Life and Religion
|Kiss & Tell: A Black man's epiphany|
|A good woman is worth having|
|Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:30 pm|
It’s a Sunday afternoon. I get a call from one of my guy friends, Maliek. He tells me he’s driving around South Charlotte looking for a new home in an “all-white neighborhood” because he thinks his current neighbors are too ghetto.
Then he tells me he had some grand epiphany the other morning.
“I just woke up, and everything clicked,” he says. “I figured it all out. The key to a man’s success in life is marriage and a family.”
He tells me that every successful man he knows has a wife and two kids.
|Michaela L. Duckett|
“Like my boy Roger, he has been on his job for 25 years,” Maliek says. “His house was paid in full before he turned 43. He’s got a wife and two kids. My boy Charles was a millionaire by the time he was 30. You know what? He’s got a wife and two kids.
“It’s a shame,” he continues. “As young boys, we as black men are taught that we should have mad chicks. Nobody tells us that if we want to be successful we should just have one wife.
“That’s why you have guys out here like T.O. and all these other athletes traveling all over the world and hitting mad chicks, getting them pregnant and catching diseases. Now look at them. They don’t have anything. You know why? Because they didn’t have a strong woman to hold them down.”
Maybe Maliek has a point. I wonder if President Barack Obama would be the success he is today without Michelle. Ironically, they also have two kids (and a big ol’ white house). Maybe Maliek is on to something.
“I’m telling you, Michaela, it’s a plot against the black man,” he says. “Back in the day when hip-hop was real and rappers like KRS had songs with conscious lyrics about bettering our communities, the white man decided he didn’t want little black boys growing up listening to that. So now they’ve paid these rappers millions of dollars to glorify exploiting women, dealing drugs and destroying themselves.
“Just think. How cool are you if you screw 40 women in one month?” he asks. “Just imagine if instead, you find one good woman and make her your wife. Then you can say that nobody else has what you have. You’ve got the baddest woman so you have no need for any other chicks.”
I don’t know any woman who would disagree with that.
“If you want to get biblical,” Maliek continues, “in the Bible, there are only wives. Ain’t no girlfriends in the Bible. That’s what we need to be teaching our young black men. We need to teach them that they need to have their stuff in order so he can have a wife, some kids, a house and be the head of the household.
”I really wish I would have had this epiphany back when I was 18. Man, I’d be set right now.”
Then, Maliek goes into another tirade about how broken homes are the result of the white man’s plot to tear apart the black family. He said government entitlements incentivized single mothers to put their children’s fathers out of the house by rewarding them with checks and housing vouchers.
After we get off the phone, I try to imagine it the other way around. What if we told our girls that they should go out and sow their wild oats and screw as many men as they can before settling down and getting married? But we all know that many times, what is good for the gander is often not acceptable for the goose.
I also find it funny that the very things that Maliek believes directly contribute to a man’s success – family and marriage – are often the same two things that many women have to sacrifice to achieve the same success.
While I do know women who somehow manage to balance it all, I know a lot who may have the husband, but put off the kids until they are further in their career. Some that I know have the kids and the career, but no time for a man. I also know women who have sacrificed their career to have a successful marriage and some kids.
The one that got away
Growing up in a two-parent home, my friend Michael said he knew at an early age that he wanted the same for himself, but now at the age of 41 he’s still unmarried.
He got close once. He met a girl in college and just knew she was the one. They got an apartment together their senior year. Six months after moving in, she got pregnant.
“I just knew we would get married after we got our degrees,” says Michael. “But I guess she had other plans. She moved back home to her family in Connecticut and left me here in North Carolina. She took my daughter and just left. She said she wanted to be close to her family. Here I was thinking, but I am your family. At least I wanted to be.”
After his ex ran away with his kid, Michael says he spent the next 15 years or so playing the field.
“I told myself that I would never allow myself to be hurt like that again,” he says. “A woman can’t crush your heart if you never give it to her. Whenever someone would get close, I would just end it and move on to the next.”
So basically, you were just out here hurting the women you were dating the way your daughter’s mom hurt you? I ask him.
“Yeah, I guess you can say that,” he says.
Do you think you’ll ever get married?
“I really don’t know,” he says. “You know, there was this one girl that I dated a few years ago. She was really special, but she was younger than I am. I figured she’d probably end up leaving me for a guy closer to her age. So after dating her for about a year and a half, I broke it off. I look back on that, and sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing.”
Did you ever try to get her back?
“Yeah, I called her a few times, but she doesn’t really want to hear anything I have to say. She says she doesn’t want me to hurt her again. I guess you could say she’s the one that got away.”
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