My Mama Didn't Raise A Thug

by Michael Faulkner

“I want a man who has a little thug in him” she said while sitting across from me at the fine dining table eating her lunch. After hearing those words from her, I looked at my plate of mashed potatoes, asparagus spears and the honey baked salmon and thought, maybe I should have ordered a t-bone steak cooked medium rare. As we ate our meals, the getting to know you conversation continued. She also mentioned that she wants a man who would feel comfortable at an opera. She, herself was a classic woman; attractive, intelligent and with a goal for her life. My mind was distracted by those words “a little thug in him”. She explained that a little thug meant; (1 a man with street survival skills; and 2 someone whom she can be herself with).

Being a college educated man, and self-taught in some areas; I feel that I would survive on the street. Why wouldn’t I? There are plenty of men with college degrees out of work and surviving on the streets. They’re accepting Labor Ready jobs, hustling drugs, women or begging for spare change. I could and would do that if need be. Instead though, I would probably find a regular paying job or two in order to support myself, to survive.

There is a popular line in rap songs that states that a man “wants a lady in the street and a freak in the bed”. “Someone whom she can be herself with”; maybe that’s the female way of saying, “I can be that freak”. In that case, I don’t have a problem with letting a woman be herself. I also understand that today’s woman is used to wearing many hats and putting on many faces; from single mothers, to corporate executives. When she comes home, she just wants to let her hair down and be herself.

Given that I feel that I am a survivor and understand that a woman at times needs to be herself; is that to say that I have “a little thug in me?” My mother did not raise a thug. In fact, she taught me as a boy never to hit a girl. Her only caveat was; “never let a girl scratch your face. If she does, do what you have to do”, she said. My mother also said for me to always respect women.

There was a close male relative of mine who physically abused his wife. This occurred while they lived with our family when I was a teenager. He was eventually put out of our house. Witnessing that abuse showed me the end result of disrespecting women. I, like many men fight natural urges to be the aggressor or confrontational with women. Instead we bottle up our feelings and internalize them in order to keep the peace.

My mother did not raise a thug. I am a man who appreciates and respects women for who they are and for what they bring to the world. I am a man who is true to himself and true to who I am. Knowing this and the expectations; I’m going to walk up to the woman with whom I had lunch and smack her on the butt and ask her if she wants to go see the opera performance of Madame Butterfly.

My Mama Didn't Raise A Thug by Michael Faulkner

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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