Let A Man Do What He Has To Do
In the years since I graduated from Howard University, I have only missed homecoming once. That was in 2007. Anytime I bring this up, a person (always a woman) ask me why, and I tell them I was in a relationship. They ask me why I let that stop me, I say, “Well, I wasn’t going to bring her and I for damn sure wasn’t going to go by myself because that would be trouble.” They ask me why would it be trouble.
Months prior to homecoming, that same year, one of my best friends was living in London and insisted all of us, my whole crew, come out to visit. I was, of course, in a relationship with my ex at the time and I told her about the invite but I told her I wasn’t going. She asked me why. I said it wouldn’t be good for me to go. She asked me why again. I said I have a thing for black women with English accents. She asked what’s that have to do with anything. I said well if I meet a black girl with an English accent, I’m going to get in trouble. She asked me why I would get in trouble.
Here is the answer to the last question in each scenario I just wrote about. The reason I would get in trouble is because I knew back then I was no match for temptation. In both instances, when I explained how I was liable to cheat, the woman’s reply was something along the lines of, “Well if you were in love you wouldn’t cheat.”
To which I say, I am in love and to me love is not so much resisting temptation when it’s waving at me in front of my face, but avoiding all possible scenarios where temptation would rear it’s ugly head.
I have a theory called the Alcoholic Bartender Theory. The way I see it, if I was running a restaurant and I knew my most talented bartender also had a drinking problem, I would cut my losses and re-assign him to another area in the restaurant. Now of course he can bring me his sponsor and all this proof he’s sobered up, so as to show he can control himself behind a bar, but why even take the risk? Why put him in the exact same scenario that probably contributed to him landing in rehab in the first place?
This is the theory I applied back in 2007 when I was avoiding a week in the UK with my boys and a weekend down in D.C. with my boys, yet some women never seem to understand why I couldn’t do both. But what’s funny is, when I explained to my boys why I couldn’t go overseas or down to the District for homecoming was because I had a girl, they didn’t even flinch. Sure they made fun of me, but they certainly didn’t question my love for my girl. As a matter of fact, they said the exact opposite. When plans were being made to go the UK, it was right around the time things were getting serious. When I told my boys it was because I was getting serious about this girl, I wouldn’t be going on the trip, my boys knew how serious I was. As one of them said to me, “Damn man, you must really love that girl.”
He was right. I did.
Women have to understand that when a man is in love with her, he will do everything in his power to keep straight. That’s honestly probably the reason why some men don’t want to get into a relationship. Some men (emphasis on some, not all) know in order for them to be happy with the boyfriend they are, they have to let go of a lot of things they used to be. As I always say, you date someone for who they are, but you love someone for who they become.
I have been single for two years now, and in those two years I have developed a lot of habits that are not relationship-friendly. When I think about the idea of getting into a relationship with a woman again, the idea of it all seems so daunting. Not because of the things I will have to learn, but because of the things I will have to unlearn. This here bachelor life is a lifestyle, and I know when I get into a relationship, I will be making a decision to live a different lifestyle, but women always seem to not understand the differences between the two, so they wonder why a man can’t be the same guy he was before he met her.
Women think men avoid titles because they don’t want others to know what kind of relationship they’re in, when really a lot of men just want to deserve the title they’re given. If a man isn’t willing to work for a title, he doesn’t want it bestowed upon him. And if a man is given a title or asks for it, then he’s willing to do whatever it takes to retain the title day after day.
If a man is doing things like avoiding a night out with his boys, avoiding guys only trips, changing his phone number so the old girls won’t keep calling, I’m not saying he deserves a pat on the back. But he for damn sure doesn’t need to be asked if all those moves are necessary. For some of us (again emphasis on some, thumbs up to the men to whom this post does not apply), they are. Quit worrying about why a man can’t be himself just because he’s in a relationship. He’s been himself for years and now maybe he wants to be someone else, specifically, a good boyfriend and, who knows, eventually a good husband. Whatever it takes, let a man do what he has to do.
P.S.: The fourth edition of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast is now ready for your enjoyment. Click here to listen or download.