I’m not one to settle. For anything. I’m well-versed in the practice of making due in the meantime, but flat out taking a short? That’s not my style. For all my big dreaming, three parts of my long-term plan have remained constant: I want a brownstone in Brooklyn and a house in D.C. I want to birth two more babies and adopt a child. And I want to marry a smart, sexy, successful-in-his-own-right man. Let me be specific — a black man.
I’ve never subscribed to this pandemonium about black women being perpetually single. I just haven’t. But it’s reared its ugly head once again thanks to an article published last week in the Wall Street Journal (yes, even the WSJ is on the bandwagon). According to its author’s epiphanic insight, sisters are single because we haven’t scooped us a white dude. Apparently they’re all geared up to get married and we’re missing out on the motherlode.
I’ve already expressed a handful of times how frustrated I am that chicks like me are the continual subject of study and analysis. Too many people have capitalized off this mania with their blogs and book deals for me not to question its validity. It feels like we’re some World’s Fair exhibit, a bunch of Hottentot Venuses being prodded and analyzed by folks who just want to come gaze upon our freakishness and then — phew — sigh in grateful relief that it isn’t them.
I hate it for another reason: this same ol’ discussion drives an even bigger wedge between black men and black women. Instead of facilitating conversation that’s healing and constructive, it makes us feel resentful and frenzied over the lack of men and drives us into some kind of by-any-means-necessary defense mode. The underlying message is “Give up on brothers. They don’t want you. They’re wasting your time.”
If I’m the lone voice still squeaking out a word of hope, I’m gonna stand up on my soapbox and do just that. I love black men. Even though I’m frustrated and befuddled right along with my sisters, I’m also not willing to give up on my dream of raising a beautiful black family, complete with a beautiful black husband. If that means I’m wasting my time, so be it. But I’d rather tread water in a ship headed to my desired destination than flounder in a lifeboat that’s purely functional.
Attraction to any individual comes on a case-by-case basis. But it flows so much easier when it comes to brothers. I love their manliness and strength. I love the way they diddy bop when they walk, the way their eyes sparkle when they smile, the way the veins and muscles ripple through their forearms, the bass that rumbles in their throats when they talk. Even if they’re not Idris Elba gorgeous, there’s a sexiness about black men that’s just irresistible. And when they get a fresh haircut? Glory.
My attraction isn’t all physical, of course. I do get a little deeper than that. They’re resourceful, intelligent, and resilient. I feel connected to them, tied together with a natural chemistry. Riding the train the other day, this crazy tourist started spritzing herself with a bottle of water, projecting her random spray onto me and the brother in the next seat. We never said a word. We exchanged about five different looks that conveyed five different thoughts and busted out laughing. I’m not so sure I could get my point across like that with anybody else.
I have friends who are open to building romance with men of other races and guess what? They’re still single, too. Still not going on dates. Still hanging out with me and my crazy tail on a Saturday night instead of cuddling up with their boo, watching a movie somewhere. What does it say when their options are open and they’re still waiting, just like those of us holding out for black men?
The fact of the matter is society as a whole struggles to know what to do with black women. Are we to be lusted after and smutted out like video hoochies in a hip-hop video? Are we to be asexualized like the mammy tammy lady in the Pine-Sol commercials? Or are we to be revered from afar for our strength because we’re involuntary martyrs for the struggle?
Look, all we want to do is find peace, fall in love, and maybe make a baby or two. I don’t begrudge any black woman for stepping beyond the boundaries of race to find her man. More power to those who have and will. It’s just not my twist. Experts may warn and studies may show that I should give up on the brothers. And even in my own experiences, I’ve had them pass me over for a white chick, but it hasn’t happened often enough to make me quit cheerleading for their team. What can I say? The heart wants what it wants.
Do black women need to be more open to marrying outside of their race?
Image via Jillian2012/Flickr
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Going for walks outside