A few years ago I chuckled as I read an article entitled “Black Women are for Grown ups”. I thought that the notion of black women being for “grown-ups” was a little far fetched and as much as an exaggeration as I had ever heard of one.
Over the years since I have often pondered the idea of black women being for “grown-ups” and as I have lived everyday of my life as a black woman and as I have sat around talking and discussing such ideas about relationships, education, and career with other black women I in a sense have come to agree.
Before I continue allow me to describe myself to grant you a sense of my perspective which I feel is not unique to those with similar backgrounds. I am a single women with no children, who has worked in my field for nearly ten years, I have an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. I live in a decently populated city and I live what is considered to be a normal heterosexual life filled with family, friends, and a moderate dose of adventure (outings, nightlife, travel etc.) So now that you know more about me why am I single?
At this point many may suggest looks, demeanor, attitude, etc. In search of reasons but the truth is I’m a nice looking young woman with a good head on my shoulders, I’m generous, moderately adventurous, and down to earth. Seeing how I can name about 4-5 or more women I know with similar characteristics/attributes I can’t say that the problem is me or them but rather can be attributed in part to the society we live in.
My dating history has been filled with primarily African American men, who were around or near may same age bracket but definitely not exceeding more than 5 to 8 years on either side of the spectrum. Most not all have been educated, decent looking, God-fearing men. And I can think of the same qualities exuding from the men the women in my same predicament have dated. So why are we single?
Within my contemplation I have come to realize that in many respects black women are for grown-ups. I say this because although the men I’ve encountered have seemingly had it all together (job, career, education, spiritual) there is an avenue in which they still haven’t grown up. A grown-up in general is one who is self-sufficient, self-reliant, and takes care of their business. What I have found is that not many men fit into this category and those that can are usually taken.
“Black women are for grown ups”, are the words that keep echoing in my thoughts as I sit and discuss love and relationships with a plethora of black women spanning a variety of age groups and backgrounds. It seems that commonly at some point in our lives we have all encountered some of the same things no matter the age or stage. These things include but or not limited to infidelity, lack of communication, and inconsistency on several levels including jobs/carers etc.( As a minority certain societal influences are expected, understood, and dealt with accordingly within the confines of our households and the community at large. ) But I am saying that adulthood should not be stifled due to circumstances beyond any of our control. The “baby-boy” construct is however not a new concept.
The idea stems from the lack of patriarchal influences within the childhood home and the over compensation on the behalf of the woman/matriarchal influence in a male child’s life. Therefore, stifling or postponing onset “adulthood”, because of dependency. I like many of my female counterparts have encountered far too often men (black) that fit into this category. So again I say “black women are for grown-ups”.
How, have the men you’ve dated fit into the “baby-boy” construct? I’m sure this is what you’re asking yourself about now, so I’ll explain. Although, many of the men I’ve encountered have seemed to have themselves together upon further/deeper exploration they didn’t. There have been several underlying issues such as an unwillingness to “leave and cleave”. Sometimes these men are still living at home, living with a relative, or have left but they themselves or the mother are still reliant on each other or those that have left have gone from house to house (from one woman to the next) I call this one the “homeboy”. A second instance is the “hustle man”. Although at first glance the “hustle man” is intriguing, he works hard and is ambitious. Usually this type is filled with dreams, that he needs help to accomplish. Many women have been dazzled by him! But the reality is he has so many dreams that he nor you can focus in on just one. So you both become overwhelmed. He often says things like “all I need is for someone to believe in me”, often without realizing that all he needs is to believe in himself and focus on building “it” (whatever it is). These are usually the ones women see “potential” in and fall in love with the dream, until she realizes that she has become another crutch holding her “baby-boy” up. ….There are several types of “baby boys”, but for the sake of time I’ll stop there. (More detailed accounts and descriptions can be found in my upcoming book “One Day I Woke Up”)
In summation I’ll let you decide, “Are Black Women for Grown-Ups?”