Category Archives: Simply Stan

Today’s Word is… MENSHIPS 

You know what’s awkward? When you essentially spend an entire day with someone well into 2 am, you take their number, never call and then run into them again in public.  You know what’s even more awkward? When it’s a guy. So yeah…context.  You go out to a happy hour with someone, they get a text from someone and they split.  It’s still kinda early so you just finish your drink.  You meet a girl, y’all vibing and all that and she’s there with her homegirl who is talking up some other dude.  You don’t know him from a hole in a wall, but the black man synergy takes over and suddenly y’all setting each other up for plays like Kyrie and LeBron. 

Fast forward to now,  out of the 3 of them, it was me and him actually stayed in touch.  (damn I don’t even remember her name)  We’ll go out kick it and I’m the friend who is probably bailing early. Issa circle. A circle of life.  Even so, it’s more of a “shoulder to shoulder” type of deal, in that it’s more of an escort than a friend.  It’s more “where the wave at”, “niggas finna go hoop”, “you tryna match?” (I don’t partake in cannabis consumption, is that what the cool kids still say?),  “you fucking with this party?”.   It’s very loose and non committal,  I might see you there, I might not and there isn’t much expectation to do so.   Even childhood friends I can’t remember the last time I just went to, see them, and enjoy their company.  It’s like in this one episode of Family Guy, Peter calls Quagmire just to talk and he’s like…um…wtf is this about?  That’s most male friendships in a nutshell

With the exception of your family and your day ones, I would say male friendships are either accessible, advisory or ancillary (yes I only used ancillary for the alliteration).  Accessible is the convenient friend.  It’s your neighbor, your coworker, your classmate.  You see them every day so you #minuswhale talk to them.  Especially when you worked in retail, you needed those people to vent to, (cover shifts) and get you through this minimum wage hell.   Then, you graduate get a full time job and never speak to them again.  I’ve been out of school for 5 years, and outside of special occasions we just don’t kick it like that.  It’s all love when I see them but there’s just not much effort to see them.  I’m sure it’s different for Greeks (but I ain’t buy friends…. kidding, kidding). 

Then there’s the healthiest of male friend ships, Advisory.  Mentors, father figures, OGs…want to make an old black man light up, ask to pick his brain.  As a mentee, you can be vulnerable, unsure, even a bit thirsty in a way that doesn’t appear weak, but rather hungry.  Old heads lived it already, learned from their mistakes and can pass it on as a reliable source whereas your man’s from college even if he’s right it’s like…*piano notes*…. OK.  Mentors are kind of the cheat code to what a healthy male friendship should be.  A “face to face” friendship, except it’s not considered a friendship, maybe that’s why it works.  

Then to bring it full circle there’s ancillary; the friend who exists because you can’t do everything alone.  The workout buddy, the drinking buddy, not much unlike the coworker or the neighbor, they’re conditional friendships.  Like “Kyrie” is cool, but I’m probably never going to his house nor he mine unless there’s a cookout.  I might buy a round but don’t ask me for bread for real for real.  You need ancillary friends because there’s no tinder for a straight man to find another straight man to grab beers with.  (adds that to list of billion dollar ideas I should put into motion one day) 

Saying that out loud, sounds cruel tho.  Like why even bother? Men don’t have close friends while being fully cognizant of the fact that they might be shitty friends. Friends are empathetic, affectionate, needy…all traits men apply to women.  It’s as if to be a good friend you have to be feminine and you know men don’t play that.  That includes myself, I’ve written before how I’m “wow, that’s crazy” guy not necessarily invested in their growth because that’s “her job” .  I saw a tweet the other day that said men going to brunch together is gay, of course alcoholic orange juice and omelets won’t make me desire a man; but me and my niggas aren’t bout to grab brunch without women present.   (Unless it’s Vegas. That’s the exception.)  

Studies show men with friends are healthier live longer so maybe we all need to make new friends and keep the old.  Check in on folks, go out more, learn how to golf and all that good stuff. Or maybe I should get to work on that app.  

-Stan-

 
 

 

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Today’s Word is… FOUR

“Can’t turn a bad girl good but once a good girl’s gone bad; she’s gone forever, I’ll mourn forever, got to live with the fact I did you wrong forever” 

That was the realest shit I ever heard. I was only like 13 tho.  Even into my early 20s, “Song Cry”  was my heartbreak remedy.  I didn’t need begging R&B records, Uncle Hov said aye sometimes things break bad, you just got to accept the L and move on.  There wasn’t much personal accountability, it was I KNOW I’m flawed, but you were the best part of us, but now you’re as messed up as me.  How disappointing…welp. New steak, who this.  (issa callback).  Sometimes the villain wins, so yada yada yada Jay ends up with the biggest superstar in the world, lord knows what happened to the Song Cry jawn.  Fast forward to 2017, Jay is once again making the song cry… Except he is crying, and apologizing to himself, to his wife, to his kids, to his sister in law, to the nigga he stabbed, (not to Kanye, Dame, Foxy, or Beanie tho ) and even to me, the youth who fell in love with Jay Z. “Forever macking” Jigga was long gone, this was full blown Uncle Hov, humbled.   Of course, we get older we mature (And sure it took until he was the same age Barack Obama was when he was elected, but hey.) but ultimately, Jay was humbled by what humbles many men, heartbreak and fatherhood.  And sure being beat up in an elevator and being branded a cheater in front of the whole world helps too. 

The humility of heartbreak, actual heartbreak, not you gave your situationship an ultimatum only to learn you didn’t matter that much or your #WCW just doesn’t look at you that way, makes you take a hard look at yourself.  Someone who you thought would love you forever is done with you.  Heartbreak that “Song Cry” or a trip out of town for a few days can’t fix.  I’ve “loved” and lost, went through the motions of someone with a broken heart but in hindsight, my ego was just bruised.   I don’t date exes as a general policy, but maybe I just didn’t love them enough to really earn them back.  Far as I was concerned, they just went bad.  I’ve loved and lost, and it gets to me sometimes. Not just the humbling of being heartbroken but the humbling of being so wrong that I had to teach myself how to trust myself again.  That good girls weren’t just going bad, they were just over me.  Still wondering if it’s even possible to love me forever, am I always just going to burn hot and quick like a supernova.  It took Jay damn near 5 decades to figure out his flaws, what if I’m still blind to mine?  Jay and Bey got a happy ending, but they’re the exception, not the rule.  

The humility of fatherhood, of which I can only speak on as a spectator.  Jay Z who coming up was as chauvinist as he was clever is now close to breaking at the thought of having to explain himself to his children one day.  Most men have a fear their child will grow up and learn they ain’t shit.  Kids are unfiltered too, they go to school and tell all their friends you ain’t got no job and 3 roommates.  I think about my brother, who spent his last on my niece’s gift because *redacted family business* was worth not disappointing her.  I see my cousin at a cookout,  someone who one day *more redacted family business* and now is giving instructions on watching his daughter when all he was doing was going upstairs to shower for 30 minutes.  They are probably more daughter dads as their kids are daddy’s girls.  They make them want to be better men.  

The irony in a girl being born with the burden of a man’s emotional maturity; from her father to the ones she love to the son she may have.  It’s how Jay can say with a straight face that woman 12 years his junior matured faster than him, Kanye’s mother has been gone for a decade and we still blame her for not being around to check him.  Women are simply held to a higher standard, expected to take on a project and just hold on for dear life and hope it works out.  

 I’m not in the clear myself, the man I’ve become and continue to be also came on the backs of the women in my pasts’ emotional labor.  I’ve toyed with emotions, kept people around, tested the limits of their patience.  There was a time that’s where I got my confidence from; being loved, being wanted, even if I didn’t feel the same.  I’m still learning, still growing and I think I can figure it out before I’m 47. Maybe 30. 33?  Okay, at least before I’m somebody’s husband or father.  

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GEMINI 

When you tell her, you’re a Gemini…

So my birthday is in 3 weeks (ahem PayPal. Me/AyoTristan …kidding kidding, unless you gon do it), that makes me a Gemini.  I never read that much into astrology, maybe I’d read a horoscope in the newspapers on my morning commute but that was about it.  All I knew was Geminis were two sides, I always viewed it (correctly) as nuanced. It wasn’t until I started dating that I realized Geminis cause people to run for the hills and touch the bridge behind them.  Granted, some of the most notable Geminis include Kanye West and #YallMans so I can see that the property value on Gemini Island isn’t looking too great.  So allow me to try and defend my sign from all from all of these alternative facts because yall don’t have the answers Sway. 

I’ll cop to some of the stereotypes; I think too much, feel too little, bore too easily.  I’ll get an idea and not follow through, because I have another idea I need to follow through on.  I’m susceptible to whirlwind romances, because I’m wooed easily by witty banter.  I’ll tell you it’s fine while planning my actual solution. Whether I’m right or not, you’re probably not going to win an argument with me anyway.  Other ones, not so much.  Geminis are usually considered extroverts, while I’m an INFJ.  (Yes that makes me an intuitive introverted extrovert that adjusts his emotions based on a vibe you may or may not even be aware you’re giving…but I mean, at least I’m smart).  It’s not that I’m unable to be social, it’s moreso its really apparent when I don’t feel like it. (white coworkers however, completely oblivious to this and will continue to make fetch happen) 
The other common misconception is being two faced, when most of the time we are simply adjusting to the situation at hand, very efficiently.  I remember working in sales and being excellent and awful at the same damn time; if you were interested I could sell you anything, if you weren’t…then why was you still here, I could actually be selling to a willing customer.  Being pushy and persistent for the sake of doing so didn’t make much sense to me.  For who, for what? (I didn’t last long in sales). Dating not much different, walk out once and I’ll probably change the locks behind you.  That ability to shut down and move on quickly feels like there wasn’t much investment in the first place, when really its just “okay this is what this is now”,  make the necessary and keep it moving.  I wouldn’t even say I’m hot and cold, I’m hot then cold.  Then maybe lukewarm at best. But you remember how hot this used to be and can’t get used to this, you’re out and now YOU hate geminis because they are wishy-washy.  

Geminis are seen non-committal, simply because when you can see all sides of something, how do you then pick one.  Growing up in a house with 3 sisters, I mastered the art of simply articulating both their points and getting out the way before they realized I didn’t actually give an answer.  Hell, I just did it the other day when my boys got into a LeBron vs Jordan debate.  Depending on the day, time, weather, and what color I’m wearing my answer will probably change.  

So why is there so much hateration, holleration, in the Gemini’s dancery? Is it really just a matter of uncertainty?  Or the idea of being everything to everyone just on its face feels fake and disingenuous. Perhaps it’s the pressure to keep one mentally stimulated… Or maybe y’all just some low bottom haters. 

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SELFOFSTEAM

There’s no bigger ego stroke than someone falling in love with you.  For that someone that you was once just a stranger, a casual acquaintance, a classmate and now you’re everything.  We all have varying values on sex, some can’t sleep with someone they don’t love while others will swipe right get their itch scratched and maybe reminisce about it on a random cold evening.  In either regard, having someone fall for you is the true conquest.  Hell, just having someone is still viewed as the ultimate validation.  While it’s more commonly used to shame women, in reality it’s moreso men who truly get their #selfofsteam and confidence from their romantic relationships.  We’re the pursuers after all, a woman is as single as her options while a man is as single as his efforts.  Men aren’t above getting their Chante Moore on, especially with a bad one.
What about the man without that validation?  No one wants to be the old head at the club or the 40 year old bachelor on tinder who has never been in love before and now your date’s friends are wondering what’s wrong with you. (Basically, gotta have experience, but can’t have baggage. Dating is stupid.)  Toxic as it may be, we still equate manhood with our appeal to women, and if you don’t have no sauce you’re lost (Gucci Mane, 2013). 

 So naturally, there was a time where that was where I got all my confidence from.  Didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me; she thinks I’m funny, she thinks I’m fly, she loves me.  Then one day, she didn’t.  It left a void in my self worth.  Was I not those things anymore?  But reflection and growth took too long so, I just found another woman who did.  I could start over, charm, court, woo…be everything she was looking for and in return I would get validation.  I found someone, so clearly it’s not me it’s her.  Then when that flamed out, oh look there’s another.  I could keep going hunting and hunting, never really learning from my flame outs because they’ll always another woman who’s waiting for someone like me.  Except, I wasn’t even someone like me anymore.

The relationships themselves were burning out quicker each time.  The cure had become the disease, now I was tripping over every fall out with women, even the ones I wasn’t even sure I liked.  I just liked being Prince Charming. Meanwhile, she couldn’t even tell me what my favorite color was.  I couldn’t tell you what I liked most about them. My dating life had gotten aimless, I just got into relationships because that was the right thing to do and it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted.  I had become lost in the sauce, just as Gucci warned.

It was a year ago today actually, I found myself listening to Views, rolling my eyes at Aubrey’s arrogrant attempts at affliction (alliteration ftw) and coming to the realization of….wait, that’s me.  Was my ego out of control, or was it always just low self esteem? I went with the former, because why would I cop to low self esteem?  The issue was I was just picking the wrong ones…purposely. Yeah, that was it.  Now I had Tequila, someone who I knew I wanted from the moment I saw her.  Failed spectacularly.   She said I couldn’t love her because I didn’t love myself.  I pffffffft’d.  I moved on and she’s…well. (there was gonna be a parting shot here but I’ma rise above).  

I’m my best me when I have someone, when I’m happy…as most men are.  The love and support of a good woman is the ultimate glo up.  How else are you going to learn to use real garlic instead of garlic salt, invest in quality bedoing and stop hanging up posters with scotch tape. Some are happier with a plethora of women sweating them whilst remaining single and then you know, sup Carmelo.  Seldom is it just a nut, it’s affairs, situationships, strings attached maybe it’s all just a result of low self esteem and unable to be content with I got mine and I’m good.  Contrary to popular belief we aren’t just dogs with no impulse control, we are self aware adults who just long to be validated. Over and over again.   Or something.  Shrug life.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… STANDARDS

[Editors Note: Issa throwback…well, with a director’s cut.]


Attractive. Educated. Independent. Sweet. Confident. Compassionate.
(I just described most of my exes. Hell, I just described me.) 

Minimal baggage. Career. Non smoker. Social or not Drinker. Been in long term relationship. Classy.
(Still got most of my exes, a few eliminated, i’m still there)

Knows how to cook. Hair stays done. Always groomed. Puts it down in the sheets. Sense of style.  Body’s stacked.
(Still got some of my exes…no self respecting man will call themselves stacked, that’s where I bow out.)

5’9 and under. In shape.  Knows how to defer to a man. No trust issues. Diversified interests. Mentally stimulating. Great chemistry.
(I’m hearing chatter…now who do I think I am, what am I bringing to the table)

Low maintenance. Good with hanging out at home. Understands discretion.  Can make lasagna. Open minded in the bedroom. Wants kids. Fiscally responsible.
(This negreaux think he Idris or something…)

Standards are funny, as are the people love/hate them. No one ever has issue with standards unless it inconveniences them.  I don’t care that if you’re only chasing 6’4 lightskinned dudes you’re going to miss out on great guys, I care that I’m not 6’4 or lightskinned and I will never be, therefore I’m not invited to that table.  I didn’t want to sit there but now that I can’t, suddenly I want to sit there?  For who, for what? My list was very p.c, however if I got my mac on (You ever read something you wrote years ago and roll your eyes at how lame you were…this was one of those times) and said I want an exotic chick, hourglass figure, all natural…sistas would come for my head.  Reason #1, they’ll be damned if I don’t want them even if they don’t want me cuz…principality. Reason #2, who the hell am I to have such strong demands.

As you get older, and still single suddenly your standards are too blame.  The Beast could’ve let Belle just go have brunch with her girls and they would’ve told her that he’s tall AND has a whole castle, dont. block. ya. blessings. and she’d probably go right back.  Men don’t get it nearly as hard, I can probably hand wring myself to loneliness until at least 33.  Men aren’t told they are being unreasonable, or they are expecting perfection even when they are.  I have a homeboy who for the most part splurges on instajawns and to my knowledge never had an actual girlfriend.  I’m sure his mama might ask, but no one else cares.

Your standards represent you, your priorities, your traits, your aspirations.  It shows if you’re looking to just be treated good, f cked right, or want an actual relationship.  It shows your self confidence and what you believe you bring to the table.  Women say that men are constantly pestering them to lower their standards to accommodate them; I’m actually the opposite, show me you demand all that.  This goes both ways, you can’t be all over the club scene and social media and then demand someone who isn’t all over the club scene and social media.  You can’t demand a woman who’s cultured when all you watch is sports and action movies.  You can’t demand a man with his own place and a car when you staying at a homegirl’s and working part time.  I mean you can demand but spoiler alert, it won’t work out well for you.  Those independent, ambitious people you seek…well, they want other independent ambitious people.
There has to be some accountability for who you choose to let into your life, who you expect to come into your life and how they’re treated when they’re there.  The time spent on people who aren’t on “your level” adds up. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, my phone just full of women who I know weren’t what I was looking for, but #Ihaveneeds.  I can’t be taken seriously if I’m not taking my own standards seriously.  I know what I want and I’m not settling for less (maybe a few things, the lasagna game is non negotiable tho), in the meantime I #minuswhale use my time as productively as possible so I become the offer she can’t refuse.
-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… FLIGHT


The “fight or flight response” is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.  You could say the same applies to our overall well being, particularly in dating. Your relationship hits a snag, do you fight or flight?  I feel like the generations before fought; adversity just came with the territory.   We all know of the old married couple who damn near hate each other and now they’ve been married 50 years because who wants to start over even after 10.  Then of course there was the whole women couldn’t work, don’t want to leave the kids, cost of divorce, etc so they just rode the wave of a decision they made at 18 years old and waited for the other to just die already.   The pickings were slim and when you had one you kept it.  Abuse, affairs, aloofness, alcoholism  (alliteration for the win) you rode it out.
These days, having seen what they went through we are flightier than ever. We stay in airplane mode.  It’s easy to move on when every single person in a 30 mile radius is right there in an app.  (Or further than that; if you’re into that kinda thing) Is it an overcorrection?  Perhaps.  Dating has become fundamentally flawed because everyone has one foot out the door because they won’t be the ones looking like BooBoo the fool.  We’ve gone from slim pickings to option overload.  We’re casually moving on the next one and effectively not learning anything. Where’s the incentive to?  I learned recently some women won’t even save your number until you prove yourself.  A contact, B?  We are so dismissive about dating that it’s like why do we even bother?  Or is it we are just really careful.  We hook up, explore options and when we’ve had our fun we turn around and then settle down with no regrets.  Maybe we need a word for the stage when you are dating but are fairly certain you haven’t found your forever worth fighting for.

 My fight was the skrongest.  I fell hard and fast and turned a blind eye to things that I probably knew better to.  Now, it’s a fight to even want to fight.  I’d become a pragmatist, we probably won’t get married so this is just borrowed time anyway.  It wasn’t even that I didn’t care for these women I just couldn’t disabuse myself of the inevitable.  I’m an INFJ, I project and shit.  It wasn’t fair to them (even though I’m pretty accurate with these things), the magic 8 ball in my head told me this wasn’t going to last and I acted accordingly.  Now because of me, she is pretty much over geminis, dark skin, beards, accountants, and dudes with blogs.  So she’s cold to them and they take it our on the next girl. It’s the circle of strife.  

Maybe one day we’ll reach that middle ground where you aren’t hanging on to a dead end relationship but also aren’t blocking numbers because you haven’t spoke in a few days.  Where real feelings aren’t being hidden by passive aggressive memes and being yasssssed by the same home girls who are eyeball emoji’ng his pictures.  I used to be patient, I used to be persistent and even I have to catch myself from sinking the whole island when I’m peeved.  I’ve stayed too long in situations and probably gave up too easily on others. The former likely the cause of the latter.  You fight and get your ass whooped your instinct is probably flight the next time.  And flight is the safest way to go if you never want to be hurt, but it’s also means you’ll never win either.  

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… THERAPY

So, I tried therapy before.  No shame in it, I was dealing with some things and my employer provided free counseling  (y’all should really check if you got EAP benefits) and I’m like, why not?  I go to my session, it’s an older white man, really nice guy (even though he used to to do this thing where he would quote relatively known people and ask if I heard of them, yes nilla I heard of Thomas Jefferson; he probably raped an ancestor so we kin).  So I went into the first 3 sessions, and well, I felt like I was talking to one of you.  He was just too into the story, and I mean I’ve lived quite a life but I wasn’t feeling like I was getting what I needed there. I won’t say it wasn’t helpful at all, there were some things he pointed out that still sit with me that I may not ever had. However, at the end of the employer sponsored sessions he asked (did I have real insurance…I almost booked a session just so he wouldn’t think I couldnt afford it…I’m self conscious, maybe I should see another therapist about that) and if I wanted to continue to see him, I decided thanks, but no thanks. I just felt like a middle aged married white man just wasn’t getting me and wasn’t going to.  Nothing against him, but he (it) just wasn’t for me.  

I’m quite aware I sound like the stereotype, studies show black people are 20% more likely to have psychological distress than white people, which, duh…being black in America is fugging stressful.  7% of black men will experience some form of severe depression in their lifetime. Studies also show black people make up less than 2% of the mental health field so I mean, the options are pay a microagressive shrink or just deal.  Like I said, being black in America is fugging stressful. All of this came to mind the other day at the barbershop as I was watching my barber the other day. It was just an ordinary Saturday, I was about 15 minutes late for my appointment and got leapfrogged (which…how you just gonna leapfrog me, B? All these years? I had plans that night, this nigga ain’t have no plans, he was gonna take a few pics for the gram and sit in there house playing 2K…I almost prayed his hand slipped and he messed up but God don’t like ugly).  Anyway, Toupee Fiasco was on the TV for some reason and Young Leapfrog went off.  Just ranting about everything and my barber just nodded and agreed, focused on his craft (to my disappointment he never messed up) giving his own points when he could.  It was like witnessing a therapy session. So as I sat watching and hating I thought, yo heprobably has had this same conversation all day every day for months.  At the end of the cut, you feeling fresh and empowered.  For $27 dollars a session. Plus tip. So basically, barbers > therapists. I’m kidding.

I know therapy works great and is productive for plenty of people.  We need it as a resource, as a staple, because we’re hurting out here.  And I mean of course a barber isn’t as qualified as a mental health professional.  The solution is more of US as professionals in the first place.  In the interim, men might trust their gfs and barbers over therapists just as we probably trust Naturalista6969 on a message board over a white dermatologist.  We find comfort amongst our own.  However, therapy in general…I just don’t think it’s for me. Nor is brooding and coming home to a bottle of scotch and trying to live vicariously through my sports teams because thats the “manly” way to emote.

So, I just incorporate my own ways to cope, unwind, find peace.  Or as the streets say, self-care.  I pray, I sleep, I blog, I play video games, I shoot hoops, I run (walk briskly and sprint a couple times so the numbers add up), I facetime, I play hooky from work once a month, I clean, I listen to music, I get massages, I send selfies, I block numbers,  I see family, I draw, I fuck, I shop, I wander, I tweet, I vent, I Netflix, I turn up, I flirt, I drink (tea),  I travel, I eat good, I laugh a lot.  None singularly are THE answer, they all are.  Keep your heart, 3 stacks.

Some find therapy more helpful, some find self care more helpful, but you don’t need to be a Kendrick or Drake fan about this; it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  It’s possible to apply both.  Perhaps, preferably so.  I’ve had homies bare their soul over an ass whooping in Madden.  I’ve learned so much about myself in these posts, some drafts will never see the light of day because they got too real.  Black men may not go to traditonal therapy, but will pillow talk their girl to death.  Me, Kid Cudi and Kanye got through 2010 together. 2016 brought many people to new church homes, hell, even therapy.  We all just trying to find our way.   Or maybe it took me going to therapy to realize all of the other ways I practice self care because I’m not comfortable in that setting. Boom. Mind blown.

-Stan-

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