Go ahead, take some time and read it. I promise that if you're a black man you'll find yourself nodding your head, and if you're a black woman you might be ducking your head in shame. That's because that article rehashes one of the most popular conversations in the black community.
Why can't all these good black women find themselves a good black man?
The answer is simple.
(Black women) expect men to resist what society tells them about ideals when it comes to us—God, help the brother who admits a preference for skin or hair displayed on every magazine cover; or the arrogant fool who holds out for his own Clair Huxtable, not acknowledging that The Cosby Show was fiction. We’re justifiably upset when unrealistic standards are imposed on us, but many of us don’t seem to give black men any breaks in return when it comes to the superficial.
Standards, standards, standards.
Y'all know I talk about standards and values a lot on this blog. I regularly exhort all of us to find a moral compass and then let that be a guide in our lives. Those of you who are regular readers also know I tend to suggest a moral compass based on Christianity, although I respect everybody's right to choose another route.
Standards are cool. They are important. But, sometimes standards can be the reason why the only thing you have to comfort you at night is a quart of Chunky Monkey and The Rabbit. (Yeah, I went there.)
The point of the article I linked was to encourage women to relax some of their unrealistic standards if they truly want to capture a quality man. The author lets women know that while most of them may make google eyes at Barack Obama now because of how he treats Michelle, back in the day he would have just been the corny brother with the funny name, big ears and lack of rhythm.
I think that's an interesting and necessary message for black women, and the general public to receive.
Don't worry, I'm not one of those perpetually scorned brothers who is always whining about how black women love "thugs." I hate those cats. Truthfully, while I was never Rico Suave, I still managed to pull a few shorties here and there.
I know that the reason women are drawn to thugs isn't about their flashy cars or nice clothes, although those help, it's also because of a certain confidence and swagger that those cats often display. A devil-may-care attitude is a bigger aphrodisiac than any luxury automobile, trust me.
Plus, there are millions of black women who are emphatic about their dislike of anything "thuggish." These women, often the ones with degrees and jobs, want a man that can match them in the professional and cultural world. But, they also want a cat that makes them feel safe and has a little "bop" in his walk. That's understandable, at least to me.
In fact, if black women only had the the aforementioned qualities along with some basic additions like honesty, intelligence and maturity on their wishlists for potential mates, well black folks would be marrying like Mormons. Unfortunately that ain't life. In real life, young, successful and attractive black women have more items on their wishlist then rich kids at Christmas.
It just doesn't add up. If your fishing in a pond with limited fish, you better ease up on throwing back perfectly good ones because their scales don't match your outfit.
Yes, it's important to be attracted to someone, and yes they must interest you. But, as the Root article points out, if you have a long list of demands that any man must meet before he can get his foot in the door, well you're probably going to miss some perfectly good gentleman callers.
A friend of mine told me recently that when men enter a relationship they have a core list of non-negotiables, while women often just settle for whatever they get. I actually think that's true in some cases, but it doesn't explain the totality of the situation.
See, Men have a list and it looks like this: Milk, butter eggs...
Women have a list that looks like this: Butter, but not that butter with the trans fat and too much cream. Although I do need cream, so it won't be nasty. Make sure it's the yellow butter, not the white one. But, I don't want Ronald McDonald yellow, it has to look real. And it better not be too soft, but I can't stand too hard either...What else was on my list again? Oh crap, the store's closing, better grab something before I miss out...
Men have non-negotiables about marriage and serious dating. Not so much with random interactions. Women have non-negotiables about random interactions, but when it comes to marriage, well that kinda goes out the window. The lure of the dream is too great.
Men, by and large, will give any attractive woman a chance. We may not settle down with you, we definitely won't marry you, but if we think you're reasonably attractive we'll give you a shot. It may only be a shot to have sex with us, but we will give you that shot.
I've noticed that women are much less forgiving when it comes to giving men that initial shot. They will deem cats unacceptable for "dating" because of seemingly minuscule problems. They may still keep these men as friends, (Or "mind whores" as I like to call them) but rarely will the relationship progress past that.
Women and men respond so differently because they have different goals in relationships. Men initially are worried about present gratification, while women are concerned about future gratification. So, many women don't want to deal with a man who doesn't seem like marriage material immediately because they view it as a waste of time. This only changes when the pressure to get married weighs so heavily on women that they are willing scrap all of their standards just to find somebody.
In my opinion, black women are in a difficult position. If they are convinced that they want marriage, they must accept the reality that they are facing a stacked deck and they may not be able to make their decisions under optimal conditions. That means reevaluating how they consider potential mates. I'm not arguing that women should settle for anything, but maybe they need to rethink exactly what Prince Charming looks like.
Before he rides away on his white steed.