Starbucks. Mid-day. Frappacino Happy Hour. I’m beaming because not only are fraps half-off, but I have a gift card. **Fist pump**
I order my frap and brownie and peep around the corner to scan the area for an empty table. I spot one by the window, but there’s a plate there and it’s dirty. I could easily ask an employee to clean it off, but I decide not to. I take a seat at table directly across from the order counter.
A white man, bald, wearing a graphic tee and funky eyeglasses approaches me. He looks to be in his late 30s or early 40s. “Oh my, I thought I put my deodorant today,” he says. “I know I’m fresh and smellin’ good.” He sniffs his underarms to inspect.
I’m lost as hell.
“You just looked on past me,” he says with a familiar Memphis southern drawl.”I saw you eyeing that table over there. I guess you didn’t wanna sit next to me.” He smiles a million dollar smile.
Ohhhh, I get it! He’s flirting with me. I smile right back and give a fake chuckle. “Oh nooo! I didn’t even see you. I just decided to sit here. Won’t be here long anyway.”
He starts going on about how “fit” I look, and some kind if way he tells me that he keeps in shape by dancing.
“What kind of dancing?” I inquire.
“R&B.” Stop. Who says they dance “R&B”?
I look down to see his pants sagging slightly, and back up to see that both of his ears are pierced. I give him a side-eye, but let him go on. It’s obvious he wants me to know more.
I egg him on. “Really? Where do you go dancing?”
“Aww, I go to the Rumba Room, The Republic, but most of the time, I’m at Classic Hitz.”
Two of those clubs cater to Latino, white and sometimes mixed crowds. Once a week, but they may sponsor “Black Folks Night”, but Classic Hitz? It’s nothing but African Americans day in, day out.
Now I get it.
“You know, you’re so beautiful. I love Black women. I just can’t find a black woman who’s totally comfortable with being with a white man, ya know.”
I forget that I’m supposed to be enjoying my triple chocolate brownie. He continues.I think he thinks I’m the woman who will take the plunge with him. He’s sadly mistaken.
“I just don’t understand. I’m a good man.” He leans in closer as if he’s about to tell me a secret and whispers, “These black men done fucked it up for everybody else. They don’t know the good thing they got in ya’ll.”
Even though I agree with his last statement, I sigh on the inside and wonder if I should say something in defense of Black men, seeing as how he is an “outsider.” It’s not worth my time though.
“I hear them talk about how hard it is to find a good man.” Dude seems to be frustrated at this point. “Shit, if it was me, I’d be on it!”
Though he has some valid points, I become extremely annoyed and my face says so. He extends another invitation to sit with him.
“Well, I hope you find who you’re looking for,” I say. “She’s out there.”
He walks back to his chair and stares at me until I finish my brownie.
So what’s wrong with this scenario? For the past six months or so, popular culture and the news media have been obsessed with Black women. Our literal worth, our education, but mostly how single, successful women can’t get a “good, black man.” Just last month, ABC aired Nightine Face-Off: Why Can’t Successful Black Women Find a Man?, a townhall meeting discussing the divide between black men and women for millions of viewers to see. This is a follow-up to the first story aired in December 2009. I’ve been asking myself why they are so interested in us suddenly, but there have to be black women pitching these ideas and producing these segments to get them on air. Note: ABC’s first segment was produced by Linsey Davis and Hana Karar.
What that white guy in Starbucks said to me stung. Why and how does he know what we women are going through? It felt like when a friend or non-family member chimes in on trash-talking session about an aunt or cousin. That’s a no-no. I can talk about my family, but you, sir,cannot! Why are always the ones to put our “business” out in the street?
But conversely, isn’t an open, candid discussion healthy? How can find solutions to these “problems” if we don’t talk about them? Often, issues are never resolved because we keep them locked away. Or should we be selective in who discuss our issues in front of? Is it family business, being dissected only the State of the Black Union and other minority-sponsored events or is it okay to discuss with the mainstream?
One thing these segments have done for sure is driven us crazier and made us more paranoid about our relationship status and future. Contrary to popular belief there’s more than five good Black men around. So, in the words of Public Enemy, “Don’t believe the hype!” There are so many layers to the miscommunication in Black relationships and the so-called “man shortage,” ABC can’t begin to chip the surface. Or is it a start?
What do you think?