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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.

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  • 05girl

    So will we now be seeing more controversial comments simply to up your numbers?

  • Samantha

    Really good one. 🙂

  • http://Www.Christielover.blogspot.com Rebekah

    HUGE fan of your site this is one of my favorite post. I love how your post are sometimes parallel to my relationship. It’s always nice to refer to you blog and your honesty is always appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/JaneanAriel JaneanAriel

    Your need to be “Superman in front of women” is normal and innate for most men. I know this is 2010 and women are extremely independent, but we still need men to be well, MEN! I think God knew exactly what he was doing when he created man and woman. We have different physical and metal characteristics for a reason! If man and woman did not have gender specific roles than it would just be one sex! Point, blank, period! So, get your Superman on!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/JaneanAriel JaneanAriel
  • Starita34

    Loved this post Jozen. Had the Jozen characteristics that I appreciate so much. Honesty, raw emotion, introspection, reality, perspective. Well done.

  • http://thecandyshoppe.wordpress.com Ronnie6676

    This is soo very true. Once an old boyfriend and I were walking in a dark parking structure when we noticed some men who didn’t look like they had any good intentions towards us. I was soo scared and I know he was too. I mean he was down to fight but there were 3 of them so it was pretty uneven odds. But he was so calm and he told me that while he was dealing with them that I was to run and get help. In my head I was thinking I can’t leave you here to get the mess kicked out of you but at the same time I was like wow he is willing to put himself out there just to make sure I’m safe. To this day when I am with him I never have a concern for my well being. I know that he is going to do what needs to be done no matter if he’s afraid or not.

  • http://www.avenue8.com MissMina

    Men may say that they would never want to go through childbirth, but as a woman, I would never want to have the responsibility of taking the bullet.

    Good post.

  • TMaria

    “He needs to kill that spider she sees even if he suffers from arachnophobia.” I will never forget the time a friend of mine was staying at my house when suddenly I heard him scream for dear life. I thought I was going to see a 3 foot tarantella that had escaped from the zoo. I never saw the creature but he claimed it was the worst thing he ever saw. Years later I have yet to encounter this beastly arachnid he described, just the normal household daddy long legs and even the strangest ones are no bigger than my finger tip. He definitely lost mad cool points for that one.

    My motto has always been “If I’m crying your job is to keep it together”. Great Post!!

  • ladybird

    Parallel with waking up before your woman and driving (even if it’s her car)……the things that make a man so appealing…for me at least 🙂 another great post.

  • LaToya

    I loved this. As much as I have feminist leanings, it always comes down to just just what you wrote about for me. I want to be with the man who, even if he doesn’t know what to do, will take the lead.

  • http://weightlossandthesinglegirl.wordpress.com/ Single Girl

    I smiled all the way through this. I have always said, ‘I’m glad I don’t have to be the Man.’ The stress of being ‘manly’ is too much for this girl. Great post J! -SG

  • BoomShots

    The male version of crying in the face of danger is peeing your pants!!

    Most times those reactions are involuntary and I don’t think they exclude being able to react correctly.

    I don’t get too caught up in many of these male/female roles because I grew up with some pretty tough women…who kicked ass and cried while doing it too. As a kid I never cried because I was sad, my crying always accompanied my being angry and out of control. So if my woman saw me in that state she would be right to be wary. But not necessarily because I was afraid but because I would be dangerous.

    I understand that there are men and women out here for whom some of these gender roles are deeply ingrained. I don’t see anything wrong with that even if I disagree, I just hope you don’t liberally apply them to everyone else because they won’t always fit. Because there are context for our behavior and part of the progress we have made in our society is that we have managed to slowly remove the limits about people’s ability based on their race,age, gender or sexuality.

    Its always endearing when people behave like we want or expect to act but its not necessarily the only way of being or necessarily better.

  • **inquiring mind**

    Yo… that part when you were about to cry after the accident = HILARIOUS! Like I could see it… whewww too funny.

    “no Sheryl Crow”… ha ha ha – bruh you are on!

    “back myself up against (the wall I’m guessing) and panic until the squirrel eventually left”… Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

    “I could feel the lump in my throat that triggers a good cry.”… Oh no, I’m crying from laughing so hard.

    Thanks for that :)!

  • Jay

    I’m currently reading Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady…” and many of your posts, especially this one, coincide with what he says about men. He says that one way that a man shows a woman he loves her is by protecting her. I’m a little skeptical about the generalizations in his book so far, but your posts seem to be validating them. And the part about the squirrel, CLASSIC. I would’ve been right next to you screaming for dear life, I mean what else are you supposed to do? When the squirrel left, I would have hit the floor and started laughing!
    Good post!

  • Kae-Toya

    Good post J

  • http://www.realtalk123.com AlesiaMichelle

    I just recently did a post like this, basically saying that I feel really uncomfortable with male tears. But, I understand that everyone is human and tears are natural.
    But, I can cry at the smallest things and I can’t deal with both of us crying… Oh no! that would be too much!

  • Shaquetta

    Good post.

  • http://lefthandscribble.tumblr.com LoveB_Jones

    Ahhh this is the second time I’ve heard this. I remember something major occurring in my previous relationship and how I was crying like no other. I remember asking my ex why he wasn’t crying b/c it made me feel like he didn’t care and he responded with, “Well I feel like as the man I can’t cry when you’re crying. That’s only going to make you feel worse.” That was very true.

  • http://twitter.com/TeshTesh T.Cam

    Loved this.

  • Roni

    Loved this; definitely going on my list of favorites.

  • Anonymous

    Lol, great post. I don’t mind a man crying, I’m more concerned about those who bottle it up and then explode or have their emotions slowly eat them alive. I probably would’ve backed up into that wall with you concerning that squirrel, but then hopefully share a hearty laugh over it while devising a way to get the critter out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668083450 Nadia Imiss Jman Woods

    Sorry but I totally laughed at the part where you say she punched you in the ARM like Chris did Rihanna..

  • Rohlehr

    A SQUIRREL? Really? They’re cute and probably harmless.

  • Anonymous

    this post was spot on. i know men get scared too but the last thing i need or want is for the man i’m with to freak out when i need him to be the strong protector. women want to feel protected and even though we know you’re just as scared as we are, the last thing we want is for you to run screaming for the hills when danger is near, lol.

    as for the squirrel… i can’t even blame you, they’re cute and all but some have rabies and others are just plain crazy, lol.

  • citygirl22

    Hahahahaha this reminds me of the episode of SATC where Carrie had a mouse in her apartment, and as she screamed, her boyfriend dodged into a corner and then, squirming, hopped up onto a chair. The squirrel bit was absolutely HILARIOUS!!!!

    What you’re talking about is one aspect of chivalry. Often, men are socialized to be protectors and providers; so much so that they internalize a desire to appear strong for women. Which is, of course, wonderfully compassionate and noble when you are comforting a crying woman on a plane, consoling a distraught girlfriend, or reassuring a fearful companion. It shouldn’t, however, mean that a man cannot/must not ever show weakness.

    The one part of this post that I think is a bit ill-placed is your story about drag racing on the highway. If I were your girlfriend, I would have punched you too (and HARD)– NOT because I needed you to be strong for me… but because your DUMBA$$, against my frantic and vigorous protests, got us into that situation in the first place, therefore nullifying your right to cry. That ain’t about balls, homie. I also think I would have been too angry and hurt enough by such a selfish, reckless act (i.e., putting my life in danger for the sake of a thrill) to continue in the relationship. Your man card would have been revoked because of your stupidity, not because you were shaken afterward.