Men and women, Mars and Venus, the battle of the sexes: however you refer to relationships, the topic is on the tip of practically everyone’s tongue these days. It’s even more pronounced in the African-American community.
Whether you’re at the barber shop, in the produce aisle or the middle of the rush hour drive, it’s hard not to overhear debates on what it takes to create and sustain a healthy, monogamous union. And since the talk usually puts an adversarial emphasis on what women need to do, it’s refreshing to learn of at least one man pointing the finger of blame in the opposite direction and revealing that, yes, the brothers have a lot to work to do as well. The criticism of Black men comes with the blunt and brutal honesty in Men Don’t Heal, We Ho.
No, that wasn’t a typo: Steven James Dixon, a locally-based author and self-styled relationship expert, is now a happily married husband and father, but it took him years of painful trial and error to get there. In chapters that make Usher’s Confessions sound like nursery rhymes (“I Learned How to Cry,” “Stopped Ho-ing, Started Healing,” “Looks Like a Man, Feels Like a Man…Not a Man”), Mr. Dixon pulls back the curtain of his turbulent childhood and starts the pages in his rawest state until he evolves to the enlightened man of today. He demonstrates how those early warped ideals fed into his dysfunctional relationships and why most men move from one woman to another until they reach a crisis point that forces them to change.
Men…., which is targeted at women but is chock full of knowledge for any man brave enough to ingest its searing contents, drops powerful truths about the “emotional instability” of men (the author’s words, not mine), unvarnished truths about what’s most important to them and yes, what men need to do to help other men get with the program (and no, it doesn’t involve a basketball court or sports bar).
If excerpts like the following pique your interest, then Men…. is a book for you:
“Women, flat out, have to stop using sex as a reward or as punishment. If you punish your man by not giving him sex, all you have done is made a horny man mad….Send a mad horny man out into the world, off to work or the club around single, lonely, horny women. That is a great idea.”
“The majority of marriage eligible single men are hos. That’s what we do best, that’s what we are
bred to do. We lie to our women. We mislead them, mistreat them and take them for granted….What’s funny about men being hos is that I have found that the average man whore will not even consider the possibility of his woman cheating on him.”
“My homegirls told me stories….It put everything in perspective for me. All my life, I had been focused on the women and what they were doing wrong. When really, the problem in each of my relationships is that I was emotionally unstable. Honestly, it hurt to point the finger at me because I think so highly of me. I am the bomb…I think.”
If you want one of those books that keeps it safe, is sweet and superficial, this one will sorely disappoint you. But, if you’re ready for a funny, frank and entertaining glimpse into the often unglamorous work it takes to sustain healthy love and relationships, then Men…is a worthwhile place to start.