Slowly Approaching Dating Out

20 Sep

So the past two weekends I’ve taken Ralph Richard Banks’s advice (date out) to heart and have attempted to position myself in places to meet nonblack men.  I found his book Is Marriage for White People: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone absolutely fascinating! The focus of the text was to determine “Why are middle-class black men and women so much less likely than other middle-class Americans to marry or stay married?” (p. 13).

According to Professor Banks, “Black women confront a tighter relationship market than any other group of women because there are too few black men for them to marry” (p. 29). I could have told him that one. I left the DMV in 2005 and all of my girlfriends who were single (including myself and my sister) remain single six years later – all except one and she actually imported her husband who can’t seem to keep a job from NYC. Translation – it’s rough out here. I believe there is a definite man shortage within the black community – a shortage of desirable partners. Banks attributes this shortage to three reasons:

First, black men’s incarceration constricts the market for poor and working-class black women. Second, interracial marriages depletes the pool of men or middle-class, college-educated black women. Third, the economic prospects for many men have worsened while those for women have improved (p. 29).

So instead of competing in a relationship market which clearly favors professional black men, I fully intend to at least attempt to level the playing field by entertaining romantic overtures from nonblack men. Do note that this exploration is not out of desperation, I would have done so a long time ago if the right opportunity presented itself. Now it’s time to orchestrate that opportunity. Black men have no problem dating interracially. In fact, “Black men are between two and three times as likely as black women to marry someone of a different race” (p. 33). And apparently we as black women don’t date interracially much at all. Banks writes, “Not only do black women outmarry less frequently than black men, they outmarry less than any other minority group” (p. 37). What’s up with that ladies?  Why do we our limit ourselves to black men? There’s a whole wide world out there populated with men – black, white, brown yellow etc. It’s time to explore them in all.

That being said, I hit the town with a girlfriend on more than one occasion. The first outing was to B-More’s Fell’s Point. It was nice; reminded me of Charleston, SC. Anywho, it was a bust. A couple of white guys greeted us but that was about it. And no I didn’t approach any men. I’m working on changing that part of my personality. I don’t occupy the role of the “aggressor” or “pursuer” but again I’m working on changing that. It is 2011 and it’s time I got with the times.  Most recently, I toured the up and coming H Street neighborhood in northeast DC. We ended up at Smith Commons – loved the décor. A couple of shitfaced white guys tried to holla as we sat at the bar. They were nice and fun but hammered. My drunkard told me that I was sexy as he slurred his words and that’s all I needed. Confirmation. Confirmation that a nonblack guy finds me attractive. Now I’m going to take that and run with it. Banks actually mentioned this in the book as well. Yes, he covered everything; the idea that we tend to like people who we think will like us. He writes:

 … Black women might not be attracted to white men because they don’t think that white men are attracted to them. White men, in turn, might not approach black women because they don’t think their interest would be reciprocated. Social psychologists have a name for such situations: pluralistic ignorance. Even if substantial numbers of black women and white men are open to interracial relationships, those relationships will not form as long as each side underestimates the other’s interests. I view the outcome for black women as “desire by default” – they remain with black men because they don’t see an alternative (132).

I was telling a coworker today that although I’ve attended predominantly colleges spanning about 10 years total, I have never dated a nonblack guy while there. I had one sexy Italian professor flirt with me pretty aggressively but that was about it (and I was in a relationship at the time and the professor was a douche ….) I gots nathan from my fellow classmates. So naturally why would I think I would be appealing to the opposite nonblack sex? No more. It’s time to make the following changes:

  1. Approach men of all races.
  2. Date out.

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