Reflections: Trey vs Ne-yo

28 06 2010

There are two very different men who have, in their own way, shaped my relationship perspective over the past six years. Despite having dated other guys during this time (and let’s be honest, having had sex with other guys during this time), these two have been there – on and off – through it all. Jake and Cosby Show. Cosby Show and Jake.

In fact, in some instances, they’ve immediately followed each other in the love-life procession of my early to mid twenties. Both were never relationships by society’s standards. I never took either home to meet my parents nor did I walk around with his and her shirts on with either of them, and I never called either my ‘boyfriend’ (although I have met and spent time with Jake’s family, but that’s neither here nor there). The point is – by most standards – both of these men should be insignificant people in my life. Except they haven’t been.

And yet, while they share certain distinctions (like the fact that I met both around the same time – Jake in the spring of 2004, Cosby in the summer), they are two completely different men. And represent completely different parts of my personality. The best way to describe their differences is through the comparison of Ne-yo and Trey Songz (artists who share the rare distinction of me owning every official CD they’ve produced, either through itunes or actual CD – so clearly I like them lol). It seems funny at first, but really, both guys are like these men – at least in my life. Jake is Ne-yo, the  good guy, clean cut, but can switch it up when he wants to. He’s the romantic who still likes to play around. Cosby is Trey, a little more rugged, but still looks damn good in a suit; he’s the guy who seems like he’s just about sex when you first see him – but  there’s something else in there that draws you to him.

The best thing about Ne-yo is not the way he sings a song, but the artistry in his writing. That’s what fascinates me about him. He can write these words “I woke up in heaven today; she kissed me, I floated away ” and these “See you don’t gotta be alone; baby I’ll be your boyfriend; be your boyfriend til the song goes off ” and one seem just as genuine as the other. He’s not known for his songs about sex, but he’s no slouch – producing such classics as Mirror and Say It… those things just tend to get overlooked by the majority of the public because of the fact that it’s not something that he flaunts. You know he’s a freak, but for some reason, you (at least I do) remember the songs like Never Knew I Needed first. For me, that’s Jake. If you’ve ever taken the time to click on the tags of this blog to your right, you would notice that the posts about Jake are littered with thoughts of love, tortured feelings, and (GASP) nights of cuddling. But he’s no slouch either. In fact, he tops both of my lists, but that’s not what I think about for the most part when his name is brought up.

I think about the back and forth, the fact that at different times we’ve liked each other unequally, the fact that my love for him came out of nowhere for me – something that I resisted for a long time, finally gave into, regretted, dealt with, learned lessons from, and finally just took as something that will probably always be (but doesn’t need to be acted upon). I learned so much from being with him. I learned that there is such a thing as getting too close to a friend, that cheating isn’t always linked to sex (and is arguably worse when it’s not), that you can’t necessarily decide who you fall for – but you can decide what you do about it, that you should listen to a man’s actions more than his words, that you can want something and someone so much that you lose pieces of yourself in the process, that you can want someone and something and not want it enough to fight for it, and finally that you are not meant to be with everyone you’ve loved.

That’s a lot to learn from one man. lol

And yet, while I was learning lessons from Jake, Cosby showed me just as many things as well. Like Cosby, Trey is largely known for his sexual adventurism. Granted, most of the better songs, even on his last CD, have nothing to do with sex – but it’s the image he presents. He performs Neighbors Know My Name on stage, grinding and pretending to finger imaginary women; so he’s clearly aware of what his audience wants from him. Cosby’s image is similar. A quick search of his name on my blog would find more posts about my infatuation with him – how he excites me – than about the serious talks we’ve had together or the times he’s nuzzled his head in my neck and held my hand, not needing to say a word. But that’s not his image, so it largely gets overlooked.

You don’t keep a jump-off/cut buddy/friend with benefits (whatever name you want to give him) for six years. And when you do, chances are he’ll teach you a lot more than what position you like best on the sofa in the bed. Things like how easy it is to pigeon hole someone until you actually get to know them, how it’s an act in futility to deny you like someone when you smile at the mention of their name, how sometimes other people can realize this before you do, and most importantly that gray isn’t always wrong in a sea of black and white.

I’ve learned a lot from Cosby, mostly about myself. When he confides in me about the things that hurt him, I learned that that draws me in – because I want him to feel better, but in focusing on him, I sometimes get lost. I learned that a man can sometimes not know when he’s hurting you, but a good man, when told that he is, will make every effort to stop what he’s doing. Cosby and I had our most honest conversation this past January when he looked me in my eyes and told me that he couldn’t be what I wanted him to be because he was cold inside from his last relationship. When I responded to him “so that means you hurt me?” I actually saw him flinch. And I saw one of the saddest expressions I’ve ever seen on a man.

I learned that good intentions and human flaws don’t always make a good mix.

I met both of these men at a time when I had just ended a bad relationship with the man who was my first. At the time, I was broken. I foolishly thought that I would “play these guys like they play us”; that I would teach them lessons. Yet, I’m the one who’s learned the most from them. Today, I can say that I’m not the same girl I was at 21 (in many ways). I’ve been down, up, down, and up again… but I’m not the same. And it’s in part because of what these men have taught me – good and bad. They’ve shaped my thoughts on men and they’ve made it harder for the next guy – not because he has to compete with them (clearly I’m not with either man for a reason) – but because they both showed me that I deserve, want, and need so much more.

Jake showed me that love is an action word. You can’t say it and not show it, because it’s lifeless when there’s no action put behind it. Cosby showed me that passion isn’t a dirty word, but it can be damaging when used in the wrong way. I’ve definitely been no one’s victim with either guy, but neither one was exactly the model for a healthy relationship. The next man’s gotta come harder and better than these two. I’ve learned way too much not to expect at least that these days.




3 responses

10 11 2010
Ways to know you’re Over him… « Choices, Voices, and Sole

[…] that word up). Heck, sometimes I may just devote an entire post to someone, like this or this or this… you get the point. But most of these people have had a pretty short shelf like (on the blog […]

27 07 2011
Unanswered Prayers and Dodged Bullets « Choices, Voices, and Sole

[…] As much as I wanted it; it wasn’t the best thing for me. I’ve certainly felt that way. #Jake #Cosby anyone? But let’s take me out of the equation for a second, because other songs have […]

18 01 2012
The New Facebook Timeline Makes Me Think of Other Things I want to Purge « Choices, Voices, and Sole

[…] divulged embarrassing moments on here (usually of the word vomit variety), waxed poetic about my bad decisions with Jake and Cosby, and lamented about break-ups and first dates and juvies and guys who think […]

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