One day, I'm gonna get around to writing a piece on signs that a woman has some bona fide daddy issues. Why? Because I don't see how any of us could have a healthy relationship with our father (not just a relationship; a healthy one. That really can't be said enough) and then turn around and find a way to dog men—especially Black men—out at every turn. Without hesitation or apology, I will say it until every single cow comes home because, that's how much I mean it—you cannot be pro-Black and be anti-Black men (same goes for Black men when it comes to Black women).
That's why I intentionally seek to write content like what I'm about to share. As someone who is a huge advocate of Black love—both romantic and platonic—I think it's important for us to hear what Black men need and for them to hear what we need as well. Unfortunately, far too often, when it comes to what guys desire from us, we tend to either tell them what we think they should have or decide amongst ourselves. Hmph. I sit in enough counseling sessions with married couples to know that both of those approaches are more counterproductive than not.
So today, we're gonna tackle the topic of emotional pampering. What's that? What's sad is, when I brought this up to one of the guys in this feature, he was stumped for an entire day before he could express what he needed in this area. "I'm so used to women only thinking that their needs matter, that I honestly don't know how to answer that question. I think I've had a wall up for so long when it comes to my emotional needs that I assumed they would never get met."
That's not good, y'all. Not by a long shot. To be pampered is "to treat or gratify with extreme or excessive indulgence, kindness, or care". I've known this guy for decades at this point. He's a good man. Do you know how deep it is for him to say that he feels like no woman has made treating him with great kindness and care a priority? Wow.
Emotional pampering is something that should be seen as a necessity, not a luxury, in relationships. If you want to protect and preserve the one that you have with the men in your life, here are what some fellas told me makes them feel loved on, in this particular kind of way.
***middle names have been used so that folks can keep their private lives private***
10 Black Men Define Emotional Pampering in Their Own Words
Evan. 32. In a Relationship. "Wow. This question is kinda deep. I never thought about being pampered in any emotional way. But now that you've broken the definition down, I just want to be listened to. I kinda laughed when there were all those memes about Kamala needing to check Pence for over-talking her during their debate because I was like, 'Do women realize that's how they are in relationships?' I can't tell you how many times I've not been able to complete a sentence or I've been told that how I feel isn't the truth, just because a woman might not understand. It happened with my mom while growing up and in a lot of my relationships now. Poor listening is a sign of disrespect with men and women. I'm a man, so I'll just say that a lot of women don't get how much of a disconnect they create when they refuse to listen to the man in their life when he's sharing where he's coming from—whether they like it, agree with it or not."
James. 44. Single. "Care is pampering, huh? If that's the case, I feel like a woman truly cares about me when she asks me how I'm doing and accepts the answer. If I say that 'I'm fine', there doesn't need to be any more crime scene investigating, just because she might not offer up one-word answers if someone asked her the same thing. If I say that I'm not and I share what's going on, sometimes I just wanna get my feelings off of my chest and just hang out afterwards. Watch a movie. Vibe to some music. Have a glass of wine. A woman who really cares about how I am, takes it at face value, and then just calmly shares my space with me while I process, is some next-level lovin'. It might not sound deep, but it is."
"Poor listening is a sign of disrespect with men and women. I'm a man, so I'll just say that a lot of women don't get how much of a disconnect they create when they refuse to listen to the man in their life when he's sharing where he's coming from—whether they like it, agree with it or not."
Roger. 28. Single. "This might sound weird, but you know how I like to be pampered? You leaving your past in the past. Can I get an 'amen' on this because, so much drama can be avoided in relationships when people make sure they aren't comparing their exes to their current situation. It's lowdown to be out here comparing me, holding me to a crazy standard you've come up with based on your damaged psyche, or deciding that I need to fix some other guy's f—k ups. That only causes me to raise my guard and that doesn't help the relationship to get anywhere. Going into a relationship with as little baggage as possible might seem like a low bar but men, we love it. It spares us so much bulls—t."
Kendall. 24. Single. "I like when I'm not held accountable for my vulnerabilities. There is nothing like telling a woman something that's difficult to talk about and then she uses it as ammo when you least expect it. One ex of mine, I shared with her how bad I was with money in college because I wasn't taught anything about finances while growing up. When I lost my job while we were dating, she immediately went in on how I needed to budget better since I was 'bad with money'. Women are always talking about wanting a man who will be forthcoming with them. If you really want that, don't penalize us once we are."
Anthony. 39. In a Relationship. "What a great question. Personally, I like it when a woman foresees a need and meets it. She knows my love language and speaks it. She remembers what my favorite meal is and makes it or orders it. If she can sense that I need space, she gives it without making me feel guilty. A woman who makes it a point to be in tune with how a man moves is sexy as hell to me."
Malik. 47. Married. "Kindness is a form of pampering? Hmph. I don't think I ever knew that. Now that I do, I'll say that my wife is extremely good at emotionally pampering me. There are a million examples, but I think my favorite is she doesn't try to change me. When I was dating, I came across women who thought I was their project. While they liked certain things, they had the mentality that they needed to do some 'alterations'. That's annoying as hell. My wife loves me just the way I am. Likes me just the way I am too. And when you're sharing life with someone who enjoys you for who you are, I don't know if there is a greater act of kindness, to tell you the truth."
"My wife loves me just the way I am. Likes me just the way I am too. And when you're sharing life with someone who enjoys you for who you are, I don't know if there is a greater act of kindness, to tell you the truth."
Kyle. 36. Single. "Boundaries. To me, that is what emotionally pampering is all about. There are some things that are just between me and my lady, period. She's not telling her mom. She's not telling her best friend. It's not brought up 'anonymously' at work. A lot of us don't trust easily, as it is. I get that women are sometimes more relational than we are, but why does that mean that you need to have my business all out in the street? We want to be able to share everything about us, but not if we think your girlfriends are going to know about it. Knowing my lady is a vault is how I feel safe with her. Feeling safe doesn't come up enough when we talk about what men need from women."
Winston. 26. Single. "Wanting to understand where I'm coming from is really kind to me. I don't just mean in my relationship with a woman either. What I'm talking about is, if I'm talking to a woman, any woman really, about something that's happening in my life, rather than them feeling like they need to be some sort of 'emotional coach', they just work to get where I'm coming from. As Black men, we're misunderstood a lot. Women who try and sympathize or even empathize with certain issues or struggles means more than most women know."
"Knowing my lady is a vault is how I feel safe with her. Feeling safe doesn't come up enough when we talk about what men need from women."
Samson. 33. Engaged. "Encouragement is a big point for me. My lady now is great at that. I'm actually really attracted to women with strong personalities, but I think a lot of women think that correction is encouragement. It's not. Remember that scene in Brown Sugar when Taye Diggs' character told his wife that he quit his job because he was unhappy and she immediately started preaching about how dumb of a decision that was? Wanna know why he ended up with fine ass Sanaa Lathan instead? Because she encouraged him. Why would you want your man to be somewhere where he's not happy? It's hard enough being a Black man out here without having your woman trying to mother you all the time. Pamper me by having my back and letting me know that you think I can do whatever it is I set out to do. That kind of woman is one in a million, boy."
Xavier. 40. Divorced. "I feel extremely cared for when a woman doesn't assume that I don't like some of the same things that she does. I would consider myself to be really masculine, but I enjoy flowers, cards and spontaneous dates. You might've heard that if we get sex and food, we're pretty happy. Well, first, that needs to be good sex and good food. But seriously…simple acts of forethought and kindness are all that a lot of us want or need. Just knowing that you want to make us feel cared for and about is enough to make a good man want to give a woman the world."
These are just 10 men and their thoughts. What I recommend is that you ask the "main" man in your life, along with some of your own male friends and/or co-workers about what makes them feel emotionally pampered too. It's not about judging or editing their answers because, if there's one point that these men have driven home, it's that emotionally connecting is key and that comes from taking their words and feelings—well, literally.
All of us need to be pampered—treated with great kindness and care. Make it a point to emotionally pamper the men in your life. You might just be surprised by how much it will benefit your relationship with them…if/when you do.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Sabrina Dhowre Elba Admits To Not Initially Knowing Who Idris Elba Was When They Met
Model and entrepreneur Sabrina Elba recently recalled the intimate moments surrounding the fateful day she first encountered her husband, Idris Elba.
The couple, who have been together since 2017, met at a jazz bar in Vancouver when Idris was working on his film Mountain Between Us. Years later, in April 2019, following a whirlwind romance, Sabrina and Idris would tie the knot in Morocco.
Since then, the pair's love story has become "couple goals" among many for various reasons. The list includes the numerous times Sabrina and Idris have showcased their love on social media. Another factor contributing to the duo's likability is that Sabrina and Idris have displayed over the years that being with the right partner can elevate one's career or passion in life.
Sabrina and Idris have collaborated professionally in several businesses, including their Coupledom podcast and skincare brand S'Able Labs. In a June interview on Jemele Hill's Unbothered podcast, the 34-year-old opened up about the events leading up to when she met Idris and how she initially didn't know who he was.
Sabrina Dhowre Elba on Meeting Idris Elba
Sabrina, who was living in Vancouver at the time, said that the same night Idris was in town, she went out to a jazz bar for an event called Slow Jam Sunday for a friend’s birthday.
Around that time, the model was getting over a breakup and claimed she wasn't interested in a relationship because of how badly her previous one ended. In a past interview, Idris revealed that he, too, just went through a breakup before meeting Sabrina.
"This is so funny. I [had] just gotten out of a really bad relationship, so I was not this person. I was like 'men are trash. They suck.' I'm literally ready to switch it on up or something because I was so over it," she said. "I come to this party with a night off at work that I prebooked because I was working literally every weekend. But it was my girlfriend's birthday party, so I was there kind of by chance."
Sabrina also revealed that, coincidently, the night she took off for her friend's birthday celebration was the same night Idris had the day off and was convinced by his stunt double to attend Slow Jam Sunday.
"Slow Jam Sundays is an amazing night in Vancouver. It's the one night I would probably go to, but you wouldn't see me out often because I was a weekend worker. I was working at restaurants and service industry, your weekends are taken up," she stated.
"Idris was filming this film in Vancouver and had one night off in Vancouver because most of it was filmed sort of up north in the mountains. His stunt double convinced him to go to Slow Jam Sundays. By chance, we were both there."
Further into the interview, Sabrina disclosed that her friend was interested in Idris at first and went to flirt with him. However, the Daddy's Little Girls star dismissed the friend's advances because Sabrina had caught his eye.
When Sabrina's friend informed her about what happened, she admitted that although she tried to put up a front for her friend's sake, the S'Able Labs CEO was happy because she thought he was also attractive. Following the discussion, Sabrina and her friend went to the section where Idris was, and the couple realized how much they had in common, from the music choices to their background.
"So I go over, and we have like one of those conversations that you just feel like you've known this person for ten years because we're singing the same songs. When a song comes on that I love, he's like, 'I love this song.' I'm like, 'what?' Like I just had this like cultural connection. He's African. I'm like,' Where are you from?'" she said.
Sabrina On Not Knowing Who Idris Was After Meeting Him
As the topic shifted to Idris' celebrity status, Sabrina explained that she didn't know who he was until after it was brought to her attention by a few people she met outside of the bar.
"When I went outside, I realized because there's a group of people there, they're like, 'Oh, you're talking to Idris Elba,'" she stated.
When asked about how well-known the actor was when they met, Sabrina shared that Idris was widely famous in America but not so much in Canada and that the one film she saw him in was the 2009 thriller Obsessed.
Sabrina would add that even after being told who Idris was, she couldn't recollect where she knew him from until her friends mentioned the movie.
"Well, so the film that I had seen was Obsessed... I feel Idris Elba now he gets recognized so much. In that moment, unless you were kind of in that zeitgeist, he was definitely a lot more popular in America," she said. "I don't think I would've known it even when they said that was him. I was trying to remember, like, my friends were like, 'yeah, he's from Obsessed.' We're like, 'Oh, yeah.'"
After figuring out who Idris was, Sabrina shared that when she re-entered the venue, she doubted a relationship would form between them given his occupation, the short timeline he would be there to shoot his movie, and the constant temptation that could flock around him due to his status. But despite Sabrina's uncertainty, they would exchange numbers before she left.
"So I went back inside, we started chatting some more, and he was like, 'Let me take your number.' I was like, 'Alright,' and then I left," she stated.
The model explained the reason why she left the event was that her friend, whose birthday she was celebrating, wanted to check out other spots. When the night was coming to an end, Sabrina hailed a taxi to go home when she received a phone call from Idris. The entrepreneur revealed that the Takers star stopped her from entering the cab and urged her to get in the car he was driving, and they spent the whole night talking until 8 a.m.
"I got in his car, and we spoke till like 8 a.m. easy. It was probably like 2 [a.m.] at that time. We just had the most intense, amazing conversation," she said. "It was the first time I ever connected with someone to the point where I was like, I went home the next day called my friends, I was like, 'I think I found my soulmate.'"
Sabrina revealed that from that fateful night, she and Idris became inseparable. The couple would be long-distance for a brief stint of their union until they acknowledged how difficult it was to maintain that type of relationship. Sabrina ultimately decided to move in with Idris although she was skeptical at first, she claimed it was one of the best decisions she's made because she found her "soulmate."
Sabrina Elba's First Night with Idris Elba Sounds Like a Romance MovieModel and philanthropist Sabrina Elba joins Jemele to discuss her marriage to actor Idris Elba, and their heartwarming, love at first sight origin story.SUBS...
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