I grew up in an environment that was very much influenced by the chief principles that controlled my life. My mother and my father. Followed by Madea and Big Daddy. (Don’t think Tyler perry and Steve Harvey when you hear those names. Think more like Clair Hanks-Huxtables parents. Both educated and happy. Madea being a little bit snooty at times and Big Daddy never being able to express any form of anger without immediately being remorseful about it after wards) And under their guidance I was never really inundated with the sort of improper over sexed images that kids seem to have all around them at an early age. I never had a bunch of sexy magazines lying around the coffee tables save an annual Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated. I saw my parents sit close together or kiss from time to time but I never saw them straddling each other in the living room or groping each other in the hall way. And definitely never the type of parents who were cool with me watching rated R movies before my time. So when I first went to Jr. high school and was thrust into this very sexual sort of environment, I had to cope with all sorts of things that were foreign to me. The vulgar talk of kids who are raging with hormones who only know how to express themselves by talking sexually. Every other reference that was being used to each other was something either sexual in nature or something that was expressed through some sort of crass sexual metaphor. But the irony is that amongst all these kids who did all of this sexual talk, they all were very aware that engaging in the actual acts that consumed their little minds actually constituted them being referred to as a HOE! It was like the sickest thing that kids could tell each other to Suck my D*&% or Kiss my A$# or even tell people to EAT ME……but to actually engage in it made you this disgusting sort of animal with no moral control.

But with each passing year the definition of what constituted being a HOE (the word whore didn’t start to be used until post high school in my world) seemed to change. The criteria seemed to be more and more relaxed…lenient. So we went from placing labels on kids who had hickeys on their neck in the 7th grade, to specifically labeling girls who had any sort of sexual contact with more than one guy at the same school by the time we cracked high school. Because God forbid a girl publicly “go with” and be intimate with more than one guy over a 4 year period. But post high school the bar moved even lower. And the label slowly started to slide over to encompass guys as well. People totally developed this subjective sliding scale from sexual partners to years on this Earth as  some sort of measuring stick to accurately define what a whore is. But……. we’re old as hell now. Does that word still mean anything? How high is the number or how extreme is the ratio of age to partners by which we evaluate someones whore status?

Any man who is holding on to the notion that he is going to marry someone who is “Virtuous” based on the standards that he thought to be important when he was 13 is not only a damn fool, but worthy of being slapped in the damn mouth. But of course you would be hard pressed to find a man who is that delusional. And as for women, they have resigned themselves to the thought process that all men are so promiscuous that many have no concern about how many women that her Boo has been with in the past. Hell…I have even heard my friends brag about how they snagged a former “lady’s man”. Meanwhile a guy would slap his momma before he said he was dating a former “man’s lady”! But I suppose the question is still what does that word even mean when you get to be an adult? Because while I personally am very careful about how I use the word, on the very rare times that I have used it post 25, I cannot totally say that the word has no value at all. I can sit here and act all righteous and say, I would never use such a word to describe a woman. But in the same breath I am not about to sit here and profess my love and devotion to my favorite adult film star, the local good time gal, or the office flirt.  So I am not going to act like I don’t believe the word describes something that I don’t want to be associated with.  But at what point do I start to disregard the criteria of other people and what they think?  Can I even do that?  Do I even believe that a woman who has had more partners than what I thought was acceptable, is not worth my time?  Because all people have different criteria and none of them are without flaws.  So if I drill down to what has the biggest effect on me, I realize that it is not the same thing that a lot of other people are concerned with.  Of course, no one wants to be with someone who has been around the block with so many people that I cannot go a day without seeing someone who has seen my girl’s goodies.  But the fact that a woman has done some things becomes less and less important to me.  As long as she can have something new and unique with me moving forward.  I have come to realize that for me and for a lot of other people it is not the numbers, but the notoriety that stings to be faced with.

I can deal with the idea that a woman used to date a guy that I used to know.  I can maybe get over the fact that when she was younger she had a fling with a well-known NBA player.  I can possibly even get over the fact that she dated the popular professor in college whose class  all the girls rushed to register for.  (Whewwww…..man I really have come a long way) But getting over the fact that you have had some sort of widely known salacious interactions with a variety of people is what will ultimately serve as my Mt. Everest.  The mountain that I cannot get over.  And I can openly acknowledge that such a hang up is not something that I should be proud of.  But it is what it is.  You see, it all boils down to ego and respect.  Two things that people, especially men, place an inordinate amount of emphasis on.  If someone is able to get past their partners gaudy statistics, that says a lot about them.  About their maturity and how open-minded they are.  But that door seems to slam right in the face of people who have been involved in relationships with people who your boyfriend knows……and everyone else knows about that relationship that you had with his acquaintances.  It is the public nature of it.  Having to look into the face of people who you know have been with your lady.  Seen her naked.  Heard her secrets.  Made her cry.  Dismissed her when he was done.  For some reason people don’t look at situations like that and want to embrace a woman and be her rock  of stability to help her to a better way of life or maybe even be the support that helps to boost her esteem.  We just cast people away like yesterdays used up tissue.

But ultimately this idea of the privacy factor is what is the real hang up for adults.  Along with the respectability of the other relationships.  Not the number of partners.  I think I would rather a woman who’s been with 25 guys that I don’t know than 10 guys that I do.  (How serious is that statement?!)  And maybe I am talking like that because I am older and I have no doubt that for me, dating a girl who hasn’t been through some things is about as impossible as winning the lottery.  But if I have been forced into this way of thinking, then so be it.  Because the casual categorizing of people has gone to far.  We seem to quick to label and rip people apart for what they have done.  And not so much for what they have done but more so the fact that we know about it.  At one time people even called Halle Berry a hoe because she had been involved with a number of public relationships.  Like a grown woman at 29 years old is only suppose to have had 3 boyfriends.  The absurdity of it was something that I probably contributed to at that time.  But with age comes maturity…and hopefully for me a kinder heart in my dealings with people.  I don’t know…..I’m trying to be better……and I want to forget that word.  But………..I’m still gonna holdout for that woman that none of you know.  Maybe that will give me some comfort.  Not knowing what the woman that I turned into a housewife used to be.

 

@jacksonbracey

Jackson.Bracey@gmail.com

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