Keep Your ‘How to Keep a Man’ Advice

I have plenty of questions for Amber Rose. “Amber, girl, does that waist trainer you advertise on your IG really work?” And “How exactly does one do the legwork to become an ‘it’ girl? Because this nine-to-five is wearing me out.” A more serious conversation with the professional provocateur might center on her commentary in Bill Duke’s recent Light Girls documentary, where she discusses her family’s refusal to attend her wedding to Wiz Khalifa because he’s Black. I’d have a ton of Qs for the woman because I find her fascinating and authentic, and I love the idea that she’s creating an alternative narrative for divorcing single moms.

Conversations I’ve heard about Amber are very different than most of the public ones I’ve been reading. Rose is in the news again, not for possibly dating Nick Cannon (I’m still so confused), but for the risqué photos and videos she posts to her Instagram account. Apparently the beauty should be ashamed for being so damn fine (and so damn willing to remind us of her fineness) while also being a—seemingly caring and attentive—mommy.

Rose’s letter to her haters involved an almost invisible string swimsuit, perfectly tanned skin, an immaculately beat face, and a photo caption inviting naysayers to “kiss [her] “milfy ass” (which is my newest catchphrase folks!). I’m over it. I’m done discussing the idea that having a child doesn’t damn a woman to minivans and mom jeans; that a woman can preserve her sexy, and even find it, after giving birth; that being a wonderfully doting mom does not exclude a woman from having a life outside of being said kind of mom.

Done, done and done.

One conversation I’m interesting in exploring here, however, was brought to my attention by my friend Genie Lauren, who took to social media to question a quote she saw floating around arguing that if Amber can’t keep a man, then there’s no hope for us “regular chicks.” If you follow my musings at all, you know this whole conversation grinds my gears for a few reasons, the first surrounding the idea that Amber can’t maintain a relationship.

There’s so much shaming presented as reasoning for why Rose’s relationships don’t seem to work out, with hardly anyone ever acknowledging that she seems to be the loyal one in at least the two public ones we know about. Remember that the spokesmodel and professional party girl cited Kim Kardashian (and her being a homewrecker) as the reason she and Kanye split, citing Kim’s inappropriate relationship with Ye while she was dating Reggie Bush and Amber and Kanye were an item. We’ve also witnessed the public unraveling of Wiz and Amber’s marriage because of Wiz’s alleged cheating and how devastated she seemed to be about the breakup.

If there’s a cautionary tale to be told or lesson to be learned about Rose’s failed relationships, it’s that no one is above being cheated on. Why? Because as EBONY digital editor Miles Marshall Lewis and I agreed while discussing this post, monogamy is a daily choice, and it’s hard work for most “regular” people. I’d imagine monogamy is even more challenging for pop culture icons trying to balance relationships in the public eye.

Also, writer Terri Coles (here) documents research from marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman suggesting 88% of men who cheated “didn’t do so with someone more attractive than or fitter than their wives.” Neuman’s research also uncovered the fact that not all cheating is strictly about sex, and that men often cheated because they felt disconnected from or underappreciated by their spouses.

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Cheating is also commonly associated with the personality of the cheater. So one’s best bet in maintaining a monogamous relationship may have more to do with who she chooses than what she does or how she looks—a tough lesson I’m sure Amber is learning.

Which brings me to another point: the language we use as women to discuss how we maintain our relationships. We really need to stop convincing ourselves, and allowing ourselves to be convinced by others, that the onus of making relationships work rests solely on our shoulders.

There are pages and pages of Internet posts promising to teach women how to stop their men from cheating, but the truth is, there is absolutely nothing any woman can do to “keep a man.” Men are human beings, not livestock, thus they make choices about where they want to be and what they want to do. Of course we can work to create healthy happy relationships where both people are satisfied. But running around biting one’s nails trying to figure out how to keep someone faithful is way more work than it’s worth. Trust.

Josie Pickens is an educator, culture critic and soldier of love. Send her your love + relationship questions here. Also, follow her on Twitter @jonubian.


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