The year 2010 appears to be the year for profiling successful, single black women (SSBW). Not because we are seen as stunningly accomplished, noteworthy contributors to society, or just awesome human beings that every woman wants to be/be like. The attention and spotlight that has mainly been placed on the SSBW because it appears that no one wants to be in relationship us and America is fascinated by our lack of marriage potential. For several months, our “plight” has been the focus of numerous news media outlets (this, that, and the other), and countless authors (him, him, and him) have gotten paid by publishing their how-to-guides for us getting/keeping a “good man”. And, of course, there are countless bloggers (like this and like this) on the intrawebs adding their 2-cents to help women understand men when it comes to the dating game. With all the buzz on dating and relationship advice aimed at us, it seems without some serious assistance from the all knowing Captain(s) Save-A-ProWo (professional woman=prowo…. it rhymes with ho #gemshrug) we are hopeless, like a penny with a hole in it. *pauses for all the spectators to let out a collective “awwww” and shake their head in pity at this tragic realization*
It’s no wonder many of my SSBW sistas feel ashamed of their singleness and fear that they will become a statistic of yet another educated black woman unmarried and unhappy. Because, afterall, we are told we are the problem–we are too picky, we have too high of expectations of men, we have too many standards, we have too many wants on our “my man should have” list. And, therefore, we must be saved from ourselves and our demands if we are to ever enter a lasting long term relationship. Truth is, AngryBlackGirls with no men, there just aren’t enough “good” (on paper–educated, high earning potential) brothas to go around for all of us. Some suggested solutions I’ve heard/seen over and over, to name a few, are (1) date a man of lower educational/economic background, (2) date a man of another ethnicity/race, (3) date a man with baggage (ex-wife, kids, etc), and (4) date a trifling man and just ignore his bullsh!t because he’s, well, a man and has a penis. Let me translate and summarize: Date a man who is willing to date yo lonely, bitter, stank a$s. The end.
We SSBWs are not one size fits all, yet the advice for us is [roughly] all the same. I suspect SSBWs are told to settle for any “good man” (whatever that means to you) simply because the stats are stacked against us the larger our resumes and bank accounts grow. Obviously, the more selective a woman (or man for that matter) is the lower the probability she will find some one who meets those exact specifications. So why doesn’t she just play the numbers game and try to stack the odds in her favor by expanding her horizons? In theory I think its perfectly sound to encourage SSBWs to explore their options, since she may just meet her match in the unlikeliest of men and fall in love. But in reality, I just don’t believe SSBWs who serious about being in long-term relationships are unwilling to be open-minded or try something new. I would be bold enough to say most of us aren’t so much caught up in what a man doesn’t have or isn’t doing. Rather, we construct a set of standards and mate “should haves” based on our experiences and what we think would best complement us. Yet, even given many SSBWs willingness to date broadly and diversely, we simply don’t want to settle for a man who we just aren’t that into just because he’s into us. Yet, if this dude just so happens to fall below our general list of things we’re looking for in a mate, our lack of reciprocating his feelings for us are attributed to us being too picky or too shallow (-_O). Maybe we don’t like dude because he’s a glorified idiot, not because he’s only got an associate’s degree from UPhoenix. Maybe we can no longer bother with dude because he’s not goal-oriented, not because he’s the floor manager at Wal-Mart (shout out to Humble_One‘s comment on VSB). Maybe we aren’t attracted to dude because he’s comfortable in his obesity and drinks 6-pks all day, not because he has no sign of a 6-pk in his abdominal region. Maybe we don’t get along with dude because he’s racially insensitive and dismisses racial issues, not because he’s not black or familiar with “black culture”.
All that to say, I think SSBWs shouldn’t feel ashamed or apologetic for what we prefer in a mate. Why not go after what we desire, or at the very least what we think we desire? It doesn’t make sense to me to form our wants/standards of a good mate based on what some one else (i.e. a “relationship expert” or mama) deems as worthy and respectable. Each woman is going to have unique traits, accolades, and backgrounds, and thus what we look for in a relationship is going to reflect that. I think SSBWs should at least consider giving men who fall somewhat outside of their criteria range a chance, but I certainly wouldn’t advise any woman to settle for a man just because some one else considers him a “good catch.” There are absolutely certainly values and traits that I’m unwilling to compromise on when it comes to a mate (been there, done that, won’t do it again). And even if that means it’ll be more difficult for me to date as a result, I’m willing to take that chance.
For all the SSBW friends of mine in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, I have many more friends in happy, loving relationships/marriages with great men! Hell, I’ve been invited to more weddings than I have grad school graduation parties. Finding I will find a good man to love is not far fetched! I will find a man who meets my standards and whose standards I meet. I will eventually be a wife and a mother. Because these are the things I want for myself and I trust that my Maker will fulfill the desires of my heart. I won’t let statistics or people’s financial /publicity/ratings-driven-opinion’s of who I should date dictate what my future is going to look like. So Steve, Hill, Dateline– I got this.
To all my single ladies, learn to be content in your singleness/singledom. A man can’t and won’t make you content, that must come from within. So there’s no point in settling for any ol man just for the sake of being in a relationship. Go ahead and let America worry about our love lives (or lack thereof) and how we can increase our chances of finding a husband. Meanwhile, we’ll focus our energies elsewhere. And self is a good place to start…
**Sidenote: I didn’t want to even touch on the SSBW who are putting careers before family. That’s a subject for an entirely separate post.**