An excerpt of this blog appeared yesterday on Alphanista.com. View it here: http://tinyurl.com/yg7r7lp
I used to think I was different than everyone else, a true individual with very unique experiences. Apparently, I’m just a statistic.
According to a Yale University study among women with advanced degrees, Black women are twice as likely never to have been married by age 45 than White women. Tell me something I don’t know. Most of my friends are single, educated sisters who can’t get a date…a date with anyone we like, anyway. On the other hand, well damn! My singlehood has been documented and confirmed by sociologists, which makes it some kind of fact. Grrrr!
But wait, there’s more! More than any other group studied, Black women are we’re less likely than even our men to have college-grad spouses. Think about that for a minute, and realize that it’s because Black men are more likely to marry White women, while Black women would rather find a Brotha with a GED than cross over into “something new” territory. Yep, that information is in the study too. I’m not really liking these options: someone hand me a cocktail or a pint of Haagen-Dazs!
Like every woman in America, I guess I have a fantasy about my potential mate. He’s tall, dark and handsome…to be clear, he’s taller than me, darker than me, and I find him handsome but that doesn’t mean he has to look like Blair Underwood. Actually, I did date a guy who looked like Blair Underwood, but that’s a story for another time. My Fantasy Brotha – and he is a brotha – has a background like mine, which is to say he went to college, was raised by both parents, and is really smart and kinda geeky. Hey, I dated that guy too. A few times. And when it didn’t work out I veered away from my fantasy and towards the reality of dating different kinds of men.
I’ve gone out with guys who aren’t as educated as me, who don’t have professional jobs, and it wasn’t for me. Look, I have nothing against a high-school graduate; neither of my parents went to college. And, degree or not, my Dad is one of the smartest men I know. If I could find someone like him I’d have a browser window open right now for Blue Nile, ready to propose. But the non-diploma’d men I’ve dated were intimidated by my friends from college and business school. And they were intimidated by my family, which happens to be full of college people. But my family is the loving/caring/sharing kind of family, not the snobby kind who one-ups each other at dinner. I’m gonna need to be with someone that will do the Electric Slide at the family reunion, because fun and bonding doesn’t come with a certificate on the wall. And its not like my friends walk around saying, “Let us gather and wax sentimental about the alma mater. Boola Boola!” or start sentences with “When I got my MBA…” But occasionally I’ll want my guy to come to the Yale-Harvard game and get drunk at the parking lot tailgate. And when he’s standing in the chug line-up next to me, I want him to feel comfortable with the guys tapping the keg. I really don’t think that’s a lot to ask for.
Similarly, I don’t really want to marry a White man. When I was in high school, I kind of assumed that I’d marry a White guy because I didn’t really socialize with Black guys. This wasn’t intentional, but rather a by-product of bussing and gifted programs where I was the only Black student in my class for years. When there were other Blacks, they were female. Right now, I won’t go into what I think is wrong with that situation, or the institutionalized racism inherent in the educational system…again, a story for another time. Suffice it to say that I had crushes on White classmates and had them over to my house, and did some serious hanging with White guys in college, but I never dated any of them. I never dated anyone at all until I graduated from college and met some Black men that didn’t think I was corny. I’m sure my dad was thrilled. And so was I, not only because I actually had dates, but because I dated dudes I really connected with. Black men feel like home to me and at the end of the day, I want to come home. Now don’t call me a racist ‘cuz I still have plenty of White friends. Yet some things about them remain strange to me. Like, where are the washcloths? Don’t y’all use them when you take a shower? When I’m staying at your house, I expect you to give me a towel and washcloth, not a towel and a bar of soap, know what I mean? My Black husband would get it, and we’d pack some extra terrycloth when we visit. Then there’s the hair thing. The mother of a Caucasian friend actually put her hand in my Afro before we were even introduced! Imagine if that came from my man’s mother? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s a bad idea to bitch-slap potential family members, even if they do dumb stuff.
So you see, I’ve explored the options and I’m gonna have to stick with my original “tall, dark & educated” plan or suck it up and be single. Actually, there could be hope with one of the nice Pakistani cab drivers that always tell me I’m beautiful. Some of them are doctors in their country. And we’d have nice brown babies. It’s something to consider, but the jury’s still out.