In search of the definition of a (black) man

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[pullquote]‘Bad Guys’ seem exhilarating and spontaneous at the time. But each one comes with compulsory heart break. Until such a time that they decide they are ready to be converted and committed.[/pullquote] A lot of us spend our early dating years falling in love with ‘Bad Guy’ prototypes, without realising that we are indeed setting ourselves up for a fall! A really bad and painful one. One that many struggle to get up from. ‘Bad Guys’ seem exhilarating and spontaneous at the time. But each one comes with compulsory heart break. Until such a time that they decide they are ready to be converted and committed.

Isn’t it funny how a ‘Bad Guy’s’ ways is usually dismissed as men just being men yet for their female counterparts it becomes a bad reputation?

Sorry. Before I digress, I remember way back when I still could break it down in the clubs on Friday night, make it to an after party which finished early hours on Saturday morning and still find energy to go out on Saturday night. A friend of mine was trying to get close. Really close. Let’s call him John. John and I had been friends for a while. We got on, he was smart, tall, good looking and it was very obvious that he wanted to be more than just friends. He would take long trips cross country just to come spend the day with me. Always the day. Never the night. A real gentleman he was. I knew how he felt at the time, because his actions were loud and clear but I played dumb. I along with my friends had decided that he was too boring and that we would be better off as just friends.

I was young and naive and allowed myself to be led. I have since found out that one of these so called friends who was adamant about how boring and unattractive John was, had her own vested interest. Always watch out for the emphatic ones. Matters of the heart don’t need a second opinion. Only you know how you truly feel.

Okay back to the story. My conclusion now looking back is that he was just too nice and there was not a single whiff of drama around him. He was the kind of guy that people respected. Not the kind that had woman drama. And even if he did, he managed it well. Women seemed to revere him and thought he was a bit of an enigma. Maybe I had become accustomed to the myth that relationships needed to come with a heavy dose of hip popping, finger clicking, head shaking and hell raising moments. Thank goodness for maturity although delayed. I always look back and think if only I had allowed myself to experience what it was like to be in that situation, then maybe I would have discovered the true definition of a (black) man much sooner. Better late than never but never late is better. No regrets though. No regrets. Wondering what got me reminiscing about John? Wonder no more.

I am getting tired of the stereotypical mass definition of what it takes to be a (black) man. I often see well spoken, polite, beautiful young men, who take care of themselves, love fashion and ensure they look good like John, get ridiculed and called gay. So a (black) man can’t be multifaceted without being gay? The (black) man is monolithic? Hard, rugged, loud, macho, sometimes even rude and obnoxious not forgetting the sagging jeans and trademark sun glasses in the dark? Sadly, it is mainly us, (black) women, who purport these stereotypes. But then we complain when we are approached by our definition of a (black) man, and get furthermore heartbroken when sometimes, this guy who appeared to be the alpha male and fits into our stereotypical farce of what a (black) man should be, turns out to be nothing but a down low bisexual. Or just a gay guy using us for validation because the cultural norms within his society dictates that he must be with a woman and he must be thuggish ruggish to be a real man. We seriously need to address this misconception.

If you search the blogosphere, there are rumours about Kenny Lattimore (once married to Chante Moore) being gay. I am sure I have heard the same rumours about Ginuwine (also married) at one point and Will Smith and Shemar Moore too. Not too long ago, someone made the same comment about Drake under one of his videos and the same goes for Kanye West. Miguel, John Legend, Neyo, the list is long. In fact it seems if you haven’t been rumoured to be gay then you haven’t quite made it. One of my friends even suggested that my dear friend John might be gay because he had never attempted to even kiss me talk less of anything else. Now I don’t know anything about the sexual preferences of these celebrities and frankly, that is their personal business not mine. Unless of course you have had a personal encounter, you have no business drawing such conclusions just by taking a look at the person and how they walk and talk. I am concerned that we may be looking to secular culture especially Hip Hop to help us with our definition of what a (black) man should be and furthermore how we must conduct our love lives and relationships. This is dangerous and just as bad as believing in the opposite end of the spectrum which consists of the Disney fairytales that some of us were brought up on, considering that a lot of these rappers have one persona when on stage and are totally different people when at home with their families. Would you model yourself on a cartoon character?Watching Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood highlighted this fact further for me. In my wildest dreams, I would never have pictured Snoop to be the kind of family man he was in the series, based on his on stage persona. I seriously thought he was all about sex, drugs and rock n roll and his reality TV Series completely changed that view and helped me to separate fact (Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr) from fiction (Snoop Dogg or Snoop Doggy as my mum once calls him).

Universally, the question Why Do The Bad Guys Get All The Girls has been asked several times and has even been the hypothesis for various scientific research projects. The conclusion was that men with the “dark triad” of traits ie self obsessed, dishonest and thrill-seeking men, are likely to have a larger number of sexual encounters. The Independent reported on this and stated that

 “…many famous men – from James Dean to Pete Doherty – could be said to show elements of the dark triad of traits, but perhaps the best fictional example is James Bond.” Dr Jonason of New Mexico University in Las Cruces who was involved in the research that subjected 200 college students to personality tests, defined James Bond as “…clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things – including killing people, and new women.” 

No wonder then that a lot of rappers are inspired by the ultimate bag guy himself; Mr Bond. The students were asked about their sexual relationships, including their attitudes to one night stands and affairs:

Dr Jonason said those with the highest rating in terms of the dark triad tended to have more partners and a greater desire for short-term affairs.The dark triad approach is one way of maximising a man’s reproductive potential by having sex with many females, while not bothering to stick around to help with the children. “The strategy seems to have worked. We still have these traits,” Dr Jonason said.

David Schmitt, of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, surveyed 35,000 people in 57 countries and found a similar link. “It is universal across cultures,” he said.

So the question remains, is it inevitable that the good guys will always finish last? I sincerely hope not. But guess what, even if they do finish last, at least they finish. How does the quotation go?

“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Finishing last can lead to a more meaningful and lasting relationship. As the saying goes, it is all about ‘time and chance’. At the least, he can be sure that the identity crisis is over and that the person he is committing to is now matured enough to not only know what they want but is also someone who knows how to appreciate and treat a good guy.[pullquote]Finishing last can lead to a more meaningful and lasting relationship. As the saying goes, it is all about ‘time and chance’.[/pullquote]

On a positive note, John and I are still good friends. With maturity came a new perspective on our friendship. Our connection is unique and one that I will always cherish. I appreciate him for sticking around as a true friend. I applaud him for striving to get to know me, heart and soul while others were more interested in my lips and hips. He was there then, he is there now and very likely always will be, unlike some of the exes.

This post is dedicated to John and all like him. To any proudly metrosexual male reading this and all the real men who care more about their character than they do about how their sexuality is portrayed, to the men who refuse to conform to this notion that a real man is always hard and tough; I salute you. And to the females enabling ‘Bad Guys’, I have no words because I know from experience that you will ride with your “Mr Wrong” until the wheels fall off and you crash and burn. There isn’t a damn thing that anyone can tell you until you are ready. I pray you will be empowered to find the strength to bid them farewell one day.  In fact please allow me to dedicate this song to you:

Sing Mary!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a relationship expert and do not claim to be one. My experiences however, are real.

Source: Originally posted on Royaume Online

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