Like a lot of other people, I watched CNN’s “Black in America” special. At the moment, one of the segments I’ve fixated on was the one about a young successful African American screenwriter who’s reluctant to put her lifestyle on hold just to have a man. Her comment went something to the effect that the party’s already in progress and a man would have to bring something to it.
That sounds fair, don’t you think?
I mean, who doesn’t get annoyed at that brother, sister, relative or co-worker who always shows up empty-handed ready for the time of his/her life at your expense?
But in the realm of relationships – whether you’re male or female, what are the standards for inviting someone to your soiree? Should a potential significant other be prepared to show up with a bottle of Cristal? A carafe of wine? A two-liter pop? Or a bag of ice?
To me, the whole notion raised so many issues and ideas, I’d like CNN (BET, Michael Baisden, whoever) to spend a week discussing the idea of self-worth as mate magnet. After all, your party – the life you deserve, want, are working toward, etc. – stems from your own level of self-esteem, right? And we all (go ahead, admit it) aspire to be at least equally yoked.
But, what if "Insecurity the Party Pooper" has crashed your set? Do you find yourself settling for a bag of ice hoping that it will materialize into a fine Merlot with time? Call me jaded, but I say don’t count on the water turning to wine unless there’s a whole lot of fermented grapes in that mix.
While I believe that people grow, mature and sharpen their focus on this road of life, I don’t believe that the core values people bring to relationships change. No matter how hard you work to get the fizz out of that champagne-flavored pop, it will never be Cristal. Even after all your patient cajoling, it will remain an unfulfilling, flat substitute.
Does this sound selfish? Well, it is. But, think about it: Sure, that fine stranger you invite into a relationship on looks or unproven potential alone might one day be the love of your life. The charming guest could also become the spouse at the root of irreconcilable differences that weight your spirit, split your family, and become an inseparable contributor to the lifeblood you leave as future generations.
When do you make the decision to not be an equal-opportunity host and start narrowing your guest list? That’s up to you, of course. Just know that at some point in your life you need to be acutely aware of the people you love, live and lie down with.
So I say, get your relationship party on. But, yes, you have the right – a duty to self – to guard that guest list with your life.