To be or not to be husband material, that is the question. As a child, I can recall hearing my mother, and aunties talk about what constitutes a good man but I must admit, I never quite understood what it meant to them, nor its connection to potential marital bliss. As an adult, I’m still not entirely sure my life experience has been able to shed any additional light on the topic.
Now of course one can assume that a man who is husband material can mean a myriad of things. He’s good-looking, gainfully employed, has all of his teeth, attends church (if that’s your thing), good to his mother, and treats women with respect. My romance narrative, however, isn’t the same as the women who’ve had an impact on my life. With that being said, I struggle with the question of how are we, as same-gender-loving men, defining the concept in a modern age without subscribing to heteronormative ideals as a blueprint for love and happiness?
When I started ruelon.com, my intention was never to focus on dating and relationships. After unwillingly accepting the reality of existing in a world with Covid-19, it has taught me and many others, to never say never. Quarantining while gay has forced me to pay closer attention to the social media activity of many men and one consistent theme I’ve noticed as of late, is the declaration of a few proclaiming to be hubby material.
We love the people in our lives who gave us our first introduction into what romantic life can be, but it’s time to make our own rules and define what desirability in a significant other means to us.
In the gay community, it often feels as if there are endless lists of must-haves one may feel pressured to comply with the hopes of seeking validation. Having a six-pack, being beautiful, ageless, and dallying with a full social calendar, to name a few. This is on top of the traditional values we’ve inherited from family and culture that are not always in alignment with how we live, and love. Are we now adding “must be” hubby material to be the complete and perfect package? Although most men realize these traits are steeped shallow tropes, is the coveted status of hubby material one more unrealistic item to check off on our list to live a life that mirrors that of our parents?
It’s all in jest I say, as I see several men profess their culinary mastery, home décor skills, thirst trap posts, or the adorable pictures with their children, nieces, and nephews. I’m double-tapping the pics like everyone else which all seem to be accompanied by either implying, or hashtagging #hubbymaterial to prove they’re a catch! As it relates to my tribe, they’re indeed (biased opinion) hubby material. I don’t think we would be friends if they weren’t. I take pride in witnessing their amazing lives inhabiting the qualities I’ve described above. It’s equally important, however, to present something that transcends potentially misleading attempts to garner attention and dig a bit deeper into the soul.
The things we choose to show on the surface, however, shouldn’t dictate the standards acceptable enough to warrant a life partner.
It’s an admirable feat to know one can hold down a 9-5 gig, sustain regular workouts, and burn on the stove better than most southern grandmothers. I’m in awe of anyone who can master adulting while maintaining a level of sanity in a world that demonizes their very existence. I am curious, however, if the ability to endure, create joy out of adversity, and form family ties within our community might be the qualities we should be boasting about while trying to nab that special guy. We love the people in our lives who gave us our first introduction into what romantic life can be, but it’s time to make our own rules and define what desirability in a significant other means to us.
I’ve observed so much progress since we could get married (thanks Obama). An increase in the number of social media accounts dedicated to gay men of color showcasing their love, engagements, weddings, and even birth announcements. The updates make me proud yet still, I don’t want anyone to be limited to becoming that “It” Instagram couple, or a reimagined version of the Madonna / Whore syndrome.
It’s not that deep right? I mean who doesn’t love posting the evening’s prepared dish of air-fried wings, garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus? It’s perfectly fine to flex in the mirror after the gym, to show off the fresh fade and beard shape up, or getting your adorable three-year-old niece to do the latest TikTok challenge. The things we choose to show on the surface, however, shouldn’t dictate the standards acceptable enough to warrant a life partner. Maybe our quest to stay sane and motivated in a global pandemic only permits a somewhat restricted glimpse into what makes us special until we can connect with one other in person. When that time comes, and we can lose the masks, will we focus on the unique, substance-based elements of our personality and confidently say, I AM husband material? Hopefully, the answer is yes, and it will be for our self-worth and for the right one to notice.