The Process: Becoming Fearless For The Woman
It takes balls to be with a woman — huge, massive, obstructing-the-view-of-the-sun, balls.
I’m not talking about having the guts to be her boyfriend, or sleep with her, or ask her hand in marriage so he could be her husband. The fortitude I speak of is required no matter what scenario a man finds himself in with a woman. Whatever the status is between a man and a woman, even if they’re in the most casual of commitments, the requirement for all men, whenever in the company of women, is to never be afraid of anything.
I got hip to the game in high school.
My high school sweetheart and I were driving in my car. I just received my license a month prior. For some boneheaded reason, with her in the car, I decided to race two of my friends on the highway. So we’re zooming past each other, weaving through traffic, and laughing all the while. My girlfriend is screaming at the top of her lungs for me to stop, but I’m not listening, I’m too caught up in trying to win this race. Then, after a quick glance over my right shoulder, I find myself on the highway’s median.
Anyone who has ever been in a car accident knows one of the worst things about it is the noise. It’s loud, no matter how small the hit. So as I’m trying to regain control of my vehicle, I can hear all sorts of things scraping against the ground, my girlfriend screaming even louder, the car shaking, lights on my speedometer going off.
And then, the car stopped. I look over, ask my girlfriend if she’s okay, and she says she’s fine. Then I just look out into the darkness, traffic on both sides of me zooming along, and I start trembling. I squeeze my eyes shut, start rocking my body back and forth, and the fear of what to do next just overwhelms me to the point where I can feel like I’m going to cry. I had no idea what to do, but I was emotional about what just happened, about my own stupidity, and I could feel the tears about to come out.
My girlfriend could see it too, and through her tears (because she’s crying too), she punches me, hard, on my arm, like the way Chris Brown did Rihanna. “No!” she screams. “No! You are not going to cry! You cannot cry!” So I held it in, sucked it up, and drove us to the nearest gas station until my Mom and Triple AAA came. Once we dropped her off, and I was home in my room, I most definitely did let the tears out. Days later, my girlfriend and I talked about what happened, when she said to me, “I don’t think it’s wrong for you to cry, but in a situation like that we’re I’m scared too, you can’t cry. If I’m crying, you can’t.”
In my life, there have been few dynamics between man and woman I have agreed with more. Gender roles have always been very flexible in my book, but I always felt whatever danger comes in the direction of a woman and I, it’s on me to put her out of harm’s way and squash the situation through whatever means possible, even if I’m putting myself at risk.
Ask any man one of his worst fears and if he doesn’t say getting his tail kicked in front of a woman, he’s probably lying or delusional or super strong. Whatever it is, I know I’m one of those guys who prays something like that would never happen. But as I get older, I realize I’m not afraid of losing a fight in front of a woman, so much as I’m afraid of not knowing what to do should danger come our way. I could be in the minority here with this one, but I don’t think I need to win a fight to prove to my woman I’m strong enough to be her man (no Sheryl Crow), I just need her to feel like if I had to I would, win or lose, throw down on her behalf.
The truth is, I don’t know what to do in every situation, and some situations I dream up in my head, scare me to death. One time, I was chilling alone in my apartment when a squirrel came right through my window onto my table. The only good thing about that situation? No woman was around to see me scream, back myself up against and panic until the squirrel eventually left. Not sexy at all.
Part of my growth process is overcoming as many fears as I can with the confidence of knowing exactly what to do. Whenever a man is with a woman, I don’t care if he met her five minutes prior and she tells him she has a man at home, it’s that man’s duty to see to it nothing bad happens to her. He needs to see the tree falling towards her and push her out the way and eat that tree himself. He needs to kill that spider she sees even if he suffers from arachnophobia. He needs to be like Patrick Swayze in Ghost and take the bullet for the woman even if he was just her boyfriend and not her husband (an often overlooked, but significant point in that movie).
Years later, when I was flying back to New York City from visiting my family in California, the flight I was on hit some crazy turbulence. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a deep overwhelming fear of flying. It’s one of the things I hate most in life. And this turbulence was giving me every reason in the world to justify my fears. It was nasty, stomach-turning, flight-crew-take-your-seats, turbulence and it had me shook. Considering I felt like I was going to die any second — even though I once heard a pilot say no planes crash because of turbulence — I could feel the lump in my throat that triggers a good cry. What stopped me? I looked over to my left and I saw the woman sitting next to me crying, looking out the window. With tears in her eyes she looked at me, and again, the plane dropped. Startled, she grabbed my hand and just faced forward. I squeezed it and told her what I once heard a pilot told me. It didn’t do much good initially, but once we hit some friendly skies and our flight smoothed out, she turned to me and said, “Thank you for telling me that. I never knew.”
I don’t know why I feel so strongly about being this Superman in front of women, but I always thought it had something to do with being the man of the house throughout my high school years and that fateful car accident I got into with my high school sweetheart.
When it comes to a dangerous or harmful situation, I may be just as afraid of the situation as any woman is, but I don’t want to show it, and I realize what’s necessary for me to maintain my composure is the confidence I know what I’m doing. The more I know, the more fearless I can be. Some things I’m more than confident in handling, others not so much, but it’s the situations I’m unsure of that I want to be prepared for the most. Becoming fearless on my own will better prepare me to be fearless for the woman I ultimately end up with.
SEVENTH Edition of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast is now up. Click here to listen