The cursor blinks, but I don’t. Red eyes on my red eye. It’s my 14th flight in 29 days–an average of one plane ride every other day. I miss her. I’ve had great wine and a great time, but I miss her. I’ve witnessed every time zone on my iPhone and have traveled a world full of beautiful girls … but in my mind, all I saw was her.
Have you ever seen a lady? Not just a woman, but a lady? Do you remember how she made you feel? Did she smile at you? Do you remember her warmth? Do you remember her scent of comfort and truth? Can you recall how difficult it was explaining what you witnessed when she walked by? Her high heels were music; her walk was a song. Watching her get ready commanded an Oscar–she was a full-length motion picture. Was her bone structure not like a piece of gorgeous architecture? Was her hair not a waterfall? Was not even her blink the sunset and sunrise? Was her voice not a piano that made you move? Did her mere presence not influence a nation?
But of course.
So why are you acting like she doesn’t exist? This generation of tough guys acts like finding a lady, courting a lady, and falling in love with a lady isn’t the sh*t. They act like loving a woman makes men soft. I’d argue the opposite. A display of disrespect toward women is a confession of pain. All these “mama’s boys” who look at every woman but their mother as whores must realize their mother was only a few decision away from being one herself. It’s foolish to love your mother, but hate your neighbor.
On 2Pac’s classic record, “Keep Ya Head Up,” the rapper questions:
“Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman & our game from a woman / I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women?/ I think it’s time we kill for our women / time to heal our women / be real to our women / & if we don’t, we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies.”
This is where we are today.
A man who stays on the phone with his lady one minute too long is called Betty-Crocker for “caking.” A man who sends his lady of interest flowers is called a “simp.” Oh, and don’t let a dude date a damsel in distress–he’ll be called a “captain-save-a…” in no time. I get it. It’s a part of our culture. It’s in the music. It’s on the TV. Well, I canceled my subscription to that culture years ago. I’m not weak enough to let society’s sorry definition of manhood dictate my life, and neither should you. Manhood means loving. And I’m hardly afraid to say I’m in love…with that girl.
And if you think hip-hop culture isn’t in love, you’re wrong. There is Love & Hip-Hop, and I’m not talking about the VH1 show. Plenty of your most gangster rappers have been happily married for years despite their public personas. Who do you think is keeping these gents in line once the curtains close? Jay-Z publicly promotes his love for his wife and so do several brothers in the spotlight. On Justin Timberlake’s new soulful album The 20/20 Experience, he has a song titled “That Girl” where he unapologetically sings:
“I told ya, I’m in love with that girl / So don’t be mad at me / Cause I’m in love with that girl / She already told me she’s in love with me … / Now we didn’t have to fall, but we fell in love to the bottom, babe / No one there to catch us, like when you fell from heaven that day, baby / People always staring, but I don’t even care nothin’ about it, babe / Cause since I saw your face, I’ve been staring just the same…Cause I’m in love with that girl.”
You young boys got to chill. There’s nothing wrong with loving. Y’all think being on the block with your boys is gangsta? Being in love is gangsta. I question the masculinity of a man threatened by a lady’s femininity.
Man up and celebrate that girl. Happy Women’s History Month!
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario and public speaker. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up book titled, “GENTLEWOMAN: A Lady’s Etiquette Book from a Gentleman’s Perspective.” Check his Website Bereolaesque.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as Facebook.