women can’t cheat, obviously they can, I just think that the male mentality of being a woman’s end all be all makes us all think that we’re immune to being cheated on…which is why we totally lose our sh*t when we find out that our woman has cheated on us. Men…we so dumb sometimes. Patriarchy, you’ve got to love it.

Anyway, the point of those few paragraphs above is this: I get the impression that in nearly all of those relationships, the woman says at some point: “do not embarass me.” Basically, wear condoms and be discreet. Remember your family and don’t bring anything home that you didn’t leave with. Nobody wants to be the last person to find out something. In fact, I’m willing to bet all of your paychecks that the main reason a woman won’t stand next to her husband after some scandal breaks is because she found out about it via newspaper or somebody else telling her as opposed to her husband. Nobody likes to be the last to know, but especially if you get questioned about something and have no clue what the asker is talking about.

Don’t embarass me.

Which leads to my main question here: is it worse to be cheated on, or to be the last one to know you got cheated on?

Perhaps this is an easy answer since if you know before everybody else, you can control the release of information better or at least be able to get ahead of the situation. You can make sure that you’re taking care of home and attempt to close out everybody else from speaking on your situation. But that also assumes that cheating is a forgivable offense to begin with, right?

But I don’t know, I mean it definitely makes the act worse if you’re the last to know, but shouldn’t the infidelity by itself be enough of a transgression? Does it even matter how you found out that you got cheated on assuming that its both true and verifiable?

How did this all come up? Believe it or not, I was watching the movie Rio and somehow, during the course of that movie, THAT idea came to my head. For those who haven’t seen Rio, it’s a movie about two blue macaw’s who have to smang in order to preserve the species, except one can’t fly and Jamie Foxx is a yellow bird with a bottle cap hat. Oh, and And I became curious. Is there any connection? Not really. Total non-sequitur? Absolutely. Point is, don’t question my authority.

So, anyway, to the peanut gallery: what’s worse – being cheated on or being the last to know you got cheated on?

Inquiring minds would like to know.