Editor’s Note: “Relationship experts” have been preying on single Black American women. The sudden crop of Steve Harvey-esque experts that examine relationships and singledom through the lens of deviance and lack of respectability are harmful to Black women. This response to Evan F. Moore from Kelly Brown (a Black Feminist who happens to be my mother) is reflective of the women that sacrifice so much for Black men and receive criticism in response. Moore penned a piece titled “The Things that Keep a Black Woman Single.” Moore outlines 10 points that will be highlighted in this piece. This is one Black Feminist’s response.
I have a rhetorical question. Why is it that men, including Steve Harvey, write books, blogs, columns, etc. that always give women advice on how to pursue them or act like them but think like us? These are my responses to Evan F. Moore’s list of don’ts.
1. Your friends and family are poisoning your love life.
Nothing makes a single man cringe like a woman who insists that her bff, mom, big sister take on an active role in their dating lives. Look, we want to date you. Not your FB friends list. No man wants to think about dating a woman long term who can’t take a dump without soliciting advice from the nearest member of the clique. When you invite people who don’t have to live with the consequences of their judgment into your love life, you only are inviting frustration. Their standards or desires are never aligned with yours. How many times has mom or the homegirl told you to stay away from a guy who eventually turned out to be great (for someone else) or loved the alcoholic, habitual liar who still writes you from prison? Be a big girl. Make decisions on people based on your best judgment.
Men and women are products of their circles of influence. These circles include mothers, fathers, crazy aunts, two-sided pastors, society and any other figures that had an input in your upbringing. Our thoughts and actions have a direct correlation to what we’ve seen, heard and been conditioned to believe all of our lives. It’s a wonder there are any successful relationships at all when all some young women hear growing up is “men ain’t sh*t” or “all men are dogs,” and have seen their daddies mistreat their mamas. Friends and families don’t poison love lives. Patriarchal societies do.
2. Get out of your momma’s house.
Look we get it. It’s a rough economy and plenty of guys are still under mom’s roof too. But really, how is that going to work long-term? No man wants to be picking you up from your mom’s house like its prom night. If you are not financially secure enough to have your own place, you are NOT ready to date, and you’re DAMN SURE not ready to be in a relationship.
We’re all struggling. The economy is bad and progresses toward worse every day. However, we must meet our partners where they are. There’s no problem seeking a “financially secure” spouse, as long as you are bringing to the table whatever you’ve asked for.
3. Get in shape.
We know, we know….we are shallow, misogynistic heathens. But guess what, we are men. We are visual creatures. We know what we like. For most of us sans a small segment of chubby chasers, some of us don’t like the biggens. It is what it is. You can’t realistically be pushing two spins and then wonder why the cute guy on your bus stop with the ripped up arms and flat stomach just doesn’t seem to be into you.
It’s funny how a man who has a dicky-do (stomach pokes out more than his dicky-do is always looking for a super model. Sometimes it’s best to stop looking on the superficial level and begin seeking a compatible partner. Shallowness gets a man nowhere. top
4. Tone down the God stuff, really.
Hey, we know some of you ladies love Jesus, but he will be the only man in your life if we think we have to compete with him for your attention. This is a touchy subject and we know faith plays a big part of many of your lives. However, if you go to church more than you go on dates then you are narrowing your pool of available men. We know for some of you that this is a deal breaker and we respect that. We also hope you enjoy your future dates with the closeted choir director.
I have to agree. You don’t have to preach the Gospel to live it.
5. Shut up and get off the phone.
Women are social creatures. We understand your need to go on and on for hours about….nothing. However, like the rest of this list, we are telling you what a man is thinking when we see this kind of behavior. In this case, we are thinking,”Dear god, does she ever stop?” Much like our gripe with your friends, we want you to show the ability to disconnect from everyone and focus on us. The BFF will live if you don’t call her and complain about the b—h in the next cubicle over.
Why must relationship experts assume that women need to focus on men? Have these “experts” ever considered that a woman is on the phone because your ass is boring? A woman does not exist to be a man’s personal entertainment. Get a life. Take her on a walk in the park. Go to a wine tasting. Do something other than sitting on her couch waiting for her to focus on you.
6. Get out of the club…..now!
Look, you are not on campus anymore. Being in a club four or five nights per week is not a good look. No man wants a woman that he has to have the DUI lawyer on speed dial. There are many ways to meet men without dressing up like an extra from a Beyoncé video and partying like its 1999.
How do you know she’s in the club unless you were there too? It’s an assumption that women in the club aren’t marriage-material. Sometimes we like to unwind in a social environment. Clubs fits that category. A woman is not DUI material or a Prince fan if she puts on her shorts and heels to head to the club with her girls.
7. Your Facebook page is your worst enemy.
In the social media age, nothing will tell the tale about you as a woman more than your Facebook page. Here are three things that are an immediate deal breaker with the fellas. First, if you have 300 pictures on your profile, and 299 of them are of you, you are basically telling Mr. Right that YOU are the most important thing in your world; I mean damn, you don’t have a dog or something? Second, put some clothes on. That’s exactly what we as men want, a mate where all my bro’s have seen your asscrack. Third, control your emotions. Nothing says potential stalker/drama queen like a woman who lashes out constantly in frustration over the men she dates.
I agree, but not because women should live to appease the male gaze. Living on Facebook is dangerous because potential employers determine the character of candidates through their social networking sites.
8. Carry yourself like someone who actually likes men.
Attitude is everything. The last thing a man wants to add to his life is a woman who is mean, combative or bitter. If you have unresolved issues, get counseling. A man is not a punching bag or a psychologist. You say “He’s not strong enough for me!” No lady, Everclear is not strong enough for you. So many ladies out there have taken the “bad b—h” attitude. Some guys may gravitate to that for a one night fling. Most avoid it for legal reasons….I’m just saying.
Some women are combative and mean because of their past mistreatments by men. Young men that see their fathers as rolling stones that have no respect for their mothers and refuse to meet their child support obligations may develop issues with women. So, how could he assume a woman that’s had similar hurts should be walking around skinning and grinning like she lives in the Garden of Eden? Plus, feminism is sexy. Get hip.
9. Know your role.
One of the primary reasons the fellas will put your ass on waivers is because the woman cannot or will not play her position. I don’t mean be submissive or look the other way if he’s being shady. I mean be a friend if he wants a friend, be a great lover if that’s what it is, be a girlfriend if both of you decide that’s the right thing to do. Nothing will get you put into the “f–k buddy” file faster than demanding or taking privileges designed for someone you are not. If you are not his girlfriend, why are you checking his phone or asking where he was last night? You can’t force a man into anything he doesn’t want to do. Earn his trust and admiration before you earn his ire.
How can a woman know her role when she’s lied to from the beginning? If a woman doesn’t know she’s a side-chick, how can she “play the position?” Create a mutual playbook before forcing a woman into a position she never agreed to play.
10. Temper your expectations.
Let’s be very honest. Lots of men out here aint s–t. We know that. However, just like your flawed ass, men have imperfections that can change over time; maybe they won’t .But for you to demand that Mr. Right should be running a Fortune 500 company, benching 300 pounds, while making your mother giggle from jokes is just downright silly. Be realistic about what you want. Everybody has likes and dislikes, its human nature. But when you create unrealistic and in some cases, bizarre barriers to meeting men, you are only narrowing the pool of candidates. That guy that works for the streets and sanitation crew with a two-year-old son may not be the best option, but he IS an option. The guy living in the shady hood with the beater car that works at Target and goes to school at night may not be taking you to San Tropez anytime soon, but I’ll guarantee he’ll take you somewhere nice every year if you stick with him and build something together.
Relationship expectations are set from the beginning when both parties are honest about their wants and needs. Stop playing games. Stop changing the rules to manipulate women. And most importantly, stop lying.
No man can expect a queen when he’s behaving like a court jester.