Tag Archives: black men

Murmurings of a Black Male

17 Nov

This week I listened to a black man profess to having difficulty meeting women in the DC area.

eye-roll

Stats include he’s 30, highly-educated, decent looking, gainfully employed, and (from what I can discern) self-sufficient. He is also the father of two boys; he had a child at 20 and then again with his now ex-wife. (If I have the story right.) He’s certainly not the tallest man in the room. I’m guessing in the 5’7 to 5’8 range, so if you’re a stickler for height he might not make the cut. (Get it? Tee hee.) But surely there are enough petit women roaming these DMV streets who won’t take issue with his height. Or nah?

So of course I counter with — all these women around here and you’re complaining….(my usual response). He has a girlfriend BTW; they’ve been dating for a year. According to Mr. Looks-Good-On-Paper, he finds difficulty meeting quality women. There may be quantity, but there is a shortage of quality he said. I’ve heard this statement before, several times from different black men. And by quality this particular guy means a woman with a good job, attractive, fit, self-sufficient, and no children (even though he has two kids in tow but I didn’t call him on that one, not yet).

I freely admit that dating is challenge for most, if not all. There are so many factors involved (e.g., timing, availability, location, attraction, happenstance, societal pressures, and the list goes on). Furthermore, these days we expect to have it all when it comes to long-term partnership. We’re not simply looking for financial security and pursuing procreation as the daters who came before us. We’re all about the total package in 2016. Is he cute? Is she smart? Does he make me laugh? What’s her credit score?  Is he physically active? Does she like sports?

So we’ve set the bar high folks (or at least most of us have). And finding “one of the ones” who meets our non-negotionables isn’t easy.

That being said, I still maintain that it’s harder for women, than for men.  In All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, author Rebecca Traister said that women tend to get the short end of the stick in romantic realm. Hells yeah. And it gets even more difficult as we women age (gracefully, no less).

I’d rather not hear men complain about quality when they, at the very least, have quantity.  There can be no quality if there is no quantity; and that’s where many 30+ women land. Where?  Oh where, is the quantity? Since returning to the DC area, most of the men I meet in my age range (who seem decent and are physically attractive) are already spoken for. It’s called assortative mating. And as women age, the number of single available males dwindles. Jon Birger examines this in Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game.

I feel  as though I’ve discussed this ad nauseam on WABGTD (see past posts) as well as in my personal life with family, friends, and coworkers.  I’m kinda tired of talking about it. And I’m certainly tired of hearing men complain, especially a man who already has someone.

shut up.gif

 

Colorism & Black Male Pain

19 Feb
Courtesy of ellisgbrimstone.com

Courtesy of ellisgbrimstone.com

Tonight I attended an NYU-DC sponsored event, Color without Complex, a conversation between writer Michaela angela Davis and Dr. Yaba Blay author of (1)ne Drop Rule:  Shifting the Lens on Race.  The two women discussed definitions of blackness, the affects of colorism, and identity empowerment irrespective of skin tone. Colorism (discrimination based on skin color) resonates as strongly today as in days past. Just last week former America’s Next Top Model contestant Yaya Alafia mentioned that as a child she was warned not to get too dark.  The event was well attended primarily by black women, estimated age range: 20-50. There were a few men sprinkled in the crowd but it was mostly women. No surprise there. (I don’t know if my lack of astonishment was a good or a bad thing.)

During the discussion it was stated that although colorism is often depicted as a woman’s issue, it affects black men as well. I was reminded of some comments recently made by a male friend. He shared that he was taunted as a child because of his dark skin. He was called a tar baby and someone else claimed that he sweated soy sauce. Cruel-ass kids. He also mentioned that women in the area he grew up (south of the Mason-Dixon line) seemed to prefer lighter-skinned men. Black women are often at the forefront of colorism matters. Jiggaboos and Wannabees 2014 edition, for sure.

But where are the men? Are they silent? And if so, why? I’m sure it harkens back to men internalizing their emotions (generally speaking, of course).

Here’s what bell hooks had to say on male emotional isolation. It’s an excerpt from her book The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love.

When females are in emotional pain, the sexist thinking that says that emotions should and can matter to women makes it possible for most of us to at least voice our heart, to speak it to someone, whether a close friend, a therapist, or the stranger sitting next to us on a plane or bus. Patriarchal mores teach a form of emotional stoicism to men that says they are more manly if they do not feel, but if by chance they should feel and the the feelings hurt, the manly response is to stuff them down, to forget about them, to hope they go away. George Weinberg explains in Why Men Won’t Commit:  “Most men are on a quest for the ready-made perfect woman because they basically feel that problems in a relationship can’t be worked out. When the slightest thing goes wrong, it seems easier to bolt than talk.” The masculine pretense is that real men feel no pain.

The reality is that men are hurting and that the whole culture responds to them by saying, “Please don’t tell us what you feel.”

I long for a space where emotional sharing is encouraged and embraced for all. We all need the opportunity to name our pain.

And to heal.

Is bell hooks ever wrong?

4 Oct

loveI’ve been re-reading bits of bell hooks’ excellent trilogy on the issue of love (all forms of love i.e., self-love, romantic love, communal love, etc.). It includes the books All About Love: New Visions, Salvation: Black People and Love, and Communion: The Female Search for Love.

I really like this paragraph taken from Communion: The Female Search for Love in hooks’ chapter “The Search for Men Who Love.”

When women talk about what they find likable in a man, they name traits like kindness, strength of character, and integrity. As Harriet Lerner points out in Life Preservers in the section titled “Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong,” “While individual taste varies, we want a partner who is mature and intelligent, loyal and trustworthy, loving and attentive, sensitive and open, kind and nurturant, competent and responsible. I’ve yet to meet a woman who says, ‘Well to be honest, I’m hoping to find an irresponsible, distant, ill-tempered sort of guy who sulks a lot and won’t pick up after himself.’ ” Yet, she says, “Many women put more careful judgment into selecting a new toaster oven than they put into evaluating a prospective partner.” Perhaps women suspend careful judgment because deep down they know that to exercise it might mean doing without male partnership for long periods of time. Looking for a man who can love is a search that can take ages.  

I couldn’t agree more. I get so Obama-Exasperated when men contend that all women want bad boys/thugs or men with “swag” (whatever the hell that is). Just yesterday the blog verysmartbrothas featured a diatribe about some unassuming guy’s longing for an “It Girl” aka Ms. Popularity/Captain of the cheer-leading squad. I loved the first comment by A Word or Three; I couldn’t have said it better. 

Any sentient woman post-25, knows what time it is. We want all those characteristics that appear in bold and in red above. I absolutely love intelligent, demure men. Perhaps I need to put that on a bloody t-shirt for someone to actually take notice; that and “I’m down with the swirl.” But let me qualify this — I need to be physically attracted to these unassuming fellows. Let’s not forget that crucial point.     

Back to bell, I really love how she not only contextualizes what can be perceived as a woman’s lack of judgment when selecting a partner but also highlights the extreme challenge women face when being true to ourselves and our standards. We may be without romance for quite some time. Hell, it’s been almost 3 years for yours truly.  Sigh… 😦 I keep attracting married men for some reason. “The Anti-Side Piece” — that’s my third t-shirt. The trifecta is now complete.

Oh goodie —  Scandal is on. I’m due for some escapism right about now. 

Happy Friday Fam! And remember, To thine own self be true!

Ya’ heard. 🙂 

Let’s dance this one out.

Why are they all dying?

3 May

Tonight I just heard that a former classmate (Travis Schoon) died. Although we didn’t keep in touch after school he did run across my mind from time to time. And I still vividly remember how Travis and another friend carried me down the hallway of Kettering Middle by my elbows. Hilarity.

Tragically, his life was cut short due to senseless violence. 

I’m sick of this shit! Why do we keep killing each other?! What is wrong? And how do we stop it?

May your soul be at peace Travis. I never knew you had fam in the ‘ville. I do too.

Teen Charged In Deadly Stabbing – WLOS News13 – Top Stories.

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