Not Me and That: So Why Do We Get Ourselves in It?

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“You see me? Not me and that!” This is possibly one of the most familiar phrases in the Trinbagonian vernacular, so much so that we have all likely heard someone say it at some point. The phrase, to those who may not be too familiar with Trini twang, is effectively the equivalent of saying, “I will never find myself involved with that, even if you paid me.”

It is nice to think that people do have convictions that they will hold steadfast to, or can avoid the things they dislike. It’s nice because it means that they are consistent people. I like consistent people. Consistent people are people who can be trusted.

However, too often, people misrepresent themselves, and who they claim to be. Call it poor marketing technique, if you may, but there are certain things that just do not go together. Like saying one thing, and doing another.

Some people want to be seen as good and wholesome, but also want to be young, wild and free. Some will use a holy book to admonish a group for their behaviour, while that same book is irrelevant, when it comes to their own conduct. Others will stand in the corner, mumbling about how Janice like to spread everybody business, and how she so fas’ and out of place, but before the end of the rant, they’ll add, “Doh tell anybody this eh, but I hear she man horn she too!”

Why is it that we find so many people’s actions contradicting their words, and so blatantly?

Why is it that we find so many people’s actions contradicting their words, and so blatantly?

What I’m told is that people are confused about what they want, so they spout what they think is the ideal thing – the thing that makes them look classy and most attractive to the public. What they do comes from societal and peer pressure.

While I can understand this, and the need to adjust our behaviour and conduct, depending on the circle we’re in, I won’t call it confusion about what you want. Confusion, I think, needs a real opportunity cost associated with the decision. If I choose one, I literally have to give up the other. If I’m liming with some friends, and we talk like we from the bush, that doesn’t mean that I also have to give up an executive position – I can do both. But if I lime with some smokers, and take a puff, I have to give up the title of tobacco free. Kind of like how Buju’s reputation took a hit, after he was found guilty for cocaine-related charges. Thankfully, most of us don’t have such dire consequences to being inconsistent.

But there are times when people compromise their values, and still don’t get what they want. Here’s a common example.

On a Saturday night, the club is ram-packed with women in their sexiest outfits, while men hope to find themselves a nice prize. These same women insist that they do not want men to look at them for their bodies. They want them to look beyond their bikini top and tight shorts…and see their very souls. So, they flaunt their bodies.

The men, on the other hand, insist that they’re looking for ‘wife material’, someone who isn’t going to just leave them for a fella with more swag and money, who knows how to carry herself in public, and who won’t jump at the first next person who whispers into her ears, “You different, family.” To ensure that this happens, men search for the easiest-looking woman, adjust their snapback cap, ensure that their tattoo is visible, walk over to her, and whisper, gently, into her ears, “Babes, you real different.”

If you want to find a nice wholesome partner eventually, but you’re in the club taking whatever you can get, that’s not indecision about what you want – there is no decision to be made between the two. Club now, life partner later.

But if you say you are looking for a life partner now, and you are playing scratch and win in the club, this creates the incongruence of values. There are simply things that cannot go together. As a friend of mine says, you can’t say you want orange juice, but only buying apples. If yuh not into dat, why yuh getting in it?

Does this mean they lack values?

From my own experience, one of the biggest pushes toward this sort of hypocrisy is convenience, and it is also the most tragic reason. Like the people who “can’t stand a girl who smokes”, until they happen to see a nice girl who does, and want to take a ‘shinks’ with her. So, suddenly, “it’s not so bad…it doesn’t make her a bad person.” How many people do you know that are either with, or actively pursuing someone that fits their description of a good – not ideal, just good – partner?

Does this mean they lack values? What I see it as, is more of a lack of anything in particular. So these values that are touted don’t actually exist, and it’s definitely more of an arrangement of convenience.

Some people treat values like feelings of lust and infatuation. They change depending on our moods. Know anyone like this? Do they push values that they don’t really hold? Are their convictions more like emotions – changing based on their mood and situation? Does it make them look hypocritical, or just indecisive?

Here’s the thing. We’re all allowed to change our minds from time to time, and, by extension, our values may change with them. But if your values change every time you face an inconvenience, and because it looks like the easy way to get something, how much are they really worth? Think about it. Think about who you are, and who you want to be known as. Most importantly, think carefully before you say “not me and that”, and then say who you really are.

Denith McNicolls

Photographer, videographer, actor, writer, and more, Denith McNicolls currently runs his photo and video service, Denithy, and is always looking for something creative and exciting to be a part of. Talking is also one of his favourite past times, and he believes that anyone coming from a sincere and honest place has powerful thoughts and words.

2 Comments

  1. Jeanette Awai

    July 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Yeah I take issue with this statement, “On a Saturday night, the club is ram-packed with women in their sexiest outfits, while men hope to find themselves a nice prize. These same women insist that they do not want men to look at them for their bodies. They want them to look beyond their bikini top and tight shorts…and see their very souls. So, they flaunt their bodies.” Really? Women who wear a bikini top and tight shorts in a club are trying to flaunt their bodies or are they just dressing for the club? If we were to put those same women in those same clothes on the beach would their souls still be disguised? I think a woman’s soul is discernable no matter what she wears and the author is making an erroneous judgment that if a woman wears provocative clothes in a club, she’s flaunting her body. 
    I know the old Chappelle adage, “If you’re not a ho then why are you wearing a ho’s uniform?” It’s funny because it’s true, but it also perpetuates rape culture that when a woman wears clothes that expose her body, she’s somehow asking for it. As a curvaceous trini woman, it doesn’t take much for me to look provocative. I wish I could rock some white shorts and have it be easy, breezy, summer perfection like those Banana Republic ads with European stick-thin models would have me believe, but alas I can’t because I’d be arrested for indecent exposure BUT if I were to decide to rock white shorts one day does that suddenly erase the presence of everything else I have going on i.e. my winning personality and spiritual self?
    I think not. I don’t worry about the morality of people in da club including guys who you can say flaunt their bodies just as much in Ed Hardy muscle tees and skinny jeans, I’m way too concerned with my own sinner soul than casting aspersions at anyone else’s. Jesus recognized the inner faith of everyone from the leper to the prostitute – their souls were not hidden because of their status in life.  Maybe those men that are “taking whatever they can get” are attracting these “whatever” chicks because they are morally bereft themselves or maybe they’re not willing to realize all women have their flaws even the ‘good girl/wifee material’ ones and they should get over the idea of that a club girl and life partner are not mutually exclusive. 

  2. Triniwilliams

    July 19, 2012 at 12:06 am

    This article reeks of absolutism and sanctimonious judgement and I take issue with the generalizations that the author touts as truth. One or two anecdotes about club behaviour among CERTAIN people do not facts make. This piece is not just poorly written, but also problematic in the issue it seeks to discuss. I hope Mr. McNicolls puts more thought, consideration and knowledge into future articles. 

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