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Seven Things Couples Shouldn’t Do

By Mason Jamal on Apr 21st 2010 5:14PM

Filed under: Dating, Relationships, Parenting, Marriage, Mason Says

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Before we get in to this week’s post, a few words. Since my arrival at Black Voices last November, I’ve been well received by most readers. The feedback via the comment board, email, Twitter and Facebook is incredible. But unfortunately there is a small, yet vocal, segment of the readership (generously two percent) that I surmise weren’t hugged enough as babies — too much mouth breathing, not enough breastfeeding. They’re irritable and ill-humored. Their struggle to distinguish between what’s serious and what’s clearly tongue-in-cheek is well documented; check the comment boards. It’s time they catch up and appreciate the spirit of the commentary as it’s intended. In fact, they should play like Michael Jackson in the late 80’s and lighten up a bit. Thank you for indulging me. On to the post.

Seven Things Couples Shouldn’t Do:

1.) Dress Alike

Complimentary colors are one thing. Coordinated ensembles are another. Step into the current fashion era and suppress any lingering Ashford & Simpson inclinations to bust out with the his and hers matching outfits. It’s a real head-shaker. And before you think it, the local summer soul festival at the stadium, park or county fairgrounds is not an exception. Although the music may take us back, the event isn’t a magical 1980’s time warp that absolves you and boo of your tremendous lapse in judgment. Bottom line — match wits, not outfits. Style over solidarity. Got it? Good. Let’s proceed.

2.) Become Too Accepting

Staying with fashion for a moment. Acceptance, generally speaking, is an important factor in the equation of successful relationships. But even acceptance, in the most loving relationship, should be bestowed with moderation, especially when it comes to choices of attire. Knowing when and how to tell your significant other that he or she needs to stop dressing like a hot mess. A few years removed from the single life and people begin to lose their bearings. Remember the 4 C’s: color, cut, contour and counter-balance. Don’t let marriage or long term relationships hi-jack the sexy. All parties involved should look like they give a damn. Next.

3.) Have Conversations with Each Other On Facebook and Twitter

This has to stop. Though they may not it come out and tell you, trust me, your friends cringe each time they see you and your significant other chatting it up in their live feed. It’s possibly the most annoying thing since Rhianna’s voice hit the scene like a wounded mongoose darting across traffic. Look, I understand that the social networking landscape is fertile ground for grade school behavior, but this is as bad as couples sitting on the same side of the table. Speaking of which….

4.) Sit On The Same Side Of The Table Leaving The Other Side Empty

Seriously, what is this — a panel discussion? Does the hostess need to send a waiter or a moderator over to the table? Yeah, I got a problem with it. So you fell in love seemingly three hours ago and now you’re suffering from a pseudo-sense of separation anxiety. Get over it. And by “it” I mean the table. One of you get your ass over to the other side of the table and behave like other well-adjusted couples, who need cocktails and cynicism to enjoy the companionship of their significant others. And while we’re on restaurants, don’t let the following happen:

5.) Allow Restaurants Wait Staff to Sing Happy Birthday

Couples should celebrate birthdays with a touch of class. This means spare your significant other and fellow patrons the insufferable sight and sound of the wait staff parading to the table boisterously singing happy birthday, while obnoxiously slamming their serving trays together, only to have them roll their eyes, as they sheepishly walk away. Nobody in the restaurant wants this with the invariable exception of that one random group of diners at an adjacent table who stop stuffing their faces with chicken tenders and loaded potato skins just long enough to sing along. For birthday dinners, try restaurants that don’t feature photos of the food on the menu. Thank me later. On to the next one.

6.) Move into a Lilly White Neighborhood and Admonish Your Child for Dating Outside “The Race”

What type of off-brand illogical sense does this make? I know this couple. In fact, I know this couple several times over. Real talk — that’s a hell of a paradox to put your children in. Let me see if I got this right. The neighborhood and school is 97% white, 1.5% multi-racial, 1% Hispanic and Asian, and .05% black kids left scratching their heads dazed and confused by the conflicting messages sent by their parents. And how could they not be? Their parents, by day, are post civil-rights corporate execs sporting khakis on casual Friday, while making small talk with Bob and Jan at the water cooler — only to come home and turn into quasi-militants when the sun goes down. This is some serious dirty laundry that needs fumigating. You can’t bake pumpkin pie and expect it to taste like sweet potato pie when you take it out of the oven. If you want to expose your children to black people than expose them to black people. And last, but far from least….

7.) Listen to What Others Say About Your Brand of Love

Not enough people open their minds before they open their mouths when they encounter a love that is unconventional or unfamiliar to them. It’s a knee-jerk reaction — no different then when people habitually sprinkle douse their food with salt and pepper without tasting it first. So if you’ve found love – regardless of race, gender or arrangement — ignore the hateful hecklers and enjoy your happiness.

Mason Jamal writes about issues pertaining to the style, substance and sensibilities of men (and sometimes women). For more of his musings, you can visit To have his commentary delivered directly to your email, subscribe here. You can also keep up with Mason’s random thoughts and daily observations on Twitter @masonsays.

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