When I think of a husband, I think of a character Dennis Haysbert or Danny Glover or some other deep-voiced, barred chested man would play in a family melodrama revolving around a Black family in Memphis or Cleveland. They’d have a rugged, distinguished handsomeness earned from decades of being a Black man on Earth, they’d be the voice of reason in every circumstance, they’d dress in calm, earthy tones, and their name would be “John” or “James.” I also think about an aint-shit character Michael Beach or Malik Yoba would play; a successful husband to a successful wife who’ve created a successful, upper-middle class life together that’ll soon crumble because of his aint-shit-ness.
I think about my dad. My uncles. And both my dad’s dad and my mom’s dad. I think about the White guy with the dog and the three and a half kids who used to live across the street from me. I think about Barack Obama. The pastor at my church. My coaches in college. I think about those guys in the Lexus commercials that air around Christmas time. And the guys in the Wrangler commercials during NFL games. I think of Walter Lee Younger. And both the movie and the real life versions of Malcolm X. I think of those anonymous guys with their topcoats and leather briefcases who’d be on the EBA when I used to catch the EBA to work. I think about the men in the stands when I attend my nephew’s AAU basketball games. Shit, I even think about Al Bundy and Stedman Graham
I do not, however, think about myself. Which doesn’t seem to make much sense, because I am someone’s mother f****g husband now. And not only am I a husband, I have a wife. A mother f***g wife!!! Me!