1 “We like a little romance, too.”

Black men feel they have to have a hard exterior, either because that’s how they were raised or because that’s what they think women want. So the last thing you’ll hear your man say is, “You used to buy me flowers, Uneeka. Why don’t you romance me anymore?” Instead, we don’t say anything. Or we give weak hints like, “Oh, look, is that my toe hanging out of my sock again?” Or not-so-subtle clues like, “We finally have the entire house to ourselves, and you want to clean? Do I have to look like a sink to get you to sponge me down?”
 So I’m speaking up for every man when I remind you that we like unsolicited affection. And by the way, letting your man “hold” 50 bucks or doing his laundry isn’t romance. (Even though I find both sexy and they should not go unappreciated.) Give us a hug and a kiss. Tell us the color we’re wearing looks nice on us. Give us a gift-and know that, just like you, we feel it’s the thought that counts. You planned it without my input. You got my cheeks hurting from making a happy face, girl. In fact, you got me feeling really mushy inside while allowing me to keep my hard chocolate shell exterior. I’m your Klondike bar, Boo!
 If you feel like you already do way too much for your man and think he should be the one stepping up his romance game, still step it up on your end. Live the kind of relationship you want with your man. If he does not appreciate your efforts or ever think to be simply thoughtful, let him know about his selfish butt-in a nice way-and hint at getting your romance needs filled one way or the other.

2 “Sex is a very big deal…. So why aren’t we having any?”

Men hate it when you stop doing the things you used to do in the bedroom (or in the car or on top of the washing machine). We wonder, Where that girl at? I haven’t seen her in forever. And why isn’t she giving me more info other than, “I’m just not feeling sexual?” A man will see that as rejection. And it doesn’t take him long to accuse you of cheating. (All we know is we ain’t did it in a while, and you’re acting moody.)
Think of it this way: Imagine you have a favorite store you love to shop at several times a week, but all of the sudden you show up at the door one day, credit card in hand, and it’s locked. There is no sign posted on the door about when it plans to reopen. There’s no explanation as to why the doors are locked. First you would be upset. Then you would think about window-shopping elsewhere. But you’d really just want to know why the store shut down and what you could do to get it open again.
Remember, I’m telling you the things your man won’t say. So even if you have a man who hasn’t mentioned that the bedroom has gone cold, don’t think he hasn’t noticed. You better believe he is thinking about it. And if he’s not, you might want to wonder why he’s not bringing it up.

 3 “Silence doesn’t mean that I’m bored with you.”

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This is for the woman who thinks her man’s quiet nature is a sign the relationship is in trouble. Silence to a Black man does not mean we have run out of things to talk about or we’re unhappy with you. It actually means we’re so comfortable around you that we don’t feel the need to say anything at all.
On quiet Sunday afternoons, some men don’t like to interact with anyone outside of their home, and they don’t want to be in work mode. Some guys cut their cell phone off to avoid talking to family and friends about anything. There are those times when we just want to do nothing and say nothing. (And yes, playing Madden NFL on our Xbox counts.) I love when I am in my woman’s company relaxing and not feeling the need to show her “attention.” I’m on the couch watching a movie and she’s at the other end reading a book. On our chill days, the silence is usually broken with one of us saying, “I’m hungry.” Then we just stare at each other because we’re both too lazy to move.

 4 “You do not look good in that outfit.”

We hear Black women rip other women to shreds when it comes to how clothes look on them all the time. (“Oh, no she didn’t come out the house wearing a tube top!”) Well, men think about what women wear, too. And if you’ve gained a few pounds, don’t think it’s gone unnoticed. Men really struggle with trying to love women the right way and tend to avoid sensitive subjects like weight altogether.
 He might attempt to sidestep the dangerous question “How do I look in this outfit?” by answering, “You look good in everything.” Or he may just say that you look great-but you don’t believe him. But the worst-case scenario is speaking the truth. Let’s say he responds with, “I’m not feeling it.” That opens up a huge can of worms: “So what are you saying? I just look okay? Do I look fat?” Bottom line: If you’re unhappy with your weight and not doing anything about it, don’t expect your man not to notice.

5 “It shouldn’t matter how much money I make.”

No matter how successful a man gets, when it’s all said and done, he usually settles down with a woman he’s simply compatible with. Someone who likes the same foods and movies he does. Has the same sense of humor he has. Someone who’s compatible sexually with him. Someone who has time for him in her life. If she happens to be some big-time corporate exec, doctor, attorney or contortionist, great! He hit the jackpot. If she’s not, no big deal. Mr. Successful will try to protect his cash in case things don’t work out, but his woman having very little won’t stop him from dating or marrying her.
Women can look at this differently when they bring home the bucks. (Stay with me here.) Some say, “Bring me a schoolteacher, I’ll take him!” Others say, “No deal.” He doesn’t make enough money, or the fact that he’s home by 3:30 p.m. every day playing video games or sleeping and gets his summers off really bothers her. She’s worked hard and wants someone who works just as hard or makes just as much money as she does. But the happiest people are those who have figured out that you can gain a lot in life and love dating a waiter, personal assistant or telemarketer. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters most?
 Got a question for Finesse? Send it to askfinesse@essence.com. And check out his comedy DVD Snap Famous, available at amazon.com and in stores.