6.13.2011

Coming Correct: How to Keep a Black Woman's Attention

Let me preface this by saying that I admire and respect blogger Jaehwan. I think he has a fairly Pan-POC perspective which I can most assuredly relate to.

However...I read a post of his in which he was offering his opinion on the John Cho/Gabrielle Union pairing from FlashForward. While his verdict on the pairing is positive, he related in his post a real-life experience he's had with black women which made him raise his eyebrow a few times.

There was something about his interpretation of that experience which always left me feeling a bit off, and now that I've had quite a while to mull it over, I finally realized what's missing: a black woman's interpretation of that same situation.

First, here's an excerpt from his post "Where the Black Man is King/FlashForward's IR Pairing":
Most bloggers think that this is a good thing–that black women and Asian men have historically been underrepresented in romantic roles, and that since black women and Asian men, as a group, seem to have the least sexual/social capital, that perhaps it’s good for the media to encourage them to date.

I think in general I’d agree. It’s hard enough to find someone compatible regardless of race, and if the media can open people up to different possibilities, I think it’s a good thing. I like the Cho/Union union. (And I loved Gabrielle’s confusion of the wedding and the funeral…I suspended disbelief because it was that cool–what other family events have the pull of weddings and funerals?) But I do have another perspective, which I’ll explain with a real life story:

In Portland, there is a diversity networking group that I attended a few years back. The group meets once a month, and the purpose of the meeting is to welcome new folk to Portland and to get minorities doing business with minorities. Since I think it’s important for minorities to own homes (and since I’m in the home business), I began attending. Here’s what happened:

Even though it’s a “diversity” group, most of the people there are black. Most are young-to-middle-aged black women, with a smattering of White folk, Asian folk, and black men. I would go there, talk to them about what I did for a living, and learn about what they do. The black women, in general, were polite, intelligent, and enthusiastic about business.

HOWEVER, something kept happening over and over again. I’d be standing there, talking to either a black woman or a group of black women, when all of a sudden, a black man would come into view. Most of the black men in this group are older and successful, and the minute a black man appeared, I would completely disappear in the eyes of any black woman with whom I was having a conversation.

Now, I understand how annoying/unsettling such an experience may be for Jaehwan; black women tend to have similar experiences all the time.  However, I think there's a tiny element he's missing.

Lesson the first, kids: this is the 21st Century, and human beings, by nature, are a naturally lazy species.

So if we want to network professionally, that's what the internet is for.  That's what texting is for.  That's what fax machines are for.  But when single professionals agree to get up, get waxed, get dressed, apply makeup, spray on the good perfume, and go meet other professionals in person...chances are, the single ones are looking to not be single anymore...no matter how enthusiastic they may seem about business.

So let's say I was one of these professional black women at one of these diversity meetings in a city that is - no joke - roughly about 80% white.  I'm educated, I've got a good job, I make good money, and now I want to meet someone special.  I prefer men of color, but as previously mentioned, my city is 80% white.  Ergo, a diversity meeting seems like a good place to go meet eligible MoC.

After doing a lot things men don't know/understand/care that women do to look beautiful, I psych myself up after a long day's work and head out to a diversity meeting.  After politely mingling with a few people, I find myself talking to a charming, good-looking, Asian male professional.  Maybe I've never dated an Asian guy before, or maybe I have, either way, I know that maybe there's a chance he's never dated a black woman before, and so we have to proceed with caution.  But alas...I see a flash of gold on his left hand, and very soon he confirms he's married with children.

At this point, it doesn't matter how nice of a guy he is or how good-looking.  He has lost my attention, and he's not getting it back.  Sure, I'll take his business card and maybe even call his office if I'm genuinely interested in whatever his company does, but for now, he may as well have shown up with his wife, his mother, his cranky grandmother, and all of his kids in tow.

Asian men, for most black women, you are still new territory

Don't let the growing popularity of AMBW fool you, nor the seemingly overwhelming interest from black women.  This is still new territory for most black women (as well as Asian men) and so - as many bloggers keep pointing out - we all have to come correct.  Because getting each other's attention is hell of a lot easier than keeping it.  As usual, I can only really speak as a black woman on this.

#1 - Um, you need to be single...as in completely unattached

This sort of goes without saying.

On his blog, Jaehwan repeatedly mentions his Asian friends who really like and often date black women.  He should've armed those guys with his brochures and business cards, and then sent their asses to the diversity meetings.  He could've knocked two birds out with one stone: hooked his friends up and acquired potential clients.

To be a nice, single Asian guy is to already be new territory for most black women.  To be a nice, married Asian guy - with kids, no less - is to be on another planet.  Especially when you're a man like Jaehwan, who's married to an Asian woman, and whose love for Asian women knows no bounds.  Because while a man like him is talking, the black women in attendance are thinking, "He's a nice Asian man who's married to a beautiful Asian woman with their adorable Asian kids.  Um, what's that got to do with me?  Oh, right...absolutely nothing.  NEXT!!!"

Granted, if the married Asian guy is married to a black woman, he may hold his black female audience's attention a little longer.  They will want to know things, how he and his wife met, how their families reacted, what raising Blasian kids is like, etc.  But eventually...NEXT!!!

#2 - You need to "come correct"

While this also goes without saying, one still has to say what "coming correct" is.

Take me for example.  If a single (as in completely unattached) Asian man is interested in me, he needs to act like it from the get-go.  Which means he can't be "talking" to me and my friend and the requisite heffa who came to a semi-professional setting in a halter top and stiletto heels.  He needs to be talking to me, asking me questions about me, offering to buy me a drink, trying to get my number, asking when he go out to dinner - alone - with me.  Catch my drift?

Men often talk about how the best women are the ones who make them feel like they're the only man in the world.  Unsurprisingly enough, women feel the same way about the man who acts as though all those other women don't even exist.  This is a two-way street, ladies and gents.  You want my undivided attention?  I need to have yours as well.

Now, at this point, some of you are saying, "Well, duh", but as Hateya, myself, and (I think) Lenoxave have pointed out on this blog before, men (black men included) have no trouble doing this with white, Latina, or Asian women.  But for some reason, a lot of them forget that the same applies for black women as well.  We are not the exception to the rules of romantic pursuit.  We have pretty much the same standards and expectations as other women in this regard.  Because most men forget them in our presence, we tend to be a lot more vigilant than other women.  And when a man goes neglecting the crucial steps with us, we tend to get the impression we're not really "women" in his mind, and that he intends to simply use us as a place filler.

Give us that impression, and we're gone.

#3 - Know thy enemy

I'm saying this in humor, of course, but it does help to know the competition.  Assume nothing; guess nothing.  Leave absolutely nothing to chance.  Many black women still do want a black man and will instinctively gravitate towards what's familiar, even if he's married.  Just ask Chris from Everybody Hates Chris.  When the eligible black men seem few, the eager black women seem plenty.

So...if you're a single, eligible Asian man in the situation Jaehwan described above, and you're trying to talk to some beautiful black women, don't just be looking for rings on the fingers of women.  Check for rings on the black men as well, and if they are married, and yet seem to be getting chummy with a woman you're feeling, don't be intimidated.  Don't throw in the towel.  You haven't lost a goddamn thing.  Instead, at every chance you get, feel free to remind these greedy motherfuckers that they are married, and then get your woman out of there right away.  Offer to go buy her a drink, or grab some dinner, or whatever, and keep reminding her how beautiful and wonderful she is every 2-3 steps you take towards the door.

Once again, I'm not saying the ladies' behavior was totally kosher, but as to their reaction to him...I understand.

13 comments:

  1. Um, what's that got to do with me? Oh, right...absolutely nothing. NEXT!!!"

    'Nuff said, IMHO. Talk about the party being over before it started? A ring will do it every time. Mofos need to know that. Next, indeed.

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  2. We are not from another planet. I feel like a damn broken record. I've seen youtube videos on how to approach Black Women, like we're some kind of quadratic equation that needs to be figured out. I'm co-signing this whole post.

    This whole passage below Ankh!

    "Now, at this point, some of you are saying, "Well, duh", but as Hateya, myself, and (I think) Lenoxave have pointed out on this blog before, men (black men included) have no trouble doing this with white, Latina, or Asian women. But for some reason, a lot of them forget that the same applies for black women as well. We are the not exception to the rules of romantic pursuit. We have pretty much the same standards and expectations as other women in this regard. Because most men forget them in our presence, we tend to be a lot more vigilant than other women. And when a man goes neglecting the crucial steps with us, we tend to get the impression we're not really "women" in his mind, and that he intends to simply use us as a place filler.

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  3. "Check for rings on the black men as well, and if they are married, and yet seem to be getting chummy with a woman you're feeling, don't be intimidated. Don't throw in the towel. You haven't lost a goddamn thing. Instead, at every chance you get, feel free to remind these greedy motherfuckers that they are married, and then get your woman out of there right away. Offer to go buy her a drink, or grab some dinner, or whatever, and keep reminding her how beautiful and wonderful she is every 2-3 steps you take towards the door."

    And see for me that would be really telling about both of them. Because if I've already pointed out and established that he's married and she's STILL being more too friendly with him, that would be a red flag for me to cut her loose and keep it moving.

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  4. Because if I've already pointed out and established that he's married and she's STILL being more too friendly with him, that would be a red flag for me to cut her loose and keep it moving.

    Oh, true, true...I'm just sayin': use all shit to your advantage.

    Granted, a woman is more likely to go for the guy who can give her his full attention, not just one-eighth and a weekend.

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  5. How That Diversity Meeting Would Go Down With The Sistah, The Rival Suitor and Yours Truly:

    Neo: What's going on player? You rocking that gold band aren't you? Bad boy shiny. Oh snap, you're married. Congratulations player.

    [Rival Suitor looking flustered I just threw salt on his game]

    Neo: What's the matter player? Marriage is nothing to be ashamed of. [Turns to the Sistah], See unlike a lot of these cats, I'm not afraid of commitment. I'd much rather find one good woman than to weed through legions of bad ones. So no player, nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud. Why you look so flustered? Oh, I get it. You're married to a white girl aren't you? Nothing wrong with that player. Interracial love is a beautiful thing. I think all women are beautiful. Personally my first love are my nubian goddesses like this exquisite one here [points to the Sistah] but no shame if you like a Becky. More power to you.

    Rival Suitor: No-no-nah man. I love black women. I'm married to one.

    Neo: Hold up. You married to a black woman, but you sitting here disrespecting your vows flirting and trying to "network." And you didn't even have the class to take off your ring.

    Rival Suitor- Nah man, I'm just-

    Neo: It's Negroes like you who give the rest of us strong proud black men a bad name. Here I am trying to do it right. Got the college education: two degrees in two distinct fields, I've got my own place, my own car, I love Jesus and my Momma and I'm simply trying to find a good black woman to upgrade me. And you can't even appreciate the treasure you have at home. If I had a woman at home, I'd be spending the rest of my life showing her how special she is.

    Rival Suitor: What-Nah-It ain't like--

    Neo: Negro please. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    [turns to Sistah]

    I apologize. I can't stand to see black women get disrespected. Because as a man I gotta step up and support ya'll. Let me get you a drink. Because he would've had you on Cheaters or something.

    [presses Sistah by the small of her back and escorts her away. Looks back and gives victorious smirk to Rival Suitor]

    [Scene]

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  6. @ Neo

    That was dreamy in every since of the word.

    I want to make this post into a pamphlet and pass it out on street corners.

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  7. You forgot to squeeze "Abrasive Negro" in there somewhere.

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  8. @K, good point.

    And is it me or did I just sum up every Tyler Perry movie in that one scene?

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  9. Neo, this is why you is cool with me. If some women would learn to stop settling for that bullshit and understand that they're worthy of being with SINGLE men, then a lot of this shit would dissipate quick, fast and in a hurry. A man is only as faithful as his options.

    And when a man goes neglecting the crucial steps with us, we tend to get the impression we're not really "women" in his mind, and that he intends to simply use us as a place filler.

    At which point he becomes a dude that needs to get the hell out of my way. NEXT!!!

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  10. another thing to add to #3 know your enemy:

    Some black men will try to interrupt or cut in if they see a man of another race flirting with a black woman. Even when they have no romantic interest in her they still will try to cut in.

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  11. MG,
    OMG! you just described my ex-brother in law. Before and after their marriage,he was very insecure about my sister talking with men of different races,but he didn't care if a Black man did it.Besides other problems they had in their marriage, that was one of the reasons that she gave him his walking papers. She just couldn't take his insecurities anymore.

    It's crazy when Black men like my brother in law react like. If they don't want the Black woman, why try to hold on to them?They should let that ego go.

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  12. @ M & MG

    ~ Some black men will try to interrupt or cut in if they see a man of another race flirting with a black woman. Even when they have no romantic interest in her they still will try to cut in.

    ~ If they don't want the Black woman, why try to hold on to them?

    'Cause we're the Back-Up Plan, remember?

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  13. This blog deserves a standing ovation!

    ReplyDelete

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