Friday, July 31, 2009

Picking through the Bones: Should the Past Have Any Bearing on the Future?

This the very last day of Relationship Week. And this week has been tremendously successful from my point of view. I sincerely thank everyone who stopped by, and I especially thank everyone who contributed to the conversation. I will return later today with a final summation of the week and what I have learned.

The notorious Karrine Steffans, better known by the sobriquet Superhead, has been ubiquitous in the media over the past few weeks promoting her latest book, The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Seduce, and Keep the Man You Want. Whatever you have to say about Ms. Steffans, she has mastered the fine art of selling herself, excuse me, self-promotion.

I watched or heard a few of these interviews, and they seem to follow a common theme. She is more than willing to talk about her current book, but should the interviewer bring up the past, she gets all indignant; she refuses to discuss anything of her past. [Click here to see or hear a couple of these interviews via the blog Witches Brew.]

In fact, in one such interview, she evokes the fact that she is now a wife and a mother of two little boys, and castigates the interviewer for bringing up the most sordid episodes of her life in light of that fact. But at this point she loses me.

Has her husband not read or heard of her first book, Confessions of a Video Vixen, in which she describes in detail her many, and I mean many, sexual exploits with entertainers and athletes of every stripe? Does she have a contingency plan for when her two precious little boys eventually ask her why people called their dear mother Superhead?

And in contemplating Ms. Steffans’ dilemma, I am reminded of a recent incident when I was introduced to the fiancé of my frat brother who moved here from out of town. She must have seen my eyes widen and registered the look of shock on my face because from where she stood slightly behind him, she immediately began to vigorously shake her head as if to say “No, please don’t.”

Back when we were undergraduates, she took her role as a sweet very seriously. She was in heavy rotation among the brotherhood, and word was there was no limit to what she would do to keep up the morale.

So, the question quickly becomes that if you were a man, would you or could you marry a woman like Ms. Steffans who has detailed her past sex life in a best-selling book for the world to see. If you are a woman, would you or could you marry a man if in his past he was, hmm, let's say a porn king. Remember the permanence of the written word; years for now that book will still be available for all to read and marvel. Remember the permenance of film. Who might be viewing his celluloid sexual exploits years from now?

But what of my clueless frat brother? He has no idea of his lovely fiancé’s past (and I ain’t about to tell him), but I know one of our brothers will eventually have one drink too many, and the ugly, naked truth will spill out. How will he react, or better still, how should he react?

When Mrs. Reddick and I got married, I never asked her about her past. I felt that what she wanted me to know, she would tell me. Not only that, an older relative, either my grandfather or an uncle, once told me to never ask a question if I were not sure I could handle the answer. And by the time we got married, I had sense enough to listen to the wisdom of old folks. Plus, I had a few bones in my own closet that I did not want to discuss.

But the fact is that we meet people and enter into relationships with people and fall in love with people without ever knowing their full background. Usually, we know only what they want us to know. And everyone has a few bones in their closet. When you see your special someone again, just look at them. And then ask yourself where they are hiding the bones.

Some of the bones are big bones, like of the tyrannosaurus rex variety, and some of the bones are of the smaller variety like those tiny pesky little fish bones you can barely see that threaten to get caught in your throat and choke you to death.

And if you love someone, I mean really and truly love someone, should the past even matter? True love is unconditional, but in the same instance, to forgive someone you must then forget that thing for which you forgive them. But sometimes things tend to get stuck in your head. Sometimes, whether consciously or unconsciously, the scenes tend to play themselves out in your head over and over again. It’s like a snowball rolling down hill. It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and then the avalanche begins. What then?

At what point does your mate’s past, or your past, threaten the future?

Do you believe that you should know every little detail about your mate’s past? What if you found out something absolutely horrible about your mate’s past? What would you do? How would you react? How does the past affect the future?

9 comments:

udee said...

I think this post is definitely the most poignant this week! I'm really interested to hear what other readers (who may have 'been in the game' longer than I have) have to say. However, I totally agree with the point of not asking for information you are seriously unprepared to hear. It leads to all sorts of negativity, the most devastating being disgust and resentment - true relationship killers!

As for Ms. Steffans ... she is unwise. Clearly you ought not to put out information in the form of literature and then claim some righteous indignation when asked about it. No matter what we do, our pasts linger. Somewhere. Whether it haunts us is another question; but it is out there and from time to time, we will need to encounter/face it.

I'm sure her sons will confront her at some point, even if she does happen to effectively dip and dodge the media. Someone needs to tell her that writing a book about your less than glamourous past will beckon question and criticism, so long as your past plagues the shelves at our friendly Barnes and Noble!

md20737 said...

I believe in taking you as you are! That includes the nonsense or lack of nonsense that comes with you. I cant hate you for what you did before me. But I can take issue with you keeping me in the dark.

I think full disclosure is over rated, but some things should be treated on a need to know basis. Like I slept with half your frat! Or thats not your baby. I am really a man! I like my same sex or, I have a sex tape out. Things like that should always be disclosed.

goddessintellect said...

As a woman who has seen many hoes from her highschool wifed up I'd have to say there are a lot of men who may have knowledge or their intuition will let them know that their boo has had a "friendly" past but they see something in that woman..(I'm not sure what) that makes them want to spend the rest of their lives with her.
Personally I dont want a male slut who constantly needs to shar his sperm with ever andany woman, for a husband. I want a man who is experienced but has the same bedroom prinicples as myself. As for superhead who knows...maybe her husband has a torrid sexual past as well? And I agree dont ask the question that you can not handle the answer to. A caring man will not be insistent on knowing your numbers or sexual past. STD & AIDS testing and communication about sexual needs and wants on the regular to me is much more important.GREAT POST!

Max Reddick said...

@ udee

I do believe honestly is the best policy. And what is done in the dark, shall become known in the light.

Some of the silly little things we do as young people aside, if there is something very serious in our past, I think we should take time to disclose it. Because at some point or another, the truth is bound to come out.

@ md207307

Okay, I see what you are saying. But people have different levels of morality. What might be considered important for one, may not be considered important for another. So how do we figure out what should be disclosed and what should not?

@OneChele

I love your disclaimer. Federal warrants should be an automatic deal breaker. One shouldn't have to begin their marriage on the run.

@ goddessintellect

Do you think sometimes men or more forgiving of a woman's past than a woman is forgiving of a man's past? I mean men can meet a woman and know she is a pure-o-dee ho, but if she is attractive enough, all is forgiven. But if a woman meets a man and finds that he is low down dirty womanizer, she is less apt to forgive him?

Kim said...

A persons past matters to me.. I like to kick the tires and look up underneath the hood.I would not marry someone with a shady past(especially documented) like a porn star or a male stripper, mass murderer.... NOPE.

Karrine Steffans has capitalized off of being a less than scrupulous woman and now mad because she continues to want to capitalize but doesn't want to pay the price. Ya know you have to dance with the one who brought you to the party.

But I will say that the host of these TV and Radio Shows were out of line because as a Host, and that's a host of anything, you should always be gracious and respectful to your guest. It's not like she walked out of the surprise guest closet.

Kim said...

@goddessintellect

I have noticed that also and I just chalked it up to a mans' ego being bigger than his brain..

KST said...

Back in my early college days, I met a dude who was fine, had the body of well-trained athlete, played jazz piano, and loved him some Jesus. Dude had been stripping to pay his way through university.

He gave up the strip joint because of his new lifestyle. He told his future wife while they were dating. They've been married for over 10 years.

LoudPen said...

I'm not sure how to answer this one. On the one hand, I want to say that I want to know his past, because, I want to know what I'm getting myself into. Then I think of what your grandfather told you, "Don't ask a question, if you are not prepared to hear the answer." I mean what would I do if I found out my fiance` or husband had a sordid past? Would that make me stop loving him? Make me want to break up with him?

I have no idea, because, the fact of the matter is I'm young, only 23 and I've never been in love. So, I can't really say how I'd feel. All I know is that I've been pretty tight with mine and I hope the guy I end up with has too. I'm sorry, but, I just don't know if I could deal with everybody knowing how my man was...black folk talk too much and it could become uncomfortable.

But Max, as for your friend, love is love right? It just sucks that he loves the ride that everybody already rode.

*MaRiNa* said...

If our past makes us - or contributes to - what we are today, then I guess I would like to know who my boyfriend/husband actually was or what he did before I met him. If his past was so horrible that I could not handle the truth, I'd prefer to find out instead of being in love or sharing my life with someone that I don't truly know..But there are serious stuff and "light" stuff. For example I wouldn't care or ever ask about previous girlfriends and stuff like that since in most cases such conversations are just meaningless and awkward.
Ms Steffans' (I have no idea who she is) husband apparently knows about her past and has accepted her for who she is/was. Even though I personally think it wasn't a wise thing to write about her sex life for the whole world to see - especially for the impact that this will have on her kids - and maybe she has regretted it and that's why she refuses to talk about it, her husband chose to be with her despite that and that is cool. I just think that it's better to know the truth yourself instead of having others laugh behind your back.

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