Women are often wishing that some young men in our set were more well-mannered. There comes a time when a man must put away his “childish things” as the biblical passage goes, and adopt a polished lifestyle. But that does not mean he cannot blend being grown with swagger to create a perfect aura of cool.
Over on the Single Black Male blog, a like-minded writer has encapsulated the essence of a man who is grown and sexy, calling it the “G-Code.” In “The G-Code: Unwritten Rules That Separate Men From Boys,” Mr. Spradley explains: “The G-Code [is] this mythical set of rules, with no traceable author, that governs the actions of the men who adhere to it.” The “G” stands for gentlemen, and goes on to enumerate what separates true G’s from wanabees.
But what code separates the women from the girls? Is there a similar Ladies Code that governs the style, beauty and inner substance of the fabulous black woman? What guides our choices as we balance glamorous appeal with productive responsibility? The unwritten rules black women adhere to without stating them out loud are real. We all avoid women who cross these sacred boundaries. But what rules comprise this list?
If we can define such a thing as #WomanLaw, here are a few things that should definitely make the cut:
Woman Law No. 1 – Thou Shall Be Strong, Beautifully
An independent black woman has her own goals and can take care of herself. She can also allow herself to be treated in a feminine manner, letting down her guard for the right person who wants to pamper her. Sisters who tackle life with a battering ram at all times still have some growing up to do.
Woman Law No. 2 – Thou Shalt Not Discuss Thy Number of Sexual Partners
No matter how close your relationship with a significant person becomes, this is a no-no. Even if your main squeeze seems particularly liberated, talking about past experiences can put a strain on current intimacies that can best be avoided by not bringing them up.
Woman Law No. 3 – Thou Shalt Not Talk Trash About Thy Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
Even if she is crying to you about how bad he treats her, she is going to go back to him anyway. Unless domestic violence or other harmful behavior is involved, it is better not to get involved. Your friend will be happy that you trusted in her agency to work through her own problems.
Woman Law No. 4 – Thou Shall Be Neither a Borrower, Nor a Lender
Okay, this is borrowed from Shakespeare, but this needs to be discussed. Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than an unpaid debt. Relatives have to forgive each other, but non-blood connections can quickly unravel over sums promised but not paid. We all go through occasional financial strains, but there are better ways to survive than making your girls a personal payday loan service.
Woman Law No. 5 – Newest Friend to the Group: Thou Shall Know Thy Place!
If you are introduced to a small clique of friends, give it some time before socializing with someone other than the woman who brought you in. Bonding among black women is amazing, but it takes time in the trenches before you can consider yourself tight. Refrain from waltzing into a cemented group and picking and choosing your favorites for your own enjoyment. The resentment won’t be worth it.
Woman Law No. 6 – Thou Shalt Not Purchase Your Girlfriend’s Coveted Fashion Items
Never, ever, ever should a female who calls herself a woman go out and buy a pair of shoes, dress, or even a barrette that one of her closest girlfriends bought first. This may seem trivial, but it is important on two levels. One: if you are truly good friends, chances are you will be caught mingling in the same social circles with the same item, which will make the woman who discovered it first look like she was biting your style. Why do that to a friend? More important is the fact that a real woman takes the time to develop her own tastes. She does not want to look like anyone else.
Woman Law No. 7 — Thou Shalt Not Be Messy
Getting into conflicts with others are an inevitable part of life, but how we handle it speaks volumes about who we are as a person. If you have a problem with someone, don’t air it publicly. Approach them privately, talk it out, and definitely don’t burn any bridges you might need to cross later on.
Woman Law No. 8 – Thou Shall Be Nurturing, Without Being Drained
Black women are legendary for taking care of whole communities. But a lady also recognizes the essential need to first take care of oneself. This includes nurturing your emotional and spiritual life, in addition to taking care of your finances. A lady puts stock in herself, so that she has something to give away. Then she can give with a loving smile.
Woman Law No. 9 – Thou Shall Take Care of Your Hair & It Will Nurture You
Few things are as personally satisfying to a black woman than finding and maintaining the perfect hairstyle. The sensual pleasure of working with your strands is relaxing if you go to a salon, or a great hobby if you do your hair at home. Pressed or relaxed, weaved or locked, keeping your hair fly is a central ritual that brings you closer to yourself – and friends and loved ones as you banter and share ideas. A lady has the confidence to shave her head bald, or pull off a wild lace front. The health of her hair and scalp are her first considerations, and the rest is endless self-expressive fun!
Woman Law No. 10 — Thou Shall Love Yourself, Unconditionally
While it’s easy to focus on your flaws, mistakes, and get caught in the vicious cycle replaying what you could have done in the past, you should never forget how fierce you are. Sure, you might be a work in progress and are working to change a few things, but while you become the best you possible, continue loving yourself regardless. Being beautiful and perfect on the outside is nothing if you don’t like yourself on the inside.
#WomanLaws can apply to the family setting, the workplace and more. African-American females maintain high standards for conduct. There must be more rules than these, Clutchettes — right? Leave your personal #WomanLaws below.