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sad-black-coupleWhen I thought of the man I would one day settle down with, I imagined someone who was like an action star–think Bruce Willis, The Rock, Tom Cruise, free Wesley Snipes–macho, slick talking and strong with a big heart. He also had to be a man who was fearless and would go to the ends of the earth to protect me and ours. While this image was at the back of my mind, I kept running into men who did not quite fit this description. They definitely had manly physical attributes; had the slick talking down to a science but when it came time to become a hero, they did not have it.

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They did not have the gumption, the wits, the speeding bullet mentality to step up and save me. They sure as heck talked about saving me though! Let’s get back to reality for a minute, I’ve never had a crime lord hold me hostage at an abandoned warehouse, whispering ill will into my ears. But I know there were times that I felt like I was in danger or that I had hit a stumbling block in life and could not turn to the man in my life for a word of comfort or encouragement or perhaps, even a hug.

One time I had foolishly decided to take my dog out for a late night walk at this park by my apartment. I let the dog loose in the park while I happily lazy by the monkey bars. Suddenly, a man got out of his van and started to approach me in the park. Luckily my dog is a big dog, I ended up calling out to him once the man started to walk closer. He said I looked like his ex-girlfriend, he was obviously full of it. The dog probably saved me a court trial and trauma that summer night. Shortly after I quickly text messaged my terrifying experience to the man I was seeing and he said, “Wow, you gotta be careful next time.”

That didn’t exactly comfort me. I obviously knew that I had to be careful the next time. I obviously knew that I made a stupid mistake walking the dog so late at night, but I wanted comfort from my man! I would’ve even settled for that faux comfort, that “I would kick his butt if I were there” comfort, instead I got scolded like an irresponsible child. In fact the incident disappeared, he never checked back in with me to see how I was doing the next day or any other day. It was like that had never happened.

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It would be minor incidents like this that led me to think that this gladiator of a man that I had in the back of my head was may be extinct, a figment of my vast and Hollywood- influenced imagination; or worse, that I was less than deserving of this type of heroism in a partner.

I later came to the conclusion through endless people watching and by elevating my self-worth to a higher plateau, that not only was I deserving of this hero, I was going to accept nothing less. I started to generate and turn down offers from suitors, the almost-there heroes. I used my imagination to my advantage as queen of the court to become more discriminating as opposed to this hero-seeking girl who sat by windows wishing and waiting instead of commanding excellence.

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Yes I did say command excellence. I walked with my head higher and I smiled more at everyone, and overtime my perspective changed. Dating was no longer a “let’s see how far this one can go without making me upset,” it was more like, “You’re cute, I want to have a good time and let’s see where this ends up. I’m open.”

There is nothing wrong with wanting someone who will love and protect you, do you hear me? But he is less likely to appear if you’re too busy second guessing yourself worth and what you truly want. I used to make myself silly with this massive collection of wedding magazines and pictures of engagement rings with sapphires (I love sapphires). I deemed my desires unrealistic and unlikely. I still have the wedding magazines and I know what kind of engagement ring I want and although I am in no major rush to wed, I know that my hero will understand my deep desires and will try his best to fulfill them. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Men: Is being a hero to women important to you? Why or why not?

Women: Do you expect the men you date to protect you? Why or why not?

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