Do You Ask Men For What You Want?
Don't feel confronted by that question. I used the word you, but I'm really talking to myself even though I already know the answer to that question is no. I couldn't even ask Iyanla for a hug and to call me beloved after she sat right in my face and gave me a sermon on asking for what you want. That was four years ago and I'm still "out of order."
This topic came up in the office Monday after I asked my co-worker whether she considers her boyfriend romantic. One of the writers on MadameNoire recently wrote a piece about how, in her experience, Black men are less romantic than men of other races and not a single soul disagreed, which is unheard of among the group of readers who would argue right is left if it meant they could get some attention. My co-worker, however, must've snatched a unicorn of sorts because she answered "yes" to my question without hesitation, saying her boyfriend -- who's Black -- might even be more romantic than she is. And after I relayed all of the explanations readers had come up with as to why Black men are less romantic, which ranged from a fear of vulnerability to not giving a hot damn because they don't have to, my co-worker said: "I wonder if women are asking these men for what they want? I find it hard to believe you could tell a man, 'I want you to take me on a picnic' and he'd straight up say no."
I shot her one of my looks and reminded her she's not out in these streets anymore. She quickly reminded me she never was. I told her that's why she doesn't know how quickly a man will shut you down.
I believe she asked me for an example and in the moment I couldn't recall one. The more I thought about it, I'm not sure I ever asked a man to do anything other than not fuck other women and I'm about 99.9% sure that request has never been granted. Asking for flowers and candy just seemed like too much on top of that "outlandish" request.
But then I thought about that one time I reached out to a couple of men from my past for "research's sake" to basically see what went wrong and one told me, "You were stubborn and wouldn't just tell me what you wanted out of/from me." I remember the first time I read that response. Here's a visual of my reaction.
I remember I called a friend and told her what I did and what he said. She asked how I felt and I said, "I feel like shit. I feel like I'm completely responsible for where my love life is right now." If she wasn't as sensitive a person as she is, she would've told me, "Umm that's because you are."
As I sat here writing this article I had a bit of another epiphany about myself that I'd probably deny if anyone ever confronted me about it. But the truth is, there might be just a teeny, tiny part of me that plays the victim when it comes to men. See, I like to do this thing called settling. When I was younger I did it because I assumed I couldn't get any better, now that I'm older I do it because I assume there isn't anything better. I haven't actually asked or demanded better, I just observe the behavior of the men I meet, determine it's sub-par, and either roll out or roll with it til I gas myself up with one of those "I can do bad all by myself" mantras and go and do just that. I don't ask for what I want because I have no expectation of getting it and when you don't ask or have expectations you can't be rejected. Or disappointed.
Except you still can and still are. Because in the back of your settling ass mind you're like, "this is some bullshit." And then you see other women who found men who know they're worth more than...
shit like this and there's nothing that makes them more special than you, it's just that maybe they had enough balls to ask for what they want-- or at least enough sense to walk away when they knew whoever they were dealing with wasn't going to give it to them.
Asking in no way guarantees you'll get what you want but it will steer you clear of the "I've settled" pile and, theoretically, put you one step closer to getting what it is that you desire because you're not wasting your time elsewhere. While I stand by my argument that no woman wants to have to tell a man take me here, surprise me with this, buy me that, there's no justification for not telling a man I want you to respect me, be loyal, faithful, supportive, call me every night, and take me out. Ideally, you wouldn't have to say those things. But if you don't simply because you know he won't, then you, indeed, are wholly responsible for transpires after. And that's a tougher pill to swallow than singleness.