On Swagger



For some reason, I have always been attracted to men who have it.

They always seem to get me wrapped around their pinky finger, doing things I never thought I’d do. I never thought, for example, that I could date someone shorter than me. It was on my list of cardinal dating sins. But, much to my own surprise, I went out with this 5’5” brother a while back. And what, pray tell, was strong enough to make me overcome the limitations of his height?

Drum roll please…


I’ve come to love swagger (or rather, come to realize that I love it).

But what I’ve discovered with age is that this swagger is often confused with baseline arrogance. Alas, let not the arrogant man be unrightfully flattered, because I’m not talking about him.

Swagger, by my definition, is well-directed confidence. It is the: “I’m-confident-and-thus-I-believe-I-deserve-the-best-in-life-and,-well,-you-my-love-are-the-very-best-in-my-opinion, -and-so-I-want-YOU.” In this scenario, as the chosen woman, I stand to benefit from that confidence. It breeds a sense of singular, romantic longing for me and ME in particular, one that is not only flattering but also ensures some type of loyalty.

Or so I think.

See, the caveat to the swaggered man is that his confidence—pitched to an anomalously high degree—breeds a certain charismatic charm. And perhaps more dangerously, he understands the effect of his charisma on me and every other woman in the room.

And here is where the two types of swagger show their metal.

Arrogance-based swag is a flimsy, thinly-veiled layer of protective film over a man’s ego. It is easily shaken, leaving its victims unclear of the difference between swagger and vanity. Perhaps it is because they aren’t yet comfortable in their own right, and thus they wear their swagger like an oversized coat, struggling beneath its weight.

But see confidence-based swag is a whole other story: it is a solid layer of protection around a man’s heart. This man’s confidence, interestingly enough, breeds a peculiar strain of kindness. His confidence serves as some central pivot point, one that, because it is embedded deep in his being, allows him to shower bystanders with warm, genuine smiles, and approach the woman of his interest without the devastating, paralyzing fear of rejection. And sure, while the fear of rejection may linger there in the background as it does for any human being, for the confident man the risk is less devastating. The rejection can’t shake him, at least not in any irreversible way, because the source of his confidence isn’t externally inaccessible. It’s solid. It’s his. And only he can share it.

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  • Very Interesting Points, definitely agree with Confidence! However in regards to the young boys I work with it is defined as S.W.A.G. Stop Wasting Abilities and Gifts :)

    • J

      Hey my beautiful and intelligent sistas and brothas. We know the wonders of the internet, including online dictionaries. Swagger is not a word made up in the 21st century by rappers.

      1590, first recorded in Shakespeare (“Midsummer Night’s Dream,” III.i.79), probably a frequentative form of swag (v.). The noun is attested from 1725.

      And I hope to not see anyone jump on the bandwagon once white folks (re-)pick it up. It’s one thing to be unimpressed by clichés, but to dislike something just because it has become a BLACK cliché is a little…well, cliché.

  • “Swagger” is often about packaging, and less about content…it’s almost always superficial. No need for all the posturing.

  • It is amazing how much confidence I have, at this time, bt I try not to swagger, but many of these punks who swagger are just egotistical punks, I try not to have a big head, but I have always been told I had a high opinon of my abiilities.

    But there was a time I was not confident, simply because I let others opinions affect my confidence.

  • im not into swag, and never have been. give me a nerdy boy with a good sense of humor and awesome taste in movies/music and im good. the ones with the ‘swag’ are the ones with the trouble