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Five Awkward Ways Men “Show They Care”


Martin Lawrence, or some other black comedian, talked about how, when you love a woman but haven’t told her yet, you find yourself professing love in the most random ways. You start saying random stuff like, “I love your toenails, girl.” I find this funny because men and woman have communication issues under normal circumstances. If we add (un)healthy doses of emotional repression and a fear of commitment to basic communication, we’ve got a recipe for what I call ADA — awkward (and arguably half-assed) displays of affection. Here are five awkward ways men have tried to show they care:

1. “I…um…care about your fiber.”
I once dated a guy who was obsessed with my bowel movements (yes, he was a creeper, but he was also a doctor). While, thankfully, he never asked to see my poop, he’d ask me about my fiber intake, purchase Fiber One bars for me, and demonstrate (with his hands) why firm poop was important for colon health. The slogan some geriatric fiber-rich product is “because we care about your fiber.” When he heard the slogan one day, his eyes lit up. “It’s true,” he proclaimed. “I do care about your fiber!”

2. “Show me your storm t*tties”
One of the only good things about Hurricane Sandy was it afforded the opportunity for people to reach out and reconnect. During the storm, I received texts and calls from people I wouldn’t have expected to even think about me. It’s nice to be loved, but one of my best friends received a text from a guy she used to date that was awkward and a little offensive. Homie said, “just wanted to make sure you and your family were okay during this storm.” She responded that everything was fine, and smiled at the fact that he’d reached out. Her warm feelings continued for about 30 more seconds when he followed up his text with, “Why don’t you send me a pic of them storm t*tties.”

3. “I want you to set my fantasy football line up.”
I’m a football fan – specifically a Jets fan (no, Mark Sanchez is not on my non-existent fantasy team). One Sunday evening, dude looked deep into my eyes, brushed my hair out of my face, and told me he wanted me to set his fantasy lineup. He’s super serious about his fantasy football league, but I didn’t get it. I must have looked confused because he said, “That’s a big deal, babe. It shows you that I trust your football judgment that much. If we lose, we lose; no big deal.” I’m not gonna lie, I was touched, but I respectfully declined. He was not my man and he didn’t want to be. I’m not taking you to the playoffs, without a commitment, homeboy. I’m built for the pros, not the practice squad.

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4. “I want you to have the keys to my spot…”
A friend of mine was involved in one of those cyclical relationships that drag on beyond their expiration date. One night after dude popped back into her life, he presented her with a key to his apartment. “I want you to have this,” he said. “You belong here.” She felt strange about it, but after he insisted, she finally took the key. Weeks passed and she never used the key, but one night (before a job interview, no less) she realized that she’d left her make up bag at her boo’s house. She called him several times to give him a heads up that she was coming over, but he wasn’t answering his phone. She realized it was time to use her key. She hoped in her car and made the 40 minute trip to his apartment. She parked, got out and took out the key. She opened the front door and sped up the stairs to run into his apartment. She figured she’d get in and out in no time. She tries to push the key into the apartment door. That’s when she realized he’d only given her one key. She had the key to the building, but not the apartment.

5. “You’re like a chicken pot pie.”
My dude and I were lying on the couch watching…I’m not sure what we were watching, but his head was in my lap and I was caressing his scalp. He looked up at me, smiled, and said, “You remind me of a chicken pot pie.” I suppressed a laugh (I probably laughed; I’m an asshole), and I smiled back (because, well, I didn’t really know the appropriate protocol for being compared to a pot-pie). I asked him why he thought this and he said, “Because you’re delicious.” I kissed his forehead and changed the subject, but I’m still not clear on what he meant. I’m delicious? Okay, but am I meaty? Am I hearty? Do I make you fat? Am I a comforting mix of dinner and dessert? I still don’t know…

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While we can all agree that not all of these displays of “affection” are loving and beautiful, they hint at a basic truth: appropriateness is relative. We all speak different languages and have different ways of processing our emotions. What might seem awkward arbitrary or even stupid to some might be extremely important to another. While I’m not saying we should settle for emotional repression, or put up with bullsh*t, we should all be mindful enough to realize that love is an energy that might show up in some awkward and random places. Luckily for us though, actions speak louder than words.

Ladies and Gents, what are the most awkward displays of affection you’ve encountered? Have you ever been so afraid to say what’s on your heart that you made a random faux pas instead?

Patia Braithwaite is a Brooklyn-based relationship writer. Her work has been featured in The Coral Gables Gazette, Florida Inside Out Magazine, Yahoo Shine, and BounceBack.com. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book that explores the various ways men see God and how these views impact their romantic relationships. Check out her musings and more at: www.menmyselfandgod.com



  1. Dude, this cracked me up seriously I was laughing so hard!
    Yes, I have made a random faux pas. Super embarrassing. So about three months into being exclusive with my boyfriend and five months of dating I was feeling super lovey dovey and ready for the I love yous, but we hadn't said it yet… Well after we went about a week without seeing each other due to busy schedules we went on a date and when I hugged him it slipped and I covered it by stuttering.. "I love shoes…." and walking off to put mine on for us to go out.. A-w-k-w-a-r-d. He told me he was in love with me pretty soon after that coincidentally.

  2. You know what's crazy is that these are awkward ways but that doesn't make them awkward men. Sometimes men have problems translating their feelings into actions or to their significant others.

    Perfect example, if I tell a girl i'm dating, "Hey, i'm watching the Lakers game tonight, come through." That's a big step for me. I don't like watching Lakers games with nobody because I like to be in my own zone. She's probably thinking, "oh it's just a basketball game" but really it's a sign that i'm letting her into a part of my life that I don't let folks into.

    Re: #5 – I could see myself telling a woman I love her like bacon. That's simply because there aren't many times when I don't want bacon. Bacon in the morning, bacon at lunch, bacon at dinner, bacon as a snack, I loves me some bacon. If I compare a woman to some bacon (especially thick cut) then you know it's real.

    1. I hyperventilated when you started talking about bacon. Everyone in my life knows if I share a piece of bacon we go together. Especially SAMs Club Applewood Smoked thick cut bacon, baked at 425 for about 24 minutes….

    2. is "I love you like bacon" comparable to "I love you like cooked food" or "I love you like a fat kid loves cake?" ijs…….lol

    3. lol. See, that's all fine and well until said guy gets all mad and uptight when I am oblivious to the signs. I had a dude say that exact 'Laker's game' line to me. However, he was last minute with everything and I already had plans. I had to endure a 15 minute lecture about my apparent obliviousness. How am I supposed to know that 'I'm watching the Lakers game tonight, come through" translates into "I'm really into you and this is a big deal." Maannn, and you guys accuse US of expecting you to read our minds…

  3. I come from a family that were never overly affectionate the love is assumed. So naturally that’s how I am in relationships, my displays are weird and read between the lines ish

    1. If I invite you over on a football sunday

    2. You know the laptop password (never the phone tho it’s never that real)

    3. I ask you to buy me an article of clothing

    4. If I watch any reality TV show you like

    5. I let you download music on my itunes

    1. 2. You know the laptop password (never the phone tho it's never that real)

      I'm not one to snoop, but if it's THAT serious of a secret, I would be suspicious of what's on your phone.

      3. I ask you to buy me an article of clothing

      Why would you ask her to buy you an article of clothing? For a birthday/holiday present?

      I know you're being mainly facetious. Just curious.

  4. “I’m not taking you to the playoffs, without a commitment, homeboy. I’m built for the pros, not the practice squad.”


  5. Haha, this happened to me when I wanted to hold my boo's hand and instead I just stared at it. He asked "why are you looking at my hand?" I told him cause his fingers looked like sausages! That definitely didn't translate well.

  6. Let me see some storm t*tties ! Classic line.
    This was beyond funny. I think we should add a disclosure that says : u will laugh so hard during reading this post u might have to buy a set of depends before reading! Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  7. When reading # 4, I thought for sure I was going to read that after giving the key, dude had second thoughts and changed the locks or had moved and she walked in on the new occupant!!
    I stumbled upon this site a few weeks ago, and have NOT laughed so much (with actual tears) in a long time.

  8. This was definitely a great post! #3 hit it for me. You know I am in love with you if I let you set my fantasy football team for the week because I maybe to busy working or doing something else. When you get that status, you are in there.

  9. The title of this article should’ve read “Stupid Sh** Guys Say” lol – but the chicken pot pie comment was adorable ^_^


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