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Real Talk: Be a Lady in Public and in Photos

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African-American Woman Camera
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Over the weekend, rapper-turned-actor Ice T (best known these days as  “Detective Tutuola” on Law & Order SVU) had what many would called a Twitter meltdown. It came after pictures surfaced on Friday of his wife of 11 years, Coco, with whom he co-stars on the E! reality show Ice Loves Coco, canoodling with another man while she was in Las Vegas.

"Don't get it twisted, I'm not happy about this s**t," Ice-T tweeted on Saturday morning. "Most of [the pics are] disrespectful and in bad taste. She's made me look and feel like sh**. I say this on Twitter because there's no way to avoid the obvious misconduct of a married couple."

The posts have since been deleted from his timeline. Coco has also publicly apologized to her husband and insists the man seen in the pictures is a “fan” with whom she was just having some fun. Is it me or does that sounds super fishy?

The various images showed Coco snuggled up with a young rapper who has his arm draped around her possessively as he alternately nuzzles her neck and kisses her cheek. Imagine the type of pics you might post to Facebook after date night with your beau. They look like that.

Whether this very public drama is for real or just hype for their reality show is anyone’s guess. But their conflict raises a very good question for anyone in a relationship about what’s appropriate picture taking—or not—for committed couples, especially married ones.

That sounds like something trite to think about, especially when most of us aren’t celebrities. However, with so many of us posting images to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that perhaps an innocent picture could someday cause major problems in our relationships.

There’s no way around it. When you are in any type of romantic relationship, even one that is open, it’s really bad judgment to go snapping pictures that someone could mistake your friend, or in this case a “fan,” for your man. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take pictures with members of the opposite sex, but it’s best to operate by the “would I be upset if he did this?” rule.

For me, that means I’m mindful of where my male friends or even some of the male readers of my book place their hands when we inevitably take a photo. Around the shoulder? Cool. As long as they are pulling me to their chest. Around the waist? Eh… As long as it’s a casually laid hand, up high on my hip so there’s no mistaking possession or a sly booty grab. I often suggest using my camera with the excuse, “Oh, better light. I’ll send you the pic,” so I can control my images better. When I post a picture with a  guy who isn’t “my” guy, I sure do tag him with an identifying title: “my friend,” “my editor,” “a reader,” etc.

Some might say that’s going overboard. I say it’s a courtesy to my relationship and my partner. It’s what I expect him to do in return out of respect for me.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk.

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