When You Become “That Guy”

As I sat here and watched the “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” reunion, I couldn’t help but notice that it was like watching a car accident: it was terrible to look at, but I couldn’t look away.

As a pseudo-intellectual and somewhat cultured young African American man who favors Sunday brunches with bottomless mimosas and would never be caught dead in a chain restaurant like Chili’s, I couldn’t help but feel like I was letting my brethren in pretentiousness down – I’m supposed to be watching the Obama documentary on CNN!

I am college-educated with a full-time, salaried job and I have over 1,000 Twitter followers who re-tweet me all the time. I have a closet full of designer labels, I read Baldwin on a regular basis and I only watch the news networks because all of the reality TV shows are preventing the more substantive-yet-witty comedies like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” from thriving as they should. I also refuse to date a man without a salaried job, a car, his own place and a degree.

I don’t let people call me black, because I’m African American; I even wrote a Facebook note criticizing President Obama and the U.S. Census Bureau for leaving ‘colored’ in its list of options and tagged all my friends in it, because all of my friends understand the struggle. And speaking of President Obama, I’d prefer that we don’t vote for him just because he’s black – look at the issues, too.

At my full-time, salaried position, I am not an entry-level employee. I actually sit in the boardroom with the CEO and other executives and make decisions about the direction of the company on a daily basis. I’m paid very well and will likely be able to retire before I turn 35. In fact, I’m so important at my job that I can come and go as I please – at least, that’s what I’d have you believe from my tweets.

One of my favorite things about myself is that I know everything. Style suggestions? I have it, because no one’s style is better than mine. Relationship advice? I can go on and on (and on) for days about what you should do in your relationship, especially since I’m not in one and haven’t been for a good two years. Why am I not in a relationship? I would rather focus on my career at this point in my life – you know, the career in which I’ve already established myself as a key player in my multinational company just seconds out of college.

By now, I’m sure you’re asking who I am and looking to be more like me with every passing declaration of my greatness. I know no one’s perfect, including me, but I do my best with what I’m given. So who am I?

I’m “that guy.”

No one wants to be “that guy.” Unfortunately, our current generation of young black gay men has fallen into this belief that the rest of the world was born yesterday and that life begins and ends when they enter or leave a room. We think we’re too good for chain restaurants and have this idea that spending $200 on a date is the determining factor in continuing to date someone.  We’re also painfully annoying and perpetually single, and spend many a lonely drunken night wondering why “the ugly guys” always seem to be in relationships.

If we can simply put our pretentiousness aside, be ourselves and like what we like, maybe we’ll actually dance at the club one night.

  • Brent

    Amen my brother! I didn’t know where you were going at first but you brought it on home. I want to see us interact more versus being so divided. We come up with a million barriers that keep us from interacting because of “status” and class.

  • Pablo

    Wow, this one hit pretty close to home. I often have to fight the urge to show that I’m smarter than everyone else or am more stylish. I am genuinely nice, but at moments I have to catch myself from having my wit go to a “mean-spirited” place.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Roque Caston

    I think Neo’s my twin brother. Lol

  • http://twitter.com/drewshane Drew-Shane

    We are always so quick to prove how much we know or have. You cannot even have a conversation with someone new without them trying to one-up you, flash their “extensive” word bank or brag about stuff we should be doing like working/education. I hate meeting people when they only can talk about themselves. How about you ask me about ME?

    Let’s not even talk about social settings like the club, it’s a tweetfest or text message battle. Nobody talks!

    I’m still trying to figure out why I’m single though :P

    • Cold Fire

      Well, this is a time for innovation. I think mused should create a function in the near future for all gay men in our community. And do a mass speed dating game for fun or a no technology mixer. Where they leave their phones in their cars and such and are forced to only face each other.

      btw, I love it when that Neo Huxtable writes. He should really do it more often.

      • http://musedmagonline.com/ Neo Huxtable

        :) thank you!

  • visualg_nius

    Probably one of the main reasons I stay to myself. A lot of people have this “superstar” complex that irritates me, so I don’t place myself around it. Those who can have a like minded conversation without it becoming superficial are always great to be around.

    I feel like most that boast like that are lacking something major. So they have to resort to such actions to feel “good” or whatever it is they go through.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45002402 Jack Iesson

    Ouch. lol. What hurts the worst is that I don’t have it nearly as good as this and I still have to fight the urge to be that guy. The problem is, sometimes, we’re pretty good at it. Many times, we are intelligent and/or successful and/or fashionable. It can be easy to become “that guy” when you seem cut out perfectly for the role. Not to mention, the few images of black gay men we get to see in the media or socially are often models of “That Guy’ism.” It seems while generally, people don’t care to always be around “That Guy,” they’re more than comfortable having one on call when the need arises.

    • http://musedmagonline.com/ Neo Huxtable

      Agreed. Sometimes we are very good at it, but I think we can all agree that natural confidence is oftentimes unspoken, and the loudest are usually the most insecure. Just be you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.sneed.1 Jordan Sneed

    WOW! Powerful article! I am currently developing a SGL Men’s Workshop on this very Ideas. I was having a conversation with a gentlemen this morning about an idea very similar to this, and I concluded this, ” It is funny how we have created a bunch of carbon copies of men with tattoos, skinny jeans, white tees, Jordan’s, and Snapbacks! For those that don’t do buy into the mindset… they are considered less of a man. We really have to change our cultural mindsets. This may be a reason why we have such a huge lack of long term relationships, quality friendships, high profile executives, considered less competitive in the marketplace, and lack sustainable unity in the AA LGBT community.” I think it is a mindframe shift that must be developed. We have got to develop a new Culture in the SGL community, and we are not going to find it in the place that we find safe, “THE CLUB”. Great Article Neo!

  • notthatguy

    Too many of us (black + gay) think success is tied into material possessions, and when it’s emphasized or pretended so much it becomes a major turn off to the actual “good”, relationship oriented guys.

    I can’t tell you how many guys I X’d after seeing them drive the latest BMW and have the most stylish clothes but have an apartment with no furniture and living out their suitcase, yet talk about how they are so much better than others. No bitterness here, I have a partner. We choose hoodies over gucci and going to our 2nd home on the weekends over hanging with pretentious “that guy” moscato drinkers.
    -a doctor that chooses to take the train to work

  • Rodger

    In all that, “That Guy” never mentioned God! He never mentioned the Love of God, what God has Blessed him with, or where God is in his life! Don’t want to be “That Guy”.