The Myth of the Lonely Black Queen

She don't look that lonely to me...

It’s time we put to rest one of the most stubbornly persistent myths in the black community.  I call it “The Myth of the Lonely Black Queen”.  Smart, successful, attractive black women are not lonely—they’re just unnecessarily picky.  Even worse, this selectivity is far too often based on a foundation of arbitrariness and contradiction.

Lots of upwardly mobile black women will tell you that they don’t need a relationship to complete them; that they’re not desperate for a man. But desperation is exactly the picture that so many women paint when they describe their supposed inability to find a mate.  How many times have you heard the cliché that all the “good” black men are either taken, gay, in prison, or (horror of horrors) with white women?  I mean, Tyler Perry is now the richest transvestite in the world because he mastered the art of transmutating this “woe is me” attitude into ticket sales.  The problem is that this desperation is about as real as a conversation in a strip club—it’s a convenient lie that many black women tell themselves so that they can avoid focusing on the real reason that they’re single: They’ve got plenty of options. Or at least they think they do.

I recently had a little back and forth on Facebook with a wonderful woman who was hit on by the owner of a restaurant that she frequents.  As he took her money at the register, without looking up, he calmly asked her for her name. She readily replied with the answer.  He then rapidly fired off a second question in the same unassuming tone: “Phone number?” She almost answered him without even processing what was happening.  The man’s quirky flirting style definitely had an impact.  After all, she used her Facebook status message to tell her friends all about how “cute” it was.  But guess what?  He didn’t get the digits.

Why not?  She says it was because “it’s become second nature” to say no to a guy who knows nothing about her other than how she looks.  Elaborating, she went on to explain, “I turn people down left and right for no other reason than it’s what I do,” and that she needs a “screening process” like a “referral system.”  Really?  That’s the kind of behavior I’d expect from someone who feels that she has more suitors than she could possibly know what to do with, and not at all like someone who’s cautious, yet aware of her precarious situation in the dating pool and therefore fully open to romantic possibilities.  I understand that that particular woman may not self-identify as being unable to find a good black man, but that modus operandi is all too common for many of those who do.

I can certainly draw on personal experience to put flesh on those bones.  My friends have heard the story about the woman who decided against a second date with me because I gave her $10 on a $15 cab ride…even though the meter was at $7 when I got out.  There was also the woman that cut things off because I canceled a date with her.  I told her that I was exhausted, but she assumed that the real reason that I backed out was that I was double-booked.  (Of course, I only found out why she gave me the scissor treatment much later—she never even bothered to tell me her doubts at the time.)  And then there was the lady with whom I shared so much chemistry that our first date lasted for four days. She eventually returned to her last boyfriend.  I could go on, but I’d rather not look like more of a loser.  The point is not that these women did anything wrong.  The point is that, in economic terms, this is exactly the behavior that we’d expect from consumers with relatively unconstrained options, but not from those facing a supply shortage.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Jenée Desmond-Harris’ recent article lays out the sobering facts confronting black women looking for a black man.  (Check it out here if you’ve been under a rock.)  It is unquestionably harder for you out there in the world of romance than it is for Bob, Amber, or even Tyrone.  Consequently, this is no time to be Little Ms. Picky.  I’m not saying that you’ve gotta go bottom feeding.  But if a brother is attractive and approaches you like he’s got some damn home training, don’t refuse his invitation to dance when just 30 seconds earlier you and your girls were poppin’ it so hard you almost blew your back out!

Bob Marley said, “In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.”  A lot of females are yelling loudly to anyone who’ll listen that they’re practically dying of cottonmouth.  Ladies, recognize and realize that although it may not be raining men, there’s plenty to drink.  Most of it ain’t Bling H2O, but it probably ain’t bathwater either.

Post Script: Ms. Desmond-Harris did a superb job of addressing this phenomenon from the inside, but I still felt like a man’s perspective was warranted.  Plus, I’d already started writing this frackin’ thing before I read her article.


Filed under Relationships

6 responses to “The Myth of the Lonely Black Queen

  1. Well I happened upon and subsequently buzzed through this post of yours via a websearch I was conducting to find the composer of Tweet’s song, Always Will. Much to my surprise, I began reading your blog regarding Lonely Black Queens. Being a Loving Black Queen who has evolved through many phases of “what kind of relationship do I want or do I even want one at all mentality” I could certainly empathize with the arduous task that we women have to connect with a loving, sincere and honest partner. I had some difficulty processing some of your comments however, but I chalked it up to the fact that only a Black Queen can really accurately portray the journey of a Black Queen; just as much as I would be remised to speak as an authority on the perspectives of Black men on relationships. (I’ll leave that to Steve Harvey).

    I thought I would, however, try to shed some light on the realities of Black on Black dating, from a Black woman’s perspective in hopes that my words my soften your opinions and foster a greater degree of compasssion to emerge from your heart on the subject.

    We Black women are living in an age where what we look like matters most to the persuer and who we are emotionally, intellectually and otherwise, seems to matter least. In this age of “hook-up” mentality which permeates our music, our culture, etc. Sex and sexuality have become the starting point, unfortunately, where many relationships begin. And as we know, beginning a relationship at sex means it will certainly end without it.

    Now I have heard from many brothers that they can’t seem to get the attention of the successful Black woman without a long list of criteria to fulfill. I spent a brief stint with an online dating service and that was the general consensus of the men…the women want too much…too many “must haves”, making the men feel they could never measure up to the stringent check lists put before them. I have many female friends whom I sort of look at (as they describe their “must have” list) with an emphatic “REALLY?” myself because I’m wondering where they expect to find this superman they just described.

    With much sadness we Black women have to recognize that our men, whom we have been conditioned to dishonor, disregard, and overlook (mostly because of financials) & vice-versa, have had, traditionally a much harder time breaking through the psycho-social and socio-economic barriers that run rampant in our society and culture. The percentage of Black men with “good” jobs is significantly disproportionate simply by virtue of the barriers that exist for us as a people overall. Yes, some go to college, but they will make less than their non-Black conterparts still to this day. Yes, some of us (Black people) are bursting through the cracks to attain all types of career pinnacles, but the harsh reality is that this is still a small percentage of our man pool. And we, Black women, will simply have to accept that we have to be “in this struggle” with our man in most cases. Even in the best economic circumstances Americans are living at a higher standard and yet, beyond their means for the most part…all in an effort to keep up with the marketing blitzkrieg that says…buy more, want more, be dissatisfied with what you already have because it is not new..etc. Black folks trying to keep up with this mentality is destined to foster a female army of Black American Princesses with “I want my nails and hair did” or “what have you done for me lately” perspectives. For many women, the Black man is just the cash cow for our maintenance needs, i.e. car, bills, etc. because we think so much like white folks now. Oooh, now somebody is probably mad at me for saying that.

    So that’s just one factor driving us out of true relationship with one another, trying to live by the standards of modern societal mentality which is selfish and self-driven. After that comes the obvious issue, which you knew I would get to as a Black woman eventually which is…

    Faithfulness, Honesty, Trust, Maturity, Accountability, and the list goes on. As one who was looking but has now discovered a relationship of much substance, I can tell you that our Black men are, overall, strongly mistaken about what a real Black Queen wants. If she’s looking only at what you have, why would you want her? She’s shallow and materialistic, is NOT a “Queen” and doesn’t deserve a “good man.” And If she allows you to drop the ball again and again on matters that are simply common sense and adult maturity, (i.e. common courtesy, mutual respect, self-discipline, strong work ethic, etc) she’s a pushover lacking in self-esteem and personal dignity. And therein lies the conundrum.

    But all hope is not lost, because somewhere in the middle of all that lies a jewel of royal heritage, the woman who is trying to “work with a brotha” and bring to the relationship the kind of love, honor, decency and esteem that fosters mutual respect, trust and love. And that woman, that Black Queen, DOES deserve that Kingly Black man who puts his woman, his family and their well being first.

    Unfortunately, however, the “relationship market” is full of such extremes and preconceived perspectives of mentality, that the woman is far too often, not even given the chance to be that supporting element in a man’s life because so many Black men are petrified that they might actually have to rise to a higher level of intimacy by keeping it real, manning up, and still being vulnerable enough to bond on that deeper, more loving level. It’s complicated, to say the least.

    So my friend, I hope this gives you a broader perspective on the “what’s behind the behavior” of many of us. We are afraid, guarded and rigid sometimes because we don’t want to be that girl that “gets got” by the wrong one–the guy who is not really ready for the higher levels of interpersonal intimacy. If a man presents that part of himself, he will, even with the most extreme Princesses, break down that wall of protection and touch the soul.

    Nevertheless, we continue to love. And I pray that you will find “that girl”. That one Black Queen who accepts you as you are and yes…that “always will” 🙂

    Much love in one love, Michelle

    • Michelle,

      First off, thank you for such an in-depth response. The mere fact that you would take the time to express those thoughts is a blessing and encourages me.

      I think we’re on the same page. Consumerism has infected every part of our lives, including our relationships, and has totally warped our ability to discern what we need vs. what we want. Until we get over that, we’ll keep chasing our tails. Now, I’m not saying settle for less, but don’t miss Mr. Right while breakin’ your neck searchin’ for Mr. Perfect!

      By the way, men are just as guilty of it too. But that’s the subject of a later post…

      Much love and I hope to hear from you again soon.


  2. Jennifer

    I never want to be referred to as a “Queen.” I think it’s time to give up the sob story and get our butts in gear. The opportunuties are there for the taking and we need to teach our young this. Enough already with the “white man keepin me down.” I really can’t stand it anymore. My great grandfather came here from Cape Verde to escape HANGING because he messed around with a white Portugese girl. He came here and joined the Army, got his citizenship, and worked. My grandparents had issues because my grandfather is Cherokee & my grandmother is black. They lied at first, saying she was just Portugese – now that’s funny – but worked enough to get them left alone, raised two boys, are now retired & happy. My dad & uncle grew up with calls of “nigger” and anything else they could throw at them… my dad had it worse because he looked like his mom. He grabbed every opportunity he could, got through college, earned an associates. After an on-the-job injury, he used his free time to study and go back to school – barely making the bills. But he earned another associates as a paralegal. He got a job with a law firm & eventually we were able to move into our own home. I grew up with less blatant but the same basic racism. My brother and I grew up in the north-east where there was a large mafia influence (if you ain’t Irish, Italian, or a mix of those two, you can fahgeddaboudit, ha!). Because of our mix, I was denied college scholorships from the reservation side. When I asked for assistance from black organizations, they looked at my lighter skin & eyes and almost laughed! Nowadays it’s normal to see the mixes, the different shades, etc that were so unusual when I was in high school. I got my associates on my own, then moved on to my Bachelors of Science, Magna Cum Laude! I moved to the south after a divorce & with my daughter. I see more crying and less doing than I ever did. I made myself lose my accent, and ensure I keep learning, keep active. I’ve just started on my Masters! I own my own home. I did this myself & I pray my daughter will learn from my example to do the same. We need to teach our kids this: Do your best and then when that’s not enough, give it one more shot. Don’t even mention race. Now, it’s far more likely that a black woman will be hired over a highly qualified white man. Read this article: It’s by a very intelligent & well educated black man, Thomas Sowell. Read many of his articles and click on the links he has to research the facts yourself! It’s time to not only take our destiny in our own hands, but to also take responsibility for it. You want to be called a Queen? Not me.

  3. Michelle

    @ Jennifer
    It was a long time ago when I last visited this site but wow. Did I miss something because it seems like you’re not even addressing the subject of the posts here. I am a Black Queen, from a long line of Black Queens and I am so proud of that. This article is about beautiful black men and women learning to love one another better. Not about careers and magna cum laude and making oneself feel the need to “lose” ones accent in order to assimilate. That made me sad when I read your statement. You can be ALL BLACK AND ALL PROUD AND ALL SUCCESSFUL. And you don’t have to “lose” your culture or connection or dignity. It sounds like you’ve had many “color struck” issues and are not 100% sure of who you belong to. Which would explain why you haven’t found or can’t identify with the Queen within you. Your comments make being a Queen like being something nasty and disgusting. once again…wow. I hope other Black women don’t feel like they have to deny who they are to be “somebody” in the eyes of the world. If that’s the case, the Black King doesn’t have a chance in hell! Peace

    • Jennifer

      I didn’t lose it to fit in. I made myself learn to speak properly. I heard another girl in high school yelling (at a rival as usual) and she said, “You a igerint b**ch” I made up my mind that I would be well spoken and if I couldn’t spell the word, I would never call someone it! 😉 Also, I referred to the sob story from what you said about “Yes, some go to college, but they will make less than their non-Black conterparts still to this day.” When in reality the darker skinned candidate is chosen now to even out the “workplace diversity.” The sad part in all this is that we still cry that we are discriminated against. I have been discriminated against for my skin not being dark enough! I was raised that we are a nation of shades – there is no more black and white. We’re all peach, taupe, mocha, chocolate… well some really are white, I can’t deny that because I have seen pale! Anyway, my point is not to toss culture to the gutter – not at all! Just to forget any idea of color at all. Don’t even mention it. If my daughter mentions that a child in her class is the color of her hot cocoa, I smile & say “yes, we all are different shades.” My family teaches where we came from, and what we believe. We keep it sacred. We have our traditions from those roots and keep them as well as adding in there that we are American – part of us original. What I mean is that we already are losing our culture. (My my, I’m about to sound like my parents! Ha!) Kids now run around calling each other “nigga” like it’s something to be proud of. Brother/Brotha or Sister/Sista I can understand and completely agree with. However, My great grandparents, grandparents, and father have all hated that word. In the north east, no one pronounces the R at the end of the word. So since the 1930s 40s 50s… etc, it had always been derogatory and insulting. There never was an R on the end of it where I grew up. In fact, the Italians called us “Moulie” which was the same thing, different language. I hear girls at the school talking about getting pregnant to keep a certain boy around, getting “in” at the housing office and getting food stamps. It blows me away & I wonder, what are their mothers teaching them? Where are they learning this? Perhaps it’s the princesses you mentioned, I’m not sure, but I am proud (sometimes I have to reign myself in because I border on sinful!) but I don’t want to be a queen; I appreciate that some women do. I was married for 5 years, treated him the best I knew how and asked (not demanded) the same in kind. I looked for a relationship that was a partnership and thought it was the one. We worked great together in the military, sports, outings – but we couldn’t relate at home together and his frustrations broke down to name calling, then abuse. I’ve always been a level head and don’t easily get agitated or over-react. He was a drama queen. He hated that I was stable in myself. I’m definitely a mother: nurturing, multi-tasking, always know where that missing shoe is! I love who I am, love my family, and we are all very proud of where we came from as well as what each of us has accomplished and brought to the family. I never mean it as nasty. Yes, I do joke a bit, but I’m also serious. Or – looking back – perhaps I’m one of those who “get got” by a previous & am now inside a protective shell? I just want a man to love me for me. Not to be queen with a king. I’d settle for a prince or at least someone noble. 🙂 Yeah, that’d be nice.

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