What’s going on, everybody?
Today, I want to talk about something I want men to stop doing, and that’s being what I call the “Standby Guy.”
Now, what does the term “Standby Guy” mean, you ask? Well, it’s not too hard to figure out; I think some of you can discern what it means just by looking at the term itself, but others may need some clarification.
To explain what the term means, I’m going to tell a story about how I created the term (or at least, I think I created it; I don’t think anyone else has used it.
The other day, I thought back to my high school days. In one of my classes senior year, there was a girl who exuded almost illegal amounts of beauty. Now, I won’t describe her, because I don’t know if she reads my blog or not; but she might be able to figure it out. Anyway, one day, we had some free time, and we were just chillin’, when she told me that “I was the kind of guy you marry.” I remember being stunned at such a comment, because this was a girl who was two years younger than me (she was a sophomore) but yet she could tell that a guy was marriage material. I felt proud; I don’t think a woman told me that up until that point. A few others that year said that to me, but to hear it come from one of the “popular girls” was quite interesting.
When I attended the HBCU, I think another girl, this one part of the popular clique containing all the “dimepieces” told me I was marriage material. Now, I didn’t know why many of these women who were attractive enough to have their pick of literally any guy were telling me that I was the kind of man who would make a good husband, but I was happy. When a woman tells me that I’m handsome, intelligent, disciplined, would make a good father, or any other compliment, I’m teeming with joy. Even though I’m not the type to take compliments that well, in truth, exuberance surges through me when someone bestows me with a compliment.
However, I soon realized that I wasn’t being complimented—or perhaps I was given what many people call a “backhanded compliment.” (I think I may have to do a whole post on backhanded compliments, but that’s not for a while.) I learned that many of the women who told me that I was husband material didn’t express interest in going out with me. In fact, one of the girls who told me that outright rejected me.
… Something didn’t add up. Despite these women telling me I’d make a great husband, I noticed many of them chose to date men who wouldn’t make good husbands. For example, the sophomore in one of my senior year classes dated young men in my graduating class, but not ones like me; she chose to surround herself with the known “players.” The same thing happened with many of the girls at the HBCU who said that; many of them entertained the advances of the campus “players.” Now, I have nothing against players, per se, but constantly hearing women say that I’d be a good person to settle down with, and then noticing them go after the exact opposite type of man irked me.
Then it hit me. It was one of two possibilities: the first one was that I was the kind of man that women marry—I just wasn’t the right fit for the women who were saying it. They might have wanted to say “Morgan, you’re husband material … for someone else.” Maybe I was interrupting them before they could finish that statement, I don’t know. In fact, the girl in my high school class later said that she saw me being with “a nice white girl.” (That’s a topic worthy of another post altogether.)
The second possibility—and this is the one that applies to this situation—was that these women were making me the “Standby Guy.” The Standby Guy is the term I’m going to give to the men who women come back to after they’ve “had their fun,” and by that I mean they’re older, not as attractive, are carrying more baggage than Eddie Bauer, and possibly have children in tow.
The word “standby,” according to the dictionary on my Macbook, means the state of waiting to secure an unreserved place for a journey or performance, allocated on the basis of earliest availability. That’s what the “decent” Black men should do when a woman puts him the friend zone; he’s supposed to wait for the girl to mess around with any man she wants, and then feel honored that she expresses interest to him after she becomes available—presumably after the bad boys or whomever aren’t interested in her.
I think this is a very raw deal for most decent Black men, because we aren’t getting quality women at that point. All we would be getting would be women who are incapable of forming strong bonds through intimacy, women who have gained copious amounts of weight, or women who have children already—and don’t want any more. So, this is what awaits us for marriage.
I say forget that. Now, I’m not condemning women for making these choices, but my concern is that in our community—and any non-Black women who date Black men—women feel that they engage in seedy activities through their late teens and twenties (and in many cases, their thirties also) then come back to the good man, and in may cases, it works. Many of these men want someone to spend their time with, and they’ll take whomever they can get. I’m sure being a decent Black man is a lonely existence.
I’m not condemning women for their actions; people make their own choices. If a woman wants to spend her productive child-rearing years clubbing and sleeping around, that’s the choice she can make, and I can’t fault her for that. My issue is that she’ll try to clean up her image and come back to the decent Black man. This would be the man who’s self-employed, working in corporate America, or even making an honest living while working a blue-collar job, the one who wasn’t a man-whore, the one who has no children. I think that’s just unfair, personally.
I think this particular woman needs to enter a relationship with her equal. If she has kids, she should be with a man with kids and they could have a Brady Bunch situation. If she’s overweight, she should be with a large man. If she’s slept around a lot, she should be with a man who has done the same thing.
Black men … if women tell you that you’d make an excellent boyfriend/husband but don’t pursue you … let them go. Just do you. Find a woman who makes you her primary option, not her last resort. Don’t be the man who stands around, waiting for your female friend who’s exploring her sexuality and partying around to come back to you.
I’m sure there’s some woman out there who wants you for you, recognizes that you’d make a good partner, and wants to go out with you. That’s the woman you should be with, not the one who points out your greatness but doesn’t express interest in becoming the lady you give your affections to.
Black men … don’t be the Standby Guy.