Monday, July 23, 2018

The Hitchhiker's Guide

Last week a friend posted a scenario about honesty in relationships. I responded to it based on my personal experience, which apparently was not the point of the exercise (which I learned as our exchange continued). But because he often posts gender-based relationship hypotheticals, I should not have been too surprised when it took him a few days to come back with THE question. You know, the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything:

Why are there so many highly-educated, yet single black women?

The answer is not 42. The answer, if you will allow me to speak on behalf of every highly-educated, single black woman is...MIND YOUR OWN DANG BUSINESS!!!

That probably isn't the right answer either. And there may be a few of my sistren who will resent my insinuation, but trust that there is nothing wrong. 

First of all, why must it be assumed that there is something wrong with a woman being unmarried? Then, why is it assumed that a woman's marital status is connected to her level of education? And finally, if you aren't looking to marry one of these women, why is this a concern of yours at all? But since you asked, let me offer a multiple choice answer/opinion:
  1. She hasn't found the One.
  2. She thought she found the one, but it didn't work out.
  3. She had other priorities.
  4. She's not looking to get married.
There. Notice that my answer did not include any analysis about high standards, unwillingness to compromise, too much independence, lack of an appropriate father figure, secret lesbianism, or any other theories that somehow only apply to black women.

Now, I might not seem like the best spokesperson given that I have been married for almost 18 years...but I assure you, I am not peddling unsubstantiated theories based on beauty parlor psychology or choir loft gossip. I have anecdotal and concrete evidence based on the actual experiences of my friends for the past 20+ years. Some of my friends have done a lot of serial dating with no luck. A couple of friends were married, but are now divorced. A few thought the guy they seriously dated for several years was the one, but then found out that it wasn't meant to be. I have friends who prioritized finishing school, who were caregivers for family members, or who had demanding jobs--all of which pose serious challenges to maintaining a relationship. And yes, there are even few women I know who just aren't interested in getting married.

This ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is very patronizing when it is posed by men who are also single and unmarried and of a certain age. Like dude, what is your magic mirror telling you every morning? When the question comes from a "concerned" married man, I'm convinced his aim is to brag about himself as some kind of prize marlin that the rest of us missed out on catching. Perhaps the most damaging interrogator is that older woman who really is a Trojan Horse--she lures you in with kindness and compassion that quickly turns into an attack (mind you, she ain't married...anymore).

It really is none of your business. It is none of my business. The world is actually better because there are a lot of highly educated single black women who are committed to making it better. These women are starting businesses, leading nonprofits, teaching our children, researching cures for chronic diseases, running for public office, and serving as mentors. These women are taxpayers and homeowners and voters. These women are active in church. These women are card-carrying life members of organizations that are dedicated to public and community service. These women attend community meetings and candidates' forums, write blogs and opinion pieces, lobby public officials, and organize advocacy campaigns. These women raise money for public health initiatives. These women are studying, traveling the world, competing in marathons and triathlons, and taking up hobbies. These women read books, drink wine, play golf, and have fabulous shoes. These women might be single mothers or childless aunties, but they have enough faith to believe that there is love out there for them.

So wait, what's the question again?

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