“Think Like a Man”
By: Saffie Kamara
In November, Districtly Speaking fans filled up seats for our sold-out “Think like a Man” town hall, bringing together over 100 professionals in the DMV area. Our diverse group of male panelists during this highly anticipated discussion included Gee James, Marcus Skelton, Dr. Jendayo Grady, Cole Bockenfeld, Lavell Jackson, and Marvin Figueroa.
Audience members did not hold back their questions. Panelists answered everything from “Why do men cheat?” to “Would they practice celibacy with their significant other?”
Skelton shared that some men like their women to give them ego boosts when asked why men cheat.
“Some men are easily persuaded. Some men want their egos rubbed and if you are not doing it there is some woman smiling in his face,” Skelton said.
But is that the only reason why men cheat? Not according to James who feels that every person has flaws and for some men, cheating may just happen to be that flaw.
“I think we all have issues and his issue can be that he is not faithful. He can love you and still cheat,” James said.
For Dr. Grady, cheating is not a factor in his marriage. He believes the past is the past and should be left there along with any old friends or distractions.
“When you enter marriage you have to let the old life go away. I had an old girlfriend contact me the year I was married asking if I was still married and I never talked to her again. Now that you are married you and your wife can have joint friends,” Dr. Grady said.
With that, panelists discussed the importance of having platonic friendships be just that while in a relationship and how friendships should start to change once a man decided he would be in a serious relationship with a woman. The majority of the panelists agreed with Dr. Grady regarding certain friendships being a thing of the past.
Jackson was one of the concurring panelists indicating that men should not have close friends of the opposite sex while in a relationship.
“You shouldn’t confide in your women friends when you are having trouble in your life,” Jackson said.
There are different outcomes of confiding in another woman while in a relationship such as a man’s significant other developing insecurities, trust issues and cheating may even occur. However, there was a panelist who felt that a man cannot let go of all of his past friendships, even if they were with women.
“I think you can still have friends of different sex for years and years while in a relationship. I think it is artificial to cut people off from your past that I believe that is all a part of you,” Bockenfeld said.
Nonetheless, Bockenfeld did also mention that open communication is good within a relationship. Having disclosure about certain topics are important for a relationship to work. And a topic that always comes up in a relationship is sex and celibacy.
As for Skelton, he disclosed that he waited with his wife while she was practicing celibacy.
“I waited 3 years with my wife. I had to think if I am not going to marry her why would I continue to stay with her,” Skelton said.
Jackson had similar beliefs as he mentioned the value a relationship has when two individuals do not use sex as the most important factor.
“When you take sex out of the equation, you see the person more for who they are,” Jackson said.
On the subject of single parents and dating, the panel agreed that parents should be honest and open about it.
“I think it’s important to tell me about your child. Your child should be the center of your world,” Figueroa said.
“I am a single dad so I will be upfront and say I have a daughter. You wouldn’t date someone and not tell them about something important in your life. I think it has to be a serious relationship where you have been dating for a while before I introduce you to my child,” Bockenfeld said.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the panelists shared what they loved most about women: femininity, companionship and a woman’s beauty were some of the responses.
“I like that women listen,” Figueroa said.
Based on the audience reaction, there will definitely be a Think Like a Man 2! Stay tuned…