Paying Your Woman The Right Attention

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
– Brene Brown

There’s a running theme these days that I hate. A theme that, in certain ways, even I am a victim (or culprit) of. That theme is that men have to take their woman for granted, lose or nearly lose her, to “realize what I had”. That “them” isn’t exclusive to men but the grand publicizing of it is. “If you love something, set it free, if it comes back it’s yours” is a popular cliché that has commonly been related to the same theme. This notion that we have to lose something to or someone to appreciate it (them) just disgusts me more and more now.

Everything Is Love. A very popular and publicized example of what I mean is the marriage of The Carters, Hov and Bey, Jigga Man, and King Bey. My aunt and uncle have neglected the mystery and extreme privacy that they coveted so much for the first decade of their relationship since Beyonce’s Lemonade album confirmed the adulterous indiscretions of Mr. S. Carter. What followed was anger from fans, Jay-z’s most vulnerable album to date 4:44, and subsequent conversations around the content. The “Footnotes” videos, exclusive Tidal content, showed Jay-Z and other A-List male celebrities discussing their traumas, the indiscretions, and the effects those actions had on their wives and families in a very transparent way. In a way that we hadn’t seen men TALK publicly. A stark contrast from the boastful womanizing and invincibility men normally exist in our culture, it was refreshing and cathartic to see. In true exceptional timing of the universe, we would see black male celebrities all go through these exact situations prior and right after almost in a vacuum. Whether that be Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Hart, T.I., Dwyane Wade… men were messing up and having to publicly show humility in a way that was foreign. The theme quickly started to rear its head about how these men, and men all around the world, didn’t pay enough attention to what was in front of them. This isn’t a “look at me being the perfect guy and beating down other men for their mistakes” piece. This isn’t even about cheating. This is just about changing the conversation from “I didn’t know what I had” to “I know exactly what I have and if that’s what I want”. Now with the latest opus from The Carters, Everything Is Love, there were women (fairly or unfairly) who took offense to some of Jay-Z’s lyrics that either gave women credit for nurturing and being the best thing for us or excused the reckless abandon that men have exhibited in regards to how we’ve not held ourselves accountable to our women:

To all the good girls that love hustlers

To the mothers that put up with us

To all the babies that suffered cause us

We only know love because of ya

America’s a motherfucka to us, lock us up, shoot us

Shoot our self-esteem down, we don’t deserve true love

Black queen, you rescued us, you rescued us, rescued us

 – Jay-Z on “713”

Don’t sleep on me. Now, more so than ever, we see how important attention is. Even with my disdain for the overconsumption of attention, everybody wants attention, it’s just a matter of the right attention and the right amount of it. What I’ve tried to focus on the most in my dating life is paying the right attention to women and more specifically, the right attention to the woman I decide to pursue/date/love/marry. In an era of a culture where everything is a highlight, grandiose gestures make the inside of my skull itch. Even the people, man, and woman, that seem to be addicted to those “look at me” moments, want someone to pay attention to the small things. I think this is even greater for women. Natural nurturers, their first instinct when they care about a partner is to care about everything about him. Care about all his interests, his friends, his dreams, his career, his “peace”; that’s how almost all women love naturally. Even before they receive the same consideration back. So, paying the right attention to that woman is noticing the things she has abandoned herself in an effort to care so much about you. Notice when she’s been too busy to get her nails done. Notice when she hasn’t had time to go have a few hours with her friends. That’s what the whole “send her nail money” is really about. Of course, there’s bravado along with it for some, but it’s really just about you paying her attention. It’s about her being on your mind without her having to remind you to think about her. (Sidebar: If you talk to some women I’ve dated, they’d be floored that I’m writing this right now. Lol, I’m a work in progress). It’s these small things. Things even I thought were pointless. Things I took for granted. Things I missed. What I’ve learned in more depth is, because women FEEL everything, paying your particular woman is almost about feeling her feelings constantly. Fluidly. It’s impossible to never miss anything or to make yourself care about everything but, for dope women, it’s in the effort. It’s why it moves them so much when they get so little. Warming her car up in the morning during the winter, unprovoked. Sending her words of encouragement randomly the day after you know she had a bad day. Checking on her mom or dad, offering to help in ways you can with her grandparents, so many different ways of being in tune with what she’s dealing with is the real attention women need. The bags, expensive dinners, any other tangible gesture they can show to Instagram only mean so much to the ones who don’t consistently get the right attention. Another part of that attention is knowing how to talk to her when she’s doing well and when she could be doing better. With the rhetoric and optics of so many women not being supported, protected, or cherished by black men (generally and personally), it’s really up to men to change the conversation publicly. Collectively we have to check our shit and our brothers to make it hard for anyone to push that notion that we don’t care about our women. The notion that we can’t be faithful to our women. And lastly, the notion that we won’t go to war for them.

Kingdom Come. Besides the benefits our woman gets from your proper attention, it also is most beneficial to us in the sense of, being attentive help with being decisive. Choosing a woman to share your life with is the most important decision in a man’s life. I’ve said that before and I still stand by it. With such a big decision, you should be extremely attentive so you make the right decision, or at least you can make the most informed decision. Being in tune with the woman you’re dating, or even the woman you’re dating if you’re in the non-exclusive stage gives you a reality of who she is. Most people give you the reality of what they want, not who they are, first. That doesn’t mean everybody is trying to trick you, I don’t believe that, but naturally, people don’t show you a full scope of who they are until you’ve made them comfortable enough to be vulnerable. Paying close attention to someone shows an investment in that vulnerability. But it also sharpens your focus so much so that if they don’t get to vulnerability quick enough, you see the things they’re not ready to show you yet. I think one of the things I’m very adamant about is not being with someone I don’t know well enough. I’m very attentive and patient with learning a woman. Not for deletion, even though it does eliminate the wrong ones, but just to operate from a genuine place. With the vision, I have for my life and the respect I have for the union of marriage, I HAVE to pay attention to a woman if I’m dating her. I’m not dating for fun or thrills anymore and I’m not dating for eye candy. I’m dating for family, for compatibility, for partnership, and for legacy. All of those have my death date as my retirement date. I plan to be invested in the betterment of all of these for the rest of my life so this isn’t a lazy decision. In closing, I don’t want to have to lose everything to realize what I have and I don’t want the person I can’t live without to not feel that sentiment. The work has to be done. It’s better to do your work early, don’t play behind for the whole game.

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Meet Travis Cochran. The founder of Inspire You University and its lead writer. A fearless and provocative approach to his writing and discussions is what “Trav” prides himself on. Don’t hate him if you disagree with him, he’d much rather you challenge his points, learn together. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

  • God
    Posted at 11:50h, 03 July Reply

    You look like a chocolate hobbit but you speak some real shit

  • Aaron Morris
    Posted at 01:54h, 03 July Reply

    Always could bro. Not only that it’s an outstanding message that we as a whole need to grasp. Family is everything and our community need more of the RIGHT type of family.

  • Whit Ashley
    Posted at 12:06h, 02 July Reply

    This was a really dope piece. It’s not so often to hear this rhetoric from men in the black community. It felt genuine and real. Thanks for this! It is a nice wake up for both women and men in our communities.

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