Book Review: Nice Guys and Players
 

Book Review: Nice Guys and Players

Buy this book at Amazon.com! Offer me the choice of being with a woman that is my helper and my equal, founding our communal vitality with grace and strategy or the choice of being an award-winning poet, a disconnected individual that is respected at a distance by some and feared and despised by many. I will take the woman. I have three children now. I have had three times to choose the woman and somehow failed.

Enter Rom Wills with his large-print book so that the page count can meet a perfect-bound press run. The first rule in his book sets me straight in 14pt font: No, Bryan. You don’t choose the women. The women choose you! I admit, since I do have quite an impressive university education and a successful technical career, that this book appeared to me more suited for my eldest son, the fourteen year old. However, don’t let the simple package fool you: this book is short and sweet and startlingly insightful for English-language readers of all ages.

Rom Wills divides the male population up into two super groups: the select and the un-select. Underneath these are Mr. Goodbar and the Masked Man for the select. And the un-select contains The Nice Guy and The Gamesman. Above it all, is The Real Man. I shouldn’t have to explain what the unselect are. Mr. Wills can handle that for you when the names do not speak for themselves. Mr. Goodbar, however, may be quite exotic to most contemporary North American women so I suggest going back through the mists of time to the 1970s and check out Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. For those of us who know 1970s popular music remember that line in a Leon Haywood song that says, “I’ll put it where you want it for as long as you need it.” This definitely sounds like Mr. Goodbar—hint, hint.

This book is definitely a conversation starter in the arid world of “normal” westernized African-descended people. Our deteriorating family structure needs any kind of help it can get. This need cannot be overstated.

Now the Masked Man is more plentiful here in the U.S. because he is profiling and bribes for everything, boiling loving spirit down into commercial transactions. The Masked Man puts on his cape and flies to Amsterdam when times get hard. And this hits close to home because I wanted too much to be the super-hero for “my” women. At the expense of my three children, I found out that some women who want to be saved are not willing to be saved. The will is forged by real world experience and the real world of women is very likely to be rid of heroes—especially chocolate colored guys in capes and tights flying to the rescue. Just like how many folk carrying a yoga mat in Santa Monica think of reincarnation more often than incarnation, I thought of being a super man instead of just being a man. A man needs his woman, a helper that is his equal: he does not save his woman as a Masked Man that needs to be her superior.

Most of the book is dedicated to exploring these four types each punctuated with short “case studies” that often suggest that Rom Wills might try his hand at writing fiction about this subject. I assume that there are too few male novelists (who are not Nice Guys) in the “Romance” genre right about now. During a recent LIBRadio interview, Mr. Wills toyed with the idea. Mr. Wills does have romance skills: a major area of the book helps to form a world-view of women that would be surprisingly sensitive and detailed to many a cynical Sweet Honey in the Rock Woman.

This book is definitely a conversation starter in the arid world of “normal” westernized African-descended people. Our deteriorating family structure needs any kind of help it can get. This need cannot be overstated. However, when I evaluate the book from an African-centered perspective the work is sorely lacking. Take something as simple as the dress code that Mr. Wills effectively requires in order to attract women: shiny shoes and attractive neck ties. You can’t get more Europeanized than that—and to be frank (in the manner of the Franks) I would have no problem with the scarcity of women when I become determined to “adjust my personality” to “deal” with my native westernized women. I have the education, the money and a lingering physique so this reality of straightened hair and sun tan oil surely must be hot combed and ski lodged. Right, brother?

The problem for any serious man is not having access to women. The problem is communal longevity. Putting our intimacy where we want it for as long as we need it. All intimate relationships—even those outside of an African context—can be described as communal. I do not think the word communal even appeared in the book as its focus was more centered on getting that first hot date. Perhaps the word “communal” is too academic sounding so we can break it down to sharing. The ability to share is a skill that requires formal training, preferably during childhood. I found out the hard, hard way that sharing requires creativity and too few people in a materialistic, self-centered, product oriented, commercial society value this form of creativity. What is worse is that in the stolen-African context, most people are afraid to share for fear of getting fooled and robbed. I don’t care what the Torrance Police Department thinks of me but it hurt me to my heart to discover how many Black women think of me as a thief, coming to steal their valuables. Once I begin to realize the importance of communal intimacy in male-female relations, I have to throw out my assimilation project along with the neck-tie-shiny-shoe employee dress code. I am not applying for a job in a corporation, trying to make a deal with a virtual person—and her ass. I am trying to be with a real woman—from the reality of communal family. No one, not even Vivica Fox and the entire burnt sienna staff of Essence Magazine, can overlook the educational role African cultures play in the development of communal family and expect not to have psychological problems.

Perhaps the word “communal” is too academic sounding so we can break it down to sharing. The ability to share is a skill that requires formal training, preferably during childhood. I found out the hard, hard way that sharing requires creativity and too few people in a materialistic, self-centered, product oriented, commercial society value this form of creativity.

To enter the wreckage of the Beloved tragedy that is African slavery and its legacy means that the Masked Man and the Masked Women must reveal themselves, their incarnation of Africaness—but women are stronger with stamina. She can keep her mask on well after I die of starvation from no internal nourishment. This may sound like I am blaming the woman. For the woman that interprets this, she is lost in her native English language featuring alienation and ego-centered neurosis. She does not know what it means to be directed toward matriarchy—to command nourishment—so, when she does choose her man, she shakes the foundations of patriarchy and civilization as we know it begins to change. It becomes quite problematic when my response to the axiom, the women choose men, is, O.K.: now tell me of the wisdom behind their choices? I am not “afraid” of a strong, wise, fertile, female African incarnation. But I am afraid of Condoleezza Rice and her metallic grey power suit.

So back to the “real” world of SUV payments and sports bars: author Rom Wills is from the east coast and I quote:

I have dated several women whom I have met at subway stations or bus stops. It’s the same situation every time. I would see a woman at a certain time on my way to or from work. After seeing her a few times I usually walked up to her, introduced myself, said something like, “I always see you here. My name is Rom.” Worked every time. Once I have done this I talk to them on a consistent basis, usually going out with them a month or so later. Since I knew where they were going to be at a given time I had time to get to know them and have them feel comfortable around me.

I simply envy the civic resources at the author’s disposal. In the city of Los Angeles, our public transportation system has only recently been designed to encourage such human interaction. I would love to have a group as small as five African women see me go to work every day for months! Nature would take its course. But I am not willing to wear shined shoes and smile all the time in a L.A. traffic jam. No time for that now. I’ve got children that need new shoes. The great thing about Rom Wills, his large print book, is that it was a quick read. He knows how to get his point across without being mistaken for being a “pompous, pseudo-educated ass filled with bullshit fantasies about a non-existent African communal culture.” I quote that plastic hair chatter that all the time while Rom’s squad surely gets the GoodBar boody. Somebody in sales will always keep it real with an attractive tie from a local shopkeeper.

For those of us who know that our “bullshit fantasies” must be made into reality, there is another LIBRadio interview of a man named Mwalimu K. Bomani. He also wrote some books as well. Perhaps these writings suggest something else besides shiny shoes and smiles. Don’t take my word for it. It’s you that may be planning that next hot date—not me.