The fellas ask: So we're guilty until proven innocent?

In the aftermath of the trust post from last week, I received a lot of emails and tweets. All levels and ranges of responses from the positive "Thanks for opening the discussion" to the other side of the spectrum. Some were saying that I was ignorant and/or irresponsible, that I was aiding and abetting rapists, that I was just as criminal in my thinking as the perpetrator, that I was racist. Others indicated that I don't know about the number of black women being assaulted. It went on and on. For those who felt I was insensitive or those who missed my point (which was not at all about rape or victimization or the criminal justice system) - okay, I heard you. Thanks for sharing. Let's move on, shall we?

There was, however; one line of questioning that I will follow-up on. More than one gentleman asked me - If women are so wary that they are assuming all men are guilty (of something) until proven innocent, how do we ever build real relationships?

Excellent question. As always, disclaimer first: I'm not a relationship expert. I've just been to the three-ring circus and seen the clowns more times than we need to discuss. Okay? Moving on...

Let's pull apart the premise first. There are several myths wrapped up in here. First being that real relationships are not being built everyday. There is also the myth that there are no good professional single straight men without eleventy million babies' mamas left in the United States. There is the myth that of the two decent men left, one of them is a dog and the other one only dates white women. There is the myth that women don't move on from their pasts but are quick to paint the next guy with the ex's brush. These are myths that need to be debunked, killed dead, buried deep and never no more resurrected.

But the allure of these myths is wrapped up in the unmistakable truth for many of my professional sisters- a good man is hard to find and hard to keep. (Bruhs, my bad - I know it's hard out there for you too)

All that being said, not all women believe men are guilty until proven innocent. However, many of us have encountered a rascal or two along the way so we may have to side eye you for the first 60 90 180 days. Nothing against you personally, gents. It's the whole once bitten, twice shy concept. We're going to try not to lump you in with your ratchet brethren that have come before but I gotta tell you, if we see some of those same tendencies and mannerisms in you, we're going to be right skittish. Like I once announced, "I'm going to try not to drag the entire seven piece matching set that is my relationship baggage into our thing, but this overnight bag is heavy on it's own."

"So what can we do, Chele?"

Well let me tell you, fellas... you're not going to like it. But you're going to have to communicate. You're going to have to ask why every now and then your new boo thang looks at you like she's waiting for you to pull on hockey mask and grab a chainsaw. Relationships are a journey and how will you know how to navigate without a map? That's how relationships go off target, folks get to barreling along without knowing they've hit quicksand and next thing you know? You're sunk. 

And you're going to have to be transparent. I don't mean oversharing. What I mean is that if you say you are going to say or do or be somewhere... let it be so. Consistently. Don't make a woman wonder where your interest lies or what you're really after. Speak plain and let your actions reflect it. 

Not to let the ladies off the hook. The same rings true for us as well. Far too many chicas out there making it hard for the rest of us. We've all run up against that guy who just got out of a bad breakup with a chick who cut such a fool, no one in his family even mentions her name. Yeah, don't be that chick. Don't expect a man to read your mind. They are not that magical (no shade, guys, IJS). When something is on your mind, speak on it before it becomes a festering wound. Again, transparency. 

SO beyond saying both sides need to just. do. better. I guess I'm saying, isn't it worth it in the end to put a bit of due diligence in at the beginning? BougieLand, what say you? Ladies, do you prejudge men based on your past experiences? Fellas, do you feel that you are being judged before you even have a chance to state your case? Do share...