We Are All like Precious' Mother, Mary, Gotta Have a Man!!
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s my best friend flying away at supersonic speeds into the distant sunset with her new boyfriend. As she soars hugging her newfound beau who she only met a week ago on eHarmony, does she look back to see her best friends staring at her in utter disbelief? No. As she breaks the sound barrier itself with her rampant flight after a man who claims to love her after only knowing her a week, does she wonder if her best girlfriends who she has known since high school’s English 101 will be there waiting when she falls from the blissful skies of love? No. No because she is one of them. You know the ones I’m talking about. The girls who get boyfriends and then disappear off the face of the Earth only to be spotted like wayward UFOs when times of distress arise. The girls who ignore your phone calls because they are so enraptured by a guy they have only known for a day. The girls who expect you to be understand why they have canceled the last five girls’ night out activities because Tyrone wants to watch the NBA Championships. Yes, those types of girls.
Before you take my opening comments as a sign of Erykah Badu’s “My eyes are green cause I eats a lot vegetables,” green-eyed monster called jealousy or take it as “You wish you had a man” syndrome, let me clarify my intent and the purpose of this blog. I hate downright loath when girls who claim to be your friend, your best friend, and your sister friend decides that they have to sever ties with you to be with a man. Mind you, I can critically analyze how patriarchy shapes how women interact with each other and how privileges are garnered through performing appropriate hetero-patriarchal behaviors like dating a guy and making him the center of your universe. However, it still pisses me off.
Every time one of my girlfriends goes what I have now termed as “ghost” I feel angry and deeply betrayed. And let’s be honest, when she goes crazy underneath her bed babbling like Miss Sophia from The Color Purple, “Sat in dat jail . . . sat in dat jail,” from being at the intersection of being black and woman who’s going to climb underneath that bed and cry with her or at least climb underneath the bed and tell her that she can as Maya Angelou wrote, rise? And if you’re thinking it will be that man of hers who she has metaphorically only known for a day is going to be her Savior or her Prince Charming you, my dear friend, are mistaken. It will be us, her girlfriends. You see, it never fails to happen that girls who go “ghost” call you in times of distress after not talking to you for ages and expect you to drop everything you’re doing to help make their world better.
I hate it. Perhaps, it goes back to something my mother told my sisters and I. “Don’t have too many fe-males around because they will still your man.” Yes, my mother preached this as if she was a southern Baptist minister and she lived it daily. I can only recall one of her girlfriends’ names because my mother did not hang with “fe-males.” And the way she said “fe-males” reminds me of how so many of my girl students say the word “fe-males” as if it is some type of virus in the mouth that if you catch this virus every heterosexual man in your environment will turn to stone leaving you the dreaded 6 letter word—single.
I hate when girls go “ghost,” but it happens more frequently than we would like to admit. And let’s be honest, some of us who are very self righteous about condemning Precious’ mother, Mary, for choosing her husband over her daughter are equally guilty of doing the same thing. Perhaps, not on the level of allowing a man to rape your daughter, but on the level of thinking you must have a man to live and when you get this man you must leave all other women behind including your best girlfriend and yes sometimes your daughter too. I have to say this because last week when I wrote my blog, “I saw the movie Precious, but what about her mother, Mary,” I received so many emails and comments from people saying how could I empathize with Mary who abused her daughter, Precious, for the sake of having a man. And the reason why I could understand Mary’s story is because it happens daily in different forms like when your best girlfriend falls off the face of the Earth because she has a boyfriend.It’s the same type of patriarchal privileging of hegemonic hetero-maleness that causes mothers to choose men over their daughters. It is the same type of patriarchal privileging of hegemonic hetero-maleness that causes good girlfriends to lose their damn minds when they find a man. It’s the same type of patriarchal privileging of hegemonic hetero-maleness that causes girls and women to figuratively and literally fight over dudes. It’s the same type of patriarchal privileging of hegemonic hetero-maleness that causes mothers to tell their daughters don’t have close females friends. So, we can’t be self-righteous about Mary because we who go ghost are equally complicit and guilty.
You know something, its funny men never tell their bruhs or homies, “Hey man, I got dis here girlfriend girl and I can’t hang with chu no mo.” No, they do not tell their friends this because society allows them to have it both ways—homies and girlfriends. And yes, I said girlfriends plural. Also, I could write more about how dating violence and domestic violence can happen when girlfriends abandon or are forced to abandon their girlfriends/family, but that’s a blog for another day.
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s my best girlfriend flying a way hugging her newfound boyfriend. Does she look back at me? No. She is too enraptured by the privilege of having him.