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10 Men Told Me How They Like To Be (Emotionally) Pampered

When's the last time emotional pampering's been on your relational radar?

Love & Relationships

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

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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