Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Be a Man. Damn it!"

My uncle Raymond H. Payne shouted those words at me one day when he noticed that a former girlfriend of mine was “running the show”. She was literally in command of the relationship, and me. I followed behind her like a spoiled puppy. It was sickening – but at the time I thought everything was okay. I was satisfied with her telling me what and what not to do. Talking to me like I was a child. I thought this was the way it worked. Besides, I did witness the same uncle be treated this way by one of his former girlfriends. So, I learned from the man who, at the time, thought I was headed down the same road he traveled.

Men so often travel in the wrong direction. We spend years trying to figure it out: How to be a man. Initially, we take the wrong advice. It does not matter if daddy is in the home or not. The power of the ‘becoming a man culture’ is pervasive. To not be apart of it, indicates that you are a punk. A damn loser. So, we make every attempt to emulate what being a man means to our boys. Our language changes, clothing, and even our walk. We begin to swag. Thinking that a swagger makes a man while not realizing that our behavior is stupid and most importantly immature. But, what can one expect, we were behaving like teenagers? We all know teenage boys are moronic. However, the irony is that the girls we were trying to impress LOVED it. They relished with us in the insecure behavior. So, I ask: Why in the hell would we stop actin’ a fool? Keep in mind that our sole purpose at the time was to get the attention of that one girl we secretly adored.

One would think that this childish bravado ends at 18. Nope, it does not. And, women, please do not allow some man to tell you that it ends. IT DOES NOT! We still behave in ridiculous ways to hook that female. This goes on and on up into the mid-thirties. No woman should be surprised by that statement either! And, why should we change considering most women STILL typically encourage the misrepresentation of self? They do it themselves: weave, make-up, push-up bras, color contacts, and what else?

Ladies, if I am wrong you tell me if you would be impressed by this guy:

He is from a small town. He country. He even has an accent. He appears to be slow on the uptake. He basically does not comprehend the ‘game’ like a man is supposed to. He is just himself. He likes to read. He does not hang out much, and if he does go out he does not contribute anything to the setting. He is tall and lanky. But, he has nice features. “Cute”. And, he tries too hard. He tries to be too respectable. One of those nice guys.

Wow! This guy is boring. A dud! You, women, reading know FULL WELL that I am right. He would have not cut the mustard for you back in the day, and probably not now. He was not like the dude who was rude. The asshole guy who did not pay you any attention unless he thought he could get in those panties. This is the man you (women) wanted in your youth. Before you started complaining about some damn biological clock: A damn thug type! Well, let me back up a bit. A lot of women still want the ‘tough guy’. It appears to be that way, at least here in The A. Most of the women I see out are with the hard-looking guy. He has on too much jewelry. He has on a big baseball cap. The waist of his pants is mid-hamstring. And, when it is time to pay the bill he is in the restroom calling his hood-rat chick. He setting up his ‘piece’ for the night with the ghetto girl because Mrs. Investment Banker won’t get down the way he needs her to because she too damn siddity! She afraid to touch the wet spot!

Perhaps, she is with him because there is not much to choose from? A lot of us are in prison. On the way to prison. Lack a formal education. Jobless. Whatever the latest Gallup Poll reports! Or, could it be that the men who are available are not good enough for that single and desperate female? Perhaps, he is too busy trying to be someone he is not. This could be the case since he is more than likely still trying his BEST to be who the woman wants him to be thus confirming my purpose for writing this piece:

Men are walking around here failing to be their true selves because society has told them that being your authentic self is not good enough. I don’t see why we, as a culture, don’t recognize this. Look at the cars men drive. Listen to the one-sided dialogue between a man and a woman. It is all about him. Think about how we don’t feel justified as a man if we are not making a certain amount of money. Consider how we avoid serious concerns women present. We are still faking the funk at 30 and 40. That is a sad commentary – but women need to understand that we only do this to GET YOU. Evidently, you, women, like it. Think about the last conversation you had with that guy who made you tingle.

If we are not the 50 Cent-type we are the guy who has some lame rap we trying to spit: A glamorized story that resembles a man we want to be, but not trying to be. Lord, this is pathetic!
In the end, Mr. Whoever He is Today, is not the man you really need and want. He is what this world has told him he needs to be. So, I challenge you women reading to allow Mr. Plain to be himself. Stop pretending like you want this SUPER DUDE (it is okay to like da busta). I promise you if this is done and accomplished you and him will FINALLY be what God created:
Yourself - before you were brainwashed by this SELF destroying society.

Written by Muata. Inspired by trying to be the Brian I once was: Boring, but nicer! Inspired by all this male frontin’ and female objectified acceptance.


Muata said...

Reader AJ Responds:

"He is from a small town. He country. He even has an accent. He appears to be slow on the uptake. He basically does not comprehend the ‘game’ like a man is supposed to. He is just himself. He likes to read. He does not hang out much, and if he does go out he does not contribute anything to the setting. He is tall and lanky. But, he has nice features. “Cute”. And, he tries too hard. He tries to be too respectable. One of those nice guys."

Personally when I read this I wanted to know where is this man. I consider myself to have a bit of country flavor. I would love a man who doesn't know the "game" cause I don't have time to play games.

I admit in college I like what me and my girls called the "educated yo". I'm dating myself using the term "yo". This was the brother that was smart but had a bit of street edge. The bad boy who got into college. He could keep it real with his homies, yet he was getting an education. He did make me tingle, when he paid attention to me. Then he made my heart hurt when he was trying to be with half the yard.

Now as a grown woman I shook that fever when I got into the real world of trying to build for my future. I'll be honest I will look at that thug but I'm not taking him home. What makes me tingle now is a man who can stimulate my intellect. The man who I don't mind calling Daddy because he makes me feel secure. The man who can accept me as a helpmate , partner, not this how it is cause he's the man.

So with that B what exactly is "Be a MAN" ? Is being a man meaning you can't follow your woman sometimes?


Muata said...

Reader YW Responds:

Wow, where do I begin... (sorry this is long but I hope interesting)

Yes, back in the day I desired and loved our beloved thugs aka bad boys. In high school, I went for the real thug (gold chain, gold teeth, never went to class, got into fights, etc. etc.) and thought it was so cool. Yes I was sooo stupid!! In college and my early twenties, I was like Anita and went for the "educated thug" but me & my friends called them the "professional thugs"..half Wall St ...half "da hood" street. And yes 9 times out of 10 they broke my heart. So yes, us women (momma, sister, auntie, girlfriend) have contributed to why some men, dog us, use us, abuse us. Now in my late 30's I'm again agreeing with Anita with wanting a man that stimulates my intellect. That challenges me with his outlook on life and exposes me to new things. That turns me on!! I don't care if the man looks like Morris Chestnut (yes I went there, ladies). Don't get me wrong the good looks will get me to stop but if he's dumb as rocks, I keep right on walking. I WISH men would just be themselves. I WISH men would trust themselves to open up to love a woman who genuinely loves them for who they are. I WISH men would just walk up to me and just say "hello, how are you doing?" "My name is...and we take it from there. But instead most of the men I meet run these terrible lines thinking they are being clever or they just ask for my phone number without even saying hello. What the hell!? At least back in the 8th grade the boy would pass you a piece of paper w/the words..."Do you like me?" With the check boxes that read, Yes, No or Maybe. Can I at least get that!? :-)

Even though I'm a NY girl at heart living in ATL I would go for that country boy that's chillin in the cut. I would go for the city guy that's chillin in the cut too. Just because he's not the center of attention doesn't mean that he's not confident and comfortable w/who he is at the core. That's what I like and I believe that's what most men and women want in a mate. Of course none of this applies if you're just trying to get your freak on. So that's the difference!

As far as the weave, push up bras, high heels, etc, etc. I tell ya, since Chris Rock brought this up in his "Never Scared"?? (not sure if it was that one) HBO show, you guys can't let the "ish" go. Men are visual, yes women are too but I think men are more visual than women. At a club, restaurant, mixer who would you notice in a crowd? The woman with flats (mind you she's 4'10"), no make up, a inch of hair, turtle neck shirt and baggy pants or the woman that is dressed respectable but is wearing an outfit that compliments her ass-ets, heels, and some hair w/some length for you to possibly tug on one day? If a woman wants to enhance her already beautiful self with a few additions I don't see anything wrong with that and I think most men would agree and appreciate.

Lastly, I think black woman as a whole get a bad rap with this whole, "we have attitudes and we are always trying to run things." Yes we are very strong people and we have to be for all kinds of reasons that we already know. And yes, I think there are some bossy woman out there that LOVE running the show in their relationships no matter what but we are all not like that. I don't want to boss a man around. I don't want him bossing me around. I want him to take the lead sometimes and then I take the lead sometimes. I want us to learn from each other, challenge each other, compliment each other as a couple. I want us to respect each others strengths and what we have to offer in the relationship. I want a man that is mature and secure enough w/himself to accept that. I'm not sure if this man exists in the ATL. :-)


Muata said...

Reader AJ Responds again (part of a statement):

...I forgot earlier to mention your weave comment. Yes we wear weave, braids and push up bras to change our appearance. But not every appearance change is to look like Beyonce. I know some women who have worn weave and braids to mask hair loss from a period of stress. Or to give their hair a break because they have been hitting the gym hard. And as a women who has worn both my own hair and my hair I bought, I can tell you that YOU MEN will break your neck for a woman with hair running down her back. Then can't look in my eyes and talk to me cause the girls are sitting up nice and perky!


FREEDOM said...

I had to read this commentary twice.

On Friday July 4, 2008 after taking a run on the beach, I came back to the cottage my family and I was staying at for the 4th and saw that the Tyra Banks’ Show was on. The topic for discussion was the first “State of the Union for Black Woman 2008” with Tyra. The audience was only black/minority women. She touched on interracial dating. Single motherhood. Black women fitness and hair and how black men may not want a sistah with weave, but they want that light-skin sistah with LONG hair. In addition, black women in Hollywood and entertainment to name a few.

Before viewing this show, I was prepared to give this long drawn out rebuttal, but is all so SIMPLE to me now. One of the men on the panel told the producers (I am paraphrasing) that men are giving fat women the wrong impression that by them being "fat" is okay JUST because a man wants to have sex with her. He said the man IS ONLY interested in the SEX!

The show was very insightful for me as well as this commentary.

We ALL at times give each other the wrong impression of what we “think” we want from a man or a woman. We sometimes become desperate, manipulative, mean and down right rude to each other.

To know thyself we must be taught this. Men and Women both need models. People who have success in these areas that we are seeking to achieve success. We can have all the theories in the world, but nothing motivates or teaches a man or woman more than having positive models to duplicate.

I have been attracted to both the “thug” and the “nice” guy. Both of these types of men have taught me so much. The “hard” guy taught me the sense of being myself in a world that hates you. The practice of not letting people walk all over you, and not being afraid to speak your mind regardless of who/what it is “Speak Boldly”. Moreover, to leave a job that rapes you financially and emotionally.

While the “nice” guy has shown me so much love and affection. A man that listens to me and is deeply concerned about my complete welfare. Gives me compliments, hugs, and kisses. Stimulate my mind to my black self with books and documentaries. He took me to library so that we could check out some books to increase our wealth, health, knowledge of our true Afrikan and Godly self. A man that is concerned about my day. He ask me how my day was before he ask me to do or about anything else. He calls me to check on me and tell me how much he loves me. Very compassionate. Especially about his black people. A real sweetie pie. Both of these men had the same common denominator though they were both unable to commit. The “nice” guy told me that the loss of his freedom, autonomy, and independence is something that he was afraid to let go.

What I have come to realize is that NO MAN can fulfill any voids that I have in myself. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS! It all starts with each individual person. Each individual has to take off his or her OWN mask! How do we take our masks off? The owner of ACT One gave one very good suggestion from the Tyra Banks’ Show. She advised taking a holistic view to life. Holistic “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body.”

How we treat others, especially the ones we say we love, is a reflection of how we treat our inner selves.


Muata said...

Muata Responds:

Interesting: Three of you have referred to my "weave, push-up bras, ..." statement. Without going i to a deep analysis of what I call "add-ons", I will say this:

Most of the brothas I know are not interested in the additional features added to a female's original self. Truly he is not! I may be safe in saying that he finds it unattractive. Yes, he may like long hair - but it is not long fake/store bought hair that he likes. Nope. Not at all! That's the difference. While women are adding on to attract men, he is disliking the weave, nails, and all the other stuff that 'takes away from what makes the woman "authentic". Now, those of you reading and saying, 'forget that, I do this stuff for me and not some man.' That is not completely true! Right? If you are like us men you are doing what you feel is necessary to snag that catch. Right?

We (men and women) are on two different pages when it comes to understanding what each other like - but on the same page with our efforts to impress/attract each other. I find that interesting. Someone is not listening??????????