Bonnie Glover is the author of Going Down South (nominated for an NAACP Image Award for an outstanding literary work of fiction earlier this year) and The Middle Sister. Going Down South currently stands at #3 on the Essence Magazine's list of bestsellers (paperback).
I’m writing this blog post because I want to speak to my SISTERS out there, my sisters who are in marriages and/or long term committed relationships. I’ve been thinking about this from the perspective of a woman with 29 years of committed relationship behind her. I am a woman of experience. And a woman of experience can generally ascertain what is needed, make recommendations and resolve issues while juggling a plethora of other projects. Like the song says, I am a woman, W-O-M-A-N. So, what you need, what every woman who chooses to marry or partner with someone in this lifetime needs is: a big a-- skillet!
Okay, before you men start huffing and puffing, let me let you know that I am not talking to YOU. In the relationship arena there is a different arsenal for men. Maybe one day I’ll blog about what you should have at your side but today ain’t the day. And, further, let me say that I in no way advocate violence against anyone but, in the case of a man who is married or in a committed relationship, SISTERS, A SKILLET is a necessary weapon, an ending place for MESS.
In the old days, women used ice picks and went to town. They’d carve up a rival and maybe make a nick or two in their men. Those were dangerous times for quick -tempered women. Or, perhaps they were like Daisy, in my novel GOING DOWN SOUTH (GDS). She tried to beat the living daylights out of her straying man. The first scene in GDS shows Daisy waiting at the top of a flight of stairs with a broom and pouncing on Turk, her husband, for a multitude of sins including: he was coming home way after midnight, he was drunk and he had a history of being with other women.
Daisy had a reason to be angry. But really, in my opinion (and I’m the author), Daisy was a flawed woman. When he’s got history it’s too damn late. It’s all about the initial training. A man is a man and a woman has to lay down the law right from the start and whenever possible use the skillet as a reminder of what will be tolerated and what will be the basis for a total breakdown of connubial bliss.
I know you know about SKILLETS. They are heavy and black, cast-iron. My wrist hurts whenever I have to lift mine, so, I don’t do it often. Displaying a heavy skillet to OUR advantage is artistry. Before you begin your committed relationship, I suggest you invite the intended man to your home for dinner. The SKILLET should be prominently displayed on either the stove or countertop. When he asks to help with dinner or you DIRECT him to help, ask him to hand you the SKILLET. This is how the conversation might proceed:
“Honey, will you hand me that skillet over there?” You ask.
“Of course, sweetheart, darling, love of my life. I’ll be glad to hand you the skillet,” he says.
Grunting from effort, he gives it to you and looks askance because he can’t fathom why you need a skillet. After all, you are making sandwiches for your meal. Curiosity eats at him. He wants to know why you need the item that is just sitting there and not being utilized.
“Darling, dearest, Sweet Pea, what do you need the skillet for?” He has put his arms around you, he is nuzzling your neck, and kissing your ear, the way they do when they are courting you.
You look at him with liquid brown eyes and say, “This SKILLET is very, very important to me. I keep it near me at all times, especially late at night. If I hear a noise, if I think there’s a burglar creeping, I’m gonna swing with all my might and ask questions later. That might have been why my last boy friend and I broke up.” (Notice the “might”).
“What happened?” He has stopped nuzzling. He has stood back and is glancing at the SKILLET with a tinge of fear in his eyes.
You shrug your shoulders. “I really don’t want to talk about it. He’s doing okay now, his rehab is going well. I just didn’t realize he was going to come in so late. If he had just called me…” You trail off and smile in a vague way.
Now one or two things will happen. Your man might hightail it out of there. In which case, he’s not for you, obviously. It also proves he’s not adventuresome and not into torture – two positives or two negatives depending upon your predilections. OR, he’ll stay and be forever wary of the SKILLET. If he does the latter, he’s trainable and worth the effort!
SISTERS, seriously, set your parameters. Let your partner know what you will and will not tolerate. Have your own money so it’s not about having to stay because you are stuck. A man should know there will always be consequences – no one likes to be messed over. Stand firm with pride in who you are and what you represent. Tell him cheating is not an option – be like Governor Sanford’s wife, don’t stand by your man when he’s created a mess that will forever damage your family because he was led by passion instead of love for his family.
And, remember, even a good man needs to see a SKILLET every now and again.
P.S. – Love calls for forgiveness but not for stupidity. Don’t be a rug when you can be a centerpiece.