On October 31, I read a “note” on the Book of Faces, better known as Facebook. It was written by Frank Henderson. I’m not connected to him, we’re not Friends, and I don’t even know what he does, but I do know he hates something about me. I thought to myself, “Here’s another man bashing women” because we need to be more submissive, learn to cook more, and play ego booster to the fragile needy male ego. Uhm, no thanks, I’ve heard enough of that, My Brothah. As a female I’m already behind the proverbial eight-ball, and add on that I’m a woman of color, just no.
See recently I’ve been told to Think Like a Man, thanks to Steve Harvey. Multiple blogs research and proclaim such things as Are Black Women Scaring Off Their Men?, 10 Reasons Black Men ARE NOT Dating Black Women ANYMORE!, Why are Black Women So Difficult to Be With? and even proclaim to know Why Good, Black Women REALLY End Up Alone: A Guide for the Confused. Do I really need another man telling me how much is wrong with me? C’mon, son.
But, I bit. And read. I read it because I figured it would be another interesting take on what I needed to do. Yet, I know there are things about me that men don’t like, maybe I’ll learn something new. I did. The first thing I learned was about me: I love men. I love their hearts. Frank confirmed this sentiment in three sentences:
“When a man opens his soul and decides to love a woman, it’s a decision that he’s thought long and hard about. He’s probably run it by a few of his ‘boys’ to gauge just how insane they think he is. When he gets that ring, embraces her, her kids if she has some, her extended family and pathology, he’s usually done it with his HEART and NOT his head.”
Okay, okay, you have my attention now, Mister. It’s only from the heart that a man would reveal this so, I read on with the desire to learn what it is about me that is so despised by men. I summarize this because it’s easier to share with my female friends. I can cushion the blow a bit, but I can also say it in a way Frank couldn’t. See, I see women do some of these things, and some I’ve been guilty of doing myself. However, when you know better you tend to do better. So, what do they hate about us? Ladies here were go:
1. You Don’t Know or Understand His Vision: Have you asked him what he sees for himself? If not, why not? A relationship is not all about you and your goals. If so, are you actively supportive or covertly sabotaging. Yes, I said it. Sabotaging looks like acting as if you support him, but coming home late, snide comments, or being indifferent. There’s another category here, the he’s not clear club. Okay, okay, if he’s not clear, what are you doing to help him craft his vision so it’s crystal clear for him? Am I saying spoon feed him a vision? No. I am saying if he has an idea for what he wants but not a plan, it is unclear, and he needs support in strategically planning it you are in the perfect position to help propel that vision. Frank points out, “He doesn’t believe that he exists just to make you happy”. Ladies, huddle up…quickly. Okay, if you are not happy within yourself nothing outside of you will change that, including your fine, well-dressed, hustlah of a man. That’s your responsibility not his. His mission and vision are his and that is what he is up to so he can satisfy who he is meant to be. You had yours before him, he had his vision before you. He needs your assistance just as you feel you need his. You can’t help or support if you don’t know the vision and are not invested in it coming to fruition for him. Last point on this, when his vision becomes our vision it makes a difference in how you invest your time and commit. Think about. Okay, break.
2. You Emphasize Or Show Appreciation For Another Man’s Vision Over His: “You know Anthony has been working on that huge deal. He’s amazing!” I hope if any facet of this has been said the name used is actually his, and not that of another man. All too often we spend time comparing without understanding the impact. It belittles him. Stop it. Don’t act as though he doesn’t have feelings, can’t be impacted emotionally, and should take your comments as motivation. Imagine if he was always talking about some other woman whether she is a friend or famous. Constantly talking about how she “has it goin’ on” might begin to have you “feeling some kind of way”. Would that motivate you? Place emphasis on the things that are going well, acknowledge and affirm who he is, and watch how he responds. When you don’t do that your relationship becomes vulnerable. Appreciate him from the heart.
3. You Refuse To Put The Children In Their Proper Place: Where do I start? Let’s do this. Ladies, meet me in my office, lock the door behind you, and grab a chair. This is serious business. Whether we like it or not there is a hierarchy in all relationships. When you became a parent you were at the top of that hierarchy, like the King and Queen. The Prince and Princess are never given status above the King or Queen, and they are expected to behave in a way becoming a Prince or Princess as to not bring shame to their family. What are you saying Sidney? Get the kids in check. No, don’t give me the “you don’t know my struggle” mess either. I do. Believe me I do. In a former relationship it took a while for him to meet my son, we eventually lived together, and the hierarchy was established. He’s King, I’m Queen, and you, my son, are a Prince. When the King tells you sit, you sit, and that is the united front we set up. You don’t talk while I’m on the phone with him (or almost anyone unless it’s an emergency), you use manners at all times, and respect him as an authority here. Who started that conversation? I did. I insisted that my son respect him, what he said went, and if I disagreed we “conferenced” in another room or later. Additionally, my son was aware that he was not the center of the universe. I know, I know, “my kids will always be there, even when he leaves”, and there we have the problem. If you already believe they trump him, you’ve lost him.
Am I wrong Frank? What’s that you said? “Men will never play second fiddle….While you’re out taking care of and putting those kids before him, he’s found someone that will put him first and make him feel Kingly.” There is a level of respect that must be present, consider him the King, you are the Queen, and the kids are Prince and Princesses. There is hierarchy, put it to work, and it will work for you. Got it? Good. Break.
4. Listening to the Your Faith Community Leader Over Him: I took liberties with this because there are people of different faith or spiritual practices, but it applies nonetheless. You may even be a self-help junkie and read Deepak Chopra, Dr. Phil, subscribe to the Mars-Venus philosophy, and know your love language (a good read, by the way). However, your self-help mentor, pastor, imam, swami, or guide are not lead in your relationship. Always bringing up what you read, were told would “work”, or covertly attempting some self-help shenanigans is a recipe for disaster. Allow him to be the man, cooperate, create a team between the two of you, cultivate trust, and watch what happens.
5. Helping Others While Neglecting Him: I don’t know what to say ’bout dis. Men hate when we help others while neglecting them? I get it. While reading Frank’s explanation about the wife not supporting her husband’s dream of starting a church, him being “livid and boiling”, and their subsequent divorce, I stopped. That is more on the vision thing, see #1. Unless she was running around helping others, and failed to care for her husband at all, she was simply being a dream killer, a vision vanquisher, and wasn’t the right one for the job. Neglect, as defined, is “failure to care for properly” and the “state or fact of being uncared for.” Here we go, I’m going to do this two ways 1) address neglect and 2) meet with my girls in the conference room. Ok? First, neglect. Here we have to establish what it is to care for someone and “properly”. We can say, “it goes without saying”, but, well, it doesn’t. If he feels uncared for, it needs to be said, and maybe it is a conversation that needs to be had. Neglect comes in many forms: emotional, physical, financial, and sexual. To have those requirements met they have to be expressed no one, not even the most insistent woman, is a mind reader.
Now, ladies, meet me in the conference room in 30-seconds, don’t mind your hair. I’ll wait……..here we go. Your girls, kids, Mom, Dad, brothers, even personal agendas, all have a place and time. A part of that mix is support of your significant other. There is something to be said for boundaries around who, what, when, and how often you extend yourself. All of the aforementioned people will begin to respect your choices, and so will your significant other when you exercise boundaries. That gives everyone a place and time in your life without creating chaos, frustration, and blurring lines. Am I saying you don’t have needs too? Nope, but this ain’t ’bout you, boo, listen. Neglect is the absence of something being cared for, there is no shame in asking “how can I support in that?” or “what do you need for me to do to help you?” Let that icy exterior and need to be right go. It is an opportunity to support him in manifesting his vision, building communication, displaying an understanding that you all are partners, and exhibiting care. Help meet his needs when he needs it, make the time for it and do it with enthusiasm, and see it reciprocated. You won’t be left out. Go run your route. Stay in your lane. Be awesome. Break.
IS THAT IT!? IS THE LIST COMPLETE? I’m sure it’s not. Surely, I’ll take some heat for this. The feminist will read that saying I’m advocating some sort of passive, appeasing approach. The angry woman will be defensive, read into that she’s not blah, blah, blah and being too blah, blah, blah, and another blah. When in fact, these came from a man, and I simply recognized that these needed to be addressed. I’ve been all kinds of loud with a man, hung up phones (in my much younger days), refused to support in covert ways, and simply was not clear on his vision so mine became the focus. How do you build a relationship with all of that going on? When you have to be right, someone loses. When it’s all about you, someone loses. And losers are rarely happy about the outcome. I take this as a contribution to me providing a new perspective and encouraging a healthier relationship dynamic.
**You can read “Only For Ladies: 5 Things Your Man Hates About You” by Frank Henderson on Facebook.***
NEXT: BWD – Black While Depressed, A Mask of Shame