The Non-Protective Types

It was 3 o’clock in the morning on a Friday night. Kenya, her boyfriend Ez, my boyfriend and I had just left Hurricane on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville. We danced so hard I sweated out my perm. There’s nothing like the DJ’s down south who know how to make a party pop. (I miss that being in NYC where in 2011 they play Joe Budden in the club. Really NY DJ’s?) I was hungry. We hugged Kenya and Ez goodbye nearly skipping to the pizza shop on the corner. One slice of pepperoni pizza was just what I needed.

On the walk to the car the beau and I chatted about how cool Kenya and her Ez were to hang out with. We were totally giddy over their cuteness as a couple. As I was devouring my pizza, my knee length form fitting black dress was slowly rising due to my new weight gain that seemed to hit my thighs and derrière the most.  There were three fat guys on the corner looking seemingly bummy. Halfway between reaching the car and being nearly 20 steps past the random guys, my dress was still misbehaving. I couldn’t pull down my dress fast enough before one of the guys yelled: “Nice ass.” I mumbled something to the effect of go to hell, not really loud enough for any of them to hear. Chris remained silent.

“Nice ass, and your boyfriend ain’t gon’ do nothing about it,” another screamed.

I, dumbfounded, waited for my boyfriend’s response. Silence.

“Just like I said, he ain’t gon’ do nothing about it. Bitch ass nigga,” he yelled.

I’m now livid, and can’t help to think this would have never happened with any of my exes. Not only would it not have happened with any of my exes, but years prior in my reckless years it wouldn’t have flown with me either.

In an attempt not to emasculate Chris I looked over at him expecting him to at least acknowledge what was happening. He said nothing. [1]

My anger hadn’t subdued by the time we reached his apartment. I lashed into him with a number of questions.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Were you scared?”

“You’re supposed to be a protector!” I screamed.

Admittedly he was scared. He froze up and didn’t know what to do. After 45 minutes of my temper tantrum I realized this was nothing new to him. He had been called gay, tested by other men and considered weak his entire life for being short, skinny and light skinned. My anger quickly turned to sadness. I cried for him. The man I loved walked around with fear in his heart. Something I just was not used to.

Months later he would reveal that said incident was the beginning of the end of our relationship.

“You never looked at me the same after that night,” he said. “You didn’t respect me as a man.”

He was right.

It is said that women need to feel like their man is the protector and provider for any relationship to work. Eh…provider not necessarily, especially with the influx of independent women. Although, for me, there does need to be an indication he could be the provider if he had to. But protector is a must.

After that night my own issues of how I viewed manhood and masculinity would find its way into our tough conversations. Prior to Chris I had only been in love with men who were 6’1 and taller, dark skinned, and at least 205 lbs.[2] Yet there I was dating a man who was the antithesis of the exes, which was great, until the night I knew he couldn’t protect me.

I don’t know if that incident ultimately ended our relationship. I’m actually sure it did not as there were a myriad of other issues that basically boiled down to timing and compatibility. But after him I was left asking myself, how important is it to feel like your man can protect you?

I decided it’s a must. And it’s not something I’m willing to budge on. Not even a little.

[1] In retrospect expecting him to do something could have gotten both of us seriously hurt or killed. But I didn’t expect him to walk up to them, start an argument or kick their asses. I did want him to at least acknowledge that they had disrespected me. Later there would be other incidents that I didn’t feel he could defend himself or me if something happened.

[2] The incident that happened would have most likely never happened with my any of my exes or best male friends because they don’t carry themselves in a way where they look like they could or should be tested. More than anything, it bothered me that Chris looked like he wouldn’t do anything so they tried him. And he proved them right.

  • Roger Porter

    Wow. This is interesting. I guess that's why even beautiful educated sistas tend to go for the thugs. Nice piece.

    • writtenbyBene

      LOL! Where did I say anything about wanting a thug? Please don't read into stuff that's not there. And you can always ask me. If you read through my archives you'll see I'm a pretty open person. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      P.S.- Protective types does not equal thugs.

  • Sir Charles


    Wow, that is a lot of pressure you put on your beau/boo. I have to disagree though, most women prefer the provider type. The protector type is the one she is waiting to finish his prison sentence or he is waiting for her to come home with a paycheck. Your beau/boo used his head. Your honor was not worth getting a beat down or going to jail.

  • Sir Charles


    Similar situation, I was walking in The Village (NY) with a girlfriend and one of five guys grabbed her arm. I just stood there a waited for her to snatch away from him and come back to me, and she did. If any or all of them had persued her, then there would have been a reason to react.

    Similar situation, I was walking in The Village (NY) with a girlfriend and one of five guys yelled in our direction "Hey baby, you look nice in those jeans!" I was about to get upset, but was more baffled because my girlfriend was not wearing jeans, I was. LOL I did not expect her to beat up a bunch of gay guys for a simple comment.

  • Sir Charles

    I grew up with the protector types: high school drop outs, always fighting and gang members. Eventually, they all ended up in prison or dead. They were always baiting the good looking, intellectual guys to a brawl because of their envy.

    A wise man once said, "Choose your battles carefully."

    On your preference of men – 6’1 and taller, dark skinned, and at least 205 lbs. Not sure where you came to the conclusion that that is the archtype of manhood. Skin color, height and weight do not qualify one as a man and neither does skin color, long hair, size of tits and azz qualify one as a woman.
    The question I always ask when someone tells me that their preference is what they are used to: "Then why aren't you still with that person?"

    Sir Charles

    • writtenbyBene

      You know you could have condensed your three comments into one comment don't you? One quick correction- I never said manhood equals the characteristics I prefer. It's a preference. Period.

  • Crystal Ash

    When it comes down to a guy, a protector is needed by a woman. I don't care how much of a "strong" woman you are, women desire security. When security/protection is present, a woman's trust & connection can be openly expressed. Being protected also let's a woman know in some sense that she is cared for by the guy. Not that anyone is asking for some ole Camelot "fall on the sword" type of situation, but a woman wants to know her guy will defend her honor and in this particular case her respect. The guy who doesn't protect comes off as not caring and is often questioned.

  • Crystal Ash

    On another note: It's interested how the physical attributes of Chris (short, skinny, and light-skinned) play such a huge role in how he is/was perceived by other men. It makes me wonder if it is indeed insecurities by the person receiving the ridicule or the insecurities of the individuals dole out the ridicule. I imagine both come into play in some way. I've never really thought about the complexion or height of a man playing into this. Though I do tend to date heavier and stockier guys and recently had the epiphany it was because of that sense of security because of their weight.

    Interesting & thought provoking post as usual!!

    • writtenbyBene

      Interesting commentary. I agree with you. Security and feeling protected is a must. You know in "A Belle in BK" Demetria has a whole chapter about this. I'd say it is the insecurities of both the person being ridiculed and the ones doling out the threats/insults. Unfortunately, skin tone plays a major role in how men are viewed. Just take note of how some dark skinned men will attempt to feminize a light skinned man, i.e. "pretty boy." For me, height and weight do play a role in it as well, but it's not the end all be all. I know some short guys that I would feel safe around. I'm also not measuring manhood by one's skin tone, height or weight as someone else suggested. I think it's important for women to have what they need in relationships. And we all have preferences. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Chile!! I completely understand this post. I once broke up with a boyfriend because I didn't think he would ever be able to defend my honor. Shallow, but true. I remember the day that I lost respect for him like yesterday. I was sitting outside in the car waiting for him to close his gate to his front lawn and this big tall dude walked by and made my then boyfriend look like a hobbit. I knew then that this relationship was near the end. It's terrible because if I had to rate him, he was one of the best boyfriends I ever had. Caring, nurturing and loved me unconditionally. I sometimes kick myself wondering if I made the right decision. All I know is that I'm only 4''11 and he was maybe 5'7. I wasn't sure I wanted to marry and procreate with someone that small. :/ Yes, I know…. Shallow!

  • Sir Charles

    What do you call a woman with preferences?…single.

    • writtenbyBene

      I cannot take your comments seriously. So I'm going to stop responding and "feeding the trolls" as they say.

      However, I have preferences and I'm not single. And everyone on the face of the planet has preferences when it comes to choosing a significant other. Married people even have preferences. They used those preferences along with other factors to decide their spouse was the one to marry instead of the other people they've dated prior to meeting that person. So your lil' theory isn't factual. It's rather silly.