Why 'side piece' and 'bae' gotta go
May 05, 2016 at 10:30 am
I recently saw the photo below on my Facebook timeline. It speaks volumes about the state of the union: The relationships between men and women in the black community, specifically. While many still consider friendship the basis of monogamy, there are those who feel there is reward in being the ‘side piece’ or the ever elusive, unofficial ‘bae.’
Even the songs that we listen to eschew deep and meaningful love relationships for fleeting moments of sexual passion, surface pillow talk and an Instagram pic with our pseudo-someone. One of my best friends often says that he does it because the world is going to end anyway, so he might as well have fun. In the chaos of our world and the complete joke that is this presidential cycle, his attitude makes me wonder if our disposition toward love is just another reflection of our apathy toward the seemingly overall downward spiral of humanity. Although I’m not about policing anyone’s sex life, could it be that “bad” is keeping us from reaching the mountaintop?
I’ve often wondered if morality is in the eye of the beholder. After all, what works for one person might be completely wrong for another. The issue with the side piece is that it is a lie that will likely be found out eventually and will cause more micro-divisions among us as a people.
I’ve seen this scenario a million times (even and especially in the so-called “conscious” community): Bro. and Mrs. Queen Revolutionary live in a red, black and green house that always smells like incense and there’s always a hot pot of quinoa on the stove for any hungry member of the community. One day, sister Ankh Goddess stops by for a bowl of quinoa, but her dashiki is cut a little too low in the front and a little too snug for Bro. Revolutionary to resist (that’s the poor argument he’ll use, at least). Two things usually happen: Sister Ankh Goddess happily accepts her role as a side piece, tossing her sisterhood with Mrs. Revolutionary to the side because her low self-esteem tells her that she can’t do any better, or Bro. Revolutionary leaves Mrs. Revolutionary for sister Ankh Goddess and they both tell everyone that this is what the universe had in store all along.
Obviously I’m being extreme here, but why don’t we ever address these betrayals or infidelities in our communities? Micro-divisions lead to intra-microaggressions that slow down progress that we often try to make on community issues like gentrification, wage inequality or education. Now, Mrs. Revolutionary refuses to work with sister Ankh Goddess ever again or be in the same room with her and we have to work around this unresolved issue because no one ever worked through it.
The economics of ‘bae’ don’t make sense. While marriage is a spiritual commitment we make, in my opinion it is also one of the first steps a person can make in the journey of cooperative economics.
Bae isn’t sharing bank accounts or bills, just bodies. Bae doesn’t want to hear about your dreams of home ownership more than they want to hear you moan. Bae will only help you save money when y’all are Netflix and chillin’. You’re not thinking about entrepreneurship, higher education or upward mobility with bae, because bae isn’t in it for the long haul — bae isn’t in it at all. Bae is fleeting. A ghost. A no-name until the next no-name. If bae is your bae, TRUST that you’re likely bae’s bae too.
All of this wreaks havoc on our psyche, whether we want to admit that or not. We tell ourselves that we’re just having fun, that we’ll get our lives right next month. Sometimes we refer to side piece and bae as “love.” We try to reimagine our lack of commitment as something more evolved or enlightened, but is it really? One might say, “physical health aside,” but actually LET’S NOT. According to a February report out from the CDC, African-Americans are still “the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States.” To keep it 100 y’all – side piece and bae are killing us.
Ultimately, we like to think that our relationships are our business. But in moments of the movement, I wonder, can we really hold our fists up in the absence of love?