Lawrence Is Insecure's Perfect Example Of Fragile Masculinity

Photo: Justina Mintz/HBO.
There are a lot of words that you can use to describe Insecure’s Lawrence (Jay Ellis). The terms that float around on the internet, though, are usually “trash,” “fuckboy,” and “clueless.” And they’re right. Despite the fact that his relationship with Issa (Issa Rae) ended over her infidelity, it’s kind of hard to rally behind a clueless Lawrence, who continues to hurt the people around him with his poor communication and misused intentions. But most importantly, he and his blindly faithful #Lawrencehive on Twitter fail to recognize that it’s their lack of awareness about their own masculinity that make them so fucking annoying. And I have receipts.
In Sunday night’s episode, Lawrence meets two white women at a grocery store. They pay for his booze. He sleeps with them both. When one of them uses terminology like “big Black cock,” Lawrence gives pause, but is ultimately more turned on and responds with “you like that?” Why bother with racial fetishization when he’s having such a good night? He’s having sex with two women at once and feels like the man… until he can’t get it up for round two. When the duo unapologetically express their disappointment that he isn’t like the other Black guys they’ve slept with who could “cum and keep going,” his bubble is burst. When the women move on to their cocaine and party plans for the rest of the evening, leaving him alone on the bed, his ego is completely deflated. He’s not so special, after all, and it kills him.
That the women around him should only ever make him feel valuable, special, and important is a theme that has guided most of Lawrence’s actions throughout the series. In the first season, he was also disillusioned by a stripper whose job it was to make him feel special. He was so upset when she quoted her prices to take things further that he decided to text the person that he knew could fulfill his desire to feel wanted: Issa, who was trying to win him back after cheating. He would repeat this move — returning to the woman that makes him feel needed — after his encounter with the two white women.
For what it’s worth, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel desired and important. It’s not a gendered trait, but rather a condition of being human. However, Lawrence only seeks this feeling from the women around him — his best friend Chad (Neil Brown Jr.) hasn’t said a nice thing to him since the show started. And herein lies the problem. In his attempt to receive this validation, he continuously fails to examine his own shortcomings — or at the bare minimum, his mishandling of several key situations — and he often ends up fucking those women over in the process.
Let’s go back even further to happier times when Lawrence and Issa were still together. An unemployed Lawrence moved in with Issa while he worked on a business plan for an app he was developing. This was the case for years. It got old pretty quickly, for both him and Issa. But he found himself drawn to Tasha (Dominique Perry) because she insisted that it was admirable enough for him to just have a dream. This is cute, and I can’t blame Tasha for passing on some encouragement without the full scope of his predicament. But instead of getting his shit together and seeing the business plan to fruition, Lawrence just liked to hear his own version of “you’re doing amazing, sweetie” from a bank teller who didn’t have to house and feed him in the interim.
And just last week, Lawrence stood Tasha up at her own family function to hang out at a Silicon Valley party known for it’s hookups. No shade in his choice of a good time. But instead of letting Tasha know ahead of time that he couldn’t make the barbecue, or at least having the decency to stay once he showed up — for no other reason than to not embarrass and hurt her — he thought telling her that he wasn’t looking for anything serious would make it ok. As if telling the truth, no matter how ill-timed and unrelated to his inconsideration, makes him “the good guy.”
Lawrence is exhausting because Sunday after Sunday, so many women lament about having experiences with men just like him. Too often, women push their own needs aside in order to coddle someone else’s sense of self. Sure, Issa cheated once, but Lawrence still hasn't stopped being a fuckboy.

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