I just got finished folding someone else's underwear. Like fitted sheets, skivvies are only hard to figure out once one has to dog-ear them into submission. It'd probably be easier to just ball them up and tuck them away for later, but then there are the wrinkles to consider.
Same thing goes for domesticity in relationships 2.0. Sure, I know how to cook, clean and (gasp) sew for myself, but when it comes to other people's property, sometimes my hands go all hammy, despite the hip-hop innuendo. Not because I don't know how to properly iron a men's dress shirt in the time it takes for one such man to get out of the shower, but because I don't usually have to. See, the skills are all there, but they've been tucked away in a drawer so long that when they're finally needed, there might be a few wrinkles.
Recently, while the world (read: the black blogosphere) got all screw-faced over some salacious comments made by the screwed and chopped boss, rapper Slim Thug, I was undergoing a domestic revolution of my own. If every time I'm in the kitchen you're on the couch, when does being a couple complement the chef? To be fair, the reverse can be said of the carpenter—although seriously curtains only go up once.
According to Mr. Thug, black women just don't do enough ''for they man.'' Moonlighting as a relationship expert, which apparently requires absolutely no official certification, he told Vibe magazine this week, ''[Black women] have to understand that successful black men are kind of extinct. We're important. It's hard to find us so black women have to bow down and let it be known that they gotta start working hard …'' Examples of this, according to Slim Thought, er, Thug, are cooking and ''being down.''
He went on to explain that his girl, who is of mixed-race heritage and who allegedly graduated from Columbia University, treats him like a king. ''I guess the half White in her is where she still cooks and do all the shit that I say, so we make it. She just takes care of me and I like that.''
Now one of the many myths about ''successful black women'' (besides the fact that such a monolithic group exists) is that they refuse by sheer definition to do anything ''for they man.'' I know many women who cook, clean and coddle solely for the purpose of being good to the person who's been good to them. Every other day, I see another Gchat status message that reads something like ''spinach, brown rice and snapper stew with coconut cream. Damn, I am good!'' And I'm positive there's a man out there reaping the benefits of this woman's benevolence.
I have a great friend who, knowing that her significant other was working overtime that week, slipped into his apartment, stuffed some tilapia and then slipped back out the door—without doing the dishes. ''I was in a hurry! And he goes, 'You didn't wash the dishes!''' Now her man was joking, of course, who wouldn't be happy that someone thought of them enough to make sure they don't starve? But what about the men who claim such a woman doesn't exist—at least in the mocha model?
I was all ready to blast Slim Thug's cave-man ramblings with my own examples of complicated dance that is domestic negotiations in the new millennium. Because despite the centuries-old gender roles we can all play into from time to time, this is a new millennium. If the women's lib movements of the late 1960s and 1990s afforded me new rights and responsibilities, then I'm assuming that whomever I'm with should adjust along with me. Like another good friend of mine said, ''If we're both getting ready to rush out the door in the morning, then why am I ironing your suit.'' For her, and her man, that's something to discuss. Me? I work from home. So cracking an egg in a pan and picking out a matching tie doesn't make me feel like anyone's employee. If anything it makes me feel essential—and thankfully appreciated.
''I'm a white girl that couldn't cook to save her life, treats no man like a king and certainly doesn't obey dictatorial male ego, even if it means my job … but I certainly can cater to deserving men who are secure enough to take on the challenge of a strong woman.''
''It's not a black thing, or a white thing. It's a women thing,'' the pop diva/Playboy centerfold concluded. I would add that it's really a private thing, not to be discussed with every man—just yours.