Steve Harvey’s lowest common denominator relationship book, “Think Like A Man, Act Like ALady” has been made into a movie featuring likeable actors in roles appropriate for the characterizations of the book’s principles or whatever. I recall reading it when I left the ‘provincial town that I jogged ‘round’ and was living with at my Dad’s for the first of (shave and a haircut!) two bits before I found my way to Omaha. At first I thought it might have the potential to provide insights on why men view relationships the way that they do, but it was more of a glorified stand-up routine based on the same old things that semi-funny comics who find themselves raised beyond their talents. The jury is still out on whether or not I will see the film, because as I said the actors form a pretty solid cast, and despite the material could raise the film up to a level that I can enjoy the movie. Maybe a matinee on a weekend… we will see.
What annoys me the most about this philosophy is its premise of ‘thinking like a man’ will somehow provide women with another tool enabling them to finally land the partner that they have been longing for. First off, I happen to think that there are some people who despite their desire for a relationship are ill-suited to be a companion to anyone. I mean, my indifference, my starter’s wife and her lack of emotional control, are two examples of people who prolly are single for a reason and they really know why they are that way. Then I find the idea that ‘women have to catch a man’ to be a relic of the crumbling patriarchal social era, where finding a good husband was the primary measure of a woman and her success in life.
The article I linked to in my previous entry discussed how African-American women have become disillusioned and maybe a bit jaded at the prospect of marriage despite the numbers that show how beneficial marriage is to an overall standard of living. I think it said the 44% of young African-American women think that marriage is obsolete. I don’t know what the cohort was, but I have heard enough sisters’ who have said that they don’t need a man, not to mention that it was a popular rallying cry for the sisterhood back in the mid-80’s.
AND ANOTHER REASON NOT TO ‘THINK LIKE A MAN’…
Who is to say that African-American men are doing any ‘thinking’? Historically, the men of the house in African-American homes have been the women since the late 60’s. This doesn’t take into account the broad stereotype of the lay-a-bout, irresponsible, lazy and shiftless that many African-American men happen to perpetuate. Add to that the failure of the first order of being a man, by providing materially and spiritually, the spiritual failings being the most egregious.
The reason that relationships are figuratively and literally lost is that the lack of industriousness, the leadership that men are look upon to provide is where the African-American males fall short. It could be said that they have allowed things to be perpetuated at the expense of the image of their women, as well as failed to present a model for children to aspire to. The instinct of women to be nurturers has been taken advantage of by men in society, but again referencing Nisa Muhammad, “when white society has a cold, then black society has pneumonia.” But the shortage is that fewer men are willing to assume the responsibility of being a male in African-American relationship and that the women have to bear the weight of supporting the relationship emotionally, materially, and spiritually, at the same time they are dealing with their own external societal pressures. Sisters have had a bad hand for decades. So why do I have such a hard-on (pun NOT intended) towards African-American women?
There are things about myself that I “think that I think.” But there are also things that I know and have always known about myself. A lot of my sensitive, “he used to be such a sweet boy” behaviors have been translated to things that I am bound to by a duty to be who I am, to be myself. If I do “think too much” as some have told me that I do, it is so that I could lessen the impact of some of the abrasive and harsh things that I have experienced in my life.
Choice Theory is something that I skimmed as a child, and when I say that, I do mean CHILD! While I did not understand it then (though I think I got it more at the time than I prolly do now!!) being around 9 or 10 years old, before I could feel alienated by a society that did not seem to have a place for me, I found words that empowered me to DECIDE.
The hip-hop band Black Sheep made a song called, “The ChoiceIs Yours”, which I think was a deliberate play on Choice Theory. That is part of what endeared them to me and is another one of the songs that loop around on the soundtrack of my life. When I strive to control the dialogue in my mind and words that I make every attempt to avoid using, it is in part motivated by Glasser’s work and that of others that matter the most to me.
My grievances with the Sisterhood of Bitter Black Women and the Single Mother’s Club are that in general, they have made the unconscious choice to be non-committal to relationships and that they have substituted ‘fear’ for their ‘faith’. And by losing the unconscious battle before they even go into the dating pool, many sisters are predictive statistics waiting to happen. I find that beyond my comprehension. I don’t think that you can consistently talk about the things you don’t want in your life and then be surprised when that is exactly what DOES happen. Somewhere, in your brain or in your soul, what you have said is manifest in your life. Do you want to know WHY I speak about not being in pursuit of anything with another? Because my unconscious has heard only positive affirmations and by the logic I use, saying that “I don’t want” something is like putting the emergency brakes on a locomotive that has been traveling at top speed for hundreds of miles. I can’t hope to control what is inside of me, at best, I aim to contain it.
So the reality is that while I am comfortable with not being ‘in’ anything with anyone and can go through the rest of my life on the solo tip, that isn’t what is going on unconsciously. I my only true aim in my life have been to “Nigel” my way through my days and see what comes up. When it comes to being with someone, I have always saw things as a partnership and thought to empower the woman that I was with, among other things. I think of myself as the antithesis of ‘no-good man’ meme that is on the cinema screens in many a sister-girl’s mind.