A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Tag Archives: Marriage

Single Black Female: Is Something Wrong With You? (#31WriteNow)

NOTE: This was a private post written in 2010. Funny…it still applies even though I’m 27. I decided to update it and share it with some of my more current thoughts (in italics).

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I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard that question or how often I’ve heard it hidden within some other backwards compliment, but I hear it often. It’s now to the point where I change subjects rather skillfully (if I’m up to the challenge) or I forget all of my Southern upbringing and charm classes and cuss someone out.

Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m a Black woman. No, there is nothing wrong with me.

I understand why people become so up in arms when I take the opportunity to describe myself. It usually goes something like this:

“Oh, I’m 23 (now 27). I have my BS and MA. I hope to go on for my PhD. I want to work in Education (the policy/administration side…not teaching). I hope to…” and so forth and so on. However, in taking the time to describe myself I face these questions later:

1. Do you have a boyfriend/Are you courting? No./No.

2. Why don’t you have a boyfriend? I don’t leave my house? I don’t know.

3. What are you going to do with all that education? Use it.

4. Don’t you know a woman’s place? Yes. It’s her address right?

(Updated Note: I’m probably single because I have a smart mouth and unintentional snark.)

Wait…whoa…what in the fudge sticks?!?!

You see, when I get around family and this topic is always brought up, I’m left feeling like an outcast. Of most of my cousins from 15-26 that identify as a “woman,” I’m one of TWO that are single/uncoupled (three years later and it still applies). That can be a self-esteem killer, and until recently, it was.

I had an interesting conversation with a Sista of mine. She posed the two questions: “What are 10 ways a man could charm you?” “What are 10 ways a man trying to charm you would annoy you?” I gave her my reasons and quite honestly, it was an eye-opener for me (I’m actually going to answer these questions for myself again). The more that I thought about it, the more I thought about how these things impact my “dating” life. I mean, it’s really hard to walk around as a young, seemingly successful, Black woman who is single AND remain confident in yourself when there are so many things out there telling you why you’re still a failure. There are “experts” who release books on why Black women can’t get, keep, and marry a (Black) man. There are nightly “specials” that devote time to harp on the connections we make with each other, our accolades, and then pose the question (usually by non-Black people) why can’t we find, keep, and marry a (successful Black) man. (Sidenote: HA! I’m watching One-On-One and would you know, this is an episode about how a successful Black woman has managed to step on a Black man’s ego and that’s why she lost him).

I say one thing to these specials and experts:

Spare me the story of the tragic Black woman that happens to be successful and goes to sleep alone at night because she can’t find a successful Black man. And here’s why.

I’m 23 (now 27). I’m (still) being told that I need to start looking for a man. I need to settle down and have some babies (okay…now I want to. Then I wasn’t ready). That’s great. It’d be nice if I weren’t alone (if only it would cut down the chatter at my family reunions) and it’d be nice if I knew of multiple successful Black men aged 22-27 (let’s move this on up to 27-33-ish or something) looking to settle down. The fact is, they aren’t. MEN MY AGE ARE NOT LOOKING TO SETTLE DOWN (hmmm…this isn’t true so much anymore cuz I’m older now). Besides the countless male friends that I have (okay, 6 so as not to sound like a floozy), I also have 5 brothers that were raised by BOTH parents to play the field and put women through the wringer before they put a ring on anything.

So yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m Black. Yes, I’m a woman.

And there is nothing wrong with me….. I still want a boo though. LOL

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Beyoncé Did It Right! Ladies Take Notes?

In the wake of Beyoncé’s big reveal of her pregnancy on last night’s VMAs, there was much talk on Twitter (amongst other social networking platforms) about the expectant singer and her husband. As a fan, I enjoyed Beyoncé’s performance and then took to Twitter to bask in it with other fans.

It didn’t last long.

Before I knew it, some tweet about what Beyoncé “did right” was being retweeted onto my TL. I saw it no less than 5 times (from 3 different “original” accounts) in the span of 3 minutes. It said simply:

“Beyoncé dated, married, then got pregnant….LADIES #takenotes.”

Do you all want to know how offended I was? Don’t worry…I’ll tell you.

There were multiple layers to why I was offended. To begin with, Beyoncé is obviously a Black woman and there was an undertone as to the fact that Black women ALONE were doing “it” wrong. It being “bearing children.” But that’s not all. Upon my RTing the very biased statement while adding my two cents: “Bey was courted, proposed/married to, then got pregnant. Men take notes!” some woman took my tweet and ran in a preachy direction with it. Her subject — what women need to start doing. Unfortunately, a quick search of “Beyoncé pregnant” showed that she wasn’t the only woman bashing single Black mothers. Finally, I was rubbed the wrong way by the seemingly “Good Black Men” who were agreeing with the Black Women Bashing.

Are you serious?

So let’s point out something obvious here: Black women are bearing children alone because most of their partners, who happen to be Black men, make the decision to leave the picture.

Barring trips to fertility specialists (which many women can’t afford), it has been proven time and again that women do NOT make children alone. We do not impregnate ourselves. So why aren’t men being chastised for not stepping up to the marriage plate? Because it’s easy to blame the woman for her decision in choosing a “mate” (or simply exercising her sexual freedom to have sex) and then making the decision to not abort the fetus upon finding out she’s expecting a child.

Why aren’t we holding our Men accountable?

People say a bit too freely, “She should have known better” or “She should have waited until she saw a solid sign of commitment from him before opening her legs.” Valid points but what if that man showed a solid sign of commitment? What if he was monogamous  and committed to their relationship? What if he talked of a future with this woman? Or what if the “Good Black Men” began to hint that there were other women who would do what she wouldn’t when she said she didn’t want to sleep with him? Many men do it. We know they do…yet and still, we blame the woman for an out-of-wedlock child.

It’s a modern-day version of the Scarlet Letter.

Too many people agreed with the Beyoncé did it right sentiment and gave no credit to Jay-Z. That sickened me. But I understand that we have this issue with not allowing Black men to be intellectually competent in choosing a mate. If he marries what we deem a “good woman” it’s because someone somewhere else pointed it out to him. If he gets with a woman who is not a “good woman,” then good for him for not being trapped with that (if they happen to have kids, we pity the guy and pray the children have more sense than their no-good Mama). I think the issue is that for us to call Black men out about their behavior, we’d have to point out all of the “good” Black men that haven’t stepped up to the plate. These men exist. They are successful, unmarried, with a brood of children but we don’t make men the villains unless it happens to be an episode of Maury and the child is CLEARLY his. The question why still remains.

With respect to Black romantic relationships, it’s possible that Black men get such a bad rap in this country and our society that we’ve moved from holding them accountable in our community for their actions to providing them with excuses as to why they behave the way they do. Sadly, it always comes back to how a Black woman couldn’t do something right to keep him or make him want to say “I Do.”

I’ve said all of that to say that people need to sit back and evaluate their prejudices against women — especially single mothers who happen to be Black. Remember, they didn’t do it alone.

He’s A Good Man: Commentary on the Villainization of “Homewreckers”

Lately, there has been a barrage of stories of homewreckers (those of the famous persuasion) and their conquests of taking “other women’s husbands.” Is this a new trend? Something that has become more popular? The “in thing” to do? I’m not sure what is going on but I know that I don’t like it.

I read in the news yesterday of an accidental overdose of sleep aids and pain relievers of a very talented singer (read: alleged attempted suicide) and I was disturbed by the response to this news. This songstress has been called everything that people can think to call a woman who “goes after” another woman’s husband. I don’t agree with her behavior…but I disagree even more with the response that the general public (read: Black folk) has given to the situation. This led me to post the following status on Facebook:

“[Miss C. Jayne] really wants to know what’s up with the villainization of the “homewrecker”? Why harp on the women who sleep with the MARRIED men? I don’t get it…so someone explain it to me. Thanks.”

For people that know me, they understood that I already had my own opinion, I just wanted to see what others said (before I came to share my thoughts on the topic). I was genuinely surprised by one answer:

“I think wives feel as though the “homewrecker” has disrespected her as a woman by entertaining the attention of a husband. Whether the marriage is broken or not, the argument is that as women we should respect each other enough to leave a man who is “taken” alone until he has chosen to end his current relationship. It speaks to the idea of community among women, and assumes that men can’t control their actions so women have to control their own.” – C.P.

This was the ONLY answer that I wasn’t expecting (in hindsight, as someone that harps on the fact that Black women are responsible for the behaviors of an entire ethnic group, I should have seen this coming). Why? It delved into the intricate issues of communicating and relating to others within the Black community (which is another post for another day). Other responses (which were kind of comical) included:

– “What if the home was already wrecked? What does that make the homewrecker?”

– “These women are just the clean up woman.”

– “It’s society. That’s why James Brown wrote ‘This is a man’s world’…men can do what they want and women always get the bad rep.”

– Two people voiced that it doesn’t matter. Every wrongdoer in the situation deserves to have their ass kicked.

All valid points but here is why I think men don’t get the bad rep (especially in the Black community):

The men who are brave enough to marry are examples of “Good Men.” If he had no kids before he said, “I do!” then he is an even better man. And don’t let him have a job! He is the Holy Grail, the Chosen One, the 1 in a Million Love of a Lifetime that every Black woman holds out for.

Why do you say that Miss C. Jayne?

Simple – as a Black woman, I’ve engaged in many conversations with my peers (women and men alike) about what makes the perfect mate. There must be a willingness to commit, a drive to succeed at something in life, a relationship with God, and yadda yadda yadda. The list goes on but those are the “Big Three.”

So why villainize the unmarried women who sleep with Married Men and NOT the married men that sleep with Single Women? Whoa! Changes the focus doesn’t it? Who is really at fault when a man steps out on his wife?

1. The woman who used “every trick in the book” to entice him to come her way?

2. The woman who took a vow to have and to hold for better or for worse til death do them ‘part?

3. The man who pissed on his sacrament with God AND his Wife to go ahead and frolick in temptation with that single woman who is looking for her perfect mate?

My money is on number 3. Why? Well…because he’s the married guy with the wife and possible kids who is also sleeping with the single woman (this isn’t to say that there are some women who don’t go after married men, I’m not talking about them). But he doesn’t get blamed.

To blame him for his own actions is to treat him as an adult. It’s to acknowledge that he does, in fact, have control over his actions. It’s to admit that he thought of the possible consequences and decided that the affair was something he wanted to participate in. It’s to hold him accountable.

But what does it do for women (and this is where I think the issue truly lies)?

If we say that the Married Men who cheat were enticed by those loosey goosey single women, then it affirms that there are some good men still out there. In this day and age, it seems that women are settling for whatever comes their way. Oh, he has a job? He has 0, 1, 0r 2 kids? He believes in the existence of God and claims to have a relationship with said deity? He can read? He has entreprenuerial skills? That’s everything you’ve ever looked for in a man. He’s the dream. You’ve got him.

And we he decides to say “Yes” or “I do” or whatever at the altar in front of a Preacher and a host of witnesses, then you signal to your single girlfriends (who are probably 80% of your bridesmaids) that yes, they do exist!!! They are real! Good men are out there.

By shifting the blame from the truly guilty party, it continues to give hope to other single (especially Black) women.

And that’s really what all of this is about — allowing single, Black, successful women the freedom to dream.

Thoughts?

~Miss C. Jayne

*UPDATE: While I don’t want to get into the nuances of a certain singer’s suicide attempt (that was not the intention of this post), I’ll just point out a very thoughtful commentary that I agree with. You can find it here.