Theory & Essay

Homies, Pals, Hombres and Hombrecitas.

Aside: I’m watching the Youth Ball on MTV right now in my city.  SOMEBODY please get Kanye some clippers and a haircut.  Please.  He seems to be growing a shag.  He doesn’t seem to know it.  Thank you.

President Barack Obama.  It’s official.

We major?  Come on homie, we major.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Back to work.

How many of you have moved from one city to another at some point, by yourself?  How many of you have moved to a city where you pretty much didn’t know anybody and had to – gulp – make friends?  And to complete the murder, how many of you AREN’T Greek and ARE guys?

Mmhmm.

The older you get, social networking becomes a part of your life, almost as important as not making eye contact with a crackhead or not getting your junk caught in a door while doing naked cartwheels.

Don’t ask.

No really, don’t ask.

But social networking can be completely awkward, especially if you’re not a gregarious person who’s okay with going out by yourself.  Which brings up a most awkward of awkward of situations – men trying to make new male friends.

I see a few of you harumphing out there, but think about it.  In this day and age of uber-pride and blatant homophobia and misguided paranoia (though all Black men are entitled to some paranoia), it’s extremely hard to make new male friends randomly.  Which sucks if you move to a new city.  Look, meeting women isn’t a problem for most guys, even the shyest of guys can meet a chick at work or at a work function pretty easily.  But truthfully, all men need male bonding.  We need to be around other guys so that we can lie to eachother about our exploits and talk sh*t about things we’ll never do.  Or also to go on (wo)manhunts to sow our royal oats.

Have you ever seen a guy trying to make new male friends?  There’s always a very funny conversation that occurs because, well, it is actually just damn funny because you get to witness grown ass men at their most vulnerable and awkward moment.

Scene:  Random book club where for some reason, only two males were invited.  End of book club where the two dudes have been the hit of the meeting b/c they’re both a**holes and comics at the same time – which both recognize

Guy A:  Man, you’re funny as hell.

Guy B:  You too…you slayed me.  Pause.

A:  Word.  We should hang sometime.

B:  Yeah.  We should.

5 minutes of more random talk occurs.

A:  Um, okay.  I’ll holler.

B:  Yeah, son.  See you around.  You coming to another one of these?

A:  I hope so.

B:  Okay, see you then.

Now, they both clearly want to hang but you know what’s REALLY difficult?

Abstract Algebra, that’s what.

But almost as hard is asking a grown ass man for his number.  Seriously.  It aint like meeting in college where friendships just happen.  Basically these two cats recognized that they could be friends, but male pride got in the way.  Fathers never teach their songs how to make male friends (read ask a grown man for his phone number after meeting once).  We just make friends over time.  They never teach us about moving to a new place and having to find new hombres.

Women seem to be able to do this easier because girls can exchange numbers and gush and all that stuff that makes men look vulnerable.  Now, the women might chuck eachother after a few days for whatever reason, but they can make friends – assuming they’re at the right place to meet likeminded people.  Granted, the same anxiety probably exists for women, but its amplified sevenfold for men.

Sad, I know.  And it is for that reason that I wanted to bring this plight to the masses.  Men need help.  So in the spirit of Obama and making a difference in the world, let’s help the brothas out.  How should grown ass men make new friends?  Do women have these same problems?  And if so, how does one overcome such obstacles?

Heal the world.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P

BTW, I’m currently “twittering” (whatever that means) with the rest of the world.  Add me, I need validation.  LOL.  Joking.  www.twitter.com/panamajackson

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://www.nykola.com Ambra

    Just wanted to say…although I do it myself, “Twittering” sounds pretty darn gay. We need to come up with a better adjective, please.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ambra,

      long time no type and sh*t.

      and yeah, along with its latent homosexuality, “twittering” is too difficult to say. it makes my tongue sad.

      • http://www.nykola.com Ambra

        @The Champ, What up!? I know I’ve been MIA. I’m makin a comeback though I swear. Love what you’re doin here with VSB.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Ambra, i agree with you 100 percent. thing is, it’s been accepted as a means of communicating. we gots to do better people. lol.

  • Leila

    “How many of you have moved from one city to another at some point, by yourself? How many of you have moved to a city where you pretty much didn’t know anybody and had to – gulp – make friends? And to complete the murder, how many of you AREN’T Greek and ARE guys?”

    I moved across the country last summer (NY to Seattle) and didn’t know anyone when I got here and I’m female and not part of any sororities. It wasn’t that hard to make friends because Seattle is a really friendly city and I work in Consulting so if I’m not at work, then I’m socializing. It’s a lot easier to make friends if you’re outgoing and friendly….I always thought that it was easier for guys to bond, especially if there’s sports and alcohol involved..

    Congrats to President Barack Obama!!!!

    • Coco

      @Leila,

      I just moved from Seattle to Austin. I’m jealous that you’re in Seattle…where are you living? How do you like it so far? How long have you been there? I must say though, people in Seattle are pretty nice in general…especially compared to the east coast.

      • Leila

        @Coco, I love Seattle! It’s a really cool city. It’s really pretty too:) I’ve been here for about 7 months now. People are really friendly here. It took a minute to get used to it because I moved here from NY, but now I smile and say hi to everyone.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Leila,

      I always thought that it was easier for guys to bond, especially if there’s sports and alcohol involved..

      its easy to bond…but its tough to take it to the next (“hey, maybe we should hang out and get some boston chicken or something”) level

      • AkShone

        …exactly.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @The Champ, right. i can meet people all the live long day. lucky for me i went to an HBCU and always know folks everywhere i go.

        • GEMazing

          NOT all the live long day. wowsers– it’s been a minute since i heard that.

      • Leila

        @The Champ, Good point. It’s probably a lot easier for girls to exchange numbers.

  • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

    I’ve always taken for granted how easily it is for me to make friends, most of the time w/out even trying. I mean, I’m the darling of every establishment I frequent. People love me, because I love people (today). I think it has to do w/how comfortable I am w/myself (finally, after all these years) and how much faith I have in what God does through our relationships. I try to do my best in relationships because I believe to do so is honoring God’s blessing of a good friend.

    Anyway, if guys aren’t comfortable exchanging numbers, how about email addys? That way you won’t have to be too intimate right away (or appear to be). Once the two guys are exchanging email messages, they can just agree to meet up @ events and all that jazz. It shouldn’t be over thought or overdone. Just let if flow naturally.

    And yes, I am looking for more letters for my blog. Ya’ll need to write me. My sagacity is backing up. I just may have a sagacious dream tonight. Maybe I’ll write to myself, just to release the pressure.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.,

      Anyway, if guys aren’t comfortable exchanging numbers, how about email addys?

      eh. can’t imagine the following scenario

      ***two relatively like-minded guys sitting on bleachers, rapping, after intense ball-game***

      guy 1: “…but yeah, after that, i never looked at a pencil or milk in the same light ever again”

      guy 2: **laughing**

      guy 2: “yo…we should chill some time, and watch kung-fu”

      guy 1: “i was thinking the same thing”

      guy 2: “here. take my email address. its b-a-r-r-y underscore, d, underscore, w-h-i-t-e, underscore 131.”

      guy 1″ wait…lemme get some paper or something to write it down.”

      guy 1, addressing the group ” yo, any of ya’ll n*ggas got some paper and sh*t?”

      group reply: “naw, n*gga”

      guy 1 to guy 2: “oh well. i guess we’ll never watch kung fu together”

      • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

        @The Champ,

        *shrug*

        Maybe I was wrong then. Thank God I was blessed w/a vagina then, cuz I’d make a lot of folks uncomfortable.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.,

          “Maybe I was wrong then.”

          “Thank God I was blessed w/a vagina then, cuz I’d make a lot of folks uncomfortable.”

          its not often you see two sentences you’ve never, ever said before in the same comment

      • Leila

        @The Champ, lol!

      • http://freetherapyorelse.blogspot.com Sula In Planning.

        @The Champ,

        They can exchange Business Cards. That’s easy and professional… no?

        Like PBG says, when it comes easy to you, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it can be for someone else.

  • GEMazing

    just wanna shout out my ETWIN, overit. and a special thanks to Ivy and Champikins for puttin me up on this site since VSB is now the nexus that joins me with my long-[unknowingly]-lost e-soul’s other half. note: this is not to be confused with my other half in darkieness, Ivy, where together we 100% hold down negrodom in pitt’s neuro program, holla!

    all in all, i am a complete 1.5 person with my other 2 halves. and becuz of that my life will be grand (even in the midst of the battle ppl call “comps”)

    • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Relax, Relate, Alise

      @GEMazing,

      What are you talking ’bout? That was as confusing as Champ. lol….

      • GEMazing

        *shrugs* no idea. just typing randomness to be typing. Peej’s ADHD is contagious apparently.

        the idea was to pay homage to my etwin and our etwinniness.

        • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Relax, Relate, Alise

          @GEMazing,

          Got ya silly rabbit…. :)

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          @GEMazing, whoa wait…i have ADHD?? what color is red?

    • Ivy St.

      @GEMazing,
      Thanks for the shout out Gem! No e-hug necessary. I’ll hug you when I see you. ;) I think Comps are starting to get to you. Don’t look directly at the words or at least not too long. *sending vibes of motivation*

    • http://freetherapyorelse.blogspot.com Sula-in-training

      @GEMazing,

      Hang in there, darling… :)

      Check this article out… you’ll get some chuckles out of it.

      http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2005/07/2005072801c.htm

  • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Relax, Relate, Alise

    I wanna move, because I know everyone and my town and wish I had that problem of meeting new folks and finding friends, instead of fooling with these bamas in my vicinity. Sorry just had to vent since you was talmbout friends and sh*t….

  • RedBeanzNRice

    Ok, I understand the number exchange thing, but what about suggesting a meeting spot. Like “Hey, what are you doing on such and such a day? If you can, meet me at around 2pm at such and such a place, there’s an event taking place.”

    That doesn’t seem gay and it’s pretty casual. Now after they meet and if they have a good time, it would feel more comfortable to exchange numbers and hang out again. No?

    • GEMazing

      what dudes meet up for the 1st time at 2 in the afternoon?? that seems suspect to me.

      • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

        @GEMazing, What is a totally un-gay time of day for two men to meet up? I mean, I’d like to know, just in case Ikey asks one day.

        • Herb

          @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.,

          After 4:30 pm and before 11 pm. All other hours should be dedicated to making some sweet moolah, scheming on some tang, or sleeping.

          • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

            @Herb,

            I am so glad to be a girl. Well, maybe not. Besides menstruation being a life-long bitch, “Girl Code” sucks.

        • GEMazing

          @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.,

          see now, i didn’t say mtg at 2p was GAY. i said it was SUSPECT. if it’s a week day, shouldn’t you be at work?? i mean, normal lunch hours are approx from 11:30-1:30p. even if you’re a student or some one with flexible work hours, what is it you’d do at 2p with another man? if it’s the weekend, 2p is still a random time in the middle of the day. even on football Sunday, that’s a time AFTER games have started. unless you’re meeting at the gym, it’s a strange hour.

          that’s all i’m saying.

          • MillieJ

            @GEMazing,

            I never thought about this but, It does seem suspect,a bit. Like if my SO told me him and homeboy decided to hang out at 1 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, I’d be a little “for what?”…IDK middle afternoon meetings always remind me of hookup times.

            whatev, glad I’m a women.never thought about how difficult it must be for one grown man to ask for another’s digits.

            This pot just reminds me of that Madtv skit:
            can I get yo numba??
            can I get it?

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @GEMazing,

        what dudes meet up for the 1st time at 2 in the afternoon?? that seems suspect to me.

        lol…this made me laugh aloud for real. who knew that san diegoans could make funnies?

      • http://tiffanybbrown.com/ tiffany

        @GEMazing: 1 or 2pm is perfectly acceptable so long as there is a game involved: “you wanna catch the laker-celtics game at dugan’s?”

    • RedBeanzNRice

      So I guess that’s a “no”?

  • Herb

    In that 5 minutes of random talk, youre gonna get a story. A story made to show off something good, some advantage, something worth mentioning. Something the other guy has to ask questions about, something he wants to get invited to, something you want to invite him to, something he can take advantage of. An open mf’n invitation.

    “Yall play hoops? When and where!?”

    “Oh snap, you have a washer and dryer? The laundromat is KILLIN my wallet!”

    “Yall play Rock Band drunk? I’m down!!”

    An offer that gives you a roundabout reason to make contact elsewhere.

    Offer not made? Offer not taken? Bromance fail.

    • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

      @Herb,

      I will never be comfortable w/the term “Bromance”. Not ever.

      • Herb

        @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.,

        You shouldnt be. But then were posting about how two straight guys exchange numbers. Its 2009. The president isnt white. Holy sh!t.

        • http://freetherapyorelse.blogspot.com Sula-in-training

          @Herb,

          That comment made me cackle out loud.

    • Coco

      @Herb,

      Yeah, um…Bromance = Down low brother.

      • Herb

        @Coco,

        You should google it.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Herb,

      In that 5 minutes of random talk, youre gonna get a story. A story made to show off something good, some advantage, something worth mentioning. Something the other guy has to ask questions about, something he wants to get invited to, something you want to invite him to, something he can take advantage of. An open mf’n invitation.

      good points and sh*t

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Herb, good point. i do think there’s usually a means to find a way to kick it, however, you got to put pride down and somebody has to take the first step…unless it’s for the good lovin’, most dudes ain’t taking the next step with ease.

  • http://www.nykola.com Ambra

    I mean verb. My bad.

    “Bromance” is also disturbing.

    • Voiceofreason

      @Ambra,

      I feel like that show should be on here! or Logo, not MTV. It’s very borderline “How you doin?”.

  • http://stankoniforous.blogspot.com Stank-0

    I felt compelled to jump in here b/c I moved to DC and it’s supposed to be difficult to make friends and I succeeded.

    The easiest way is an invitation to go watch sports, that requires a minimum of planning therefore numbers are exchanged.

    Also its how you ask. “Can I get your #, digits, cell #, etc” sounds exceedingly suspect. “We should link and watch the Super Bowl, I heard about this one jawn that is a hoasis” works much much better.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Stank-0,

      Also its how you ask. “Can I get your #, digits, cell #, etc” sounds exceedingly suspect. “We should link and watch the Super Bowl, I heard about this one jawn that is a hoasis” works much much better.

      good point. there are many ways to circumvent latent homophobia.

    • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

      @Stank-0, A “hoasis”???

      *dead*

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T., “hoasis” is a term that was made popular in the Best Man and has been a staple of me and my boys communication ever since.

        it is, definitively, a great word.

        • http://www.heyyouasked.blogspot.com PBG aka The Notorious C.A.T.

          @Panama Jackson,

          I’ve watched that movie a bunch of times and never noticed it. I will have to watch it again now, and attempt to stomach Taye Diggs once more.

    • Leila

      @Stank-0, “Also its how you ask. “Can I get your #, digits, cell #, etc” sounds exceedingly suspect.”

      I see guys exchange business cards a lot. This could be another way of exchanging #’s without looking suspect.

      • Pey-SO

        @Leila, finally a good idea, but now all he gonna have is my work number (pause)

  • http://bmilam.com Matthew Milam

    This is not really a problem with black people. Most folks aren’t really all that conversational unless they get touched in a certain comfort zone. Somehow we’ve gotten to an age where if we say someone has no friends that that person is an asshole. That’s not really true.

    Personally the one with all the friends, the one who smooches everyone all the time, the one who always gets everything is the one who probably suffers the most. You hear all the time about these people, these “perfect” people, telling the very people they think are social lepurs that 90 percent of who they deal with ain’t worth toilet paper.

    What does that say? Just because everyone comes to you for conversation doesn’t mean everyone is a friend. That’s a mistake people who become sociable make which is why people ultimately become paranoid and untrusting towards strangers.

    Everybody lies. You just have to be able to know that that applies to even the greats.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Matthew Milam,

      although i’m not sure exactly how your last three paragraphs relate to the entry, welcome and sh*t.

      • SouthernGirl

        @The Champ, lol. i was wondering too

        @Matthew Milam,

        welcome!!!

        *shooting gold stars*