Mindpower: Taking It Back
Taking It Back
First, I want to apologize to all female IMPACT readers. In past issues, I declared myself a woman-hater. Well, I take it back.
Actually, I am far from being a woman hater because I am a staunch supporter of equal rights. I believe in equality for all races, nationalities, sexual preferences and genders.
The reason behind my foolishness was to show that I wasn't soft. The reason behind not wanting to look soft was stupid, too.
As Morris Sullivan mentioned in the October/November issue, I used to host poetry readings. Countless times, I've seen male poets put on the act of sensitivity with romantic poems. Right away, I could smell this as a scheme to attract women. I never said anything about it. I always kept my mouth shut. Still, I knew phoniness when I saw it.
I have a big fear of being accused of being a phony. All of my literary words have come straight from the heart. They were all me. Nothing was fake. A phony using literature to scam women is the last thing I wanted to be accused of.
So, like an insecure idiot, what did I do? I turned hard. I wanted to be a man's man. One of the boys. Just because I had sympathy for the single mother, still didn't mean that I was soft. Men don't have feelings. Feelings are for sissies.
My fear of being a phony turned me into a phony, anyway... but wait, there's more.
Seeing that there were few women participating in the readings, I came up with Women's Night. The purpose of this special night was to encourage more women to participate in the readings. My foolishness almost fucked it up, too.
Knowing that phony romantics were going to participate that night, fear grabbed me. I feared that the romantics were going to look more sensitive to women's feelings than I did.
So, I got stupid. I decided to head them off at the pass.
"Just because this is Women's Night does not mean that I won't say the word 'bitch.'"
Yep, that was me.
Some women were cool about it. Some laughed. The white middle-class feminists wanted to kill. One later came on stage and voiced her opinions about why women were angry. According to her, the way women were being treated that night was a classic example. She didn't give any specifics. One woman told her to get off it.
Months later, one white middle-class feminist's boyfriend, a brother, told me that the woman was referring to me.
When his girl told him what I did, the boyfriend said this: "Yeah, that sounds like Patrick."
As I think about the incident at Women's Night, I am very embarrassed by it. I made myself a bigger fool than the romantic phonies, who behaved just like I thought they would.
Psychologist Dr. Glen Good says the current ideal for male masculinity is to not only be the strong and silent type but also be the sensitive and caring partner. He also says that men, trying to live up to what they believe are society's expectations, tend to be angrier and more depressed than the ones who don't.
Was I angry or depressed after trying to live up to people's expectations? Not really. Actually, I felt more like a damned fool. I ain't hard.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe in turning the other cheek. I believe what Malcolm X believed. Someone steps on my toes, I'm stepping right back.
Still, I ain't hard. Actually, I'm a nice person. What people mistake as just another angry black man is really someone who cares about humanity. I cannot stand the sight of injustice.
Another reason for the hard role is to prevent unwanted attention. Many times, my kindness has been taken for a weakness. I have had so-called friends take advantage of me. I have had some rip me off. I have dated women that didnšt know how to handle nice dudes.
I was tired of it all. So, I figured the best way to prevent unwanted attention is to act hard. To act like I didn't care.
The best way to give the hard look is to give an expressionless look. An expressionless look is an unreadable look. No one knows what goes on inside you. Many times in the clubs, women have always asked "Do I ever smile?"
I didn't want to smile. To me, a smile only brought trouble. So, I would always stick with the expressionless look. Not only was the expressionless look hard, it was also my way of being cool.
The expressionless look is very common among African-American males. According to the book, Cool Pose by Richard Majors and Janet Mancini Billson, this look dates back to slavery.
"Since their first days as slaves in this land, African-American males have discovered that masking behavior is a supremely useful device. During slavery, black males were masters of cool. Now cool has become an integral thread in the fabric of black-black and black-white relationships. It has been exported out of the ghetto into the lives of middle-class black males. Cool has long been blended into jazz and other black music that belongs to all of African-American society, indeed, the world. And cool has influenced mainstream culture through entertainment, sports, clothing, and the media."
Speaking of expressionless looks, does this mean that I am going to get rid of the Mind Power picture? Nope, I like that picture. It's cool. Why? I was told I looked like Ice Cube. The picture stays.
I take my woman-hating back, ladies. My apologies.
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Other MindPower columns by Patrick Scott Barnes: