Where are all the good brothers at? Where they at?
I'm going to answer this question seven ways using seven different men I know who are all good brothers and seven different songs you know.
Byron: One Love
This tune is from Whodini. The same people who asked 'Friends, how many of us have them?' also procliamed, 'One love, one love, you're lucky just to have just one.' Byron was shy and goofy in high school. He graduated with good grades and a good sense of humor, and a virgin. He never had a girlfriend and never really tried to get one. Not even for show. He always took love seriously and said that one day he'd find the right girl, and that was all he had to say about it. He is not, was not and never will be on the market for romance. He found that one girl, married her 20 years ago and never looked back. In fact, he never looked up, down, sideways or any other way for any other girl. If you ask Bryon about love and the dating scene, he'll turn his head at you like a puppy. Women and men who shop for the perfect mate to him sounds like people who shop for the perfect refrigerator.
You're Janet Jackson. All of 21 years old talking about how you are going to have everything in your life and you don't even know how to have a baby. Daniel dismisses you without hesitation. He is the man. He wears the pants. He will work from sunup to sundown seven days a week. He will sacrifice and work his fingers to the bone. Driving a bus. Walking the postal route. He will buy a decent house and a decent car and decent clothes. All you have to do is not ask for diamonds and pearls. Do the kitchen work, the kid work and the bed work, and he will marry you and fulfill your every need. The problem is that you confuse need with desire. Daniel doesn't make a lot of money and he never will. He just wants to be the man of his house. If you want a man who will fly you to Hawaii, then he wants a Victoria Secret model. They are both dealbreakers, so why can't you just be satisfied? Daniel is an honest, decent man who just wants to be a man. You want 'more'. That's why he's not having anything to do with your ass.
Zachary: Climbing Up The Ladder
Zach is all about success. You don't understand why but everybody knew it when he was just a kid. All he dreamed about, all he talks about, all he ever wanted to be was that thing. Zach doesn't eat to enjoy the food, he eats to fuel his body so he can spend more time doing that thing that one day is going to get him to that place. In other words, you will never be first in his heart, his mind or his soul. Get used to it. Zach isn't cruel. It's not that he doesn't understand your needs. The problem is he will always think of you and the things that are important to you, second. He is singleminded about him and absent-minded about you, so half the time he will need to be reminded. It's not that you aren't perfect, he needs you to be able to understand him - to balance him and make him a whole person. But you will always be second fiddle to his dream. Get used to it. He's a perfectly good brother who doesn't read Essence magazine. You are too high maintenance. Zach is either a dreamer or a visionary. That depends on you.
Milton: Why You Treat Me So Bad?
Milton has been burned. Milton is fundamentally a good brother, but he is not even ready to trust. It makes him look more pathetic than he actually is. On the one hand, he doesn't want or need to be patronized. On the other hand he is desperately trying to be the man he once was. See Milton only knows one way to love - completely with all of his heart and soul. So in one way, he's never going to get over that bitch. In another way, he needs you more than you know. All you have to do is be 100% sure that you love him. Milton, will eat you up. He will devote himself to you - he wants to say all the perfect things and utterly sweep you off your feet, but if you even sniff another man's second-hand cigarette smoke without choking he's going to give you the evil eye. He gives total devotion. He demands total devotion. With Milton, it's do or die. Why do you keep pointing out his obvious faults? Nobody's perfect.
Larry: Never Give Up on a Good Thing
Larry is not a good brother, per se. He is a de facto good brother. Why? Because Larry has a great woman, a woman who truly loves him and works harder than the average bear. So Larry realizes he's probably not worth it so he's not going to risk anything so he does all the right things at the right time (at her prompting) and keeps his head above water. You are not going to get him because even though he wants you, you cannot outdo his woman. One day Larry's charm is going to wear off and then people will see right through him. He's an actual good brother because he's holding all the right cards, but that's luck, not principle.
Harry: I'm Too Sexy
Harry is Larry's twin brother, except Harry actually does got it going on. The problem is that Harry is not even ready to settle down and quite frankly you can't compete with the hoes. Harry is eventually going to turn into the model citizen, but right now he's young and full of himself, plus he's already heard everything you could possibly say. He's bored, in fact, and there's a chance that he'll never settle down at all. You know it, he knows it, everybody knows it. It ain't fair, but there it is. Prostrate yourself, or be a bitch. You never know what's going to work and it'll drive you crazy just trying to figure it out. Give up. Or try blackmail.
Tony: It's Raining Men
Well he's gay of course. One out of seven? Don't be surprised.
Now to answer your question, I have been most of these men at one time or another. Well, all except Tony and Byron. Right now I'm probably Larry, meaning I'm very much into playing the stupid husband role, if you can remember that episode of the Cosby Show.
Secondly, this is a black public question. Or at least I should say that it was put to me in that way. The way I see that is through the lens of Cobb's Rule #2: There is Marriage and there is everything else: everything else doesn't count. There are no rules for relationships, it's all about people getting their jollies off whomever is willing to dole them out. Anything goes. And since anything goes, who cares what you think, and who cares what I think? The reason Marriage has lasted for centuries is because it is an arrangement that satisfies public and private needs, and there's an accumulated mass of wisdom associated with it. So everything I say about the good brother only makes sense in the context of Marriage, because quite frankly if you only want a relationship, the stakes aren't high enough to really matter in the end. People tend to bet their lives on Marriage, and that's the point. It's only when you bet your life that you get off your ass for something like exactly how you are going to treat another human being. Short of that, it's all transitory and fleeting and not worth much discussing.
To that black public question, you kinda have to ask why is the question out there? My kneejerk reaction is that the good black man becomes invisible to people who have to ask 'where they at?'. Daniel drove that bus right by you today. Did you notice him? Zachary wants to be a fashion designer. Did you think that was kinda gay? Milton is 36 years old, has never been married and has no kids. You keep thinking there's something wrong with him.
I know it sounds kinda strange, but men tend to confide in me about the subject of women. I sympathize, and I've heard these kinds of stories all the time. I think most men are like Milton and they end up being like a hard version of Daniel, and that is because most women don't know how to act like ladies. More specifically, most women don't act like they really want to be married, faithful and true. Those who do don't seem to recognize that they actually do have to compete with other women - it's all that shallow cow metaphor. The women that get it, then tend to think they're too smart to be a wife, like it's a punishment for being too fat or unsophisticated or something.
My personal opinion goes a little something like this. Women are crazy, and women know that women are crazy. Aside from predatory lesbians, there are no women who would go through what men do just to get in another woman's stanky drawers. And if women thought about just that thought long enough, I think they'd come to realize what I know to be true. Good wives are much, much happier in the long term. There is nothing quite so pathetic as an old single bitch. Well, OK an old single bitch with pictures of her toy dog on the piano instead of kids.
Men, of course, are filthy and ruthless. And men know that men are filthy and ruthless. Aside from bottom boy homos, there are no men who would subject themselves to the business end of a dirty, thoughtless man. And if men thought about however it is what women take pleasure in satisfying us, I'm sure they'd conclude as I do. A good husband is way more secure than a rogue. There's nothing quite so pitiful as the old man in the club. Well, an old poor man in the club who knows he's going to die alone.
Where are all the good brothers and good sisters? All around. Except they forgot what the endgame was. The question should have been, how can I get her to marry me? And until that question becomes more frequently asked 'good' is just a relative term. It ain't about the person. It's about betting your life.