Ask A VSB: He Hates My Natural Hair!

Cute Lioness style.

(Damon’s latest at Madame Noire advises a woman whose boyfriend isn’t a fan of her new hair)

Hey Damon,

I recently decided to cut my hair off and go natural. I made the decision on a whim and I felt empowered doing it and I love my new TWA. But my boyfriend absolutely cannot stand it. This is who I am so I’m wondering whether or not our relationship stands a chance? What do you think?

-Newly Natural

Dear Newly Natural,

That’s a tricky question, for many reasons.

It’s possible that he doesn’t dislike your natural hair, just the particular natural hairstyle you have. Just as there are dozens of different things women can do with weave or relaxed hair, there are dozens of different “natural” hair styles — twists, afros, short dreads, long dreads, braids, etc.

I bring this up because it’s often implied that if a Black man doesn’t like a Black woman’s natural hair style, he’s a self-hating slave to the euro-standard of beauty. And while that may be true in some cases, usually it just comes down to a man getting used to his woman with a particular hairstyle, and not immediately feeling the change.

Also, although men are the ones who get criticized for being upset about a woman’s hair change, many women actually would feel the same way if their bf/husband made certain hair-related changes. For all the women attracted to and/or dating men with dreads, I’m sure you’d feel a certain way if you came home one day and he cut all of his hair off. Same with the women who attracted to and/or dating men with full beards. And, I personally know that my fiancee would have an issue if I went all Pusha T on her.

You also have to consider the fact that maybe it’s not about the hair. Perhaps he’s upset you made that decision without discussing it with him first. Not asking permission, mind you. But discussing it. Perhaps the hair issue is a symptom of a deeper communication problem.

That said, a situation like this can say a lot about your relationship’s health. Basically, if he’s truly into you, he’ll eventually get over it and get used to your new hair. Maybe he won’t ever love it, but it won’t be a deal breaker either. And, if the hair continues to be an issue, he’s not the one for you.

Sincerely,

Damon Young

(Read the rest at Madame Noire)

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Am I Really Annoying Him?

Dear Damon, I was with a man and we have been off and on for the past year and a half, he recently lost his job and somehow that has changed everything between us. When we first met he used to love having debates with me just because we have different opinions and our information was always from different sources. He’s an information junkie but I’m a student. He used to tell me how smart he thinks I am and how he loves that I am so articulate but since losing his job he barely wants to be around me or communicate with me because he says I annoy him. The last time we spoke I asked him if he was still planning to come to my graduation, two hours went by and still no reply from him so I told him he no longer has to give a response I will take it to be a no. This infuriated him and he said it’s things like that that make him not want to talk to me. My question is can someone who truly loves you and want to be with you, which he claims that he does, find you that repulsive to the point where they don’t want to be around you or talk to you, or is something else most likely going on?

Dear Shelia,

Let me share something with you. When I respond to these letters, I usually try to stretch a two or three sentence answer into two or three paragraphs. I employ this tactic for various reasons—to give context to a certain point, to make an analogy so that a point is better understood, to riff about Love and Hip-Hop etc—but overall, the main reasons are to soften the answers and make them more readable. Even if a 300 word long question could be answered in three, I try to shy away from doing that because it seems condescending and (just as importantly) no one wants to read that.

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because I’m struggling to provide an insightful and non-condescending answer your question, because the answer is in the first sentence of your question. He lost his job. He’s obviously upset about this, and the emotional, mental, and financial strain of losing employment has begun to strain the relationship. Honestly, the fact that you haven’t made this connection—and you using hyperbole like “repulsive” to express a point as well as you taking a two hour gap in communication as a sign that he doesn’t want to be with you—shows me that you both might be a bit too young to even be thinking about serious relationships (and also kinda proves his point about you being annoying).

Read more at Madame Noire

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should I Wait For Him To Get His Money Right?

Gallery

Recently, a few of my friends have come across the sentiment that men don’t want to even date seriously if they’re not in a certain place financially. Can you explain whether this is really a thing or an excuse to … Continue reading

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: 180 Day Rule, Brownie Points & Stringing You Along

***The Champ’s latest at Madame Noire takes questions about V-Day, the 90 day rule, and, well, that’s about it***

Nina: If a man tells a woman he only wants to be friends… Why does he still show interest?

DY: Because saying “I don’t want a relationship and I want to be friends” is usually manspeak for “I want to continue to hit it as long as I can without you hating me. And, if you catch feelings, I want to always be able to come back and say “But…I said I didn’t want a relationship”

Shaleith: Ok I have a question….why can’t someone see that squandering away their money on unnecessary things when they have bills to pay is madness?

DY: “Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why did Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept?”

Candis: Why is it guys talk about doing something nice, like cook you dinner, or take you out. Then in the same breath say “and then screw your brains out” like that’s suppose to make me feel like a woman? Why do they mess up the vibe like that?

DY: Some guys suck at communication. And, when you suck at communication, you’re not very good at seduction. One thing you have to realize, though, is that for some women, hearing “I’m going to screw your brains out” turns them on even more. Perhaps that’s want he’s used to dealing with. Basically, it’s up to you to express to him that hearing things like that take you out of the mood. If you don’t tell him, how will he know?

Norca: I need a Valentine’s Day gift idea for my BF. He has everything already! Please help! Thanks!

DY: Experiences—tickets to a game, a personalized lap dance video, a weekend getaway, etc—never hurt. Neither does a steak and BJ.

Wanda: Steve Harvey suggests we make a man wait 6 months before giving him ‘the cookie’. Is a man going to wait that long, or is he just getting his cookies somewhere else while you make him wait? And is a woman who doesn’t make a man wait a keeper?

DY: I thought it was 90 days, not 180? Oh well. Anyway, if a guy really wants to be with you, it’s not going to matter how long he has to wait (or how quick it happens). Obviously, if you make someone wait 20 years (or give it up in 20 seconds), that’s probably not going to end well, but aside from staying away from extremes, there’s really no arbitrary set time on how long you should wait to sleep with a man.

The only clock you should be on is your own. Basically, ask yourself if you’re ready, and don’t do it unless you’re 100% sure your answer is yes.

Erica: Why do men want brownie points for what they as a MAN in the relationship are suppose to be doing in the first place? I understand appreciation but doing the bare minimum isn’t really doing anything at all.

DY: Doesn’t everyone strive for brownie points, though? Couldn’t you say the same thing about women who want praise for being independent? I agree that it’s annoying, but this isn’t a gender specific trait.

Read more at Madame Noire

ASK A VERY SMART BROTHA: HE PROPOSED BUT I NEVER GOT A RING

Ok, I REALLY need help.

Rundown:

–BF and I have been dating for 7 years
–He proposed a year ago but never gave me a ring, so I’ve been waiting
–His car recently got repo’d for not paying tickets, so he had to pay $5k to get it all out. (Money was borrowed from aunt.)
–In April, I told him that he had until the end of the year to give me my ring and officially propose or I would leave. The other day, he told me he would miss that deadline since he paid so much to get his car out.

What should I do??? Help please!

Dear What Should I Do,

There are two separate things I want to address in your question. Neither of them directly answer your question, but you can find the answer to your question in both responses. (Trust me, it’ll make more sense once you read.)
1. Your situation is a perfect example of why age considerations are so important when asking and answering a question. While it may not seem “right” or “fair” to think about an adult’s age when giving them advice about dating and relationships—especially when much of the feelings and emotions that go along with this subject transcend age—it is practical.

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because my response to your question depends on your age. If you’re in your late 20s or above, I’d advise you to move on. Why? Well, if you are that age, then you were at least 21 when you two started dating. Basically, your relationship began while you were both adults, and it usually doesn’t take adults seven years to finally realize they want to marry someone. In fact, I’d argue that, for people in their late 20s to early 30s, after two years of dating, the likelihood of you actually getting married decrease with each year. A “engagement” after seven years seems more like a pressured response to an ultimatum (more on this later) more than a man who actually wants to be with a woman for the rest of his life.

If you two are young (25 or below), though—and the tone and content of this letter leads me to believe that you are—I’d be more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in regards to his plans. Perhaps he does want to marry you, but doesn’t have the money or resources to do things the way he wants to. (Btw, if a car is repossessed, it’s because he wasn’t making car payments, not because of unpaid tickets.)

That being said, my spidey senses still tell me that regardless of your age, he just doesn’t seem to be all that into marrying you. Is that just cause to break up? I don’t know. But, I do know that if you want to be married, you’re going to have to find someone else

2. I want you—and everyone reading this—to repeat after me: Heart-related ultimatums are always terrible ideas.

ALWAYS!

Why? Well, while the heart-related ultimatum—what happens when one person threatens to leave someone unless they make a commitment to them—might get what the person wants (a commitment), it gets it for the wrong reason. Basically, if you want someone to commit to you, you should want them to want to commit. The heart-related ultimatum, though, forces someone to commit out of guilt or fear. So, even if you get the desired answer, you’re left with someone who only said they wanted to be with so you’d shut up and stop asking.

In summary, if you have to ask someone to commit to you, you have your answer even before they give theirs.

Read more at Madame Noire