My humble thoughts as one guy with opinions about life, love, religion, society, politics, parenting... yada, yada, yada.

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  • Has Fatherhood Become the New Mercedes-Benz?

    It used to be that a tailor-made suit and a Mercedes-Benz were context clues signaling a man’s ability to “provide” and consequently, those were things made a man "sexy". But could it be that for today’s professional women, fatherhood is the modern-day equivalent of a Benz? ...

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  • Look Ma! I'm On Web TV!

    Here's Mr. Mansitioning himself (me..lol) talking about Presidential politics and the election on the HuffPost Live... I always appreciate the invite and love the discussion!

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Why Fathers Have the Right to Give Their Sons Jacked-Up Haircuts...by Lawrence “LAW” Watford for  www.transitioningmovement.com.  

So Father’s Day has passed, but as a father of two boys and a TM.com writer I feel obligated to explain to all you moms, and warn you expectant mothers that your husband (or baby’s daddy) WILL, without question, live out his childhood dream of being a barber on your son’s hair.  I know this because I’ve been there and because I’m taking my wife through it now.

I can’t explain it, but as soon as you pop him out and the doctor says, “it’s a boy!” we’re already looking at his bald little head, counting down the days until we can take some Wahl clippers to his head. Of course, as a mom you’ll more than likely protest, but trust me, as soon as you hit the club with your girlfriends for that “break” you needed, your husband is gearing up to vandalize your baby boy's hairline.  Sometimes, dad’s creativity may even result in a totally new hairstyle.

You ever hear of the “Slumby”?  Yeah, that’s what you get when your haircut splits the difference between a Slope and a Gumby… Guess who was the brilliant non-barber that invented that - Leonard Watford – my dad (a man, btw who shines in most every regard other than barbering).   But it must be a generational curse, because I too have been saving hundreds of dollars a year by jackin-up my boys’ heads.  The only difference between my dad and me is that my mom never stepped in to protect our hair, whereas I often find myself at odds with my wife who keeps threatening to take my boys away from me and to a “real” barber.


Looking back, I laugh at it now, understanding that I, like my dad, have the absolute best of intentions, but unfortunately those good intentions could never take the place of barber’s license.  The thing for you, as a mother to keep in mind is that your son’s haircut disaster is actually a good thing - a really good thing.  You see, I didn’t quite realize it when I was the victim of my dad’s barber fantasy, but showing up to class with a jacked-up fade, or the infamous “soup-bowl” haircut is a rights-of-passage in the life of a boy.  In fact, I’d bet that you could identify the boys with active fathers (or father figures) by how uneven their line-up is, or how wide their part is.  It’s why, to this day, the barbershop still stands as a sacred space where boys learn to socialize like men and men go to fraternize like boys.

Thank you for checking out my column “Mansitioning.”    hope you’ll leave feedback and follow me on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/mansitioning and on twitter (https://twitter.com/mansitioning). Give me some ideas about what kind of subjects you’d like to hear discussed...

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Okay… So I’m strolling through Walgreens, just minding my own business when I happened to wonder down the hair-care isle.  But while I was there, I started looking over the products, taking a stroll down memory lane.  You see, for about 15 years I had locs and didn’t worry too much about hair products (I leaned more towards the “lion” styled locs as opposed to the finely manicured/You can see my greased scalp style). 

But as I looked around, there they were; the old favorites like Nu Nile and Blue Magic.  The Epitome relaxer box took me back to my college days (Hampton University stand up!) when I used to deliver wholesale hair care products to black salons.  And that “Just For Me” box instantly took me back to my elementary school in Brooklyn, where girls would have their hair all over the place one day and the next it’d look just like the girls from the commercial with that annoying song that I, to this day can’t get out of my head – “Just for Meeeeeeeeeee” (y’all remember that commercial).

Anyway, I’m about to go to the register when an old friend happened to catch my eye… The S-Curl box.   Off all the memories that I have involving my hair, few are as potent as my history with S-Curl.  Now I know that a few of the few of you who happen to read “Mansitioning” on TransitioningMovement.com question how I (as a man… a straight man even more so) can write about beauty issues related to black women.  And in response, I’ve listed my credentials at various points, but of all those credentials, none may be more relevant than my S-Curl days.

There was nothing like the first day you step on the playground with a fresh new flat-top or slope, that’s been pimped out with an S-Curl kit.  Usually this was “picture day” and you always come late on that day.   While all of my class was lined up and about to walk into the school, here I’d come, walking up in slow motion, with your own theme music (probably Keith Sweat) playing in my head.   And for at least a week, no matter how popular you weren’t before, you were the effing man!  I used to try to hold on to those curls for as long as I could, so every week and a half I’d sneak and throw a little more of that "stinky-a$$" cream in my hair, until I found myself scraping my finger around the jar for the residue of the cream. But sooner or later that S-Curl would grow out, and for me, there was something taboo about doing back-to-back applications of S-Curl.  Once a semester was my limit.  

That was my routine in elementary school, but for some reason in Junior High School, processed hair wasn’t as cool. When before I used to show up walking in slow motion with an Al B. Sure song in my head, NOW I couldn’t hear my own song over that audible singing of  “Just let your SOUL Glow!!!” and the occasional “follow the drip” comment.   All of a sudden, it wasn’t enough to just pop up one day with curly hair.  No, now these @#$%^&* wanted you to provide a DNA sample and  a genealogically sound explanation for how it was all possible (unless you were Jamaican.  For some reason, none of my Jamaican friends ever had to justify their S-Curls... I never understood that).  Anyway, when I found myself up against a wall and pressed for an answer I tossed out the only answer that could possibly make sense to a fourteen-year-old, “I got Indian in my family.”     Not sure where that genius answer came from, but it was enough - (I probably heard it from one of those baby haired girls with the greasy forehead, temples, cheeks... and ears).

Yeah, those were not the days, and in the end I think the pressure for me was the same as it was and is with a lot of women and girls.  I simply wanted to look good. I wanted to do something different, and if I’m being honest, I wanted to look like the kids, I thought looked better than me.  My Dominican and Puerto Rican friends had curly hair, which seemed to correlate with the number of “Will you be my boyfriend? Check yes or no” notes they received.   Frankly, I think it’s why a lot of girls (and sadly grown women) used to slick the edges of their scalp with Petroleum Jelly to mimic “baby hair” or why they, later invested in hazel contact lenses.

So I guess, in the end we’re not that different. Just like a lot of you, I sat between my mom’s legs as she combed in that “stanky-a$$”cream.  Just like many of you, I’ve had an occasion or two where that crème was left in too long – for maximum effect (which I definitely don’t recommend you do, because one of my cousins did that and instead of curls came out looking like a 1950’s Motown artist).   And just like many of you, I’ve been burned by it. But as I look back, I’m so glad that I learned how to appreciate beauty on a spectrum, as opposed to beauty on the basis of another’s opinion or physical characteristics that God, did not genetically endow me with.  Because no matter how straight my grandmother’s Meherrin Indian hair was, the fact of the matter is that there wasn’t enough “Indian in my family” to give me the kind of curls that  S-Curl kit did.   




Thank you for checking out my column “Mansitioning.”   I hope you’ll leave feedback and follow me at www.mansitioning.com, on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/mansitioning and on twitter (https://twitter.com/mansitioning). Give me some ideas about what kind of subjects you’d like to hear about...

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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

I know it's history to many of you now, but the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School stayed with me.  And after pondering for some time, I finally came up with a semi-coherent answer to the question "What does it all mean?"

Immediately following the shooting, there were the natural questions, 'where was God?" and "why would God allow such a tragedy to befall innocent children?" and naturally, the spiritual discourse became politicized.  Some Christians fell into the trap of using the event as an opportunity to talk about abortion, gay marriage and prayer in schools. Likewise, some Atheist found an odd sense of pleasure in using the tragedy to refute the idea of an Omni-benevolent God, prompting outraged from Christians that anyone would dare use this horrific event to question God's authority, let alone his existence.   I, on the other hand never begrudge these questions, nor do I take offense.  These are natural questions for anyone trying to make sense out the world we live in, and the answers (despite our best intentions) seem to be sorely lacking.  

I am a person of faith and follower of Jesus Christ.  I attend church regularly, pray with my children nightly and even find occasions where I crack open my Bible on a day other than Sunday.   Yet  I, like Americans of other faiths and no faith spent the Christmas season burdened with a heaviness that I couldn't shake; a foreboding sense that all was wrong with the world;.  This increased and came to a head when it was time for my wife and I to find childcare for my youngest children - a 2 year old and 6 month old.  If you have children, then you KNOW that there is no scarier time than when you first have to entrust their livelihood to someone else, often a person you don't know.   

As we thought about it and prayed about it and thought about it some more, in the back of our minds was the "massacre" at Sandy Hook Elementary.   I don't know if you caught that, but the "tragedy" (which connotes a sense of sympathy and empathy) had evolved into  the "massacre" (which connotes horror and terror).  And as we begin to worry more about our childcare decision, our thoughts became laced with all of the worst-case scenarios we could imagine.  We thought about the kids chocking, the cases of kidnapping and pedophilia and the news exposés about all crazy things that "nanny cams" were capturing.   But after the crescendo of worry ended, there was a moment of clarity for me and something made sense.  Fear... I realized that the purpose/intention of the Sandy Hook shooting was to instill fear in us.

Now in order for you to make sense of what made sense to me there are a couple of things that need to happen.  

  1. You need to accept that their is good and evil in the world 
  2. You need to accept that there is a source of that good (God) and that evil (Devil - to put it simply) -fortunately for the this discussion that's statistically nearly 100% of the country.
  3. You need to accept that their is a purpose in both the good and evil that occurs. 
  4. And that your reaction to either has the power to invite more of it into your life.
A very wise man, Bishop Michel Talbert once explained something to me that was profound (and again, this is spiritual stuff for those of you who don't believe the things above).  He said that, essentially Satan/The Devil is under the authority of man in every regard, and that the only way he can coopt that authority is if it is ceded to him by us.   So how do we cede that authority? It's simple. We merely choose to react to any given situation in a way that moves our focus from God (and your position in Him) to man.   This is something we do so often and with such ease that we've given it a comfortable name - "human nature."  And being human, human nature isn't inherently evil, except to the degree that it metastasizes into something that overtakes us.  Desire is human nature that metastasizes into gluttony or lust.  Anger is human nature that grows into wrath, and sadness can easily become despair - as too can fear.  

So what does that mean?  I means that in my choice to accept fear as a response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, I also - be default -  gave away enough of my authority to invite more fear into my life.  This, to such a degree that it was beginning to overwhelm my faith as I focused on what I could do to protect myself from whatever I was fearing.  And while i'm engaging this fear with a human reasoning that's grossly outmatched by the frequency and gravity of these kinds of events, I'm also being distracted from my faith in a loving God and from the knowledge that only He knows the future and how to protect me and my family from every and any tragic scenario that I was imagining. And even as I sit here typing I see the below notification on Facebook, which had the immediate effect of triggering more fear:

                                    

So when the next mass shooting or terrorist attack happens (and there will indeed be more) and people start asking "Why God?... Why?" then remind them that the purpose of evil is to so overwhelm our minds with fear that we loose sight (if we've ever had it) of God's authority over it, an authority which he has imparted to us in fair measure by way of our faith.  Faith, in many respects is mind over matter.  I sometimes like to think about it in terms of the old Looney Tunes or Scooby Doo cartoons where the characters would run off a cliff and keep running for five or six yards on air before they realized that there was no ground beneath their feet.  As long as they didn't look down, they were fine, but as soon as they looked down, they became frightened and fall a few hundred feet to the ground.  The same can be said for Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus.  It wasn't until his fear overtook his faith that he sank...  Fear reinforces our humanity,  but also opens an opportunity for us to choose our Godly natures over our human nature by way of our response to it.  


It is only after thinking about things in this manner that the Biblical scripture 1 John 4:18 makes sense to me. 
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment (torment), and this shows the we have not fully experienced his perfect love.


BTW: If anyone has anything more to add or take away from what I wrote, please start a discussion about it on my Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/mansitioning and let's see if we can better understand these profound life questions.




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