By now, you probably heard the infamous story from Nightline Face/Off where it was revealed that Sherri Shepherd met Hill Harper years ago at a Taco Bell and blew him off. And shame on her for not recognizing the potential and hustle in a bus-pass-totin' 99-cent-taco eatin' brother with a cute smile. Um-hmm. Let me get to the point.
This week is Questions for the Ladies week and I received a whole flurry of self-righteous, indignant questions about why sisters can't SEE the potential in a brother. Matter of fact, one dude wrote in all caps, wouldn't it be fair to say that we (the sisters) would not know a "good man" if he came up and smacked us in the face with a letter of reference signed and sealed by Barack and Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and Jesus Christ put together. Setting aside the improbability of any man possessing such a letter (but if you do, holla at me) and setting aside the fact that a "good man" would not have smacked us in the face with anything… let me say – let's get ready to rumble.
I have to preface my responses by reminding the readership that this here is the Black 'n BOUGIE blog. Not Black 'n On the Corner of the Block, not Black 'n In Yo Mama's Basement, not Black 'n Still Aspiring to Rap at age 40. No sir… this is Black 'n Bougie. If that makes me stuck up and siddity in your eyes, alrighty then. So no, I may not see your potential immediately if you're not in the geographic location or exterior packaging that I'm used to. Doesn't mean I won't see it… means I don't see it at a glance.
Next – Hill Harper is the Bougie Mascot. His parents are doctors and old boy is triple (yes triple) degreed. He has multiple revenue streams, a retirement plan and the ear of movers & shakers nationwide. Okay? Don't play us like the next Hill Harper is hanging out at every Taco Bell waiting on the hook-up. Sherri's flaw was that she didn't ask the first five Bougie Screening questions: Where are you from? Who are your people? What do you do? Why are you doing it? What's next for you? Guarantee if she'd heard the answers to those questions, she'd have hopped on the LA Metro bus right beside him and rolled out.
Today's Questions for the Ladies – Would you recognize potential in a man? Do we know what a "good man" looks like?
Answer 1 ~ Some of us would, some of us wouldn't. The broader issue being… how long would a woman wait on potential? I, for example, am over 35. The men I meet should be on the path of their chosen life plan. If they were sidetracked, they need to have another plan in place. It's not going to be a comfortable situation for me to date a 40 y/o who is still finding himself, living on someone's couch, or has no clue how to be a grown up. Someone needed to catch me in my 20s for all that. A woman in her twenties will no doubt have more tolerance for the lack of life plan than I do.
Answer 2 ~ Every woman is going to have a different definition of what a "good man" is. Sure we'll agree on the four cornerstones: Considerate, caring, compassionate and capable of honesty. That's just a foundation. Others are going to want to add in things that they need – some women may need a supportive man, a Christian man, a protective man, the list is endless. But if the question is do we know if someone is "good for us" right off the bat? The only answer I have for you is… some do and some don't.
Let me share a recent BougieTale:
For the record, I have NO issue with men who work with their hands. Honest hard day's work with the sweat of his brow, putting his back into it… um, let me leave that analogy right there. The point is… I've always considered myself an equal opportunity dater. When I said this out loud to a group of close friends, they fell out (one literally on the floor trying not to pee her pants) with laughter. "Sure you believe in equal opportunity – if his bank balance, resume, height and personality equal what you're used to." Le Boo to them. Just Le Freakin' Boo. For those of you who have hung out in BougieLand, I have chronicled (sometimes in painful detail) my attempts at dating "outside the box."
By outside the box, I refer to that which is not my norm or my comfort level. Some folks call it a "wheelhouse". Anyway, I tweeted a few weeks back about the Terminix man giving me his phone number. Yes, literally the dude who came to the door to spray for spiders. As he was leaving he handed me the invoice and then handed me a business card and let me know he'd be interested in seeing me on a personal level. He caught me completely off-guard but he was well-spoken and gorgeous (I'm talking fyyine) so I said why not. I received 19 tweets back telling me to give the Terminix man a shot. One from none other than Mr. Harper himself asking if dude seemed ambitious. I agreed to at least call and find out the basics. I called him the next day, it was a nice conversation. Lots of light-hearted back and forth. I did some minor interrogatory work and agreed to meet him for coffee that weekend.
We met for coffee and I'm not sure what happened to the guy I chatted with on the phone. The guy seated across from me talked about the principles of extermination for 40 minutes straight. Granted he looked real purdy while he talked but he was still going in on the intricacies of depopulating a termite colony. Believe me, I tried to steer the conversation in other directions but what even my best segue from wasps' nests to "What do you watch on TV?" started this dude on a tangent about "Billy the Exterminator" on A&E. I have no snappy, witty repartee after you tell a story about Billy chasing rats. I got nothing.
YET AND STILL! I knew that he was better than that. He had been better than that on the phone. I assumed he got nervous, wasn't a good first date guy and so when he asked me to the movies a few days later, I said "Sure." This guy had to be more than beautiful smiles, bulging biceps and bugs. He just had to be…
Long story short – he's great on the phone. On the phone he was expressive and funny, able to articulate plans and dreams, tell jokes, swap anecdotes. In person – nothing. I've never seen anything like it. Made me wonder if there was a twin answering the calls and a different twin coming out on dates. When I asked him about it he said he sometimes had a problem being himself. I think this guy could be great for someone. I don't know if it's me. I need the face-to-face sizzle/sparkle/zing. I don't know if he'll get that way with time and ease or what. Truthfully, I don't know what to do with that. And until I do, he's a phone pal.
I tell this BougieTale to say… potential is just that. It'll only get you so far and then you need to deliver. You may be a "good man" that doesn't necessary make you good for me. So all the semi-bitter "why don't you women recognize" rants I received?? To this I say, you haven't found the right woman yet. There is a woman who will think you are the hottest thing smoking and she won't know how she ever lived without you? You only need one… right?
I don't know, maybe some women don't know a "good man" when they see one… but they can surely spot a really bad one a mile away. Let me also send a stern side-eye to the ladies talking about "I just want a good man" – no, you don't. Quit saying that. If that's "all" you wanted, you'd be 10 years into marriage to whatshisname down the block who smiled at you in high school. Let's just put the notion that a "good man" is all we want.
And on that note, BougieLand:
Fellas, are women not seeing your potential? If not, why not? Do you consider yourself to be a "good man"? What is the best quality about you that screams "I'm good"?
Ladies, how much patience do you have for potential? Ambition in progress? Hustle on the come up? Name a few characteristics you would hope to find in a "good man".
We're going in! The floor is yours…