Ian Gavan/Getty Images
John Mayer performs live at The Hard Rock Cafe, Old Park Lane on January 11, 2010 in London, England.
John Mayer performs live at The Hard Rock Cafe, Old Park Lane on January 11, 2010 in London, England. Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Before I get to the real topic for today's blog, let's get something out of the way: The Barbershop was too busy today to get to one of the big water cooler stories of the week. That's musician John Mayer's crude comments about what kind — and specifically what color — of woman excites his ... attention. In Playboy magazine, Mayer took time out from insulting the women who he had been romantically involved with to insult millions of those he had not.
Now this is a family blog, so I won't repeat his exact language. But Mayer basically said that — with the exception of actresses Holly Robinson Peete, Kerry Washington, and Karyn Parson's (who starred in the sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air") — he's not sexually attracted to black women.
That's right, my sisters. John Mayer is off limits. So all those legions of black women who've been roaming the streets, desperate for his touch, will have to find some other way to fill those hours.
I'd suggest therapy.
Anyway, we did spend a good chunk of today's program on the topic of black love. We heard from a happy young couple — Gabriel Sheffield and Jasmine Harris — who just won Essence Magazine's "Will You Marry Me?" contest. But we also heard a lot about what's going wrong in the love lives of African-Americans.
That panel conversation included three authors of books about being young, single, and black, how they think they got that way, and what needs to happen for black love to thrive.
Writer and Tell Me More regular Jimi Izrael's new book is called "The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can't Find Good Black Men." Actor Hill Harper's book is "The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships." And journalist Helena Andrews' upcoming book is "Bitch is the New Black."
As a black woman of a certain age who has not yet met "The One" — or I met him and didn't know it; or I lost his number on a slip of paper in the bottom of my purse; or his moon was in Mercury while mine was in Jupiter; or whatever — I'd like for us as a people to move on from this discussion.
I know, I know..."disintegration of the family" this, "failure to pass along generational wealth" that.
But really, it seems to me I've been listening to these conversations since the dawn of time on the radio, television, and during an endless series of happy hours. And, I don't think it has gotten us very far.
And this is more than just a black thing. Bookstore shelves are stuffed with titles from all sorts of people who have a grand social theory to explain their failure (and I use that word deliberately) to find happily ever after. And curiously, in very few of the books do the authors say, "I was kind of a jerk to Suzy," or "I was more into Eric's best friend than him," or "when it comes down to it, it was way more fun drinking beer or eating chocolate with my best friend — COMPLAINING about my ex — than working on my relationship."
Personally, I don't need anybody's book to tell me why I'm single. It's a long and occasionally sordid story of wise and foolish choices I made and I alone am responsible for them. And admitting that to myself means that I don't have to curse society, feminism or the oppressive patriarchy when I think of my exes.
Frankly (for the most part), they were brilliant, or gorgeous, or funny, or noble, or some really intoxicating combination of those things. And even if I'm not happily married to any of them, I've been, in different ways, very happy to know all of them.
Happy Valentine's Day.