Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wait Til YOU Have a Boss

Happy Hump Day!

So as I've mentioned before, this Saturday is the Syracuse Alumni Reunion Party. I'm looking forward to my girl Denise coming up to stay with me so we can celebrate my belated birthday, hang with friends and just have a great time. I reminded our other BFF that the party was this coming Saturday, and she said "oh wow, glad you reminded me, let me ask the boss (her husband) if it's okay."

"Ask the boss?"

Her: "Well, he thinks he's the boss."

"okay...but ask? Uh..ok then."

Her: "It should be fine."

That ladies and gentlemen, might be the reason I'm still single. I couldn't wrap my head around the "asking" part.

I told my sister about our conversation and how silly I thought it was that she would have to "ask" her husband if she could go somewhere. My sister's response?

"Wait til you get a boss."

Umm...I have a boss. I get a paycheck every 2 weeks from my boss. Last time I checked, wives don't work for their husbands...or do they?

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that when you have kids to raise together, you have to compromise on who's gonna stay home with the snotty-nosed, rusty behind little buggers. I get that. I'm not a complete asshole.

But I've always operated in relationships from a "consideration" standpoint, not a "permission seeking" one.

It always bothered me when a guy I used to date would ask me if he could go out with his boys. I understand that he was trying to be considerate, but I always felt like his mother. I'd look at him like "you's a grown ass man, GO!" And he always seemed so grateful, like I had just given him an allowance or something. It was odd to me.

But when it was my turn to "ask" - I wouldn't. I'd say, "This weekend my friends are having a get together, would you like to go with me?" If he said no, then I'd say "Well, I'd like to go. How would you feel if I went alone?" To me, that's different than asking permission. Asking how someone feels about your decision isn't the same to me as asking if you're allowed.

I know some of you are saying it's semantics. Asking, “Honey, is it OK if I...(fill in the blank)?” Or, “Can I...(fill in the blank)?” may sound the same to most of you as "How do you feel about me doing...?"

But for me, always being the one asking for permission makes you the child in the relationship, not a mutually respected adult. Asking questions that can elicit a "Yes" or "No" means that just because you don't want me out shaking my groove thang with my girls, I gotta sit home and sulk cuz I'm mad King Hercules won't let me go out. And eventually, I'll resent you for it. That's not how a relationship my humble, single opinion.

I guess I've always viewed marriage as a partnerships of equals who collaborate. Well differentiated couples approach each other as adults, and respect each others' separate desires, requests, thoughts, feelings and needs. As collaborators, decisions and plans are made together, and collaborative adults live by consideration...not permission seeking.

"Honey, can I..." should be, “Honey, I want/would like/have begun planning (fill in the blank) and, want to know how that works for you. Any thoughts or feelings about that?” If he objects to you going out because that means he has to be left alone with his own demon spawn, then you can talk about that. But at least you won't feel like some kid asking Daddy if you can go to the playground. I'm not saying be a defiant bitch who walks around telling your man what you fittin' to do, but you're not a child either, and two adults should be able to co-exist without one being the "boss."

There should be no Adult/Child dynamic, no Boss/Employee nonsense going on. When you always have to ask, there's the binary response “yes’ or “no,”...followed by a fight, or go-along-to-get-along silence - which we all know might get you cut in your sleep if you're not careful. There has to be room for negotiation and compromise.

Maybe my friend didn't really have to "ask" and that was just the word she used. I can picture her saying something like, “I really want to go to the party with Brooke and I know it’s last minute, and I also realize that means you would have to watch the kids. I really need a break. How would you feel about that?"

And I'm sure her husband will tell her to go and have a good time.

I guess it was just the "asking" part that caught my self sufficient self off guard. When you've been single as long as I have, hearing an adult say that they have to ask another adult for permission to do something sounds totally foreign to me.

I know in marriages or committed relationships, you give up the "I" for "we" in most cases. And I get that. But that doesn't mean you stop having individual interests outside of your relationship. Considering how, and/or what, your partner feels and thinks about what it is you want should be part of the day-to-day logistics of the relationship. But that consideration isn't about someone being the boss. It's about you having an equally important voice as well, where you are free to say what you want without fear. And where you won't have to stab a fool because he or she told you "no."

I've never been in a relationship where asking for permission was the norm, and I don't plan on it. I know I might catch some heat for this post, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two...since it seems like I'm a long way off from having a "boss." :-)



Annamaria said...


Annamaria said...

That's what happens when you are in a relationship...It's not about asking for permission because you are both adults it's about a mutual respect for your relationship & the things you may have to do...If they have kids she may need to work out if he is able to spend time with the kids, they may have a previous engagement OR that may be a place for whatever reason he isn't comfortable with her going. When you decide to commit you have to take these things into consideration. It's VERY easy to make someone feel like they are being taken for granted or taken advantage of if you don't include them in your planning OR your decision making. When Powerz & I decided to committ this was something we had to get used to & now that Sophia is in the picture this is something we are adjusting to once again. And yes we've had situations where I've gotten mad at him or he's gotten mad at me because one of us has felt like the other one was taken for granted because the decision was made without running it by the other one. It's just a courtesy but it goes a long way & says a lot about the level of respect you have for the other person. Relationships are a compromise but for the right person it won't feel like it & it won't feel like your 15 and asking dad to go

E.Payne said...

I'm inclined to agree with Annamaria and the word "Boss" is practically a joke. When as a married person you say "boss" everyone (well married folk anyway) know you're talking about your spouse (or your baby). It's pretty harmless.

It becomes a problem when the "Boss" buys into the belief that he or she really is the boss, but most times no one really does.

Brooke said...

I get that "boss" was the joke, I got that. But I guess I just feel like I always hear them asking their husbands (my sister included) if they can do something, but I never hear the husbands asking the wives if THEY can do something. It seems a bit one-sided.

I wonder if it's because they're both stay at home wives and mothers. Does it change the dynamic when the woman is completely reliant on the man financially? I'm curious.

Stef said...

I agree with Brooke, maybe because I'm single. But when I WAS in a relationship, I never asked for permission to do anything. I would run it by them to see how they felt, but they never made my decisions for me. I think Brooke is saying what you're saying Annamaria - it's just that she's not using the word "ask."

Everyone knows relationships require compromise and courtesy, and Brooke states that. But I think what she means are those couples where one IS clearly the boss and the other one just follows along to whatever the "boss" says. Including someone in your decision making so that they don't feel taken for granted isn't about asking for permission, it's about collaboration, like B said.

Jay said...

Great post Brooke.

And I agree. I don't want to feel like someone's Daddy when I'm in a relationship. If she asks how I'd feel about her going out with her friends or whatever, that's great. But she doesn't need to get permission from me. I respect her as an adult and an individual who I just happen to be in a relationship with. Including me in her planning is the consideration, not the "asking."

And let's face it, if a dude has a problem with his woman going out, that might speak to something deeper. Most women don't go to places they know their man won't like them going to because most women (that I know) don't like sleezy places either. If I'm not comfortable with my woman going somewhere, she'd have to be going into a war zone for me to object. Most likely my woman isn't going somewhere I wouldn't want her to be, and I trust her to make wise decisions about her safety and our relationship.

Most men are just mad she's not taking him with her to the party. If that's the case, get a sitter and go together. If you're mad, then you're insecure in your relationship in other ways, and that's wack.

Annamaria said...

It SHOULDN'T be one sided & if you are in a relationship where it is one sided than you may want to sit down with your spouse & address that. Because that's when like I said the feelings of resentment & being taken for granted come up... Both of you should mutually discuss when you make plans both with each other OR with your friends.
Sometimes men do take advantage of the stay at home mom most of the time without thinking or even realizing that the mom feels this way.... (CLEARING MY THROAT & GIVING THE SIDE EYE) BUT it's the stay at home mom's job to make sure that she brings this to Dad's attention. Please note this should also be done in a mature way & not done in a fit of frustration or rage...(giving myself the side eye...LOL)

Brooke said...


Yeah, don't want any resentment building up with Annamaria, cuz her taser is always warmed up and ready to blast a fool! LOL!

Maybe my brother-in-law never asks my sister for permission to do anything because he never goes anywhere. I think when one person is a home-body, then they just want the other person to be with them all the time. I get that. But once I asked my sister to come visit me for the weekend and she said she had to ask. I guess they should finish that sentence with " he'd feel about that." But he's told her no I don't want you to go and she'll stay home. I guess the selfish part of me is like "huh? but I'm your SISTER." :-) LOL!

Stef said...

He told her no? That's the bullshit. How can he tell her not to go visit her SISTER??

Hell no.

Guess that's why I'm single too, cuz my ass would've been on the next thing smokin! LOL!

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Let me interject, as this seems to be a bit one-sided...

Two of my closest boys on Earth are married. I have constantly joked with them when they need to ask their wives can they do something...and I know plenty of men who say they gotta "ask the warden/boss/queen". Heard it my entire life. So don't think it's only women who ask...there's a centuries old joke about men saying they're the boss, but women actually BEING the boss.

And, if I'm being completely blunt and honest here (as I always AM) - when it's one-sided, it usually comes down to this: men with money, power and prestige are typically the boss in a one-sided relationship. But the average man, as much as he may put on, knows and will admit to his closest peoples that THE WIFE is *really* the boss. Cuz she can divorce and get half or more of everything; take the kids, withhold the nana, not cook, be miserable and in turn cause HIM to be miserable, etc.

Most married men's retort to single men who bag on them for having to check with/answer to their wives is "YOU don't have to live with her if I just do whatever and make her unhappy...cuz that means I'M going to be made unhappy if SHE'S made to be unhappy".

Just sayin'.

Ms Nay said...

I don't think it is so much asking as it is finding out what the other person has planned. In my marriage we start off with “Do we have anything planned for...?" This way we don't make plans that will interfere with our responsibilities to our family. I think the term 'boss' is used (loosely) because you are accountable to someone else besides yourselves. I agree that I do not want a grown man asking me if he can go out but I do want him to be considerate of his family. I think it is completely inappropriate for you to be getting dressed and as a side note let me know that you are going to hang out with Peanut and Dem.

Brooke said...

I'm curious how many women actually believe they're "really" the boss? Is that true?

I'm simply asking as a single person. I've been in committed relationships, but never lived with I guess I never had to consider my man as much as the live-in boo does :)

I totally understand consideration, and my blog isn't about being inconsiderate. But I know more women than not who literally will stay home if their man tells them they can't go anywhere, for no other reason other than I just don't want you to. It has nothing to do with childcare, prior engagements or anything like that. It's simply that they don't want them to go, and they stay home! That baffles me!

And Rameer, you're right - I know men who ask just because they don't wanna hear their woman's mouth. But that has to wear on your sanity as a grown ass man. If my man said to me, "Hey honey, I'm going out with the boys tonight, are you okay with that?" I'd be like "go ahead." But if he came to me like "Can I go out with my friends?", I'd look at him like he was crazy. Again, I just look at it as consideration, not permission.

Brooke said...

And welcome Ms. Nay! Let's see what Geeque has to say :) LOL!

Annamaria said...

Geeque better not say nothing if he knows what's good for him..... Neither should Powerz or risk getting a taser to the colon!!!! LMAO Just kidding...maybe

I don't think anyone is the "boss" Men aren't and neither are women...Each have their roles but there should always be a mutual understanding & respect towards each other.

THATgirl said...

Back when I was 22, the guy I was was seeing was 26. My best friend had just finished college, so we were hanging out alot. One day I told him I was going out, and he was like, "Damn--you not even gonna ask?" I gave him the most confused look ever, and was like "Oh...u wanna go?" He was like nah, you didn't ask me if you could go. I was, wheredeydodatat? I still live with my parents, and I didn't ask my daddy to come to your house--so why am I gonna ask YOU if I can leave it?! I'm sure it's different for married people...but that's gonna be a tough pill for me to swallow when I get to that point with someone.

Brooke said...

LOL! Thatgirl,

I totally agree! I'm the same way. I can't imagine fixing my mouth to ask another adult if I can do something. How they feel about it? Yes. But "can I?" - nope. That boggles my mind.

Annamaria said...

I lived by myself from when I was 20 to when I moved in with Powerz a few years ago. Yes it takes some getting used to when you have to take someone else into consideration.... BUT would you rather loose something good cause they felt you were being inconsiderate? Or you made them feel like they were being taken for granted... Like I said when it's the right person.. It's gonna come naturally (or at least it should) the same way a lot of other things will & should come naturally...

Annamaria said...

Also you aren't asking for permission.... You are asking how they feel about it. You aren't saying honey can I go??? You are asking honey do we have plans? Did you wanna do something? Mind if I go? Can you stay with the kids??? If not ACS will be knocking at yo door cause both of you are out having a good old time & your snot nose rugrat (Brooke's is home alone tearing the house apart!

DMoe said...

I think this is more a matter of courtesy. I agree with B on the whole "can I?" thing. There's a difference in compromising in a relationship, as opposed to just "doin' whatever"...I've been there, and its essentially common courtesy when there are other factors involved.

I've seen/know a bunch of dudes who say things to their girl/wife/gf on the "Can I" tip and it always baffles me, because we all should be allowed to enjoy life within the parameters of respect and courtesy to those we are in a partnership with. Any kind.


Brooke said...

I don't think I've ever NOT been courteous in my relationships. Again, this isn't about being rude. It's about considerations, which is different than permission. Of course I'd want someone to take my feelings to heart, but ask me about my feelings, not for permission.

I feel like grownups can DO whatever they want. I don't have to grant you anything. I agree with the whole "do we have plans" or "are you busy this night because I want to" conversation. That makes perfect sense to me, and that's not what I'm referring to in the blog. I'm talking about men and women who have to ASK if they can do something, something that requires a "yes" or a "no" - not a conversation. I'm all for having the conversation - but not for asking for permission to do ANYthing.

Jay said...

I totally get what you're saying B, it's about consideration, and I think we're all agreeing here.

Is there anyone on this blog who actually "ASKS" for permission to do something? Let's see who's brave enough to admit it :)

Annamaria said...

I don't but would any really say no to a woman with a taser???? LMAO

I'd be like can I go here??? I dare you to say no!!!!! LMAO

THATgirl said...

I grew up in a home with two very independent parents. It was more like, "Baby I'm going to so and so's house, or the bar down the street", as opposed to,"I think I'm gonna go to so and so's house or to the bar down the street...well...I was thinkin about that cool with you?" I guess that's why I am the way I am. I was in my 20's before I heard of the notion of being so "considerate" as to ask someone if they minded you going somewhere lol.

Brooke said...

I grew up that way too Thatgirl, so I guess that's why it surprises me, even to see my sister "ask." But I know she does it cuz deep down she knows her husband really wants to go with us! LOL!

But he worships the ground she walks on, and there's nothing one-sided going on with them. And she's happily married, so she's doing SOMETHING right...I'm taking notes :)

phillygrl said...

Im just reading this tonight & my grandmother & I were talking abt something last night that is along the lines of GROWN people doing what they want to do..We have these kind of convos a lot b/c as she says "in her old age" she must be out of touch.
Just two things i'll bring up. I know this post isn't abt relationships...but was on my mind...

1. She says Why should people wh obuy or sell fake pocketbooks be comitting a crime. They are both grown..If I know Im getting a fake Louis Vuitton or Gucci/Prada, etc. & the person selling it isn't claiming for it to be real, what's the harm? I told her it's illegal b/c the desire is there for the simple fact that the good or service is a luxury item that people want. You don't see these vendors selling fake KEDS pocketbooks, or fake Members only jacket...simple supply & demand..She says she doesn't understand( says that to almost anything she doesn't agree with & blames it on old age, I think she's between 78-82. My grandpop is 82, & she's a few years younger.

2. Why should a GROWN person not be permitted to smoke. If he/she knows their killing themsleves, so be it, they are grown let them do what they want. If they want to smoke after a meal in a restaurant, let them, Or in a bar w/ a drink, let them They are grown it's their money, their body. I'm like Grandmom, 2nd hand smoke is offensive & dangerous health wise to others. She's like well that's not scientifically proven, Im like Yes it is, she's like well I haven't heard it & I don't agree, no one KNOWS that. Im like just b/c you don't agree doesn't mean it's a fact..we go back & forth..anyway, She's got problems with a lot of things, Just shring two issues while we were on topic of GROWN FOLKS:-)

Brooke said...

Your grandmother sounds hilarious Karen! LOL!

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