For those familiar with the BET show Being Mary-Jane, I don’t need to refresh you with the clip, but for those unfamiliar, here’s a quick synopsis, “The series centers on successful talk show host Mary Jane Paul (played by Gabrielle Union), her professional and private family life, while searching for “Mr. Right”. Mary Jane Paul has it all: she’s a successful TV news anchor, entirely self-sufficient – an all-around powerhouse who remains devoted to a family that doesn’t share her motivation. As Mary Jane juggles her life, her work and her commitment to her family, we find out how far she’s willing to go to find the puzzle pieces that she, and society, insist are missing from her life as a single Black female.” That’s compliments of Wikipedia. I’ll add what they didn’t…she’s a mistress!
I reluctantly began watching the show because I’m not a fan of BET or Gabrielle Union, but since the show is mostly worth watching and represents a better cross-section of black women than the Real Housewives of Wherever, Love and Hip-Hop, or whatever faux reality show that’s on, it’s gotten my attention. I can identify with the issues, concerns, family drama, etc that the show illustrates; even down to the adulterous relationship that Mary-Jane is caught up in. As black women, we’ve either been party to an affair by participation or by knowing someone who’s been in or is in such a relationship. While I admit to having been a party to an adulterous relationship, I certainly don’t condone them nor would I ever partake in one again regardless of why he’s stepping out.
When I saw the episode in which the clip pertains to, I was gobsmacked by her brazen albeit slick comeback to the wife of the man she’s sleeping with.
Personally, I think the wife had every reason to throw shade and make snarky comments to MJ because regardless of the state of her marriage, she’s still married and doesn’t need her husbands mistress trying to check her. MJ needed to know her place as the mistress and keep her trap shut. Verbally assaulting the wife did nothing more than make her look even less of a woman to the wife and strengthen any case that can be made against her.
What this show and episode also showed me is how desperate some black women are to have a man. Yea, I get there’s a so-called shortage of black men, but it can’t possibly be that bad that they’re content being a mistress. Whatever they’re getting from that man to fill the void in their lives still doesn’t make him hers when he goes home to wife and kids if he has any. There’s little that they can do in public because they’re not supposed to be together in the first place. The sex will always be good because in many respects that’s what brought them together in the first place. They create issues where trust and fidelity is concerned because he’s already stepping out, which violates the trust in his marriage and how can she really trust him anyway when his integrity leaves much to be desired. And how can he fully trust that she’s not getting her blanks filled in when he’s not around? There are too many negatives that come with being the mistress. Women as successful at MJ is purported to be in the show, she could consider dating outside her race. Yes, I realize the newness of it, the cultural and social differences, and whatever other reasons one can come up with, but why not? With variety being the spice of life, I think it opens the playing field that much more instead of settling for being a mistress.
I can raise the same issue with Scandal where Olivia is having an affair with the President and again, I’m not condoning infidelity, at least in this case, his wife knows and pretty much has sanctioned it. Well, until she has one of her little pissy fits, but outside of that, she’s presents herself to be fine with it. The stark difference between the two characters is that MJ always carries an air of being clingy, stifling, and even needy where Olivia can and does function without those traits. That not to say she doesn’t love, want or need her lover for the same reasons MJ does hers, but at least she doesn’t come off pathetic and even when she had relationships with other men, she was open about her actions.
I know drama sells and we all love a good scandal; no pun intended, but wouldn’t it be nice to actually see a show that promotes a monogamous relationship equipped with its highs and lows instead of being overly indulgent in adultery, inappropriate behaviour from alleged adults, or making women look petty and rather skanky?
I think infidelity and being someone’s side piece need not be celebrated as almost a rite of passage. I want to see men and women refrain from settling for being less than honest, respectful, and have emotional integrity. I’d like to see men and women actually communicate with each other instead talking about each other to their friends or lovers. I know relationships are work, but would we simply quit a job because the benefits changed or our coworkers stop speaking to each other? I highly doubt it, but people aren’t putting in the work anymore and they damn sure aren’t being honest.
In closing I’ll say this. When I did have a relationship with a married man and he shared his home life issue with me, I told him he needed to talk to her and confront their issues. I told him he needed to look inward and see where he was deficient in order to get through his crisis. I didn’t want to be his crutch, his comfort zone when his home was chaos, and I damn sure didn’t want to be a catalyst for his leaving if that’s what he chose to do. There’s a lot of drama that comes with entering into a monogamous relationship with someone you were once the side piece for and it’s something that can make or break said relationship; trust me I know. I married the man I was once having an affair with…He later cheated on me.
Men and women out there, please be careful. We reap what we sow. It’s better to cultivate your own yard and figure out how to keep it relatively weed free than to think the grass in greener on the other side. Just a little food for thought.
Yea, I said that!