The second reason was that BLAKstar's Shené Brownlee and Mealee Thomas, the able orators and hosts of the event, had contacted my sister and Pastor Tersa T. Leigh (@TLeigh2703), to sit on the panel.
Always arrive with an expectation, my people – set the atmosphere to respond to your need. As usual, I was late – but Lorine Bolds, Urban Elements Staff Writer, and my big Sis Theresa saved me a seat. Already priming the spot for the discussion was SoDebNair from FreshFace Radio (http://www.freshfacedaily.net/ for an excellent take on this event), and Darrell James photographing.
BLAKstar set the mood and environment the same way as they did for the fellas, and they gave the emailed, texted, tweeted and called-in questions from men (mostly) to the ladies. The panel, diverse women at different stages in life, well versed in relationships, took the questions and as ladies are wont to do, sliced them up in the air, and laid them down delectably on the plate – served up Queen style for dinner.
What did we learn from the discourse? That relationships take commitment, work, faith, and 'hot sex' on both parts. Also, though women and men seem confident about what they think the opposite sex wants from a relationship, we are still missing the mark on the high five. There are some issues on which we just do not communicate or interpret the need and/or the want well enough. Confronted with this issue, the men spoke well about how relationships take work, continual work - but not nagging. Of course, they agreed, if you are on task, her desires wont ever become nagging. Good talk.
Two questions were asked of both panels the very same way: What does a man need from a woman in a relationship? Is chivalry dead, and did women kill it?
When the men answered these questions, they talked explicitly about needing respect, a partner, a woman who loves God, and the women touched upon these very same things, and even threw in that men need hot sex, too. But there was one thing the men emphasized needing that the women never even hinted at knowing: a goal. The men said, ‘give me something to do. Give me a task, a goal, something that needs an end result. A purpose.’ Not one woman touched upon that.
When asked what women need from a man – women were resoundingly clear in a few common requests: honesty, clarity, a relationship with God, a plan. Most women agreed they could work through almost anything, as long as they knew their mate was being honest with them.
Both parties agreed that most dishonesty in relationships is a result of past relationship or emotional hurt. Loving yourself is key to being able to love someone else.
With the question of chivalry, I am glad to report that chivalry is not dead. Chivalry does not live in some neighborhoods. What we learned was really summed up by a gentleman in the audience, who said “I teach my sons that taking out garbage is not an option – it’s a responsibility; that their mother should never clean off her own car in the winter; and she should never carry a basket of laundry to the laundry room.” Chivalry is not dead – it’s the teachers that are in high demand. “Single mothers,” he said “date your sons. Take them out and teach them what a date is supposed to be.”
What we walked away with as well is the understanding that we create the expectation of what is and is not acceptable in a relationship for ourselves, and therefore for our children. We also set the expectation for chivalry and for relational acceptances in our communities - WE do that. So, it is our job to carry ourselves with the full weight of that knowledge - not as a burden - as a right.
Finally, the most dynamic part of this discourse, which is what a Klatch is all about, was the intercourse between all active members of the audience and the panel – every person left with something from the discussion, and excited about the exchange.
I think this dynamic is going to make February’s Klatch that much more worthwhile as the discussion continues. I promise you - this is an event you want to put on your calendar. Be at the Method Gallery, atop Urban Spirits Cafe, on February 13, 2010 - it might make for a lovely foreplay to Valentine's Day!