As an observer and part (I would like to believe so) of the political scene in Philadelphia for a few years, I have come to the realization that there are three types of civically engaged African American men in Philadelphia: “Those who are”, “those who want to be”, and “those who are here for the left over Politihos”(It’s just what it sounds like, trust me) who have had their dreams of being the next Michelle Obama crushed faster than their $20 H&M shoes start to hurt their feet.
There. I just said what so many women have probably thought to themselves countless times during endless political networking events, fundraisers, and happy hours. Many an hour of my life that I cannot get back have been spent studying (i.e. mingling and trying to control my resting bitch face) these local fellows. Let’s delve into each type shall we? “Those who are” is pretty self-explanatory. These are your elected officials, high powered lobbyists, staff, consultants, and movers and shakers of the city. Everyone wants to talk to, take a selfie with, or be seen with them. They have celebrity status and can do no wrong in the eyes of their constituents. “Those who are here for the Politihos” just came for those women who hope and pray that with the right hair, highest heels, and shortest skirt, that they will be whisked into the VIP section and possibly First Lady status. Those who want to be, well here is where things get very dicey for a single girl who is looking for her Frank Underwood to take her away from single girl status.
Upon further study, “those who want to be” can be broken down into two very distinct subgroups: Those who have legitimate potential to be and those who think they are by putting on a suit with a nice pocket square and some fancy socks. Now if you are like me, a single girl with a plan, then you obviously want the first choice. Someone you can work with and use all of you finely crafted Claire Underwood skills to build the two of you into the power couple that rivals Michelle and Barack. Someone who has the knowledge, presence, and grace to be that politician. Who you want to ride with, in the first car of the roller coaster for the entire amazing ride. Just typing that gives me hope that one day, one day I will be living that dream. But ladies, that sneaky wannabe type. What they lack in social skills, conversation, simple knowledge of politics, and basic fashion sense, they make up for in sheer determination in trying to make you believe that they are, in fact, somebody.
Looking the part and being the part is what separates the men from the boys, or in my case potential dates from potential blog post subjects. Even with their suit-pocket square-tie-sock-shoe-briefcase game, I can see right through their clever ruse. I have seen some cute dogs in suits and I have seen some men in nice suits who act like dogs #justsayin. It is your job to look past the GQ magazine cover and actually listen to the words that are coming out of their mouth. While it may sound good, because you know, he is in a suit and he does look dapper. If what he is saying has you hearing Scooby Doo in your head (think about it for a second). Run away, drink the alcohol that hopefully to have, or excuse yourself from the conversation. Do whatever you have to do to get away from the sneaky bastard. And dear super woman, since I am one of you, I know what you are thinking, “Maybe I can teach him a thing or two. Dress him up a bit. Make him into something.” Do yourself a favor. Take your hand, right or left it really doesn’t matter and with a lot of force, slap that shitty idea out of your head. He will not change. He thinks that he is part of the crowd. If you point out that he is in fact, a wannabe, 10 times out 10, he will not believe you. So save yourself and your liver a lot of trouble, get out before you get in.
Young Clare Hale, if you stay the course and don’t get distracted by the shiny fake packaging, fast talking, snake oil salesmanship of the political wannabes the end of the tunnel will be your prize. Your ride or die political soulmate. Your very own Francis Joseph Underwood. Stay strong girl.