I grew up in a family that was Black and proud. I’m not saying we sported dashikis and Afros, but we definitely always embraced our heritage and touted all things brown and beautiful. My blackness was celebrated — and so was the Black family. With that as my back story, it’s natural that the man of my dreams, you know, my Prince Charming, Mr. Perfect, “The One,” has always looked more Tyrese Gibson than Brad Pitt. I’ve dated every shade of brown, from caramel to super fudge, and relished in the diversity of our people, our men. But after 15 years of looking for Mr. Right, I’m finally, seriously considering shopping on the other end of the Baskin Robbins counter, maybe some butter pecan, or should I dare say it… vanilla. Now, I’ll spare you the “it’s hard to find a good Black man” soliloquy because in my experience it’s not true. I’ve dated a lot of great Black men who are professionals and genuinely nice people, but what is painstakingly agonizing is finding a good Black man, who you vibe with, who is focused and ready to get married. For me that has proven to be mission impossible. Before you even go there, let me say that I may be a straggler, but I am by no means a runt of the litter. I’m what most people would call a “good girl.” I go to church. I have a promising career. Most importantly, I am loyal in all of relationships, friends and romantic. Still, I am patiently waiting to be picked by a good Black man. And as I wait, I see my White, Latina and Asian girlfriends get plucked out of the singles pool quicker than lobsters in a tank in a swanky seafood shack on a bustling Saturday night. These women are not perfect and neither are their guys, but they do have something in common: They all believe in marriage and are ready to do the work once they’ve found a good team player. During a recent girls’ night out, some of my friends brought up — or should I say resumed their attack against — my desire to exclusively date Black men. Like a well-rehearsed show pony, I recited all of my reasons for wanting to hold on to my Cliff and Clair Huxtable fantasy. From powerful rebuttals such as, “My kids — especially my Black son — will need a Black man to show him how to be one” and “We need more strong Black families in our community,” to petty commentary like, “I can’t imagine kissing a White man or seeing his pink penis” and “White people smell different.” My excuses ran the gamut, raised eyebrows and induced chuckles. After a few rounds of debate, one of my girlfriends hit me with a tear-jerking truth. For a plethora of reasons, ranging from new societal norms and trauma to personal experience, a lot of Black men in their 20s and 30s just aren’t as ready to get married as men from other cultures — so I may be waiting many more years to be “wifed up” by my chocolate prince. Moreover, she told me I was cheating myself by looking for a Black man versus just a good man. The truth is simple: I want both. I yearn to be with a good man who loves me, but I prefer that my mate is a person of color. I know some of our men don’t feel the same about the latter. Despite my declaration, each year it gets harder to look at my left hand — sans a wedding ring. Today I’m balancing staying true to who I am as a Black woman, with who I am as a woman. As a woman of color, I’ve been taught it’s my duty to build our community, because strong families change our economic and social base. Still, as a woman I need to be loved, held and cherished. I have a biological clock. I yearn for someone who is able and willing to commit to me. In my daydreams that man always had a hue close to mine. In reality, I may have to look elsewhere. What are your feelings on interracial dating?