Michele Grant from Black 'n Bougie reacts to all the sudden attention focused on the single Black woman and her dating life. From relationship gurus to bloggers with an opinion, she declares "enough is enough." "Stop telling me how I think, what to do, how to look, who to date, when to exhale...I beg of you."
I get it. I really do. Bashing or even borderline bruising Black women is what hot in da streetz. By bashing I mean telling us why we ain't nothing, ain't gonna have nothing, ain't gonna have nobody to share nothing with. Sure, it gets you book deals and blog views and radio shows and talk shows and photo ops and movie deals and basically... paid. I get it. You found a hustle that works and you only have to kick a group of people that are already down to do it. Oh, you think you're being helpful offering up your "self-help" and "how-to" and "best way" opinions to us? Even those of you that are not directly authoring the yada-yada, do you really think you're helping by adding in your "tsk-tsk" or "co-sign" two cents response to the media swirl about all the problems with the sisterhood? You're not. You are adding to the already cacophonous wall of noise. I respectfully request that right after commenting on this post J... everyone just shut up
. I am talking to celebs and so-called relationship gurus, writers, columnists, bloggers, regular folks talking in the coffee shop, women and men, young and old, Black, White, and everything in between... just STOP.
- STOP re-quoting the statistics about successful educated Black women never getting married or having kids. Would you rather we stayed stupid and broke for the sake of a ring? Of course not, so how is reminding us of the statistics going to help? It's just going to make the desperate more desperate and the hopeless less hopeful. I can't see the good in that. Those of us staying optimistic become less so in the face of all the overwhelming evidence. Maybe we will (get married), maybe we won't but the continuous talk of a "crisis" in the community (because of our unmarried state) is just plain mean.
- STOP telling me how to look to catch a man. No, it's not my weight. I've been everything from a size 8 to a 22 and back again and had a man at every one of those sizes. No, it's not my hair, I've been straight, kinky, wavy, weaved, pony-tailed and darn near bald... had a man at every step of the way there, too. For every so-called flawless woman with a ring, I can name two so-called flawless women without one. Oh, magazines--this is for you, too. Stop telling us that this lipstick, that high-heeled boot, that pencil skirt is the thing we MUST own to snare Mr. Right.
- STOP telling me to date (or not to date) White men. All of you. Seriously. I'll date that blue dude from "Avatar" if I freakin' want to. People dating the rainbow coalition, good for you. People only attracted to a certain type, good for you. People who have given up on one type and are looking for another type to swoop in and save them, good luck with that. Either way, I'm tired of hearing about it.
- STOP looking for someone to blame. It's not that all Black women are mean or picky or high-maintenance--GTFOH with that. It's not that all Black men are trifling or thuggish or under-employed--that's bullshiggity, too. All the Black men are not in jail, all the sisters aren't expecting "too much"--those are cop out answers. I'm sure every woman who is single could sit down and point to a variety of reasons (good, bad and in-between) why they are that way today. Each story is an individual one both personal and unique to the person telling it. Let them own that story, quit painting with the broad strokes...
- STOP acting like we are either sitting around waiting to exhale or are gasping our last breath surrounded by 20 cats. Can we not be vibrant, complete individuals regardless of relationship status? And this goes for you too other sisters... stop giving us the "I'm so sad for you" look because you have a man and we don't (at the moment). This just makes us angry and less sympathetic should things not work out between you and your boo. We don't need sympathy, just a little support and a smile. Please and thank you in advance.
- STOP acting like my brains are a detriment. I shall not be dumbing it down for the cause of snaring a man. Nor will I emasculate him by pointing out all the stuff I may know that he doesn't. Not everybody can match my Scrabble game... I'm evil with it, son... evil. Don't come at me with the Trivial Pursuit either... moving on. This whole concept of acting like I'm less than I am to make a man feel like more than he is... that's crap. That means we are not a fit. Onto the next... hopefully.
- STOP judging me because I have standards. Not prejudices... standards. Sure I would date the UPS man if we found each other attractive and interesting. But the UPS man who has four kids, four baby mamas, two parole officers and a habit of blowing his paycheck on a great batch of chronic... hell no. That doesn't make me snobby or bougie, that makes me self-aware of my own code of values, tolerance and limitations.
- STOP assuming we all want Barack ambition, Denzel smile, LL Cool J body, Kanye swagger, LeBron money and Idris vibe. I mean, that's nice and all but we know expecting one dude to have all of that wrapped up in one package is ridiculosity of the highest order. Most of us would be happy with someone we can trust, laugh with, talk to and ride out a crisis with your mutual affection and admiration still intact. We'll start with that every day of the week.
- STOP telling us that you (and you alone) have the answer (the fix, the cure!). You don't or we wouldn't still be talking about it. And by the way, if your answer involves me becoming a completely different person than I am, you may keep that. Don't start with the argument that clearly what I've done up to now hasn't worked... er, uh--I know. You throwing Hallmark-style affirmations my way (packaged as a book of "get a man gospel") is useless and kinda slimy.
Check out Michele Grant's new novel "Heard It All Before" (Kensington Books). Read More:
- STOP helping. Really, stop offering up opinions and concern and editorials. Especially if your own relationship history is kinda suspect. I wouldn't take boat-steering advice from the Exxon Valdez captain or fact-checking advice from Jayson Blair... just sayin'.