Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should I Wait For Him To Get His Money Right?


Recently, a few of my friends have come across the sentiment that men don’t want to even date seriously if they’re not in a certain place financially. Can you explain whether this is really a thing or an excuse to … Continue reading

Deconstructing the Destructive Tendencies of Men Towards Relationships

We never mean to hurt you. Seriously. We don’t.

We just have no clue what we’re doing. Well, we know what we’re doing, but we have no clue what we’re doing.

Let me back this train up a bit before it gets rolling. Back in March, I was a panelist in the MadameNoire series, Ask A Black Man. In said series, I made a statement that was easy enough to digest at the time but over the course of time I’ve really thought about why it’s true. What I said was this:

“I’m not a bad buy, but I’ve definitely made some bad guy moves.”

I dont remember what this was in response to but I think that’s the case for a significant portion of us menfolks out here. The truth is, most of us aren’t really bad guys intending to lie, cheat, and be the most inconsiderate people ever. To the contrary rather. I’d wager that most guys want to be stand up people and be viewed favorably by everybody they come across. There is definitely a segment of the male populace that couldn’t give any less f*cks if you stole their soul and sold it to Robert Johnson for a bag of skittles. Those individuals do exist.

But again, that’s not the majority. Most of us want to meet nice women, sleep with most of them, but fall in love with one who we can’t wait to settle down with and hear a little person call “mommy”. Some of it is programming, but a lot of it is our natural desire to procreate and have live in protection-free lovin’.

But the line between single and married is a journey full of pratfalls, bad decisions, and regrets. Especially for men. See, most of us well-intentioned individuals, again, have no clue what we’re doing.

Sure we know how to spit a little game and get second and third dates and bed a lot of women. It’s really not that hard if you have even a little bit of personality and talk to you.

Quick side story: A few years ago, an ex-girlfriend of mine who by this point was a good friend of mine (it can happen), was listening to me talk about my various dating situations and a few involving women who just did not f*ck with me anymore. She listened without saying much, save for a few “mmhmms” and “why did you do that? okay” here and there. After about 10 minutes of the convo she said, “P, you know what your problem is, you have no clue what you’re doing. It’s like you want everybody to like you and you don’t want to hurt anybody so you end up pissing more people off in the process. Is the truth that hard? It can’t be. You’re telling it to me. But at some point you have to realize that sometimes you have to let people hate you. But even before you get there, you’ve got to make better decisions upfront and realize that for every one of these small bad decisions you make there’s another person at the end of it wondering what the hell happened and why? But no, you just fly by the seat of your pants and hope it all works out only to ultimately create enemies out of women who would make valuable friends to you if you’d just been straight up in the first place.”

Well, damn. And ouch. Not that I’m sure they’d all be “real” friends in that I do think that once I entered into a relationship, many would just fall off. But her point wasn’t lost on me.

Back to the lecture at hand. When dating or single according to our FB profiles, many guys will entertain the whims of a lot of women. Not just the ones he’s interested in, but also the ones paying him attention. What’s a little convo going to hurt? Nothing. Except we all forget that time means a lot to women. You give a woman you don’t know an hour of time on the phone she will likely view it as time you could have spent doing something else but you chose to spend it with her. Texting good morning everyday? Yeah, dumb move if you’re not feeling her because many women assume that makes them special. It’s nothing to send that text but they don’t know that you’re not going out of your way to think of them. Again, nothing bad buy about it, its just that we don’t view time and/or attention the same way.

So say we’re doing this with muliple women. They don’t know. Why should they? The right hand doesn’t need to know what the left hand is doing. Both men and women subscribe to this ideology. But instead of ever having a conversation about what’s really going on, we just decide to forego it and see where things go. With everybody. And naturally, one tends to stand out above the rest. She’s usually as poison as she can be…you know the rest.

Now none of this is a problem. Until it becomes one. At some point the women are all going to ask you what’s up and you can give them all the same line but this is when bad decisions come into play. See, not wanting to hurt any of them we find little ways to reassure them that we care and that they’re around for a reason. What’s the reason? Who knows. But we never say that. Why would we? The truth might hurt.

That would suck.

We pretend we care about these other women, except we don’t. Or at least not until its too late. All we care about is not hurting them. That’s not caring, that’s selfish. Instead of being straight up with them we hope 2 things happen: 1) that they’ll just go away on their own if we stop talking to or seeing them as much; and 2) that they never end up having to be hurt by being confronted with the half-truths and lies we’ve told. Some if it isn’t even lies. Some of it is delusion on the part of the women. I will always believe this. But that doesn’t absolve me from providing the clarity needed to temper some of that delusion (all of it isn’t going away…let’s be real).

So instead of handling the situations up front and being clear and fair to all the women we may or may not have been dealing with, we just deal with the aftermath. Women aren’t stupid. They realize eventually and they get pissed and upset because two things women hate more than anything are being ignored and not having full information. The third which ties with them both is believing there’s another woman in the picture which fuels the first two.

Now again, even after all of that, none of this intentional. It’s all done out of hopefully not hurting any particular woman. Except, we do more damage this way than we would by being straight up. And we KNOW this.


That’s the worst part about it. We know better. Most of us know what we’re doing even if we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s not on purpose but the end result is the same. By attempting to be benevolent through selfishness, contempt and animosity unfold. Sure we’ve got a woman who is probably unaware of all of the drama around her because of him (or in rare cases ends up being apart of it…maybe that’s not so rare) and we’ve decided to be true and real with this one, but how many women did we break on that journey?

We’ve all got pasts and men and women have done things that we’re not proud of to people who didn’t deserve it. But most of it could be prevented on the front end. Some of this is just part of the game. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Hearts get broken all of the time. Again, it’s part of the game. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But how the hearts get broken is the problem.

You keep trying to play it cool and eventually you turn cold. Hopefully we meet a woman who makes us care enough to straighten up before that. But that doesn’t change the past.

Even if it isn’t on purpose.

You might think that this is a young man problem but there are men of all ages doing this. And women of all ages getting caught up.

If you ever get to a place in life where a sincere apology doesn’t help, you need to re-evalute your life and what made that apology moot. And that assumes you intend to do so. To be fair, there are times when an apology will do more harm than good.

Again, the worst part is that most men going through these things are the good guys. The ones who do care about women and want to get married. But good guys give a damn. And giving a damn means you try not to hurt people. And trying not to hurt people means you don’t be straight up. And not being straight up means you hurt people. And hurting people means you made some bad guy moves.

This is no excuse nor is it a plea to justify the non-sense that many women have dealt with due to many of our issues.

This is my interpretation of the situation.

Damn damn damn James.



Tell Me What You Want.

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Marriage is an interesting concept to me.

*hands raised*

You, over there, with the fishnet parka.

“Oh great and wise Panama, what concept and why does it interest you so?”

I’m so glad you asked.

Well, I think that a lot of people who aren’t married have this very romanticized and, quite frankly, warped sense of what marriage is. Mind you, I’m not married so perhaps I’m wrong too.

And two wrongs don’t make it right.


long_22But what is marriage really? To me, marriage—and I’m going to get a little bit too practical for some—is nothing more than really a business partnership. It’s the union of two business interests, a merger if you will, in hopes that the two businesses together will succeed further than the one alone would.

That sentence was syntaxily terrible.

Syntaxily is not a word.


Most people think that you get married because of love. Or even that marriage lasts because of love. And though I think that would be the greatest thing ever, I don’t actually think that love will see you through everything. Love gets you to the table to eat, but somebody’s got to put something on the table or everybody dies from starvation. I’d even wager that love is easy but relationships are a mother*cker. The meshing of two persons and their issues and baggage can make for a very bumpy ride. Hell, there’s a reason that so many songs allude to the fact that love alone won’t build a happy home.

By the way, I can’t think of a single song that uses that phrase.

If love could save marriages, the divorce rate would be a fraction of what it is now. Even the worst combination of individuals somehow can find love for one another. But what if love could sustain all? What if all you really needed was love? What if after 30 years of waking up to the same person, you got the same butterflies you did after the first date?

What if?

Love is great, but it’s not the most important part of any relationship. People who don’t love each other can stay together forever—because they’re committed to one another, for better or worse.


Commitment is the most important part of a marriage. Without commitment, the marriage can’t even exist. I can love 100 people, but I can’t be committed to them all equally and at the same time. Trust me. Have you ever tried to date, like seriously date, more than one person at a time?

I have and it sucked.

Mostly because I only really had enough energy to expend on one person because at the time, I thought she was the most deserving. Of course, I had other interests that were being met by my other jump-offs ( I was young and bored, sue me), but I was in some ridiculously irrational way committed to the thought that perhaps I could make something work with this one chick…

…at which time I’d chop off the others and make an honest woman out of that one.

Of course that never happened. I got bored. She got even more boring. I hit her with the, “I think I’m not gonna come back anymore” line.


D’oh well. You win some, you lose some. You live, you learn.

Love and butterflies can be fleeting. We’re all human and everybody doesn’t grow together like we’d like. We hope it happens but let’s face it, some people don’t even know how to grow and you don’t find that out until the 3rd anniversary.

So what if you could only have one or the other: love with the possibility of an ending because all good things must come to an end (fat ti**ies turn to tear drops and fat a** turns to flab…lol…how apropos) or the commitment of a person who you may have grown apart from, but you grew apart and got old together with?

If your marriage could be built on only love OR commitment, which marriage would you prefer?