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Blogy Blogy

Why So Many Fabulous Black Women are Lonely

Helena Andrews is 29, fabulous, and lonely. Her soon-to-be-published book will be made into a movie of the same name, Bitch is the New Black, and will chronicle her struggles to find lasting love as a professional Black woman in DC.

Read the Washington Post article “Successful, Black and Lonely” here profiling Helena Andrews.

While I’m sure the book and movie will be entertaining and thought-provoking, I’m not sure how many single, fabulous Black women will be any closer to banishing loneliness after experiencing Bitch is the New Black.

I want us to talk about why so many fabulous Black women are lonely and then do something about it.

The following points are my opinions. Nor am I talking about all Black women. If what I’m saying doesn’t apply to you, feel free to stop reading at any time. But I think that many fabulous Black women (and fabulous women of all backgrounds for that matter) will recognize ourselves and our friends in these points—and then maybe we can have a conversation about what we can do about it.

Why So Many Fabulous Black Women are Lonely

We are still holding out for the Perfect Black Man (aka Barack Obama).

Jenée Desmond Harris already wrote a great article about this, but it must be said again. We have to be more open-minded when it comes to dating. I don’t mean that you have to date an ex-convict with three Baby Mamas. But sometimes you may earn more money than the man you are dating, or live in a fancier home, or be merely an inch shorter than him (or gasp, maybe even an inch taller). Give the guy a chance!

We allow men to play us.

By this, I mean some of us allow ourselves to get caught up in “secret relationships”, date men without a real title for months and months, and take men back after they’ve cheated on us (again). Yes, he may be fine, but he isn’t worth you giving up your dignity—or catching a disease.

We fear that a man will play us and are then too guarded.

While some of us hang on to a no-good man for too long, others of us make each man who comes after that no-good man suffer for what the other guy did. We don’t trust him. We won’t let him in. We refuse to give him the chance of hurting us. And then we end up unscathed—but alone.

We spend too much time with other single women.

Girlfriend time is great, but you also have to have some time where you are free and approachable. Why is that we dress up, look our best, and head out  only to then surround ourselves with a fortress of women?

We work too many hours at jobs we do not love.

When you’re drained from the demands of an unfulfilling job, you don’t have the same joie de vivre that those who are pursuing their dreams have. Even if your job gives you financial stability and prestige, these things don’t compare to the beautiful exuberance women who are overjoyed with their work exude.

We don’t smile enough. 

You know that annoying (often homeless) man on the street who says, “Smile, honey! You’re too pretty to be looking so unhappy!” He’s trying to tell you something. Men like women who are happy. Happy people smile.

We wear clothes that impress other women and not men. Men do not understand nor appreciate bubble hems, babydoll dresses, or flowing kimono-style tops. I’m not saying don’t wear them. I’m just saying that those are the cute things that make women stop and take a second look—not men. Men don’t care about brands either. They just want us to look pretty and put together.

We are angry at Black men.

We can’t control what Black men do, who they date, or who they marry. They want to be happy just like we do, and they aren’t going to change their lives to make someone else happy if it means they will be less so. We should stop focusing so much on what Black men are and aren’t doing, and focus on what we can control—ourselves. I’m not saying that Black women are to blame for the decline of Black love (is it really declining—or is marriage just becoming unpopular all-around?). What I am saying is that too many of us are enlisted in a Gender War, and we are not going to win.

We are angry at White women.

Same thing here. They aren’t “taking our men”. They’re living their lives just like everyone else.

We always seem bored by “nice guys”.

Yes, a man does need to have a certain level of swagger to catch and maintain our interest, but we have to admit how often we overlook the nice guys. Give the nice guys a chance, ladies! Perhaps he’s saving all his swagger for private time. You’ll never know if you keep snubbing him.

We date online half-heartedly.

We pay hundreds of dollars for online dating subscriptions, but then we don’t take the time to create an interesting profile or post outstanding pictures of ourselves. We create a profile and let it just sit there for months. I’m a big fan of online dating, and will be coming out with the Loveawake dating site Guide to Online Dating very soon so that people can start getting their money’s worth!

We spend too much time buried in technology. 

Your Iphone may keep your life organized, but it’s not going to hold you at night. If we gave our fellow humans as much attention as we gave our phones, we’d all be a lot less lonely.

We won’t get our hair wet.

We miss out on a lot of fun stuff because of our notoriously untouchable hair. Not being able to get our hair wet means we can’t go for an impromptu dip in the ocean with our man. We can’t stand kissing in the rain. We can’t take a naughty shower after hot, sweaty sex (where he also could not touch our hair). Now, I’m not trying to be one of those natural-haired holier-than-thou women, but we have got to figure out a better system, because life is about getting wet sometimes.

We argue too much and hold grudges.

I’m a Scorpio, so it’s in my nature to hold grudges. However, sometimes it’s more important to be happy than to be right. I’m not talking about compromising your morals. I just mean that sometimes we need to just let things go.

We believe what the news tells us about our wretched fate of being alone forever.

Every year there is a new research study that tells educated Black women that we will be alone forever. I’m starting to think that the educated and married Black woman is more elusive than the Loch Ness Monster. No matter how much we talk about it, analyzing why we are single is not going to change the fact that we are. In fact, in the time you spent reading this blog post, you could have looked up something fun to do tonight. Prince Charming might already be there waiting for you.

None of these ideas are original. If anything, they are merely a cobbling together of what our guy friends have been telling us for years. I just felt that I had to share my thoughts about this in light of all the recent conversations around Ms. Andrews’ book. I know we can find a way to be beautiful, successful, independent, happy, and in a loving relationship all at the same time. Ladies, what say you?

The Joy of Reading

I have always loved to read. When I was in elementary school, my dad would take me to the public library and let me check out dozens of books, which I would then devour over the course of two weeks. I was enamored with the real and imaginary worlds I discovered through reading. I could spend the morning dancing in a magical forest, and end the day solving a complex mystery with my (fictional) little brother. I spent much of my childhood in my room alone, but I was never lonely.

I have truly rediscovered my love for reading while in graduate school. Having a reading load that primarily consists of 15-page business cases, I’ve grown thirsty for guiding pieces of wisdom, dramatic tales of heartbreak, and enlightening stories of survival. I first dove into self-help books, reading as many dating books as I could get my hands on. I’ve since quenched my thirst for relationship books, and have moved on to a more general well-being and happiness spiritual focus. Thus, I am reading The Wise Heart upon one of my girlfriends’ recommendations.

When my mentor heard I was going to India with a group of my classmates, his eyes lit up and he insisted that I read Shantaram. A few days later, the book arrived, and I am relishing every page as I turn it, and loving every minute of the great adventure unfolding in the novel.  I head out to Mumbai in January, but I’ve already lived there for a month in my mind.

Reading is an important part of being a happy person. It’s your chance to travel without leaving your home, inhabit someone else’s world while leaving behind the consequences of their actions whenever you need to. Reading reminds us that life is an adventure with many twists and turns, and always an ending. Reading encourages us to treat our own lives like a story for which we are co-authors with God.

I’ll be a voracious reader for as long as I live. Books have a special place in my heart for their permanence and the companionship I feel from holding their flexible bulk in my hands and close to my face. I have nothing against the Kindle. I want one in fact.

Obviously, I love blogs. However, books were my best friends growing up. They know me well, and always appear right when I need them. They taught me about sex, about love, envy, betrayal, and self-discovery. They keep me company, and keep me dreaming. Their endless possibilities bring out the best in me—and inspire me to live up to the honor of being etched forever into history with a book of my own.

Five Things I Fear

Text and Image Copyright Notice. Published under copyright by Loveawake Delaware. © Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

When I begin to doubt myself, I don’t shop. I don’t do drugs. I write. Today I feel the fear creeping into my heart, so I’ll put it out there to share with the world.

Five Things I Fear

I’ll live an unremarkable life.

I don’t want a life filled with heartbreak and drama, but nor do I want to live in the suburbs with my kids, dutiful husband, and white picket fence. I want to travel the world, eat crazy foods, meet crazy people, and influence people around the world to pursue their dreams and live remarkable lives.

I won’t marry someone who I am passionately in love with.

As you may have guessed, I love love! I have few things I love to talk, read, and think more about than relationships! But I’m a Black woman with two Masters degrees from Harvard, and according to the research, that doesn’t bode well for me. I want to be passionately in love with my husband—not just tolerating each other. And I don’t want to be alone either. Men are nice to have around.

I’ll have to get a real job.

I know this sounds ridiculous to most people reading this, but most of the professional jobs that I’ve had killed my soul. I can’t stand sitting in cubicles, analyzing data all day, or going to lots of meetings. I don’t mind being on the computer all day. I quite like it—as long as I can leave to go do some yoga for an hour whenever I like. I’m not afraid to work hard. I just don’t want to work hard at something I’m not passionate about. I’m passionate about being creative, about writing, and about coaching, mentoring, and counseling people. Oh yeah—and I’d like to be a famous talk show hostess/movie critic. I did enjoy working at the cinema concession stand, as a cashier at the grocery store, and as a teacher, so I guess I have some backups.

I’ll have to struggle to make money.

I’ve never earned a lot of money (well, except for my last two summer internships. I had a lot of money). But I’ve never had a full-time job where I was bringing in the bank and watching my bank account grow. One summer, I lived for 10 weeks in NYC off of $6000. That’s $85 per day—including housing, food, and a daily subway commute!  So I know that I don’t need a lot of money to live off of. But I have a LOT of student debt. The U.S. government says that I’ll need to make over $130,000 to pay my loans off comfortably. Where is this money going to come from?!

I’ll be embarrassed at my Harvard class reunions.

Graduating from Harvard Business School is a really big deal. I’ve seen alumni time and again be unnerved and disappointed in their lives after coming to their 10-year class reunions. Everyone else seems to be so much more successful than they are. Anyone who knows me well enough to remember me in 10 years will remember that I want to be the next Oprah. If that doesn’t happen, it’s going to be really awkward when I come back and am like, “Yes, I am the Senior Brand Manager for socks at Foot & Co.” Okay, that will never happen, because I can’t stand sitting in a cubicle—or selling things I don’t care about. If anything, the worst case scenarios is that I’ll come back to the reunion and be a D-list celebrity as one of my blunt friends put it.

Saying my fears out loud makes them seem small and insignificant and reminds me of all the reasons why I must make decisions out of love and not out of fear.