Great Gifts For The Special Man in Your Life

By Jessica Socheski

The holidays are in full swing and that means there are only a couple weeks left before Christmas arrives. So it is definitely time to get your shop on and start tracking down the perfect presents for your loved ones. If you feel stumped about what to find for the man in your life, here are some great gift ideas to really wow your sweetheart.


Buying Presents for Your Partner

It turns out that many people, men and women, feel stumped about how to surprise their significant other. Some recently released statistics unveiled that many people “have no faith in their partners gifting abilities whatsoever,” according to the Daily Mail. Predominantly women were the upset parties because one in five men procrastinate their holiday shopping and some just give cash or nothing to their ladies. So while you may feel a bit apprehensive about what he’s finding for you, the odds that you will discover something great for him are definitely in your favor.


Listening Ahead of Time

Deciding how to shop and what to look for can be pretty puzzling if you are starting from scratch. Especially if your relationship is in its beginning stages, it can prove difficult to determine what sort of item to buy and how much to spend.


A fantastic tip for finding something meaningful and practical that he will love is to keep your ears open throughout the year. Make mental notes or write down actual notes when he mentions something that he loves in a conversation or when you see something he admires when you’re out together. Many times you can totally surprise him with something he really wanted but might have even forgotten about.


Creative Places to Shop

Aside from the power tools isle at the hardware store or video games and sporting equipment, there are some unlikely places to browse for gifts. Creative groomsmen gifts might not just be for a wedding. Stores that specialize in groomsmen presents can have some awesome items that will impress your husband or boyfriend as a Christmas present. Some favorite ideas include:

•Personalized mugs or shot glasses

•Pocket knives

•Office golf sets

•Cool belt buckles


A Present to Look Forward To

If you really want to create a special memory, you can give the gift of time together. Collect movie tickets, restaurant gift cards and other fun certificates to compile a year of date nights as a Christmas gift. Or, book a weekend getaway to take him on after the holidays. For couples with tighter budgets, you can also create homemade coupons for special home cooked dinners, hugs, kisses and whatever else you can come up with.


Gifts that Keep Giving

In the craziness of hunting down the perfect present, it can become easy to lose site of how special this time of the season really is. One of the greatest gifts you can give your guy is quality time for just the two of you. Try starting a fun tradition that just the two of you enjoy around the holidays. Maybe this is curling up with a fire, some coco and a classic Christmas movie. Or it might be taking a nighttime drive to find houses with the best Christmas light displays. Perhaps you will establish an annual ornament or pajama exchange on Christmas Eve.


With these great gift ideas, you are sure to surprise your spouse or boyfriend and make him feel extra loved this Christmas.


Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves researching relationships and weddings. She enjoys unique weddings details. You can check out her writing on Twitter.



What If Your Man Was Sexually Abused?

Sexual Abuse is something that is not talked about nearly enough in our community. It is a secret that many will take to their grave. Imagine how difficult it must be for someone to deal with on their own–let alone share it with someone else. It takes major courage.  With that said there is a growing segment of the broader community that is sick and tired of the Legacy of Secrets in our community and are willing to shed light on the issue, talk about it, and encourage us to do the same. Hats off to Shahida Muhammad from Clutch Magazine for this much needed piece.

From Clutch Magazine

Oprah, Monique, Gabrielle Union, and Queen Latifah are all famous Black women who have shared stories of sexual abuse, and/or rape, with the public. And in each case, the response to their experiences was generally met with compassion and sympathy. They were praised for being courageous enough to speak up and for inspiring other woman to do the same. But why is it that when Lil’ Wayne revealed he was molested and introduced to sex at the age of 11 by a 14-year-old girl on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he was met with laughter rather than shock or sympathy?

It seems there is a double-standard in the way sexual abuse is viewed when it comes to men vs. women. For men, childhood molestation by a female can be viewed as a rite of passage. While women who experience sexual abuse from a male are usually viewed as victims of a serious crime. However, there is a certain aspect of male sexual abuse that comes with a significant level of taboo, hush-hush, shame, scandal and dismay—and that’s male sexual abuse at the hands of another male.

Both male and female victims of sexual abuse can adopt a feeling of shame in regards to their experience, moreover, men who suffer abuse at the hands of a male predator can also feel emasculated; making them less likely to reveal the abuse. Men who come forward run the risk of being ostracized by their peers, having their manhood challenged/questioned, or having society speculate about their sexual orientation.

With all the sexual abuse scandals in the media as of late, I wondered about the prominence of this type of abuse among Black men. There’s a plethora of literature, movies and open discussions dealing with the sexual abuse of women, but one might find it hard to find as much attention granted to male victims—Black men in particular. Even the Catholic priests’ abuse scandals have a White face associated with them, when there were many Black males victimized as well.

If you think you don’t know any men who have experienced this, chances are you do. According to online support system BSAS (Black Sexual Abuse Survivors), 1 in 6 Black males have been molested as children, and 1.9 million African-American men have been sexually abused. The reality is that this type of abuse is taking place every day in prisons, our communities, homes, schools, etc. and has yet to be properly addressed.

Taking this all into account, I considered how I would react if the man I was in a relationship with told me he was a victim of same-sex sexual abuse or rape. I’ve had men tell me (very nonchalantly) that they were taken advantage of sexually at a young age by women much older. However, I’ve never had a man come forward about sexual abuse at the hands of another male. Would I be able to accept my partner if he told me he had been? As a heterosexual woman, would the thought or fear that he may secretly be sexually attracted to men linger in my mind? I’ve asked myself all of these questions, and I believe that the first step I would take would be to have an honest and open dialogue with my significant other. I believe women shouldn’t be scared to ask. You have a right to know, and it will allow you to make an informed decision regarding whether, or how, to move forward in your relationship.

Most importantly, I think it’s important for us as women to have the sensitivity, compassion, and understanding with which we would want to be met were we to reveal that we had been abused—and not to further victimize the victim. Don’t let the constant “Down Low” rhetoric spark paranoia and/or apathy towards male sexual abuse victims. The affects of sexual abuse can manifest in various ways. While it can lead some victims to engage in homosexual behavior, this is certainly not always the case. Depression, promiscuity, low self-esteem, anger, aggressiveness, emotional disconnect, etc., are among an extensive list of potential results. If you’re a women who has experienced sexual abuse, just think of how it has affected you and imagine how it could be eating your man up inside. In a culture that irresponsibly promotes irrational ideas of hyper-masculinity and macho-ism, same-sex molestation and/or rape can leave Black men feeling powerless, emasculated, and alone. Remember, they are the victims, so we should do our best not to further any sense of shame or guilt.

Look into the stories of KEM, Donnie McClurkin, Tyler Perry, Todd Bridges, and other Black men who have publicly shared stories of sexual abuse. Also, BSAS recommends the books: Broken Boys/Mending Men: Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse, by Stephen D. Gruban-Black, and African Americans and Child Sexual Abuse, by Veronica D. Abney, as resources for healing.

As women we’re often the first nurturers and consolers who men have in their lives. If you find out your man was a victim of sexual abuse, with the right approach your womanly intuition and support could be the first step in helping him to heal and seek the best way to move forward.

For Many L.O.V.E. means (Legs Open Very Easy)

Rapper and reality star Rev Run and singer/actor Tyrese Gibson, recently sat down with HLN’s Robin Meade to talk about their New York Times best-selling book, “Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed.”

Robin asked the co-authors, “What is the biggest mistake women make when it comes to relationships?”  Tyrese said women should just shut it up in the beginning of a relationship.  Rev Run says for many, love means Legs Open Very Easy.

Check out the video below:

Anthony Anderson “Keeps It Real” About Overcoming Being Identified As The “Fat Funny Guy”

By Derrick Lane

Anderson started out in Hollywood as a self-proclaimed “fat, funny guy,” appearing alongside fellow comedic stars Jim Carrey and Martin Lawrence.

But offscreen, Anderson’s weight was anything but a laughing matter: He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2002 at the age of 32.

It took a few years, but eventually, Anderson realized he had to get serious, and so he committed to changing his eating habits and lifestyle. Around the same time, Anderson also made a conscious decision to shift the direction of his career, focusing on darker roles in movies, such as Hustle & Flow and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, and co-starring in television dramas like The Shield and K-Ville.

Inspired by his family history of the disease, Anderson recently became a spokesperson for FACE Diabetes, an initiative sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly that focuses on educating and empowering the African American community.

My Diagnosis…

I was home in Los Angeles, close to eight years ago now. Out of the blue, I started feeling really lethargic and lazy, taking mid-afternoon naps, which is something I wouldn’t just do. I chalked it up to overworking. I just thought I was running myself ragged. But the turning point was one evening I drank, literally, a 5-gallon jug of water in the course of a couple of hours, and there was constant urination. I knew what the symptoms of diabetes were since my father was a diabetic, and I was like “Wow, I think I need to go to the doctor and get this checked out (okay, actually, my wife said that).” I went the next morning and found out that I had elevated glucose levels and the doctor said, “You know you’re a type 2 diabetic.”

My first reaction:

I didn’t change dramatically at first. Being a 32-year-old man, stubborn and all that, I was really just stuck in my ways and I thought, “I can beat this. I can handle this.” But after a while, it wasn’t getting better. Now, I’ve really changed my lifestyle. I’m eating differently, and I’m also incorporating exercise. I have a treadmill that was just collecting dust in my house, and I started to run 3 miles a day on it. When I get bored with that, I go outside and run around the golf course.

Recently, I met with Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser, and I said, “Bob, come on, give me a quick fix on how to lose some weight.” And he laughed and said, “Anthony, you know there’s no quick fix to that.” Then he said, “But, I’ll give you a tip: If you don’t do anything else, just cut your meal portions in half, and watch and see what happens. The weight will fall off of you.” I said, “That’s an easy fix,” and I just cut my meals in half and the weight did come off. This is the first time I’ve stuck with a regimen. As a result, since January 2009, I’ve lost close to 40 pounds and have kept it off…and plan on keeping it off.

My turning point:

I want to skydive, and one place I called told me you can’t weigh more than 235 pounds, because you do it in tandem with the instructor and all the equipment. And I said, I weigh 240 pounds. What can I do?” I was laughing over the phone, but, deadpan, the lady on the other end said, “Lose 5 pounds.” I was like, “Wow, OK.” Now I’m well below 235, and I’m going to jump out of a plane!

In all seriousness, I didn’t have a bad episode or anything. But I thought, “If I’m going to have this for any length of time, I want to be on top of it and in control.” Especially in case anything were to happen, or something was suddenly out of the ordinary with my blood sugar levels or the disease. I wanted to be able to say with a clear conscience, I did the best I could.

My lifestyle:

Once I talked to the nutritionists and my doctor, and they said, “Anthony, everything is fine in moderation; you can still eat certain things, you just can’t eat as much,” then it was OK. Once I wrapped my mind around that, I said, “I can have short ribs every now and then, just not every weekend like I was doing over the summer, and not steak every two days like I was doing, but maybe once a month, and fried chicken once a month.” I can still satisfy my cravings and urge for that. I just don’t feed it like I used to.

My treatment strategy:

CLICK HERE to read more:


8 Important Differences In The Male And Female Brain That Impact How We Engage In Relationships

By Alex Matlock

The male brain is so different from the female brain, it’s no wonder they won’t ask for directions.

Many women find it incredibly difficult to understand men … and for good reason. Men and women are totally different from one another. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we should aim to embrace our differences. But first, we must understand what they are and why they exist.

Fortunately, modern science has allowed us to reach some conclusions about why the sexes are so different, and it mainly boils down to how our brains are structured. Now, understanding the brain structures of the sexes may not make a man fall wildly in love with you. Still, it may just help you relate better to men.

1. Words versus cues Women communicate much more successfully than men. They focus on how to create solutions that work for everyone. They talk through issues and utilize non-verbal cues like tone, emotion and empathy.

Men, on the other hand, tend to be more task-oriented, less talkative and more isolated. Men have a hard time understanding emotions that are not spoken. These differences clearly explain why men and women sometimes have difficulty in communication and why men-to-men friendships look different from friendships between women.

So, when a man asks you if something is wrong and you say “Nothing,” unless you actually tell him what’s wrong, he won’t have the slightest clue. Sure, your best friends get you and maybe even your husband if you’ve been together for years, but the average guy — or even your two-year-long boyfriend — won’t.

2. Left brain versus both brain hemispheres. Experts have proven that men process better in the left hemisphere while women tend to process equally well between the two hemispheres, which is why men are stronger with left-brain activities and approach problem-solving from a task-oriented perspective while women typically solve problems more creatively. It also explains why men generally aren’t as good at multi-tasking.

3. Mathematical abilities. An area in the brain called the inferior-parietal lobule (IPL) is typically significantly larger in men than women, especially on the left side. This is the section responsible with mathematical ability, and it probably explains why men perform higher in mathematical tasks than women. What’s even more interesting is that this area of the brain was abnormally large in Einstein. The IPL also processes sensory information, and the larger right side in women allows them to focus on “specific stimuli” such as baby crying in the night.

4. Reactions to stress. In stressful situations, men have a response reaction that resembles “fight or flight” while women react with a “tend and befriend” strategy. Psychologist Shelly E. Taylor first came up with the phrase “tend an befriend” after noticing that during times of stress, women tend to take care of themselves and their children (tending) and form strong group bonds (befriending).

The reason behind these different reactions to stress comes down to hormones. When someone is under stress, the hormone oxytocin is released into the body. In men, testosterone reduces the effects of oxytocin as it is produced in high volumes during stress. This explains the reason for the “fight or flight” response. In women, estrogen amplifies the effects of oxytocin, resulting in calming and nurturing feelings.

5. Language. The two sections in the brain responsible for language have been found to be significantly larger in women than in men, suggesting one reason why women typically excel in language-based subjects and in language-associated thinking. It’s also important to mention that men typically process language in one hemisphere while women process it in both. This difference offers a bit of protection in case of a stroke, as women may be able to recover fully from a stroke affecting the language areas in the brain while men may not have this same advantage.

CLICK HERE to read more.

SMH….Large, Black Men, Who Have Bald Heads Have Been Put On Alert

San Diego Police Sgt. Benjamin Kelso is warning all African-American men that they could be stopped and questioned as the manhunt for Christopher Dorner continues.

The longer the search drags on, the more the case is being used as a poster child for making the evisceration of constitutional rights look rational and reasonable.

“If you’re an African American man, you could be stopped and questioned,” Kelso told Fox 5 San Diego. “There are many people that may look like Chris Dorner, myself included. If you are stopped and questioned its important to cooperate with officers.”

Attorney Doug Oden warned that all “large, black men, who have bald heads” should be “concerned,” adding that the $1 million dollar reward promised by the LAPD for information leading to Dorner’s apprehension could hinder rather than help the manhunt.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Pain Personified! Where Is The Cry In You?

By Ayize Ma’at
Where is the cry in you?  The below video is known around the web as “The Best Cry Ever”.  It includes Rocky Lockridge and his son who has not seen him in 15 years. SNL has spoofed it, you tubers have remixed it, and many people are sharing it via a wide array social media platforms in an attempt to get a belly aching laugh.  Is it funny?….Maybe, especially if you isolate the content from it’s context.  Is it enlightening?…Definitely, especially if you allow yourself to be emotionally present and place the clip in it’s proper context.  This clip left an impression on me and led me to sit still and appreciate the magnitude of the moment.  What I saw in this video and what I know from doing the work of counseling/coaching individual and couples is that:

1. It takes courage to be vulnerable and emote.

2. The words I Love You are an empowering affirmation.

3. Forgiveness is the pathway to healing.

4. We are all emotionally fragile….some mask it better than others.

5. It hurts to change…but it hurts even more to stay the same.

Rocky Lockridge is not alone in his experience.  Pain is not exclusively reserved for him.  We all have it in us.  Identify it.  Get to know it. Accept it…..Where is the cry in you?

Rocky Lockridge (born January 30, 1959) is a former boxing champion who was discovered by Muhammad Ali. As a professional, he is best known for handing Roger Mayweather his first defeat—a first-round knockout after just 98 seconds—earning him the WBA super featherweight championship. Rocky is still called “the champ” by locals. But the success, pressure, and excesses of the boxing lifestyle proved too much for him, and he turned to drugs and alcohol. He lost everything–his marriage, his sons, his wealth, and his title. Now homeless and addicted to crack, Rocky needs to fight for something far more important than boxing glory–he needs to fight for his life.

Real Husbands Of Hollywood Premieres Tonight On BET. Will You Be Watching?

By Aiyana Ma’at

Nick Cannon, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, Robin Thicke, J.B. Smoove and Kevin Hart are teaming up to entertain in the ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood’ on BET.  I have to admit when I heard about this show I was instantly intrigued. I mean, c’mon, we so rarely see black men—or men of color period on television in this way. So, I’m in love with the concept.

My hope is that this show has a little more “realness” versus staged reality like so many reality shows these days. To tell you the truth I’m wondering how real it will be because when you have someone like a Kevin Hart & J B Smoove on the show we know their job is to bring the humor so they have to try and be funny…. on purpose…so how real is that?

Even so, I’m still looking very forward to it and unless it’s just painfully boring or something—I’m sure I will very likely be watching each and every week! Tweet us while you’re watching tonight and let us know what you think.

Check out LA Times’ Robert Lloyd’s Review:


Kevin Hart’s amiable, loose-limbed “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” which premieres Tuesday on BET, is not so much a parody of the Bravo franchise, whose name it echoes and structure it borrows, as it is a kind of (mostly) black “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”


As with Larry David’s HBO comedy, the successful entertainers play themselves as unremarkable, petty, confused, obsessive, argumentative and rarely bothered with actual work. (Which does pretty much describe the cast of any “Real Housewives” series you might name.) And, indeed, “Curb” executive producer Tim Gibbons is an executive producer here as well.


“Before my daddy got on drugs,” says Hart, “he once told me that for every boss there’s a hundred wannabe bosses. I had no idea that those wannabe bosses would be my boys.” He is one of those wannabes himself, of course.


Comedian Nick Cannon, actors Boris Kodjoe and Duane Martin, recording artist and producer Robin Thicke (Alan’s sound-alike, look-alike son, weirdly) and comic and “Curb” alum J.B. Smoove, shooting here for the world’s biggest spit take, round out the main cast, All have well-known wives — the most well known of them being Mariah Carey, who is married to Cannon — all of whom remain offstage.


Actor-comic Hart (“Think Like a Man,” “Undeclared”), divorced, is the series odd man out, its narrator and the main target of its jokes. The first, which has a hawk doing its business on his head as he rides to a hip-hop soundtrack through stock-glamorous Hollywood locations flanked by standard-issue Hot Girls, sets a theme.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Golden Globes 2013: List | Winners | Ballot | Moments | Quotes | Best & Worst


At a party at Cannon’s, where the host flips burgers onto the ground and puts them back on the grill, he is mistaken for a little boy — Hart is short of stature — and beaten up by Cannon’s 11-year-old nephew after he insults a pie the boy had made. “There’s two things all Cannon men can do,” says Nick. “We can bake, and we can fight.”


Playing yourself as a loser is one of the great luxuries of being a winner. Mr. New Money is Hart’s “reality show nickname” here; he is a kind of wound-up terrier, small and scrappy, hysterical, befuddled, boastful, covetous, competitive, easily bruised and lacking perspective.


“I think one thing that we know is that I’m the most successful client you have,” Hart tells his lawyer, when he learns that she also represents all his friends. (He has come to sue Cannon’s nephew, and Cannon himself, “’cause he sold me a house I didn’t know I was buying from him.”)


“Well, no, that would be DiCaprio.”


“You represent white people?”


“It’s the only way I can afford to represent you.”


The show is amusing without seeming to aim for anything more. Its greatest charm is in showing people who really do seem to be friends hanging out and making fun of one another and themselves. It is at its best when they all seem to be talking over one another, without actually talking over one another — which lets the viewer feel in on the joke and present at the party.

Three Thoughtful Reasons NOT To Change A Man

By Priya Shah

This article could have been titled “Three Thoughtful Reasons NOT To Change A Person,” because it applies to everyone, man or woman. But since women are usually the ones trying to change men, it seemed more appropriate to address it to you girls.

If there’s one thing that all those years of married life have taught me, it’s that attempting to change a man is an exercise in futility. But my reasons for not trying to change men have less to do with resigning myself to undesirable behaviour, than with mutual respect and consideration for a man’s feelings.

Here’s why I think it’s not fair to men that we keep trying to change them.

1. He’s entitled to his opinions and free will

I’m a big believer in a person’s right to exercise his free will. As long as he blames no one but himself and is willing to accept the consequences of his actions, a man should have the right to make his own mistakes and learn from them.

Respect his opinions and let him be. And the next time you try to make him change his ways, imagine how YOU would feel if the tables were turned.

2. He will never change for the wrong reasons

The wrong reasons include threats, manipulation, coercion and other underhanded methods. And no, you’re not allowed to use hypnosis or sex either. Play fair.

3. He will change only for the right reasons

The right reasons are inner-driven, and arise only when his actions create enough pain for him to desperately want to make a change. When he is sufficiently motivated to change, he’ll do it regardless of your wanting him to do it.

If he does decide to change, support him every step of the way, and get help for him and yourself. And what should I do if he doesn’t want to change, you say?

Well, then you don’t have too many options, and the ones you have may not be all that attractive. But here’s what you can do if his actions are causing you pain.

– Let Him Know

Your man may not even be aware that his behaviour is affecting you adversely. After all he’s not as intuitive as you are and can’t read your mind. So tell him what you feel. If he cares a lot about you, he may be motivated to change.

– Change Yourself

Susan Page, author of “How One of You Can Bring the Two of You Together,” believes that for every action there is always an equal, opposite reaction, and that one person’s fundamental shift toward “good will” can lay the foundation for a better relationship. Based on that premise, all it should take to change your man is to change yourself.

I have my reservations about this approach, but don’t really see any harm in trying it as long as you don’t go overboard in trying to change yourself for his benefit. If it doesn’t change him it might help you deal with some of your own issues.

– Give Up Control

What are you anyway, some kind of control freak? You only have control over your own thoughts and actions, not over the actions of other people. Your penance is to say the “Serenity Prayer” out loud ten times a day. Go do it now, girl.

– Live With It

If you can convince yourself that his behaviour is not all that bad, or you’ve already invested too much in the relationship to leave, then learn to live with it, desensitise, detach, or minimise your exposure to it. It’ll prepare you well for learning to live with his mother.

– Walk, Leave, Vamoose

If his behaviour is too painful, if its affecting your health and self-esteem, then the kindest thing you can do for both of you, is to walk away from the situation.

Sometimes the best option is to make a fresh start. That way you’ll be able to attract someone more suited to your needs the next time around.

Priya Shah writes about self-improvement and women’s empowerment Click here for relationship tips and advice

Unraveling The Mysteries Of Manhood: Frustration And Flexibility

VIDEO: In the African American community many men are challenged by the necessary chase to grasp a seemingly elusive definition of manhood. The result….a silent struggle in the psyche of black men. In this video I focus on one of the manifestations of that silent struggle in an attempt to bring wholeness to men, their families, and their community.