Women of the Western World,

I’d like to share something with you. It’s been a long time coming. I live in a culture and society that views men…black men in particular, as being devious, selfish, callous, disloyal, untrustworthy, and motivated mostly by sex, money, and social status. And that may be true for many men. I honestly don’t know because I don’t date men. Nor do I befriend men who value these things and live that way. I’m aware that many of the men you encounter in public behave this way in varying degrees. Just from the way that women in my culture perceive and respond to me without knowing anything about me at all, I know that a large number of black men behave in ways that cause you to perceive us with distrust and skepticism. And, I believe that your distrust and skepticism of us is valid based on your personal experiences and our reputation. But, that does not represent us all.

I wish I could convey to you how painful and humiliating it is to experience the way that I am perceived by you and treated by you, and for no other reason than my gender and ethnicity. I wish you understood how discouraging it is to say hello to you, only for you ignore me entirely, or move away from me with an expression of fear, disdain, or distrust. I wish you knew how humiliating it feels to express my desire to earn your love and affection, only for my words to be received with rude skepticism, naked distrust, and with disdainful suspicion of me attempting to manipulate you. And when you dismiss and belittle my protest at being subjected to such unjust treatment? “Oh, well. Take it up with all the other men out there doing women wrong. You can’t blame us for assuming the worst.” Saying that is like grinding salt into the wounds you just created, with coldhearted malice and indifference to my pain.

With all the intensity of the pain I feel from the list of these experiences I’ve had of you lately, I wish, for just one moment, that you could see me for who I am…a man who strives to conduct himself with honor, integrity, and respect with every choice that he makes. I wish you could perceive my heart and the principles that guide my every decision instead of the color of my skin, and of the history of what other men who look like me have done to exploit your trust and vulnerability. I wish you could look into my eyes, and listen to the sincerity of my words, without suspecting that the only reason why I’m expressing appreciation of your beauty and the desire to get to know you is to fulfill my sexual desires. Even if I am attracted to you, and feel open to the prospect of becoming intimate with you, that doesn’t mean that’s all that I want with you. Nor does it mean that I’ll expect you to want to seriously date me just because we’ve become intimate. I wish you would perceive my actions and words as what they are…a sincere desire to connect with you as a person, and to explore the possibility of developing a long term relationship if that’s where our chemistry leads.

I know that a whole lot of men are uneducated, selfish, manipulative, untrustworthy, and driven purely by sex. I know that many men believe that they own a woman after he has had sex with her. I also know that your current dating policy, of perceiving men as being guilty of being sex-driven until proven innocent, is based on protecting yourself from the many men who are indeed driven only by sex, or would create drama and stress in your life. But this policy of yours is both hurtful and discouraging to those of us who are deeply committed to being worthy of your trust, your vulnerability, and your affection. Yes, it affects us deeply to be distrusted indiscriminately. No, we’re not less sensitive to this treatment just because we’re men. And I hope that expressing this does not diminish your perception of my masculinity, because we men rarely express this out of fear of that very thing happening. Revealing our sensitivity without having our strength, masculinity, or sexuality questioned is a very difficult thing for a man living in Western society to do. I guarantee you that many men you know will tell you that they relate 100% to what I am describing.

There are many of us who want to connect with you without selling you a dream, or seducing you, with no intention of bringing value to your life. We want to get to know you and share experiences with you, with or without sexual intimacy, and without taking away from your enjoyment of life. Indeed, we want to enhance your enjoyment of life in every way. When we spend time with you, we want to be the source of your joy. That doesn’t mean we want to promise you a forever type of love, or that we’ll get into a serious relationship with you after we become intimate. After all, you reserve the right to withdraw after that experience, too. We’re not trying to guarantee your long term happiness, just as you don’t guarantee ours when you’re first getting to know us. But, we do want to honor your trust and vulnerability, no matter how things develop romantically. We do want to honor our responsibility to ensure you are protected, cherished, and appreciated even if we discover that we’re not romantically compatible. We don’t want you to feel used or taken advantage of in any way.

If you’re unable to differentiate between a man who’s worthy of your attention and one who’s not, you don’t need a policy of universal distrust. All you have to do is pay close attention to how committed he is to keeping his word and respecting your personal boundaries. Give a man the opportunity to get to know you, and to show that he’ll keep his word to you in every way without trying to escalate your interaction to becoming sexual. If he doesn’t mention sex, and he always does what he says he’s going to do no matter how small the promise is or at least let’s you know that he won’t in advance, and he goes out of his way to understand you as a person, then he deserves your trust until he shows that he’s unworthy of it. Please stop distrusting a man just because he expresses interest in you. Judge him by the principles of honor and integrity, and keeping his word. If he doesn’t honor his word at all times, or he is dishonest with you in any way whatsoever, then dismiss him. Don’t accept his excuses. Don’t justify his behavior. I don’t care what reasons he comes up with. Got busy with work, dog died, family crises…I don’t care.

Hold us strictly accountable to our word and our integrity. If we honor that, then honor our efforts by keeping your word and being just as honest. And, be just as committed to keeping your word to us, as we are to keeping our word to you. Reward our sincerity and our honorable conduct with your attention and your affection. And withdraw your attention and affection as soon as we break our word in the slightest way. Naturally, expect us to do the same. You are just as accountable as we are. If we say we’ll call and don’t call, then don’t talk to us. If you say you’re going to call at a certain time and don’t call, then expect us to lose a little confidence in you. No excuses. If we tell you that we’ll make time for you at a certain time on a certain day, then hold us accountable to that. But if we do honor our word, then don’t juggle a conversation with us with someone else, or while doing something else. If we’ve honored our word, and continuously show respect for your boundaries, then we’ve earned your undivided attention.

As you can see, you don’t need to be indiscriminately distrustful and suspicious. You don’t have to determine right away if a man’s words are sincere. All you have to do is interact with him and observe him over time, hold him accountable for any example of him not following through with what he says he’s going to do, and take notice of any discrepancy in his presentation of who he claims to be. This takes time, so take your time. A genuine man won’t want to rush you into getting in bed with him. Nor will he run away if you’ve had sex with him quickly. An authentic and emotionally mature man won’t lose any respect for you just because you’ve become intimate with him quickly. If he’s being sincere, it’ll make complete sense that you’ve done so. After all, why would he think less of you for trusting him in that way if he knows he’s completely trustworthy?

The only time a man will lose respect for you for having sex with him quickly is if he’s judgmental, hypocritical, emotionally immature, and wasn’t sincere in the first place. If you do want to take it slow, and you show a man your attention and non-sexual affection as a reward for conducting himself honorably and respectfully, then that should be enough to sustain him for weeks, or even months, before you’re ready to escalate to a sexual relationship. If that’s not enough for him, let him go. If you want to move faster, then move faster. If he’s a true gentleman, it’s really up to you. If he’s genuine, he won’t respect you less for any pace that you prefer. As long as you’re acknowledging and honoring his efforts and integrity with your own, he’ll happily move at your pace and ensure that, BEFORE he becomes intimate with you, he doesn’t create expectations with you that he doesn’t intend to live up to. It’ll be very important to him to never lead you on or let you down.

I promise you that there are many men walking around who would happily embrace this process of courting a woman, by moving at the pace that’s most comfortable for you, if only you’d give us the opportunity to be judged based on our personal conduct. Not all of us are are self-centered, sex-driven womanizers. Many of us are able to enjoy and conduct ourselves honorably in either a platonic or intimate interaction with a woman without pressuring her for sex, or leaving her feeling used and taken advantage of. Many of us want to be in a monogamous relationship with a great woman. We want to make you happy. Honor and respect us, and we’ll honor and respect you. If both men and women would approach dating in this way, perhaps dating would become an experience that we all look forward to.

Sincerely,

Michael

7 thoughts on “I Am Not A Monster

    1. No, a sincere thanks to you, Sandra, for taking the time to read it. It’s so important to me that women become aware that many men are suffering exactly as I suffer from indiscriminate distrust and dismissal. Every woman I’ve shared this with has been surprised to learn that behaving in such a way toward a man could be as emotionally painful as I’ve described. Women have no idea that masculine men can be so affected by this behavior, so their default assumption is that it’s harmless. So please share it with as many women as you feel comfortable sharing with. I’ll be eternally grateful.

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  1. Hello Michael,

    You weren’t kidding when you stated that you write as comfortably as you breathe. Well done! I empathize with your struggle and comend you not only for being enlightened and mature enough to reflect, but also for acting on that reflection and trying to help others by sharing your experiences.

    That being said, there are various parts of your perspective that I feel could use some feminine insight. I would love to discuss this further, but I will leave that up to you.

    I hope your future experiences are less painful.

    Thank you for simply being you.

    I hope to hear from you soon!

    Happy new year!

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  2. Great perspective on the laws of attraction. Reminds us that we should never generalize and respect all. I enjoyed it, and try to impart some of what you’ve written on fellow comrades as well. It’s not easy.

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    1. Thank you. I greatly appreciate your feedback. I’m also grateful to know that I was able to impart a little more insight into a cultural experience different from your own. As for getting through to your folks not being easy, rest assured I understand. Too many of my people are taking advantage of the attention that our experience of racial prejudice has gained by exaggerating about it in some cases or claiming a scenario represents prejudice when it actually doesn’t. It makes it tough for people like you to take the issues we face seriously. Just know that I’m personally grateful for you making the effort to translate the message.

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  3. Wow… Brilliant piece…. You know it’s funny. I work in a hospital and a few years ago I noted that black men I passed rarely looked me in the eyes. I asked a colleague of mine, a black female herself, and she said black males face so many societal issues from broad, historical, bigotted views about them that it’s easier to just not give eye contact. That deeply disturbed me. I started looking around and realized a lot of people don’t give eye contact. Overweight people, in particular, but for very different reasons.

    I made a decision to really look at people. Not a creepy stare but a greeting of invitation to friendship. Not just black men, either, because I realized that lack of eye contact in anyone is about connection. We have so much control over how much fear is generated around us. I look at people now directly because I have no fear to give and I want the person I am looking at to have a moment of feeling no fear in looking at me. Some people look at me, some don’t, but over time many have changed and these beautiful friendships have been fostered with people I used to see every day but wasn’t connected to at all. The black men in particular just beam these beautiful smiles when they see me. It’s been so lovely. Thank you for this powerful piece.

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