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The highly anticipated The Best Man Holiday opened this weekend, and I must say, it is indeed a must-see! I will not give the movie away, for those who have not yet seen it, but I had to reflect on the movie and the The Best Man prequel after this weekend. In the prequel, you recall that Julian (Harold Perrineau), fell in love with Candace or “Candy” (Regina Hall), the exotic dancer at Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) bachelor party. In the sequel, the two are married with children, but an unusual turn of events forces Julian to revisit his wife’s former lifestyle. While watching the movie, I thought to myself, “Are the men that I know — the “Buppie” black urban professional career men — willing to look past a woman’s former lifestyle? Would a man accept me or my girlfriends even if they did not approve of a former occupation, past relationship or action I committed? Could they love me knowing I was a former exotic dancer, an escort, incurred a bad reputation for being involved with the wrong men and/or an explicit sex tape that was accidentally released?
Many men often cite how they seek to attain a classy woman, a “lady,” someone who is motherly, supportive and caring. They want a woman who represents herself well and is respected by her peers and community — with one caveat: the woman also has to be a “freak” behind closed doors. Men that I know consistently express how they do not want other men knowing his woman’s secrets that are shared intimately between the two of them. They steer away from pursuing marriage with women who have notorious reputations of romping around with other men.
At present, an inequality in views of past actions by gender among peers, community and the media still exist. Men are placed on a pedestal for sleeping with multiple women and are excused for testing the waters. We give them the benefit of the doubt. We justify their actions because it is learned that men suffer from a high sex drive, are judged by their experience or lack thereof with the opposite sex. In fact, doesn’t history and certain cultures allow men to wed multiple wives? The “Big Love” lifestyle is intriguing.
On the other hand, women who express their sexual curiosities are categorized as whores. Women who have used poor judgement and fell for men who chose to exploit them via sharing their intimate moments to the public are viewed as promiscuous and dense. How many times does the media discuss how Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian attained celebrity status through their notorious “sex tapes” and how society is quick to judge their young adult mistakes?
The “pimp” lifestyle is what many men seek to gain, and a pound to the hand is given by their boys when they share they are casually dating more than one woman. In contrast, women who choose to date more than one man are classified as “fast.” We shun the woman who chose to attain money in a difficult economy to pay for college, feed her children, pay for housing by seeking occupation in one of the most demanding and easily attainable careers for women. The exotic dancer, escort, music video model, or a model for adult men magazines occupations are high in request in the obsessively visual entertainment industry. Shouldn’t these women have a chance to start fresh in a healthy, loving and supportive relationship with a man without being judged?
My view is that despite your past choices, whether it was a mistake, an act of survival or you were just embracing your sexual freedom, at present you are the wonderful woman that your man or potential mate will meet. Your sexual past is your past – let it stay there. Your lifestyle as a dancer, escort or just a woman who made “bad decisions” does not affect your genuine love and affection for your man. Past experiences provide wisdom and strength but do not represent your character at present. We learn from our actions. Yes, one can argue that women made choices to delve in certain lifestyles, but so do our male counterparts. We let men be themselves and explore, yet we accept them when they are ready to settle and become a caring and considerate man to a woman. Shouldn’t women be given the same opportunity?
I say be open-minded, love your woman, understand her past and embrace her at present. Usually, there is more to her story than what her past portrays. The Best Man Holiday provides an exemplary example of a professional and confident man who endures challenges in facing his wife’s past. Yet, he chooses to love and accept his wife despite her past indiscretions.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Julian was right for accepting Candace’s past lifestyle? Should our cosmopolitan man be accepting of a woman as what she represents currently or should he consider her past intimate choices in choosing a mate? If considered, does he owe it to himself and the woman to rationalize the basis for her past decisions?