He got those blues, too

*sung to Muddy Waters’s “Hoochie-Coochie Man” blues standard*

I once knew a man
he aint get a fair shake
he had a simple plan
he just wanted one date
But he always got dissed
passed over and played
so he got really pissed
and starting throwing all types of shade! Ohhhh, he got the blues!
He got those Bitter Man Blues!!!!
Ohhhh, he needs a shoulder and some luck. But everyone just says “Man up”

We all know this man.

He could be your brother, your father, your co-worker, your best friend, or your ex-boyfriend. Sh*t, he might even be you. While his backstory’s beholden to the same sad narrative, his identity’s bound to no specific culture, class, or creed.

Like everyone else, he started off with a completely clean dating and relationship slate. No baggage, no animosity, no propensity for prolonged spells of unprovoked hyper-sensitivity or bitchassness. Even if he wasn’t exactly an optimist, he was confident that he’d find his relationship way, and ultimately convinced of the latent good of mankind.

This man was my dog
this man used to smile
but he saw too much fog
no more sunny smiles for a while
I should have listened
I should have paid attention
I should have let him mention
but now his spirit’s missin’! Ohhhh, he got the blues!
He got those Bitter Man Blues!!!!
Ohhhh, he needs a shoulder and some luck. But everyone just says “Man up”

Then, it happened. Maybe it was a particularly devastating break-up. Maybe he was star-crossed enough to cross paths with a series of unfortunately awful vagina-laden people. And, maybe, well, maybe nothing ever happened, and he was just tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching things happen to everyone else. Whatever it was, something happened to him; something that broke something inside of him, replacing his happy nature with harshness and turning him from affable to antagonistic.

But“, you’d say after hearing his story, “this is common. Most people go through a period of relationship adversity. And, for some unfortunate people, sometimes this adversity is particularly bad. But, you eventually nurse your wounds and get back out there“. And, you’d be right. Sh*t happens to everyone, and sometimes that sh*t happens to be pretty damn sh*tty. What makes the Bitter Man unique, though, is that he never got that chance to heal. His highway had no shoulders for emergencies only.

While luckier and/or more sexually viable men find solace in the hearts and between the legs of silly women with sympathetic ears, and women facing hard times find comfort in the latent emotional flexibility allowed and encouraged by femininity, The Bitter Man had no one to turn to. The relentless stoicism expected from men (and attractive to many women) swallowed him whole, engulfing him with self and societal pressure to “Man up” and “Stop acting like a bitch“. Plus, even if he was willing to purge, he knew no one would want to listen to an average guy with completely anecdotal but completely real gripes of women sincerely lament that he’s been unlucky with love.

Eventually the untended wound festered, turning him from momentarily broken to permanently scarred, leaving him with nothing but a chip on his shoulder, a finger in his eye, and his blues; his Bitter Man Blues.

He was a good guy
but now he’s a dick
i don’t even try
i can’t take his shit
It wasn’t his plan
his pain, we should have felt
should have gave him a hand
he just needed someone’s help! Ohhhh, he got the blues!
He got those Bitter Man Blues!!!!
Ohhhh, he needed a shoulder and some luck. But…
….everyone just said “Man up”

—The Champ

P.S. One last time for the cheap seats. For all the DMV VSBers, tonight is the finale of the Centric/BET Master Of The Mix DJ reality show competition and Lil SoSo Productions is holding a viewing party at Muse (717 6th Street NW). Panama Jackson is one of the community partners and would love for you all to come out and hang for some free alcohol (open bar from 9-10 on Smirnoff drinks) and there is no cover charge. So come kick it with Panama and just do what you do. Peep a video of the last viewing party where Panama and VSB represented ferociously (and some video footage of the Panamanian one himself). Doors at 8pm. Check the flyer below and hope to see you there. For those who have already let me know you’re coming through, I promise you will know its me when you see me. For those considering it, just let us know via email (contact@verysmartbrothas.com) or via Panama’s twitter (@panamajackson). See you there.

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Tes

    Hoochie Coochie man was my sh*t growin up. That and Mannish Boy…
    In any case, Bitter men are everywhere you turn, just like bitter women. Some hide it, some don’t, some grow out of it, some won’t. I think it’s a personal choice coupled with a little luck to find someone willing to work them out of it.

  • dang, i felt that. i’ve definitely been there when i was younger, i won’t lie. the key is to remember that you can put your best foot forward…but people will still be people. gotta recognise it and move forward.

    i don’t think i lashed out at anyone, or hated on folks…i just started to be 1/2way apathetic to it all. instead of being that dude hecklin’ the players and the refs on the court…i’d be the one walking out of the building. if that makes sense.

  • eff yo couch

    For some reason today’s post has me thinking about angry man from Martin


  • I dont know what the hell is going on in this post.
    but im sure my granny has this song on a 45

  • miss t-lee

    I would so love to hear you sing this Champy…lol and yes, bitter men are runnin’ round this camp just like bitter chicks. However bitter chicks seem to be the only ones you hear about, until you run into a bitter dude. It’s normally well hidden until the first date when he starts talking reckless about his babymama being a b*tch, or his ex-girl who cheated on him. Check please. PS Love the pic, this almost redeemed the Ton Jones fiasco from last week. Almost. :-)

  • Misty Knight

    I just wanted to Thank You, for giving me a perfect segue for posting this song from Grinderman..I’m sure it has some relevance:
    Yes 78.6% sure..
    Anyway..there are some real bitter negros out there, hell my Uncle is one of em, everytime he has a new victim “love interest” I just wanna yell “Run! Bish Run!” I use to think he hated women, because he was a suppressed homosexual, then I realized he was a very sensitive man with abandonment issues that stemmed from his mother since childhood, and serial bad experiences with women. He just needs to be a-sexual, because that nicca is 43 , hope is lost.

  • Jay

    Although those verses were questionable @best (IMHO), the following is pure poetry…

    “While luckier and/or more sexually viable men find solace in the hearts and between the legs of silly women with sympathetic ears, and women facing hard times find comfort in the latent emotional flexibility allowed and encouraged by femininity, The Bitter Man had no one to turn to.”

    Well written sir. I dig.

  • Sweet lady

    wow, this totally confirms things for me. Me and my friends have a name for this guy- he’s a “bitter brother”. I know a couple of them. Any man who is over 30 and single is single because he wants to be regardless of how he looks (I mean really, there are bytches to the left and bytches to the right for any single black man, over 30 with half a decent job, some kind of home training, and no baby momma drama or even MINIMAL bmd) yet this guy constantly talks about how these women out here ain’t s*&t, they’re all gold diggers, he can’t find a good woman, blah blah blah. Dates with this guy always end up with him talking about whatever woman did him wrong. I used to be compassionate and want to show this guy how he was wrong (male friends included), but now I believe even if he doesn’t like it, he’s comfortable being bitter and that’s probably worse than liking it so I just let it go. Great Post Champ.

  • Mo-VSS

    Yeah, so we mostly hear bitter women (especially black women), but rarely hear about bitter men. Until you do. I’m sorry but I’m gonna say this. MOST bitter men are bitter because of stuff they assume about women. They assume nice guys finish last so they act like asses…and get treated as such. They get mad and think that its because they are inherently nice that they got treated badly. All the while not realizing their f-ked up beliefs are what keep them on the losing end in love. My point is that most bitter men have played the role they think will get them the most play and have lost their authentic self. Women can sense this and we treat men who do this accordingly. The remedy? Men need to stop believing just because they are men that they deserve the halle berry fine chick who cooks like Mrs. neely, f-ks like a porn star and has the social grace of Michelle Obama. No bruh…you get that when you work for it. But that’s the issue with bitter men. They don’t want to work for a quality woman but will hate on the first dude who did and got what he wanted.

  • TheRealestLeo

    The. Story. Of. My. Life.


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