Catch Him if You Can

With so many successful brothers, why are there so few to marry?

He’s single and straight, good-looking, well educated, has no kids and earns, if not megabucks, at least in the comfortable six figures. So, why isn’t he married? Women, of course, get asked this personal, in-your-business question all the time. The more a woman has going for her — good looks, good job, good heart — the more inquiring minds want to know: “Why aren’t you married, sweetheart?” Good question. But don’t ask her. Ask him, the single man who’s got it going on — that smart, successful brother who still holds most of the power when it comes to marriage. He’s the one who for the most part still does the chasing and the choosing. Why hasn’t he chosen to commit? Why isn’t he married?

We’re talking about those men considered to be the proverbial “good catches,” high achievers in their prime marrying years, who seem to be in such short supply that the media portray them not so much as endangered as invisible. The often-repeated story goes like this: While hordes of Black women have ascended to the top, graduating from college at almost twice the rate of Black men, moving ahead in the corporate world, buying homes and making their own money, the masses of Black men have become the flotsam swirling at the bottom.

Languishing in jails or early graves, strung out on drugs or chronically unemployed, they are “unsuitable” partners for an advancing breed of women who don’t have enough Black men “on their level” to marry. It is a terrible tale, told so often that a new generation of successful postintegration women now believe that remaining single may be their pitiful fate. There are just not enough “good” (read single and successful) Black men to go around. And those few bona fide good catches constitute a much-sought-after preferred class who exploit this unfair advantage — all in the name of keeping their options open.

The truth is far more complex. Just as Black women have advanced economically and professionally during the last 30 years of integration, so, too, have Black men. Never before in our history have we had so many financially successful brothers occupying every upper rung of the American workplace: from Wall Street investment bankers to corporate CEOs, wealthy entrepreneurs, distinguished newscasters, zillion-dollar entertainment moguls, savvy politicians and star athletes. Yet because we consider them to be at a premium, these men can be the most elusive, the hardest to pin down, whether for a commitment to show up on time for dinner or for the most serious commitment of all — marriage.

But just who is this financially secure, single Black man who so rarely reveals himself that he has become almost as invisible to us as he is to the media? We managed to pin down three of these elusive men, asking each that personal, in-your-business question: “Why aren’t you married?” Here they get real about women, dating and the M word.

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