Singles in the News: Online dating is ruining our lives and…Are we all sluts now?

The Atlantic makes my life seem hard, but it’s all math and not personal.

“While us men have been taking a browbeating for the past several decades, things are looking up! Those of us who have “made it” have our pick of the litter.” — a commenter on the article, The Worst Cities for College-Educated Women Trying to Find a Decent Date.

Runner up for my favorite comment: “So non college educated men are indecent?”

*Paging Olivia Pope*

“Ashley Madison—the website bearing the tagline “Life is Short. Have an Affair”—has released its ranking of the top 10 US cities for cheaters. It drew its conclusions from its own subscriber base, looking at which cities had the most registered users and, based on its population, the highest per capita membership. The, er, winner? Washington, DC, is king when it comes to would-be adulterers, with some 37,943 registered users and the highest per capita stats—and 30 new subscribers per day, reports the Post.” — The Best City for Cheaters is…Washington, D.C.

There are two Texas cities on this list, but thankfully, Austin is not in the top 10.

But 93% of us would marry for love.

“What are the advantages of marriage? According to the public, it is easier for a married person than a single person to raise a family (77% say so). But in other realms of life asked about in the 2010 Pew Research survey, most people do not think either married or single people have an easier time of it. In fact, about half or more think there is no difference between being married or single in the ease of having a fulfilling sex life, being financially secure, finding happiness, getting ahead in a career or having social status.” – Love and Marriage, Pew Social & Demographic Trends 

In other words, there is no rest for the weary.

So many choices nobody dates in real life anymore.

“The positive aspects of online dating are clear: the Internet makes it easier for single people to meet other single people with whom they might be compatible, raising the bar for what they consider a good relationship. But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?” A Million First Dates: How online romance is threatening monogamy, by Dan Slater at the Atlantic

You have read some of my thoughts on my own personal disaster with online dating. I think it’s important to mention here, as I have elsewhere, that online dating for black women sucks the hardest and is the biggest waste of time. There is research to back up my personal claims: UC Berkeley found that black women had the hardest time finding a mate online, since men essentially exclude black women from their choices, regardless of their race. OKCupid changed my life with their data showing that black women are often ignored, basically, in online dating.

I mention these links, facts and statistics mostly to point out that I have never found it “too easy” to meet someone new. And I think most women would agree with me. I know a dozen black women who would also agree with me. But as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, black people who want to date online aren’t necessarily going to OKCupid anyway — it’s just us interracial inclined women, apparently.

Anyway, I think that there’s some truth in this article, and I’m curious about Dan Slater’s book. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

“Have I been using that word (slut) wrong this whole time?”

“Not that I’m a prude, I’ve got enough Cinemax-quality bedtime stories to keep me warm well into my dotage, but is there really no difference between being a self-aware woman making healthy sexual decisions on her own terms and being a big slutty slut?” – So We’re All Sluts Now? by my dear After Plumcake

I can’t even find the best smarty pants thing to say about her post, because it’s fantastic.

Dealing with Rejection at Hope from Nope

A friend of mine wrote about this guy, who has been shoring up his tolerance for rejection on his blog, Hope From Nope.

He’s experimenting with asking for things and hearing no a lot. I love it. He has really great insights that are pretty useful. It turns out he’s married, but this is what he says about asking a woman out to dinner:

Rejection hurts, and the fear of rejection cripples. One of the most dreaded rejections comes from romantic settings, where people often associate rejection of the request (going out on a date) with rejection of the person. That’s why many people are very afraid to approach the opposite sex with romantic requests.

In term of romance, although I am not a relationship or pickup expert, as a person in a blissful marriage, I gained some perspective in this request. Whether or not I get a ‘yes’ here doesn’t change the fact that my wife loves me and is very attracted to me. That’s really all that matters. Moreover, even in a hypothetical world where I still hadn’t met my wife yet, it still doesn’t change the fact there is a woman (my future wife), who is a perfect match for me, would love me and be attracted to me. I just haven’t met her yet. So even if I get rejected 100 more times, I shouldn’t be discouraged, because I simply need to keep looking to find my wife.

Learning: When you get turned down with a date request, don’t equate rejection with the idea that you are not attractive. You just haven’t met your match yet. Keep looking!

Well, easy for him to say because he’s married. But…noted!

The costs of being single vs. being married

As you might know firsthand, it ain’t pretty.

Today at the Atlantic, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, (who run Onely, which I just found out about and I love!) break down the costs of being a single woman, compared to that of a married woman. The article says that unmarried women pay as much as a million dollars more than their married counterparts for taxes, healthcare and more.

Bella DePaulo, author of Singlism and singles expert and I agree that if someone had told me the cost of being a single woman compared to a married one was this high, I would have thought it was too much.

Which is incredible and not at all surprising, but sad. Because it’s one thing to think that singles are deformed in some way if they’re not in relationships past the age of 21, but it’s quite another to have had those opinions legislated into the tax code and Social Security laws of our nation – and a nation that supposedly loves individualism at that!

Lest one think that legalizing same sex marriage would solve the problem, Arnold and Campbell point out that it would only be a solution for a few:

U.S. Federal Code Title 5 Part III says: The President may prescribe rules which shall prohibit… discrimination because of marital status. Yet more than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples. Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. The U.S. government is the main perpetrator, but private companies follow its lead. Thus marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives. Insurance policies—ranging from health, to life, to home, to car—cost more, on average, for unmarried people compared to those who are married. It is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status. And so on.

What I love is about this is that it is objective data and reporting, not subjective storytelling about single life. Arnold and Campbell make the point that marriage is promoted as a social good, despite the fact that Dr. DePaulo and others have made the case that there is little difference qualitatively in terms of health or families that there is much difference between the lives of singles and married folks.

The other important point that they raise here, among many others is that with subjective writing – this blog, my book and other relationship/dating blogs – there is often the sense that we are just bitter. (I have heard that word leveled against me and this blog more than once, actually.) But I love how they put this:

“As two straight women with no desire to get married, we are not against marriage per se. We’re not callous and repressed man-haters. We’re not bitter about ex-boyfriends who cheated or tried to teach us the correct way to pour laundry detergent (ok, well maybe a little bitter about that last one). We’re not even necessarily uncomfortable with the institution’s arguable gender expectations and socio-political history. We just don’t much care whether we’re married, or not. But governments and corporations do.”

If you drink, you might want to get out the good liquor for this one. Not to spoil the ending, but it is a sobering and sad bit of news. It’s ironic, too, because I was just starting to think about my taxes again and the cost of being a self-employed single writer. Oh, look, it’s already wine-o’clock…

Comic Emily Hartridge lies a little bit about loving the single life

(There’s a little profanity in it, folks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s probably only funny because it’s kind of true? Also, if I’m going to shoot video next year, and I think I might, don’t expect me to dance in my pajama pants. h/t The Good Men Project)

It’s your anniversary: Reflections on Year One

There is nothing like standing in the middle of a crowd and feeling utterly alone.

The loneliest I have ever felt has been standing in a room full of dressed up people, my mind somewhere else entirely, my heart aching for something, though I couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be.

A year ago, against the backdrop of other life changes, I started Single & Happy. It was initially called Single, Happy & Free for like, two weeks, but that seemed to be rubbing it in. And the tag line for months was about statistics be damned, because I was really angry about all of the stories in our culture that shame black women in particular for being successful, having standards and yet, somehow still being unfit for companionship.

I didn’t really want to write a book about it. I said I did, but I prayed for different guidance. A lot of people like the idea of mavericks, of people who say the thing that folks think but won’t write or talk about in public, but being one, going against the popular culture stream is something I didn’t think was in the cards for me.

Meanwhile, I had tried all of the online dating sites with the exception of a few, but what I learned after spending money I didn’t have to waste was that while there are all kinds of people who can find companionship that way, it wasn’t for me. I was also angry that no matter where I went — from my therapist’s couch to meetings with supervisors to happy hours and picnics —  the world reflected back to me what I believed about myself: I was not enough. I needed to get a partner. Sure, happiness and solitude – yeah, whatever! But you are a shell of a woman without a romantic relationship.

It was an incomplete story. I fleshed out what I was feeling and reacting to by reading books, like Samhita Mukhopadhyay‘s Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life, and Ralph Richard Banks’ Is Marriage for White People? and Florence Falk’s On My Own: The Art of Being A Woman Alone and Patricia Hill Collin’s Black Sexual Politics, among others. I could see how relationships for other black women in the past, the memorable ones, my heroes – Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth – had never been in the foreground for historians.

It turned out that Harriet Tubman was married a few times. How come I had only ever seen her pictured alone?

I learned that there is more than one way to find love, to be happy and fall in love with oneself while also reframing the discussion about what it means to be single.

For years, I had heard that single black women, and later, their white, breadwinning counterparts, were all these things: emasculating, overbearing, too fat, too dark, too much of everything. Those degrees would not keep us warm at night. That weave looked nice on a video hoe, but a man can’t run his fingers through that. Go natural if you want, but for some men, that makes you look too mannish. Too strong.

Too everything.

The message: These black women don’t know how to treat a man. “You don’t know how to let a man be a man.” Maybe you won at life by surviving all the things black women have to. But you have failed at matters of the heart. You have failed at the ultimate prize of womanhood: to be chosen. To be accepted, for life, in marriage.

And this: By succeeding, moving forward, we are making the brothers look bad.

And we are not alone. This year, I took note of the increasing rhetoric of the End of Men debate. What is a man without full ownership of patriarchy, when women are allegedly snatching up all the jobs and the money (spoiler alert: we are not). Why can’t white women, too, have it all – the partnership, the great job, the freedom and the money? Well, white follows black. So, welcome, sisters, to the reality of life as a black woman.

You can have most of “it,” whatever “it” is. But you will get called out for being something other than a woman. Insecure, mean-spirited, disenfranchised, coddled boys will find ways to remind you that you are only worthy when a man puts a ring on it. Which, as we know from the many stories of relationship mayhem, divorce and tragedy that circulate through our headlines, is just not true.

But I created Single & Happy thinking that I would keep it private until I could figure out what I was really trying to say, while I worked on a little book that I thought might actually be of service to some other folks. It turned out that I was right, that I had friends around the world who agreed with me, and when they didn’t, had reasonable arguments to the contrary.

I’m more Eeyore than Pooh or Piglet on any given day, so the Single & Happy title could often be read as a misnomer. But because of y’all, it is almost always true. Thanks for reading and for visiting. Looking forward to another year of sharing and commenting and dancing a little to old songs from the 90s with y’all.

Single and Divorced: When You Feel Like You Failed At Love

I’ve been competitive since I was young.

I was never the biggest, strongest or even fastest at anything in particular except for things that don’t bring immediate gratification and worldwide prestige: board games like Scrabble, for instance, or reading a lot of books fairly quickly.

When I was an athlete in high school and college, I used sports to channel my aggression. But I hated to lose, and I sometimes lashed out at my teammates on the crew team when we caught a crab during the Head of the Charles or when my chatty teammates and I got left behind at a regatta in Saratoga Springs.

Losing was for losers. I was a winner. I wanted to win. All the time. Before Charlie Sheen.

So when I meet divorced singles, I have a special place in my heart for them. (For a long time, by the way, I was convinced that the divorce rate was at an all-time high, but it appears that in America, at least, it’s been falling.)

I can relate to the freedom that comes with finally acknowledging that something is not quite working and the relief of shedding a situation that is toxic and heartbreaking. I always imagine that the end of a relationship comes much sooner than the actual technicalities and expenses of a divorce.

And no one gets married thinking that they will probably get divorced, do they? So I can feel the full arc of how that disappointment must settle into the bones, from being so in love and totally committed to a journey with this person and then, the realization that you made a wrong choice, that this person is not ready for you, that you are not ready for this person.

I have dated a few divorcees and a number of my friends are divorced. Only a few of them that I know of are at the point where they are ready to remarry, if they haven’t already. I mention this in the context of feeling like a failure only because I can tell from the way they hold their heads, some of the weariness and restlessness that settles in during our conversations that it weighs on them. I don’t think the grief that arises from a divorce is unlike the death of a loved one. Marriage is an investment and a relationship we hope will hold us for the rest of our lives, so when it ends prematurely, or even on the best of terms, it must feel like losing and failure.

It was a relief to me to give up being so competitive, but it took awhile and some maturity and learning to fail without taking it personally. It is a weight off my shoulders to know that I shouldn’t expect to win at everything, that sometimes losing and walking away with a smile is better than winning. Winning in a broken marriage or relationship might look like love and a relationship built on a foundation of “all those years” but I wonder if that’s how it ends up being for divorcees?

The Gen. Petraeus scandal and what it means for singles

I have been trying to avoid the Gen. David Petraeus situation, but this weekend, I succumbed just a little bit.

Over at Foreign Policy, Rosa Brooks’ Sex and the Modern Soldier, explores whether the military has a woman problem — it appears that it does — and if the conservative culture leads to more infidelity:

Officially, military culture tends to smile upon marriage and frown upon singleness. The military provides married personnel with benefits not available to single personnel, and even today, officers often feel that remaining unmarried is regarded as professionally suspect (not just because it may raise suspicions of homosexuality — for senior male officers in particular, a wife has historically been considered a must-have accessory, needed in her hostess role as much as in her role as companion). But ironically, the military’s very “pro-marriage” culture may lead to a higher incidence of divorce and marital problems.

The idea that unmarried leaders are professionally suspect is embedded in more than just the military. Unmarried women in public life are generally regarded with suspicion (Sonia Sotomayor and Condoleezza Rice come immediately to mind) and perhaps because of the sheer number of sex abuse cases that have emerged in recent years out of the Catholic Church, so are unmarried men.

I wonder if those of us who make Gods of our leaders, especially those who serve in the military, aren’t partially to blame for a culture that supports the lavish treatment conferred on Gen. Petraeus and his peers. Former defense secretary Robert Gates is quoted saying: “There is something about a sense of entitlement and of having great power that skews people’s judgment.”

The inference is usually that concern for one’s spouse (also love, respect, honor) should factor into any judgment, but clearly that’s not always the case.  Is it that the moral bar, then, is too high for those we would consider our heroes? Men like Petraeus often pledge to serve God and country, like church leaders. Here’s what Albert Mohler says about the importance of being married for church leaders:

I would base my argument on the most normative New Testament texts that describe the pastor. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the Apostle Paul presents Timothy, and thus the church, with this instruction:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Now that scandals like Petraeus’ have become unfortunately commonplace, it seems worth asking whether keeping up appearances ends up being more harmful than useful in relationships. Any why do we harp on the sexual aspect of a man’s disgrace during these affairs instead of all the other flaws?

At Feminism and Religion, Martha Mount Shoop’s “The David Syndrome?” reflects on what scandals like the Petraeus affair mean for women:

I’ve wondered off and on whether working closely with men who have power in institutions built on male models of power is ever safe for competent and capable women.  The competitive ethos that patriarchy encourages seems to make everyone the object of conquest.  And when a woman is the object of conquest, sexual conquest may often still be the most direct path to victory.

For unmarried people, then, just being in close proximity to power or even trying to acquire some of their own, also means setting themselves up for a higher probability of being ensnared in messy relationships — as if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

Three things I love about my married and coupled friends

(OK, really four things, because they don’t say all these things to me while swilling wine and so I love them for that.)

I don’t dance in public. It’s not because I don’t like fun, either, or because I dance like Urkel.

OK, so maybe I’m not too far from dancing like Urkel. In high school, somebody told me that because Judith Jamison is a distant relative. I hope Skip Gates or somebody can help me confirm or deny one day. But the notion made me think that I could somehow make up for my lack of physical grace with sheer willpower and practice.

Except…I used to fall down. A lot. I would trip on air. So, yeah. Thankfully, this was before the era of everyone taking video of everything. In my mind, I was a graceful Alvin Ailey dancer. In real life, my friends praised my better traits: write more!

So, I dance in the house a little bit. I do it to entertain my dog. Other than that, no dice.

But a college buddy invited me out to dinner recently and said there would be dancing afterwards to the 70s, 80s and 90s hits. I was plotting an escape before I got there, all through dinner. It’s inconvenient to not have any excuses when you’re single to just get up and leave.

Aside from the twitch above my eye when I considered that the 90s are now included as oldies, I told myself that maybe I would be game for a little dancing. Even in public. Because: fun.

At dinner, I met her friends, a black couple that has been married for 37 years. They have nine children together. They looked like they were in their 40s and I didn’t ask how old they really were. The wife was a talkative and slender little thing who pulled her hubby on the dance floor and put me and my much younger friend to shame.

It was the way they were looking at each other as they danced — like there was no one else in the room — that almost got me choked up. During a transition from the early 70s to the late 70s,  “Who’s That Lady?” came on.

“Y’all don’t know nothing about this here,” she said to me and my friend. “This is back when men knew how to treat women. When a man would pull out your chair and everybody in the place knew that you were his lady.”

All me and my friend could do was shrug. We were born in the wrong era, clearly, if we cared so much about chivalry. This, we know.

Our dancing relationship advisor/married O.G. then added, “Men will treat you how you expect to be treated, no matter what. You have to expect it.”

The things we know but we still need to hear from our elders.

If the end goal is for you to find a love of your own, or multiple loves, take advice from people who have made the type of relationship you ultimately want in your life work. This is part of what annoys me about relationship experts who are single or have been married multiple times. Sure, they know what works to some extent in the “dating game” — if you look at it that way — but if they know it, so does every single.

The differences between us and them is that they know how to listen to their intuition and market what worked for them then sell it as The Only Advice You’ll Ever Need. Maybe that Pick Up Artist/Game crap will get you laid in the short-term, but no person worth having in your world should have to be gamed and tricked into being a part of your life.

I got to spend sometime with my sister recently, too, which had me thinking about my coupled friends a lot too. She’s been happily married for 20 years. I love talking to her about relationships because I feel like I get so much insight into how to deal with conflict or challenges in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones.

But talking to her during the race made me think about the things I love about my married friends.

1. They give me a clear-sighted understanding of the rosy sounding lifelong commitment: So if you have a difference of opinion with your lifelong companion, apparently you can’t act out like some of these ladies on reality TV shows and expect not to come home to an empty bed in the morning. Commitment is about abiding in a relationship and working on it. I still have flashbacks to Isaiah Washington’s character going off in Love Jones when he says that everybody talks about falling in love, but few people talk about how to stay there. Love, to me, is trust. Everything else is a sham.

2. If you have mentors for your career and your personal life, why not have some for relationships? Denzel and Pauletta Washington, for instance, just celebrated 29 years of marriage. Barack and Michelle Obama, of course. My sister and her husband. There’s no way I can possibly know what those partnerships are like day in and day out, so it’s easy for me to romanticize what an actual life partnership would be like. I’ve been single for years now, which is cool, but it makes me worry that the work such love requires will be suffocating and exhausting. But seeing examples in our culture of partnerships that have weathered everything from trauma to extreme fame helps me at least visualize the kind of love I want in my life.

3. They love to tell me about what life was like when they were single & they all hated it! Ok, so in this way, they’re a little like my homegirl in the video. This is not always wistful or yearning or real talk. Every now and then, I’ll hear, “Oh, it used to be so great to walk into the house and yell, ‘Hello?’ and get no answer.” Most of the time, though, my coupled friends will give me a bro hug and say, “You couldn’t pay me money to be single. Good luck.”

Do you have married or coupled friends who inspire you? Do they give you unsolicited/solicited advice on dating and single life?

Why black women can’t afford to be shamed for being single

Earlier this year, I was reading Health First! The Black Woman’s Wellness Guide and these figures gave me pause.

2010 Census Figures for Marital Status among Black Women in America

7,492, 890 Never Married
4,170,470 Married
792,263 Separated
1,422,370 Widowed
2,173,815 Divorced

53 percent of American women are married and living with their spouses, compared to 44 percent of Black women, who are more likely to be single heads of household. Single mothers of color are more likely to be poor than any other women.

…the average Black single mother has no assets; she has a median net worth of zero dollars, compared to $6,000 for a White single mom.

So, basically, it’s already expensive enough being a black woman & we don’t amass any more wealth when you add shaming to the mix:

“Lifting as we Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future,” also found that nearly half of all single black women have zero or negative wealth, meaning their debts exceed all their assets; one-fourth of single black women have no checking or savings account; and only 33 percent of African American single women are homeowners. Mariko Chang, independent consultant and author of “Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It,” notes that the legacy of the racial wealth gap is largely to blame for the discrepancy.

“So much of the racial wealth gap that occurred in our history is still really alive,” Chang said. “Because of both discrimination and a gender pay gap, black women, in particular, lack a lot of the traditional wealth safety nets that other groups have access to. Because of their lower earnings, and also because of the types of jobs they have – service jobs, for instance – they’re less likely to have fringe benefits, retirement accounts, paid vacation days. If they face unemployment, illness or any kind of negative economic shock, they just don’t have that cushion.”

I would like it very much if we lived in a post-racial, post-racist society, but unfortunately, the racial and class disparities that affect me as a black woman interfere with my ability to “just get married” to solve my financial problems — even if I were the kind of woman to marry for money, which I’m not.

When they only date white girls & other musings on interracial dating

The drawback of being a creative person is that sometimes you have a thought & it just will not leave your skull.

I have a good spidey sense, so I can usually tell when I meet a man who has been believing that Psychology Today hype about black women being mannish or whatever. Still, it’d be nice to have some kind of hand sign, T-shirt, or whatever that would separate the WODAWGS — Will Only Date A White Girl — from other potential suitors.

Taye Diggs. Still fine.

I’m about to start reading  Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed by Christelyn D. Karazin and Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, so the question of interracial dating has been on my mind. The book seems to be a guidebook for black women who date interracially, which has been a hot topic in most media focused on single black women.

Specifically, I noted that Ralph Richard Banks’ book, Is Marriage for White People? was the most recent work to remind black women to broaden their dating options:

Banks writes with acuity and directness about the costs of that loyalty to black women who are most negatively affected by man-sharing and its consequences. He also mentions the skewed online dating market, where white men basically exclude black women outright (through silence or an explicit preference not to date us). He also offers a more balanced, objective viewpoint of how black women basically keep themselves from finding happiness in interracial relationships. Banks’ central thesis is that by dating outside of the race and marrying outside of the race more often, black women may save black love.

The reason it would be helpful to know if people only date within their race, though, is because you can’t ever take for granted that you’re not being fetishized as a black woman. And all of this talk about black women trying to get chosen because they’re so desperate, unfortunately, builds the mythical case that if a single black man is within a 50 mile radius, the nearest single black woman will hunt him down & trap him, Black Widow style.

As if you can make someone who doesn’t want you or anyone who looks like you in the first place want to date you with the stench of desperation alone.

When I was younger, I had a very simplistic glare reserved for black men who only dated white women — as if it were a personal assault against my very existence. I think my internal rationale was: One less date for me and what is wrong with me, anyway?  instead of Um, you can have that one, I’m good.

I believed that the person you chose to be with was a reflection of what you desired in yourself. And I desired (and still desire) black men. But at some point, particularly when I lived on the West Coast, I was surrounded by so many black men who were dating outside of the race that I became immune to it and finally just accepted that grown folk are allowed to choose their own mates. Eventually,  the presence of black men who only dated white women to the exclusion of other races (particularly black women) stopped hopping on my last nerve.

That only happened, though, once realized that I had limited my options based on what they were when I was younger. I didn’t date white guys until I was out of college, and even then, only sporadically. When I ventured into interracial territory, let’s just say it wasn’t as smooth as Something New made it seem.

I thought a lot of white men in popular culture were hot (looking at you Richard Gere) but because I never saw images of them with black women (there were rare exceptions…Iman and David Bowie, for starters) somehow the concept of white men who found black women attractive  seemed…distant. The kicker? I was shocked to discover that random black men (usually the ones who didn’t date black women!) felt some kind of way about that. Apparently, they, too, had a gaze reserved for black women who dated outside the race.

News reports say that the number of people dating and marrying interracially is creeping up as the taboo associated with dating outside the race starts to fade:

About 24% of African-American males married outside their race in 2010, compared to 9% of African-American females. However, the reverse is true for Asians, where about 36% of females married outside their race compared to 17% of male newlyweds. And intermarriages for white and Hispanic people do not vary by gender, researchers found. Intermarriages also vary by region. In Western states, about one in five people, or 22%, married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010. That drops to 14% in the South, 13% in the Northeast and 11% in the Midwest. Interracial dating services have also cropped up online, offering those looking for love an opportunity to find their preferred matches.

I only have anecdotal evidence. Among my friends, I would say four out of 5 of the married black women I know have partners who are not black. Most of my friends are a little on the maverick side, granted, but still. Those are pretty interesting statistics. I’m interested in hearing from y’all about your interracial dating experiences. If you only date a particular race, why is that? And if you date interracially, have you noticed that society has become more accepting? I’ll be back with a review of Swirling shortly.

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