Home > Uncategorized > Can I Have Some Fries With That?

Can I Have Some Fries With That?

“Do I look like a biscuit to you? DO I LOOK LIKE A BISCUIT TO YOU??!!! Do I look like some french fries?  Then why are you trying to play me like a side order?”  — Havilland Savage – Hav Plenty, c. 1997.

Side orders, side pieces, chicks on the side, all variations on the same theme.  They are scorned, disdained, frowned upon, and reviled by most women – particularly women in so-called monogamous relationships.  Songs, movies and books tell their stories, which are usually ones of shame, rejection, despair and sometimes even insanity.  After all, only someone worthless, pathetic and/or crazy would want a man who has another woman.  Right? 

Exhibits 1-3:  1) “Saving All My Love for You,” – Whitney Houston singing the song of a pitiful and needy side piece, 2) “Fatal Attraction” – the movie with Glen Close as the psycho side order who would not be ignored; and 3) Monica’s Story –  the book about the rise and fall of the most famous side dish of all, Ms. Monica Lewinsky. 

It seems side orders never get the happy ending.  They are never satisfied.  They don’t have fulfilling lives outside of their imaginary relationship and all they long for – their one mission in life, is to become the main course.   Alas, the side order never gets the man.  And if she does, it’s just an empty triumph.  For no man truly wants the side piece once he has her.  See, “Jungle Fever” c. 1991.  Chicks on the side are doomed for meaningless and unfulfilling romances that are centered around nothing other than sex and exploitation.  Anyone who dates a man who is dating others is a sad excuse for a woman and should demand more for herself.  Right?

This brings to mind an article in Ebony (or Essence) back in the 90’s about the so-called man shortage amongst Black professional women and how it spawned the phenomenon of “man sharing.”  The article made me bristle with mid-twenties indignation.  I turned my 26 year old nose up in disgust.  How could any woman settle for a man who has another woman, or other women?  Any woman who consented to such a relationship has low self-esteem and even lower standards! Right?

Well, it’s about 14 years later, and since then, I’ve loved a little more and lived a lot more, and now I’m starting to wonder if all of those declarations are actually wrong.  Some might say that time and experience has jaded me, or eroded my resolve, even lowered my standards.  But to that, I say no, I’m neither jaded, nor irresolute – my priorities have just changed.  Back in the days when I looked at the so-called “man-sharers” as pitiable idiots with no self-worth, I had nothing but time on my hands.  Precious time that I was willing to devote to a man – the right man.  Hell, even the wrong man, as evidenced by my failed relationships since then.  I had nothing but time that I wanted to invest in a relationship.  I had time to spare.

Well now, I am reconsidering my position on this issue.  And I think there’s something to be said for not wanting to have full-fledged ownership in a relationship.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying I would carry on with married men, like with Whitney’s song, Glen’s character, or the world’s most famous intern.  I do not condone infidelity, or believe that there are excuses for cheating.  But what I am a proponent of, is the lost art of dating.  And it is a lost art.  Dating someone amongst other people can be a wonderful thing.  It’s like licensing as opposed to transfer; renting as opposed to owning. 

With ownership come responsibilities, expectations and obligations.  In column A)  we have:  “Where are you?” “When will you be back?” “I’m coming over” “Who’s going with you?” “Why are you wearing that?” “Who is he?” “Why didn’t you call?” “We need to talk” – All questions and demands that come along with the expectations of ownership.

With renting come possibilities and light-heartedness.  In column B) we have:  “Can I see you this weekend?” “Will you be free?” “Can I call you sometime? ” “Are you busy?” “Is this a good time?” “Do you  mind if I come in?”  “Would you like some company?” And these are all all rental questions.  And I have to say that where I am right now, I’m in more of a column B) state of mind.

Like I said, I don’t condone cheating, or lying, or anything less than full-disclosure of all parties, and while I choose to supplant the term “man-sharing” with “dating,” it all boils down to the same thing.  I’m not settling, or bitter, as one might surmise.  I’m just at the point in my life where I can enjoy a man’s company without seeing china patterns, white picket fences and baby booties dancing in my head.  I’m secure enough to wave goodbye to him at the end of the night.  Because there’s something to be said for a brother that drops me off at my door and goes home.  There’s something to be said for missing someone.  There’s something to be said for looking forward to seeing him again.  There’s something to be said for having the house to myself.  And there’s definitely something to be said for me investing some, if not all of the aforementioned time that I used to have in vast abundance, in me.   

This doesn’t mean that if I meet Mr. Right (again?) that I will not fall head-first into column A) and be in full-on commitment-mode.  But for right now, I’m okay with being the fries that go with that shake.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Yolanda
    December 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Who could have said it better? Umm, yeah, nobody, because you just did. heehee That’s what I love about growing older. The stuff that bothered us before doesn’t bother us anymore, because we’ve evolved out of that. AND the kicker is that the main things we swore we wouldn’t do during that time we had our noses in the air, we did that and then some. *glad none of my children are reading this* LOL

    In the end, I wouldn’t take any of it back, because my “seasoning” is just about right. You know my granny used to talk about seasoning. I thought she meant some real cayenne, turmeric or something thrown on food–now, I get it. LOL

    • December 20, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      Thank you mama! And EXACTLY!!! I wouldn’t take any of it back. Not one, single, solitary, thing.

      *sobbing* I’m really a blogger again. I think this post makes it official. =(

  2. December 21, 2009 at 8:28 am

    I liked this. The prevailing view of “side” is that it somehow is a demotion and places a negative value on one’s self-worth. I think that theory is bunk. Folks are so intent on being the main course IN EVERY INSTANCE that they don’t even consider how that impinges on their autonomy.

    Having said that, I am the possessive type. Not in the sense of being a dictator, but in wanting to be the only dude, whether main course or playing the side to other interests (work, school, church, etc). But I’m the type that must be the only dude in the mix, or I feel like I’m failing. Blame it on the Leo. lol

    So I completely see (and agree with) what you’re saying here, but also know I fail miserably in application. LOL

    • December 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

      See… I’m a Leo too, so I totally get the possessive thing – I see your possessiveness and raise you some jealousy. But here’s the thing. It’s that VERY mentality that I’m talking about shedding. In the past, if a man was fun, sweet and we had a great time, I was in love and married him. My ego wouldn’t let me stop the chase. I’ve learned that “side” is more a state of mind than an actual condition. Just because a dude dates other people doesn’t make me on the “side” per se. And I guess that’s the mindset I’ve decided to dispel.

      So now, I don’t have to marry every man I have a nice time with, or “boyfriend” every man that makes me laugh. Because I’ve learned that even in situations when you’re supposed to be the MEAL, you could be just the entree – side dishes included. So I’ve become more discriminate and not let the fun of the chase and my huge ego take me down roads I’ve already traveled.

      • December 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm

        Got it. And I see your point, especially for the dating world. Dating more than one person at a time doesn’t make you anybody’s side anything. It just means you have options and you are exercising them. And that alone, may be sufficient.

      • December 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm

        EXACTLY – and I think that’s my point. For me, back in the days, I viewed “dating” as being some side something and was a serial monogamist, when I should have been dating. I’ve married people that should have stayed boyfriends, and boyfriend-ed people that should have stayed hang-out partners. I’m done with all that.

    • SIP
      December 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm

      Well…I’m a Virgo and I don’t share. And…I’m cocky and vain as HELL so side piece could never be me.

      Hey…I have issues and I’m not working on them. LOL!

      • December 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm

        I LOVE that you’re not working on them. That makes you a woman after my own heart. But I had to work on this, at least (the rest of me was quite perfect LOL) because I was so busy wanting to be a wife (again), I was turning down opportunities to just have fun. I had to change my own mind about the situation.

  3. Nicole
    December 21, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Great post as usual…

  4. Jo
    December 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

    And to that I say, “Holla!”

    Ghetto, yes! Do I care, no. LOL I’m so not ready to be responsible for a relationship but I’ll take a cuddle here and there anytime.

    You are so a blogger again.

    Oh and yeah I refuse to judge “the side chick”. We don’t know what’s really going on? She’s probably as happy as can be and it all works for them all except the main chick but shoot she may very well know about it.

    And the point of this comment…DON’T JUDGE! Mind ya neck! What works for you may not work for me! Do you and I’ll do me!

    Ok, I’m done. lmao!

  5. December 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    But see, for me, it’s not even about other people and what they think. Screw them if they judge my situation. There are a lot of SINGLE, lonely women with their azzes on their shoulders because they won’t “date” and only want to be a girlfriend or a wife. I’ve done the marriage thing – more than once, and I’ve had to make dating okay with MYSELF because like ForNot said up there, my ego made me feel if I wasn’t the girlfriend or the wife, I was failing. Little did I know that being the girlfriend or the wife doesn’t mean a thing if you are only the main course and not the only course. So for me, this post was more about MY rationale, because I’ve long since gotten over other people’s opinions about my choices.

  6. December 21, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    The problem is that when folks are dating, they tend to still do all the column A things. Demands are made and granted without an official commitment. As for side pieces and sharing, iCan’t knowingly do anything close to it because that’s not how I’m built. I know my limitations.

  7. December 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Soooo true. I completely agree. I don’t get into column A unless we’re in a column A situation. Women tend to let men exercise all the liberties that go along with column A, when there ain’t even a column. LOL Now THAT’S not me. But, I can share now, shoot, I’ve shared unknowingly. So I can date and he can date and I’ve learned not to feel any less of a woman for it. Maybe it’s just a matter of me not meeting the dude at this point who kicks that killer instinct up in me. =)

    • Yolanda
      December 21, 2009 at 9:38 pm

      Girl, ain’t that the truth. And he doesn’t even have to ask for column A privileges, because she gives them freely, while feeling uncomfortable taking column A privileges of her own.

      LMAO@killer instinct up in me.

  8. K.I.M.
    December 21, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I appreciate this post from the standpoint that not until now (I’m 28) did I ever attempt dating. In the past, I’d meet a guy and within a few weeks we’d be exclusively dating (then 5+ months or f*ck…2.5 years, I realized Ummm this ain’t gonna work).

    I think it’s unreasonable for two people who just met to think that there are no other players in the game. I’d rather be aware that my dude is dating and put forth effort accordingly (aka very limited); than to think I’m the only one and put forth 100% and get played.

    Furthermore, I’m still interested in other guys and if I want to kiss another person because the moment is right, at this point in my life, I need to be able to have that freedom. For a long time, I thought I was ready to settle down. Now…I’m not so sure. I want to fall in love now, not settle down.

    • December 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

      You learned YOUNG! Consider yourself lucky. I am learning LATE. I’m 39, have been married twice and was ALWAYS the girlfriend and/or the wife. I never dated. Never. So now I’m dating, but I had to change my mind about it, and make it okay with my ego, because I was so used to being the wife that I felt anything less was uncivilized. Now I realize that it’s okay to just have fun. And like you said, if I feel like kissing another person because the moment is right, I have that freedom. I agree wholeheartedly.

  9. SIP
    December 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I think this applies more so to the person that NEVER dated to begin with. I knew folks in their early 20s playing house when I was enjoying dating and meeting new people. For me there just wasn’t any rush to get married because I knew it would happen for me as a natural progression of the way these things work.

    This is gonna come across as some kinda way I know but I always felt it was the young ladies who were raised by single mothers who were trying to get married young because they wanted to be “better than” their mothers.

    • K.I.M.
      December 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm

      I initially placed pressure upon myself to get married by 30 because that’s what I saw my mother do. My parents were married in their early 20s…and still going 33 years later. In childhood – there are so many messages you absorb from what you observe. You don’t even realize that you construct a vision for your future self, but your understanding of the world is very limited to what you are exposed to. Back in suburbia, folks got married during or after college, and had children. Divorce and single parenthood were the anomalies. I’ve had to reconcile my present with the vision I created back in ’96 (I jest), for my future self.

      Now that I’ve let go of it, I’m having a bit more fun. But I can’t lie – I’m still on some, “I don’t want to be 35 and single.”

      • December 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

        Girl, let that deadline go too. It will happen in its time, trust me. Take it from someone who’s been through it, you’d much rather be single at 35 than to be married at 35 only to be divorced a few years later. Have fun while you wait, keep your boundaries set and your mind open and I promise, it will find you.

    • December 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      You just described me. Not the single mother thing – I wasn’t raised by a single mother, but I was ALWAYS in a serious relationship in my 20’s. Shacking up, married, the whole 9. But looking back, I think it was ego for me. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I just wanted to be the only woman in (some of) the dudes’ lives. Not that I wanted THEM so much, or even that they were so worthy of that, it’s just that I wanted to “conquer” them, or for them to want me to be their woman. Does that make any sense? Now at this stage, I’m just like, hey, let’s go out to dinner, have some drinks and laugh and have fun and take it from there.

  10. SIP
    December 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Oh…and mother / daughter competition is REAL before yall EVEN TRY TO DENY IT!

    • December 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm

      LMAO I have to go back and look again. I would never deny it. If they have a freaking SWIMSUIT competition for 5 year olds, anything’s possible.

    • ENicole
      December 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm

      Mother/Daughter competition can be real fa sho. But in the case of being a single mother and what not…i think a lot of those mothers just want better for their daughters. They want them to have the husband and family so they sort of guide (or pressures) their daughters to get married so they won’t end up going through the single mother struggles. I agree that a lot of daughters of single mothers latch on quickly and play house way too early in life.

      • December 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

        Mother/daughter competition is sick and twisted. It’s probably even worse when the mother is only 6 years older than her daughter =(

    • Yolanda
      December 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

      It certainly is real. The bad is that they try to one-up mama and end up one-upping themselves. Not.good.

      • December 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm

        But what about the mamas that try to compete with the children?? Trying to still be down??? Un.damn.cool.

      • Yolanda
        December 22, 2009 at 6:32 pm

        So, so true. I cringe every time I witness it. She’s clubbing with her daughter, dressing like her daughter, etc. I’m like you at that point: STOP RIGHT NOW! What’s worse is when I see the grandma partying with the granddaughter.

  11. PHILLYGYRL
    December 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I guess we are twins (Leo), smh! Im gonna say this, if you are a side piece, jump off or fwb, and you are happy with it, be happy. There are some women who are very content where they are being either of the three. I learned a lotttt of things over the years when it comes to relationships and I pass that on to my daughter.

    • December 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      To each his/her own. You like it, I love it. I couldn’t care less what they do in their relationships. If that’s all you want/need/can handle… then *shrug*

  12. December 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Ladies, it’s not your fault many of you end up as side pieces. That’s because many of us men aren’t honest with your or ourselves.

    Many men simply don’t want to be in committed exclusive relationships, esp. marriage, but are afraid to come out and say so. And then they get married because they believe that’s what society/family/church expects. So they hide what they really want to do, which is see other women. This is stuff that should be discussed up front the moment and man and woman meet, but rarely seems to happen. Just a man’s two cents.

    • December 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      I understand your reasoning, but I don’t really believe that. It’s been my experience that men DO want committed relationships, they are just far more discriminate than women usually are. It’s easier for women to think that men are just not commitment-minded, than to think “damn he just doesn’t want to commit to ME.” And it’s easier for men to say, “Hey, I’m a man! We don’t commit!” than it is to say, “yeah I want to commit, I just don’t want to commit to YOU. So…about tonite…” LOL LOL As for women, we usually do what I described and get with a man and are ready to “nest” while men don’t mind dating – at all. But when men find a woman they DO want to be exclusive with, it is a full court press to make that happen. I’ve seen it first-hand. But that’s where I pick back up on your rationale, because I DO think that when and if men change their minds, they don’t let a sista in on it and just try to keep the cake and eat it too. LOL And then there are just the lying bastards who say all the stuff women want to hear and never meant it in the first place. LOL

  13. December 22, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Point taken. And yes, and Lord knows men can change their minds when they see something else they want. LOL!

    • December 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

      I’ll definitely co-sign that one. LOL

  14. December 23, 2009 at 11:47 am

    LOL! I learn something new every day and your post helped do just that.

    Some years back I was a reporter who did a cross-training stint on the copy desk of a newspaper out West. We ran a photo of then-newlyweds Whitney and Bobby walking down the aisle and I was asked what would be a good Whitney song to use as a cutline (newspaper-ese for “caption”). So the first song that came to my mind was “Saving All My Love For You,” which is what ended up running beneath the photo.

    Now all these years later, I come to your spot and learn that the song was about being a side piece. I looked up the lyrics and sure enough, “Saving All My Love For You” is about being “the other woman.” I admit I paid little attention to song lyrics. Had I known what the song was really about back then, I might not have suggested that cut!!! LOL!!!

  15. December 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Yeah I would have said, “White Lines (Don’t Do it)” LOL

  16. December 23, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    LOL!! White Lines!! Now those were some lyrics that caught my attention back in the day!! That was a great cut!!

  17. December 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Of course, that’s what someone should have told Bobby before he showed up at the altar. Don’t do it!!

  18. December 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Heck, should have told Whitney the same thing!!

  19. LB
    December 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I’m late, but I enjoyed the blog(s) that I’ve read so far and the comments. Lovin’ your point of you…articulate, as usual.

    Question: is this blog so private that you cannot be linked?

    Go to my blog…you’ll know who I am…and then answer my question, lol. Too paranoid about writing out my gub’ment name or former alias.

    OK, on to reading the other blogs. 🙂

    • Prime Example
      January 5, 2010 at 1:38 am

      We’ve already “talked” about this… feel free to link me. I’m off to go catch up on your site. =)

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