'Black & Single' Is Better Than 'Black & Stupid'

no engagement ring
My ringless hand (gasp!)
There are seven wonders of the world, but let the media tell it these days, there’s a new one—the mystifying singledom of so many black women. The topic has been analyzed, researched, and reported on. It’s been hashed, rehashed, and raked over the coals. It's the featured story on TV specials, the headline-maker on gobs of publications, blogs, and radio shows, and the main source of conversation at probably more than a billion girls’ nights out.


Authors and writers are making a killing from sales of books and magazines (except yours truly, the quintessential just-above-the-poverty-line scribe). And Lord knows Steve Harvey would still be just a regular ol’ comedian if he hadn’t hopped onto this overhyped bandwagon. Now in his newfound notoriety as a relationship expert, he’s whipped up not one, but two bestsellers on why so many sistas don’t have rocks on their left ring fingers and what we should be doing to speed walk our lonely tails down the aisle.

Everyone, it seems, is fascinated by the perpetual singledom of so many black women. And they come with theories and advice aplenty. But guess what?

We’re still single. Forty-two percent of us. And if I could be so bold as to make a representative statement, most of us (OK, mainly me) are sick of hearing about it. Can we just live—and go out on a date from time to time?

Boy/girl relationships in the black community are having a hard way to go. On the cover of this month’s Ebony, the question is posed, in big ol’ bold letters: “Is marriage for white people?” Last time I checked, vows could be exchanged freely between folks of any color, but I get their point and the need for a little shock value. I could go into a longwinded diatribe about my own personal opinions about why we aren’t getting hitched, but then I’d just be one in the number of people adding fuel to this already over-fanned fire.

In my circle of about 10 homegirls, I have one—count ‘em, one—friend who is getting married, and all of us think she’s shortchanging herself just to have a fiancé. He’s cheated, he’s lazy, but he also proposed, so she opted to make it work with him instead of running the risk of staying drenched in singleness like the rest of us in that 42 percent. But sweetie pie, I’ll take single over stupid any time. 

At the end of the day, when we go home to empty apartments and houses and condos to cook dinner for ourselves or maybe even the kids we’re raising on our own, we don’t want anybody to feel sorry for our circumstances. We’re finishing graduate degrees. We flock to cultural events, knock ‘em dead at our jobs, give back to our communities, and worship hard in our respective faiths. We travel the world, spend time with our families, and write our own doggone books. We live happy, healthy, normal, un-documentary-worthy lives that are both full and fulfilling albeit sometimes sexually frustrated and repressed.

But the point is, we don’t spend as much time lamenting our wedding-less love lives as the press and pop culture spend dissecting and talking about them.

Would it be nice to have enough black men to go around who recognize and appreciate our individual fabulosity? Oh, of course. But for the most part, despite the dismal numbers that have been crunched and presented as odds against our favor, I believe that those who want to get married will eventually do just that—and that doesn’t mean it’s going to take flying to the far corners of the globe or compromising on our self-worth to get ‘er done, either. If we want to be part of a dynamic duo, trust that we regularly pray about it, do a little flirting, and (Lord help us) let folks set us up on a blind date every once in a while.

But in the meantime, while we wait on God and man, can everyone just relax and stop studying us?

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