"To ask the question, is to answer it."
-Obsidian Maxim #17
Last week I received an interesting link from Ms. Maggie McNeill (whose blog is in my view, required reading for anyone wishing to better understand human mating and sexuality, among other things) by an outfit calling itself Best Black Dating Sites, a kind of aggregator of all the black dating and relationships blogs and websites around the Internet/Afrosphere. I took a look around the site right quick and it has some interesting things that I should like to address in upcoming posts. Today though, I want to address its most recent post: "Where Are All The Good Single Black Men?".
I have to say, the post is very well laidout in infographic style, and in addition, BBDS makes a highly legitimate point: that YES, there is a shortage of desirable Black male mates for Black Women. This simply cannot be denied. And so, I won't. We all know the very popular refrain from many (NOT all, but many nonetheless) Black Women about how so few Black Men are available and eligible as mates due to prison, being gay, etc. BBDS speaks to all this, citing stats and data and gives the ratio of Black Men to Black Women. It's hard to argue against, so again, I won't.
But, as there always is when it comes to such matters, there is a flipside: there is also a shortage of desirable Black female mates. How so? Read on, interested reader - read on!
Let's take the BBDS' points/claims in turn, and then respond in kind, shall we?
BBDS Claim #1. I Want A Black Man: According to the US Census, the ratio of women to men in the US is about 145 million women to roughly 139 million men; in more manageable terms, for every 100 Sistas, there are about 87 Brothas.
Obsidian's Response: Yes, this is true - not only in Black America, but in America in general, indeed in much of the world overall, there will be more Women to Men - especially as both get older. And that's the trick. What BBDS, or Black Women themselves for that matter, doesn't either admit or doesn't know, is that the younger both sexes are, the more likely for them to even out ratiowise - in fact, at very young ages, say in the teens and early 20s, there are actually more Men to Women pretty much anywhere - and when we factor in the Universal Objective Beauty Standards Scale 0-10, that number of available Women gets even smaller (which in part accounts for the homicide rate and other forms of desparate behavior on the part of males, as I've covered in some detail here and here, for starters). So, if you're a highly desirable Black Man, the idea that there are more Black Women available to you comes with the very important caveat, that this will be true more owing to sheer age than anything else, even if one assumes that the Black Women available are still relatively desirable. In other words, let's say a Sista who's a respectable 7 on the scale; she may, through a combo of genes (which made her a 7 in the first place) and her own actions of keeping herself up, may still look good well into her latter 30s and beyond; but even with this being the case, a 35 year old 7, is no match for a 25 year old one. And this is hugely important - because for Men, Youth is a powerful factor in their mating decisions, especially for the kinds of Men who can choose, i.e., eligible, highly desirable, "quality" Black Men like the ones the BBDS is talking about. All things being equal, such Men will choose the younger model to the older one every time. So, the "more Sistas to Brothas" argument is one that has to be looked at a lot more closely than it has been; yes, this is true because of prision, homicide, economic/educational failure on the part of Black Men; but it's also due to the fact that there are simply more older Black Women available - which in and of itself, is a disincentive for eligible Black Men who are in a position to optimize their mating choices - and when they do, they choose younger Sistas (under 35).
BBDS Claim #2. I Want A Black Man Who Doesn't Like Other Men: 4% of men are exclusively homosexual, compared to 2% of women. Thus, there are NET, 2% fewer straight men for every straight womandue to sexual preference.
Obsidian's Response: You know, one of the biggest lies to come down the pike, and it really is a damn shame that it has, has been this "Black Men on the Downlow" lie - and that's exactly what it is, a LIE. Ivory Tolson, out of Howard University has addressed this canard beautifully, but the lie has powerful cultural force and cache amongst many Sistas, mainly as a way to assuage their own failures to properly calibrate their own SMV (sexual mate value) and either improve themselves along the metrics that Men desire in Women (NO, your having umpteen degrees, doesn't count; NO, having your own McMansion, doesn't count; NO, your having a corner office or your own business, doesn't count - and will never count, no matter how loud you shout to the top of your voice, or how many Oprah shows talk about it) and/or, lower their expectations to much more realistic and achieveable levels as to what they can actually get out on the open dating/mating market. Even taking what the BBDS points out above as gospel, the numbers of Black Men being gay are so small as to be statistically insignificant. The problem ain't Black Men being gay, or "playing for both teams"; the problem is there is an entire cottage industry that has sprung up around Black Women as a group that enables their self-defeating and counterproductive behaviors and feeds them, oftentimes literally (more on this below) a toxic mix of PC fictions and downright outright lies as to why they're failures in love. Scapegoating Black Men who are gay, is the lowest of the low. But the truth of the matter is, if you want the highly desirable Black Men, you have to compete against other Black Women to stand out - in ways that matter to said highly desirable Black Men. And the simple truth of the matter is, that many of these Sistas, simply can't cut it. And instead of being told that, so they can set their sights on what IS actually achieveable, they are instead fed all these PC fictions and outright lies to assuage their butthurt egos. It really is sad to witness - and worse, people - BLACK PEOPLE - have actually made real money off of this stuff. Whew!
BBDS Claim #3. I Want A Black Man Who Is Interested In Me, A Black Woman: 70% of interracial relationships are comprised of Black Men dating White Women. 8.5% of Black Men are married to White Women.
Obsidian's Response: Yes, this is true on both counts - when it comes to the Swirl, for all the sound and fury on the part of the Sistahood, in the end Black Men walk the walk while Black Women talk the talk, for the most part. Still, with all that being said, the fact remains, as the BBDS itself points out, the vast majority of Black Men still get with Black Women - but since that isn't the point of this claim, let's get right to the heart of the matter here, actually two: one, if Sistas really want to know WHY so many Brothas date White or non-Black Women, they just might consider observing what said other Women do, that they are not doing; sure, one can simply dismiss this point as those Brothas just being colorstruck and nothing they (Black Women) can do will change that. OK, fair enough - but if you feel that way, why are you lamenting Brothas who never even gave you a chance in the first place? After all, you can't miss what you never had, right? And, two: quiet as its kept, the dirty little secret a lot of Sistas don't like to admit when these kinds of discussions comes up, is that more often than they're willing to admit, they never were that into those Brothas who crossed over to begin with. I mean, take someone like John McWhorter - think to yourself, when's the last time YOU saw a Sista swooning over him, and lamenting the loss of him marrying a Jewish gal? Right, I rest my case.
BBDS Claim #4: I Want A Black Man Who Has Not Been In Jail: Roughly 30% of Black Men go to jail at some point in their life in the USA. Interesting fact: in some areas, a large majority of African American Men - 55% in Chicago, for example - are felons.
Obsidian's Response: Yup, tru dat - it is a well documented fact that proportionately speaking, there are more Black Men in the joint, on parole or probation, than anyone else in America, and has been for several decades running at this point. It's such a basic fact of life that it's not even a topic of debate, universally accepted on all sides, no matter where you find yourself on the sociopolitical spectrum. Here's the thing, though: not only do people mate assortatively, but this is true for Black people, too - perhaps even moreso in many ways - so while true about the numbers of Black Men in jail, a Bougie Sista who was born and raised out in the boonies, went to private/prep/magnet schools, matriculated through private or Big State unis and the like, isn't likely to miss such Brothas from her dating pool; in fact, such Brothas don't even rate. Once again, more scapegoating at work here - if anyone has a problem along these lines, as Ralph Richard Banks has noted in his book, "Is Marriage For White People?", it's lower class Black Women, who REALLY are experiencing a Black male shortage here - or are they? After all, as anyone who spends any length of time in the hood knows and knows well, the last Brothas going begging for booty are the ones who spent time in the joint. Indeed, in many ways, it can and does, boost his desirability. Don't take my word for it - see for yourself...
BBDS Claim #5: I Want A Man Who Has A Highschool Diploma: 82.1% of Black males (age 18 or older) have at least a high school diploma or GED. Interesting fact: 25.1% of Black Men aged 25 or older have a post-highschool degree.
Obsidian's Response: Again, true - it is well documented that, among those in the Black community who dropout of highschool, Black males rank highest; it is also true that Black Men have a lower rate of college degree attainment than Black Women (but not as high as many Sistas would like to believe - more hysteria and scapegoating in order to paper over personal failure, strikes again). Having said that though, what Black Women for whom this applies have to ask themselves is this: if it's true that going to college increases your chances of finding a mate - and this has been documented even for Black Women - and you STILL find yourself NOT being mated, even though you clearly want to be - you have to ask WHY that is. I mean, if your fellow Sistas who matriculated have been able to pair off, despite all the things the BBDS is point out in this post, the question simply must be asked: WHY HAVEN'T YOU? Perhaps it ain't because it's not enough Brothas in school after all; perhaps it just might be you. Just a thought.
BBDS Claim #6: I Want A Man Who Has A Job: In the down economy, about 35% of Black men are unemployed. This number goes up substantially in heavily populated urban areas.
Obsidian's Response: Yes, true. Despite the Age of Obama, the fact remains that Black Men have really taken it on the chin in the years since the Great Recession. No doubt about it - and - it is completely understandable that a Black Woman, or any Woman for that matter, wouldn't be interested in a Man who's employment prospects weren't good. I don't think any sensible, reasonable, thoughtful person reading this would have a problem with any of that. The problem though, is as the title of BBDS' post makes clear, the focus is on quality Black Men, who by definition, would be gainfully employed - right? If so, then focusing on the Brothas out of work would be counterproductive. Methinks I smell yet more scapegoating here...look, if you're hot, the least of your worries will be attracting quality Black Men. We attract who we are, ultimately, and for all the New Agey stuff so many Black Women seem to be into these days, when it comes to actually applying some of those most basic principles to themselves when it actually matters, they suddenly balk. There's a real reason for this, of course - because for all of us, it's much, much harder to take a look at ourselves, than to blame others.
BBDS Claim #7: I Want A Man Who Makes At Least $30K/Yr: About 22% of Black Men make 30K/year.
Obsidian's Response: Now we're getting to the good part. Again, if you check in with Tolson, not only does he point out the fact that there are Black Men making a pretty nice bit of coin for themselves, but quite a few of them did so by going into business for themselves - as janitors. That's right, the janitorial business, is big business, and a Brotha can do very well for himself if he plays his cards right. On top of that, let's examine something else since we're discussing fiduciary concerns - the fact that there are quite a few Sistas who are in quite a bit of debt. You see, the flipside of the whole umpteen degrees and McMansion, is the massive school debt load and underwater mortages that qutie a few Sistas have swept under the carpet - but Brothas - especially those sharp Brothas so many Sistas claim to want - are getting hip to the game. Why should a Brotha, who, though he may not have attended university may have built a vey nice life for himself all the same, all while avoiding massive various forms of debt, now partner with a Woman who has formidable debt of varying kinds (car, house, school, credit card, et al.)? We've all heard how the net worth of Black Women is something like $5 all told, right? See, this is a question that rarely if ever, gets asked in point-blank fashion in Black relationship forums and venues - until now. If you're a Black Woman looking for a quality single Black Man, especially in these hard-hit economic times, you seriously need to ask if you're a liability or an asset to said Black Man. To be honest, just looking at the numbers, well, they don't look good.
BBDS Claim #8: I Want A Man Who Looks Good And Is In Shape: 24% of Black Men are obese. Black Men also have the worst health in America compared to other races and the opposite sex. Black Men live about 7 years less than Men from other ethnic groups.
Obsidian's Response: Once again, can't really argue with the overall point here - Black Men should indeed be much more diligent about their health. However, I call attention to the fact, since obesity is on the menu, so to speak here, that Black Women are perhaps not just the fattest Women in America, but quite possibly the fattest people in America regardless of gender. It is well documented that Black Women have significant (over)weight problems, to such an extent that there have been various attempts with varying rates of success, to (finally!) address the issue - and if such Women think they are going to even get the attention, let alone lockdown a quality, single Black Man, please tell them I've got some excellent beachfront property in the middle of the Sahara desert for dirt cheap. Name the highly desirable Brotha who has the typical obese Black Woman on his arm - I'll wait. No? That's what I thought. So while yes, Black Men could do quite a bit to improve their own health outcomes and the like, Black Women are hardly in a position to be lecturing anybody about their health, and especially their weight. Charity begins at home, ladies. Good luck with that...
BBDS Claim #9: I Want A Man Who Doesn't Already Have Kids With Another Woman: Over 1/3 of Black single Men have children with another Woman.
Obsidian's Response: You have got to be kidding me. As I've pointed out above, the last group of people to be fixing their mouth to lecture anyone about already having kids, are Black Women, and here we have to include college educated Black Women, who both have higher divorce rates than other Women, higher abotion rates than other Women, and higher out of wedlock birth rates than other Women, too. Does this diminish the point the BBDS makes above? Absolutely not - but, as I've said, there's always a flipside to things. In this case, the FACT that Black Women are the national leader in out of wedlock births, and have been for what, the better part of a century, with said rate skyrocketing over the past four decades - and no signs of slowing down, either. Why should a quality, single Black Man, after looking at those numbers, even spend more than a few seconds even considering getting with the vast majority of Black Women?
In Summation: I think the BBDS doth protest just a weebit too much - and greatly (perhaps deliberately?) misleads its largely Black female audience, by giving them half truths instead of a fully fleshed out picture of how things really do operate out there on the open dating/mating market for Black Women. The simple truth of the matter is, that yes, highly desirable mates, in this case, quality single Black Men, are in short supply. But guess what? The same thing can absolutely be said of Black Women as well, despite the larger sheer numbers, for the reasons that I've noted above. The simple truth of the matter is, that for both sexes, and no matter where you go on the planet, highly desirable mates are in short supply. Always have been. Always will be.
And because of the way Women are wired when it comes to mating concerns, there will ALWAYS be a shortage of desirable mates, as compared to Men, who let's be frank, don't have to invest as much in the procreative act. This explains why so many Black Men are good with settling for Sistas who already have kids; or who are BBWs; and so on. Because for Men, Black or otherwise, the bar toward reproduction just ain't that high. As the old saying goes, beauty is only a lightswitch away.
But for the desirable Brothas, and yes they are relatively few in number, that's part of what makes them so desirable in the first place, they're in a rare position to choose what they most desire - and nine times out of ten, it is NOT the Sista who is old (in reproductive terms), or broke, or has kids already, or has a weight problem. Right there, that eliminates huge swaths of Black Women right from the rip - which leads me to my next point:
If you're a Black Woman and you're using dating sites to find such Brothas, chances are you're going to come up seriously short and even more frustrated, bitter and even angry. Why? Well, to ask the question, is to answer it - why would ANYONE who is already desirable to begin with, even be using something like an online dating service? If you have use that, that should tell you something about yourself - that perhaps you're not so high quality yourself. No, that doesn't mean you're a bad or evil or unworthy person, but what it does mean is that YOU MUST SETTLE FOR WHAT YOU CAN REALISTICALLY CAN GET - and this is what can and will be extraordinarily tough for Black Women of a certain class and type to hear and internalize, because she's been inculcated with all these Grrl Power messages combinated with the Black versions of them for so long. Only the harsh experience of hitting The Wall can and often does wake some Sistas up, and even then it is far from certain - just go to any major relationship "meet market" gatherings or events and there you will see Sistas who are quite past their prime, which may not have ever been that great to begin with, still hoping against hope that their Black Prince will come. Granted, there is no law that says that any Black Woman has to settle for kissing Black frogs - fair enough. But at some point somebody's gotta tell the Sista Empress has on no clothes.
I'm that somebody.
Get. A. Grip.
Now adjourn your arses...