Is Dating Harder For Smart, Successful Single Sistas?
By: Dr. Aesha
“In the dating world, I’m not sure that there is a lonelier space than that of the highly educated, successful black woman.”
~Commentor on a HuffPost article about online dating and Black women
The cold wind whipped through my fuchsia colored trench coat that I’d bought for the occasion. “Clearly, I’ve been in California too long,” I thought. I’d forgotten how cold it is back east in the spring!
I tried my best to look like a native instead of a lost tourist as I walked down the busy New York street. Truth be told, I had no idea where I was going. That’s why I was happy to have her company. After a warm smile and quick hello, our feet fell into stride.
She asked me why I wanted to become a matchmaker and whether I worked solely with African Americans. I cringed inside at the question because I was conflicted about “who” I was going to serve through my matchmaking service. I didn’t want to be profiled and labeled just because I was a Black woman. But then she said something that changed all of that.
“I’m having a hard time matching my African American client. She’s beautiful, but I’ve been having a hard time helping her be feminine.”
I couldn’t help it. My years as a college professor studying, researching and writing on Black women’s history, language and ways of being and doing flowed out of me. I talked to her about living the intersections of race and gender, the impact of slavery on gender construction and how white femininity was defined against Black women’s bodies. I told her how her definition of feminity and standards of beauty didn’t account for our traditions dating back to pre-colonial West Africa, traditions that Black men love about us.
The dazed look on her face should have said it all. But then she said, “Well of course Black women are sexy. I’m mean, look at Beyonce. And you! You have gorgeous lips.”
I knew she didn’t get. I should have just given her a syllabus on Black feminism and called it a day.
Throughout the course of the conference, I had many colleagues tell me they had trouble matching their Black women clients.
They’re beautiful, they all said. But no one wants to be matched with them.
Since then I’ve heard stories from my Black friends who have either worked for or used a matchmaking service.
“We had like 2 minorities in our entire database.”
“The only criteria I had was no white men with kids. All I was matched with were white men with kids.”
“I paid $8,000 and didn’t meet anyone I’d even want to be friends with!”
I realized their stories were the story of the high-achieving, Black, successful, single woman on the dating scene. She’s frustrated because she makes more than many men. She’s been fed myths from the media that marriage rates among professional Black women are declining. She’s pushing back against the idea that just because she’s not married that something is wrong with her. But she doesn’t always jive well with dating advice that tells her to “think like a man,” and then shames and blames her for pushing all men away just because she’s got a good job and a few degrees. She’s smarter than that, and she deserves someone who recognizes it.
I also realized that if I’d tried to hire a high-end matchmaker when I was single, it was highly likely that I wouldn’t be accepted in the “rich men, beautiful women” model. If I sought out a more affordable option, I might have met people I’d never date in real life.
Now, I’m not throwing shade at the industry. There is a growing number of agencies that serve people of color. Many are owned by matchmakers of color who serve all people and some cater to the needs of the African American community.
I want to join them. Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison decided to write the books she wanted to read and I’ve decided to create the matchmaking service I’d want to represent me.
What that means is I will specialize in African American dating, interracial dating and Christian dating for professional, high-achieving single men and women, 30-60.
I love my brothers from another mother and my soul sisters from another mister! If you’re not a smart successful single sista, that doesn’t mean that I won’t work with you. My private coaching and matchmaking programs are always customized to meet your needs. It just means that I’m going to be putting Black women and our challenges, frustrations and needs front and center.
If you’re cool with that, then so am I.