The Irony of Single Black Women: Settling to Settle

Random fact: April 2017 – first time I’ve ever written for a blog (at 31 years old). Another random fact: Circaaaa….2009? First time I heard the “statistic” that 42% of black women are unmarried (for the purpose of this article, single = unmarried). I was 24 and looking at the friend who told me, also 24, with confusion. Why was this such a big deal and why was she so worried about the “fate” of black women when grad school wasn’t yet out of the way & we hadn’t even begun to unleash the travel bug that would open our eyes to a whole new world and change our mentalities over the next several years?! 2009 was also the year “Think Like A Man, Act Like a Woman” was first published and what I think was the start of society preying on & abusing single black women.

The past several years have been plagued (Wayment. Is afflicted better? Just take whichever has a more morbid meaning) with relationship advice catered towards single black women. There have been no shortage of blogs, vlogs, think pieces and, of course, men telling single black women what’s wrong with them, what they need to change, and what they must accept in order to “land a man”. Until recently, this topic has represented the vast majority of “advice” catered towards this demographic. I used to be a harsh critic of women who subscribe to all this hoopla about being single and an even harsher critic of those who reference advice from the likes of Steve Harvey & Tyrese (I know, I know, but some people are actually able to make it past Tyrese’s grammatical errors to interpret what he writes – who knew?!). But what I’ve come to realize is these women aren’t the problem – these relationship “gurus”, other women and society as a whole are.

Single black women have been made to believe they are doing something wrong or worse that something is wrong WITH them because they are single. Men similar to Steve Harvey & Tyrese, along with the undercover “woke” Al-Right Hotep dudes tend to provide advice riddled with insecurity and misogyny. Nah. Leave single women alone and stop trying to get them to settle for the nonsense ya’ll conveniently subscribe to or have perpetuated throughout the years. Ya’ll have multiple baby’s mothers, have been womanizers for years yet you want to tell single black women they are single because they aren’t patient enough for a man to get it together? Lol…Bye.

I could go on & on about the men who perpetuate this nonsense, but unfortunately, women may be the bigger culprits here. Married women love to speak with the “But, I got a ring doe” tone and for some reason, women in long term relationships (still single, bruh) feel they have a “one up” over (super – lol) single black women because a man is claiming them. (Apparently, just having a boyfriend is a badge of honor.) A few years ago, a married woman told me, “All my girlfriends who grew up in 2 parent homes are single. Their expectations are too high. I feel bad for my daughters already & hope that doesn’t happen to them”….Go ahead and get the rest of that laughter out. Lol… See, what’s really scary here is the mentality behind this statement. The mindset that to be from a 2 parent home is just such a far stretch that there is something wrong with the product of said home (simply because the woman is single) is sad. Who’s really settling here?

There seems to be this gross generalization that single women’s standards are “too high”. But, what does that even mean for real? Since when is expecting in return what you are able to offer “too high”? You know how people tell you not to share your business plans/ideas with small minds who can’t relate, because a simple mind will shoot down a great idea? It’s the same thing with relationships. See, not every single black woman is waiting for a 6’, dark skin man with a 6-figure salary. Some are waiting for a man who relates to them on the same level spiritually, or maybe a man who will actually be faithful, or a man they can honestly say they want to be with, not just because “time is running out” and they want to get married & have a baby by 30. Thing is, you can’t expect someone who maybe didn’t wait for the things you’re waiting for to understand where you’re coming from. It’s like getting money advice from someone with 480 credit score & thousands racked up on credit cards – bruh, how exactly are you going to advise me?

Funny enough, people perpetuating the “we need to save single black women” mantra, are almost always the ones with the most to say when a woman rushes into a relationship or stays involved in one way past its expiration date. The first thing she’s told is to “know her worth” Lol…Err um….xcuse me – aren’t ya’ll the same ones who have been sending the message that being single is some horrible thing that must be fled from, the way Moses fled from Egypt? Really?! We’re surprised women are rushing into relationships & holding onto them for dear life when they have been told all this time that something must be wrong with them for being single? Ya’ll. Tried. IT! The underlying message is women (not just the single black ones) being told their worth is in a man – they need to hurry up and find one or do everything in the power to hold onto the one they have. No wonder so many women think it’s better to just be with any man who shows them interest or strings them along!

At 24, young women should not be introduced to the “fear” of being single. I don’t know if there is an appropriate age for this is, but it definitely shouldn’t have been something that has lived in the back of my mind for the past 7 years. No, we should be encouraging our young women to pursue their education, start that business they have in mind, and travel the world. Timing is everything and everyone’s timing is different. Now, I’m not a proponent of putting relationships on the back burner. If someone comes along with the qualities you’re looking for, by all means give it a shot and give it your all! Let’s just be careful of the messages we send around marriage and placing undue pressure on single women which, in turn, may cause them to make terrible decisions or have their sense of identity wrapped up in whose girl they are.

But what if the issue isn’t that single black women have standards that are “too high” or that they should be prepared to settle. Perhaps, the issue is that the very men & women who have spent their time trying to figure out “what’s wrong” with these women really can’t understand the audacity they have to think they deserve more. Maybe it’s less about what’s wrong with single women and more about why those who just can’t let go of the “single black women” plight are low key unhappy with what they chose to settle with?