No, You Shouldn't Be Triggered By The "What Do You Bring To The Table?" Question.
Boy…oh boy…OH BOY. If there is one question that I really wish I could get to the source of who originally asked it — or more importantly, brought it back up — “So, what do you bring to the table?” would be in the top five…easily.
And look, it’s not even that I think it’s a bad question. It’s just that it’s become so distorted and even weaponized at this point to where I personally think people have lost sight of how it actually should be processed — and then addressed. I mean, just look at how triggering it is for some people:
#stitch with @jadaamorr its a trick question ladies dnt fall 4 it
See what I mean? So anyway, since the question is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon (chile), I wanted to provide some perspective on it. A perspective that hopefully will make it feel like a genuine question — whether you’re asked it or you decide to ask someone else.
Let’s all take a seat at the table, shall we?
“I Am the Table!” Sounds Arrogant (and a Bit Delusional) AF. Here’s Why.Giphy
C’mon. Is it a surprise to any of y’all that 50 percent of individuals say that social media has impacted their relationship in a pretty negative way? Hell, it shouldn’t. And honestly, the many ways that it does is an article all on its own. For now, I want to touch on one that gets overlooked more than it probably should: parroting.
What I mean by that is people who watch someone on TikTok or Instagram say something, it catches on and suddenly everyone thinks that it’s a profound statement. Case in point — when a lot of people are asked, “So, what do you bring to the table?” and the response is (usually quite rudely, I might add), “I AM THE TABLE!” I don’t know why anyone thinks that answer is sufficient or even remotely appealing.
I think we all get that the table is a metaphor for the relationship and trust me, the more you value your time, effort, and energy out in these dating streets, the more you want to know if someone is going to waste those things or not (more on that in a bit).
So, since the table is the relationship in this case, boldly declaring that you ARE the relationship only comes off as sounding entitled and selfish — and who wants to date someone like that? Besides, mimicking what you hear others saying (so damn much) is actually a bit of a cop-out. I mean, imagine asking a man what attributes he brings to a relational dynamic and all he simply says is “myself.” You see how off-putting that is?
In my opinion, social media has caused that question to be far more triggering than it actually should be. No one is “the table.” And anyone who believes that are far better off sitting at their table…alone.
Women Tend to Have Old Testament Scrolls While Men Have “Three Items or Less”Giphy
Not too long ago, another relationship coach and I were discussing a similarity that we noticed when it came to what women look for in a man vs. what men look for in a woman. While many women will literally pull out a journal and read off their list for five minutes (LOL), guys tend to keep things very simple:
- Fit, friendly, feminine
- F — k us, feed us, need us
- Sex, sandwich, silence
And yet, when their wants are stated, oftentimes, they are pulled apart to shreds for it. Why is that? Why is there such a social conditioning that it’s okay for us to want the world and men should settle for next-to-nothing? Why are the three things that they oftentimes state really all that big of a deal?
At the end of the day, men and women are different (God made it that way and science cosigns on it all of the time), so our needs, wants and expectations are going to be too. A man who is expected to protect and provide is oftentimes going to want things that will fuel him in order to make that happen (like sex, nourishment, and some peace). Being asked if we can deliver that shouldn’t be something that stresses any of us out. If you are able to deliver that, cool. If not, that’s fine too. But don’t villainize them for asking.
And speaking of asking, when you get a chance, ask five of your male friends what they want a woman to bring to a long-term relationship and see if there are not only similarities but SIMPLICITY in their responses. If there is any part of you that is tempted to go on the defensive, ask yourself why. A relationship is supposed to be full of reciprocity. This means that both people should get what they need out of it…not just one. And if a man is willing to read your scroll (if you have one), you should at least entertain their three-point list. It’s only fair…right?
Wise People INVEST Not SPENDGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?” Listen, I am a firm believer that you can ABSOLUTELY waste your time with someone. That’s because I’m a word-literal person and I know that waste means “to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander.”
Giving. Without. Receiving. An. Adequate. Return. Is. A. Waste. Of. Your. Time.
This is why I’m all about coffee dates on the first date (why should he spend hundreds of dollars or you have to sit with him for two hours if one or both of you aren’t feeling any real chemistry or potential connection?) This is also why I don’t mind the “table question” coming up within the second or third date, especially since there are a significant amount of studies that say a lot of people have sex within the first month if not on the first date (check out “How Many Dates Should You Wait to Have Sex?”) — and believe me, once oxytocin has its way, it’s easy to throw all kinds of common sense and discernment out of the window.
Asking someone what they bring to the table, early on can help you see if they are a good fit for what you need at said table. If they aren’t, that’s not a slight on them or you (if you don’t meet their needs). It’s simply a way to make sure that you’re not spending who you are and what you have to offer on someone/something that’s already showing signs that it will never turn out to be a wise investment.
And just what’s the difference between spending and investing?
SPEND: to pass (time) in a particular manner, place, etc.; to use up, consume, or exhaust
INVEST: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something; to furnish with power, authority, rank, etc.; to furnish or endow with a power, right, etc.; vest
If someone wanted you to invest in their business, you’d want to see some solid intel that would prove it to be a wise decision — a wise investment. Just giving away money and hoping for the best is how you can end up spending which has a huge chance of turning into wasting.
When it comes to relationships, asking what someone brings to the table and being asked the same thing in return basically means, “We both should invest wisely. Let’s discuss if that will be the case,” instead of assuming that time will eventually reveal these things once we are already…caught up in each other.
“Bringing” Means QUALIFIEDGiphy
Anytime I hear someone go on and on about what they deserve in a relationship, the definition of deserve is what immediately comes to mind. “Hmph. So, what you’re saying is you are QUALIFIED for what you want?”
Qualified: having the qualities, accomplishments, etc., that fit a person for some function, office, or the like.
I will forever die on the hill that a part of what it means to be entitled when it comes to relationships is someone expecting — or worse, demanding — what they themselves are not. For instance, folks will be out here talking about how they won’t settle for less than six figures when they are in five-figure debt while not even making half of that. Other folks will say that they deserve someone in great shape when they haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years.
And perhaps that’s part of the reason why some men and women struggle so much with being asked about what they bring to the table. It’s because it keeps them from being able to deflect from the question of if they are indeed qualified for what they are expecting themselves.
Another way to look at this is, why would it be stressful for someone to ask you what you bring to the table or what qualifies you to want the things that you do in the relationship if you have solid answers? And not a resume rundown either because a resume is for a job, not a relationship. If you feel like you deserve to have a long-term spouse and you know that you have qualities that fit the bill of that type of relationship, being asked what those are isn’t annoying — it’s your time to shine.
Qualified people are never afraid of being asked to show their qualifications. I’ll just leave it at that.
A Set Table Is a Prepared OneGiphy
Remember how much it used to suck to get a pop quiz when you didn’t do the reading that was already assigned? It’s almost like we tried to cop an attitude with the teacher because we were ill-prepared.
And that’s basically what a lack of self-accountability looks like and baby, it’s an epidemic out in these streets, just how many people are severely lacking in that area. When you know that you are a solid candidate for a long-term relationship, folks can ask away — matter of fact, you are almost thrilled to share what you’ve got to offer. Oh, but when you’re lacking, you’re unsure of yourself or you prefer to focus more on what they can do for you than what you can do for them…suddenly their making inquiries feels like a personal attack.
At the end of the day, tables look different in different homes based on personal preference and need. Same for relationships. So, while the “So, what do you bring to the table?” question doesn’t — and quite frankly, shouldn’t — have the same answer for everyone, let’s get away from acting like it’s the most offensive question on the planet…when really, it’s about as realistic and practical as they come.
Nothing’s wrong with being asked what you bring to the table…when you know what you’ve got to offer and that it’s something that’s mind-blowingly good.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Signs You Might Be A Little Bi-Curious & What To Do About It
I like big butts, and I can not lie! When Sir Mix-A lot made that song, he made it just for me. As a self-identifying heterosexual woman over the years, I have often wondered if my love for phat asses was normal. Maybe my infatuation with phat asses stems from the fact that I was not blessed to be able to become a card-carrying member of the big-ass brigade. My ass is flat. It doesn’t jiggle or bounce. It’s just there. So because of my lack thereof, I've learned to appreciate others. It’s something about the way a phat ass moves in a dress or how the cheeks dance around in a circle when twerking that makes me want to caress it. I often joke with my friends that I turn “gay” every time a phat ass walks past.
Surely I am not the only person who has wondered whether they were no longer "straight" because of their attraction to someone of the same gender. Sexuality is not black-and-white. It’s very fluid. While some of us are lucky enough to have it all figured out. Most of us, however, have had questions and had to do some introspection to understand romantic and sexual feelings towards more than one sex. Does my love for big juicy booties make me bi-curious, or am I just appreciative of the Lord’s work? To answer this question, we first need to understand what bi-curiosity is.
An individual who is bi-curious is someone who is curious about different genders but does not categorize themselves as bisexual. You may find this if you've only known you were sexually attracted to one gender in the past. You may then discover that your sexual orientation is questioned when you find yourself sexually attracted to someone of the same gender. People are highly complex creatures, which is why it’s not uncommon for people to have moments of doubt about their sexuality.
So is being bi-curious and bisexual one and the same? No. Being bi-curious has nothing to do with sexual or gender identity. It’s defined more as a period of exploring – a sort of experimental stage, if you will, whereas bisexual people are those who no longer doubt their attraction to more than one gender.
If you’re wondering if you’re bi-curious, there are several signs to look out for that could indicate this is the case. Here are some clues on if your attraction to that person means you are really bi-curious!
You kissed someone of the same gender and liked it.
In the words of the singer, Katy Perry, “I kissed a girl, and I liked it!” Kissing someone of the same gender and enjoying it could be a sign that you are bi-curious, especially if you didn’t want the kiss to stop and the kiss kinda turned you on.
You wonder what sex would be like with someone of the same gender.
People are often curious about various types of sexual activities, including sex with people of the same gender. But if you find yourself fantasizing or even watching porn that features same-gendered sex acts or same-sex relationships, you might be a little bi-curious.
You like seeing the same gender naked.
Appreciating the beauty of a naked body is one thing, but if you find your eyes lingering at body parts with thoughts of performing a sexual act or two, then that could be a telltale sign you might be bi-curious.
You’re physically attracted to the same gender.
Are you drawn to people of the same gender? Are you wanting to be around them all the time? Do you find yourself getting butterflies around them? Do you daydream about them? These can also be signs of attraction and could mean you are bi-curious.
Now that we’ve discussed some potential signs of bi-curiosity, let’s talk about what steps can be taken once those feelings have been acknowledged and explored further. First off, it’s important to remember that whatever path feels right for you is the right one—so don’t feel pressured into any particular decision or lifestyle just because it seems like the “right thing to do.”
That being said, there are still plenty of resources available online (and offline) for those looking to explore their sexuality further—including support groups specifically designed for LGBTQ+ individuals looking for guidance and advice from others who understand their situation firsthand.
Additionally, many cities offer bisexual meetups where people can connect in person—which can be invaluable when navigating any changes in sexual orientation or identity. Finally, talking about these issues with trusted friends or family members can also help provide needed perspective and clarity—and make sure there is someone who has your back through any changes that come up along the way.
Exploring one's sexuality is an incredibly personal journey—but it doesn't have to be done alone! If you think that you might be bi-curious or bisexual, take some time to reflect on your feelings and consider reaching out for additional support from friends or other resources like support groups or meetups in order to gain more insight into what path makes sense for your particular situation.
Remember, no matter what decisions you make regarding your sexuality moving forward, know that it's okay—you're allowed to explore without judgment or pressure.
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