-By Jontae Grace
The Barbershop is the only place where you can discuss anything from hood news to religious views, all in the same sitting. I was getting lined up from a rather philosophical barber when he said, “You can’t tell most of these professional Black Women shit. And they wonder why they alone. You gonna have to re-raise some of these women, ’cause they got all the degrees in the world but no home training.” The eloquence of his statement, its brevity and power, so struck me that when I paid and tipped him, I felt I had bought a life lesson more so than a haircut.
We’re heading into the fall months, and beds are getting colder. Women begin wearing more (*sigh*) and trade sundresses for pinstripe pantsuits. With the state of Black Economics being what it is, it is a blessing just to see Sistas have a career to wake up to. Yet in recent decades, the surge in Black Professionals has created a unique, if not dismal dating experience in Loveland. Ambitious young people who have focused solely on their education and careers, suddenly turn their attention toward dating and mating. Men assume the ‘kid in a candy store’ arrogance, and women begin experiencing biological clock anxiety.
Many of us try to find partners who match or exceed our own educational and professional accomplishments. A sense of entitlement creeps in, and suddenly that charming manager at Wal-Mart doesn’t seem so appealing. Thats the first mistake. We establish professional cutoffs instead of effort cutoffs, indiscriminately excluding those who don’t stand up to our inflated sense of self-worth. I’ll never forget one woman’s face when I told her what my GPA was. She looked like she had just bit into a lemon. But later when I asked her if she had ever read Paulo Coelho or the Apocrypha, I smiled into a blank stare. Needless to say, that date was over before the check came. The point is, once you establish hella requirements and add to them, the eligibility pool shrinks quick and you miss qualities that cant be placed on a list. Then, you discover that you have excluded damn near everybody, and desperation sinks in.
The so-called shortage of Black Men, whether real or imagined, has thrown off the natural ebb and flow of courtship, dating and relationships. Its almost a mad scramble for a good one, whatever that is. The natural progression of Love has shortened to one good date, one night of XTC, and handcuffs. Dates seem like job interviews, personal information coming out much sooner than it should. I shouldn’t be hearing about your baby daddy’s aint-shit ass or telling you my credit score on the first date. Taking time to get to know one another sounds like a cliché, but it is a surefire way to find compatibility or spot a phony. But despite all this, Black Love survives, and enough people find success that we keep trying.
But wait! Who’s gonna be the primary account holder? Are you moving in with her, or she with you? Shit, who’s gonna cook? These questions start power struggles that have destroyed more than a few successful relationships. This is one of the biggest obstacles to Black Professional Love, yet the easiest to solve. HUMBLE yourself. Quit thinking of certain activities or roles as beneath you. Respect yourself but swallow your pride because that is the quickest route to loneliness. And for all you women who feel that you can get by with your money and your battery-operated friend, your job aint gonna rub your feet or blow your back out.
There is not one answer. There are several issues that have to be solved, but in the meantime stop watching Tyler Perry movies trying to imagine what a relationship should or shouldn’t be. Many of us wouldn’t know a real woman or man from a head of lettuce because we have let our heads get filled up with false images. Yeah, you got a degree or a good job. Get over it. Your electric blanket cant keep you as warm as I can.