This past Monday, I had the pleasure of attending fellow blogger El's, author of andshewonderswhy.com relationship blog,"The Ideal Black Man?" A Panel discussion about where and how to meet the ideal Black man.
Since moving to New York 2 years ago, I have been to several Dating/Singles event which opened up the dialogue of why people, Black people in particular aren't dating each other. In a city where there are the highest number of young, working, educated and single Black men and women, the two sexes simply aren't hooking up. What's the problem?
Someone want to de-cry a decades old predicted statistics that is far from accurate that states that there simply aren't enough Black men for Black women. This is a falsehood based and can be dissproven by the last U.S. Census, and yes it does not count for those in jail. In fact, if Black women were to become open to dating other minority races, in particular Hispanic men, there would be 2.5 men for every Black women in the U.S.
Now, it may seem like that's not the case because men and women tend to concentrate themselves in different areas of the United States. So where you are, yes, there may be more men than women, but overall this is not the case. I know this fact firsthand in North Carolina alone. Where I lived in southern part of N.C., there definitely seemed to be more women than men, especially educated hard-working ones. Yet, traveling in the northern part the state, towards Virginia, I found myself equal if not outnumbered by my male counterparts. It certainly makes a female feel GOOD. But I digress, the point I'm trying to make is, why compete with every women in NYC for the limited number of Black men here, when there is someone waiting for you in another part of the United States? Men do move for love. And unless you're in a carrer that is centered around the metropolitan city you live in, why restrict yourself to living there your entire life? If you truly want to be marrried and have children, you must undertsand that love cannot be on your terms alone. And in order to have a choice, we Black women do have to stretch our priorties a bit.
The panel discussion was no different than any othe event with the a different name or gal had been in the past, the only thing that didn't change was the outcome. An unequl represenatation of the sexes and arguing and debate about who's to blame for the problem versus how we can actively solve it.
Let's be clear: the issue is of great importance to not only our culture, but our society a a whole. Black, White, Hispanic and Asian (I could keep going) are NOT dating in a traditional sense and they are NOT getting married. Not only is this an economic issue (it costs single people and the government tons of money when people remain single), it is a devastating blow to our family structure and therefore, our way of life. Just as having absentee fathers in the home created a generation of fatherless children, a generation of children are growing up without proper family structures in favor of a more sefish way of life. Yes, both parents are involved (that is, with those that decide to have childeren) but they are growing up being taught through action that "me" is more important than "we". Being or deserving the best has somehow become quantitative rather qualitative and that's the HUGE issue. In dating terms that means, we all believe that we should dating the quarterback of the football team or the homecoming queen rather than finding someone that works best for us and being happy. We all feel that we could and should do better. We now feel that "happiness" is dependant upon "Who" we date, not "What" we are dating for, which is compatibility.
Now, before we can EVEN get to marriage, we have to get to meeting people first. How do we do that? Where do Black men go and hang out? Where do Black women go and hang out? How can we get these two sectors to meet? I do not have all the answers, in fact, I'd like the answers to those questions myself, lol.
But I can offer some assistance of what I do know:
A)You can meet a man in a sportsbar. Now if you're totally not into sports, do not do this. Don't try to learn stats and sound impressive about games you could care less about. Guys do not like that. It's a known fact that women aren't into sports as much as men (I'm not one of them but they do exist). But men do appreciate effort and getting into the sports spirit if you can. I've met men at sports bars and had several dates offered, you can too.
B)You can meet a man/woman at Professional Mixer. Not a singles mixer, not an after-work mixer per se, but a straight up professional mixer. There are plenty of them in the city. Check under every association there are. Greek, Medical Business, Accountants/CPA, you name it they have it and anyone can go. This is also a place where I have met Black men. If you know someone who is a professional in that area, bonus points!! That person can introduce you to their colleguages. That's your "in".
C)You can meet men at small book signing or listening events. Make sure it's not a HUGE event, but something meant for a particular genre or fan base and voila! If you smile and dance or start a small converstaion w/ someone there, you're guarunted to have a # before the night is over.
D)You can meet them online. Nowadays, people in their early twenties are of the generation who do date online. That's where my little cousins have met their boyfriends and there's no stigma to it for them. Our generation needs to get to that point. There are plenty of men and women online. Plenty. And if you don't believe love can be found online or like me, you feel like some of those eHarmony commercials are fixed, check out online love stories on any reputable dating site or Google online love stories. This stuff is real!
Now my suggestions are from a female perspective, but I do believe both men and women can benefit from it.Now on to the dating:
1) Give every girl/guy a chance. You may not like them at first or even afterwards only see friendship, but he or she may have friends and invitations to meet the person you could.
2)Network, by letting married, engaged or long-term couples you know and trust know that you are single and looking. Now, that shouldn't be the only thing you talk about every time people see you, but mention it at least once. People who aren't single love to hook single people up for various reasons.
3)Join a dating website. If you think that only ugly desperate people are online, you're wrong. One of the most physically attractive women I know met her her husband to be online. It wasn't that she didn't get attention everyday, all the time, where ever we went (do I sound bitter,lol?) from men, she simply wasn't meeting the type of guy she liked and dating jerks was becoming a waste of her time. She joined one of the premier dating websites, typed in what she wanted and what she was looking for and BAM! In 6 mos, she was engaged. If you don't want to have your picture out there, there are dating websites that allow you to withold your picture and pertinent information until you're secure to your suitors, so no excuses guys/gals! Just remember: approach and be approached.
4)Be OPEN. If you're not really ready to date due to a break-up or other intimacy issues, work on those but, and this is my advice only, do not take a break from dating. It is the worst thing you can do. Self-esteem and a plethora of other issues can develop which will hinder you from finding that special someone for you in the future. So even if it's a platonic date with a friend of the opposite sex, get out and date at least every other week. Give yourself a reason to get that haircut, new hairstyle or buy a new outfit. It doesn't matter if it's just for drinks or to check out a new play or movie. Go. Now if you're getting over a break-up, yes, stay home and grieve. But if it takes more than 90 days, it's time to get therapy and that's okay. Get it and get out there. You'll never get over it if you don't allow new things and people to come into your life. Real talk.
5) Stop waiting for that Diamond-In-The-Rough, the Captain of the football team or the Homecoming Queen to come along and deem you a worthy, hot, interesting and enviable person. Stop! You are all those things right now and it doesn't matter who's by your side to accomplish that, you must believe it and show people that yourself. Stop waiting for the girl whose nails, toes, hair and wardrobe meet your high standards, stop! Stop waiting for the guy whose body is in perfect condition, who smells good, dresses immaculate, tall and perfect hair cut, stop! These are all materialistic things that don't matter or can be changed. I'm not saying physical attractiveness doesn't count, it does! But too many people use their outsid appearance to cover up the horrible personalities they have. If they are clean and neat...and I'll say it again, if they are CLEAN and NEAT, respectful and most important intersted in YOU, then they are good enough for you. And you my dear, are NOT too good for anybody. Dating is not permanent nor is it marriage, so stop looking at it that way. View dating for what it is: a practice of courtship. The girl or guy you're not interested in can probably teach you more about how to be a proper date than the guy you really like. And guess what? When the one you want comes along, you'll know exactly how to treat him so that you go from dating to courtship to marriage.
Hopefully the next event with El will be as informative as my blog and people will be able to put these skills to use immediately and come back with wonderful results!
Do you plan to use any of the above advice? Have you already used the advice above? How did it work out?