“[Being a playboy] becomes redundant. Ladies, if y’all think that men are out here just enjoying [sex], it’s not [like that]… it gets played out quick… [At some point] you just want that stability on a Tuesday night.” – Terrence J, actor and host
And thus was the tone of the 2019 Black Love Summit’s Dating and Vulnerability panel, a one-on-one conversation between TV host and actor Terrence J and Tommy Oliver, producer and co-creator of the hit television series Black Love, premiering its third season August 10th at 10 p.m. on OWN.
But what does it take to get to that “stability on a Tuesday night,” and what, if anything, does vulnerability have to do with it?
The conversation around men and vulnerability seems to be a new one. It seems that for generations, vulnerability in men ran counter to what a man’s real job was supposed to be: providing for and protecting the family. Black Love Summit audience member Jamal confirmed this idea, stating, “I don’t have an urge to be vulnerable in a relationship. I was taught to protect my lady, to provide for my lady, to make sure she feels secure and supported. So for me, being vulnerable is counterproductive.”
But aside from Jamal, the men in the audience were open to the conversation and the act and emotion. Harold, who recently ended a long term relationship, says that he doesn’t find it difficult to be vulnerable. “It’s easy for me to be vulnerable with the right woman.” Shawn, who traveled from New York to attend the summit says, “Being vulnerable means being able to open up and to be willing to listen to other people. Then, take what they see and what they experience from me and use it to grow to become a better person.”
And Terrence J was open to becoming a better man through vulnerability. It is something that he is working on. But he doesn’t find that being vulnerable is encouraged by women. “We never hear, ‘cry to me baby,’” he said before admitting that he doesn’t know how to be vulnerable.