Not one to take the easy route, I have decided to make finding love, dating and relationships even harder by being culturally specific. I speak of my search for the elusive Good Black Man, codename: Blake Goodman.
Yes, I too seek this mythical, wondrous creature, similar only to Big Foot or the Loch Ness monster in the rarity of his sightings once a woman passes 30.
First, I have to ask myself if I truly believe that he exists.
A resounded “yes”! I look around and see that many of my friends have one. If you don’t have couples as friends, this might be part of the issue. I know many who are close friends and beautiful human beings, but I have not been asked to be Mrs Goodman (Mrs Goodman-Black; I would double barrel).
I hear he is a shape shifter, and appears to us individually in different guises. I cannot yet describe mine but, according to legend, he will make himself known to me. If you are reading this: flash the pink bauble Tiffany princess cut diamond in platinum set (size K), and I’ll know it’s you.
I am asked the question “where are all the good black men?” incessantly. My first response is, “why do you think I will have the answer to this question, when I am as single as you are?” That said, I have found that there are some great starting places.
I share this because, with three years on the frontlines, I may not be able to tell you how to keep him (boo!) but I can tell you where he might be. Good luck, and if you see me looking at the same man at an event, then may the best woman get the ring. I mean him.
Disclaimer: There were 10 tips but, until I have found him, I figured it best I keep a couple back for myself. I can’t give away ALL my tips now, can I?
1. Church and Community Groups
I would suggest you go slow here and make friends first. Apparently there is some celibacy rumour circulating hence I’ve never attempted it. Circle your prey without him noticing and let him come to your aide. Those hymn books can be hella heavy!
I also recommend branching out into other churches, mentoring or big society based initiatives where people won’t pinch your cheeks and remind you of that time you drank all the communion wine. More than one visit to church will be needed.
2. Social Networking Groups
This is the perfect place to start a conversation. The goal is to identify a common interest and steal him away from the group at your earliest opportunity. If you spot a potential, don’t hang around more than 15 minutes before speaking to him. Know that other women will have also spotted him, and will be on it the minute you pause to breathe (toilet breaks can wait).
I would like to add a warning here: IF you are not interested in iApps or speaking Japanese and have no desire of learning, do not join these groups. You will be sniffed out as a fraud. One Bob Marley album and the Wikipedia page on Rastafari wasn’t enough to see me through.
3. The Net
Facebook et al. now allow you to talk to people in groups, carrying on multiple threads about subjects that are dear to your heart (e.g. why is that Tweedy-Cole still singing?). Having hooked up with my last guy like this, it is an easy way to identify potential. These help you dismiss those who might need sectioning.
Look out for any anger management issues, misogyny and worrying signs of spending way too much time bitching about his ex. Again, do not join the Accrington Stanley F.C. group without being an avid fan.
Don’t be afraid to ping him a friend request or personal message about a clever comment he made on a thread. Hold back on the crazy. Note that anything you say may be used against you later so best you censor yourself a little at first.
If you are paying for an Internet dating service, then treat it like a job. At the height of my dating I contacted five new men a day. I was never without Nandos come the weekend. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask the site how many active members they have of your specific ethnic or cultural group before stumping up your money.
4. University and Night Classes
I know girls who, when they were 18, had the foresight to choose courses which gave them better dating options. If you were studying engineering or maths you were a late-night study-session shoe-in. It highlights a guerrilla approach to getting a man early which I now envy. A night class (or just the open days?), strategically chosen for location and accessibility, is a great place to start. Stay away from flower arranging, knitting, or courses like Car Maintenance for Women.
5. Sporting Events
Not for the faint hearted. Be prepared for a cold, long haul. Please see your doctor before joining your local running club and realising that you may have to run… far. If only I had been so warned.
If you do not know any more about football than you did prior to the World Cup then please only hang out at matches with a friend that does. I suggest male friends as two women screams ‘on the pull’.
Sadly, tomboys can still finish last. Understand that you must never ever know more about his sport than he does. Feign ignorance whilst remembering not to interrupt. This isn’t the time to ask him how many kids he’d like to have. If you really don’t know anything then please, just be quiet. Cheer when they cheer and sneer when they sneer.
Football is a poor choice as the number of Blakes at live games is relatively low. There are more of them in the supporters’ pubs… or try basketball games (it’s warm indoors so your outfit can be justifiably skimpier). Remember that sport is seasonal.
6. Use Your Team
There are only so many events you can physically attend. So you need to utilise your family, friends and work colleagues. This is your unique resource. Ask everyone if they know any potential dates and if they could hook up a low key meeting. This is hard as some people (Mama Black) have no shame or subtlety, but if you are in a specific cultural circle then get your team to work for you.
Start by asking all those happily married or attached black women. They may try to set you up on all sorts of inappropriate blind dates based on random coincidences (you have both been to university, or both have mothers). Be a love and tell them what you want.
7. Business Networks
Business events are perfect for forcing interaction. Business cards at the ready and a 20 second intro on why you are here is all that is needed. You don’t have to own a business. You might just be looking for career progression. A woman with a regular pay cheque looks mighty attractive to a penniless entrepreneur. Give him your card and tell him how you can help his business. He will call. It’s not a date but it is an opportunity.
8. Organise / Help
Being the organiser means that you get to vet all new prospective members of a group, or meet everyone at an event. You can introduce yourself without reserve. If this isn’t your thing then offer to help at an event. Maybe collect the money or be a greeter. Push yourself forward. And smile!
Now go forth and conquer. But most of all, enjoy!