The Unspoken But Expected Reciprocation Of Giving (And Receiving) Head

Despite the fact that it first aired a few months ago, I’m just now getting around to watching the current season of “Louie.” I’m up to episode four, but something that occurred in episode two addresses an unspoken bit of dating decorum that, well, has remained unspoken for obvious reasons.

Louie’s friend arranges for the newly single Louie to meet someone. They don’t initially hit it off, but after heading to a bar, having a couple drinks, and donning some beer goggles, they start to warm up to each other. They leave in her truck, and after a couple blocks she pulls over in an alley, tells him to whip it out, and starts giving him head. When finished (and yes, she swallows), she sits back up and asks him to return the favor. He refuses, saying that he considers that to be too intimate of an act to do when first meeting someone.

This (predictably) starts an argument where she basically says that reciprocation is expected, and, if he wasn’t prepared to go down on her, he shouldn’t have allowed her to give him a bj. He replied that just because she doesn’t consider that to be too intimate doesn’t mean that he should feel the same way. 

The scene ends with her basically raping him into giving her head (you have to see it to believe it), but it stayed with me because of the issue it brings up. Much of our dating/relationship lives are governed by certain unspoken but expected reciprocations —  some as small as “If you accept this drink, you’re also accepting (at least) two songs worth of conversation” and others as potentially life-changing as “If I’m monogamous, I expect you to be monogamous too.” And, since these things are largely unspoken, there always remains the possibility that miscommunications such as the one that occurred with Louie will end up with a p*ssy forcefully placed in your mouth.

I guess the easy solution would be to just make certain everything is always explicitly communicated, but life doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we assume that people we’re dating share the same sense of decorum. Sometimes we don’t make that assumption, but don’t actually think to bring up the subject until it smacks you in the face. And, sometimes we want to bring stuff up, but worry about offending and/or ruining the mood. Basically, assumed social mores has a tendency to make us a bunch of p*ssies. (If it seems like I’m enjoying typing “p*ssy’ too much, it’s because I totally am. P*ssy, P*ssy, P*ssy, P*ssy, P*ssy!!!)

Oh, and as far as oral sex decorum, I’m not sure if there’s a right answer to Louie’s situation. Personally, I haven’t gone down on everyone who’s gone down on me (Is it an damning indictment of my sexual past if just the mere thought of possibly eating out some of the woman who’ve given me head gives me chills and cold sweats? Nevermind. Don’t answer that question.), and I’ve never given head in anticipation of reciprocation either. If I did it, I did it because I wanted to do it, not because I wanted them to do something in return.

Also, Louie was right. Just because a person is ready to suck off and/or eat out anyone who smells good and smiles at them doesn’t mean that the person receiving the head will feel the same way. For some people, going down on someone is only reserved for “special” people. (ie: future wives, former presidents, Nicole Beharie, women who you’re trying to trick into letting you hit, etc) Yes, it’s somewhat hypocritical to accept head from someone knowing that you’d never, ever, ever, ever return the favor, but “hypocritical” doesn’t mean “wrong.”

At the same time, I also do think that Louie’s date had a valid point. I mean, after a certain point in your life (and by “after a certain point in your life” I mean “after your 21st birthday”), you probably shouldn’t be receiving head from someone you’d never, ever, ever — for moral, biological, or “you disgust the ever-living shit out of me” reasons — give head to. At that point, returning the act isn’t so much about the act itself as much as it’s about the principle. This — giving head — is something adults do, and if you’re ready to receive, your ass needs to be ready to give as well.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, what do you think? If you go down on someone, do you expect them to go down on you too? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Also, do you consider oral sex to be more intimate than just plain ole f*ckin?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

for those folks in the DMV, this Saturday, October 6 is another edition of Reminisce, our all 90s everything hip-hop/r&b/dancehall party at Liv Nightclub in Washington, DC. It’s free before 11pm with RSVP (http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and there’s an open bar from 930-1030pm with no dress code. Come to party, leave to remember. Reminisce. Peep the flyer and FB invite: http://www.facebook.com/events/325601340869364/

Pussified: Why All (Yes. All.) Of Our Shows Suck Ass

"That was a funny joke. Too bad it's too funny for our show."

Last weekend, I attended Blogalicious — an annual conference celebrating diversity in women involved with social media — a great opportunity to meet old and new friends, make countless contacts, and inhale obscene amounts of free liquor. (How much free liquor? Let’s just say that you know you’ve probably had a bit too much when you wake up the next morning and see that you didn’t even close the door to your hotel room) 

It took place at the Gaylord National right outside of D.C. — a hotel so big that I once got lost four different times in the same night, prompting a clerk who I’d hit up for directions three times to take a look at my VSB t-shirt and joke “If you’re the smart brotha I’d hate to meet the dummy.

Anyway, I was invited there to speak on a panel. Titled “Setting Your Own Stage: Creating An Outlet for Your Voice,” Helena Andrews and I spoke to the audience for approximately 90 minutes — 50 minutes answering questions from the moderator (the lovely Liz Burr) and 40 taking questions from the audience — about how to create a niche for yourself in this vast and perpetually expanding new media universe.

Most of the questions were relevant but somewhat predictable — i.e. “How do you continue to come up with ideas?” and “How would you advise a new blogger attempting to follow your footsteps?” — but one in particular stuck with me for the entire weekend:

(Paraphrasing) “How do you sift through the muck to find quality content?”

I responded by saying that regardless of what’s surrounding it, talent and quality content will eventually stand out. It’s our job as consumers to support it when we actually do find it.

The panel ended soon after that, but throughout the rest of the day I was approached by people who wanted to continue that part of the conversation, extending it past the new media world and into television and film. The overarching theme: Why does everything we do on screen nowadays pretty much suck ass?

The usual black media boogeymen (Tyler Perry, the mainstream media, etc) were oft cited as the main culprits, and a few potential saviors who need our support (Issa Rae of “Awkward Black Girl” fame, Helena Andrews — who has a movie based on her book in production, etc) were named as well, but I didn’t find a convincing answer until watching an episode of “Louie” on Hulu yesterday night.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Louie C.K., so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m also a huge fan of his critically acclaimed show. But, watching it has become a bittersweet experience. I appreciate everything about it —  its humor, its awkwardness, its pacing, its fearlessness (more on this in a sec) — but it’s disheartening to realize that I may never see a “black” show that’s anything like it.

It’s not that I don’t believe that we have any comedians/artists as talented and creative as Louie C.K., but the fearlessness that makes the show is mainly due to a freedom to be fearless that we (black audiences) just don’t grant black artists, and this is why most of our “good” shows and movies are tepid and sterile to the point of lifelessness.

Basically, our art sucks because too many of us are just too gotdamn f*cking sensitive.

Seriously, a show like “Louie” might have lasted two episodes if it were made by a black comedian. It either would have been forced off the air by all of the petitions, blogs, tweets, and impassioned YouTube pleas attacking it for every “ism” and “phobia” imaginable, or it would have been forced to become a pussified version of itself, turning it from fearless and iconoclastic to “Reed Between The F*cking Lines.

“The Chappelle Show” was able to touch on many of those “untouchable” themes, but I think the sketch comedy format made certain things ok in a way they wouldn’t be in a series. It also became popular before social media became truly ubiquitous, and I wonder if an artist as perceptive and sensitive about his craft as Chappelle was would have allowed the countless blogs that undoubtedly would have derided his humor as offensive, racist, and sexist to affect his work.

Now, I understand why we’re pussies. Decades of having to defend ourselves, our images, and our culture has installed a certain vigilance in us that makes us hyper-sensitive to any screen depictions that don’t portray us in a certain way. But, while that same activism may not stunt our creativity, it does restrict our willingness to allow others to be creative.

It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t have this epiphany while at Blogalicious. Not sure how well calling black audiences a bunch of pussies would go over in a room full of women, and I probably would have just started railing on Tyler Perry again. As I’ve learned, whenever in front of a potentially hostile audience full of intellectuals, just make fun of Madea.

Damn, I guess this makes me a pussy too.

—The Champ