If you watched the season finale of HBO’s awesome new show Insecure (from the mind of the brilliant Issa Rae) you’ve probably already noticed that the episode has stirred up a lot of stark contrasting opinions online, mostly between men and women. It may appear that a lot of dudes are taking up a little too much for fictional ass Lawrence and hitting the quan in their living rooms like they just found out OJ beat the case. It may seem like these dudes collective joy is borne out of a weird sense of schadenfreude, but don’t fall for that reasoning.
It’s a SHAM. A LIE. A RUSE. A HOAX.
Men aren’t celebrating seeing fictional-ass Issa Dee hurt, they are reconciling the real life disgust many of us have towards ourselves for ending up in situations just like the fucked-up relationship Lawrence freed himself from.
Follow me here, because there’s some points you need to grapple with in order to fully understand how dudes can prop up a character like Lawrence as a veritable hero, when he’s FAR from deserving hero-worship.
First, understand that MOST men enter into relationships with one of three MAIN thoughts:
a) “She’s the one!” A.K.A.: I know this is a woman I want to be with and I’m motivated as hell to give her everything I can. I will love her and support her with all my might because I’ve never felt like this for any woman before.
b) “I mean, why not?” A.K.A.: I’m not totally sure about starting this relationship because I’m not completely sure if I’m ready to be locked down, or if she’s even the right person to commit to. But things have gone great and she is [insert positive trait here] so maybe it’d be stupid not to give this thing a chance?”
c) “OK. Fine.” A.K.A.: This shit ain’t looking up but hell, she [insert lowly base level compliment here] and I don’t want her to stop so lemme just go ahead and tell her what she wants to hear.”
When you look at Lawrence and Issa’s relationship (which is SO GODDAMN COMMON) you know good and damn well it’s a b) or c) situation on his end. Now because we don’t see how they met and how their relationship started, he could’ve had an a) mentality but, if we’re being honest, most dudes who enter relationships with an a) mentality do not become lethargic and dispassionate. Lawrence was sitting his monkey ass on the couch, slacking in life, slacking in love, and embracing all of life’s routine frowsyness because he wasn’t in a situation he loved. Like many relationships, they both settled for a comfortable mediocrity that most likely resembles how things started.
That comfortable mediocrity is what most young, single dudes fear. When we look at our fathers, or uncles, or godfathers, or old heads on the block who are locked in horrifically unsatisfying relationships, it serves as our personal reminder to avoid loveless, solely-duty bound coupledom. So then, on the dating scene, the best part of us becomes our ruthless self-interest. We meet a woman, we vet her, we decide what we want, we try to get it, and then we move on IF continuing to be around her wasn’t in the plans. Most women may hate to hear this, but most of the dudes who ran through Molly are what success looks like to us on the dating scene. Being open, honest, and unapologetic about our wants, leaving the decision in her hands, and then keeping it moving until we meet a woman who gives us that a) feeling that spurs us to pursue her.
We cheer the dudes who smash-and-dash Molly not because they’re playing her (which it doesn’t seem they are at all), but more importantly because they’re not playing THEMSELVES. Jidenna didn’t want Molly as a girlfriend, he let it be known, and he moved on with his life, unscathed, to find happiness elsewhere. Same with the other dudes she dated who were like “wanna fuck now?” But, the truth is, many dudes (just like many women) aren’t being true to themselves in their relationships. Too many of us have adopted a comfortable mediocrity that allows us to be pleased with ourselves for coupling up, despite the fact that the relationship operates more out of friendly convenience than an unbreakable bond of vigorous emotion. In short, we start to look in the mirror and see the same unsatisfying expressions we see in the older men around us, and at first it scares us, but then it just disgusts us. It disgusts us because the look becomes familiar – and then comfortable. It disgusts us because our own damn face represents everything we said we weren’t going to become.
Right from the beginning of the Insecure series, you could tell their relationship was off. Obviously it’s far easier to see the annoyance on Issa’s end, but any man paying attention knows that Lawrence wasn’t just a scrub – he was a bright, cool dude who began accepting the comfort of mediocrity throughout his entire life and his relationship. On TV, even on a show as expertly written as Insecure, it’s easy to make bad relationships look like one person’s fault, but in real life, most horrible relationships are a joint effort.
As the season progressed, we saw Lawrence get shitted on and damn-near ghosted mid-relationship by Issa. We saw Lawrence push all his chips back into the middle of the table to make things work despite the fact that his woman was flirting with a Karl Joseph looking nigga behind the scenes. We saw Lawrence get cheated on by his woman. We saw Lawrence try to be a better man for his woman while she continued to lie about her behaviour. We saw a dude, trying to make the best out of the mediocrity he enabled, have life shit directly on his chest. And then we stopped seeing Lawrence – and we started seeing ourselves. Not just where we’ve been, but where some dudes are right now. And then we saw Lawrence storming out, finding that cute chick from the bank and fucking the shit out of her – and we stopped seeing Lawrence – and we started seeing who we feel we’re supposed to be.
We didn’t cheer just because he was fucking the hell out of a thick-ass banker, we cheered because he’s seemingly on the road to shedding his b) or c) mentality. I mean, who cares if it works out with banker girl? The point is he left a toxic situation. He’s no longer looking at life through the vacuous lens of hopelessness that’s instilled in many men as the standard operating procedure for finding longterm love. We cheered for him because maybe, just maybe, he’ll find out that there’s more to life than accepting bad comfort – and we will too.