If there’s one thing that men and women can agree on, it’s that we don’t agree on much. Or at the very least, we go very different routes to get the same conclusions. This was the sentiment on display Thursday night as the Washington Post and The RootDC played host to a conversation dubbed “Myth or Maybe: Men Need Love, Women Need Respect” moderated by Rahiel Tesfamariam of Urban Cusp, and me, Panama Jackson, from VerySmartBrothas.com.
The point of the conversation was to engage the audience (which numbered well over 100) into a live action comments section of sorts that would mirror a post on Urban Cusp or Very Smart Brothas. Usually at events like this one, it’s the panelists who express their opinions and often there’s very little time left for audience members to participate.
This time around, the audience was the panel.
As the title suggests, the discussion focused on addressing issues that men and women face in their relationships, but also, determining the different ways that we approach love and understanding. Both Rahiel and I drafted scenarios intended to spark discussion, using both personal stories and pop culture.
For instance, Rahiel presented a scenario involving a woman who was dating a man for about two months and invited him and her ex-boyfriend to a graduation party and the ensuing fall out from said double-invitation.
The members of the audience debated both sides of the coin with men and women ultimately agreeing that the woman either was testing the new guy or just found herself stuck in the situation because she didn’t know how to choose in the first place. Le sigh.
What was most curious about this is that many of us there would assume this would be a situation that a man would find himself in, yet our first example is a woman caught between a rock and a hard place.
Oh, let me say this here…men, we have GOT to do better about these discussions. For some reason I don’t think that most men feel like discussing relationships is that important. I realize that for many of us, we don’t think we can win anyway. So what’s the point? But the perspectives presented at the discussion Thursday night were priceless. And the men – there were about all 10 of us in attendance - definitely had something to say. Plus, it’s a great place to meet women. Real talk. I’m not sure why more men don’t realize this. Ho hum.
Personally, as somebody who effectively writes about relationships for a living, getting a real time and face-to-face discussion about my own view on relationships and gaining new perspectives is a tremendous help as a writer and a person. I feel like everybody can benefit from that, man or woman.
On a side note, it was refreshing to both be a part of a discussion not catered towards why black women can’t find a man. In fact, that only came up in terms of wondering why so much focus has been placed on what women are doing wrong in relationships.
The answer: men are now getting involved in the conversations.
Hopefully this type of forum can continue – with more men present next time.
Was anything solved? Probably not. In fact, we may never solve the man vs. woman relationship conundrum. However, we got a little bit more understanding about one another and that’s how you start the ball rolling towards peace.
But I have a question: What’s really keeping us from winning at relationships? Is it a lack of understanding about love and respect, or some other element?
Panama Jackson, an alias for Washington, D.C.-based writer D.M. Wright, is a co-founder of VerySmartBrothas.com and co-author of “Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime.”
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