Cooking, Cleaning, Sexing Machine: Back to Basics


–I read an article by author Shanel Cooper-Sykes, a real-life reincarnation of the suitor-conscious Blanche Devereaux from A Street Car Named Desire. She offers yet another tip platter on how to groom yourself to get and keep a man. While some may view her “lady tips” to be an enslaving sexist campaign, one is forced to wonder if in 2012, men still prefer a domesticated lady?

At first, Cooper-Sykes – “The Black Emily Post” – made my feminist blood boil. I felt her audience was driven by women programmed and sculpted into walking, talking “I need to keep a man and beat the statistics” robots. However, before I argued that her tips catapult us into the fifties, I took a trip down memory lane.

I grew up a horrendously awkward, orthopedic shoe wearer with glasses so thick I could see the Hubble telescope. Needless to say the only male attention I’d received was from a blind janitor that listened to me struggle through flute practice. Still, I was fascinated by men, marriage, romance, and plotting my first kiss. I would have given anything to receive tips to boost my self-concept, pride and get me a “sweet thang” on the side.

Does Shanel Cooper-Sykes have a point? Should we return back to the basics not just to attract men but to deconstruct the “angry, ignorant, aggressive” stereotypes attributed to black women? Will embracing domestic tips and lessons return us to our roots of Sunday dinners and 50 year anniversaries? Do the old school rules still apply?

What do guys dislike about the ‘modern day’ woman? I asked a few men to sound off on their gripes and listed the 10 “ancient” rules of man-hunting that mama told us way back when – that still hold true today: