Mr. Man has moved to a new neighborhood. He can be found at www.dearmisterman.com. Please bookmark this new address. See you there!
April 19, 2009
April 17, 2009
This past weekend while I was downloading music, blogging, checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” doing some very important work for the good of mankind, J.C. looked particularly bored. As I looked out of the window in my study, I see The Boy going from house to house to see if any of his friends were home. Alas, they were not. I felt bad for The Boy, so Istopped downloading music, blogging, checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” the important work that I was doing and took him for a bike ride. The rain had passed and it
was a beautiful Houston day in the springtime (meaning 80 degrees, sunny, and 41% humidity) as we began our trek through the neighborhood.
We had ridden a couple of miles or so when he asked if we could go to the park. I thought that was a good idea because earlier he mentioned that his brakes were a little loose. When we arrive, he jumps off of his bike and runs to the playground and I began to adjust his brakes. Shortly thereafter a little boy around 5-years old shows up with his dad. As the other dad and I give each other the obligatory head nod, J.C. and the little boy begin to play.
A few minutes go by and I see the boys go over to the swings. J.C. helps the younger boy onto a swing and begins to instruct him on the proper way to achieve maximum altitude and velocity on the swing set. “First, you use your legs to push off on the ground”, J.C. explains. “Then you kick your legs forward as you go forward and back when you go backwards”. He completed his instruction and went to a swing of his own.
Shortly, the little boy began to lose altitude while my son was in full swing (pun intended). The little boy calls out to my son and says, “Hey. Come push me again.” My son tells him to wait just a second because he was enjoying his hang time. The boy (not to be confused with “The Boy”) tells J.C., “You don’t need to swing. I just want you to push me”.
I wanted to tell little Mr. Bossman that my boy doesn’t work for him, but instead I wanted to see how J.C. handled it. J.C. jumped off the swing in mid-air which evoked an “Awesome” from the younger boy and went over to push. I was astonished that J.C. would just submit to the dictatorial will of a 5-year old. Then he made me proud…
He began to push the boy again, only he began to repeat his instruction. “Okay, I’ll help. But I am gonna show you again so that you will know how to do it yourself…”
Teach a man to fish? In this case, “Teach a man to swing”. Hmmm. Maybe he is listening to me.
April 15, 2009
Last week when I got home from work, Adi sat me down in front of the television and said, “Baby, your kids wanted you to see this commercial”. The moment she said “your kids”, I knew to expect something outlandish. I sat down and she played the following commercial:
As I watched the commercial, I literally sat on my sofa with my mouth hanging open (and not because I was hungry for one of their flame-broiled burgers). I was actually dumbfounded and confused by what I just saw: the “Burger King” dancing around singing, “I like square butts and I cannot lie…” with women doing what my wife calls “the booty dance” only their booties were SQUARE. This was Burger King’s attempt at adding humor to a “Sponge Bob Square Pants” kids’ meal promotion they are running in conjunction with Nickelodeon.
One question from The Man (y’all know what’s coming next)…
Burger King…HAVE YOU LOST YOUR DAMN MIND?!?!?!??
What friggin’ gives? You make a kids’ promotion based on a song that celebrates excessively large backsides? What were you thinking about besides the money that you hoped to make? Did you consider that we are already in pop cultural purgatory and you just contributed?
Did you stop to think that I might have to explain to my kids why that commercial is not funny even while they are laughing their ARSES off?
When you got called to the carpet, you said that you were marketing to adults. Puh-leeese. I can’t think of the last time I watched one of your commercials and grabbed my kids ’cause I just had to go get a happy meal. It’s the other way around. My kids noticed your “Sponge Bob Square ASS” commercial (I’m sorry, Folks. Mr. Man couldn’t help it) and SAVED IT ON THE DVR because they thought it was so funny. I know adults can handle it and so can most kids. However, there is enough junk to jam up our kids’ minds. Why add to it? Thanks, BK. Like I needed this.
BTW, Burger King. I like the Jack In The Box commercials sooooo much better. Stop your cheesy imitations of my boy, Jack. Man up!
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April 14, 2009
Q: Dear Mr. Man:
Note: This is the second in a two-part series on this mixed bag we call “Hip-Hop”. I’d like for us to discuss the second question raised:
“Can you suggest any ways to protest some of the messages in hip hop while still enjoying it as a type of music?”
Below is the question in its entirety:
“I’ve been a longtime fan of hip hop. But, through the years, I’ve noticed a troubling trend of hip hop lyrics that objectify women to the point of being misogynistic. It seems like some of the songs that are played the most on the radio (”Blame it”, “One More Drink”, and “Crank Dat” come to mind right away) encourage men to see women only as sexual objects. While you see these types of lyrics in other genres, it does seem more extreme and pronounced in hip hop. Do you think that there is any way to change this trend in hip hop? And can you suggest any ways to protest some of the messages in hip hop while still enjoying it as a type of music?”
For hip-hip fans who were around at its inception, the music and the sound has changed dramatically. It has shifted from party and dance music, to violence and the “gansta” lifestyle, to highly sexual and misogynistic. This is difficult for those of us who LOVE the music. We may be raising children now, but, unlike our parents, we are unable to share the genre we love so much with them for fear that it may shape their attitudes toward s violence, drugs and alcohol, and women.
So what are our options? Believe it or not, there are several ways to protest the current state of hip-hop. It’s not a new solution: just don’t buy it. As with anything, money will make or break the cycle negative hip-hop. We have to make it less attractive to the current generation and the generations to come. It starts in your home. With you and your children. Easier said than done. Individually, we can choose not to buy it, but as I mentioned in the Part One of this series hip-hop is a part of our culture.
So how do we change a culture? One child at a time. Sunday afternoon, J.C. and I are on our way home from church when I decided to put on some of Will Smith’s music (current and when he was known as “The Fresh Prince”). Songs like “Summertime” and “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” caught his attention with the smooth rhymes and the party rhythms. So I said, “Do you like this?” He gave me a look and a smile that let me know he was getting his groove on. It warmed me to see the same look in his eyes that I had when I first heard Run DMC twenty years ago. Clean. Fun. Music.
There are artists, some familiar and some not so, that produce an alternative to the mainstream. I read somewhere that Master P and his son, Romeo have started a clean hip-hop label. You may have heard of TobyMac who is pseudo hip-hop, but there are many others.There are numerous artists such as B.B. Jay, KJ-52, Grits, and John Reuben whom you may have never heard of, but are bumping their beats with the best of them. B.B. Jay, my personal favorite of the bunch, sounds like a clean version of the Notorious B.I.G. The beats are funky and the rhymes flow like butter, but women are elevated and there is no profanity or violence.
We can still enjoy hip-hop without all of the garbage that currently comes with it. Hip-hop started as a party anthem. No reason it can’t return to its roots. We need to affect this change in our own homes by continuing to model the behaviors that make the negative aspects of hip-hop (and other types of music) unattractive and distasteful to our kids. Also, don’t make the negativity taboo. Be willing to talk to your children honestly and candidly about “bad” hip-hop and how it has the potential to erode society. The more the next generation knows about the harmful effects, the less likely it will be that they will partake.
You are all adults, I assume. You hopefully can filter out the negative, but our children cannot. This is our protest. Teach the children, protect them, and guide them to the right choices. If every parent does this, this will be our protest. This is how we change the world of hip-hop. It will not be an overnight process, but if we take resonsibility for our children, the rest will fall in place.
What’s on your mind? Holla at The Man with your comments.
Shameless Plug: I’d love to give my take on your questions. Submit questions for Mr. Man to answer in an upcoming post on the “Ask Mr. Man” page in the sidebar.
One more thing…if you are enjoying this blog, please pass the link along to your friends. Thank you.
April 12, 2009
Warm Greetings To All of You,
Regardless of your faith or what you may believe in, Easter Sunday (or what some call “Resurrection Day”) is a day of hope and redemption. The very message that God loved us so much that He would die so that I may live is still as incredible and awe inspiring as the day I first heard it as a child.
The day reminds me of my own falleness and no matter how I try, I shall never be perfect. It reminds me of a being greater than me. A savior, if you will, when I need saving. I cannot exist in my own strength. I need His to be complete.
The day is optimistic and hopeful. Refreshing and rejuvenating. It is a day of new beginnings.
If you are a Christ-follower, rejoice! For He Is Risen. If this is not where you place your faith, rejoice as well in the hope and love for mankind that this day represents for many.
The day is Resurrection Day! Have a great one.
April 9, 2009
One Saturday morning (you pick which one), when Adi and I are sleeping in, I hear a ruckus downstairs in the great room. As I rush downstairs to see what’s going on, I hear J.C. yelling at the top of his lungs, “Get up! I was there first!” Now Adi is coming behind me as Bae screams back, “Let me go! Now!”
“What is going on?” I asked (okay, technically I did ask a question. That’s not how it came across, I’m sure. To the kids, it probably sounded more like a roar).
The Boy and Bae start to speak simultaneously, creating a foreign language to this day I cannot decipher without saying the magic phrase:
“STOP IT! One at a time! Bae, tell me what’s going on.”
Bae begins to tell her version as The Boy objects to the way she’s telling it and a verbal duel ensues. I say the magic phrase again and begin my investigation.
ME: “Bae, what happened?”
Bae: “J.C. is tryin’ to make me get up from this seat.”
J.C.: “I was there first!”
ME: “Is that true, Bae?”
Bae says sullenly, “Yes.”
ME: “So why did you take The Boy’s seat?”
And here it comes. The moment my kids temporarily lose all of their common sense…
Bae looks me in the eyes and says, “I don’t know…”
ME: “What do you mean you don’t know? You took his chair, didn’t you?”
Me: “You were present when this happened, right?”
Me: “So, again, sweetie, tell me why did you take J.C.’s seat?”
Bae: “I don’t know.”
This is where I have the Charlie Brown moment. You know the one when Lucy pulls the football he’s trying to kick from under his feet? AUUUGGGHHH!!!!!
Adi just smiles because she knows I’m getting a taste of what she gets all of the time.
Q: Dear Mr. Man:
It has been several months since my husband and I have made love. She always tells me that he is tired or not in the mood. This makes me moody and frustrated. Please help.
A: I have been following posts on New York City Moms and on Dad-Blogs about an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired this week. My buddy, NYCity Mama, wrote a post about this show. The show was called, “The Truth About Motherhood”. According to Oprah, this was a “judgement-free” zone where mothers could admit their likes and dislikes about motherhood. Some of the dislikes that were mentioned were bodily fluids, toy explosions, and not being in “the mood” as much anymore. It is the last point that I want to address. Very plainly. Very clearly.
Anyone who believes that a marriage can be strong and healthy without sex has lost their damn minds. Period.
There is one very famous “mom-blogger” who said on the show that she and her husband did not have sex for seven months after their child was born. She also said that intimacy is rubbing ankles as their 40-pound child sleeps between them. Sounds like some boundaries need to be set.
Here’s the deal. Men need initmacy from their wives. It is a reinforcement of the emotional commitment that he has made to his wife. It is also a way for men to communicate their love for his wife. Men are visual and physical creatures. It is why we are fascinated by the vivid colors on a high definition big screen, it is why we wrestle other guys, hand bump, and “noogie” our sons. Physicality is an extension of our emotions. Check out this poll on sex in marriage that my brother, E. Payne, recently conducted.
It is no different in the bedroom. The act of love making is an intimate connection to the soul of the woman God has blessed us with. It was intended for man and woman to share this intimacy in this very connected way. I am using the word “connected” in a very deliberate manner. This connection is obviously physical, but, when it is done right, there is a connection of heart and soul.
The absence of intimacy creates another set of issues entirely. According to some religions, the cessation of sexual relations in a marriage is the functional termination of that marriage. Did you catch that, friends? The termination of your marriage. Wow, that’s so deep that I need to pause for a moment…
Okay, I’m back. With the exception of being unable to be sexual with your spouse due to physical limitations, it is unnatural for a married couple to not be intimate with each other. Unfortunately, when intimacy is witheld in the marriage union, it is possible that sexual fulfillment will be sought outside of the home. Not cool. Marriages cease to be the celebration of life and love that they were created to be. They become traps and dens of deceptions. The smallest molehill of problems become as large as mountains when there is no intimacy in a marriage. People who withhold intimacy and wear it as a badge of honor need to man up. It’s time for healing. Sexual healing. Now stop reading and give your spouse a call. Peace.
April 5, 2009
Q: Dear Mr. Man:
I’ve been a longtime fan of hip hop. But, through the years, I’ve noticed a troubling trend of hip hop lyrics that objectify women to the point of being misogynistic. It seems like some of the songs that are played the most on the radio (“Blame it”, “One More Drink”, and “Crank Dat” come to mind right away) encourage men to see women only as sexual objects. While you see these types of lyrics in other genres, it does seem more extreme and pronounced in hip hop. Do you think that there is any way to change this trend in hip hop? And can you suggest any ways to protest some of the messages in hip hop while still enjoying it as a type of music?
Note: This is an age appropriate post today. This is the first in a two-part series on this mixed bag we call “Hip-Hop”. I’d like for us to discuss that first question raised:
“Do you think that there is any way to change the trend in hip hop where women are viewed as purely sexual objects?”
I am a product of the 1980’s. This is where I spent my adolescence. I became aware of hip-hop during the early part of the decade with the likes of Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambataa, and Grand Master Flash. The music and beats grabbed me. Then there was Run-DMC with jams like “King of Rock”, “Hard Times”, and “Rock Box”. We were breakdancing and having fun because the music was fun. Other groups influenced my tastes as well (BDP, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Eric B. & Rakim, and Public Enemy just to name a few of many). This is music that I let my kids listen to today.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the rap scene began to change. My attention was drawn to the more “dangerous” side of rap music. Groups like N.W.A., Luke Skyywalker and The 2 Live Crew, Sir Mixx-A-Lot, and Too Short were coming from the underground into the mainstream. Songs like “F**k the Police”, “Cop Killer”, “Pop That C****ie”, and more were attracting the hearts and minds of millions of kids. Kids from all walks of life (including me) were drawn by the smokin’ beats and the “thug life” mentality that came with it. “Drawn to it” is an understatement. This type of music has become a part of our pop culture influencing everything from television to clothing.
Let’s not forget that the ’80s birthed MTV and the music video. This is when my pubescent mentality when into hyperdrive because of the images of scantily clad women moving in ways that I never imagined. I was a hormonal teenaged boy still not clear on the responsibilities of manhood, which include not glorifying violence and not viewing females as sexual objects.
Twenty years have past and I have since “manned up”. I have kids of my own. Hip-Hop has become even more engrained in our society. I get ill when I hear teenaged boys of all races calling each other “Ni**az” in the same way that you and I would call each other “brother”. I am disturbed deeply when I see a young girl, maybe 13 or 14 putting herself out there and showing parts of her body that should be reserved for the marriage union.
To answer the reader’s question (sorry for taking the long way to this point), unfortunately the sexualization of women in Hip-Hop–and other forms of pop culture–is not a trend. It is the norm. Foul language is prevalent on television and the radio. It was a trend in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but its wide spread acceptance of it has made it a part of the culture. Most music seems to follow the generation that grew up on it, but the hip-hop culture has been passed on to the generation that exists between us and our children. And it is attracting our children. It has permeated our sports, television, video games and movies.
My point is that society as a whole has accepted the dangerous side of Hip-Hop as a part of the norm. I don’t think that the practice of sexualizing women and glorifying the “gansta” lifestyle can be reversed. I do believe that it will eventually fade away as something new and possible more dangerous comes along to replace it. The decadence will be removed from our society when we stop buying it.
But we have been buying for almost thirty years now and it still is selling.
I am a fan of Hip-Hop. However, I am torn between my love for the music and disdain for the lyrics and the imagery. I will at times listen to some of the “harder” hip-hop songs when I am alone, because the music I love also shames me. My kids listen to Run D-M-C with me when we are driving in the truck. We also listen to the Fat Boys and others that represent the days when the worst thing you heard in Hip-Hop was “My Adidas”.
P.S. As I’m writing this post, my son just asked me, “Dad, did you know that they make cigarettes made of candy?” The worst in society always manages to creep into the places we want uncorrupted. Time for another teachable moment for him from me.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series called, “The Reformation of Hip-Hop”. In the meantime, please Holla at The Man and let me know what you think.
April 3, 2009
When Bae was born, I was scared. When J.C. was born, I still didn’t have the fatherhood thing down. Plain and simple. I didn’t really have any idea on how to be a father. My father, like so many others fathers in my neighborhood, wasn’t around after a certain point in my life (another story for another time). I didn’t have a role model to follow for fatherhood. So all I really knew was that I didn’t want to be like him. I knew I had to provide for them and I knew that I loved them That was the extent of my “daddy-wisdom”. There is no instruction book when it comes raising children. Or is there?
The Book of Proverbs, found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible is full of wisdom for dads and moms. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom found in Proverbs for fathers and parents in general.
· “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths”. (4:10-11)
· “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”.(2:11)
· “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck”.(3:21-22)
· “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man”. (3:3-4)
· “”Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse a man for no reason—when he has done you no harm”. (3:27-30)
There are so many truths for life found in Proverbs. These truths, when applied to your life, will help you to become a better father, husband, and man. It will provide you children with a firm foundation for success in life. It will show you the difference between wisdom and fools.
Here is a challenge: Every day for the next thirty-one days, read a chapter from Proverbs for additional wisdom for life. Let me know if you decide to do it. I am.
April 1, 2009
Q: Dear Mr. Man,
I don’t think my wife finds me attractive anymore. What can I do to be sexier to her?
A: Friends, if I had a sure-fire answer to that, Mr. Man would be in somewhere in the tropics, having a drink out of a coconut half-shell, and grilling anything I could catch. Alas, what I can say is that I understand that it is very easy to get bogged down with the realities of the career, parenthood, and other obligations. It is important that we never forget the glue that holds all of the pieces together: your wife. Sometime, our inattention makes us less attractive to our spouses. I don’t want this to happen to in my relationship, so I made a commitment to myself that I would work harder at being the sexiest man alive to my woman.
Sexy is not necessariy looking like Denzel or Tyrese . You can look like Homer Simpson on the outside so long you are George Clooney attractive on the inside. Back me up, ladies. Don’t leave me hanging on this one. So here is what you do:
- Just Because. When I broke my ankle last year around the holidays, Adi was the only one who was there all the time. I wanted to do something nice for her, but was unable to leave the house. So I ordered flowers…just because. Just because she was there for me and that was the very LEAST I could do. There needs to be many more “just because ” moments to let her know that she is special. Take her on a weekend trip…just because. Set up a spa day…just because. Take the kids off of her hands for a few hours…just because. The simple fact that you are thinking of her will make you instantly sexier in her eyes.
- Touch Her (Not In That Way). We all need physical contact. There is something about the human touch that connects you in ways large and small to another person’s soul. That’s the way God built us. So it is doubly important that you touch your wife without expectation. I don’t mean grab her booty (although there is a time and place for that. She’ll let you know), but soft caresses, holding her hand, and gentle touches on her neck, face, and hair. Your wife is beautiful and touching her is one of the ways that you let her know that you think so.
- Shut Up and Listen. How often have you come come home to your spouse and laid out the burdens of your day? And once you get it off of your chest, you go off into the man-cave never to be seen again until dinner. I’ve been guilty of this as well. It is important to be mindful of the fact that there are events and concerns that have occurred during the day and she wants to be heard just like you do.
- Don’t Always be the Fixer. One of the most loving things that a man can do is to listen to his wife without trying to solve her problems. This is of the most difficult things for a man to do because our nature is to “fix it”. Resist your instincts. Simply refer to #3.
- Man Up and Be Her Total Man. Protect her when she needs it, but don’t suppress her strong side. Don’t be afraid to take charge, but remember…you’re not the boss of her. Don’t be afriad to discipline your children, but to do it in the spirit of love. It’s alright to let her see you cry every now and again, but not every weekend. Let her take care of you, but remember that she’s not your mama. Man up and let her see the total you.
Hopefully these steps will provide you with the instant sexy you want and she needs.