When Men Express...

Sometimes I wonder if men have feelings. They don’t often express them in ways I understand (verbal, written) and even when they do, I don’t get it most of the time. A gentleman once spent five minutes stumbling over his words about us having much in common and wanting the same things out of life, then finally blurted out, “I think you’re great!” I thought ‘wow, he must really like me. A week later, I figured out that ‘you’re great’ actually meant “this isn’t working.” He was letting me down nicely. Huh?

Whenever I begin to doubt the existence of emotion in men, I put on my Boy Band playlist. It’s mostly Jodeci, Dru Hill, and Boys II Men. These men had feelings. The wail on “I’m Still Waiting” or “U and I?” The begging on “One Good Reason?” The confused emptiness on “End of the Road” and the passionate promises to make love to you like you want me to? (Pause. They just don’t make music like they used to.) I know they’re performers , but all that deep emotion you just can’t fake. They felt something for someone and some point. And they’re like men, so there, it does happen. You just have to wait and pay attention close for when emotion comes out.

I finally saw—instead of heard—a little man emotion recently. And frankly, it’s just odd, like seeing a six year old in a stroller. Now let me set this up for you. I roll with a travelling party of three, sometimes four, dudes most days. They are all fine/handsome, confident, and pretty suave without really trying. Two of them I think of like Brothers. Two are just in the Untouchables Box for various reasons. Combined, I’ve watched them—all single-- meet or converse with hundreds of women over the past year and change. And most days of the week, they can just kind of stand around in a room and the women will come to them. They never have to try too hard and depending on which combination happen to be standing to together, it can be like watching women throw panties on stage for an R&B crooner. (Honestly, that might be the best approach as they can be generally oblivious to the effect they have on most ladies.)

Last night, at The Roots listening, one encountered a woman that left him, usually witty and charismatic, stumbling over his words Then he got quiet. He’s never quiet. I was standing next to him while he chatted and turned around to see what the hell was going on. The woman he was speaking to was flawless. Not in the big hair, big boobs, lots of make-up kind of way. She wasn’t even wearing make-up and she glowed. She was wearing a simple outfit, which if photographed anytime between now and 1960 would be fashionable. Oh, and she had perfect teeth. He introduced us, and in the 10 seconds we said hellos and how are yous?, I gathered that she was super nice, but also didn’t take any shit. She’d be perfect for my boy, make him show some consistent act right and stimulate his mind… ( I think he knows this too. Hence the stumbling.) But she has a man.

She gave him a minute more of brief conversation, then went about the business of to working the room. He spent the next 20 minutes and most of the train ride to our second destination) talking about how great she is. And not once did he mention anything physical. Well, except to say how just pretty she is.

We headed over to Lola’s for a fundraiser of sorts to help a totally amazing, but struggling restaurant that’s facing adversity for being too-black in a non-black neighborhood. There, our pair encountered the other half of our crew. A woman stopped by to chat for a few minutes and another of my usually chatty friends, suddenly had nothing to say. Er? When Ms. Amazing walked away, he looked a little awestruck, then actually declared himself, I quote him, smitten. He and my Roots companion actually got into a conversation about how good it feels. I thought they were joking.

Later in the evening, Ms. Amazing (also, simple, nice, smart, and relatively physically flawless), was walking in our direction, headed toward the exit. He leapt—no really, a full leap, not just a hop or a jump-- from his bar stool and jetted—not just a run or a sprint—to open the door for her and say good night. The remaining three of us gave each other the ‘what the fuck’ look… then burst out laughing.

He swaggered back to his seat with a grin, looked at us like we were stupid. And then lost himself re-thinking of his very brief encounter with Ms. Amazing. He was just too pleased with his act of gentlemanly courtesy .

So that’s how man-feelings come out, huh? Actions, not words. I guess that means I should stop waiting to hear declarations of like and watch for what happens next. I wonder if anyone’s smitten with me and I just haven’t noticed because I’ve been waiting for him to say something?