How often do men actually look in the mirror and see themselves for who they truly are? Or if they do happen to look in a mirror, is it the carnival funhouse type of mirror that seems to distort reality?
Before we get into the meat and potatoes, I have to thank Issa Rae for introducing Sarunas J. Jackson aka “Dro” into our lives. We are going to skip all that is his goodness and fine’ocity — for now.
More men need friends like Derek DuBois (played by Wade Allain-Marcus) on Insecure. He’s real, down-to-Earth, and he’s not your everyday “yes man.” Unfortunately, he’s married to Tiffany DuBois (Amanda Seales), who I find completely annoying and self-absorbed. But regardless, his relationship seems to work for him, at least from what the viewer can see for the time being.
Last season on Insecure, we experienced the plateau of Issa and Lawrence’s relationship. We saw how Issa was bored with where they were, how she felt that Lawrence had no professional drive, which then turned into her affair with Daniel (an old high school fling), and after being forced into the truth she revealed what happened to Lawrence. Lawrence in turn leaves, starts a “fake”tionship with his hoe-turned-housewife (she wasn’t really a hoe, but she was in HIS eyes), and we see how Issa and Lawrence’s relationship dissolved into a Los Angeles pothole that no politician will seem to clear up because it’s in the hood.
Now, we are on Season 2, which seems to be a familiar territory to any of us who ever had the disadvantage of experiencing a relationship. Lawrence is no longer with Tasha (his hoe-turned-housewife) and Issa is attempting to “find herself” with sexual liberation and no longer wants to have any form of emotional attachment. After driving by her home following a failed ménage à trois with a couple of white girl and after stalking her and her friends’ social media to see her recent activity, Lawrence is refocusing his anger and aggression towards Issa. He meets with his friend Derek, explaining his frustration that Issa had to always have been sneaking behind his back, how Derek’s wife probably does the same (since she’s friends with Issa) and he shouldn’t trust her. Clearly, misery loves company and Lawrence is looking for a best friend.
But thank God for Derek who puts Lawrence in his place and tells him that the deterioration wasn’t all Issa’s fault. Lawrence was unemployed for two years with no professional drive. Yes, he had a startup company that he wanted to get off the ground but wasn’t making any progressive moves to follow his dream. Instead, he was relying on Issa’s time, Issa’s financial comfort, Issa’s stability, and Issa’s couch where he spent majority of his afternoons in scraggly pajamas. In Derek’s opinion, of course Issa would be attracted to someone else who had their shit together. Was it an excuse for cheating? No. But she wasn’t completely in the wrong.
We have to be honest with ourselves. So many times men ask for women to re-evaluate who they are in a relationship without looking at themselves. They want others to compromise but don’t dream of changing who they are. A man, especially, is always looking for a woman to cook and clean and have shit ready by the time he gets home from work, but does he ever take into account her emotional stability or what else she may’ve had to do for the day? Or maybe for the fact that she’s counting on him to be a grown ass adult and manage his life the way a grown ass adult should?
Sadly, it seems that so many of our black men need people to coddle them. Tell them “yes” or that they’re always right. Even if they’re 35 and still not married, they seem to think they’re perfect and that women should cater to their needs. No, sir. You’re 35 and not married for a reason. You seem to have the same issue with each woman you encounter. Think about it.
In Lawrence’s case, he was so quick to point out how Issa was wrong, but he never did a self-evaluation. Instead, a man will typically buy the largest mirror at Target and place it in front of the woman so that she has no choice but to have more self-doubt. This then creates more guarded emotions. Men speak so frequently about how women have walls up and are non-trusting. But if you point out our mistakes like you’re picking seeds out of a watermelon, what do you expect?
But really, if a man actually stood in the mirror with his woman of interest, would he really think that he matches up to her potential? Is he as educated — not just by letters but does his intellect show where he can actually speak and text in an articulate manner without the recipient feeling like they’re putting together a 3-D jigsaw puzzle? Quick to criticize, but can he communicate when it’s not negative? Is he involved in his community? Does he actually know what’s going on in the news and what surrounds him and gets out to vote? Excuse me, is he even registered to vote? Does he see the larger picture in life and that it is not just a portrait of him?
Whereas, on the other hand, as women we go above and beyond outside of our comfort zones to make compromises. Maybe we do things wrong, maybe we’re thinking incorrectly, but we do try to change and most of us do so from the bottom of our hearts. We do try to see the good in our men even though we can actually communicate, even though we’re involved and vocal in our communities, even though we volunteer to help others register to vote, even though our dreams are larger than a Caribbean cruise.
And when you think about it, maybe the couple doesn’t match each other in the mirror. His side is fogged up, smeared in kindergarten finger paints. Men like this need mothers rather than girlfriends or wives. They still need to be breastfed, and I personally have no intention of nursing a man to be my husband. At this point, even his mother is probably starting to cough out powdered milk.
Every man needs that friend like Derek to tell him he’s delusional — a friend to display even just a compact mirror so that he isn’t always playing victim. A man can be so apprehensive about a woman, whether she has baggage or if she’s crazy. But a man never stops to think that maybe he is the one who caused or perpetuated more baggage. Or maybe he’s truly the crazy one and at fault for majority of what went wrong. Or maybe, one day he can actually see the truth in himself. Maybe. Just maybe.