Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

To be or not be…with a Caribbean beau that is.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal, Relationships on November 30, 2008 at 2:00 am

Island fare: Jerked salmon, macaroni pie, rice and peas and salad

“Can you do it? I can’t. I can’t date a black American guy,” one of my friends proclaimed in between bites of a cheeseburger she ordered from a burger dive in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood.

It wasn’t the first time I heard this sort of admission but for some reason, it stuck. Perhaps it’s because my friend’s parents are by way of Jamaica and the South, and it surprised me to hear her share such sentiments.

Perhaps it stuck because it suddenly dawned on me that this sentiment was repetitive. I’d heard it expressed in various circles quite often. 

My friend explained that she preferred to date Caribbean guys because they possess a certain je ne sais quoi. My cousin, in a separate conversation on the same topic, described that mysterious something as oomph.

“Black American guys seem to be one dimensional,” my cousin said. “Caribbean men have sex appeal, swagger. There’s something about the way they walk and talk. There’s an extra layer to Caribbean brothas. ”

I’m conflicted. On one hand, I understand such sentiments though to a lesser degree. I love Caribbean men. How can I not when my father and uncles are from the West Indies.

Caribbean men do possess an indiosyncratic quality that I think lies between the accented speech and seemingly innate confidence. 

The fact that these men tinged with mellifluous accents come from a region steep in African (albeit colonize) history make them interesting, intriguing, even exquisite. But there’s something equally beautiful, though in a different way, about American brothas, particularly those from the South. 

I’m not talking about grimy Lil’ Wayne and those of his ilk. I’m referring to the genteel bunch with degrees from Morehouse, ecetera. I’m talking about the ones who believe in God and family and love. Ah, yes, mm, mm…those Southern brothas. Those Southern brothas who love their mamas and think women should be given the utmost respect. 

I’ve never exclusively sought to date one kind of black man over another based on origin. That type of thinking strikes me as borderline jingoistic, not to mention a tad parochial.

Given the dearth of available bachelors on the market, I also don’t think black women can afford to be that picky. We’re already particular. 

I’m opting for a man who believes in love, family, and commitment. Origin is secondary. – MJ


Chronicle of Nina Sky: A Caribbean gal’s dating tales in South Florida.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal, Relationships on November 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm

*Major disclaimer, guys: Characters in this series are fictional, er, not really. Any resemblance to actual people you know is strictly coincidental! Hmm…then again, I might be talking about you.* 

First of all, let me begin with a shout out: “Big up to my Haitian massive!”

Now that I’ve gotten that pleasantry out of the way, let me follow with a caveat: I have nothing against my people. But I’ll never, ever, willingly date a Haitian man EVER again. 

I speak from experience. My last three boyfriends were bona fide Haitians, – straight from the island. You may think that sounds pretty pejorative, right? Wrong! I have what I feel are good reasons I’ve given up on dating Haitian men. 

  • They’re aggressive: At times they are very affectionate, which can be a good thing, right? Well, don’t speak too fast. Probably, when you’re dating them, this might be viewed as a plus but it when you’re ambling on the street and one grabs you to tell you that you’re beautiful then ask that you call them later, that’s beyond over confidence. I mean does that line really work out of the year 1985? 
  • They are extremely possessive: Jealousy is not an endearing quality in anyone. It’s especially daunting when you can’t exchange pleasantries with the mailman because your man thinks said mailman – innocently conducting on his neighborhood delivery route – is gawking you. 
  • They love you too quickly: Haitian men profess love in the first week of meeting you. Every one of my ex-boyfriends told me they loved me within a short time span. The crazy thing is they actually meant it. When they fall for you, they fall hard. They expect too much, too fast, too soon. They start talking marriage way too early in the relationship. Case in point, I met this guy recently. We’ll call him Pouchon (sounds like Pooh Shown). Well, I met Pouchon a little over three months ago. As to be expected, he told me that he loved me and wanted to marry me because he’s not getting any younger and neither am  I. What was I waiting for, he wanted to know? I was like “whoa, dude! I barely know you and you want to marry me.” Then he starts talking about wanting to move to the state where I live cause all his brothers and sisters are married and he wants to get married too. Priceless! 
  • After they have you in their clutches, they cheat: I’m talking more so marriage than the courtship part. After being married to their wives for a bit, they decide that it’s time to get some new booty. I don’t know this from personal experiences – at least I don’t think any of my Haitian boyfriends cheated. But, I do know that my father did, my uncles (notice plural) did, and my brother-in-laws also followed suit. My friends’ Haitian husbands also dabble in adultery, and if you’re married to a Haitian man, he’s doing it too. It’s a rite of passage ladies and I want no part of it. 

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE all my Caribbean brothers especially my Haitian brothers. I just don’t want to date them. I’m an equal opportunity dater but I strongly prefer men who are Caribbean. Those from St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadalupe, Bahamas, etc., are so sexy and my choice du jour. – Nina Sky

M&M + Merlot = soothed heart.

In Personal, Relationships on November 14, 2008 at 5:05 am

For the first time in almost a yearlong span, I cried. It felt good to release suppressed hurt, pain, fear; I unleashed my inner sufferings – got acquainted with my vulnerable side.

I soothed my wound with handful bites of peanut M&Ms and sips of Merlot poured into a hunter green mug emblazoned with “Westchester County Center.”

A haunting thought about unrequited love swirled in my head like a twister with an agenda to unhinge my emotional stability.

I like being in control. Putting on a stoic air is my armor. It protects the ribcage, and most importantly the heart. It keeps me from crumbling into a sorry sob, frustrated over love’s complexity, and having to clean up the mess that ensues (runny nose, sunken eyes, etc.).

Pretend I don’t care and bam! I sequester myself into a protective cocoon of sorts. It’s how I deal. It’s how I’ve dealt with pain and matters of that ilk. It’s my modus operandi. Funny thing is it worked really well when I was young. I gave birth to this seemingly no-fail technique when I was 12. This was around the time that my parents’ divorced.

I’ve since used this coping mechanism to assuage a string of heartaches in my adolescent and young adult life.

Weird thing: It doesn’t work that well anymore, hence my normally steadfast emotional self disintegrating into a five-minute-long tearful Carrie Bradshaw bit this evening. It’s like the older I get, the harder my subconscious self works to excavate these underlying feelings. My subconscious self – that damn devil – wants to expose my soul, my inner me, the real me – I think – for public viewing. 

I can’t stand to be bare. I get cold and embarrassed fairly easily. I’m speaking for the inner me as well. 

I plan to wrestle this sly demon to the ground that has weaken my coping mechanism, making my frustrations more apparent than I’d prefer. I plan to eat more M&Ms and gulp Merlot until the inner demon, my pain, is quelled. I refuse to let it win. I’ll outwit this fiend.  

Time to put on my game face. – MJ


Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,               

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.



In Personal on November 6, 2008 at 9:43 pm

My grandmother died more than 10 years ago. I knew her as mammy. I never got to tell her how much I loved her. I never really got to show her. In the all the years that I knew granny, she wore a crown of gray hair; she was a fair, loving, hard-working woman. She was altruistic. She’d share food with those less fortunate in our Grenadian neighborhood. The size of her heart couldn’t be measure with the ocean. 

Even though my mother was present in my life, she – my granny- took on a maternal role, particularly in the first 10 years of my life. I remember when she’d take me and a group of cousins to the beach, church and annual island carnivals. She spent many hours minding us while our parents worked long hours to provide for the family. We are all deeply grateful.

She fed us, bathed us, clothed us. She also didn’t spare the rod when our behavior required discipline. She fought for her grandchildren in every imaginable way. Granny made our young lives enjoyable. She instilled in us morals, respect, unity and hard work. That’s why today we’re successful as a family.

Granny was one of my heros. I love her tremendously. – MP   


A Glorious American Day!!!

In Politics on November 5, 2008 at 4:42 am

LaBay congratulates Barack Obama, the United States of America’s 44th president-elect, on a superbly-ran campaign. Yes, we did!!!