There’s few places like the barbershop. It’s the daytime gentleman’s club, the man cave, the original #blacktwitter. Over the years, I’ve heard it all in the barbershop from when I was a kid to now. Of course back then I was just laughing when they did just to fit in, now I’m a grown man who not only knows exactly what they talking about, but equipped with a few tales of my own to tell. So during my last visit, the topic broached…well I surely can’t say it here. I will say the shop was evenly split between pro and against. Team Pro debated valiantly and close their argument with the age old defense:
“What you won’t do, the next one will”
This mantra I typically see hurled towards women, that you must always have your head on a swivel because they outchea plotting on you, is something I’ve only half agreed with. While I agree that in a relationship you should always continue to evolve and never assume their satisfaction, the next one will logic is flawed. One should be driven to please their partner not just who else might could. S/Os don’t play defense.
Bringing it back to the barbershop, the discussion switched to the man, the myth, the legend; the “next man”. The next man, side dude, dirty mack, mister-ess etc, is an interesting character. He serves different purposes to the relationship. Obviously to her, he’s the complementary piece, what she’s not getting from her she will get from him. Attention, affection, affirmation. However, the next man is always a role player at best. No matter how many voids he fills, and even though studies suggest women who are unfaithful typically develop some true feelings for the other man, he’s just the complement, rarely a real threat to the incumbent. Been there.
As for the man, his job to make him extremely uncomfortable. Men are ego driven, if she was to leave for any reason, the last thing a man wants is another man. There’s nothing more humbling than losing your queen to a personified Trey Songz record. With that, it was the next man who got men to wear thighs like Bane masks, the next man who threw back throwbacks (sorry Hov), the next man who got you banging out that extra set at the gym, the next man made you want to learn how to cook. The next man continues to set the bar higher and higher and forces you to adjust to the new market. He’s a necessary evil, as without him enters comfort, a gift and a curse. There has to be a healthy fear that if you’re not handling business, you’ll become expendable.
Here comes the M. Night Shyamalan plot twist. The “next man” represents what she’s not getting from her man, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s another man she’s getting it from. The “next man” can be freedom, a clean slate, being able to trust again. That is what makes the next man the ultimate temptation, and while she must resist, the man mustn’t make it too easy. The other grass will always look greener when you’re not watering yours. The next man is always lurking in the shadows waiting for that 3rd missed call, waiting for you to not notice that new haitstyle, waiting for you to say “nah, I :don’t do that”.
So how legitimate of a threat is the next man? As legitimate as you let him be. There’s a reason Mark Sanchez and Kyle Orton kept hearing Tim Tebow’s footsteps while the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys chilling out miaxing relaxing all cool. If I know I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be, there’s no need to be out here overcompensating like some of my fellow barbershop patrons. I respect the respect the game, that should be it, what the next man eat….