Listen. I hardly ever write about the dating landscape for black women. That is not my lane. I write about being in your twenties, a decade that does not know race or gender when it comes to its wrath. So, don’t quote me or call me a relationship expert or any of that shit. I’m just stepping out of my lane for one moment to pen (or…type) this post.
There is a lot of rhetoric out there about the dating scene for black women. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Like A LOT, a lot. And instead of you pouring through all the articles I just took five minutes to hyperlink, let me give you the bottom line of this narrative: dating for black women sucks. More or less.
I’ve had the conversation about this topic with many different people of many different races as I’ve treaded the waters of early adulthood dating. I don’t consider myself a statistic or focus group fodder and therefore I like to think I’m informed about things but not forever doomed. I’ll holler back at you in a decade and let you know how that thinking turned out for me.
The argument I’ve heard from a lot of women, not just exclusively black women, when it comes to their dating options and single status is something along the lines of “I’M INDEPENDENT, I HAVE A GOOD JOB AND I’M SMART; I’M A GOOD CATCH, DAMMIT!” Yes, all caps required.
In fact, that is the argument I used to once roar when I lamented my single status. It didn’t make much sense to me why I wasn’t getting picked up or bunned up or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I thought that I had good, no, great things going for me. I knew how to take care of myself. I was a self-sufficient adult. Hello, potential suitors? Where the hell are you?
And, then I had a few very simple but significant epiphanies.
1) Being an independent and self-sufficient adult is the bar, not the ceiling.
2) We fall in love with people, not their resume bullets.
When I think of the men I’ve liked or loved in my very short lifetime, it hasn’t ever been because of them being independent and self-sufficient human beings. Those are the things I expected of them. Yes, you should have a career. Yes, you should know how to fucking take of yourself and pay your bills. If you’re not bringing that to the table, then you are not in my potential dating pool. Because standards and shit.
I’m not sure why we assume we deserve gold stars because we’ve managed to navigate our way through adulthood and keep a roof over our heads. And by we, I mean women. Well, some women. Obviously no one reading this blog. Obviously.
I know some independent, self-reliant women who are absolutely foul creatures. Their upwardly-mobile careers and master’s degrees do nothing to disguise the fire-breathing dragons they are. Because the things that are good on paper don’t necessarily give you a personality.
Before all my single ladies come to crucify me, let me clarify. I’m not saying a career and your accomplishments shouldn’t be important to you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk about those things with your potential mate. My career is one of the most important things to me right now in my life and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not ashamed to talk about it or prioritize it over other things. But, what I am saying is that you can’t use your Miss Independent card as a crutch to not have a personality. You need a personality. You need interestingness. You need color. You need layers.
Because, that is how we fall in love. We gravitate to people with stories. People we find interesting. People with wit and character. People with something to say. That’s why you’re still reading this blog 650 words in. Because I’m saying something. I’m not listing out everything I did at my 9-5 today. I’m not telling you how I paid my rent this month. Because nobody gives a flying fuck. Independence is not a flag to wave; it is an expectation.
I get it. You’re smart. You’re single. You’re successful. But, so what? Who are you on the inside? Who are you when you strip off your power suit and lie across the bed at night? Because that person matters so much more than the one on your resume.