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Emotional Nudity: So, Orange Is The New Sexy?

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Inmate Jeremy Meeks
Photo Credit: Stockton Police Department Facebook Page

Orange is officially the new sexy! (And I’m not talkin’ about the hit Netflix show!) I’m actually referring to that terrible tangerine-orange colored jumpsuit we see in the prison population. In case you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last few days, the latest viral story involved an inmate and the hundreds of thousands of women that discovered his “photograph.”

The whole boiling hot mess began when the Stockton (California) Police Department posted mugshots of their recent arrests on their Facebook page with convicted felon Jeremy Meeks among them. The police were hoping to embarrass Meeks for his unlawful activities, but the public had a much different reaction. Women from all over began mewing over Meeks for his chiseled good looks, instead of rebuffing him for his felony charges.

Welp, despite the fact that Meeks has a history of being an outlaw and openly sports a collection of gang-flavored tattoos, women still went totally bananas over the gray-eyed gangsta. The 25k+ Facebook comments were so ”extra” and over-the-top that the image quickly went viral. In a matter of days, there were over 94-thousand “likes” and 12-thousand “shares,” mostly echoing positive feedback.

A lot of people seemed totally surprised by all the cooing and cackling, but I wasn’t the least bit shocked at the amount of females fawning over Meeks. Recently I had my own eye-opening experience that gave me some sobering new perspectives on men who are or have been behind bars.

Remember how I wrote about jumping back into the dating pool? Well, in my case it has been more like dipping my pinky toe in tentatively. I recently connected with a man that I found attractive and we decided to meet for coffee.

The day before we were planning to meet up, he revealed that he was recently released from prison. (Queue the record scratch!) Wayment, did he just say prison?! While I’m positive that he told me exactly what happened, and why, I can’t really recall the details anymore because at that point I was just stuck in my own thoughts. I was in shock and my head nearly exploded. I did what all levelheaded sistas do when they are confused about a man-situation: I called a few of my girlfriends to run this situation past them. What I was expecting them to say was something like, “stay away from bad boys” or “be careful what you get yourself in to, girl.”  Shockingly,  what I heard was more like, “it depends on what he did” and “exactly how long has he been out?” Excuse me? I began to wonder whether said sister-friends were a bit delusional, so I decided to call on a couple of my guy friends to add their input. Their first question? “Well, what did he do?”  One even asked what the man’s job situation looked like. Huh?!  Again I was baffled.

Over the next two weeks I asked about two dozen friends and acquaintances for their perspectives on dating a man with a criminal history and about 70-percent of them did NOT feel like prison time was a dating deal breaker. (Well, I’ll be!) Is orange the new sexy? Perhaps. But the reasons may surprise you. One friend told me that it’s hard to find a Black man who has never been arrested. Not because they are all criminals, but rather it’s because the penal system prosecutes Black men so unfairly. And, when I look at situations like Rodney King and Oscar Grant (Fruitvale Station) it’s clear she’s right.

Now that brings me to a really honest question for you all: Should more single women now be open to dating men with prison records because there’s such a grey area there? Should these women be judged for thug lovin’? Does the crime matter more than the fact that he committed or was accused of one? Have our dating standards shifted so significantly because arrests are up in our communities? Clearly I’m out of touch on this subject, so I want to know what you all think?

Personally speaking, I now realize that I’m not about that life. But, you know what? I won’t judge a woman who is. And, if you’re wondering what ever happened with Mr. Cutie McCoffee and I …Welp, I actually asked his permission to write about this topic. He agreed that the open dialogue on this matter might be a good idea. Thoughts?

Jai Stone Thumb
Jai Stone is a socialpreneur, author, syndicated blogger and the founder of the Emotional Nudity Lifestyle Brand. Jai writes about love, life and the pursuit of authentic joy. Follow her on Twitter @JaiStone or visit her blog.

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