Posts Tagged With: dating

Wakandan Ruminations


I went to see Black Panther this past Friday with my extraordinary and insightful wife of 14 years. As we pulled up to the theater and found a parking spot, we had an interesting exchange before going in. It had to do with perception, assumption, and judgement.

In our two decades of knowing one another – which includes 3 years of dating before getting married – one constant annoyance for us has been the misperception that we are an “interracial couple”. That is, in the commonly accepted sense of the phrase. The reason this is significant is because, at first glance, know one would know – and some may not believe – that my wife is, without question, African American. She is no LESS African American than I am, even though to many I more readily… look the part.

It is common knowledge that the spectrum of African American complexions is wide-ranging, making it nearly impossible for someone to look at anyone else these days and deduce with any certainty that they are, or are not, “black”.

You don’t know, so don’t assume.

But assumption is the recurring theme of our public interactions with people who look askance at the “interracial couple” going to see the “black” movie. Never realizing the two of us are far more alike than we are different. Despite the apparent difference in our skin tones. The truth is that the evidence of who we are, who we really are, cannot be ascertained from a glance. Much like the truth of this movie’s significance can’t be defined by the opinions of professional (or unprofessional) critics.

See, within that truth lies the beauty of what it really means to be… African American. Within that truth is the careful, deliberate, often meticulous navigation through society that takes place daily for every African American, regardless of their shade. Within that truth is also the reason why, after watching Black Panther, this movie, this work of fiction, this stylized drama… why it is a watershed moment.

Let me be clear that I fully understand that this is a “super hero” movie. It is a live-action, film adaptation of a comic book, and as such, has no bearing on real-life events. That being said, my head and heart were all over the place.

Why?

There are several reasons. Far too many to fully convey here. But I will attempt to pinpoint the larger one in the context of my feelings.

The African Nation of Wakanda

Wakanda is a country unspoiled. Unsullied by the invasion – or colonization, as the characters point out – of those who would trample its rich culture, prohibit the expression of its traditions, exploit its resources, and enslave its people. Simply put, Wakanda was free to evolve into a highly developed, technologically advanced civilization, while retaining all of its history, customs and beliefs.

For those of African heritage, nothing like this exists in the real world.

Not.

One.

Thing.

To this day, many African nations are considered third world countries. This label typically refers to economically poor, non-industrialized nations who are often reliant upon foreign aid. But seeing Wakanda on the big screen was like a glimpse into an alternate reality. Even stripping away all of its supernatural elements, it stands as a future that could have been. Could have.

But… it isn’t.

For me, segments of the movie stood out as an extended expedition into an incredibly complex and engaging world established through tribal unity, ingenuity, and intellect. It was the answer to the nagging question… what if? What if there was no slavery? What if there was no colonization of Africa? What if there was no systemic racism? This is Wakanda!

But… it isn’t.

Or rather, it never was, and maybe it will never be. And that… that is heartbreaking.

Because it has nothing to do with the lack of supernatural intervention, or the existence of Vibranium. It has everything to do with systemic racism, the deterioration and intentional disruption of the black family unit… the lack of community awareness and concern as a country, not just isolated pockets of effective collaboration … and a society that seems to have lost its compassion and consideration for others.

Wakanda then becomes a sad reminder of unrealized potential, all that has been stolen, and what now feels unobtainable.

But… it isn’t.

Even without vibranium, the technological marvels of Wakanda are not completely fictional. The unique customs, arts, and social institutions exemplified in the movie are very real. We now have a space and an opportunity to discuss errors of the past and make corrections for the future.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

There may be some who think that what I’ve said and what I’ve seen… that it’s simply too late for us.

But… it isn’t.

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Categories: commentary, current events, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anniversary Eve


Tomorrow. August 7th, my wife and I will be celebrating our 9 Year Wedding Anniversary. We dated for 3 years prior to our wedding day, which gives us a good dozen years of being together.

We were talking last night and I said, “You know babe, with everything that has happened in the last 12 years… dating, getting married, having children, buying a house, changing jobs… I can’t even remember my life before you.” The best part about this? I don’t have to. 🙂

Life With Dre

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Struggle With Hugs


I’ll just come out and say it… I’m weird. Awkward. Maybe at times even a bit uncomfortable. To some, this isn’t news. Or maybe it is. Whatever the case may be, I’m confessing my struggle with hugging.
Hugs, you say?

Yes, hugs. Let me explain…

I love hugs. I do. I think they are perfect for expressing affection for those you love, appreciation for people who’ve done something wonderful for you, and even as a greeting for those you haven’t seen in quite a while.

The problem is that I’m painfully inconsistent. I may hug you on one day and not hug you the next. It has nothing to do with how I feel about you. I think it has more to do with over thinking the process. What I mean is this… I grew up thinking that guys don’t hug. For any reason.

Did you brake your leg? Head nod with a grunt.

Did you just have a fight with your girlfriend? Shake head while saying, “Dude.”

Did you just accomplish some major goal? Punch to the shoulder with a smile.

Now, with the exception of the common one-armed back pat with hands clasped between you, most guys I know don’t hug. So it’s not something I made a habit of doing. But this threw me WAY off later in life.

When I was younger, I had no problem hugging girls I dated or even my mom. My dad, on the other hand, was never a big hugger. Even now I think it surprises him when someone moves in for an embrace. But that’s not to say that my dad isn’t affectionate. We actually hug more now that I’m older.

Neverthless, with most friends and relatives, I probably confuse the heck out of them. Sometimes I’ll immediately go in for a hug. Other times I’ll wait for them to make the first move. And still at other times, there will be this awkward moment where neither one of us is certain if the other will offer a hug, so we’ll do this weird wobbling until we either hug or one of us moves away to end the stalemate.

I don’t know what causes me to do this. It’s not intentional. But I fear I’ve gotten to the point where my inconsistency is to be expected, and to all of a sudden start hugging people regularly would make things even more weird… or awkward… or confusing.

Who knows?

All I can say is, if you see me, give me a hug. I will never refuse them.

Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow Down!


Is it just me, or don’t most people prefer to get to know someone over time? I mean, if you meet someone for the first time and you’re starting a relationship (dating or otherwise), isn’t part of the fun discovering new things about him or her as time passes?

Let’s try a scenario… Say I’m goin’ on a date with this girl… I’ll call her Bizzarabeth (Beth for short).
Okay, so Beth and I head out on our date… when I first met her at a mutual friend’s birthday party, everyone was calling her Beth so I call her Beth. On our way to dinner we make idle chatter and she mentions that her actual given name is Bizzarabeth. After successfully masking my initial shock with a throat-clearing cough, I tell her my name is Myxllence Doviticus. She does a double-take to see if I’m joking and then laughs in disbelief. I tell her I was kidding, but now the ice is broken and we’ve both loosened up. Now see, THAT kind of info is cool…no problem… no real big horror stories or traumatic life experiences.

Now let’s try another scenario…
I go to pick up Bizzarabeth from her house. I ring the doorbell and she invites me in while she gets her coat. Several people are sitting around watching TV in the den so she escorts me into the room to introduce me to everyone.

“Everyone, this is Myxl Dove” she smiles and begins to point as we move around the room.

“Myxl… that’s my father on the couch with the amputated leg… he’s a war veteran. My mom is the one sitting next to him nursing the oxygen tank.” Then she whispers, “She’s got emphysema cause she smokes so much!” I arch a brow and remain silent.

“That’s my brother. Ugh! …the 16 year old jail bird!” she says with disgust. “He’s a part-time crack dealer too.” She looks at me with earnest eyes, “If you get a chance maybe you can talk some sense into him?” She smiles and continues to lead me around the room. I force a smile, but my mind is sufficiently blown at this point.

“Over there is my baby sister.” She points at what appears to be a 4 year-old zombie in a playpen near the kitchen. “She’s blind in one eye cause my mom drank heavily during the pregnancy. Oh! That reminds me! How long will we be out?? I’m wondering if we can stop by the pharmacy to pick up my dad’s Viagra prescription before it closes?”

At this point I would most likely provide any outlandish excuse to get out of there as soon as possible. It’s not so much that her family has issues, most families do. The concern is that you don’t drop all this heavy info on someone you’ve just met. I’d rather find out about your dysfunctional family after I’ve built a strong foundation of friendship and/or love for you. You should never be anxious when cultivating a relationship… allow it to grow in it’s own time. Some people you automatically feel like you’ve known forever… some people you feel as if you’ll never know…

Categories: humor, opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DOVE NOTE #87 – The Letterman Jacket


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

When I was in high school, if a girl was dating one of the guys on the football, basketball or baseball team, you’d often see her wearing his Letterman Jacket.  It’s what I called an LJ Moment. It was a clear way to indicate that she was taken and it identified exactly by whom.  It let every other guy know they should stay away from her. She wasn’t interested in anyone trying to flirt with her because she was happy with her Letterman Jacket guy. Or something like that.

What I always found interesting is that the guy didn’t necessarily have to be around.  All of these things were still communicated simply by the fact that she was wearing his Letterman Jacket.  He could relish in the fact that she kept the jacket with her and wore it as a symbol of her pride in being with him.  Wow… I’m sure that must have felt great.

Thing is… I never played any sports in high school.  Not that I wasn’t athletic, mind you. I’ve just never been much into sports.  But I was always in the music room playing the piano, singing or having rap battles behind the stone bleachers.  Still, I would always see the girls with the Letterman Jackets and feel a little twang of envy.  I guess back then I wished I’d had a girl who wanted to wear something of mine, ya know?

I mean, I don’t know… maybe it’s just me.  But for a girl to voluntarily wear anything of mine would be the ultimate in ego stroking… but more specifically, it would’ve given me a sense of being wanted and valued.  It would’ve made me feel a little less self-conscious. And certainly would’ve helped to raise my teetering self-esteem.  Especially considering that I had some real issues about how I looked and if I fit in, etc… the usual high-school angst.

So here I am many years later married to an incredible woman and I’m realizing that I’m living the Letterman Jacket dream. I’m experiencing an LJ Moment every single day that she wears her wedding ring. It’s like the ultimate Letterman Jacket! But we don’t stop there… I get that same feeling of happiness every time she wears my shirts, my coats, my socks, my robe, my hats, my sunglasses and even when she drives my car.  And yes… I’m loving every minute of it.

So women, every now and then, pick up one of your husband’s hats or his jacket. If you really want to get into it, wear one of his dress shirts to bed. 😉 And men, if you catch your wife reaching for YOUR coat before she leaves the house, take it as a compliment. Remember that you’re the star player on her favorite team. 😉

Categories: Dove Note, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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