And you can quote me on that one.
We’ve all seen it. The quintessential “good guy”, with his sharp wardrobe, winning smile, and extensive vocabulary. Or maybe he has a lucrative job, a respectable major, sizable ambition, a habit of talking about the kind of woman he wants to marry, and the tendency to go to church on Sundays. More often than not, he’s got a decent face and a more-than-decent body (not always, but there seems to be a pattern). And more often than not, there are girls of every color, creed, complexion, hair type, education level, and moral compass swooning over him. Why, you might ask? Because he’s got something special. I call it the “Bring Home To Mama (And Maybe Even Daddy) Factor”.
This quality is much coveted among the female species, because, as we get older, our inner Sandra-Dee/Bella Swan dies; we start to see the Danny Zukos and Edward Cullens for what they really are: deadbeat druggies and sparkling idiots who peaked in high school. We lose the desire to piss off dear-old-Dad, because, let’s face it, someone’s gotta pay that tuition bill on the 15th of the month. And Mom has transformed from a raving lunatic who doesn’t understand us and wants to ruin our lives into one of our closest friends. We’ve learned by now that the bad boy isn’t just called that because he wears a leather jacket, has a sleeve tattoo, or rides a motorcycle; he also smokes lots of weed (and possibly crack-cocaine), either cheats often or accuses us of the same thing (while simultaneously cheating on us), has a couple of baby-mamas, and has come painfully close to putting his hands on us a few times.
The “good guy” represents to us safety, security, and a drama-free, picket-fenced happy home one day in the future. Which is why we are utterly blindsided when he has us drinking Captain Morgan out of a champagne glass, while sitting in the bathtub crying to Adele’s “Don’t You Remember”, or going on livid Twitter rants because we just knew he would be different, and he proved us wrong.
He wasn’t supposed to make us feel like we’re special because we’re beautiful and stylish and have a good head on our shoulders, and then like the campus hoe’s profile picture on Facebook. He wasn’t supposed to lie about his relationship status, and then trick us into helping him cheat on his girlfriend. He wasn’t supposed to only hit us up when he’s drunk or during Booty Call Hours (12am-3am) pretending that he just wants to study or “hang out”, then playfully pin us on the bed, have “one thing lead to another”, and make us swear that we won’t tell anyone in the morning. He wasn’t supposed to be the one with nudes of big-titted, big-assed, okay-faced females in his phone. He wasn’t supposed to be the one with the drinking problem and the tendency to call us “fat”, “ugly”, “worthless”, or “a whore” when he gets inebriated. He wasn’t supposed to try to hook up with one of our best friends behind our backs, because he thinks we’ll never find out.
The “good guy” was supposed to be looking for his counterpart, the “good girl”, who doesn’t show cleavage during business hours, works out for herself, loves children, wants to own her own business one day, and tweets Bible verses every once in a while. Or at least the “cool girl”, who listened to Kendrick Lamar before everyone else found out about him, makes Youtube makeup tutorials, is an avid basketball fan, likes to draw in her free time, and can rock a pair of five-inch heels like a Victoria’s Secret model. He was supposed to rise above his unstable home life, not repeat it. He was supposed to be patient, and sensitive, and faithful, and sweet, and honest, and willing to wait until we were ready.
But therein lies the fallacy of the “good guy”. We, as females, tend to forget that at the end of the day, even “good guys” are guys nonetheless. If he’s anatomically male, he’s likely to be mentally male also; and, if we’re being honest, that pesky pecker controls just as much of his behavior as his brain. (Quite often, he adopted all of his “Bring Home To Mama” qualities with the intention of attracting girls who would be blindly drawn in by them, and wouldn’t expect such regular guy antics.)
While the blunt masculinity of his species is welcomed in some cases, it can also be a disappointing reminder of a sad truth that I’m learning very quickly this year: the all around “good guy” is probably a myth. Guys are guys, that’s it. When it comes to patterned behavior, there is no hierarchy. ”Bad boys” may surprise us just as much as good ones; anyone is capable of doing anything.
I’m not writing this from a place of bitterness, I promise. This is not a “Niggas ain’t shit!” rant. The funny thing is, I’m actually not bitter about this discovery at all; I’m just a realist. My aim with all of this is to simply dispel the rumor that these “Bring Home To Mama” types operate on some sort of moral higher ground from the rest of their male colleagues, in hopes that it will save some of you the shock and chagrin that I’ve endured in the past. I’m not suggesting that you never trust another “good guy” again. But don’t be fooled by his exterior. He might just be a plain old, lying, cheating, baby-having, “options”-exploring, relationship-disrespecting, notch-on-his-bedpost-having, booty-call-making, “The only thing better than pussy is new pussy,”-quoting guy cleverly disguised as an articulate, bowtie-sporting, pre-med student who writes spoken word poetry, listens to gospel music, and claims to love the movie Love & Basketball.
Just .. don’t get too comfortable.
Yesterday, after an Alexander-the-Great-style terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, I fell into a seemingly bottomless pit of sad tweets and depressing Tumblr reblogs that lasted most of the early afternoon. Thanks to some encouraging words from my real friends and a little good ol’ fashioned motherly optimism from hers truly, I picked myself up by my emotional bootstraps and started to see the silver (or silver-ish) linings hidden in my overcast outlook. Today, when something I saw threatened to pull me back into my slump, I had a little bit of an epiphany. I had tweeted something earlier yesterday, in the midst of my downward spiral, to the effect of “Sometimes it’s okay to have no one you can talk to when you’re going through it. It teaches you to be your own strength ..” What I mean by that is, sometimes you have to take control of your own happiness. Here’s how I did it, and how you can, too.
- Count your blessings. I know it sounds cliché, but no matter how things get, more often than not, they could always be worse. If you hate that you’re single, remember that there are shelters filled with women who wish they had the luxury of being crazy-nigga-free (you know what I mean). If you don’t have any friends that you can really count on, don’t forget that you can always be there for yourself; it will make you so much stronger. I used to always get down about not being in a relationship, or even seeing one anywhere on the horizon. But now, I see what some of my friends go through with their significant others, and I’ve learned that I’m just not that type of girl. I have plenty of friends who, even at 18 years-old, are going through the old ball and chain situation, or the “He’s too much of a guy to discuss his feelings” thing, or even the “He cheated on me, but I still love him” deal. I like to get my Nelly Furtado on, and being tied down and lovey dovey and hanging on some nigga’s every word just isn’t my cup of tea right now. I would be miserable having to call and check in with someone all the time, or dress up in heels and a full face of makeup every weekend, or sending “good morning” and “sweet dreams” texts at this point in my life, and I’m okay with that. No sense in crying over it. My time will come, and not a moment too late. And even if I do get lonely sometimes, at least I didn’t eff around and have to take care of a baby that looks just like the guy I love to hate while he’s out getting his jollies off in someone else’s playground. As funny as it sounds, just think of it this way: The grass on the other side may be greener, but the grass is always shittier somewhere.
- Give yourself a moment to be sad; Then MTFU. Earlier today, I stumbled upon a tweet that made me extremely uneasy. It was one of those “anyone wanna join me doing x, y, and z? ladies, please” kinda tweets; and it put me in one of those ”I’m up here having to think about him while he’s thinkin’ about not just one other girl, but droves of hoes .. wish he was thinkin’ about me, at least a little bit” kinda moods. All of a sudden, my mind was racing with undeserved annoyance, misguided jealousy, and girlish sadness. Then, I stopped myself. I learned this from a movie. When asked how he never got scared doing whatever it was that he did for a living, this guy (I wanna say Ethan Hawke) said that he did. But he confessed that he gave himself 5-10 seconds to freak out inside his head, and then he got over it and got back to the task at hand. (I really should figure out what that movie was, it changed my life.) So I employed this practice earlier today. I closed my eyes, and gave myself ten seconds to think all of the negative things about this boy, and all of the negative things about myself that involuntarily came with thinking about him, and then, as I opened my eyes, I dropped it. Give yourself a time limit. Don’t pore over all of the glass-half-empty thoughts swirling through your head. Let them dominate for only a short time, then take back control. Put them out of your head, and move on. Now, I believe I was born a G, but I understand that everyone doesn’t have this ability right away. It takes practice, but at least try to minimize the time that you feel sorry for yourself each day, so you’re not crying yourself to sleep every night. If you need help thinking positive after your sad-freak-out time’s up, refer back to #1.
- Do things that make you happy. Again, I know this sounds cliché as hell, but we spend so much time trying to please everyone else. Sometimes you just have to do things that make you happy, even if they don’t make sense to anyone else. Throw inhibitions and judgments to the wind, and make yourself smile. Now I’m not saying go out and kill the person that made you sad, because it’ll cheer you the fuck up. But, for example, yesterday, after I got out of my funk, I ordered a Giordano’s Tropic Deep Dish Pizza. Then on the way home from picking it up, I stopped by Potbelly and got a vanilla shake, a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips, and one of their signature sugar cookies. (If you don’t live near me, that probably means nothing to you; just know that those are all some of my favorite things to eat in my hometown.) And I didn’t apologize for any of it. I’m sure all of the signs to everyone standing behind me in line pointed to a pity party that I would pay for in the gym in the morning, but I didn’t worry about what they were thinking. And today, I slept until three in the afternoon without having to answer to anybody. When I woke up, I watched cartoons in my pajamas, then washed my hair and stayed in the shower until my fingers were all raisin-ey. And as lazy and weird and unproductive as that sounds, I was unbelievably blissfully happy. Trust me, if you do it within reason, it really helps.
- If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, learn to love it. This sounds a lot easier said than done, so I’ll give you my personal example. I often get depressed about my weight. It’s easy to feel like Sisyphus when it comes to getting in shape, but at the end of the day, I’m like this because of me, so it will only change when I decide it has to. ”Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” said Einstein. If I don’t like my weight, I’ll have to change something in order to like it. Another physical thing: I hate my feet! Feet in general, but especially my own. I wish people had been created like Bratz dolls, with those little nubby balls for feet that just stuck into shoes. But anyway, I can’t change my feet. But I make sure them ugly mugs are consistently pedicured, polished, and moisturized. I buy heels that take attention off of my feet, or showcase them in just the right way. And I learned that they’re not going anywhere, so I better get used to them.
- Do something good for someone else, for you. This sounds a little funny, but I’ll explain. It really warms my heart when I do things to help people. It has just as much of a pick-me-up effect on me as it does on those on the receiving end. Yesterday, after my mopey period was up, I remembered a cause I’d been meaning to help. (Call it what you will, I believe God reminded me.) I went onto the website for fashionABLE scarves and read about the organization and the stories behind each scarf. If you know me, you know that that is probably the one main accessory that I own in an excessive amount and am willing to splurge on. Not only were the scarves super cute, but they weren’t much more expensive than those you’d find at H&M. And each scarf comes with a grateful message. The one I like the most, the Dember, says “Because of you, I am ABLE to Feel dignity in my work. Thank you, Dember.” My next paycheck, I vow to purchase one. It lifts my spirits to not only have a cute scarf, but to know that I’ve made even a small difference in the life of someone else. If #1, #2, #3, and #4 don’t work, I promise this one will.
Now, I’m not licensed to give advice or anything, so don’t blame me if you’re still all sad and mopey after you try all of this. I’m just telling you what works for me for now, in hopes that it will help somebody.
This past Sunday afternoon, I joined some girlfriends of mine at the movies to see the latest addition to the X-Men franchise. On a side note, the price of movies has gotten completely out of control. AMC has monopolized the cinema industry, and is gouging our pockets most arrogantly. The ticket alone was $10, and because I’m one of those people who has to be chomping on something while the action is heating up on screen, I had no choice but to drop THIRTEEN BUCKAROOS on a lightly-salted pretzel, a White Cherry Icee (because I don’t like the other flavors staining my teeth), and a pack of chocolate-covered raisins. I was utterly flabbergasted by the prices. But when you’re the only act in town, literally, you can afford to do that to your customers.
But I digress. As I sat down, snacks in hand, to see the stories of the original X-Men unfold, I couldn’t help but watch with childlike glee and fascination. Superhero movies, whether they be the impeccably actedThe Dark Knight or the surprisingly entertaining Kick Ass, hold a special place in my heart. There is just something lovely about feeling ignorant of the world’s mounting and persistent corruption for two-and-a-half hours. I have always been attracted to the idea that, no matter how thick the plot becomes in this genre of film, I can count on a few things:
- The good guy will always get the good girl. She won’t end up with some sleazeball with violent tendencies and alcoholism looming on the horizon. She won’t get knocked up by some jailbird and be forced to raise her innocent offspring alone. She won’t fall victim to the sweet talk of some shady, good-for-nothing who plans to turn her into a beaten up, forgotten, broken shell of the woman she once was. She’ll end up with the good guy, the one with the perfect smile and the good intentions, the one she deserves to be with.
- The good guy will always triumph over the bad one. There won’t be any horror-film-esque cliffhangers at the end of superhero movies. Even if they do hint at a sequel, you never have to question whether the good guy came out on top. In real life, bad things happen to good people. And justice is not always properly served. In superhero movies, the right man always pays for the crime, and the good guy gets to walk away from the explosion looking all cool.
- There will almost always be a sequel. Like I mentioned before, many comic-book-based films end in some kind of suggested resurgence of the villain, but it’s only enough to get the audience wondering what will happen next. I personally absolutely HATE endings. I have trouble reading the final chapters of books, and I never watch season or series finales of my favorite television shows. Endings are just not my thing. With superhero movies, no matter how final the credits may seem, you know they’ve already begun work on the next one.
I know I sound like a total nerd repeating over and over again in the movie theater, “I love superhero movies.” But I just can’t help it. They take me back to a time when my naiveté was my security blanket, before I realized that there was no age limit on death and that the world wouldn’t grant you nap time and animal crackers for free forever. They allow me to feel like a kid again, and I absolutely wouldn’t trade even the coolest reputation for that feeling.