If you’ve ever tuned into VH1’s “Beverly Hills Fabulous” you’ll be greeted by the flamboyancy that is Elgin Charles. This man is fierce. The reality show chronicles the daily — and often trite — happenings at the ambitious businessman’s upscale salon. Like most reality TV, the program is centered on the cast members’ personal flair. Luckily, he has more than enough. In this case we have Charles, an older African-American man, who sports purses, wears a shoulder length perfectly-coiffed wrap at all times, and switches his hips, turns his neck and whips his hair back and forth more than Willow Smith. Oh yeah, and he was married to Jackee Harry.
During one episode he meets his ex for a lunch and states he assumed she lured him there to for sex. Watching the former couple interact seemed more like catching a glimpse of two girlfriends, not lovers. While we know Black men are stereotypically portrayed as, and expected to be, the epitome of hyper masculinity — you know, natural street fighters with super-sized penises they’re happy to punish willing victims with — our men have much more to offer. Still, an effeminate, but “heterosexual”, Black man who’s in a relationship with a woman often furrows eyebrows and induces whispers.
People wonder one thing: why? What makes an attractive woman decide to nest with a man who wants to paint her — and his own — fingernails each day? Has the shortage of marriage-minded, eligible Black men led women to make the ultimate compromise of sharing her man with another brother? According to statistics less than 50 percent of Black women are married. Additionally, almost 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and the primary culprits are money matters and infidelity. Armed with the facts, some will argue wedded bliss is based on companionship and honesty, meaning it’s better to know what you’re dealing with upfront. So what if he “used to” date men? He’s not now. Who cares if he comes across as having a little “sugar in his tank”? I know the truth. If a man wants to be put a ring on it, you better say yes. Women with straight men deal with crap (like serial cheating and closet homosexuality) too, right?
Ultimately, what makes a relationship work depends on the couple…and we know it’s their business. Still when we look at women in the limelight who have effeminate mates (think Terry McMillan or Star Jones) we can’t help but question what went into that decision. Whether it was loneliness or love, a man shortage or just a good man, we must accept that each relationship has it’s own rules and expectations — and wonder what it would be like to be a fly on that couple’s bedroom wall.