Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Men are Not Clay and Women are Not Gods

I wanta say just gotta say something
Bout those beautiful beautiful beautiful outasight black men
With they afros
Walking down the street
Is the same ol danger
But a brand new pleasure

Sitting in stoops, in cars, going to offices
Running numbers, watching for their whores
Preaching in churches, driving their hogs
Walking their dogs, winking at me
In their fire red, lime green, burnt orange...
-Nikki Giovanni

If the yellow brick road of love wasn’t paved with incomplete men, Dorothy would’ve found her way to Oz, “the brother who encompasses all”, a lot faster. It’s a twisted world when fantasy finds its way into reality. Dorothy takes walks on heartbreak lane; the heels of her red bottomed Louboutins become stuck between cracks, forcing her to meet stationary men along the way. The truth is, Dorothy will convince herself that she’s trapped and will try to make the best of her current situation, knowing that she can uproot herself at any time. Still she stays, hoping and praying the lump of clay (man) will turn into a sculpture (God). The Dorothy’s I know are convinced they are the ultimate molders.

Molders: Women/Men that try and use their qualities, skills, or opportunities to justify changing their significant other.

The problem is, men aren’t clay and women aren’t Gods nor celestial artists. Sometimes trying so hard to create the impossible, we lose the part of ourselves we so desperately tried to give to someone else:

The Tin Man

I’ve got a friend who loves her tough guys. He’s not even a pick if he isn’t over 6’2, an ex con of sorts, and has a stern face. We sat at Panera over Dutch apple bagels and she blurts out, “He’s not intimate. I just want him to be nicer, you know?” No sweetheart, I don’t know. I can’t get the image of you flexing your arms out of my head while telling me that you wanted a “rough neck.” I am still giggling at your bragging of how he’s so cut because he worked out in prison. I can still feel the shivers from the first time I met him and his proverbial cold stare. And you want him to be….sweet? To have a heart?

Every time she tried to kiss or hold hands with her lover, he’d cross his overtly tattooed arms and exclaim how REAL men didn’t announce their love publicly.

After a few months of this, a frustrated Bee, her nickname for this post, bought books on compassion and suggested counseling to him. His stern face suddenly erupted with a laughter she’d never seen before. He said, “We’re not married. Why would we need counseling?” When she explained to him that this was her eventual goal, he broke down into the usual, I-don’t-know-if-I’m-ready-for-all-that speech. Soon my phone line erupted with tears and screaming of, “I just don’t understand.” In the background, I could hear the hustling and bustling of his hurry to leave.

Bee is now a bad girl. Her new philosophy: “Men are not willing to compromise, so I’m out for self” or in her words, “Men ain’t sh*t.” She parades on the emotions of men who are willing to do anything for her, but are blind to the fact that she’s given up on men. In trying to give the “man of her dreams” a new heart, she froze her own.

The Lion

Mirah struggles with finding commitment. Pretending to be content with the men who only lie in her bed and to her face, she battles false hope.

But HE is different. This brown and fine thing who visits often, takes her out, and kisses her forehead; MUST love her. When posed with the question of commitment, he sputters, “What we have going on is good. Titles will ruin it.”

Although he’s told her CLEAR AS DAY that he’s not looking for a relationship, she is convinced that her “loving” will change his mind. So they continue to love, play house, and pretend. Eventually she’ll become annoyed and ask for more. I witnessed her persuade him of how easy it would be for them to be one. She cooked in heels, kept up appearances, and told the world about their “love.”

He didn’t show for their usual Thursday night romp. She called to no avail, slinging her angry words on his voicemail. He called back hours later, the sound of no remorse resounding heavier than a dial tone. “I told you, we’re just kicking it.”

Mirah is single and no longer available these days. Wrapped in feminists texts, throw blankets, and the warmth of her living room; she believes commitment is nonexistent. The man in the cubicle next to her, falling in love with her smile, will never see her courage grace the water cooler or staff’s lounge again.

The Scarecrow

Looks aren’t everything. Complete with a six pack, fresh line, and dimples; he is perfect. Until he opens his mouth. (That's if you count the pearly whites.) Genee is a sucker for a nice body and a mean walk, but she’s no straight-up sucker. She works for a top public relations firm, owns her own house, car and reads like a Rhodes scholar.

He’s one of those “models.”

Tight jeans, barely loose A&F shirt, with mush for brains. “Baby don’t you know how lucky you are to have me?” She cringes at his words. The modeling jobs are rare, her tired feet come home to him lying on her couch, and her friends start to wonder if she’s lost her mind.

She gathers applications from schools/jobs that she feels will suit his desires. Fashion major or merchandiser perhaps? He glares at the papers strewn in front of him. She buys two of the same book at Barnes & Noble, trying to encourage a club of sorts. Discovering that the book is a coaster for his Heineken, she throws her rage around the already too-crowded room. He slinks away, tells her he is sorry that he can’t be the man she wants, and leaves nothing but a water ring damp on the hardcover sitting upon the coffee table.

Afraid she might intimidate/scare off the men she’s seeing, Genee offers up little of her conversation these days. Her expectations have lowered after surmising that intellectual Adonis’ do not exist.


YOU are not GOD. Nine times out of ten, men make woman fully aware of what she’s getting into, portrayed by action or speech. Even Oz was a fake. Perfection does not exist. A relationship is about deciding what flaws you’re willing to put up with or if they’re worth staying at all.

We women are contradictory songbirds with a melting pot of ego and emotion. We boil over believing that our love will have the power to change the plight of our men. In some rare cases, this is true. However, for most it is not. We’ve got to leave our prince charming in the bedside table in our parents’ home. Our princes cheat, lie, and hurt but, they also equate, feel, and resound. Give the man who is honing himself for you time to appear. I’m not saying you can’t have fun along the way. I’m just asking that you don’t stick yourself between the paper mache trying to glue your dream man with pieces of a broken one.

Even Dorothy made it home.

(pic via polyclay.com)


Danielle Renee said...

Amen sister! I think every woman has done this at least once in her romantic life. To those who have: Don't repeat the same mistake over and over. The definition of insanity-doing the same thing over again expecting a different result.

And definitely don't let these situations leave you jaded. I feel that after those above destructive relationships, you should take some time to reevaluate self and how you played a role. Take some responsibility for your actions and reactions.

A person will only treat you the way you allow them to treat you.

Ciara said...

Riv. This is great. As women, I think we have a tendency to believe that the best or most ideal thing will always occur..believe that we are the exception, when we are most likely the rule. We will make it seem like our fantasies are our realities. However, there needs to be a balance of sorts. Nothing is wrong with have an idea of what you want or expect from a man. Just understand that not all men you encounter will be what you are looking for and that's ok. Take it with a grain of salt and remain open for someone that is looking for what you are looking for.

Ciara said...

p.s. I loved the reference to the Rhodes Scholar... It seems like very few people know what that is nowadays..

Unknown said...

Well said sis... well said. I love the analogy of Dorothy and molding a man from others she faces. WE CAN NOT BE MOLDED! We can, however, be improved and it takes a strong woman to impact a content man.

Unknown said...

The truth is, Dorothy will convince herself that she’s trapped and will try to make the best of her current situation, knowing that she can uproot herself at any time. Still she stays, hoping and praying the lump of clay (man) will turn into a sculpture (God). The Dorothy’s I know are convinced they are the ultimate molders.

-- that's me i think