On The Insecure Finale And The Ridiculous Notion Of “Building With A Man”

November 28, 2016  |  

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I don’t know for sure what I wanted for Issa and Lawrence during last night’s finale of Insecure. I knew that despite being painted as a somewhat weak, malleable individual, Lawrence likely wouldn’t take Issa back. For one, that would be too cookie-cutter (the show is on HBO). Secondly, we know that in everyday life, men rarely forgive women for the indiscretions we’re expected to be so forgiving of. I didn’t know how Issa Rae (who wrote the finale), would go about ending or continuing the relationship between these two characters. However, I did know one thing, which I kept repeating as the episode went on: “He better not end up with that damn bank teller.”

And yet, that’s exactly what happened, and it happened in the most brutal of ways.

After Lawrence spoke with Issa, telling her that he missed her and saying that maybe they could talk when she returned from her girls’ trip to Malibu, she took that to mean that he wanted to work things out. With Molly driving her all the way back home in the wee hours of the morning (a ride in which the two women worked out their differences from the previous episode), Issa returned to her apartment with Lawrence to hopefully rekindle the relationship. While she entered it hopeful after spotting Lawrence’s keys on the kitchen counter, her happiness was quickly deflated. What Issa found was an empty bedroom, no sign of Lawrence or his belongings — except for his blue Best Buy shirt. It was left to communicate a message to Issa: The old Lawrence and the expectations she had of him were to be done away with. And where was the new Lawrence?

In the bedroom of Tasha the bank teller, just as I had foreseen. He was f–king her with all the energy he saved up from years of sitting on the couch (as Twitter user BadLilKitty brilliantly put it).

I was floored. I saw it coming, but when I literally viewed it, I was silent. The only thing that brought me back into the moment was my husband saying, “Well, it kind of makes sense that he would end up with the bank teller,” he said. “She did support his dreams when the other [Issa] wouldn’t.”

I laughed hysterically because that was the only thing I could muster up. Now she’s just “the other”? I looked my beloved in the eye and said, “See…that’s that bullsh-t!”

And that’s when it hit me. As I relayed to my husband in the moments after the finale ended, “It’s easy to ‘support’ someone and build their ego when you’ve never had to contribute anything substantial beside some words,” I said. “She’s pumping up his ego from the outside. Issa was with him for four years and watched him sit on the couch for damn near half of that time when they had bills to pay.”

I was riled up, and so was one of my best friends. She had been in a relationship that was just as long as Issa and Lawrence’s, and it ended in a similar way. After he put the least amount of effort into cultivating their relationship, my friend ended things with her long-term boyfriend. He quickly went on to meet someone new and to seemingly become the good boyfriend he could never be for her. She messaged me wanting to vent as the episode’s ending unexpectedly opened up some old wounds.

“Ni–as don’t know how to deal with hurt,” she lamented. “Instead of talking about why she may have cheated and the issues they could have worked through after four years together, he’s off in the strip club and already calling up his options. We need to stay with an option!”

But talking would have been too much work. Instead, Lawrence did what a lot of men do. He surrounded himself with friends who, when hurt, reduce women to objects, claim that we’re not made we liked used to be because their grandmothers stood by men who started whole other families, and in Lawrence’s case, lie and claim he got his life together for Issa, painting her as ungrateful.

All I could think of were the comments I’d read over the years of men, citing Barack and Michelle Obama, saying that the problem with today’s women is that we “don’t want to build with a man.” We don’t know how to support a man’s dreams. Our expectations are too high. But in reality, a lot of the time, when you give and give of yourself in a relationship and help a man build, you end up in a situation like my friend, like the Torrei Harts of the world, and the countless other former girlfriends of athletes, celebrities and everyday flunkies — left behind. This after helping to “build with a man,” a.k.a, hold his hand and stroke his ego when you’ve had to stand on your own two feet since leaving your mama’s house.

Yes, Lawrence made the all-too-familiar decision to run to the woman who, without knowing the real story, encouraged his dreams and would be unflinching in her support (as long as he is doing well). He could do that because he had a new job, a new haircut, and after talking to his boys, a new outlook on his own life.

Granted, I say all that knowing Issa did indeed cheat, which was wrong. I didn’t expect him to take her back, but his way of moving on from her proved to be more hurtful than anyone could have foreseen. In episode one, Issa told Lawrence that she may have settled in their relationship. Despite all of that, she decided to return to the relationship when she likely should have left. In the finale, Lawrence did the complete opposite. Through leaving behind his Best Buy shirt, he made it clear that he wasn’t going to settle for the man she wanted him to be, or for their relationship. On to the next.

For a comedy (and a damn good one), the finale left us with more moments of shock than laughter. It also left us not only reevaluating Issa’s friendships with her circle, and relationships, but in some cases, our own. And if anything truly needs to be reevaluated ASAP, it’s the idea that if we don’t want to put up with crap, wait for you to get your life together, or stroke your ego when bills have to be paid, we aren’t being supportive and our standards are too high. As I told my husband, “That’s that bullsh-t!”


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