On Monday morning, I woke up, poured myself a tall jug of water and sat down at my desk, preparing to tackle the mountain of emails I left waiting for myself over the weekend. Before delving into the virtual stack, I saw a DM from one of my home girls on Twitter who forwarded me a tweet with a message attached reading, “Why I hate men and dating.”
Guy: “What kind of attention you think I want I would just really like to f*** or hang out I’m not looking for a wife”
Her: “Lol getting to know someone and hanging out is a lot of energy to waste on something not serious when I’m in school and working”
Guy: “Yea but I’m worth your time and [you’re] definitely worth mine. So you want to try this? Would you like to be f*** buddies…”
Knowing what my home girl has been through over the course of her dating life, which includes a multitude of interactions with a veritable stockpile of frowsy dudes, I understood completely where her frustration was coming from. She simply wants a union of joint love and respect, yet she keeps finding herself being offered nothing more than penis and Netflix. I simply replied, “LOL” seeing as I had work to attend to, but it was her response that left me frozen at my desk:
“What makes a woman good enough to sleep with, but not date?”
I didn’t have a quick, clever answer for that. Despite having written a book about relationships, blogging about relationships for many years, and speaking on various panels in different countries about relationships, it’s the one question I’ve heard many times, but have been previously unable to answer in a cogent and honest manner.
For the most part, my answer has been, “I guess it depends on the guy,” but as I mature and learn more about myself and how relationships work, I realize it’s deeper than that. In some ways, the answer is simplistic, but in many ways it requires serious digging.
The simple truth is that many of us want love and lust—yet we also have very different qualifications for both. And sometimes we find one in a woman without finding the other.
Men love deeply. This is not to say that women don’t, but it’s to dispel the common myth that marriage to a man is little more than an inconvenient societal pact that handcuffs a man from being who he really wants to be. You know, the myth that is propagated on TV shows where panicky grooms blurt out to their best man to save them. In reality, when a man invests his trust and his love into a woman, it permeates deep into every aspect of his being. In a hyper-masculine society, those feelings end up touching the nerve endings of emotions that aren’t very “manly” and it’s scary to have a love penetrate your soul so deeply that it threatens to reveal your true, intrinsic self; the vulnerable self we go to great lengths to conceal.
Not only do men love deeply, but we also love expeditiously. Once again, contrary to pop culture references, it doesn’t take pulling teeth to get a man to fall for a woman. When we meet a woman that inherently embodies the type of woman we know we could develop a deep, meaningful relationship with, we know what her presence can possibly unlock within us very quickly. And we also understand when a woman we meet cannot do that.
Sometimes we meet women that simply don’t have the capacity to accentuate our deepest wants and desires for a loving relationship. But for men, that doesn’t immediately disqualify her from being everything we’d want in lust. And therein lies the friends with benefits offer than many men pitch to women everyday. Maybe it’s classier and more respectful if a man chooses not to proposition a woman he has no intent of developing feelings for, but the fact is that those offers will always remain.
For us as men who mostly view relationships through the context of lust and love, hearing the question, “What makes me good enough to sleep with, but not date?” is confusing as hell. It is asking me to logically explain why the deepest parts of my inherent being aren’t willing and open to embracing you in a deep and meaningful manner. That’s not an easy question to answer because in many ways, it’s not explainable.
How do you explain chemistry? How do you define what satiates the most undefinable parts of your desires? The problem with that question is that it takes a conversation about chemistry and devolves it into a destructive debate about personal, intrinsic self-worth.
When it comes to interactions with women, for men, it’s easier for us to keep things physical and casual. Investigating the depth of our emotions can be confusing and scary, but skin-to-skin contact is more easily defined and almost soothing in it’s tangible simplicity.
We have sex with women we lust because we want to dig inside of them, and we commit to women we love because we want to explore them throughout. Hell, some men just don’t even want love in any capacity. But that differential is predicated on a man’s desires, not a woman’s worth.
When I look at the text above, I don’t see a man disrespecting a woman, I see a man openly and honestly stating what he is and isn’t looking for. But what I also see, which troubles me, is a woman who is taking his desires, and projecting his wants as a definitive statement about her intrinsic self. If a man doesn’t want to be with you, that doesn’t mean that you must undergo a battery of inspections to improve yourself, it means you’re still on the search for the man that is looking for you. So don’t use “good enough” because that’s a weird and inaccurate pressure to put on yourself. You didn’t fail on some interpersonal level, you just didn’t find the right match and that’s not easy for women or men.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.