A Warning to Young Ladies

by Damon L. Fordham

 In various articles and in private conversations, I have often warned younger men about the incorrect ways of carrying themselves and treating young ladies. However, there is something that I have noticed is not stressed enough to young ladies, and I will deal with that subject this week.

 In his book Eight Men, the great African-American writer Richard Wright included a short story called "The Man Who Went to Chicago." In this tale, Mr. Wright told of how he met an illiterate young lady and because of his loneliness, began a "relationship" with her. Wright  soon becomes disgusted with her silly behavior and her inability to hold a decent conversation. He concludes, "Each time I left her I resolved never to visit her again. I could not talk to her ... Sex relations were the only relations she had ever had; no others were possible with her, so limited was her

 The sad truth is that all of us know young ladies like the character in Wright's story. About a year ago, I was in a fast food restaurant when a young lady came up to me and asked what was my name. I responded and she asked what I did for a living. I had a copy of a newspaper folded in my jacket pocket, so I took it out and said, "for one thing, I write these." I unfolded the newspaper to where one of my articles were and showed it to her. The young lady gazed at the newspaper in total confusion as if she were trying to read Chinese and put it aside. Sensing her
embarrassment, I quickly changed the subject and tried to converse with her, but sadly, although she was about my age, her conversation was on the level of a child.

 I never saw her again, but a short time later I ran into, a friend who  lived in the same area as this young lady. When I asked about her, he replied that she was in fact my age (33), but had already had grandchildren and was just getting out of the most recent of a long string of abusive relationships.

 There is a lot to be said about this. One of the tragedies of this tale and  of Wright's story is that in each of the cases of these young ladies, it was not entirely their fault that they were in these conditions. Many young ladies are growing up today in conditions where they are not exposed to a better way of life and intelligent, positive female role models are difficult for them to find. Sometimes when these types of young girls meet intelligent and potentially positive female role models, the "role models" look down on these unfortunate young ladies as being bad" or "trashy" instead of trying to be a mentor and showing them a better way of life.

 Secondly, experience shows that when these young ladies are unable to hold  a decent conversation or to have any type of relationship other than the sexual kind, disaster will surely result. As most adults will tell you, relationships that are all about sex and are without other things such as good conversation, getting to know each other, and doing different things get old pretty fast and soon their partners are ready to move on to other people.

Also, young ladies like this are bound to be taken advantage of in the worst ways. Since few  decent men want to be bothered with a young lady that has nothing else going for her but her body for very long and are seldom willing to show them a better way of doing things, these young girls ultimately attract the most brutal, abusive, and ignorant type of men. The children that result from these "relationships" grow up seeing this pattern and the cycle starts all over again.

 So it is really important that young ladies must be taught at an early age  to make sure that they are educated and interested in many things. I am NOT saying that they have to know everything that Shakespeare ever wrote or have ten college degrees to be a decent person, but the young ladies must be encouraged to be intelligent and interesting so that along with helping them get a better education and careers for themselves, people will see that there is more to
them than looks and a nice body. This would also make it easier for them to  find the type of partner in life that will help to build them up instead of tearing them down.

 Also, while the intelligent and decent female role models must face the  responsibility of showing these young girls the right way to go, we as men cannot be let "off the hook" in these matters either. Speaking as a man myself, I know that this is sometimes hard to do, but we who consider ourselves decent and intelligent men must fight the temptation of taking advantage of the unfortunate type of young ladies that I have described.  We must also teach
the young boys who may not know any better to show that same type of respect. Both the positive and intelligent young men and young ladies must do this for the upliftment and survival of our communities, for as the Akan people of the African nation of Ghana have said, "the destruction of a nation begins in the HOME!"

A Warning to Young Ladies by Damon L. Fordham

© Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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