...the more they stay the same.
This is one of the realest things ever stated. This morning before jumping in the shower and heading out to my boot camp class, I rolled over and read the last 30 pages of my autographed paperback copy of Terry McMillan's, Waiting To Exhale. The book, originally published in 1992, was not on my 'must read' list at 12. Don't get me wrong, by 12, I had tackled Dick Gregory's autobiography, Nigger, read Alice Walker's, The Color Purple, enjoyed Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place and even tried to complete Alex Haley's, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (sadly I failed; I'll pick it up again, one day). Although it was on my mom's bookshelf for years (I'm envisioning the hard cover now), it was never read.
My girlfriend and I attended the 2011 Lit Fest in June. Terry McMillan was a featured author. She read excerpts from the sequel of Waiting To Exhale. Afterwards, the audience was given the opportunity to have Ms. McMillan sign any copy of one of her books you had. My girl's friend was kind enough to give me a copy of a book she brought, 'Girl, I by books all the time! I've read it already and I have other books she can sign.' I was grateful. Terry McMillan is an author I truly enjoy. I wanted to meet her.
I, as a book lover, like to pick up and buy multiple books. I collect never-before-read books, then I have the hardest time trying to figure out which one I want to read next. I just finished Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (another one I tried to read when it first came out, but did not get it at all at the time) and wanted to follow it up with something good. Sex and the City dealt with being white, rich (or at least financially comfortable) and single on the world-famous island of Manhattan. So I was not sure I wanted to read about sistas struggling with dating too. I mean, haven't we all been reading the articles about how Black women are, if you believe these ridiculous studies, the most undesirable women on planet Earth? I sucked it up and decided to read it anyway.
The story, which takes place nearly the entire span of 1990, has the exact same themes and issues in it, regarding dating while black and woman, that we are still talking about and facing today. The book could have been written in 2011! The four characters this 'fictional' story revolves around, are all in their mid-late 30s, all single, whether newly (Bernadine) or habitually (the rest of them: Savannah, Gloria and Robin). I put fictional in quotes, because although this may have been a fictitious novel created by Ms. McMillan, let's be honest, this story is familiar to all of us. The characters are not far-fetched or out of most of our 'norms'. Robin is dealing with a dog-ass dude. Her hopefulness will not allow her to see him for what he is. She is one of those 'feeling' girls. You know, the 'I need to feel some kind of chemistry' girls. Savannah, as smart, talented, self-sufficient and sharp as she is cannot seem to catch a break. Gloria uses food as her comfort and is unofficially married to her teenage son. Bernadine has learned the hard way how easily someone can take your loyalty and time for granted.
Now most have read the book or seen the movie; I am not going to give a review. What struck me to the core was, here is a book released when I was 12 and now, 19 years later, at 31, I still can relate. The story is still relevant. I could look at that as being a sad situation. But I choose to look at the bright side. It means I am in good company. Women have been dealing with the single state for years. Black women have had the same gripes, complaints and issues with brothas for years. And in reading Sex in the City, I have come to the conclusion, White women are not immune from the lonely and single 30s club either. The women were real or based on real people Ms. Bushnell knew or had met in life. They were all in their 30s or 40s and in different states of singleness.
So there is hope. Terry McMillan signed my book with: Maya Best of the best. Yes Terry, best of the best!