The Jump-Off

I’m probably one of ten people in existence who don’t watch Shonda Rhimes’ latest smash hit TV show Scandal.  The only reason I don’t partake in the weekly national drama is this:  

I don’t like the fact that Olivia Pope is the President’s jump-off.

My friends tell me that it’s a great show and the writing is fantastic, as is the casting and all that.  That’s fine.  I love that Shonda’s got the nation by the ovaries and the balls and loving every second of it, but I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that a Sistah Supershero is nothing more than the President’s side dish.  She deserves better.

My friends tell me that it doesn’t matter; they’re really in love, Fitz adores Olivia, he’s pussywhipped all to be damned, he can’t breathe without her…yada yada yada.  She’s nothing more than his whore and she deserves better.

Fine-ass Fitz (and Tony Goldwyn is foine, mind you) may love Olivia’s dirty drawers and used tampons, but the fact remains that he’s married to another woman and has children by her.  That is the relationship that truly matters because it’s the legitimate one.  Until Fitz divorces Mellie and wifes Olivia, she will never be more than his cumbucket and she deserves better.

Shonda Rimes has somehow made being a jump-off sexy.  With the latest episode, she’s now got these women saying, “Earn your woman!”  The problem with this line of thinking is that the jump-off is #2, not #1, and there are no points for second place.  Close only counts in horseshoes and Boule.

There are women who are unknowingly jump-offs and there are women who actively seek to be a jump-off. Neither is okay.  I don’t give a key lime fuck; anytime you reduce yourself, it is not okay.  Know your worth, and you are worthy of more than being some man’s afterthought.

I don’t have a problem admitting this because it may help someone else see the light.  I was a jump-off for approximately three months.  About 13 years ago, I met someone who literally made my breath catch.  The moment we met, the entire world fell away and I knew it was mutual.  We couldn’t stay away from each other and even though I knew it was wrong, I got into a relationship with this man.  He lived in another state, but he was a traveling musician and had gigs frequently in Destin, FL.  So he would send me money to meet him in Destin, which I did twice. 

The second time was obviously the last time and this is why:  Shortly after I arrived and got broke off, he told me that he missed his kids and wanted to go home.  I was like, “I just got here,” and he said, “I know and I’m sorry, but I miss my children.  I’m a mess without my babies.”

This was my expression upon hearing those words.
Clearly, those words stuck with me.  I couldn’t argue with him because I didn’t have a leg to stand on.  Who was I?  Who was I?  I was a jump-off, a side piece, a bit of fun and he owed me absolutely nothing.  In that moment, I saw my life if I stayed on that path, and all I could see were endless days of loneliness sprinkled with infrequent dashes of frenetic sexy weekends…and I didn’t want it.  I didn’t deserve that.  So I got my black ass in my car and drove home determined never to see him again, and I was successful.

Oh, he called and emailed with intense fervor, but I refused to take his calls and didn’t reply to his emails.  What was the point?  I could never have a future with him and it didn’t matter that our unions were so blistering hot.  He would never truly be mine because he was committed to another woman and his children, which he should have been.  I slammed the door on that relationship.  For all my faults and flaws, I’m worthy of far more than a weekend of great sex every now and again just because some man wants some new strange.

Deliberate jump-offs make absolutely no sense to me.  What is the objective?  Do you like the idea of being the other woman?  Do you secretly like the concept of potentially destroying a marriage?  Is it a power trip?  Do you pretend to be one thing, but in actually wish to be something more?  I don’t understand it.  I know far too many women who are comfortable in the role of the other woman because they’re of the erroneous belief that there is a man shortage.  Child, please!  Even if there was, that is absolutely no reason to diminish yourself.  He will never treat you as anything more than a hole that isn’t his wife.  He owes you nothing, will give you sloppy seconds, and eventually, will get tired of you.  And then what do you have?  Nothing.

Is it worth it?  Methinks the answer is no, but that’s just me.

My point is this: if you don’t see yourself as worthy of the best, no one else will, especially the man you’re fucking.  Why should he?  You’re giving him the best of yourself without him having to put forth any reasonable efforts to earn it.  Why should he care about your feelings, your hopes and your dreams?  Why should your wants matter?  You clearly don’t care because you’re giving it all away. 

So when Olivia told Fitz that he had to earn his woman (and I don’t have to watch the show to know he said this; all I have to do is be on FB when the show airs and I get a running commentary), I’m certain that millions of jump-offs (and women in general) probably gave her a standing O.  When in actuality, women like Olivia are vilified for being the other woman. There’s nothing cute about this.  I sincerely hope that Shonda gets her out of that relationship and onto someone who actually gives a fuck about her and wants her bad enough that he doesn’t have to keep her secret.

For all my peeps who love this show, good for you.  But I’m not trying to be bothered.  I’d rather watch a show about a classy-ass cannibal instead.


  1. Nice commentary, girl. Did not know this about you, but I'm glad to know you got out of that situation once you realized its fuckery.

    Liv telling Prez to earn her was great and all, but it was a year too late. And while they were having sex, I shuddered and felt bad for the New Guy.

    I'm all about Mellie right now; I've never underestimated Wifey and would never fuck with her, much less fuck her over. Watching Cyrus burst a blood vessel over the interview was both intense and hilarious - Jeff Perry remains a phenomenal actor. And the fact that James was doing the interview was the icing on the cake.

    1. I'm not proud of it; it was something that could have destroyed me and my best friend's relationship (he was the best man at her wedding; I was the maid of honor). The point is that I learned several valuable lessons from the experience and I don't mind sharing if it will help another woman see the light.

      From what I hear, Mellie is formidable...and she deserves better as well. Regardless of who or how she is, she's still Mrs. Fitz, and that's that.

    2. I appreciate you sharing and I can empathize b/c I heard the same crap from a married classmate when I was in grad school. I thank God that he more or less reminded me before I made a stupid choice but I would have no status in very harsh ways that hurt at the time but yeah, that and realizing I needed to see someone about it helped me stay away. So I never let him touch me. Didn't make him stop trying, so I spent the last semester of grad school avoiding him.

      I'm not sure what entitles people to think they can have their cake and eat it to, but there are a lot of "Fitzes" out there so all you can do is remind yourself that you don't want to be Olivia, or don't want to be Olivia again. It's way more common than I'd have thought. A few people I know have admitted being Olivias or almost Olivias to me. One male friend said his sister had been caught in that kind of relationship for YEARS.

      I'm sure that moment when you were expecting to nest and he reminded you that you weren't a priority hurt like hell but it definitely kept you from getting in any deeper, b/c you figure you lasted 3 months but some people are able to convince themselves that this is a good idea for YEARS.

      Right, if Fitz decides current Mrs. Fitz isn't cutting it, he should move on.

      You know, what is also interesting is that he had a lot of contempt for his dad's cheating, but did the same thing, I read that Jesse Jr. disliked how much Jesse Sr. ran around on his mom yet he still continued that family tradition as well.

  2. Great article. And something a lot of people need to see.
    I recently jumped on the Scandal train but had to jump off as I watch Olivia make herself unavailable to other men b/c of Fritz, watched her throw away a good black man who really loved her for him (I can't ignore the undercurrent of a black woman opting to be a white man's mistress instead of a black man's wife), and continually make herself available no matter how many times she gets sent a big memo "you are a jump-off."
    That scene at the christening when she threw away her engagement for yet another lie should have been the last time she dealt with him.
    I just can't. It's not cool. It's gross.
    I'm totally behind on what has happened the past few episodes so I'm avoiding info about them until I decide if I can bear to watch anymore.
    On an unrelated note, what is going on that makes white men age so much better than white women b/c Tony Goldwyn is in his 50's. And no matter how much they want to pretend otherwise, no white women hold their looks that long...they just get a lot of surgery and botox and people pretend that they do when they don't.

    Fritz should totally fear Mellie. That chick went all in to get him where he is and she does not intend to let him waltz off with someone else, even if he doens't love her anymore. And even though she's bitchy, I don't like the way he openly shows her contempt yet won't divorce her either. If you really hate your wife, divorce her. Don't openly resent her b/c you can't have her and your mistress.

    1. If you really hate your wife, divorce her.

      There. That's it. If Fitz really loves Olivia and wants a life (???) with her, then make her an honest woman and leave Mellie to whatever she wants to do and be.

  3. I came away from a bunch of comments yesterday, shaking my head. Why? People are convinced that the real side-piece is the WIFE, since Fitz only has eyes for Olivia.

    Yes, let that sit for a moment. Have some liquor on me to help you.

    I know I wouldn't be sitting around watching a friend of mine put herself in an Eager Itch Scratcher situation, so I can't cosign it just because it's fiction. Not gonna happen.

    1. We all know in real life, we'd be talking about Olivia like a DOG because she's the other woman. She's the woman your man is thinking about while he's lying beside you. She's the one who's got his nose open; she's the one who makes him stand at attention. Aint too many wives I know praising the jump-off.

      People are convinced that the real side-piece is the WIFE, since Fitz only has eyes for Olivia.

      Except when Fitz dies, Mellie gets all his shit and say-so over what happens to his remains. Mellie's the one he can go out in public with and folks won't bat an eye. The same can't be said for Olivia. And when Fitz gets old, it's Mellie he'll be on the front porch with, and Olivia will be all alone at home, wondering why she gave her best years to a man who couldn't commit.

    2. Precisely. She might be the side-piece in her wishy-washy husband's heart, but she's the wife on paper - and paper wins in this match.

      And, nope, Real Life Olivia wouldn't have even 1/16th of 1/16th of the fans that Fictional Olivia enjoys.

    3. Mm-hm. *nods* Paper covers ho.

    4. Ankh, I have been meaning to tell you how much I adore this line! Sheer brilliance!!!

  4. I admit, for a while, I couldn't get into Scandal. I struggled with the idea of Kerry Washington's character playing the role of an adulterer and being a Black woman, I just thought that she was further perpetuating the stereotype of being a ho,but I also had to remind myself, it's a show and the Whitehouse has probably have some crazy stuff like this going on there in real lif that we don't know about.

    I almost get sick...and mad with Olivia. How could she?! She was almost there (washing her hands of the president ),but I guess she got fed up with his stalking her and being tempted b y his "charm" ..she just gave in. I can't blame Millie. If my husband would treat me the way he have treated her,I probably would call him out as well. It may not be the easiest thing for the Prez to do, but if he loves Olivia was much as be say he do, he would go to Olivia. I remembered seeing a preview for one of the episodes and on one of them,Olivia was examining a ring..maybe and engagement ring, which I doubt. Either way, whether I'm on Millie's team or Olivia's, I wouldn't want to be on the Prez's team.

  5. While I love to watch Scandal, I'm still not behind the whole I love you, too bad you aren't my wife scenario.
    Olivia does deserve better and more from any man not just Fritz and sorry I wasn't feeling Edison but Jake he had some potential before he went all totally creepy with the Ispy equipment.

    I love Kerry Washington and have been a fan since Save the Last Dance( that was my joint and the soundtrack, too fly). I love how she is portraying Olivia in all her fabulousness but I wish that she wasn't involved in this hot of a mess pseudo-relationship.

    While Mellie went nuclear and sh*tted on them. Now it's time to see what will happen next!

  6. I feel you kind of sell Olivia's character short perhaps b/c of your experience with women in affairs with men. I haven't watched the show either but I feel always women suffer the brunt of scrutiny no matter what they do. And that's largely a product of misogyny. In the situations you and others have described you apparently have a married/committed man out there trying to tempt women into jumping into bed with them. Knowing this had anyone thought to inform their wives or girlfriends?

    It is something that bothers me but it always seems like people can easily judge the women these men have affairs with but then who actually tells anyone about these affairs to begin with? And who ever judges these men harshly when in some cases they use emotional manipulation and their male privileges to carry on the way they do. Affairs generally don't hurt men. But they do hurt women. Esp in terms of career goals. When Twilight chick Kirsten Stewart was found to be having an affair with a movie director she got dropped from at least one movie project and people maligned her like it was nobody's business. But male politicians do this shit all the time, including Bill Clinton, and it doesn't cause them to lose favor with anyone. But if Hilary had been caught cheating on Bill, do you think she would be in the position she's in now? It just reminds other men that they can easily get away with this, esp if they have wives who are dependent on them for any number of reasons. Money, influence, power, connections, etc.

    In the show the whole idea is that Olivia is a flawed character. Being a "jump-off" is not the end all be all of her character. She's also a successful career woman with many good friends and valuable business relationships. Personally I've never been a fan of Olitz b/c it has all kinds of mess written all over it. Esp when you have a scene with Mellie essentially implying that it's Olivia's job to please Fitz. Olivia isn't a slave.

    I would think that the whole point is to be team Olivia, team Millie, as in team empowerment of the women characters and them doing what is within their best interests. I think even when Olivia chooses Fitz in favor of men who are arguably not in her best interest either you're supposed to see that she's like a regular human being. Someone who makes mistakes and doesn't necessarily make healthy relationship choices. Most people have this experience. And I think that's why people can relate to Olivia even when she's doing things that are morally questionable.

    But all in all I do agree that I hate men who complain about their wives but won't divorce them. I don't care if Fizt is president and that role seems to necessitate this wholesome nuclear family image. Some US citizens just need to grow the fuck up. He doesn't need anyone's permission to divorce his wife. It's his marriage and his contract to his wife.

    1. So Marona, your point is...what, exactly? Because I think you missed mine. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you're trying to justify or defend Olivia's willingness to be the side dish. No little girl grows up wanting to be the mistress.

      Being a "jump-off" is not the end all be all of her character.

      I didn't say that it was. However, a huge chunk of this show revolves around the fact that she's willingly involved with a married man. Olivia Pope is an amazing character with shitty taste in men and she deserves better. She is a grown woman and she can choose to end things with Fitz if she wants. It shouldn't matter what Mellie wants or what Fitz wants; Olivia is the boss of her body and her life and it sickens me that she'd rather have Mellie's two-day-old leftovers than her own exquisitely prepared meal.

      I don't absolve cheating men of their sins and crimes, but my lens has a vagina and so that's always the perspective I speak from.

    2. I don't think I missed the point. Like I see from your POV that you're about getting what you deserve and not getting into undesirable situations. And you don't understand why Olivia would lower herself for another woman's husband. I probably went on a tangent b/c some of the things you said seemed esp self-critical when really I don't think your expectations were out of place. It's just you didn't know what was up until he mentioned that he had kids. So it seemed like he wasn't being honest with you. Kudos for you for hightailing it out of there. But I figure it took you a minute to shut off your feelings. But you also said things which implied a very male-focused value system of women. It just seems like there's a general lack of respect. Like maybe the woman who seems to "give things up so easily" is an open and confident person and while not entitled to commitment is at the very least deserving of respect. I'm not expecting guys to commit to anyone anymore than a woman should be expected to but I'm certain not many men contemplate relationships in this manner, with a man's value being determined by women.

      It's not a justification. There's been some indication that Olivia's philosophy on love isn't healthy. She said something one time about the type of love she wanted being devastating. I certainly don't like her relationship with Fitz. I already said it was morally questionable. And it puts her in a bad position if she has Fitz with his issues and then Mellie saying things to her like that. That doesn't take away Mellie's justified feelings and the way she and her children have been disrespected, but for a while it did seem like the relationship was going into that kind of territory. But all the same her situation isn't unusual or incomprehensible. I figure that's the point. Other people have either been in that situation or have known others in that situation. So at the end of the day you're supposed to be team Olivia. Or whatever character you happen to like. Hoping that over time her character grows to such a point where she isn't limited to just Fitz or other problematic men. Realistically unless things were to change drastically I don't think most fans are under the impression that Olitz is endgame or the best option for Olivia. Most people I see discussing the show hate Olitz and hate Fitz. And not everyone is a fan of Olivia. Some people prefer Mellie. Even though her choices don't sit well with a lot of people I can understand her as a person based on my life experiences. Like if you've had an Olivia in your life, like a mother, sister, cousin, friend, acquaintance, that's where that understanding comes from. So it's not a justification b/c even in my real life situations I've had confrontations with both the married man and the woman in the affair and said outright that it isn't right and that it isn't fair. Maybe no one listens to you but you try nevertheless.

      Since I don't watch the show I don't really know specifics. For instance if Olivia has expressed some sense of entitlement to Fitz I wouldn't know. But in particular if she's done that in Mellie's presence we know why that's all kinds of messed up. I don't know, I've heard maybe one person imply that Mellie must have done something to Fitz for him to be so miffed with her. And it again makes you question why he stays if he's so unhappy. Cause it just makes him look bitter.

      I agree that unless you're in it for some kind of profit or to be taken care of no one really finds being a mistress desirable. I certainly don't and thus would not put myself through that.

  7. @Marona, while I do agree that sometimes women are blamed too much (esp. by other women) when an affair occurs(so I think that a man like Fitz who complains to another woman about how awful his wife is will never be blamed by that wife as the source of the problems. I think that for most cheaters, they tell the same story no matter what woman is involved, but if you are a wife determined to keep your cheater, you probably have to blame the other woman in order to feel secure), I would add to Amaya's comment that in addition to coming from the perspective of a woman who has been in the situation and would not repeat it, she is giving valuable advice to women who might currently be on the cusp of or might one day face a similar situation.

    I've noticed that when people give women advice, a lot of people try to drown it out or derail it with "well, what about the men?" I don't think that women giving advice to women absolves men of anything. But we can't control what they do and I'd have no insight into how much they advise each other in helpful ways. Fitz is a self-centered tool, but the goal is here is to advise women what to do when you encounter a Fitz. A man complaining about his wife/marriage is just blowing smoke to justify his actions.

    Amaya isn't trying to castigate anyone...she traveled down this path briefly and she bravely shared it. I think a lot of people find themselves in it or close to it (as I have myself) and I personally wish I'd read something so candid several years ago or I'd had recognized things for what they were and saved myself a lot of pain(and a lot of time in therapy). We can't control men. I think that when it comes to the pursuit of sex and/or love, they don't listen to us. But we CAN help each other, and I think her blog piece achieved its goal and made it relatable b/c of the popularity of Scandal and Olivia Pope's character, b/c like it or not, some people are watching it and might identify with Olivia's character in ways that won't ultimately be helpful to them.

    A man who wants to be with you will be with you. He won't be too scared to talk to you, or to commit, or to share his true feelings. You will not have to wonder where you stand, when you'll see him, and what he'll say. He won't disappoint you, he won't string you along, and most importantly, he won't have another woman(wife, girlfriend) in his life that he claims is such a shrew but that he won't leave.

    Paper covers ho but it also covers whatever lies or claims of love a man trying to have two or more women might tell.

    1. Well said Nicthommi. I get tired of women deflecting.It is about owning your choices.We have a black woman as a lead on a hit TV show and her role is national side chick. Sad.

    2. I've noticed that when people give women advice, a lot of people try to drown it out or derail it with "well, what about the men?" I don't think that women giving advice to women absolves men of anything. But we can't control what they do and I'd have no insight into how much they advise each other in helpful ways.

      Thank you, Nicthommi. Anytime I write a post like this, I'm talking to my sistren. I can't be bothered with ministering to men because I'm a woman and I seek to uplift and empower women. But the truth is the truth, and sometimes it hurts.

    3. I didn't mean to derail. Like I said I was going on a tangent and not really saying what I intended to say. I think my second post gets to the point which was essentially that my main issue was you seeming self-critical. The language kinda irks me too but I get it, you're a messenger and that's your presentation.

      But I think that Nichtommi also gets to what I later understood after my second response. I had a similar discussion concerning rape and how we teach our daughters to "prevent" rape and ultimately it comes down to viewing ourselves as the only controllable variable. So I understood that. The circumstances aren't the same but I get it.

  8. This isn't an easy topic to discuss. There is a lot of shame and humiliation involved, and so you have a pattern that would be pretty easy to detect IF people could find a safe space to discuss what they are going through.

    There will always be men like Fitz in the world. They will say the same things, and b/c you exist in this secret bubble you'll believe or want to believethe lies about how special you are to them, feel sorry for them b/c they have such awful wives, and think that it is all real when as Amaya stated, you are just a different hole.

    This is the kind of thing people normally only admit after the fact, and only to people who have perhaps been in it.

    Your choice is to not be Olivia. Not to change Fitz, as you acknowledge in your second post, because you cannot change him. He will always be what he is, and try to have it both ways, lying to people on both sides. So don't be his Olivia and if someone comes at you wanting to whine about his wife, tell him to find a good therapist.

    Olivia's dialogue is infuriating and frustrating b/c it is written as if she has power and status in Fitz's life and she has none. Zero. Zip. Zilch. He's dissed her so many times and she still believes she is more than a mocha cum bucket to him? Really boo? It is not a good look at all. So it may seem powerful for her to say he has to "earn" her but she is NOT the one in a position to demand anything from him. Mellie is. She's the one who should be speechifying to him. I'm behind on the episodies but yeah, she needs to check Fitz b/c if it's not Olivia it will be someone else.

    1. So don't be his Olivia and if someone comes at you wanting to whine about his wife, tell him to find a good therapist.

      WORD. Exactly. Don't be his sounding board. Don't let him (pretend to) dump all his problems in your lap and expect you to fix them. He married her/is dating her/got dumped by her/...so he needs to go deal with her.

      And don't become an emotional mistress/platonic friend either. Don't let him make you feel guilty for wanting things to be about you.

  9. I felt this way during season 1 because essentially I was substituting myself for O :-) but as time went on I realized I gained distance. Now I am more interested in learning who Olivia Pope is what drives her. So far, I know she wants a near other worldly painful experience. Well as a jump off hot sex and drama are built into that. some people do want marriage, some don't.

  10. I do not like the idea of Olivia Pope and Fitz! I like Olivia and Edison. I like Olivia and Jacob. I, reiterate: I do not like Olivia and Fitz. Their illicit affair is offensive to me on many levels among them the fact there are unmarried, super-de-duper elegible men who have/are interested in her. Fitz, the demanding, overbearing wimp; his father was a philanderer who demeaned him whenever he had the opportunity, needs to deal with Mrs. Grant and leave Olivia alone. I, too, hope Shonda will find a way for Olivia to rid herself of this lame-o man...oh he looks aight, the actor Tony Goldwyn, as the character POTUS Grant, but he's weak. Olivia Pope can do better. I agree the women who are functioning as somebody famous' jump-off, or functioning as the side piece, "dip" if you will, of someone who's not famous, may want to take the time to reevaluate their situation. If you do not assign high value to yourself, no one else will.
    Lastly, I really dig your commentary and totally agree with what you've stated, Amaya Radjani.

    1. Thank you, Lola,and thanks for stopping by TBGC. Please don't be a stranger/


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