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.



You Know How You Like To Date The Wrong People? Turns Out It’s Nature’s Fault.


If there’s one thing that nearly all of us have in common, it’s dating somebody we had no business dating. But not only that, we all share the at least once constant desire to stay with said person despite flags so red that Lil Wayne gets jealous. We’ve all been there. You meet some person who you KNOW isn’t right for you. But your heart and (obviously) mercury in retrograde + Murphy’s Law refuses to allow you leave this person alone. Then because your heart keeps telling you that you love this person, you rationalize it in your mind that it must actually be love.

Suddenly, their flaws aren’t flaws but growth in progress. Logically, that one good deed outweighs all of the armed robberies of your soul and the holdups of your emotions that occur. If they were you’re employee they’d have been fired a lifetime ago. But since you’re not paying them you don’t want them to leave because of the investment you’ve made. Never mind that it was a bad one. You invested, dammit, and you’re going to get some return on it, even if its more problems. A return is a return, right? That’s the IRS philosophy.

Yeah, people suck.

Well as luck would have it, it’s possible that picking wrong for the long haul might not be just relegated to humanity and our mammoth-sized misplaced egos, but apparently it could just be a natural function of our animalistic tendencies. Yes, nature’s f*ck shit has invaded the human psyche. Or at least that’s the leap I’m making here based on a New York Times article, entitled, “In Nature, Fatal Attractions Can Be Part of Life.” To wit:

“…a sleek young male Antarctic fur seal was trying to mate with a king penguin.

The fur seals normally hunt penguins and eat them. But this seal was wrestling with the bird, chasing as it repeatedly tried to escape.

Baffled at first, Mr. Scott, a wildlife researcher, realized that the seal “was trying to court the penguin as if it were a female seal.”

When that failed, he “tore the bird to shreds and ate it,” Mr. Scott recalled.

Disturbing as it may sound, such wayward mating behavior is not unheard-of. An earlier episode of seal-on-penguin sexual violence, also at Marion Island, was reported in 2008 by Nico de Bruyn and colleagues at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, where Mr. Scott is a graduate student.

The phenomenon is called misdirected mating…’

So as it turns out, even animals sometimes don’t know when they’re f*cking the wrong person. Or animal. But for some reason they can’t seem to help themselves either. If it feels right, they go for it. Gold all in my watch.

Nor is such mating limited to marine mammals. Insects, spiders, worms, frogs, birds and fish do it, too, Dr. Hochkirch said. The behavior is a form of so-called reproductive interference, in which an animal’s mate-recognition radar is imperfect; the encounters do not necessarily end fatally.

Summamabitch, a bunch of animals also get their smang on with the wrong folks. Now, I’m not here to judge – do you spider-boo – but that could help explain a whole lot, couldn’t it? It also gives a lot more credence to the Human League (ironically titled now) song, “I’m Only Human.” Sure you know you shouldn’t be dating Big OG Gangster Tracy Tre of the Eight-Tray Gangsta Crips, but you can’t help it. You’re only human and it it feels right. Oh, and that encounter…can end up fatal. Word to Elmo.

Now snap back to reality, what if it really was just a totally natural impulsive and unstoppable urge that caused these (hopefully non-fatal) couplings. Every chick I’ve ever dated where I knew it wouldn’t work or was a bad fit (hey, I didn’t mean that pun), it became apparent early on. Like very early. But because I’m an idiot at times and like to make bad dating decisions on occasion, I’d stick it out (again, didn’t mean it) and see how far the carnage could go. What can I say? I like trainwrecks. Most of us like to chide folks for allowing that to occur but the truth is that it’s difficult as hell to break up with somebody unless something major happens. And even then, major is a subjective as hell. I know women who KNOW for a fact that their man is cheating on them RIGHT NOW who won’t leave him. He’s no good for her but she’s content. I know some dudes whose women have given them every reason in the book to make like a banana and leave and yet they won’t do it.

Mix in this naturalistic tendency to attempt over and over again to couple wrongly – misdirected matching swag – and you’re inclined to stick around despite what you or anybody else knows or says.

What is curious is that, once that animal who didn’t want the coupling (the one who has it right in their head – or who just lets the person stick around b/c they’re benefiting) rebuffed those advances, that penguin went Freddy on that ass. That’s not unlike humanity. There are a lot of people who absolutely KNOW who they won’t work with so they, smartly, resist, and the pursuer, well, loses their sh*t. Now that can result in many different scenarios, depending on if they know their daddy.

But people take rejection really personally. Understandable. But you ain’t have to kill nobody.

Point is, for all you sucks that don’t know…check it out: when you get home and you look at that man or woman you KNOW you need to leave but can’t seem to walk out the door…I’ve got three words for you…


Thank you and good night.



Men Are From Easy, Women Are From Interesting

"I still don't understand why you're content to live in this nice loft with exposed brick and still have this shitty-ass couch. Why don't you care about this???"

There’s so much discussion about what makes us different, that we tend to forget that we — men and women — have many of the same feelings, fears, and emotions. And, instead of looking at the opposite gender as a person with a few biological differences, we sometimes act like we’re dealing with an entirely different species

This paragraph is a response to a question a woman asked last Wednesday on my weekly live chat at Madame Noire. She wanted me the name the most common mistake women make in relationships, and instead of going gender-specific with the answer, I wanted to touch on something that affects both of us.

With that being said, even though I do still think that the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” way of thinking causes more harm than good, there are (general) differences between us, these general differences do definitely matter, and an experience last weekend made of think of one very important (general) difference that I hadn’t really thought of before.

I was at a club Saturday night with a group of friends. Two of these friends happen to be a couple, and since I’m the resident “mediator” — and since, according to one of them, I turn into a “Black Bill from “Kill Bill” when I’m intoxicated (still haven’t figured out if that was a compliment) — they asked for my opinion about a disagreement they were having.

They’re both in a local MBA program, and they have a couple weeks left before the grind starts back up again. The guy wants to spend this time chillin at home, hanging out, and just generally doing the type of mundane relationship shit that’s great if you’re in a relationship with someone you actually like. Basically, he just wants to relax until school starts.

She, on the other hand, thinks they should take a trip together. Apparently, she just got an outrageously cheap deal on some tickets, and she wants to go somewhere, anywhere, before school starts and they don’t have the opportunity to travel as easily.

Both had compelling arguments. He just wanted a chance to exhale for another week or so before shit got hectic again, and she’s thinking “Why waste this time doing something that we can do whenever?”

At this point, other members of the group began to chime in. Predictably, all of the men sided with the guy, while the women agreed with the woman. My epiphany came when hearing the following exchange:

Man (addressing the women): “Why y’all always gotta make things so hard?”

Woman: “What’s hard about a damn vacation? Can you all not be so damn lazy all the time?”

After a few more increasingly spirited replies, it dawned on me: (Generally speaking) We (men) want life to be easy. Women want life to be interesting. 

It wasn’t some male solidarity that made all the men in the group agree that staying home was the most attractive option. It’s just that, if given a choice between relaxing for a week or going on a trip just for the sake of going on a trip, most guys would probably choose to chill. It’s less work, it’s less time-consuming, and it’s less hard.

And, while the trip discussion is the current example, this state of mind permeates pretty much everything we do. There’s a reason why so many guys fall in love with the first cute girl who’s nice to us, why we have no problem eating the exact same thing for dinner four days straight, and why many of us list “chillin” — the word to describe what happens when you’re not doing an activity — as one of our favorite activities. We like easy because “easy” usually means “less potential for pain.” We’re not avoiding effort, we just prefer putting ourselves in positions where we can predict the outcome.

Basically, you can say that we’re avoiding pain. Women, on the other hand, don’t seem to be as afraid of the unknown. You could even say that they embrace the unknown, the potential for pain, because it’s engrained in them. I’ve joked before about women being natural masochists, but when you think about it, many of the things separating women from men are inherently and excruciatingly painful.

Think about it. Unless a man happens to find himself in a scene from a Eli Roth flick, we will never experience the level of pain a woman does when she gives birth. Actually, lemme rephrase that. We will never experience that level of pain…and actually survive and recover…and willingly do it again!

We’ll also never have a sexual experience as painful and awkward and bloody as many women do when they first have sex. We’ll never know how it feels to spend 20% of every month randomly cramping up and continuously bleeding, and we definitely won’t know how it feels to have another person growing inside of you, kicking, scratching, growing, and feeding off of you like a parasite.

And, according to what I’ve heard from many women, the best sex, the toe curl and full body quiver inducing sex is usually also somewhat violent. Not violent in the getting punched or shaken sense, but violent in the getting f*cked sense. (There’s a reason why every little kid who walks in on his parents having sex initially thinks Daddy is beating up Mommy.)

Everything I just mentioned, though, is thought to be a positive thing, and I do think that having pain and joy so closely correlated makes it so that they’re almost on a permanent rush. The need to always be doing something, for life to always be interesting is them attempting to extend that high, and the main reason why, to paraphrase Chris Rock, (most) women can never be truly content. We, on the other hand, all still remember the little bit of pain we felt 20 years ago when Jasmine Porter gave Jimmy a Valentine’s Day card instead of us, and we follow the path of least resistance from that moment forward…which is another way of saying we do everything possible to make sure we never, ever, ever experience pain again.

Oh, and getting back to the couple, I suggested that they split the difference and just spend the week in a hotel. This way you’re getting away and chillin at the same. damn. time. An easy, painless answer, but since I’m a man, you shouldn’t expect anything else from me.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

D*mn, D*mn, D*mn James.

A long time ago (at least 6 years ago at this point), Panama was really feeling this chick. Panama was feeling her so much he kept referring to himself in third person because she’d done such a number on him.

I went all out for this chick. I’d go see her at every opportunity I could, which sucked because she lived in Baltimore and I was in DC, but oh well, for her, there was no mountain high enough.

Heck, there was no valley low enough to keep me from getting to her.

We’d go out and spend time together. I shared my feelings and she’d tell me how much she liked me. I held her hand and gazed into her eyes.

Ah. Bliss.

That was until I found out she was dating 3 other guys. Not only that, she found no need to tell me about it because she wasn’t dating me and we were “just friends”.


I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how hurt I was. For one, I couldn’t figure out how she could be dating so many guys at one time. I mean she managed to spend significant time with all of us, even me, her “friend.” Apparently, she lived in a world with 25 hour days. Me no know.

Either way, I was baffled, befuddled, and ultimately heartbroken. Of course, I didn’t let her know that I wanted to run over her with a Mac truck 6 times then sprinkle sawdust and coconut slivers over her body was hurting. I did my best attempt to keep it moving but getting heartbroken is difficult. I couldn’t take my mind off the fact that I was dating somebody who had no clue. There’s nothing worse than finding out that what you thought you had didn’t exist. So I had to keep my mind distracted.

Since, I’m sure I’m not the only person to go through this, let me offer some advice on how to proceed should you ever find yourself in this predicament; a sort of, how to get over a person you thought you were dating when you’re the last person to find out you ain’t.

1. Refrain from wanting to Don’t do them bodily harm. Face it, you’d go to jail and you STILL wouldn’t be with them. It’s a lose-lose. Unless of course you can make it look like you had nothing to do with it, but I watch CSI. They’ll find you in less than 59 minutes every time.

2. Go sleep with a lot of date other people. I know this is hard to do considering, but really, this is the only way to truly get over a person. Unless of course you see them out somewhere (I did) at which point you will lose your new date because your demeanor and attitude will change and you’ll try to stab somebody. In fact, if you see them out, just tell your date that you’ve come down with the Herculean Crab Shakes and its best if you go home, pronto, because they really don’t want to know what happened last time.

3. Stop calling them like normal. It’s hard to because at the point you find out that you’re not dating you’re pretty much on cloud nine and treating them like the homie/lover/friend. Unfortunately, they treated you liked R. Kelly and pissed all over your Sunday. Pissy Sundays are the worst.

4. If they call to kick it go and kill them, respectfully decline and find something better to do. Sure you’d rather kick it, but really, what’s the point? Every date is a reminder that while you were making plans for the future, they were thinking about what to wear on their REAL date later on. Face it, you’ve already lost the battle, bub. On the other hand, it never hurts to hit (if you can, and you probably can) and then bounce on some, “yeah, I have to go wash clothes now” tip. Bitter? Sure. Satisfaction? You betcha.

Of course, you’ll probably cry in the car later. Or was that Red from Friday?

5.  Date one of their friends Just kind of fade them out. Sad to say but they’ll hate it and will probably come around (they ALWAYS come around) but like I said, if you have to resort to tactics, they’re not really who you need anyway.

Plus, if you fade somebody out of your life, it gives you more time to evaluate the situation and realize that you probably dodged a bullet because she’s fighting factors and genetics bigger than herself.


So, good people of VSB, do you have any advice for a person who’s trying to get over a person they were never really dating in the first place?


better than the alternative

i usually listen to one of my mix cds or my ipod during my 15 minute drive home from work. earlier in the week though, i’d grown tired of listening to “amazing” and “somewhere i belong” on repeat for the 82th time, so i decided to do the unfathomable…listen to the early evening (i occasionally listen to steve harvey in the mornings) urban radio station (WAMO) for the first time in approximately five months.

now, since i don’t listen to the radio or watch videos (i download all of my new music from blackgirl online and other adult message boards. no, seriously, lol. i’m soooo not playing), i wasn’t expecting to be able to immediately recognize most of the songs. what jarred and saddened me was the fact that not only had i never heard any of these songs before…i never even heard of the artists. not. one.

***and i couldnt understand sh*t any of them were saying. i felt like a white person trying to watch “the wire” for the first time***

that 17 minute listen made me feel as if i had aged 17 years overnight, lol, and was one of the many constant and blatantly perceptible signs that im getting old(er).

so, as a service from the verysmartbrothas (and ms. lizzard burr), the champ has decided to give you…

…four unmistakable signs that you’re getting old(er)

1. doing absolutely nothing…and loving it

when you’re young, if you happen to spend a weekend night in the crib, you usually spend the whole time wondering and fantasizing to death about all of the marvelous and slutty things other people your age are doing at the time. by the time i turned 26, i’d mutter “i should have stayed my ass at home” at least once during at least 75 percent of my outings.

now, i make up excuses not to go out.

naw man, i’m good. sportcenter highlights are always better when rece davis is the anchor, and he’s scheduled to appear on tonights show. i can’t miss that sh*t”

2. waking up with random pains

a few saturdays ago as i lazily crawled out of bed, intent on possibly setting the guiness world record for the least-productive 12 hour stretch, my first step on my carpet forced me to let out one of the most bitch-ass chill-emitting screeches that a grown-ass man could muster. no, i didnt step on a dead hooker piece of glass or a nail or anything…it was just my big toe, in about as much excruciating pain as a big toe could muster. what made it even worse (read: “more funny”) was the fact that i had absolutely no idea why my big toe was hurting. none. as far as i could remember it wasnt hurting when i went to bed. plus, i hadn’t done any ass kicking recently, so i definitely hadn’t injured my toe on someones deserving hindparts.

the pain eventually went away (and by “eventually” i mean “three days later“) as mysteriously as it came, like a 2 inch long, dark brown skinned gypsy. thing is, as saddening as it is to wake up with unexplained toe pain, it still pales in comparison to…

3….injuring yourself during sex

i know that intense sex may produce a little bit of pain, soreness, and tenderness, but lets just say that father time is f*cking with you when you say to your lover “you know, i think i might need to get an MRI tomorrow. i think i tore my ACL again” after a particularly heated romp in the sack.

4. liberal, schmeberal aint gonna turn into lashawn barber’s corner anytime soon, but i will admit that i’ve gotten more and more conservative socially as i’ve gotten older. at this point, it actually makes me physically recoil when thinking about my years of misguided militantism and lazily lethargic liberalism.  lets put it this way: the 19 year old champ, after hearing about her politics, would have given amy holmes the riot act and the heave-ho from his sack while the 29 year old champ would give it to her while she had a karl rove halloween mask taped on her back

thats it for now. slightly good people of vsb, what else would you add?

—the champ