The dating scene is hard for everyone. Almost every singleton I know has admitted that although the idea of having a significant other is appealing, the whole ‘build-up’ process leaves little to be desired. The other week I discussed some unhealthy thought processes that single females (who want relationships) sometimes possess without realizing. This week I wanted to focus on my experience as a black alternative female to point out some mistakes that guys make when it comes to pursuing similar females to myself. These little pointers are a result of various complaints from other ladies as well as my own, and may be familiar to a lot of you.
By Tash Vals, AFROPUNK Contributor *
It’s funny how race becomes an issue, when it comes to dating both within and outside of your race – especially if you don’t exactly conform to what is expected of you in terms of being a ‘conventional’ black female. This isn’t an article of things guys do wrong when pursuing a girl, because that my friends would be generalizing. This is more of a guide to things that guys really shouldn’t do when pursuing an alternative black female, based on not only my experiences but a lot of my girlfriends’ too.
- So first of all, if you are of not black, please don’t:
I grew up in the more worse-for-wear part of London, and as a result there are certain guys who feel like they have to live up to my supposed ‘street cred’. Please don’t adopt slang into your vocab when addressing me, and please please please refrain from trying to relate to or comment on how hard it was growing up in ‘the streets’. Unless you actually grew up in that environment, If I don’t even speak like that, there’s no reason why you should!
Make assumptions about our hobbies/interests
One guy I dated once asked who my favourite music artists were. Before hearing my answer he said, “I bet you like Lil Wayne”. No. No I don’t. I gave him my ipod to scroll through and the look on his face as he read a list of a billion obscure bands was priceless. He seemed almost disappointed, as if he wasn’t receiving the full ‘black girl package’ he’d applied for. Sure I like rap, but this doesn’t mean it’s all I listen to, and it doesn’t mean I can twerk. If you think all black girls are into the same stuff, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
Of course everyone should have a sense of appropriation in regards to things like race, sexual orientation and gender, but if you have to keep constantly treading on egg shells and making sure I’m not offended by every little thing, you’re only making the racial barrier more obvious than it needs to be. A work colleague of mine once said that she thought the colour orange looked beautiful on my skin. She then apologized in case she’d offended me! It really isn’t necessary and it only shows us that you’re constantly aware of my race rather than my character and interests.
If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard the words “I’ve never tried a black girl before”, accompanied by a sleazy grin and wandering hands I’d be a wealthy young lady. There are some guys out there who will want to date us because we are black and not in spite of us being black. It’s kind of like a number on their bucket list – something they have to do before they die. It’s incredibly insulting and like the above point draws attention to the fact that our skin matters more than our characters.
- If you are a black male, please don’t:
You’ll find that as a community, some black people let us down by being incredibly judgmental and unsupportive of each other. There’s always something to comment on, be it somebody’s weave, skin tone or build. This is extremely off-putting and in my case, the environment I grew up in was full of black males who never had anything good to say about black females. It has to stop.
Think you are entitled to us
I’ve been in way too many situations where black males have actually insulted me for having dated white males, as if I have no say in the type of man I choose to spend my time with. It is 2013. Most us are mentally and socially adept enough to be able to see people before colour. We as black women belong to ourselves and not black males who like to think otherwise.
Take ‘no’ to mean ‘convince me’
This may just be a personal experience but what I’ve found is that probably 8 out of 10 black males who approach me in that way, pretty much won’t back down the first few times despite being told to back off. It is as if they think that I am trying to be difficult to test their resilience or something! On the other side though, about 8 out of 10 guys of other races tend to back away after the first rejection. The more you harass me, the more I’ll want you to leave me alone. Don’t push it.
Let the media dictate your preferences
It’s fine to have preferences and a ‘type’, but I think we can all agree that in terms of skin-tone especially, a lot of black females are horribly misrepresented – often by black males, sadly. Somehow these negative message get filtered through to our society, thus forming awful stigmas and mistruths that skew the perceptions of our males. You can keep your preferences but at least respect the other options.
I shouldn’t need to point out that these habits do not pertain to all guys of each category. These habits may not be ones that the females reading this article may have even experienced. They are things that do happen and they do cause a lot of offense and so even if you are a guy and can definitely say that you do not display these behaviours, please correct any of your male peers who do.
* Follow Tash on Twitter @ohlookitsTash