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Better Men Than I

I remember last year, a particular night when I was back home for the holidays. My boy and I decided we would go out to this club — or what qualifies as a club in the little old Monterey area where we were raised — and find some trouble to get into with the opposite sex.

A couple hours passed by, a couple drinks were drank, then my night was ruined. I ran into someone I didn’t expect to run into. It was my sister’s boyfriend.

He wasn’t in the crowd like me. He was actually on the outskirts, talking and socializing with club security, which made sense since he is the size of a guy who works club security. But for the rest of the night, my attention went from all the ladies in the place with style and grace, to a man the size of Biggie (geez that was corny), the man who is now the father to my niece. And though he remained by club security, not really giving any women any kind of attention, I couldn’t help but watch his every move. Even after we exchanged pleasantries. Even as the club closed, I wasn’t going anywhere until I saw him go back to his car.

And I realized then, I don’t trust men very much.

When I told my sister the next day I saw her boyfriend, she said she knew. I told her I was looking out. She said he wasn’t like me and I laughed a little, but I also told her I know and that’s why I like him.

Truth be told, I had no reason to be concerned with my sister’s boyfriend. All the years I have known him, I have never had a problem with him, and more importantly, my sister has never had a problem with either. At least not that she’s told me. They’ve been together for years now, and now they have a child together. So to an extent, I trust my sister’s boyfriend, but that’s the thing, it’s only to an extent. The same extent given to my step-dad.

These men who are in the lives of the most important women in my life are good men, but I don’t put anything past them. I love them both — my sister’s boyfriend, my step-dad — but I have also seen my sister and my mother brought to tears by men who came before them. And so, it makes me weary.

What also makes me wary? The times where I have been the same man my mother and sister cried over.

There have been times where I embody the kind of man a parent warns her daughter about; the kind of man I would never want my sister to bring home or my mother to bring home. And it’s nothing I’m proud to say, nothing for which I want sympathy, it’s just a reality I think is necessary to put out there because I don’t think people — women especially — understand the dilemma of men.

Us hypocritical, pot-calling-the-kettle-black, men. We’re  willing to fight and defend our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts, and sister-like best friends against any man who does them physical or emotional harm, but then turn around and treat someone else’s mother, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, sister-like best friend, the exact way we would defend against. We don’t trust men to do the right thing because there were times we didn’t do the right thing ourselves.

And how can I defend those times? How do I square up the prayers I have for my mother and sister to be treated right by their men, while asking for forgiveness for the way I have treated women?

On  the surface, it seems fundamental, something women question aloud all the time. They ask, “Why can’t you treat a woman like you would want a man to treat your mother or your sister?” To which I say “Because I was born with the love of my mother and sister. The love for another woman who isn’t related to me like that is a love I have to learn and I’m learning.”

I don’t know if that’s an excuse or a reason, but I do know it’s something all men have to learn. And as much as I hope to become a master in the art of being a good man, sometimes what I pray for even more, is the men who are in the lives of the women who are most important to me, have already mastered it for themselves.

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  • **inquiring mind**

    @James
    :-O … hmph… now why would go and say something like dat?

  • Kimmy

    Very thought provoking post. I find it interesting that this statement “Because I was born with the love of my mother and sister. The love for another woman who isn’t related to me like that is a love I have to learn and I’m learning.” seemed to resonate with many commenters. I don’t mean to sound critical or judgmental, but I honestly can’t help but feel like that is yet another excuse (albeit well stated and somewhat poetic) from a man as to why he mistreats women. I just don’t understand, I really dont, why it is so, so hard for some men to treat a woman right. I don’t even think love has anything to do with it. IMO, it is just about honesty, decency and respect. Bottom line.

  • AlongCameStacey

    @**inquiring mind**

    You mentioned homosexuality, not me. I think you’re having trouble understanding me because I didn’t say we were flawed. I’m not sure who you’re quoting anymore. Perhap you’re looking a bit too deep. And was it really obvious for me to state we don’t live in a utopia? Because you’re talking about what you want Jozen to do in a perfect world. I don’t think I’m missing any part of the story. I just realize that indignation is pretty useless, especially in situations like this. We all get it together on our own time-lines. Chill.

    FYI: a J.D. is a juris doctor also known as a law degree.

  • **inquiring mind**

    @AlongCameStacey
    Boo Ion’t even care anymore…

    PS… don’t worry about explaining comments that are shared between me and other UIGMers that actually have a sense of humor… the JD comment was joke (which TOO is obvious smh)- and got the nerve to say I don’t need to look so deep LOL. ugh.

  • AlongCameStacey

    Sure you don’t.

    P.S. – It’s not your website. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell me what I can and cannot comment on. Thanks.

  • **inquiring mind**

    @AlongCameStacey
    Wait a minute… did I just enter a battle of the last word with you? Oh this is going to be GOOOOOD!

    Chile… I don’t give f!ck what you do. Anything I say is a suggestion OBVIOUSLY… I didn’t know I had kids- duh take that sh!t or leave it. All I’m saying is you look “… SO DUMB, YOU ARE SO DUMB!” *Antoine Dodson voice* explaining something that was a joke between *efriends* that joke online together often… I mean, feel free to interject but please PUH-LEEEEEZ at least understand the context of the statements (suggestion, you know just in case you missed that context clue too)

  • **inquiring mind**

    @AlongCameStacey
    OK, wait… I dont wanna fight with you GIRL! “It’s Friday Ion’t got sh!t to do”… let’s squash this huh? *edap*, no?

  • AlongCameStacey

    @**inquiring mind**

    I’m confused. If you don’t care then why do you keep coming back to comment?

    Battle for the last word? Really? At some point you became offended because I started taking the same tone with you that you were taking with me. What started off as an exchange of ideas developed into you trying to make it seem as though I was wrong for feeling the way I felt. Understand that adults aren’t always going to agree. I can tell you how I feel and you can tell me how you feel and it just is what it is. I don’t HAVE to see things your way. Not agreeing with you does not mean that I’m missing a part of the story. I read the same blog posts as you. Perhaps you feel more entitled to your opinion than others because you’ve been reading longer. Whatever. The archives to the right put us both on the same playing field.

    And now you’re name calling? How old are you? Seriously, grow up. I’m done.

  • AlongCameStacey

    @**inquiring mind**
    I was never fighting with you.

  • http://natashasjourney-natasha.blogspot.com Natasha

    “… SO DUMB, YOU ARE SO DUMB!” that was harsh sis. I think sometimes we need to realize this is a computer and real life does happen. Practice LOVE via Russel Simmons!

  • **inquiring mind**

    @Natasha NOOOOO! I was kidding… (D@mn I really do play to much huh?) You know Antoine Dodson from Huntsville.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2010/08/05/129005122/youtube-bed-intruder-meme

    Forget it.

  • bed-stuy

    As we used to say in high school… (yelling at the top of my voice) GIRL FIGHT!!!!!! LOL

  • **inquiring mind**

    @AlongCameStacey
    OMG… Y’all are too sensitive for my blood… just go that way ——>

    @bed-stuy
    LMAO… wut is so funny is that I been laughing the ENTIRE time. I mean it’s Friday. I quoted Antoine DODSON of all people! How serious could I be people?… ugh! Lighten the F!CK UP!

  • TheLeoGrl

    I’m gonna get this conversation back on track for ya…Great post Jozen I often find myself asking guys all the time “would you want your daughter/sister dating someone like you?” just so they can put it in perspective…..now back to the impending girlfight….waiting to see how this one plays out. #getspopcorn

  • Sunkissed404

    @L. Dejean
    lol….????? Let’s not forget about paraphrasing..saying the same thing, right?

  • Sunkissed404

    @B. White
    Hmmmmmm… So true. Your mom earned your respect. What is also true is that every male is not forunate enough to have mother-son relationships worthy of being modeled after….Marinade on that one.

  • http://www.aaronstjuste.wordpress.com FallibleSage

    Good read.

    It comes down to being concerned about self more than concern for others. People are inherently self concerned as well as opportunistic (MY mother, sister, daughter, best friend etc.). That’s normal behavior in society and nature. Even the things we do for others is about us. Unfortunately in order to get My rocks off, have MY fun, and feed MY desire for multiple interactions with the opposite sex until I’M ready to settle down, I have to involve someone else’s.

    It’s about getting to a point where we figure out how treating women like we’d want ours to be treated, and healthy long term relationships benefits us to get to where we need to be as men.

  • Sunkissed404

    @Sunkissed404
    What I meat to say is I am marinating on your comment… :)

  • Vonzell

    This is a beautiful post. Although as a girl I’m not inclined to protect my brothers, it made me think about whether or not I’d want them to be with someone like me. They deserve the world and more, and that’s the standard I must hold myself to. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous

    Some of these comments make my head hurt. Ugh. 

  • Guest

    great post , you don’t hear men think about it that way. its very commendable the way you look out for your sister and your mom. my brother is like that with me and its great but at the same time , ive never known him to have  only one girlfriend. i don’t know why men can look out for their moms and sisters but still don’t hesitate don’t do the same thing to other women that they wouldn’t want another man to do to their sister or mom….. *kanye shrug*  it doesn’t make any sense to me.