I love women! I love the way they look, smell, walk, talk and how open-minded they are about trying new things. I haven’t met a woman yet who wasn’t ready to pack a suitcase and leave the country or order something new off the menu. And if she’s with a man she trusts, most women will try almost anything in the bedroom, at least once.
But what I love most about women is how they challenge me to look at life from a different perspective. Sometimes we as men think that being a man is about being in charge, or being right, or having all the answers. But as you mature you realize that being a man is about being secure enough to listen to whoever has a better idea and to allow a woman to lead in the area where she has more knowledge and experience. And that applies whether you’re in business together or a relationship. The objective should be to get things done… to win! Not to keep score to see who came up with the solution.
But just as a woman’s perspective is important, so is a man’s. Women can benefit from a man who has experienced life and has learned from his mistakes. A man who is not preaching like he has all the answers, but a man who is sharing and engaging to reach a better understanding. Nowadays it’s rare to find a man whose opinion you can trust, someone who makes you think twice, who makes you go “hum.” Let’s be honest, it’s rare to find a man who is has an opinion women respects, an opinion that tells it like it is without a filter but with compassion. I want to be that man, I want to make a difference, and I want to move this conversation forward, which leads me to the motivation for writing this book.
When you love someone, you’re honest no matter how much it hurts. And I don’t think men have loved women enough to tell them the truth, not only the truth about our flaws, our insecurities, and our mistakes but the truth about how frustrating we are to constantly see women not taking responsibility for their choices. Now, before you throw this book across the room, remember, love is honesty, so please keep reading.
Too often when men hear the expression Man-Up, we interpret it to mean to detach emotionally and do whatever it takes to win! But how can you win when you’re in denial of the pain you’re going through or the damage it’s done, and most importantly, how can you “Man-Up” when all you’ve been taught is how to react and instead of how to respond? There’s a difference!
The same is true of what it means to be a strong and independent woman, or to Woman-Up! You can’t claim to be strong when you’re constantly and exclusively blaming men for your situation. You can’t claim to be independent by simply shouting, “I don’t need a man” after every failed relationship. And you can’t claim the title of ‘Queen’ when you’re not even willing to look in the mirror and confront the woman who is making the same bad choices over and over again. That’s not royalty, that’s foolishness and it has to stop.
What’s most disappointing is that most of the blame as to why women do what they do is excused or blamed on being in love. Or should I say, falling in love? Love is the universal scapegoat for why women get pregnant by deadbeats, why they stay in abusive relationships, why they tolerate cheaters, and why they stay longer than they should. But here’s what I rarely hear said to those women on daytime TV shows, “That wasn’t just the man’s fault, that was your choice.” Even falling in love is a choice; at least what leads up to it is. Now, stay with me, this is about to get interesting.
The idea of falling in love, in my opinion, only happens when you decide to take that emotional leap, but even that is a choice. Still not convinced? Well, consider this: there had to be a choice to communicate, to date, to have sex, to enter into a relationship. Those things don’t happen in a vacuum. They happened because we choose for them to happen and those choices bring us closer to love. Think about it: talking every day with someone who is a great conversationalist can make you fall in love faster than the most intense orgasm; now tell me I’m wrong.
Once we accept that our choices are the reasons we fall in love, we can get to the really important question: why are we making the same bad choices to love the wrong people time and time again? What I’m saying is that loving someone is not the problem; the problem is that people don’t have standards for whom they give their love to.
As intense as love is, especially for women, you would think they would be more careful about whom they surrender their emotions to. Personally, I respect women who can emotionally detach, or Woman-Up. I think it’s wise to make a conscious choice not to throw fate to the wind and lead with your heart, especially when it’s not clear whether you and your partner are truly compatible. The cost of blindly jumping into the love boat is just too high and the older you get the more expensive love becomes with less time to fix whatever gets broken.
So, are men guilty of contributing to this problem? You damn right we are! Personally, I’ve broken a lot of hearts and did a lot of damage back in my day. But the record of how horrible men are is not in dispute. There isn’t an honest man alive won’t admit to just how f*cked up we are as a species, but it seems to be getting more difficult to get women to own up to their role in their real life drama, mostly because the media and even the churches choose to pander to their overwhelmingly majority female audiences by telling them what they want to hear instead of telling them the truth that could put them on the path to a better life. Like I said, if you really love women you tell them the truth, but if you’re just trying to get into their pants or their pockets you blame the no-good man and then cash your fat check. Well, that’s not who I am and that’s not how I roll.
Whether we want to admit it or not, relationships don’t begin until the woman says so. She chooses the man, she chooses when to have sex, and yes, she chooses when to open herself up to love. I want to celebrate women more than anyone but that has to start with calling them out for not exercising patience to wait for a man who meets their criteria instead of allowing themselves to be broken down because they’re too horny, too broke, or too afraid of being alone. Men can’t be expected to look out for a woman’s best interest, that’s her job! Until a man proves himself worthy women must keep their awareness raised and not be blinded by their desperation.
And where are all these worthy men, you may ask? Well, if we’re keeping it real, they’re not as easy to come back as they once were. I never recalled my mother of any of her girlfriends being single, at least not for long. But that was 40 years ago. Much has changed since then. Yes, the economy is a factor, and the incarceration rate among men of color has devastated our communities. In cities like Washington DC and Atlanta the ratio of single, straight, employed men to women is as high as 5 to 1.
In a February 2015 issue of the Atlanta Journal newspaper there was a survey that estimated that there were over 80,000 more single women than men. It’s hard to be motivated to settle down when you have so many options of available, beautiful, and professional women to choose from. That’s not just about men being greedy sometimes it’s simple math.
But the truth is many men lack the maturity and integrity to maintain long-term relationships. If you ask the majority of men they can’t even articulate why they lie and cheat, they just do it out of habit or out of selfishness. And we as men certainly don’t understand why our women are so disappointed. Yes, I said, disappointed, not bitter, because mature women understand that anger and bitterness are counterproductive. But they are disappointed and they have every right to be.
Disappointed that a grown man can’t be honest about how many women he’s having sex with. Disappointed by how easily a man can walk away from his responsibility of fatherhood, even when they literally beg the woman to have the child and marry them.
Disappointed that too many fifty-year-old men have the mentality of twenty year olds, and dress like them too. Disappointed that they have to take the lead. Yes, believe it or not most women don’t want to be in charge, especially when they are in the company of a man, but what are they supposed to do when the man steps back? Naturally, they will step up.
Children have to eat, bills have to be paid, and things have to get done. Relationships are businesses too, and women understand that better than men do. One of the most important words a man will ever say to a woman is, “I got this!” And consistently follow through.
But the biggest disappointment women have with today’s man is that he does not make her feel secure, emotionally, sexually, intellectually, or physically. And once the security is gone, the relationship is doomed. There’s not a relationship expert in the world who will disagree with that!
But disappointment is a two way street. To the ladies who are reading this book I want you to know that good men are disappointed too. They are disappointed that women constantly date cheaters, abusers, and liars but almost never take responsibility for choosing them, which brings me back to the inspiration for this book.
Life can be painful and full of failures but the only way you grow is to own your choices and accept the consequences. It’s hard to look in the mirror when you’ve had your heart crushed and say to yourself, “I’m pissed off and hurt… but that’s on me!” It takes a mature person to own that. It’s called growing up.
You can’t take credit for all the great choices you make in life and blame someone else for the bad ones. Or as the old saying goes, you can’t create your own storms and complain when you get wet! The truth is, you end up with what you put up with. Maybe it’s time to stop pointing fingers and start fixing the problem. Maybe it’s time to Woman-Up!
By Michael Baisden
Excerpt from his book, Woman Up!
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