Bygones and Booty Calls

QUESTION: I dated this man named Aaron for almost a year. Right before we broke up, I started getting some indications that he might be seeing someone behind my back. I was right. He was sleeping with this married woman at his job. I was hurt because I thought we had a future togther, but I wasn't going to tolerate cheating. We had a loud and angry breakup. This was four months ago. Now out of the blue, he starts calling me five or six times a week. He doesn't talk like he wants to get together to date again, he talks like he wants to sleep with me again. I don't want anything to do with that. I've told him but he keeps calling. Why won't he get it through his thick dreads that I want nothing to do with him?
What is he thinking?

Chuck: He is thinking, in the immortal words of Bobby Brown, "It's my perogative."

He's thinking that, despite the fact that he betrayed your trust by cheating on you with a married woman, and that you had a loud and angry breakup with him, it's been four months, and you'll still agree to roll around in the sheets with him again. Aaron is basically thinking that since all of that meant nothing to him, it should also mean nothing to you.

This is a crucial miscalculation men frequently make with women: They assume that women view sex as casually as they do. Some men can separate the emotional component from sex pretty easily, and just look on it as stress relief, recreation, what have you. Women, in most circumstances, need to feel something other than indifference or seething hatred for their sexual partners. That's just my opinion, but am I right?

You're not willing to put the past behind you for a booty call with this guy. And you shouldn't continue to get pressure from him to change your mind. State to him, as firmly as you can, that what he wants to happen isn't going to happen, and to leave you alone. If he doesn't get the message, change your number. Cut this guy out of your life.

GARLAND: I agree with Chuck.

This guys is doing nothing more than casting his line and seeing where the fish are biting. Sorry to use this kind of metaphor, but it is true. You are absolutely right in assuming that he doesn't want to get back with you, in the dating sense. He's looking for sex and he's assuming that he was good enough under the sheets (or on the floor, or on the kitchen table, or on the ugly green sofa in the basement) that you'd be willing to let him back in for some off-the-record lovin'.

Guys can have the uncommital sex with little to no problems. Most (not all) of you ladies can't. If you took a quick survey of 10 guys - 8 of them would probably tell you that they could have absolutely enjoyable sex with a woman that was mad at them or not speaking to them. This is sad, but it's true.

So, what is he thinking?

He's thinking that you may be just lonely enough and he was just good enough to warrant a late-nite invite to your place and your bed. There is nothing more to it. Nothing grand, no great scheme, no undercurrent of held back emotion - he's just testing the waters. If you want him to stop testing your water... threaten to drown him.


All dogs go to heaven?

QUESTION: I went to dinner with my cousin and three girlfriends last night and of course we ended up talking about men. My cousin had one of your business cards with this website on it. We thought this whole thing of yours was a cute idea and we wanted to put you to the test. Answer this: Why are so many men dogs and con artists?

GARLAND: Please thank your cousin for even showing our business cards to you all!!!

Ahhh, the age old question - WHY ARE MEN DOGS?

And this is supposed to be a test question? Okay - well, as far as men being dogs goes, men will only do what you all let us do. Now, let me put my disclaimer up front: "Some men are absolutely perfect when it comes to cheating and being underhanded in a relationship. These men don't make mistakes, they manage their time well, they cover all their bases. These men are an anomaly in the realm of men being dogs."

Now that that is out of the way for now. I say that most men will only get away with what you ladies let us get away with. I can't count the number of times that I have seen women allow the men they meet to only give them their cell phone number, or their mother's home number, or allow them to give a nickname like "Pookie" or "Dey Dey" or instead of giving a real address, these guys say, "Oh I live down on Bingham off of Chelsea..." When men are allowed to give this kind of obscure personal information and women still date these men or sleep with these men - the men can't legitimately be called dogs. Can they?

If you pet a snake and he bites you, then he can't be called mean can he? After all, snakes bite people and you could see that he was a snake, so you basically should have known what you where in for. The same holds true for guys that dog women out. Many times the warning signs are plain as day, but so many women turn the other cheek or flat out deny that just because she hasn't been to Pookie's house for six months and she can only reach him on his pager, everything is fine. If more women critically looked at the men in their lives, the so called dogs would be pretty easy to spot and easy to get rid of before they do any harm.

Then you come back to the anomaly I mentioned above. These guys are a work of art. Cruel, mean spirited, art. These guys aren't dogs. Frankly, I grew up with dogs - German Shepherds mostly - fine, strong, beautiful, intelligent animals. To call these men dogs is to truly take away from the canine species. These men that skillfully and deftly abuse the trust of their women, are nothing more than bottom feeding scum. I don't know what to tell you about them. But if you're dating a guy or married to one, make sure his act is together. NO! don't go rummaging through his wallet or his E-Mails, but just make sure his actions and his words make sense. Trust your instincts and don't fall into that arrogant and narrow minded thought pattern of "Oh, that could never happen to me." Because that's when it will!

Please make sure you E-mail us our grade! : )

CHUCK: Thanks for checking in to the website and hitting us up with a question. I guess Garland is right. It pays to advertise.

As for your question: Men cheat and lie for very simple reasons. The same reason that cute girl thought she could stick up a bank and talk on her cell phone at the same time. The same reasons that the Enron execs cheated their stockholders and employees. The same reason that George Bush thought... Wait. Sorry. That's for my other blog.

Some people believe that they are superior to other people, and the rules we should live by don't apply to them. Further, they feel as though they are entitled to exploit people that they feel are weaker, less intelligent, and more trusting than them. So, these guys take advantage of women's trust, and, let's be frank, their gullibility, and run roughshod through their money, their sex lives, their feelings.

That's Why. Now here's one for free: How. As in, how do you avoid getting taken by these guys. And it's an answer most of you already know. As Garland says above, you women need to trust your instincts. If you date a guy for, say, six months, and he never let's you visit him at home, either he lives with his parents, or in a more complicated circumstance. If your contact with him is booty calls exclusively, and he avoids being seen in public with you, he may be trying not to get caught by his other women. If he's always hitting you up for money, he might be a deadbeat bum.

I'm not suggesting that women necessarily need to be less trusting. Lord knows we have enough of that already. But when there is some suspect information out there, and you hear a little voice in your head telling you something's not right, don't block that voice out out of hand.

Hope you got something out of our answers. If you did, tell a friend. We're here for you.


Step-father Figure

QUESTION: My girlfriend got engaged to a guy about five months ago and moved him into her home three months ago. She also has a nine year old son by a man who lives in another state and doesn't see his son. She is allowing her fiance' to make dramatic changes to her household and the way her and her son live. This man pretends to be very religious and constantly tells her that he can make a man out of her son. She lets him come between her and her son and she lets him over rule her decisions when it comes to her son. Tayvon used to always play outside and he had a lot of friends from his school and he used to be very active. Now, he's always in the house, or playing exclusively with the fiance' and his nephew. The whole thing is very strange. I've tried to warn her, her family and other friends have tried to warn her that this man may not be good for her or her son. But she ignores all of us. We think that she's just desperate to have a man's influence in her son's life. As men, how do you all feel about this situation and what do you think will open her eyes?

GARLAND: How do I feel? I feel a little pissed and a little worried. Personally, I've seen situations like this before and while two are still unfolding, the others have already run their courses.

I think with guys like this they are trying one of two things - to be the man their father was or the man their father wasn't. Now, with most real fathers, there is a happy medium between the two, [BTW - good step-fathers DO count as real fathers] but with guys like your friend's fiance' - these guys can sometimes be a little screwed up in the head. First of all, they most likely know nothing about being a father, second - they know that some single moms will be so happy to have a man that is willing to spend time with their child they'll allow these men to do just about anything and third - they have probably seen one too many war movies and figure the best way to make a boy into a man is with an extreme 'boot-camp' style structure in the kids life.

It's not good that she's letting this guy make household type decisions before they even get married. If I had a dollar for every couple I know that was engaged and never got married or just stayed "engaged" for five or six years - I'd have a lot of money! I wouldn't be rich, but I'd be well-to-do! It's also not good that she's allowing him to come between her and her son. I'll bet you $100 that he's told her, "Tayvon is a momma's boy! He needs to spend time with me to toughen up!" That sounds like a typical line from a typical psycopathic, controlling scrub.

So, I'm not saying anything new. This guy sounds shady and controlling. And, your girlfriend sounds dim-witted and desperate. What would get through to her? Maybe a group intervention where you all sit down with her and talk to her about this new guy might open her eyes. Maybe she's so blinded that when you all come to her one at time she can fend you off with plain old stupidity. But a group assault will work.

Then again, maybe you all need to try and open her eyes to her foolishness by making her defend this guy over and over. Maybe you all should ask her if you could have her son over for a visit or overnight. Each person should ask her about three days apart for a couple of weeks. When she finds herself telling all of you a bunch of nonsense reasons why her son can't leave the house, maybe her eyes will start to open.

Unfortunately, I'm really not sure if any of these will work, I certainly hope one of them will, especially if you all really think this guy's presence is damaging to Tayvon's development, I think your instincts are on point. This guy sounds weird. Good luck!

CHUCK: I feel that while it's generally accepted knowledge that a male child will benefit from exposure to a male authority figure (and what, female children won't?), it is questionable whether exposure to just ANY kind of male authority figure is helpful. A potential stepfather that is smothering and restrictive may ultimately do as much harm as good.

Your friend has obviously bought into the hype concerning the supposed inadequacy of women to raise men alone. And now that she has found Stepdad, she seems to have given over almost all of her parental authority to him. You've known Tayvon before this guy's influence, and the changes being forced on him are unsettling to you. I understand you feeling how you do.

HOWEVER... You are standing on the outside of your friend's relationship. Can you really say that you know everything that is taking place here? First of all, should we give the guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he has the best interest of the child in mind? Do you think he's just misguided, or do you think think there's some kind of cultish thing at work here? What do you know about the discussions your friend may have had with this man about raising her son?

The answers to these questions are things that you may never know. And I think that although you and I may not agree to how Stepdad is running Tayvon's life, there is very little you can do about it. Especially if you do not want to risk losing her friend. You and her family have spoken to her about it. She's unreceptive. Barring any more evidence of Stepdad's bad influence, I think that an intervention might do more harm than good. At this point, the best thing to hope for might be that this guy moves on before he gets married to your friend, and the brainwashing starts for real.


Downward Spiral? Turn it around!

E-MAIL TO CHUCK & GARLAND: I am an overweight, dark-skinned woman with major personal issues. I am painfully shy, deathly afraid of rejection, and insecure. To many, I exude confidence. Yet, on the inside I feel so broken-hearted and my spirit is very weak. In my life, I have not experienced many intimate relationships and this makes me so very sad. The ones that I have "experienced" have left me broken-hearted, confused, and feeling even worse about myself. As much as I want to believe that GOD has a special person set aside for me, I honestly do not believe that I will end up in a happy, healthy, and loving relationship (or even an unhappy, unhealthy, and unloving relationship for that matter). I have achieved many social goals in my life (I am highly educated) and I am steadily improving career-oriented goals. It's just painful to have no one to share my hopes, dreams, fears, successes, and failures. Holidays, milestones, and my birthday have become so insignificant because I have absolutely no one to share such joyous and happy moments with. I hate "celebrations" with a passion because they remind me of how alone I really am. I am an only child, my mother is deceased, I never knew my father, and I have a very distant relationship with my remaining family. I do have an intimate circle of friends but they have their own busy professional lives, families, and we are not all living in the same place. Plus, I feel that I am more supportive of them yet when I need them, it is too much of a burden to simply listen and understand. I never ask for anything except a sympathetic/empathetic ear from time to time. Sometimes I can maintain and pull myself out of an emotional rut. At other times I feel helpless and hopeless and feel that I have no one to turn to. I'm just tired and sometimes it is very hard to go on. I have lived so long with loneliness, desperation, and isolation to the point that it has taken its toll on me mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and financially. At one point, I just shrugged it off. However, now I want to be happy, festive, and loving. Yet, I can't get my insides aligned with the facade I put on. I hate lying to myself and this hypocrisy makes me sick, sad, and angry. I just want to be honest at all time and I hate lying to myself and others because I feel that they deserve so much better.

GARLAND: I want to thank you so much for sharing yourself with us like that. After a few months of dead-beat dads, undercover brothers, and stupid ex's your E-Mail is really making me pause. I see that your E-mail really isn't a question, but I want to share my thoughts with you.

First, I absolutely understand that you want to be happy and you want to make NOW your time. You need to try hard to not lie to yourself by putting on the happy facade while you are sad inside. When it's all said and done, you're the only person that really knows you, and if you try to fake it when you look in the mirror, eventually you won't know up from down. Always be honest with yourself, even when that honesty might not be exactly what you want.

You took the time to send this E-Mail to us... to me that's the sign of a person that knows what she wants and is trying to find ways to make it happen. I hope me and Chuck can give you some positive reinforcement.

I'm glad that you believe God has a special plan for you and your heart, I'm sure that whatever it is, it will come to you when it is supposed to. Unfortunately, such things don't seem to come at the exact moment we want them to - make sure you pray that God lets you know when your blessings arrive. You don't want to be looking down and tying your shoes when your blessing walks into the room.

I know that sometimes when happiness, or love, or companionship and things like that don't seem to be when and where we want them, it's up to us to put events in place that change our alignment with the universe. Basically, sometimes we have to step out of our norm to cross paths with new faces and new places that create a new dynamic in our lives. I think you should give that a try - shop at new stores and markets, drive a different way to work, check out that new jazz spot across town, visit a different church, eat lunch at a new restaurant, buy gas from the BP instead of the Exxon... see what I mean? Change your dynamic a little, see what's around a new corner.

All of what I just said is my opinion, my "professionally-untrained" opinion I'd like to remind you. I'd really like for you to talk to a professional about your feelings though. Please don't take offense to me saying that, and don't think I'm taking what you said lightly. I hope my comments above give you some positive vibes, but a trained professional will give you exactly the support and the emotional vehicles that I think will make you feel better. I don't want you to slip into a deeper depression. Your medical doctor will be able to recommend someone, and if you don't have a physician you're comfortable with, your local health department should be able to recommend someone. The key is not holding your emotions in check. I'm glad you started by sending us an E-Mail, now I ask that you continue by speaking to a professional. Please drop us another E-Mail soon and let us know how you're doing. Okay?

CHUCK: I'm glad that you took the time to send us an email. There are a lot of people out there living lives of quiet desperation, feeling alone and unloved, and it is painful to think about. There is so much in life to do, see, and experience, but some of us can only focus on the things that we don't have, the things that make us feel like less of a whole person. And I can honestly say that I know some of what you're feeling because I have felt that way a few times in life myself.

What kept me going when I was feeling that way was the thought that these feelings, this situation couldn't last forever. And my attitude towards life is that I always want to see what happens next. It's difficult to be optimistic sometimes, but the same way nothing good lasts forever, nothing bad does either.

Everything that Garland suggests (developing a different mental outlook, look to new places for different experiences) is great, but I really don't know if you're at a point where that advice will do you any good. You didn't use the word, but I will. I think what you're suffering from is depression. Your combined feelings of sadness and hopelessness seal it for me.

I think that the best thing that we untrained individuals can do in this instance is refer you to some professionals. Please, PLEASE search the internet, check the phone book in your area for help with depression. We as Black people too seldom seek out the help we may need psychologically, before it is too late. Seek assistance to pull yourself out of this situation you are in. There are people who want to help you.


A Special Kind of Creep

QUESTION: My ex-husband and I have been apart for nearly ten years. We now live in separate cities about 300 miles apart. He was an unfaithful, abusive creep, and I'm glad to be rid of him. Only I'm not rid of him. We have two children that are now in their teens. The problem is that when he's angry because he's not getting his way in a situation with, say, visitation, he doesn't scream or cuss at me. He takes it out on the kids. My kids are usually very well-behaved and respectful. They don't deserve to be told they're going to hell or to f--- themselves, as he has told them in the past. I tell them to hang up on him, but he just calls back, even angrier than before.

Why would a man choose to say such hurtful things to his own children? And what would you suggest I tell my children about their father's erratic behavior?

GARLAND: To steal a line from one of Chuck's earliest answers, I'd tell them that their father is a 'dick'. No, actually I prefer the term 'asshole' considering what seems to be coming out of his mouth.

Why would a man say these things to his children?

Honestly, I don't think a 'man' would say these things. Some foolish, petty, ignorant, uncaring scumbag would say that to his kids. But not a real man. Regardless of how low down and dirty a divorce may have been, a real man would accept and understand where the battle lines are drawn - squarely between him and his wife! Even if the kids were old enough to take sides, and even if they sided with the mother - a real man, no matter how hard it may be, would open [verbal] fire on his kids. I hate to say this - but your ex is a piece of crap. Regardless of who or what he used to be, he is now a full fledged, self centered, angry, crazed piece of crap.

What do you tell your kids?

Seeing as though your kids are teens, and he's obviously warmed their ears with 4 or 5 of major curse words, they're probably ready for some straight talk from you. I'd apologize for what they were told - even though you didn't do it. They need a dose of respect and compassion and sense after what was said. Then I'd just tell them that he wasn't always like that and you have no idea what happened to him. Unless, that's not true and he was screwed up when you married him. Then you may want to explain why you married him. I think they need to be reminded that just because they're his children, THEY are not him. They both may be wondering if his traits are going to become their traits. Encourage them to avoid that kind of behavior as they mature. If you have a girl, point out the characteristics to avoid in men based on her fathers tendencies. If you have a boy, don't let your husband be his role model as he grows up - don't be ashamed to say [once in a while], "Don't be like your father."

But most of all, I think you need to send a firm message to your ex that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Find a way to sanction him: changeyour number so he can't reach you, call your lawyer or your judge and see if you can use this crazy bhavior to impact his visitation or his child support. Do something! Just be your kids advocate and protector - don't let that behavior just roll off your back.

CHUCK: Yeah, your ex-husband is a dick, an asshole, and a bunch of other not-as-nice things I could think of to call him. But it goes deeper than that. Here is a person that I think is unhappy with his life, his relationship with you or them, whatever, but instead of trying to make things better, by taking his anger out on an easy target, he makes things worse. What kind of parent would willfully and pointlessly hurt his children, just because he could? This is a very small man, indeed.

Like Garland says, talk to your kids. Make sure that they know that you do not share their father's screwed-up attitude. You might think that would be obvious, but kids, even teenagers, still need to hear stuff like that. Inform them that being respecctful to their father does not mean having to be a target for him to exercise his aggression on. And let them know that, as they get older, contact with their father can become more a matter of choice than of necessity. If it is their choice to limit their exposure to this guy (and make sure it is THEIR choice), well, that can't hurt more than what they're going through now.

Also, I have one more suggestion. If your children can handle it, I'd ask them to subject themselves to one more tirade from their father. This time with a tape recorder rolling. I don't know the laws in your area regarding recording phone conversations between people. But your ex is probably so big and bad that even if they told him he was being recorded, his response would probably be, "Shee-it! I don't care. Record ME!" And hold onto that recording. That way, when you've got him in court again (and with this creep, it's almost guaranteed), you'll have something to play for the court's enlightenment. Sometimes revenge is the best revenge.


Smooth Operator. NOT!

QUESTION: I've been spending time with this gentleman in my neighborhood lately. Nothing too serious, just dinner once in a while and a few "bring a date" events for my job. He wants to sleep with me and he's told me so. I'm just not ready to go to that level yet. For some reason in recent weeks though, he's felt the need to comment that he's considering sleeping with several other women. He says it to me like I'm supposed to be jealous or worried. I ignore it. And then he turns right around and asks me out on another date. What the hell is he thinking?

GARLAND: Well, lets see...

I think this guy pretty easy to read. You're not bringing him into the bed after sporting the black tie and tails for the folks at your company, so he's telling you that you aren't his franchise player. He's telling you... uh... he's TRYING to tell you that his bread is buttered on both sides.

Where are all these cheesy cliche's coming from? I'm sorry.

You're right. He wants you to be jealous - plain and simple. The only problem is, he doesn't seem bright enough to let you simmer on what he's said. If he tells you that other women are on his radar and then doesn't call you for a week, then maybe you'd reassess where your head is at - intimately - with him. All things considered, you may actually be ready to sleep with him - then again you may not! But by him boasting about other women one day and then asking you out the next, he's not really backing up his claims - which probably aren't true in the first place.

While I am usually 100% against games in relationships, I'm typically 100% for GAMESMANSHIP!

The next time he brings up these other potential lovers, snap your fingers and look at your watch and say, "You know. That reminds me of something. Can I get a raincheck for tonight? I've got somewhere to be in a little while." Then leave. Just get up and leave. If he has any sense, he'll think about what he said, and he'll wonder - just what in the heck you left to do. If he's smart, he'll feel like a jack-ass and either stop acting like he's a Smooth Operator or just sit down with you and try to talk his feelings over with you.

Either way, like I always say - at some point the two of you need to sit down and talk from the heart.

CHUCK: Here we go again. Another player of that famous game, Who Could Care Less (see a few posts back). This guy is obviously trying to make you jealous for not wanting to sleep with him, but the method by which he's going about it just seems obnoxious. Does this kind of ploy EVER work?

He wants to hang out with you, despite the lack of sexual prospects, presumably to wait you out. But he wants to give you the mistaken idea that his time is worth something, so he brings up these (possibly fanciful) relationships with other girls. Either way, this guy needs to stop playing himself, and you can help him. Like Garland suggested, you should make up your own potential boyfriend to draw him out, and see if he takes the bait.

But you need to decide whether you want to involve yourself with someone so immature that he cannot accept a relationship with you on terms other than his own. He's really not making the best case for himself right now.