I have not been in a meaningful relationship for more than a decade now. And for the last few years I have been toying with the idea of dating out. I love my culture and my heritage and growing up I never entertained thoughts of being with men of other races or ethnicities. I have gone on dates with men of other races, and I dated a White guy for awhile. To this day, it was one of the best relationships I’ve had, but the race thing was lurking around and I was not mature enough to handle it. Add in that he was my rebound after a bad break-up, and it was a relationship that was doomed. Still he showed me how a man treats a woman that matters to him. Too often, the ones that followed him, could not meet the standard he set.
Because of this idea-- real or imagined--that there is a shortage of "good" Black men, dating has become more difficult. Add that I'm no spring chicken onto the mix, and it is a recipe for disaster. The men I meet believe I should be thankful to simply be in their presence. They have after all, chosen me among the hordes of women at their disposal, and I should worship at the temple that is Him.
Date # 1
We meet while he's driving the bus. I pull up next to the bus, and he starts flirting. I laugh. He asks for my number, and I give it to him. We talk on the phone and we agree to go out. Conversation starts on the wrong foot and goes down from there. I explain to him that I want to date a man that can make me a priority which is why I don't want to date a man with small children. If he's a good dad, he's spending time with his children and won't have enough time for me. He disagreed stating that a man is always going to be a father. I didn't argue with that. I simply said the father of a 5 year-old is different from the father of a 25 year old. He went on to explain how his grown daughter lost her job and had to move back in with him. I explained that I understood him helping his daughter. I liked to go out and travel; he didn’t. Because of his line of work he didn’t like bring around crowds of people. He said he liked an occasion movie. Other than that he liked to stay at home. He likes horror movies. I don't. Our first date was our last date.
Date # 2
Date # 2
We meet in a store. He looks young so, I laugh when he tries to talk to me. He’s in his 40s, so I decide to give him a chance. We talk on the phone. We go out to eat once. He has one child who lives out of state, but stays with him during the summer. I teach so I have summers off. We talk back and forth on the phone a few times. He wants to get together one day after he gets off work, and I'm agreeable to the idea. I don't hear from him the weekend, but the next week he calls me out of the blue and asks what my plans are for the day? I say, I'm going to movies in the park. I ask him if he wants to go. I say I have enough snacks for two, and he can join me. He says no because of the bugs and its hot outside and maybe there is a reason why I made snacks for two. I accept that he doesn't want to go and follow my original plan.
Fast forward a few days, he asks me what am I doing on a certain day I say I'm open to suggestions. He says we’ll touch bases that day. On the day, I get a call from a good friend. She’s crying. Her husband who was battling cancer has died. I call another mutual friend and we agree to go by the house that evening. Knowing that I told the guy I was going to be available, I text him and explain that my friend's husband has died. He tells me to handle my business and he'll get back to me later. I send him a text later that night when I get home. He sends me a text that I'm too busy for him.
I joined a couple of dating sites, and that didn’t work out. So, I’m taking a hiatus from the dating scene. I thought I had worked on me, but maybe I need some more work because I cannot turn off this Neon Sign on my forehead that keeps drawing the wrong kind of men to me: liars, perverts, control freaks and commitment phobes. Currently, I can’t. I have a wonderful family, great friends, a career that I love and I’m happy and healthy. The good man for me is a bonus. And I’ll wait because I’m done settling.
Given our history and the media saturated stories of the "war" between Black men and Black women and the so-called “shortage” of good Black men, I admit that my battle -weary body can't take much more. There is so much injustice in the word that I do not want to fight my comrades in this struggle for equality and acceptance. More and more I feel like we're comparing war wounds, when we’re all bleeding and hurting. I have not given up on Black men, but I will not limit myself to them. I love Black people and will continue to fight for our rightful place, but if love shows up for me wrapped in a color other than Black, I'm not turning it away.