By J. D. Taylor
Not only is The Best Man one of my favorite films, but it also (in my opinion at least) sits atop the seemingly growing pantheon of contemporary “black cinema”—alongside such films as Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, Love Jones, etc.—aimed at depicting on the silver screen the real world triumphs and successes, trials and tribulations of twenty and thirty-something African-Americans.
The film’s main character, Harper (Taye Diggs), comes home on the heels of the debut release of his autobiographical first novel to serve as the best man in his friend Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) wedding. Needless to say, the lines between fact and fiction are soon blurred and the very real secrets hidden in Harper’s novel threaten not only to upend the wedding but put an end to the men’s friendship altogether.
For all of us who’ve seen the film—and certainly for all of us men, I think—one of the scenes that instinctively sticks out in memory would have to be the “poker night scene,” in which all four male leads, Harper, Lance, Quentin (Terrance Howard) and Julian (Harold Perrineau), gather together to discuss their views on life, work and women. It’s during this scene that Quentin, raging against the idea of monogamy in general, and marriage more specifically, states, “If God intended for us to be with just one woman, he wouldn’t have given us all this sperm, and these bitches wouldn’t outnumber us the way they do.”
Some of us howled. Others shook their heads in astonishment. Still others recoiled in disgust. No matter your reaction, though, if you’re a guy, you’ve more than likely been privy to similar conversations; free-flowing discussions where men “let fly” about what it is we’re really thinking. Indeed, sometimes it can seem like we men are so consumed with figuring out what the opposite sex is looking for in their ideal Mr. Right, it’s all too easy for us to loose sight of what we could and/or should be looking for in our ideal Ms. Right.
So how about it, fellas? What exactly are we looking for? More important, why is it so seemingly difficult for us to find it (or her)? Here are some common pitfalls as I see it:
- “All that glitters isn’t gold.” Sure we all know this, but we men certainly loose sight of it when looking for Ms. Right, can’t we? Where women are concerned, some of us men can’t seem to think straight. Sometimes we’re so enamored with those “Perfect 10’s” in the looks department that we loose track of the fact that some women might be sorely lacking in other categories (i.e. intelligence, personality, etc.) This is a tough one, I’ve got to admit. Trust me, I’m a guy—I know. But my advice? “Keep it in your pants” and “look before you leap” before you “put a ring on it.
- Will our eyes always be bigger than our stomachs? If you’re wondering what category Quentin (and guys like him) would likely fall into, I’d say this one’s a safe bet. They just can’t get enough. More, more, and more is what they’re after. Sure I understand that we don’t want to be impulse buyers and “make an honest woman” out of the first woman we happen to have feelings for, but it seems that some of us guys have several women on our plate and several others waiting in the wings (i.e. “on the back burner”). Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is we’re simply not built to maintain this kind of pace. We’re ultimately destined to burn out. What’s worse, in not focusing enough attention on quality, we run the risk of sacrificing our potential Ms. Right in the name of quantity.
- But she cooks like Big Momma. It’s said that we all want a woman that’s like our mother. Sure we can all understand this. Our mothers clothed us. They fed us. They nutured us. They’re the “apple of our eye.” But more than one guy’s fallen into the trap of picking a woman that reminds him of his mother. On the surface there might not seem like much is wrong with this. On the surface. The problem? For better or worse, a woman’s not supposed to be like our mothers. For one thing, that same attribute of taking charge and laying down the law that made our mothers the matriarch of our family, if you think about it, can soon become insufferable if it starts coming from the woman who’s supposed to be our life partner.
- The “good girl” paradox. I don’t know why this is, but as often as we men claim to want a “nice girl,” there’s just something about those bad girls that seriously seems to get our motors running. We all know how to spot a “man eater” and/or “gold digger” when we see one, yet something in us stupidly encourages us to conquer that insurmountable mountain known as the bad girl. We know that good girls are trustworthy, dependable, caring, etc., so why do we do it? Who knows. We’re massachists, I suppose.
Ultimately, it seems that many of the reasons we men have problems finding our special someone is similar to the reasons our opposite sex counterparts experience difficulty. In short, there’s an inexplicable disconnect between what we want (or at least what we say we want) in our eventual partners and the process by which we meet them. (I mean, you wouldn’t go fishing with a shotgun, am I right?) So what’s the answer? I say we all should be more like Quentin. Why’s that, you ask? Because although he’s an unabashed misogynist, at least he’s honest about what he’s after. And disagree with him as you might (and believe me, I do) you’ve got to respect the guy’s willingness to speak his own truth.