A few days ago, I caught another one of the 1,000 specials created by ABC, NBC and CNN about the lack of educated and employed Black men available for Black women, and how the Black family is on the brink of being endangered.
Frankly, I’m tired of seeing these specials, although opening up a conversation that never seemed to be going on in the first place is important – even if it’s orchestrated by a white-owned network.
Whenever I hang out with my friends after work in midtown or in Harlem, we always run into young, professional African-American women – professional Black women who were born here, as well as those who moved here from other places across the country.
Some of my friends recently graduated from top schools, but due to the economic crisis aren’t working in the most ‘attractive’ professions at the moment. They always seem to have it going well with a woman until the woman hears what they do.
‘Oh, I’m a sales associate at a retail store downtown.’
‘I currently work at Fedex.’
‘I’m currently unemployed.’
Now, I’m not sure if it’s the lack of confidence they exhibit when they mention their job (or lack thereof) or if it’s the women, but once occupation is mentioned everything seems to go downhill.
It’s almost like saying the wrong thing right before or during sex.
Sadly, it’s gotten to the point where some friends have even thought about conducting experiments and seeing how different women would react if they were lawyers, doctors, or financiers. I don’t agree with this experiment at all because lying won’t get them anywhere, because they’ll have to tell the truth sooner or later.
Now, the ladies resumes range from Stanford to Spelman. They are 2-3 years into their careers and seem so confident about life now and in the future. But, they want a man and he has to fit a certain criteria. They seem to want someone who is on the ‘same level’ as them and I understand and don’t at the same time.
Granted, working at Fedex and at a corporate law firm are two different things. But two people who went to Columbia and Harvard aren’t that much different. The only difference may be that one entered the job market at a flourishing time and the other didn’t.
So, I think despite the lack of Black men out there, Black women have some work to do even if Black men are the ones who need to catch up statistically.
Sometimes I feel like black women use the word ‘settle’ to describe a level of occupation. No one in their right mind would tell anyone to settle for a guy who has no ambition, who has no plans in life and is always complaining about his job, but not doing anything to land something better.
But what’s so bad about dating a man who works as an MTA train conductor, makes 50-70k a year and treats you well?
Look at Michelle Obama. She graduated from Princeton, went into the corporate world and gave a guy making 14k a year on the Southside of Chicago a shot – not because of his salary, but because she saw something in him and he was a nice guy. When she was making close to 5 or 6x the salary he was making for close to a decade, she could have left, but she saw a man who had a job, had ambition, and who gave her the feeling he could be a good husband and father.
Personally, I like women who are educated, a bit older, have natural hair, a huge behind, slim waist, nice legs and can cook. She could be as light as Keyshia Cole or as dark as Gabrielle Union. I don’t discriminate. But in mentioning all my likes, I’ve never dated one that has fulfilled all of them. All the women I have seriously dated I really loved despite them not having those traits. I’m sure I didn’t have everything those women were looking for either. I’m sure they saw plenty of flaws in me because we all have them.
What we all have to realize is that no one is perfect and no one is coming around that will be.
I don’t deny that the state of Black men is at an all-time low. I’m also not one of these brothers who are going to say ‘support us Black women’ because you’ve been supporting the Black family since the beginning of time. All I will say is keep your standards (for the most part), but don’t let a good man pass you by if he has a good attitude, ambition, but may not fit your overall criteria.
In the end, it’s really all about finding someone you love, and money/title has never been at the top of the list for love unless you’re a basketball wife or a contestant on Ray J or Ochocinco’s show…