Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YourBlackLove: What is Considered Beautiful In A Changing World?

By Chiderah A. Monde

Why is it that both Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry are widely considered beautiful women, no matter what race you are, no matter what gender?

With a constantly changing world, comes a constantly changing perception of beauty. Over the years society has changed its description of what is considered the physically “ideal” or “perfect” woman. No longer does the blond bombshell grace the covers of every magazine, nor does the deathly skinny frame or pale skin.

The 21st century demanded a change, for it’s “ideal” woman, and now she has curves, dark hair, and most importantly- darker skin.

Society’s perfect woman is not necessarily Black, although everyone agrees that Beyonce, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson top a lot of lists. But darker skin is definitely in- whether it is tanned white women, foreign femmes, or mixed beauties, women like Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Aishwarya Rai, Adrianna Lima and Jessica Biel have taken the place of the blond bombshell era.

There’s no question about curves being in demand too. Beyonce is the epitome of the ideal curves for a Black woman, so is Alicia Keys, and quite frankly- so is Kim Kardashian. Men agree that body and curves are sexier, and women feel more comfortable with their bodies being similar shapes to celebrity women.

The interesting thing about the changing perception of beauty is how we can all agree that these women and physical features are considered acceptable. Psychologists argue that an individual’s perception of what is considered attractive is dependent on the person’s parents. That is, we base what is beautiful on what our mothers look like, what our fathers think, and what they both teach us to be beautiful. On the other scholarly hand, some consider attraction to be dependent on symmetry. That is, anything that is symmetrical is aesthetically pleasing. Once something seems out of line, out of sync, or asymmetrical, it is not attractive.

I don’t know how I feel about all of that.

Whether it’s psychology or symmetry that determines what is beautiful, it is all amplified by society and by media. Everything we buy, wear, eat and do is reflection of what some part of society has suggested we should. And “should” is an iffy word…

Nevertheless, we might be moving in an optimistic direction. If curves, dark hair and dark skin is currently in, society is setting an example for accepting a variety of body types. With things like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and Maxim’s 2008 Hot 100, the days of having only one perfect woman are long gone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Power of Admitting The Waitress Is Cute

The Power of Admitting the Waitress is Cute
No Insecurities Allowed

Its hot, summertime, and once again you find yourself alone with no one to vacation in St. Lucia with. You have no problems attracting men but finding one who is marriage material is beginning to feel like Mission Impossible. However, your luck suddenly changes at an after work mixer at the W Hotel. You’ve finally met a man who is worthy of a serious date with you. He’s a tall, handsome professional gentleman with broad shoulders, large hands, and alluring lips. He’s dressed in spit polished shoes and matching take-charge persona. His swagger makes you tingle with anticipation of his power to vastly upgrade your love life.

You are enjoying a wonderful first date at- SURPRISE- a nice restaurant in the upscale part of town. He opens the door for you and even selects the correct bottle of red wine, Shiraz to be exact, which happens to be your favorite to accompany your lamb chops. The food is scrumptious and the wine has warmed both your sense of hope and opened your heart to new possibilities. More importantly, this man has wasted no time in expressing his interest in you as indicated by the foot action under the table. Things are going even better than planned and then it happens…

That cute, little waitress who seated the two of you- who already was a little too friendly for your liking in the first place- walks over and makes direct eye contact with your date and tops off his wine while barely even acknowledging you. Mr. Take-Charge-Persona smiles and returns the direct eye contact with Ms. Friendly. It looks like you aren’t the only one who’s in the market for a black man with marriage material.

What do you do?

A) Give the waitress a piece of your mind
B) Instruct your date to focus his attention on you and only you
C) Ignore it and move on with the date
D) Give the waitress a compliment and ask for the manager

If you answered A… WRONG.
If you answered B… WRONG.
If you answered C… WRONG.
If you answered D… CONGRATULATIONS and CALL ME!

While putting the waitress in her place, refocusing your date, or outright ignoring Ms. Rude might make you feel better; it certainly will ruin any chance you have with Mr. Right. Why? Sit back and listen to the professional dating doctor's teach.

A) Any attention you focus on the waitress affirms her as a threat in your date’s mind. If you have to check her then she must be worth pursuing or at least flirting with.

B) If you have to instruct or request that your date refocus his attention on you, the “She’s Controlling Alarm” may be set off. Also, you appear desperate. Even worse, now that you have now officially verified the waitress as someone powerful enough to distract his attention away from you, he will undoubtedly want her more.

C) To ignore the waitress sends a message that you are oblivious that she is openly flirting with your date OR you are accepting of it. Although it makes no sense to women, the cuter the waitress is the more your typical man will try to rationalize why it’s not “so bad” to get her number. After all, YOU didn’t say anything.

D) Congratulations. MR. RIGHT is going home with YOU. I’m impressed because you must have been read my book, The Ring Formula: How To Marry MR. RIGHT, because you just pulled a serious POWER MOVE even a psychologist would be impressed with. Oh, I’m sorry…you’re probably asking, “What did I do?”

1) By publically acknowledging her beauty you demonstrated that while her beauty was obvious, it was certainly no threat to you. Your date will be impressed that you don’t have any insecurities despite a blatant violation by the waitress.

2) By asking for the manager, you scare the crap out of the waitress because she knows she was wrong. She’s afraid of a complaint but, instead, you praise her for her excellent customer service. In turn, she is so relieved that she tries to cover her tracks by filling your wine and being super nice to you. In fact, when she returns to check on your table she doesn’t even look at your date again. My, my how the tables have turned!

Chances are that your date has never met a woman so confident and skillful. He now begins to look at you as the potential “ONE” and is mesmerized by your beauty, confidence, power, and security.

Moral of the story, when it comes to dating towards marriage…

So, to all my beautiful ladies…Next time Ms. THANG decides to unwisely flirt with your man because she doesn’t know who she’s messing with…you put your RING FORMULA to work and let her know that there’s only room for one woman in your man’s life and you just so happen to be pouring her wine right now!

If you enjoyed this blog and want to read more please visit and purchase his latest page turner, The Ring Formula: How To Marry MR. RIGHT. To contact Dr. Tartt for media interviews, book as a speaker, or invite to your book club call 1-877-377-4002 or email at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Open Marriage & Open Relationships: The New Formula for Successful Black Love?

By Chiderah A. Monde

Will Smith and Jada’s confession about their open marriage last year during an interview is still a hot topic. Since then people have been able to really think about what open marriage has meant for the Pinkett-Smith union, and what it could mean for black couples everywhere.

Black people continue to look up to Will and Jada as the pillar of black love. They represent the ideal successful black couple: complete with two gorgeous people in love, wealth, happiness and beautiful children to top it off.

It could all be so simple as to accredit their successful marriage to the agreement they have with each other, allowing them to be able to sleep with whomever they want as long as they inform each other of those happenings. Could it be that in this day an age, [open relationships + open communication] is the only formula that equals a successful relationship?

Let’s consider the possibilities.

The most important part of having an open marriage is that the idea eliminates the number one reason why people break up in this country- cheating. Open relationships require as much trust as one can possibly put in a person. Trusting them not to lie, trusting them not to hide things, and trusting them to remain faithful. It sounds like all of the basic necessities of a regular relationship are present.

Black couples that last are growing more and more rare. The current statistics claim that just about 45% of educated successful black women do not get married, and just as many get divorced. Those numbers are scary. At the same time interracial dating is becoming more popular, and more black men get involved with white, Asian, Latina and mixed women. For those situations where black women feel threatened about their husbands cheating, perhaps an open marriage could save them from this trouble, and save marriages from their demises.
Also, having an open relationship facilitates a key component of successful relationships- communication. Many marriage therapists focus mainly on the type of communication between husband and wife when couples come in to try and save marriages. People find that their spouses aren’t telling them things, especially when it comes to how they feel.

I don’t know, open relationships sound like a great idea. However, there must be dire disadvantages.

I asked some of my friends around campus, and got similar opinions about open relationships and open marriages. Most men agreed that they would love a woman who was gorgeous and successful, and who would allow them to sleep with other women. They said they would rather not know whom their wives are sleeping with, but if the trust between them is there, there shouldn’t be a problem. Most men could see themselves always coming back to their “80% women” regardless of who they slept with, since those outside relationships would be solely based on physical attraction. Will Smith said the same thing.

Most women that I talked to said that the situation is rather unrealistic. They all agreed that problems in the long run would be inevitable. They could see their men preferring the outside sex to their own, which would lead to wanting to leave, or more arguments about how drastically their sex lives have changed. It comes as no surprise to me that the women thought more about potential problems than the benefits of open relationships.

How about what an open relationship would mean for the black family?

When you take it outside the bedroom, it seems that an open marriage is not such a good idea. How do you explain to your kids “mommy and daddy spend nights with aunties and uncles”?

For Will and Jada, this conversation has to be had, considering their lives are public and their kids are sure to hear about it sooner or later.

Then there’s the problem of STDs and/or AIDS. Let’s be realistic, no sex is exempt from possibly introducing transmitted diseases- celebrity sex or not. Couples have to be twice as careful about using protection and being checked regularly for diseases, and extremely aware of the sexual history of the people they decide to sleep with. Maybe open relationships are not such a good idea…there’s all the extra background checking and detective work one must do just to have sex.

As far as religion goes- open marriages completely contradict morals established in the black church. Isn’t that considered adultery? But then again…so is cheating, and people still do it. God might not like this idea either. Accepting open marriage and open relationships in the black church would require review and revision of morals established by the church. As crazy as it sounds, open marriage is the “less immoral” way to commit adultery.

It may just be that having a Will and Jada kind of relationship can only work for Will and Jada.

Black couples that aren’t celebrities may not be as prepared to deal with problems such as children from outside relationships, STDs or AIDS, and paying for child support if children were to result from their extramarital affairs. Jada considers Will’s oldest son to be one of her own, even though he is a result of one of Will’s previous relationships. Jada has the patience, the money, and the time to take care of children that are not her own- most women do not.

I am not knocking the strategy though, I think some people would do well in these kinds of relationships, but it definitely isn’t for everybody. Just like marriage isn’t for everybody. It depends on the people involved and their personalities.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oprah Winfrey Advises Jamie Foxx on How to Act Right

Comedic actor Jamie Foxx has credited talk show host Oprah Winfrey with refining his rough exterior.

Foxx debuted his new MTV show From G's to Gents in America earlier this week in an effort to teach socially-challenged men how to perfect their modern-day etiquette. And he insists it was Winfrey who whipped him into shape before he became an Oscar winner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Black Love: Lauren London's Comments Reflect Problems with Black Women

To say that the recent statements of 'Actress', Lauren London - in a "King Magazine" interview - is disquieting, is both an underestimation and misunderstanding of the potency attached to the wordage of certain celebrities within our community. Young Black Women are continuously lusting after the aptly-described "ruffnecks" and "thugged-out" brothers within our culture. It was in 1993, when MC Lyte, rapped - on a song called "Ruffneck," from the album, "Aint No Other" - "I need a ruffneck/I need a dude with attitude/Who only needs his fingers with his food/Karl Kani saggin' timbos draggin'/Frontin' in his ride with his home boys braggin'/Lying 'bout the Lyte how he knocked boots last night/But he's a ruffneck so that's alright." At the time, such allusions were looked upon as little other than artistic-expression, but with the rise in domestic-abuse among black households, such sentiments are beginning to lead to open clues vis-à-vis black-female misjudment. It is an ancient blurb that the good guy always finishes last, but Miss London seemed to put the L in Ludicrous with her recent morally-reprehensible comments. When asked by the interviewer of her choice in men, she replied:

"An authentic gangsta—that deletes about half the rap game off your list. I love guys who are street. I won’t even give soft guys a chance. Menace II Society is my shit! Caine was like my first crush. Actually, O-Dog was my true dream guy. I was in love with him, from that opening scene where he pops the convenience-store worker. He had me from that gunshot [laughs]. He was ’hood, and I loved that."

- With such statements, it is no wonder our culture is dissipating faster than the dreams of 'authentic' actresses who are more than qualified, but are turned around as a result of their stead-fast belief in integrity. That therefore 'deletes' Ms. London off any such list.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Black Love: An interesting take on same sex marriage

I’m against same-sex marriage as a heterosexual male that’s been married for 22 years. And, been having the same sex for 21 years. It gets a little old. “Turn out the lights, dear. Close the door, dear. Did you let the dog out? Did you let him back in, dear?”

And now the government is seeking to ban the only sex I’ve been having and assume I’ll be able to have the rest of my life. Since when does the government care about what happens inside MY bedroom. It’s not that “sexy”. It just is what it is. I’ve resigned myself to it – so why can’t the government?

For the record, I’m all for different sex marriage. But, you see, I’m not gonna bring it up to the misses. No, it’s worked pretty well the past 22 years and with any luck, for the next twenty-two years.

Oh sure, once in a while – when the kid’s not home, we may go to a room other than our bedroom – but that doesn’t happen all that often. And there was that time in a hotel on a trip to

South Carolina. But, for the most part, it’s been the same sex.

Oh, when we were married, I thought it’d be different all the time. We were so young then, and I was so foolish. But it became pretty clear, pretty quickly that once a pattern was established, it was pretty much set in stone.

The rules have never been discussed but they sure are crystal clear to me.

ONE, never ask for sex – same sex or different sex. If you get some, be glad that it’s come your way. And always be appreciative.

TWO, never ask for sex. Same sex or different sex.

THREE, always make sure the light is out.

FOUR, always make sure the door is locked – even when no one else is home.

FIVE, always make sure the dog is back in the house before instituting rules three and four.

So, you see, I know the rules. I know it’s gonna be same sex. And that’s good enough for me. And it certainly seems good enough for the misses. So, government. But out! Our same sex is none of your business. It usually is none of my business. But when I make it my business, I don’t need your help. And neither does the misses.

Ben Merens is a public speaker and a talk show host at Wisconsin Public Radio in Milwaukee.
He and his wife will celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary on June 21st.
Ben’s website is