Last week, I read an article talking about how women basically down men when they (the women) are talking about them (the men). The article said how our men, black men (cuz that’s all I can speak on), are “despised, degraded, and criticized” but then, at the same time, deeply desired by us women. The article’s writer wanted to know how it was possible that we could be so flip-floppy about the whole thing. Either we hate the men that much, or we want them that much.
The article got me to thinking about something my mama used to say about how women should speak about our men. My mama used to say (“Take your time, young man…” My bad…LOL That’s NOT what my mama used to say), “Don’t talk down to or about your man, the man you want, or the man you had.
For a long time, I didn’t understand and disagreed with why she would say such a thing. Especially since I was subjected to the way the men she dated treated her. It was not always pretty, but she never actually had a nasty word to say about the men. On the contrary, she would accentuate the positive in most cases. Basically, she said that even if dude was dirty, don’t talk dirty about him. If he was your man, you were supposed to be lifting him up whenever possible. I couldn’t get with that. How am I going to speak positive things about a man who only shows me negative shyt? How can I be positive when I really just wanna smack him for being such a negative crass? LOL
But, then I really began to LISTEN to women, and how they discuss the men in their lives, and you know what? I thought my mama might’ve been on to something. She was making some sense. Women don’t generally “applaud” any of the good things men do, so why would men want to exhibit any good?
For example: I’ve got a homegirl who really, really wants this one particular guy. She really wants him. BUT, she never has anything good to say about him. He’s a mechanic. When they first met, if she needed him, he was right there. But, for her, that wasn’t good enough. Forget the fact that her car is 10yrs old with almost 200,000 miles on it, if he fixed something wrong with it (and he didn’t charge her labor, and only half the price in parts) in her eyes, he took too long to fix it; he should have paid ALL the price for the prts. He NEVER does anything right. She calls him “the idiot” (though he’s a perfectly competent mechanic); he’s an “asshole” if he’s got to leave to go to work on someone else’s car; and he just plumb “won’t do right” although she can’t even decide what the hell RIGHT is.
Of course, he quit coming around right away when she called, hell, he never even got a thank you when he was finished, instead she’d say “that’s what he’s s’posed to do.” Girlfriend never has anything good to say about the man. (She can’t even consciously say he’s cute, she’ll say “He alright” instead.) She dogs him verbally, she degrades him and his values, his ideas and his dreams, she puts him down and she calls him names!
But, she’d give up her left leg and right tit to have this man to call her own. She desires him so badly, she dreams about him when she sleeps; she worries about him when they’re not together; she’d give her most prized possession (whatever that may be) if she could just have him.
That example is just one of many to push my point. My mama said speak well of your man and he will do well by you; show your man that you don’t care, especially by the way you talk to or about him, and eventually, he will show you that he doesn’t care, either. She said (and I’ll paraphrase here…) it’s really kind of hard to express yourself positively about a man who seems to only have bad qualities, but if that’s the case, why do you want him? If that dude has some quality or qualities that you genuinely admire, express THOSE qualities that you admire. A man desires to be respected by the woman he desires. If she’s constantly showing disrespect, he’ll act accordingly.
I get it now; I understand what she was saying. So why don’t other women get it? Why is it easier to tear a man down rather than to build him up? The Bible talks about blessing and cursing at the same time. We want to give the man our blessing by showing him we want him, but we are quicker to curse him with our negative talk to and about him…we inadvertently push him away from us with our words.
Back to the article writer’s thoughts…. How can we women speak so harshly against something we desire so much? It’s time we flip the script on that. It’s time we start accentuating the positive for our men TO our men; that way, the men will be more willing to show us more positive sides of themselves.
Speak with respect, get respect, give respect.