I am tempermental and I have imperfections and I am emotional. I am unpredictable. I am… naked. I am vulnerable. I am a woman. I am opening up to you. 
      Originally, I was going to title this, “How to Keep a Man,” but I remember that I’ve been left before. I’m not sure I’m qualified to write that post just yet. I’ve never been desperate for a relationship. I credit this mostly to my mother having raised her three children alone. Fortunately, though, I knew what it was to have a man in my house. My older brother was my father. From teaching to me ride a bike, to making mac & cheese, to signing my permission slips, to chasing me when I ran away (around the block, of course). After all of the fighting and yelling and drama, I thank the universe for having allowed me to experience the definition of man. My brother was a man in all regards. The most beneficial asset in having a man around while I was growing up was understanding the difference between that and a woman. My brother got his food served first. He sat at the head of the table. The big couch in the living room was practically reserved for him and the remote control came with it. (I have so little experience with remote controls I leave my TV on the same station until someone else decides to change it.)  My brother was the man of the house. When the comb gave me too much trouble and i found no other solution but to cry as my mother brushed out my hair, it was my brother who hovered over me –arms crossed– telling me to stop crying. It was also him in the stands at my basketball game telling me to stop fouling. The lack of men in the world has affected not only sons, but daughters. We have no idea how to treat men. I’ve never really seen my mother interact with men, so I’m unsure of what I should do. I mean… I know women do that whole cook/clean thing.. but how often? And how well? And are they given orders? I suppose my question out of all this is, what does a man do, really?
     I’ve never dated a real man. My ex’s are free to argue this point but… hey. I’ve dated men who couldn’t provide. Who couldn’t pay their own bills. Who’s fridges and drawers I had to fill. I’ve had men who submit too easily to my will –do everything i ask without ever sticking up for themselves until it’s too late. A man should have put me in my place long ago because, sometimes, I step out of line. The problem was, I had no real respect for them. I had love, yes. Respect? Not even. I’ve had men who couldn’t satisfy. Men  who didn’t know when to come and when to go. Men who failed to open doors and hold umbrellas. But I can’t say much about them because I was simultaneously failing to be a woman. 
      This independent woman bullshit has grown far out of control. Women are told not to need or want men. We aren’t to concern ourselves with their welfare and assume a “every woman for herself” attitude. We expect him to do for him and we do for ourselves. We let them know, any chance we get, that we don’t need them. That we make too much money. That we are too strong willed and busy to stand in front of a stove and cook him a meal. We go to work too early to make breakfast and get out too late to cook dinner.  We’re too sexy to ruin our bodies for children. And if we do have children we use them as a substitute for handcuff or bait for checks. What happened to us? We’ve ended up alone trying to buy enough shoes to take up room in a closet meant to share. We’ve become Mr. and Mrs. all by our lonesome. The reason there are so many unmarried black women is that we keep arguing that we don’t need a man–and what man would want a woman who keeps saying that? Even if its true, your man only wants to hear it to a certain extent. He wants to know that you’ll be fine on your own… but that he makes a difference in your life. A man wants  to have an effect. 
       He’s broken me in. He’s humbled me to the core. Every once in a while, I remind him that being nice isn’t something I’m used to. “No,” is my favorite answer aside from “I do what I want.” I was too busy trying to prove that I didn’t need him to notice everything he would do for me… and everything i could do for him. The responsibilities of a man and woman go hand-in-hand. I cook, he buys groceries. I clean, he takes out the trash. I throw it back, he keeps it coming. Remember 50/50? Remember when people would supposedly meet half way to come to a conclusion? Remember when people would help others out in faith that they’d be helped as well? Do you know what happened? We each started taking advantage. Too many women have been spoiled without having cracked an egg. I know because I’ve been one. On the other hand though, there are too many men looking for a replacement for mommy that’ll come with room, board & pussy.  We’ve become unable to trust one another so we’ve made each other obsolete. Women are working 2 jobs and men are in the kitchen cooking. Not to say that each shouldn’t be capable of these things, but you’re overstepping your position, in my opinion. While I love a man who can cook, I’d prefer to do it. If not, I’d prefer he take me somewhere. I dont need a man to do my laundry. I’m sure the day will come when I throw him a basket and have him roll socks, but today is not that day. Today is the day I’m a woman for him and he’s a man for me.  When my man is around, I don’ carry bags. I don’t open doors. I don’t pay. When I’m alone, I handle that all on my own. I used to prefer to go out with another guy, so that I’d never have to do these things, but luckily, I am  independent. I can do these things for myself. I can also do things for him. The most important thing I can do for him, though, is submit my independence –to be his lady. 
   I want to tell you all to simply be comfortable as women. Sincerely. Cooking and cleaning aren’t half as bad as they sound if you put some heels on. Making my boo dinner typically aggravates me as i cook until he tells me about his day and I find out he hasn’t had a decent meal. The less you do for your man, the more he will go out and search for. Remember… there is always fast food and faster females. If you really want a man, you have to show him you’re everything he hopes for. And honestly, it shouldn’t that that difficult because you should already be that. After a 10-hour shift at work, I don’t necessarily want to come home and cook, but I do want to take care of him. I do it because cooking is all I have to do. I don’t have to pay his bills or force him to go to work. I don’t have to beg him to grab some milk and he doesn’t have to beg for much (promise you). But when a man comes home from a hard day at work and sits down at your table, you should want nothing more than to comfort him. To give him everything he needs to help him relax. That is your job as a woman –to nurture. A man should look forward to coming home. Even on the worst days, he should know that you’d never leave him cold and hungry. That he has somewhere warm to go. A bed to lay in and someone to scratch his back, should he need it. He should know that there is someone willing to alleviate his stress, if not eliminate it completely. In return, how about some flowers? Shoes will get you laid. 
    A man should do things for you in return, no matter how independent you are. You should know that if you are ever to call him, he will pick up. If you are ever struggling, he will be there. That if anyone were to even dream of hurting you, he’d be there with a smokin’ gun. We do need men. That’s what they were created for –for women. For us. I’m not saying they are all perfect or that every male will do these things, but I’m certain that when you find a man, you’ll know. You’ll know because he wants to do for you… too much even. More than you’re used to.  But he doesn’t interrupt your lifestyle, he compliments it instead. You’ll know because you don’t worry anymore. Because, secretly, you know that everything will be alright.You have someone to hold you up so that your feet never have to touch the ground if you don’t want them to –and he doesn’t want them too. You’ve got to allow men to be men. Give them space to roam. Allow them to think they’ve acquired some territory. Let him play king and he’ll eventually realize his need for a queen. 
       It always sounds like I’m preaching. I’m not sure I want to list out my track record, but I assure you none of the men I’ve dated can say I deserve anything less than the best. I told you all before that I’m a 9 at best, which means I have plenty room for improvement. No matter how perfect you are, you may have to change for that man of yours, especially if he deserves it. It’s okay to hold off things until you get a better handle on the situation. Until you gauge how much he’s earned… but you’ve got to be honest about it. You can only do as much as your heart allows. If you want to be his woman, be his woman. My cousin asked me a while ago do I believe in soul mates. Last November, my answer was a 13 paragraph “IDK” (read post), and my answer remains the same with one exception: You’ll only find your soulmate after you find your soul. Yes, you have to take time for yourself. You should be able to do for yourself and be by yourself in order to learn the things you need to learn. So take the time. By the time you find your soulmate, everything else should be in order –your career path, if you want a family, religious views, skills int he kitchen, technique in the sheets. I simply feel you should be as complete as possible. Granted, you’ll change a bit to be able to work with your partner… but you wont have to change all that much. Daddy has me cooking for him now, but I was throwing down for myself before he came around. In essence, you’ll have two soul mates in your life. Your husband will be your second, you will be your first.  
Look over at me if you’re unsure which step comes next. I’m in it to win it. 
Good luck, ladies.
& sorry that pic is so blurry at the top. I take my own because I’m afraid of copyright laws. *shrugs*