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You got to
earn my affection
put your back into it
before we get this show on the road
don’t make me
lose all my self respect
I ain’t desperate yet so
come on now stop actin’ out and act like you know

Last week I listened in on CreoleinDC’s online talk show Word On The Curb, The Independent Woman edition. The discussion really got deep as they talked about to negotiate dating as an woman who is used to doing for self and how that plays out with men who ultimately need to be needed.

Long after I logged off, the conversation stayed on my mind. Recently a male friend who I’ve known for several years described me as having a tough exterior but underneath it all, I’m “aight.” Okay, whatever that means! I do have a tough exterior for several reasons but it’s not hard to melt it away with some ack right. When I’m treated right, I respond in kind. It comes natural to me.

I’ve been taking care of self since I was 17. I left home for college and haven’t moved back in with my Momma for even a single day. Not that she would have me 🙂 I’ve never been lucky or unlucky enough (depending on how you look at it) to always have a man around to take care of things for me. I’ve always had to do for self and done it quite well. I live a pretty fortunate life over here compared to some. Mama Viv raised a woman well equipped to handle her business.

I go into automatic pilot when it’s time to take care of things. I navigated the entire homebuying process – on my own. I moved myself twice (once interstate)- again, on my own. I take care of everything related to my household  and everyday living- once again, on my own. I don’t have a Daddy, Mommy, family, or even friends to call in the area if I have an immediate need. That’s just how it is. It’s not that I’m so independent that I never felt I could depend on anyone. That’s just my life. So in some ways, I suppose being an “independent” woman for just about half my life has made me a bit of a “hard rock” who appears not to need anybody.

However, underneath that tough exterior, when I do meet a man that is worthy of my time and company, I am more than willing to step back and let him act like a man. In many ways, I expect it.  If we’re seeing each other regularly and you’re spending time with me at my home, call me crazy but I should never be carrying the groceries in from the car or taking the trash out.  If I need something (and we’re not talking about money for the light bill here), I should be able to depend on you. It’s not that I can’t do all these things. I don’t want to do all these things.

The fact is, I need you. And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Now some would argue that a man shouldn’t be expected to do any of those things if you’re just dating. What does Amel say?

before we get this show on the road?

How will I know that I want to get the show on the road if you’re not showing me what I can expect down that road? If a dude is acting like a boy while we’re dating, I’m smart enough to know he’s not going to magically morph into a man once I got papers on him.

you set a pretty table and serve me raw meat
ask me to your show but don’t save me a seat

So on that glorious day when I do find a serious candidate for the hard but rewarding  job of becoming Mr. Vivrant Thang and we are in “negotiations” about what our expectations are, I will make it clear that there are certain things I’ll “expect” him to take care of if he wants to live happily ever after with me (and he should do the same). Nothing unreasonable.

Bottom line, if he’s a man and he sees how well I respect and treat myself, then it should be natural for him to respond in kind and treat me like a woman…his woman.

However, as I’ve learned, there are times when you have to open up your mouth and ask for what you want.

Some small examples of things that Viv already knows she’ll be putting on the table.

I don’t want to have to worry about my car. I’ll be riding his big-headed kids around. Therefore, it’s his responsibility to make sure it’s clean and running right.

I really don’t want to know what’s going on outside the house with the exception of the gardening. I’ll help out (depending on what it is) but I  just don’t want to be primarily responsible for fixing or maintaining anything.

This are just minor examples, nothing I think is unreasonable or out of pocket. Trust me, once a man has put his back into it and truly earned my undying affection, he will move heaven and earth to keep it.

It’s like that. And that’s the way it is.

 Not familiar with this song? Check out a live performance by Amel Larrieux.