Is It Possible For Single Black Women To Talk About Something Other Than Wanting A Man?
I’m no financial analyst, but I want to offer you this piece of advice: If you don’t have stock in Tinder, I’d suggest you go get some. Tinder is a social app that basically allows you to scroll through thousands — if not millions — of men on Facebook, offer up a yay or nay based on their photo, and hope that your yay will be reciprocated with a yay on his part and you two will meet up, get married, live happily ever after, and have lots and lots of babies and grandbabies, yadda yadda yadda. Despite MN having written a guide to getting your Tinder on a little while ago, I hadn’t given the dating app a second thought — mostly because I still don’t believe in online dating, though I’ll write more about that later. Nevertheless, on three separate occasions this weekend I heard black women raving, yet mostly ranting, about the app as they sat around discussing two of their favorite topics: men and being single.
It all started Friday night when I went with a co-worker and her friend for drinks. Once we finished mulling over the menu and griping about work, the conversation turned to dating with the friend asking me whether I was single. I don’t know why that question annoys me. OK, yes I do. It’s because I am single and one day I want to be able to answer that question with a “no” and for years I’ve been responding with a “yes.” But also for a person like me who only shares my innermost thoughts in articles as opposed to ladies’ gatherings, I find that question to be rather intrusive because there’s no way you’re getting off the hook with a simple “no.” The follow-ups always run along the lines of “why?” “Are you putting yourself out there?” and my least favorite question,”Have you tried online dating?” And those just aren’t discussions I’m trying to have with women I barely know.
But low and behold I found myself engaging in that same tired dialogue Friday night and the first half of Saturday at a media brunch where, as soon as I walked in the door, ladies were gathered around griping about Tinder and whether they should keep their profiles on the app or be done with those men. I resorted to my favorite tactic in these situations, which is asking the other person so many questions about their life that they have no time to ask me any. But by the time the brunch was over and I hopped on the subway with another attendee and she asked, “so what’s going on with your dating life?” I proceeded to tell her nothing and said, “I’m sorry but I cannot sit through another conversation with a bunch of black women about being single. I just can’t.”
Though she agreed with me, her reasoning was a bit different from mine. This particular attendee felt the topic of discussion was depressing because you find out dating really doesn’t get any better the older you are when so many fabulous black women in their late 30s and 40s have the same complaints as you. I actually found the topic exhausting because it seems to be the only thing black women are interested in talking about these days. In all fairness, single black women was not the focus of the brunch I attended, but that topic rarely ever is. It’s just the subject we tend to fall back on whenever two or three black women are among us. Maybe it’s out of a sense of comradery and the desire to say “girl me too” that we bring up the Where’s Waldo-type topic of finding a man, but I can’t help but also feel this topic comes up so much because of an underlying desire for women to be affirmed. I’m personally just as tired of paying Sallie Mae every month as I am being single, but I don’t walk into events talking about “girl, It’s so hard out here. I just can’t seem to make these student loan payments” because surely someone would tell me pick up a side hustle and get my ish together. And yet when we complain about the single life, in return we are met with affirmations that we are worthy and men just don’t appreciate hard-working, career-focused Alpha females like us because everyone else is telling the same story. And that’s better than wallowing in our sorrows solo, right?
I certainly get the benefit in that but in my mind it tends to do more harm than good when you hear about a bunch of women in the struggle and not a one has reached the promised land. It also reinforces what is clearly our greatest fear, which is that we’ll all be single forever. So, when I sit there and sip my Bellini in silence and suddenly find myself grilled about my dating life, that hysteria that we claim we don’t want our friends and family putting on us because we’re not married or don’t have children still gets passed on, it’s just masked as friendly conversation.
I appreciate sisters trying to build one another up and fight the good fight together in the race to get down the aisle, but it just might do us a little good to stop thinking and talking about what we claim isn’t a problem so much and in turn making it into one for not just ourselves but those around us who are trying to become comfortable in their singleness and retain some ounce of hope for the future! Now excuse me while I go update my Tinder profile. JK.