Today I’m writing an Ask Afrobella with a difference.

I got this comment from a very sweet reader, Stacy, in response to my Jill Scott post. Most specifically, Stacy listened to The Thickness and was moved enough to write.

Oh God “The Thickness” brought tears to my eyes because it’s just so true how people view women especially women who are not considered what society considers a woman to look like. Jill Scott is the truth, I love your blog because you speak the truth. This is the first time I’ve heard this song, I always ask my mom why is it so hard for guys to reach out i’m always smiling so I don’t see why they wouldn’t reach out you know and she says your time will come you will find someone who will love you for who for who you are baby just be patient.

Stacy, your mom is right – your time will come! I’m speaking to you as a big girl myself. I have been struggling with my weight all my life. I know how it feels to not be considered beautiful. People can be mean, and competing for male attention can be soul-crushing. But let me float a theory here. Ladies and gents, feel free to chime in.

Stacy, save your smiles. Don’t waste them on these knuckleheads. I don’t know these guys you’re smiling at and wanting to reach out, but my theory is this – they are not worth your time, your smiles, your effort. If they can’t look at you and see how special and beautiful you are, then just keep it moving. Mr. Right is out there, but he probably isn’t kicking it with these dudes you’ve been making eyes at.

I think too often, women measure their attractiveness by male reaction. You don’t need a man to look at you or whistle at you; you have to look at your reflection and believe in yourself. When you feel attractive within yourself, and you strut by with your head held high, maybe those boys will realize what they missed out on. Maybe not. Either way, they aren’t worth your time if they can’t even be cool enough to return a warm and friendly smile.

I spent years flirting with a “type.” I always wanted a certain kind of guy to holla at me. I always found a specific type of guy attractive. That kind of myopia was detrimental to my self-esteem, and consequently I wound up wasting my time and emotions on dudes who could hardly hold a conversation. There came a point where I realized – wait a minute – these guys are losers if they can’t love me for me. If they’re not interested in getting to know me for who I am, and they’re only interested in what’s under my skirt; or if they don’t want to treat me the way I deserve to be treated. And it was right around that time that I found my soul mate.

My best friend, the guy who I always complained to about other guys, who I could talk to for hours without getting sick of him. The guy who cared about me from the inside out. The funny thing is- he doesn’t fit into my physical “type” at all. I realized that I was just as stupidly close-minded as those guys I always threw myself at. I was gazing longingly at rhinestones and ignoring the diamond right under my nose.

I never bothered to read that book, He’s Just Not That Into You. The title alone annoyed me. We women spend so much time worrying – why hasn’t he called me yet? Why hasn’t he asked me out? Why won’t they look at me? I can’t speak for the male mind, and I can only speak from my own experience. I honestly think a good 75% of the problem is that we’re barking up the wrong tree. Trying to get with guys who honestly aren’t that special, and inflating their egos instead of nourishing our own. So what if he isn’t that into you? He probably doesn’t deserve you.

When that insipid, treacly Destiny’s Child song “Cater 2 U” became a big hit, I was all kinds of pissed off. At first I assumed that it was written by a man – but no, Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle all collaborated with men to create the ultimate male fantasy. A woman with no other desire than to kowtow to a man, singing utter tripe like “my life would be purposeless without you.” Maybe that’s why Beyonce’s singing “Irreplaceable” now (Love that song, by the way).

Instead of that song, I offer this one: Shanice’s “Every Woman Dreams.” While I can’t get behind all of the lyrics (why do R&B songs always equate love with material things? Why is it always about diamonds, Escalades, and Gucci shoes?) the essential message is what I’ve been trying to say.

Stacy, you deserve the best. Don’t you settle for less.

And that’s my two cents.

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Nikita says:
November 7, 2006, 11:28 am
First time commenting. Excellent blog. Take and use that Wisdom given by Afrobella, Stacy. I am going through the process of learning the same thin. I do not want anyone around me unless they really want to know me be them, male or female. No more kowtowing. I want and deserve to be loved and cared for too, and so do all of us. Love is give and take, I think we all forget that sometimes. Your man should honor you with his actions, thoughts and deeds too. Excellent advice.
1969 says:
November 7, 2006, 11:38 am
Great words of wisdom Afrobella. All women struggle with finding a partner who will respect and love them. Work on yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Work on your relationship with God. When you get achieve all of these things, God will bring the right person to you. Good luck sister.
summer says:
November 7, 2006, 11:50 am
i like the cater 2 u song in the right context. i think all too often we cater too soon trying to lure the guy, rather than when it's deserved. catering should be a two-way street, then it can be a beautiful thing. *running away before i get hit with computer mice* *ducking back in* one more thing to add, i'm not considered a "big girl", but i've faced the exact same types of situations described in the letter. wasting my warm smiles and attention on undeserving fools. downplaying my intelligence and accomplishments to build up their egos. wishing i were lighter-complexioned, since that's who seemed to get all the attention. geez. once i got fed up with that and told a dude to "go ahead and get gone", i began with a whole new outlook, and it's made a world of difference.
bella says:
November 7, 2006, 1:40 pm
Alright, let me turn down the vitriol a notch... Summer, I do agree with you! No mice will be thrown from me =) Catering to each other can be a beautiful thing, but I will never be the kind of woman who gets down on her knees to untie my man's shoes as the song's lyrics state. But I do cook the dinner and let my husband know that he is loved, and he does the same for me. We're balanced that way. And the idea of wasting your smiles on losers is something that applies to SO many women - big, small, dark skinned, light skinned... so many of us accept less than we deserve. It's time to put ourselves first, I think.
diamond says:
November 7, 2006, 1:55 pm
i need a hug
Nana says:
November 7, 2006, 2:30 pm
Thank you so so so much for this. It means so much, you have no idea. I'm finally on my way!
Sun says:
November 7, 2006, 3:29 pm
I came across your blog and this post really hit a cord with me. I went through some similar things with men in the past. The keys to getting past such things are self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-love. After a rather turbulent relationship with a man who was, as the old folk would say, of no account, I had to dig deep and find out exactly who I was as I believe that you attract what you are and if he was no good what did that say of me? That is something that is hard (actually downright frightening) for a lot of people to acknowledge, that they really don't know who they are. A philosopher once said that if you destroy the image you destroy the man (or woman). This rings doubly true today. Most people walking around are basically trying to portray images of what they want to be instead of who they really are. I'm a no-frills kind of individual. I'm not one for dressing up, wearing jewelry or makeup or anything like that, and yet I was doing all these things in the past to get some so-called man. I was dealing with getting relaxers (which I always hated to get), running from the rain, touching up makeup, uncomfortable shoes and all that mess for some man. I had to throw off this image of what I thought someone else wanted, which is really hard given this society whether folks will admit it or not, and get to what made me who I was. A real man, a true man, will love you for you. Even at your worse he will still love you. Any man that desires an image over who you really are is a man that's not worth having. I apologize, this got a bit longer than I intended, I'll stop now. Great blog, afrobella :-).
carlagirl says:
November 7, 2006, 3:30 pm
I already loved you, and then you use the word "treacly?" Worship! You're an amazingly lovely and thoughtful writer. This is such a great blog. Thank you!
Keisha says:
November 7, 2006, 4:52 pm
From my understanding and experience Cater2U is not about lower yourself to please a man, there are times when you are in a relationship and you want to do something special for your man why not cater to him from the moment he hits the door. Matter of fact Shanice second single tells you to do just that show him some appreciation. Are you saying it's ok to want equality in the relationship but it's not okay to take off the man's shoe. If you want to play the part of a queen then realize your mate is a king. I do agree that sometimes women waste time looking for the perfect mate but if he's comes to you and you don't know how to treat him then you will lose him no matter what size you are. Don't call me a hater either I am just speaking my mind, no disrespect Afrobella.
Wise&Young says:
November 7, 2006, 4:53 pm
I read this and you are speaking the truth. But you know sometimes its difficult putting yourself out there for constant rejection, and that light, called love at the end of the tunnel seems to grow dimmer with each passing romance. But through it all you must realize that you are the truth, the answer, and the question in someone's eyes besides your own. Knowing that is what keeps me going. Keeps me sane, and keeps my head held high. Just my thoughts
70ssoulchild says:
November 7, 2006, 5:04 pm
:::big hug for Stacy and diamond::: Afrobella, preach on sister! I totally agree and co-sign with 1969, because when I did what 1969 comment states that was when I met my husband. We both cater to each other and its a beautiful thing. Like you bella, my hubby was not my normal "type" and God really dealt with me on that note. So all ladies keep your head up, and love yourself and you WILL meet that person that is deserving of your love and who will treasure it and nuture it. I know it took me 40 years but boy it was worth the wait! Love and Peace to all..
Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
November 7, 2006, 5:17 pm
Bella although we've never met, I feel like I've known you for years. That was a great song by Jill, I'd never heard that one before. Cater To You angered me as well, I feel like as women we've came so far and still have a long way to go. The media makes all women feel fat, ugly, unworthy, push their products and potions on us. I'm trying to learn not to feed into it but it's hard when you see no true representation of yourself in everyday images. You flick through TV channels and magazines and you see these damn near skeletal women being touted as the most gorgeous things in the world. It's unrealistic and it's not fair. Some women are naturally thin..I have nothing against them but I think there ought to be more variety. I'm glad at this point in my life that I do not have to play the relationship merry-go-round. I feel bad for the single sistas because a lot of men are looking for video vixens, if you don't measure sit at home alone on a Saturday night.
bella says:
November 7, 2006, 5:25 pm
I wouldn't call you a hater, Keisha! You're contributing to the discussion and I appreciate that. It's people who come on here and insult me who I consider haters. But you asked "Are you saying it’s ok to want equality in the relationship but it’s not okay to take off the man’s shoe?" Well, I wouldn't expect my husband to take off my shoes... I do think it's important to make each other feel loved, but I think that song became so hugely popular because it is entirely a male fantasy. "when you come home late tap me on the shoulder, I'll roll over. Baby I heard you, I'm here to serve you." Those are the lyrics. The subservience of it is what I loathe. And did you see their performance on the BET Awards where they pick random male celebs from the audience to dance for? I rest my case. Having gotten that off my chest, I believe that I do know how to treat my man. He is my king, and I am his queen. When he gets home from work, we spend time together, we sit and talk about how each other's day went. I listen to his complaints from the day, he listens to mine. I usually cook dinner. We're very romantic. We enjoy each other's company and he loves me for who I am - he doesn't expect me to make myself over into a person I am not. I absolutely adore him, he's my soul mate... but a woman's life isn't purposeless without a man. That's my issue with Cater 2 U. It's a nice sentiment, but I would rather see a real relationship portrayed in the video, where Beyonce is wearing rubber gloves and doing the dishes for her man and Kelly's folding laundry instead of sitting half-naked in the desert.
bella says:
November 7, 2006, 5:28 pm
Julia, seriously if you ever come to visit Miami we need to hang out! You and me, we're on the same wavelength. Eccentric divas unite!
Von says:
November 7, 2006, 5:31 pm
Tasteless, poison. I so agree with you description of Cater 2 U. I hate “2 U”…what happen to spelling words out? I digress. Anyway, I’m a big woman married to a wonderful man who knows who I am inside and out. Today I’m suffering from knee pain and in spite my nasty attitude; he still loves me and is willing to do whatever it takes to make me comfortable which includes stopping at Whataburger for my favorite shake. I need comfort food right now. So, for all you ladies out there still looking for a man to buy you diamonds and Escalades…I feel so sorry for you because sometimes all you need is a burger and shake to get you through a crappy afternoon…and not to mention a man you loves you for you.
HottieHottie says:
November 7, 2006, 5:39 pm
Well I had to jump in this one. I'm not a thickness - I'm what many consider the "perfect size". In Trinidad I was often told I was the perfect colour with the perfect hair, features etc. And it never prevented me getting together with men who treated me less than I deserved. Later, when I moved to England, I was no longer considered the ideal, since the ideal up here is skinny, buxom and blonde. For a while I struggled to come to terms with no longer being something I always took for granted but eventually I did. Do you know why? Because in the end, whether it's Trinidad or England, these men are interested in an image. They've bought into what society has told them is the ideal and the pressure to conform leaves no room for going outside this. Halle Berry has said that being beautiful has spared her nothing. Maybe there's something in her that attracts men that abuse her in different ways. I'm single now and I'm glad. I get attention from men but nobody who's worth my time so you know what, I don't let them waste my time. I can't imagine being in a relationship now because I'm using this time to get to know God and myself better. And I feel myself growing stronger for it. And not only do I pray and ask God to send me the person he has planned for me when the time is right, but I ask also that he prepares me to be the person this man is hoping for and needs. It's hard, but the worst thing you can do is lower your standards. Because you always end up regretting it and never forgiving yourself.
HottieHottie says:
November 7, 2006, 5:49 pm
And I HATE Cater 2U. I understand some of the sentiments expressed in the song but in a world where feminism has been bastardised to mean breast implants and lesbian flings, the song is insipid and misguided for the most part. And I also have a problem with the materialism that this type of music glorifies. So according to these two songs a man is of value if he loves you for who you are, but only if you work yourself over to become who he wants you to be. If you do this sucessfully he will reward you with lots of expensive things and, to show your gratitude, act like his will and desires are the only ones that matter at all in the relationship. Uh huh. I think I'll pass but thanks anyway. Great post afrobella.
HottieHottie says:
November 7, 2006, 5:51 pm
Sorry, last one. I love Irreplaceable. And Shanice's wig/weave giving REAL trouble in that video.
Staceyann Lindo says:
November 7, 2006, 7:42 pm
Thanks all my fellow blogger I'll take all of your advice to heart and afrobella thank you very much you made my day.
Carolyn says:
November 7, 2006, 11:45 pm
Great post! Stacy it's not about you, it really isn't. How people respond to you is ALL about them. People's behavior is about how they are - not how you are. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of trifling folks (male and female) and you're not missing out on anything by not having them in your life. I've been alone for along time (over a decade) and now that I'm in my 40's, and as a black woman who prefers black men, my options are more limited than ever. But I'm okay with it. There are much worse things in life than being without a man, like being without self respect, which too many woman give up in order to "have" a man. You are worthy of the love you seek and I hope you find it. And speaking of songs - can I give a shout out to Amel Laurriex who writes incredible songs about love? I think her song "Weary" is one that, unfortunately, most of us can relate to.
Akilah says:
November 8, 2006, 1:33 am
On another note... Women, we all have our issues that we struggle with. But that does not excuse the fact the we need to put in some work to better ourselves. The writer of the note said, she was crying when she heard "The Thickness". If the writer is at an unhealthy weight, it is to her benefit, to exercise to loose the weight and eat a healthy diet. There is no way around it.
Dani says:
November 8, 2006, 1:36 am
Wow. This post came right on time. My looks have always been a sore point with me. I got teased a lot when I was younger and the older I got...well not that many guys really paid attention to me. And the few guys I approached burned me. And even now, at 21, I still feel pretty much invisible when it comes to the opposite sex because I definitely don't look like Beyonce or Rihanna or Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson and the other celebs that are touted as standards of beauty. So hearing something like, maybe the guys I've approached didn't deserve me, that maybe I'm really not the problem is somewhat of a relief. I've never really thought of it like that. Thanks for this post, Bella, and this blog in general. It's a real breath of fresh air.
Tally says:
November 8, 2006, 7:05 am
Stacy gurl, your time will come. When you feel beautiful, and know that you are beautiful that confidence shows. And do not be reaching out to men who are not worth your time, know yourself, what you are looking for, and don't settle for less. Buy that book, he's just not that into you- By Greg Behnardt & Liz Tuccilo it says 'Don't Waste the pretty'!!!!
lalita says:
November 8, 2006, 10:24 am
This is the first time Im one the blog and I like it a lot especially this post but there's just one thing I don't agree with. In the end of your post you say that you dont like the fact that R&B songs always equate love with material. But if you think that you deserve the best (Which a lot of women feel like.) What is wrong with wanting the best overal? Not just spiritually but also Financially. I know I deserve the best including diamonds and thing like that and I wouldnt just be satified with a a burger or a shake as someone wrote . So those are just my standards and I would not lower them. My mother always told me :you only get what you ask for, so if you are just satified with a man who takes you out to MC Donalds you never gonna get something better . And to be honest I wouldnt date a man who doenst has an education or job, no mather how nice he is. Just because I deserve the best.
HottieHottie says:
November 8, 2006, 3:58 pm
Yes Lalita, but the material things such be a part of not the whole.
Coffy says:
November 8, 2006, 7:21 pm
wow, i love reading your post and reading the other ladies point of view. i feel like i have done things that make me feel good about me, so i am more willing to spend time with men who may not be head turners, but have so much more to offer. i often kick myself that i could have passed up these dazzling men beacuse i was so sidetracked by their appearance, or status. i have the mindset that i look good enough for the both of us, so let us move on from there.
s says:
November 8, 2006, 7:28 pm
I could have written this (but I didn't)yet my name is the same as the author of this posting. It's taken some time, but finally I'm beginning to accept myself, and if others can't, it's not my problem. I'm always going to be a bbw, even if I dropped 70-80 lbs, some folks are always going to criticize and critique you, but not all do that. Thanks for the post and I enjoy reading your blog!
Angel @ I Like Her Style! says:
November 8, 2006, 9:26 pm
This post is the truth... At the age of 25 I've never been in a serious relationship and thought I was the problem, but I'm starting to realize that there are other elements at work. I absolutely look to gain the affections of 'my type' of man but I know I'm only fooling myself... My question is how do you open up your mind to the other possibilities out there? I have dated guys who I am not physically attracted to but I never seem to get passed the fact that I'm just not feeling them :( Am I placing too much importance on looks? I feel like sexual attraction is important, afterall if I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you I have to be able to look at you! How do I get passed this superficial mental block?!
Coffy says:
November 8, 2006, 11:11 pm
looks can be changed,but dumb and unmotivated can be forever. i could go on and on about attractive guys who have no purpose other than to leach on to women who will accept them for no other reason than they are cute. they aren't smart, loyal, planning for a future, or active voters, girl half of them don't even read however they know they are fine, and that some woman will take them on cute alone. i give my boyfriends a makeover (a no polish manicure, a skincare regimen, and introduce them to cool and warm colors), honey they come out the same nerdy dudes i love to talk to until three in the morning but, but with better skin and clothes.
SimKai says:
November 9, 2006, 2:41 pm
Wow! This really made me think. And it's nothing that I haven't thought of before but it was out of mind. Great passage.
Glib Gurl says:
November 12, 2006, 3:01 pm
Thanks so much to Afrobella and all the sistas who responded to this post. I don't have anything to add -- it's all been said. But as someone who has yet to meet her soulmate and has a long history of body image issues, it's really refreshing and reassuring to read your comments!


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