One evening I was sitting on my couch relaxing after a hard day’s work. I had a mindless television show on as background noise and a beverage of minimal alcohol content in my hand. As I sat there half watching the shenanigans of obviously overpaid actors I had what many call a moment of clarity. Here I was a Black man in his early fifties living alone in a modest apartment with nothing to keep me company but a trite sitcom.
Sure I have two sons I share with a cooperative co-parent and a string of attractive women who visit from time to time or check on me with consistent texts. In that moment, however, I thought about the men, particularly the Black men, who were in a similar position but didn’t have the offspring or adoring women to keep them company. In that moment I thought about the lives of those men.
How many Black men are living a lonely existence? How many don’t even have children who will visit them even every other weekend? How many yearn for the touch of a loving woman every now and then? How many are suffering from loneliness?
For years Black women have lamented the so-called shortage of Black men. For years they have complained about the quality of the Black men they do see. Yet there are millions of Black men who live an existence of simply working and going home. That’s if they even have their own home. Many may stay with sympathetic relatives. Many are counting the days as they live a life of quiet despair.
In that singular moment I felt what those brothers feel. There was no woman under me that I was pounding into a nirvana of pleasure. I wasn’t telling my sons to play nice with the PS4. I wasn’t even texting one of numerous female admirers. For a few seconds I was alone. Then I thought about my brothers for whom that few seconds was a few days, a few weeks, a few months, a few years. I imagined having that feeling I felt for a few seconds for a few years. It was a scary feeling.
A problem with these Black relationship discussions is that the focus is on Black women and their plight. This is bullshit in itself. Their plight is really chasing after a small group of men who either dog them or ignore them. Black women are mad because the villain destroys them and the hero doesn’t want to save them. The conversation never includes the men who are being ignored. The men who are right in front of these women and yet are invisible. The men who sit in front of TV screens eating warmed over leftovers from a restaurant they had to eat at alone.
How many of these men would make good providers? How many would make good protectors? How many would make good lovers? Men who would willingly take a woman with emotional baggage and three bastard kids and give them all the love they could stand. How many of these men are willing to work hard to build something with beautiful Black women? The same Black women that tell these men they are too short, too fat, too boring, too light, or too dark. Men who simply want the love and warmth of a family. Men who feel incomplete unless they are doing what men have done since the beginning of time which is to lead and provide for a wife and offspring.
In that moment clarity I felt a travesty. How many lives are being wasted because Black women don’t see the diamonds who may be right in front of them? Too many. You know, an elder said something interesting to me one day. He lived alone and in his moment of clarity he realized that he could be dead a week before anyone would notice. We have too many Black men in that position. In a few seconds I felt what these men felt. I’ve blessed not to be in that position but I feel for the men who live every day with that feeling.
I will work to free men from being in that position.