Really!?! re: “A Brief Guide to Men”

Check out this great response to my “A Brief Guide to Men” blog.  I’ve pasted it below and I’ll insert my comments.  This should be interesting.  I won’t hit every note but I’ll do what I can.  Here goes:

Okay, let me just say that your blog is beyond funny!!! I just spent the last few minutes enjoying every bit of it!!! But, I have a question… what exactly should we “women” take from it? How can it be applied? Is it to just be understood that these 3C’s are essentials to men, or should we be putting this knowledge to good use in some profound way? (Of course, I’m assuming it’s the latter.)

In some profound way?  I don’t know about profound.  I thought about it after I wrote it.  What’s the point of observations other than pure entertainment, right?  Well, it’s less risky than giving advice, but here’s what I’m thinking.

The Cave

is a private sanctuary.  Obviously, this can be positive or negative, but that’s the way it is.  It’s the safety zone, home base, the den, the pillow fortress, the treehouse, the tent glowing with light.  It’s an intimate but fragile state of mind or being.  It’s how men recharge.  We’re all supposed to be tough, macho, ready to rumble breadwinning providers, but without that Cave time men are unstable.  Of course, we men are generally unstable to begin with.  Thanks, testosterone!   So it’s probably best to not compound the situation.

I listen to a lot of radio programs because I’m weird.  Well, because the sound of people talking, especially if they have distinct voices, is very relaxing and meditative.  Some of that includes Christian broadcasting and it’s always interesting when they have shows about marriage and the realities of marriage and gender roles.  A typical scenario on one of those shows would be a man coming home from a long day of work with a horrible commute to a frazzled wife who’s had it up to her eyebrows with the kids and all of the things she’s accomplished during the day.  She desperately needs for him to take the kids off of her hands and pitch in so she can finally breathe.    Meanwhile, he’s about to explode.  He desperately needs to unwind and decompress.  But as soon as he’s in the door, his wife is right there needing her man emotionally and practically.

When I get married, I would like my possible future wife to know that I know you’ve had a rough day and I know you need me.  But I need a second.  Just give me 15 minutes.  And it’s not that the 15 minutes I need are more important than the 15 minutes of your time I’m asking you to sacrifice.  Give me 15 minutes — can you hold on for just 15 more minutes — to retreat to my Cave and I will come out of there an overachiever.  After that I’ll be happy to listen to how your day went while I do the dishes and rough house with the kids.  We can talk or you can go soak in the tub or call your girlfriends or read or whatever you want to do and I’ll hold things down.   If I don’t get a chance to recharge then it’s going to be a long, tense, grumpy and possibly mutually resentful night.

I’m going to keep it real here, though.  That’s an ideal situation, assuming that you’re dealing with two reasonably mature and considerate individuals.

In an apartment I used to live in I finally realized that those banging sounds coming from the other side of my living room wall was my neighbor — she was pretty, professional, athletic — doing the deed with an Antonio Banderas-looking dude.  I would often fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV and I could hear them pretty clearly, even the conversations, especially if the TV was off and most especially if I intentionally listened.  One time they were at it for a while and then wrapped things up.  Coincidentally(?), his phone rang or buzzed and he answered.  After a few minutes she said, “Oh, you’re leaving?”

He said, “Yeh, that was my best friend and he needs blah blah blah.”

He convinced her that he had to go for a legitimate reason.  She was understanding but very disappointed.  Where do you think he went?  I can tell you where she went.  She went right to the phone and called her mom.  No joke.  He may have gone to help out his best friend as he claimed or maybe he just went back to his place to relax and be alone, but either way he reflexively fled the scene in order to have some Cave time.

I think that if you want to apply these observations, I’d say that respecting that personal down time — at times — will make a man much more comfortable with you and trusting.  Secure.  And that’s a big deal.  I’m not saying that a woman should just accept the cum-and-go maneuver.  That’s not what I mean.  I’m talking generally here.  If you can deal with a dude needing some time to himself, especially if you can anticipate that, then you will have yourself a much happier partner — and he won’t even realize why.

That’s my theory.

Moreover, as a “black woman” how should I apply this knowledge to my fellow black men?

I’m not exactly Captain Blackman here.  I’ve been insulted with the term “oreo” more times than I’d like to remember by friends, enemies, relatives.  I’ve got some issues with my people, ethnically speaking.  But  make no mistake, I am a proud Black man.

I think that black men have some issues.  For obvious reasons.  Too many black men have a chip on their shoulders.  They’ve got something to prove.  They feel angry, robbed, demeaned, doubted.  And often they are.  This does not make for especially healthy relationships.  Those inner struggles can manifest outwardly as violence, abuse of any kind, or inappropriate possessiveness.  This isn’t just a black thing, of course, but it is a thing.

You’ve got your:

  • Makin’ paper by any means necessary black man
  • Blue collar day to day black man
  • White collar, college educated black man
  • Militant black man
  • Trying to do right black man

I’m just pulling this stuff out of my ear here.  But I believe that being black is about an ethnicity (culture) and not purely race.  And within every culture you have socio-economic strata, which breeds its own tension and drama.

I think we all just have to find someone who fits.  Or who fits enough so that a relationship can work.  If you’ve got a doctorate and spent most of your days playing polo at your daddy’s country club and mastering Mandarin, you will probably have major tensions if you hook up with a militant ex-con.  Not saying that it couldn’t work but there will be struggles.

We’re human beings before anything else.  We can support each other but we can’t change each other.  And we sure as hell can’t save each other, if you know what I mean.  There are things that an individual has to do or find on one’s own.

Life is too short to entrap yourself in a miserable relationship.

Now I will say this, I am currently dating a biracial brother at the moment. As a black woman, I am LOVING every bit of it. I mean, the early morning nature walks, the evenings out by the water… he loves being outside in the sun or night air. I can’t even begin to explain the INCREDIBLE sun tan I have already and it’s not even August yet. I just love the… dare I say it… “White boy” in him. I love the fact he is not obsessed with how he looks, although it is always “publicable”. I love the fact that we can drive with all the windows down and the sunroof open. The “outdoor smell” we acquire isn’t seen as gross to either of us. The adventure of it all is just GREAT! Now this is a true comparison to the average “black guy” that I have dated – and I mean average. It’s not always dinner and a movie and if we do happen upon such a night it’s at a spot that I’ve never been to and we are guaranteed to discuss the movie afterward (and not how slick the cars in it were). One Sunday, we did lunch at the harbor and had ice cream afterward which melted on his shorts but he didn’t get upset or act crazy. We both just laughed. I actually love the fact that he watches the Spike channel and doesn’t mind getting dirty be it working or playing.

Now my average black brothers are a different story. They are not really adventurous and if they are it is coupled with flash. And FYI… being a “thug” is not the adventurous behavior I’m interested in. I am not a high maintenance chick, but I do like to throw on a dress most of the time. I enjoy looking and feeling feminine, but I don’t mind getting dirty or wet either. Trying to get some black men to realize that there are those of us like this out there is like driving into a brick wall. I may run from the bees, but I still want to go to the garden. Can you deal with that?

Now, I will say I have noticed a large percentage of interracial couples lately – maybe it has something to do with my current situation. But, it’s mostly black man and white woman. Why is this? Do we as black women have such a horrible image? I am so tired of black guys trying to force me to be “mixed” or Dominican, or something that I don’t know what to do. I am 100% sister – twice removed. If my natural hair gets wet, it will look like a giant cotton ball on top of my head, but so what? I can rock a straight look, head wrap or braids, but as my sister said, “I am not my hair”. Why is a black man so much more worried about how I look than I am? Will he be embarrassed if my hair gets wet and begins to look nappy? What’s really going on? It can’t be that black woman are THAT terrible, loud, rude, argumentative, full of attitude, mean, fat, boring… what’s really the deal? Why can’t we seem to couple up? I have a lot of sisters that are just like me, down for the brothers and can’t find a mate to save them. What are your thoughts directly on this??

First, I have this to say.  I am very single.  If you’ve got some friends who are attractive, smart, good sense of humor, height-weight proportional (give or take) with bonuses for outdoorsy, curvy and petite — hit me up.  I’m a little shy and introverted and slightly unconventional but I’m … you know.  I’m alright.

Wavelength

I have to congratulate you for finding someone on your wavelength.  That’s magical.  And I understand what you’re saying but it’s a brave new world.  We all have the opportunity to not be in a box.  So I don’t see those things as “white boy” qualities.  If a black man or woman wants to be a professional wakeboarder and ice skate and hang out at Starbucks writing a novel on his/her laptop, there’s nothing more real than being true to yourself.  Pursuing your dreams and finding your calling.

I put a personals ad on Craigslist a few months ago with a photo.  A real person responded and asked me to call her.  She was from the deep south, a black woman.  I’ve got a phone aversion thing — seriously — but I sucked it up and called.  I left a message.  I’m pretty sure she saw the call and just wanted to hear the message.  To hear what kind of person I sounded like.  The next morning I got a text message from her saying, “Oh.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize that you were white.  Nothing wrong with that.  I’ve just never dated a white man before.  Good luck.”

Big sigh.  But for the best.  It would have been a rough time for both of us if she has an expectation of what blackness is.  ‘Cause it wasn’t me, for sure.

As far as the black men with white women?   People catch feelings for their peers.  Whoever is in their environment.

A relative once said to me:

“Gary, I know you’ll probably marry a white woman…”

“What?”

“…but if you do, don’t be like O.J….”

“What??”

“Don’t get some trophy wife and parade her around.”

I think you would see (and will in the future) more black men with women of other ethnicities when women of other ethnicities get over their fear and negative views of black men.  American white folks are more comfortable or have lived side by side with black folk so these days it’s barely an issue in most major metropolitan areas.

Controversy

Okay, I’m getting hungry so this is going to be short.

Aw.  Rest in peace, Walter Cronkite.  92.  That’s not a bad run.  Well done, sir.  Well done.

Okay.  I’ve got one more thing to add here.  It’s going to be a little controversial.  A little old fashioned.  A little ig’nant, maybe.

Women.  Ladies.  Men don’t respect you.  Black women, do you feel respected by black men?  Men lust after you and are attracted to you, but I don’t feel the respect between genders.  Do we present ourselves in a way that invites or demands respect?  It seems to me like a lot of women present themselves in a way that says, “All I have to offer is my body.  That’s my worth.  See that?  See these?  Yeh, you want it.”

And men are like, “Yes.  Yes I do.  I want it badly.  What’d you say?  Obama who?  Forget that.  Can I get your number?”

Not that there’s anything wrong with being sexy or showing off every and now and then, but it’s kind of crazy sometimes.  I’m a little old fashioned in some ways, but there are times for exposed flesh and times for modesty.  A smartly dressed modest woman is still hot, y’know.  (Just in case some of you are assuming extremes, modest does not equal dressing like a pilgrim or being forced to wear a full length refrigerator cardboard box with eye slits.)

But church?  At the office?  If you’re a teacher at school?  Those are a few times to look good without turning the sex up to 10.  Not the best time to expose hints of areola or mons pubis or tramp stamps pointing to your thong or butt cleavage.

Cranking up the sexy factor will attract attention of a certain kind.  If that’s what you want at the time, that’s cool.  If not … you’re aware.

Anyway, back to your point.

When I’m on certain lines of the Metro, I do feel like black women are THAT terrible, loud, rude, argumentative, full of attitude, mean, fat, boring.  On other lines or parts of the city, I do see more fit, professional black women.  Too often I’ll see some hot black young women.  Dayamn!  Then they open their mouths loudly and every other word is f—, s— or nigger.

I know that a lot of men aren’t holding up their end, but a hard woman is not a desirable woman.  Not to me, anyway.

When I’m on the Metro I’m actually embarrassed by how black folk act sometimes.  Loud, cursing, yelling, manhandling their kids, running, jumping over escalator railings, arguing, spontaneously rapping.  Keep in mind that I’m a pretty quiet, reserved guy, though, so that kind of carryin’ on harshes my mellow.  And it doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but when it does it stands out in my memory.  No disrespect for my ’round the way people.  We just aren’t on the same wavelength.

But I’ll look around the train car and I’ll see five or six obese black women.  Sometimes loudly talking with each other.  Not their fault, really.  They’re just loud.  Then I’ll look around and see fit, toned, curvy, summer-tanned white women chatting with their friends or boyfriends.  Going to play kickball or with tennis equipment or commuting home.

Now, if I — someone who enjoys mountain biking, hiking, walking around the city, tennis, museums, live jazz, etc. — had to choose, which do you think I’d be more attracted to?

Somewhere between Stepford wives and Shanaynay/Rosie Perez the sweet spot lies.

On the other hand, I’d say to these women, be yourself.  Realizing that being a loud, unpleasant person makes you unpleasant to be around.  All that stuff is not WHO you are, it’s just how you present yourself.  How you want to present yourself or how you’ve learned to present yourself.    And that’s always up to you.

That’s all, folks

Anyway, that’s my two cents.  Thanks again for the reply.  Very thought provoking.

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1 comment

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  1. Really!?! Part 2

    Thanks for replying to my initial comments/questions. I seem to really enjoy your dialogue, which is surprising since I am not much into blogs and the like. However, I’m very interested in your viewpoint… good food for thought (as my father says). So, ok, here’s Round 2:

    Recently, I had a conversation with a black male friend of mine and he made the most random statement. “Black women are so angry all the time, I rather be around [date] Latinas, they can be 6 babies deep, live 40 to a two bedroom house and still be happy. Still you find them out with their kids smiling, playing, and yelling Papi and Mami.” (don’t know if I spelled those correctly.)

    So two things here: first, obviously I’m obsessed with finding out why black women are viewed in such terrible light. I mean some of it is obvious through observation. But there are statements like the one above that knock the wind out of me. Second, gee, have black women really dropped below Latinas in the ranking of ‘Who I’d date’ by black men?

    I never thought of Latinas as being “happier” than black women. I never ever thought about that at all. I never even considered “happiness” a criteria for dating. I mean, yes, I’ve run across the militant black man AKA angry black man, but never thought he was unhappy per se.

    I just don’t know what to do with or think about this one… happiness is such a HUGE and sensitive topic…

    Where to begin… any thoughts?

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