18 Ways To Tell A Guy “No” Besides “No”

You’re walking down the street, enjoying the sunshine, you’re at the bar waiting on your drinks, you’re in the dairy aisle looking for yogurt, or you’re simply minding your own business. We’ve all been there… been preoccupied with other things… enjoying ourselves. But you get interrupted by a guy asking about your day, asking your name, asking for your number.

You’re not interested. Or you’re not really in the mood. Or you have a beautiful loving significant other waiting for you at home. All you have to do is tell him, “No. Thank You.” And you can be on your merry way. Ah, but if only it were that simple.

He doesn’t care if you, say no. He loves a challenge. Even if you have kids or a boyfriend, these are merely speed bumps on his road to Love Town. Husband? Challenge accepted. Lesbian? Double challenge accepted.

So what’s a girl to do?

Here are 18 things to say and do that will kill a mood so fast that guy will wish he never even said hello.

  1.  I’m sorry, but I recently contracted [insert sexually transmitted disease here], and the doctor says it’s going to be six months before I can have sex again.
  2. I no longer have a vagina. I’m just bare.  It’s sort of like a Barbie doll down there.
  3. Hey! I know you! We’re cousins.
  4. *Scream. Just scream really loud and for a really long time*
  5. Oh my gosh. I slept with your dad.
  6. Oh my gosh I slept with your mom.
  7. It’s coming! Where’s the nearest bathroom?! Hurry. I can’t hold it.
  8. My boyfriend just got out of prison for attempted murder. But I’m sure he would love to meet you.
  9. If I give you my number, can I have a sample of your sweat?
  10. I’m having my brother’s baby right now so I’m just too preoccupied to go out with anyone.
  11. *If you are fluent in another language, begin speaking it*
  12. You’re the perfect specimen for our experiment. I can’t wait to tell Dr. Thorpe.
  13. *Don’t blink*
  14. *If wearing wig or extensions, take off and begin to pet and whisper ‘shhh’*
  15. *Talk in a baby voice*
  16. *Pick your nose and then inspect closely what comes out*
  17. *Pretend you’re a car alarm*
  18. *Facetime your mom and tell her that you found someone willing to marry you*

 

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Teach Girls To Be Brave

I recently came across this Ted Talk from two years ago delivered by Reshma Saujani. She highlights the confidence level difference between young boys and girls and the importance of risk taking.

When people ask why we need feminism in the 21st century, this is one of the reasons. Women are capable, but we do not always believe that we are.  I find this especially true with young black and brown girls. We’ve been conditioned from an early age that success is not in our future, that we should stay in certain fields, that we are only care takers and nurturers, not engineers and scientists. We should give up. We shouldn’t be so aggressive.

I think about how many classes I didn’t take in college because I was scared. Or all the jobs I haven’t applied for because I didn’t feel qualified, when I probably was more qualified than the male applicants. We have to teach girls to be brave from an early age. We are missing out on an ocean of potential changemakers and innovators.

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

How To Avoid Overpaying At The Auto Shop

When I moved to Maryland, I thought that it was time that I make a grown up decision and get my own car. Living in a new city by yourself, you need accessibility. And although the DMV area is far better with public transportation than any place I’ve ever lived before, you never know when you’ll need a quick getaway. It was time for me to put on my big girl pants and purchase a car.

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After consulting my older brother, mom, best friend’s dad, coworkers, uber drivers, and

pretty much any one who was willing to be my motor vehicle encyclopedia, I finally
settled on a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze. I named him Dracarys, Khaleesi’s command for her dragons on Game of Thrones because he’s a bright fiery red.

A few weeks ago, I was leaving my boyfriend’s apartment. I opened the car door, stuck my key in the ignition, and that terrible sputtering noise filled the car. My boyfriend’s dad is mechanic so he knew exactly what to do. I sat their like a sack of sprouting potatoes devastated by little Dracarys’s sudden impairment.

He jump started the car, and we immediately took him to AutoZone to get the battery tested by a technician. The battery is fine. It’s the alternator. (WTF is an alternator?) We took Dracarys to my boyfriend’s dad. Oh, yeah, it’s the  alternator. (Wow. this alternator, huh?)

So I schedule an appointment with CarMax, the company that sold me the car. They couldn’t see me for a week, which sucked being without my baby for a whole seven days. When I arrived for my appointment, I told the CarMax consultant that I took it to two places that said the problem with my car was the alternator. The voltage was too high and draining my battery. (Homegirl did her research…. and just repeated everything she had been told like a parrot by the actual professionals.)

The consultant told me that worked perfectly with my warranty. I would only have to pay the $50 deductible. He tried to upsell me on a new battery, which my warranty didn’t cover, but they said that they would run the diagnostic tests and get to work. This is when everything turned to sh*t.

The consultant kept coming back to me with higher and higher dollar amounts, until he came back to me with a whopping $249. Okay, so $249 doesn’t seem like a lot, but compared to the $50 I was initially told, it was a lot. Also, I don’t have $249 lying around. My phone screen is shattered, and I refused to get it fixed. If I’m not paying $45 for a dude at a mall kiosk to fix my phone, there’s no way in hell I could pay $249 for homeboy to fix my car.

I told the man that the price was too high and asked what happened to my deductible? He said that because the battery is “natural wear and tear”, my warranty doesn’t cover it. He said he could get it down to a little less than $200 since I bought the car less than a year ago. But that wasn’t good enough.

Wear and tear? The car is only 4 years old, and I purchased it less than a year ago. That’s not my wear and tear! And two other professionals told me that the alternator was the issue, not the battery. It only has 25,000 miles on it, most of which were not made by me. This is not adding up.

I was stressed and overwhelmed and on the verge of tears because I’ve had financial issue after financial issue, and this was not going to be another one. He wanted to charge me $70 for a diagnostic test, which I said was absurd. I told him that I would not pay anything more than $50. I paid my deductible, grabbed my keys and left.

Later that day, I wrote a strongly worded letter to CarMax and got the price dropped down to $120. (Nobody puts Baby in a corner).

I honestly shouldn’t even have to pay anything more than $50, but I took what I could get, and I would call that that a win.

This whole experience has really had me thinking about knowing my car and knowing what you need when you walk into an auto place. Especially as a woman, we get walked all over in these AutoShops because men believe that we don’t know what we’re talking about and that they can pull a fas one over on us (consciously or not).

So I came up with some tips that I think that helped me avoid being manipulated by the CarMax consultant my first go around that would be helpful to any woman in my position.

Know your car

Know the year, make, model, engine, wheels, mileage, all of that. Any gap of knowledge is room for the mechanic or technician to fill. And most of the time they don’t have your best interest at heart.

Always have someone on deck

When I first bought my car, I made sure that I went on a day that my brother was off of work so that I could call him. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else who thinks of follow up questions that you don’t think of in the moment.

Be confident in what you want

If you’re going in for an oil change, you’re going in for an oil change. There probably is a lot of other sh*t that’s wrong with your car, but it’s still functional, right?

Ask questions

Don’t accept things as they are.  Sometimes mechanics will say things expecting you not to ask a follow up question. Ask for clarity.

Learn how cars work

At the end of the day, mechanics do know what they are talking about, and they may point out problems with your car that could lead to serious problems, maybe even serious accidents. It’s your job to discern the BS from the genuine. So pay close attention to what the mechanic tells you and then consult the internet.

It’s okay to walk away

You’re not being rude or disrespecting the man’s craft if you say you’re going to take it somewhere else or think about it or get a second opinion. It’s your money and your car. Also, when you walk away, the price suddenly becomes lower, and the conditions of the service become drastically different.

 

7 Overused Academic Words You Hate But Secretly Love

The words we’re tired of using, but we can’t think of anything else better to make our point.

1. Nuanced

Nuanced is Interesting’s twin sister. She came from the same momma. She just dresses a little fancier.

 

2. Fraught

I’m hearing this a lot more frequently as of late. This is fraught with that. That is fraught with this. But no one ever uses it correctly in a sentence.

3. Discourse

Discourse is one of those words you use to describe the plethora of things that you will not be discussing in your presentation or paper. “There’s a lot of discourse on pandas in Peru, but I don’t know anything about that. So please for love of all that is good do not ask me anything about pandas in Peru.”

4. Dichotomy

It’s ALWAYS two? There’s NEVER a third?

5. Dismantle

Destroy. Deconstruct. Annihilate.  Reconstruct. Reconfigure. Dissect. Demolish. Eradicate. Eliminate. All perfectly good words to use, but I know dismantle just has a nice ring to it. Thanks, Audre Lorde.

5. Social Construct

No one likes to point out, “That’s a social construct.” It’s just exhausting to realize racism, homophobia, sexism, etc, are found deeply integrated in the fabrics of our everyday being. But someone’s gotta do it.

6.  Right?

Right isn’t anything special, but used with an inquisitive inflection of tone it’s sure to make any academic setting quiver, right? You understand what it is that I’m trying to do, right? I can’t make it any more clear, right? Right?

7. Problematic

And lastly, our beloved “problematic”. Problematic is the nice, intelligent way of telling someone in your cohort or one of your peers that what they said is f**cked up. It’s respectful but to the point.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships While in Grad School (Or While You’re Trying to Be the Best Version of Yourself)

This is something I fail at on a consistent basis so I do not consider myself an authority on the subject, but I do have a great deal of experience, and I want to share some advice with you.

When I first started grad school, it was a lot easier to keep in touch with my family and folks back home. Now, that I’ve finished my first year, I am more situated in graduate student life and the new city. I have more responsibilities, a new relationship, new friends, and consequently, less time.

I haven’t even binged watched anything in a few months. It’s depressing.

But I am happy to report that I am enjoying my life and feeling fulfilled in most things that I do. More sleep and less adult things like taxes would be nice, but I have no major complaints.

A lot of my well being has to do with friends and family members who aren’t pressed that I can’t spend every waking minute talking to or seeing them. They’re supportive of my goals and aspirations and are okay that during peak busy seasons the most they’ll hear from me is an “I’m alive” text.

But it’s also important to know that while you’re shooting for the stars, your friends and family have equally important things going on in their lives and need your support and love as well.

So I’ve created some tips and reminders to help keep your relationships strong even with distance or work or school in between you.

#1 Identify the most important people in your life. And schedule fixed times to talk to them. 

My mom works graveyard shifts from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. I live in a state that’s three hours ahead. So my mom and I typically talk when I get ready in the morning for work and she’s just getting off.

#2 Texts aren’t meaningless.

Simple check-in texts to see how your friends are doing through out the day can do wonders. It takes two seconds out of your day. And although it seems like everything needs your full attention in that moment, it’s okay to break away and say hello to your good ol’ pals.

#3 It’s okay, if you can’t respond right away. 

Unless someone is in immediate danger, it’s okay to push a text back until a few hours later when you have more time.

#4 FaceTime dates are real dates

I am guilty of not living up to this, but it’s important to know. If you make a commitment to FaceTime your mom or your sister at 8 o’clock on Sunday, you are busy to everyone else at 8 o’clock on Sunday. Backing out on commitments is a sure fire way to ruin a relationship.

#5 Use social media to keep up with the important stuff

Sometimes you can’t always connect, but social media has provided folks of the 21st century with incredible means to say in touch when you’re miles apart. Leave a comment on your friends picture letting them know you’re thinking about them and you’re looking forward to seeing them the next time you’re in town.

#6 Snail mail is the best kind of mail

A really good friend of mine started an internship in Mississippi, and I can’t remember the last time I actually heard her voice, but she’s sent me a couple of postcards sending her love, and it’s a good reminder that we’re still thinking of one another.

#7 It’s okay to drop folks who simply can’t support you right now .

If folks can’t understand that you’re busy reaching your goals and constantly make you feel bad about it, it may be time to get out the scissors and cut ties. Friendships and relationships change as you get older, and something people have to realize is that you’re not available in the way you were when you were younger. And that’s okay. You are growing in all facets of your life.

8 Reasons You Should Break Up With Him

Hopefully this will be the push you need to make the right choice. We’ve all known we should break up with someone, but we didn’t have concrete reasons. Here are your reasons!

1. He’s a poor communicator.

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Communication is the foundation of a relationship. If you can’t talk to your significant other, then what is your relationship based on? A long lasting healthy relationship isn’t based on just the physical, and you need good dialogue and conversation to sustain it. There will be good times and bad times, but to make it through the bad times, you need good communication skills or a willingness to try.

2. You don’t feel like you can confide in him.

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Imagine that your friend constantly blabbed everything you told her or made you feel terrible about something deeply personal, you’d probably stop being her friend. Why don’t we extend that same mindset to our boyfriends?

3. He feels threatened by your success.

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If a man is threatened by your success, it’s probably because he’s insecure. He could be insecure with the projection of his own life or even just insecure with his own masculinity. Real men are comfortable with the strength and success of their partners.

4. He doesn’t like your family.

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Given your family members aren’t racist serial killers, they’re probably going to be a part of your life until the day you die. They have nurtured you and have cared for you, and you love them. If your partner doesn’t like them, that could mean a future in which you don’t see your family as much or you’re constantly choosing him over them.

5. You sacrifice your friendships to be with him.

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Friends are so important. They were there before him, and they’ll be there for you after him.

6. He gets in the way of you reaching your goals.

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If a boyfriend gets in the way of doing what makes you happy, they don’t really love you.

7. Your values and beliefs are completely different.

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I see this happen so often in interracial relationships, especially with black women and white men. They get deep into the relationship, and out of the blue they find their boyfriend’s confederate flag and swastika memorabilia. It’s okay to have a few differences of opinions, but some beliefs and values are really important to who we are and affect the ways in which we live and interact with the world. Is that something you want to change or sacrifice? If the answer is no, push it and keep it moving.

8. And lastly, you constantly think about breaking up with him.

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Don’t ever ignore your gut. If you feel like things aren’t right, then they probably aren’t. This could have nothing to do with your boyfriend. You may be going through your own internal struggle and need some time to be alone. Be fair to both you and your partner and end things.

Last Week You Said That Men Are Trash and Now You Got a Man: Dismantling the patriarchy in a healthy and loving relationship

Your resident expert in f**kboy-ology got a man. Yup. You heard right. I left the life of sleeping diagonal and an unwaxed body for cuddles and emotional support.

And let me just say, it’s not that bad. Correction. It’s pretty great. I always have someone to go to the movies with, someone who listens to me bemoan the troubles of my day, and someone who ignites a fiery passion in me that is just too explicit to discuss on this blog.

If you’ve been following along with me on my dating journey, you will know that I have not had the best luck with men. I have a zero tolerance for the absolute f**kery that men (and those who uphold and support said f**kery of men) put us through.

I am a feminist in every sense of the word. A womanist truly. And the guys I’ve dated have not supported or been good representatives of my beliefs and values and as such, I’ve projected those past traumas onto potential boyfriends.

And that’s just not healthy at all.

Yeah, keeping a guard up at all times will keep you protected. But it doesn’t allow any opportunity to be truly loved by another person.

But let’s face it . The patriarchy is not in retrograde. And the performance of toxic masculinity is at an all time high.

So what does that mean for the dating scene?

Should you commit to a life of abstinence and lock yourself away in a tower waiting for an unproblematic Prince Charming?

No. Please don’t do that. That sounds depressing.

Continue to date and be open to love, but remember your worth. Be transparent about your values. And don’t sacrifice parts of  yourself because you think, “Well, damn. This is as good as it’s gonna get.”

There are men who have ditched their macho man facades and are comfortable in their own masculinity and are not threatened because you’re comfortable in your femininity.