(Editor’s Note: This post comes from one of my newer readers Livication. She felt compelled to create this response to my man Carey Carey’s recent guest post titled: Ladies, Can We Talk? Why are you Speaking so Loudly? I Can’t Hear What you Say!. Seems like my man ruffled a few tail-feathers (sorry about the sexist joke) and my girl wanted to set the record straight. Hopefully the pic above doesn’t offend anyone, and no, it is not a picture of the author.)

Yes, boo, we can talk. You want me to put on that thing you like while we talk? No? What! You actually want to talk? Okay, I’m down with that. But first, let me ask you this: by “talk”, do you mean “Ladies, can I throw out some genderalizations and make you seem like the problem in our relationships?” That’s not what you mean?  Oh, so, you actually want to talk with me and not at me. That’s fair; I appreciate that. Now that we, the ladies, have heard what you want to say…well, allow me to retort!

I will preface this by saying that I realize that I am not the “norm”, but that the woman written about in the last blog isn’t as common as implied.  I’d like to take this opportunity to speak up from the eyes of the ladies that don’t get caught up with suckers. I am not the perfect woman; I know I’m not supermodel pretty.  I don’t look like Beyonce or Tyra or Nicki Minaj or Alicia Keys (are they all the same person?).  If you’re looking for the “classical” version of a beautiful Black woman nowadays, well..I guess I just don’t fit the mold.  I’m quite comfortable in my skin.  Does that mean I sit around on the couch every night with a pint of ice cream watching “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and hating Black men? Well, no. Not every night.

I might be average (or slightly above), but I sometimes have some idealistic ideals, and as such, I believe my flaw in people would be this: I truly, truly want to know the depth of a person, their passions, soul and intelligence, before I give into allowing myself to be in a relationship with them.  Does that mean I lack other standards? Heck no. I am careful about who I trust with any aspect of my heart (guarded? maybe)…I like to proceed with caution because I’m not interested in going through some bullshit make-up to break-up ordeal when I have other things to focus on.

These things do not include a baby daddy or kids or crazy ex-boyfriends (all though we all have our share) or crazy current boyfriends (considering my decided and enjoyed singlehood).  No, no; my big girl responsibilities include working two jobs, volunteering and activism, and enjoying my free time with my-own-self whenever I can.

While I keep my guard up, I wouldn’t describe it as a wall.  Instead, let’s say it’s a moat; it’s my first line of defense and is maintained to keep the bad guys away — but you still see the real me. Here’s my relevant attention deficit disorder moment:  Nikki Giovanni said in a poem, “We are all imprisoned in the castle of our skins.”  So, in speaking about relationships, I am the castle.  I’m not waiting on a knight in shining armor to come charging to the castle on his noble steed in order to release the princess; but for analogy’s sake, just hear me out.

I have a guard up and it’s difficult for folks to swim across the moat, but in their pursuit to reach the castle, they actually see the castle.  I’m real and I tend to illustrate the raw nature of who I really am with no problems;  most recently, I was talking to a guy who told me that the thing that he really like[d] most about me is the fact that I know I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be.  (Aside, if anyone is wondering what happened to this guy, he was the problem; he wasn’t very driven, and was used to things being handed to him instead of having to work toward anything.  There’s no ill will; I’d just suffice it to incompatibility.)

I’m college educated with no children.  I’m driven, dedicated, and determined; three weeks after graduating college, I moved to a new city and got a “grown-up” job doing what I aimed to do.  I have a strong belief system, though not “typical” of a 20-something Black woman. I am close with my family and was raised by both my parents.  I have a strong character and am not afraid to be assertive, but I like to be alone.  I don’t ask anyone for anything because I know I can depend on myself and never have a problem.  I often wonder if my personality is the problem.  I’ve talked to guys who’ve told me that I’m too magnetic, with the personality of an alpha-(fe)male, and that no guy wants a relationship with such a strong personality.  That if I don’t learn “submission”, a term hat I have a burning hate for, then maybe I should just move on to females because men and women are equal but not created too equally — another justification that never made sense to me.

People like to try and figure me out, as if there is a catch.  I like to keep my mind protected, and guys either hate this because I’m not “easy” to figure out (though I am), or love it because they think I’m a challenge, and who doesn’t love a good challenge?. Yeah. So, the moat would probably filled with, instead of water, the surface of who I am and my standards.  I am quite discerning and I am okay with that. My standards? Well, I’d like someone who is passionate, intelligent, and at least minimally politically and socially aware — meaning, you have to know more about President Obama than Young Jeezy can sing!  I’d like to be able to have a conversation that isn’t about the latest Weezy mixtape. I’d like to know someone with an idea of who they are.  (My nose isn’t in the air, either; if you wanna talk hip-hop, we can talk hip-hop, or jazz, or R&B, alt rock, whatever.  That’s not where the problem lies.)

Do I have physical standards?  Is there something in my mind that qualifies a person as physically attractive?  Yes indeed.  I don’t need an Idris or Tyrese, all though they are both fine.  All the physical stuff comes secondarily, because, well…what am I gonna do with a man that looks like Will “omgheissobeautiful” Smith but is a total moron?  We aren’t just talking about relations here; we’re talking about relationships and, hopefully, love.

Once someone is able to cross the moat, or meet my standards, they have to be able to understand the castle for more than its physical beauty. The moat is about my understanding the suitor.  The labyrinth that lay smack dab in front of the castle is about the suitor understanding me.  Don’t ask any questions — it’s my castle, and damnit, I can have a moat and a labyrinth if I want to! I am comfortable with whom I am and I don’t need someone to tell me how nice my booty is.  I see my double-Ds every morning, I know they’re there.  Stop complimenting my lips, because it’s not going down like that.

I like compliments, though.  I enjoy knowing that someone finds me aesthetically pleasing because I take pride in my physical appearance and this fashion thing isn’t cheap.  However, I get really turned on when a dude can appreciate my mentality. I love learning, I love being smart, I love standing out academically, I love being an activist, I love being a passionate and a fighter. I’d love for someone to be able to understand that and respect it.  Do I need someone who is always on the frontlines with me? I don’t know. I don’t think so. We might not even be driven in the same direction, but the fact that someone understands my passion. That’s enough. 

And ladies and fellas, I don’t say this to say that every woman is passionate about the same things, or even just one thing; I’m passionate about fashion too, but a guy that can talk Jordans with me isn’t as attractive as someone who knows about Oscar de la Renta or Alexander McQueen.  There are gradients, and I think my recipe for relationship success calls for everyone to “season to taste”…feel me?  The labyrinth isn’t as difficult to get through as people may think and it’s less intense than crossing the moat; maybe because of the alligators and fire-breathing dragons, I don’t know.

Now that you’ve crossed the moat and made your way through the labyrinth, you can knock on and enter the castle (well bust my buttons!).  The care of the castle might actually be the relationship aspect of it all.  I don’t need “taking care of”, but there is work that you have to put into it nurturing certain emotional needs to make it work. A dude has to put in work…wait. That’s not what you think it means! I’m strictly speaking of the maintenance of the relationship…get your minds out of the gutter, nasties.  Everything about a relationship takes work that both parties should be willing to commit to, and that is because of my golden rule of relationships. Go ahead and grab a pen because this is the thing that I live by in every relationship:  each party should understand that relationships are about balance and compromise.  If certain people want me to use the dirty s-word, heregoes (deep sigh): both people should be willing to submit to one another.  From what I understand, relationships are a partnership and you can’t be partner to someone who isn’t willing to do their share.

Are there physical needs too? Oh yes.  That’s why there’s a big old rainbow with unicorns flying over the castle…and a big pot of gold! Okay, I know I’m just being silly now…but did you kind of get the jist?  Sex is good.  Sex is more than good…but sex with someone you’re interested in is, no doubt, better.  I’ve engaged in sexual relationships without the love aspect and I’ll tell ya, it just doesn’t compare to something more intense.  This is why I won’t just jump butt-nekkid out of my Vickies and “do” someone I’m incompatible with.  We all have needs.   I’m not perfect; is it possible for the pipes in the castle to be cleaned without someone going through the trouble of crossing the moat or finding his way through the labyrinth?  Yes.  Would I prefer it?  I don’t know, but everyone is different.

I’d enjoy being in a relationship with a good guy.  I date, but don’t even see a point in getting free drinks, or free dinner, or a free movie with someone I’m not even interested in.  I don’t have fairytale expectations of a relationship, despite my previous analogies of castles, dragons and pots of gold.  I’m not perfect and not intending to set myself up as some incredible prize…but I have worth and I know it.  Guys like me, but they aren’t the right guys for me.  Where are the right guys?  Do they have multiple baby mamas?  Are they dating white girls (not that I have a problem with that…)?  Are they dating the Beyonces of the “real” world?  I mean, where are they really?

I’d love nothing more than to be swept off my feet, but I’m not interested in “trapping” a guy any more than I’m interested in being “trapped”. I’d like pure, raw, wild love.  Meanwhile, sitting on top of the world and enjoying my post-college 20s…and not really LOOKING for “Mr. Right”.  If it happens along the way, fine…but since I have no kids or drama, I am live for me because I enjoy it and, well, because I am able.

And even if I were ugly and just my poonany, that wouldn’t make me or any woman without worth. I’m not in a relationship because I have (absolutely rational) standards that aren’t being met.  What is so undesirable about me that I can’t find a “good” man, a man willing to meet the standard?  I agree, something just ain’t right but, baby, I don’t know if I’m taking the blame on this one.