Black Men… Step Up So We Don’t Have To Step Down

Dear brothas,

And by brothas…I mean you chocolatey, fine men. And you caramel pieces of handsomeness. And you light-skinned sons-of-a-shut-yo-mouth.

Yes you. Those who I love to look at, talk to, and flirt with.

Still wondering? I may be talking to you.

Brothers…it’s hard out here for a black woman…married and single. I read so many columns on how sistas should reduce their criteria, be a little less selective — heck lower her standards — for her to have a man.

I get it. Some of us are a bit too picky. I may be one of those, but please help me understand why I have to lower my standards instead of you stepping up to the plate, being a man and being who, I, no we, deserve?

It’s not okay to be a playa, to be okay with being ignorant, incessantly smoking weed, and still hanging out at the hole in the wall club. And while I know sex is super important to you (as it should be), I’m going to need you to get to know what’s important to me.

I’m 34…I want to go on a high-end date. I shouldn’t have to settle for the closest fast food restaurant or even Applebee’s for that matter. There’s nothing is wrong with those options in a relationship, but sometimes you have to show us that you appreciate us. Doing what’s easy doesn’t show us that.

And I shouldn’t have to ask myself if the only reason you’re coming over is for sex. That makes us feel like a piece of meat.

I think we’ve made it too easy for you. In signs of desperation and lack of supply, we’ve began to accept paying higher prices without getting a fair return on our investment. We cook. We clean. We pick up after you. We stroke your ego. We put it down in the bed. And you may or may not come home with a paycheck.

You ask us to be patient as you grow, but I’m wondering where were you when I was growing. When I was preparing myself for the future? Where were you when I was studying, writing papers and shedding tears? Why were’t you working on similar goals at the same time?

Maybe college wasn’t for you. But what about trade school or simply starting a career the old-fashioned way and working your way up. And even if you are just now seeing the investing in a better you, I’m going to need you to be forreal…not just words. Actions. Real actions.

I don’t write this out of theory. I write this out of personal experience; from dating, from advice I’ve been given from other women, and from the myriad of articles and mass media that tells me I should accept anything because it’s better to have something than it is to have nothing.

Is it?

Is it okay for me to make sure your bills are paid?

Is it okay for me to sit through a meaningless conversation and then for you to turn over and ask me for sex?

Is it okay for you to tell me to deal with it when I tell you about sensitive situations from the past?

Is it okay for me to have to wonder about our relationship status?

Or who else you’re talking to or dating when we should either exclusive?

No. It’s not okay.

Ladies. We have to stop making it so easy for them.

If we can put in the work to cook (and do it well), clean (including picking up after you), and be pretty and be the best boo we can be, I’m going to need you to step it up.

We put in a ton of time and energy making sure we keep your eyes happy and your bellies full. To show you that we value you. And, to be honest, there are times we forsake our values to keep you. (Totally different discussion.)

Can you please stop complaining about us and fearing our status. Instead, go out of your way to show we’re just as big in your world as we make you in ours. Do a chore without me asking. Don’t come to my house looking like a scrub. Smell good for goodness sake. And freaking approach me with some darn respect.

And when it comes to a job, I’m not asking you to be a CEO. You could work in a factory for all I care. Just hold down a job. No…do more than have a job. Value yourself enough to have a career. Don’t complain about money if you’re not doing anything to hold yourself accountable. Value yourself enough to go to work every day and volunteer for overtime if you’re looking for. And then look at a potential career path. There is potential for those who are not degreed.

Have some goals and make a plan. And look forward to something other than money. The world is bigger than you and money.

And yes…you do need to find Jesus. Get over it. We love Him. We’re going to need you to get on board.

I was asked why sistas always stay true to the brothas.

My answer…we love you. It’s our instinct to protect you. After all you’ve gone through and what society puts you through…

A black man is the total representation of strength. But he needs to know this and believe it. I’ll help, but you have to be willing to not be overcome by societal challenges.

I only can imagine. I believe the struggle is real, but it’s not an excuse. There are some days that’ll get you down, but we’re here to pick you up. To support you. To be your Wonder Woman when it’s hard for you to be our Superman.

We’re not as strong as you think. We long to be women. To be vulnerable. To be treated and protected as such. To be caressed. To not have to put on a show and speak fondly of you in hopes of convincing our families and friends we have good men. Instead, we want our words to be sincere. We want to love on you without hesitation.

Black men…this isn’t a dis. (Okay it kinda is, but that’s simply because I’m tired.)

It’s also a cry.

We need you.

I need you.

Featured image by RayBanBro66 | Flickr

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