While having a recent conversation with a guy friend about relationships, I went on my single girl tirade of how there is a lack of dateable men, at least that are of interest to me. Emphasizing to him that single doesn’t equate to desperate, I proceeded to ‘check’ some of the traits in men that I simply found un-dateable. In the midst of my self- indulging chatter, my friend interrupted me and said “you sure do have a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t date a man, but what are the reasons he shouldn’t date you. Would you date yourself?’
Immediately I responded that I would, not fully understanding his question. He proceeded to say, that women, especially the educated and independent ones, have a plethora of reasons why they wouldn’t date some men, often failing to realize many of their own shortcomings.
“Yall look good on paper,” he said, referring to the degrees and the physical attributes; “But what about all the other stuff?”
Other stuff? Still not completely understanding what he meant, I guess my expression said it all. He then proceeded to say, “Y’all need to check yourself before you try to check a man.”
Umm…excuse me. Everyone knows that women, especially black women, usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to relationships, right? So what was he referring to? I then began to think of those little nuisances about myself that even I sometimes couldn’t stand. While I’ve certainly gotten better, and can now say that if the roles were reversed I would definitely date myself, it hasn’t always been that way. And honestly it only changed when I decided that I needed to be the type of woman that I would want to date, when it came to relationships with the opposite sex.
Surprisingly when I was at my worst (as it relates to relationships), was also when I had the highest expectations in a man. I was a whiner, but I detested a man who complained. I wanted a man who was considerate, but I was suffering from the ‘princess syndrome’ and wasn’t open to a lot of compromise. I wanted a man to compliment me, but I rarely showed affection. Basically I wanted all of the traits in a man that I didn’t display myself. At the time I considered myself educated, self-sufficient, and was steadily working on myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I possibly ‘looked good on paper’ to some men, but I probably wouldn’t have dated myself when it came to many of the emotional issues I was subtly dealing with.
If physical attributes and degrees made the woman, then there would be plenty of women who were considered good catches; but while these qualities are highly admirable in our superficial society, they won’t keep a relationship healthy if they are accompanied by nagging, an unwillingness to compromise, overly-independent traits, and a surplus of insecurities.
Self-evaluation, in any capacity, is instrumental to growth; and the same is true in relationships. So before you run down your list of ‘don’t date him girl’ rules, consider your own attitude, outside of the superficial, and ask yourself the magic question: if the roles were reversed, “would you date yourself?”
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