I have a dear friend who explained to me a while back why so many Black women have such a hard time dating out there. She says that because Black women are so devalued in the public eye—the media, etc., we become devalued personally, too. Thus, we don’t have as much romantic currency in North American society as, say, White women.
I don’t disagree with my friend, who is brilliant. Who can argue that Black women are constantly being low-rated in the media, and in rap songs played by trashy Negroes passing by in their 1965 beat-up Buicks that they put thousand-dollar rims on? The negative onslaught is obvious.
My solution to the current Black-on-Black dating situation facing Black women is to encourage Sisters to stop worrying about Black men, and start tending to their own self-esteem. Instead of lowering standards and dating men who are clearly unworthy or worse, sharing a part of a supposed decent man with another Sister, we should start embracing our uppity. I mean, we’ve tried everything else, like throwing our pride to the side–at this point what do we have to lose by celebrating ourselves FIRST?
I’ve already established that I am unabashedly uppity, and that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with smart, fabulous, and super-cute–in fact, I designed the Black Library Girl line of t-shirts to rep that fabulous status (that’s the t-shirt on the right). You can click this link to order one on Zazzle.com.
But I am reclaiming the phrase “uppity”–and trying to make it positive– because I’d like more Black women to be asserting their uppity. Or rather, come out of the closet and admit that they are uppity already, and just hiding because they are afraid of people asking that age-old question all fabulous Sisters are asked: “Who does she think she is?”
Because for the past, like, FOREVER, there has an concerted effort to convince Black women that we don’t have a right to think well of ourselves, especially when it comes to dating. The attitude is, “How dare Black women have self-esteem when the Black community is having such a hard time?” (Like one can’t thrive if the other is doing well.)
As I told my friend, I know who my Master/Mistress is, and that is not the media, Steve Harvey, or some trifling Negro blasting misogynist curse words at me from his stereo speakers in the name of some other trifling Negro’s alleged musical/artistic license.
Above all, I am allergic to desperation when it comes to dating, and this not only includes dating Brothers, but all colors of the male persuasion. But my embracing my fabulousness does not take care of the lack of training that some Brothers have when it comes to approaching, much less “courting” Uppity Sisters.
So I decided to write an Idiot’s Guide for those men—of all complexions, because frankly, the numbers out there speak to shortage of Black men to go around. However, even those Brothers who are there need this training, so for simplicity’s sake, I use Brothers as my first example.
Now, I don’t want anybody to get bent out of shape, so first, let me say, I am not calling anybody an “Idiot.” It’s just a way of writing a reader-friendly handbook.
And also, some men don’t dig women who think well of themselves, so if you don’t dig our kind, this post is not for you. I won’t try to convince you that if you thought well of yourself, you’d want a woman who thought of herself, too. So don’t be leaving mean comments for me below, because it’s not going to change my Uppity opinions, anyway. I say that with the deepest of love and respect.
Ok, let’s break this down. These are just the most important rules, and, I hope, the most obvious.
#1 Uppity Sisters are smart. Get used to it.
It is never a good sign when a Brother enters an Uppity Sister’s living room, sees her bursting bookcases, and exclaims “Dang! You READ all these books?!”
And that’s all I have to say about that.
#2 Uppity Sisters don’t have a shelf life.
Because Uppity Sisters see life as a journey instead of a literal death sentence, they don’t believe that they peak at twenty-five years old and then go downhill after that. An Uppity Sister works on herself, physically, mentally and spiritually. So actually, she’s better in her thirties and forties than she was in her teens and twenties; in fact, she’s grateful to be older and wiser. Yes, she acknowledges that some things are beyond her—like bad perms and spandex. And thank God.
#3 Uppity Sisters are legends in their own minds.
An Uppity Sister does not pretend to play hard to get. She is hard to get. It doesn’t matter how cute you are or how much money you make. It doesn’t matter that the statistics barraging an Uppity Sister tell her that a Black woman has a greater chance of winning the Power Ball lottery while being bitten by a rabid dog on her journey climbing up Mount Everest than getting married to a Black man–an Uppity Sister is not pressed about all that, because she’s got a hustle, self-esteem, and she’s never had a problem attracting men. Ever.
So do not expect that her romantic desperation will work in your favor because she doesn’t have any romantic desperation.
#4 If you don’t have any money, provide some services for an Uppity Sister.
Here’s the deal: nobody cares about whether you can pay your bills and it’s tacky to talk about that, anyway. If you want sympathy concerning your finances, call up your mama.
So, if you don’t have enough money to take an Uppity Sister out to dinner or the movies or the Chaka Khan concert, you need to try planting some flowers around an Uppity Sister’s house, doing three of those four loads of laundry she’s got backed up, or painting that red accent wall in her living room. Think Tea Cake from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Matter of fact, read the book, since it’s on her top ten all-time favorites list, and any man trying to get next to an Uppity Sister needs to be on intimate terms with Sister Zora, a pioneer of the Uppity Brand.
#5 Good sex will not save The Race–great sex won’t, either.
Passing out sex willy-nilly is not one of the responsibilities of being a Race Woman. So stop with the fireside chats about “How to Save Our People”—or “African American Literature”, if you happen to be an English Professor–thinking this is going to pave the way to your getting some. Instead, try “Woman, you are so beautiful, it hurts my eyes,” or–my personal favorite–the old-school maxim, “Girl you are so fine, I will drink a quart of your bath water.”
Because an Uppity Sister has to be told how beautiful she is before moving forward with you.
#6 Do not suggest a casual sex relationship to an Uppity Sister—let her suggest it to you.
Nothing turns off a woman with self-respect more than a man rolling up on her talking about he “doesn’t want a relationship”–even if she only wants a one-night stand.
I mean, lie to me, Pinocchio.
I’m not assuming that there aren’t any sisters out there who don’t just get all mushy inside when a Brother rolls on her with, “Shorty, can I get some?” I’m just saying, none of the Uppity Sisters I know get turned on by that, unless there’s a little role play involved with someone they are already—ahem—well-acquainted with.
An Uppity Sister needs at least the bare minimum of courting before getting romantic, even if it’s just for her peace of mind and pride. So instead of shutting things down, shut up and be nice and you might get a little casual lagniappe, if you’re lucky.
#7 An Uppity Sister does not share a man.
#8 Try a Little Tenderness (Part One)
You don’t demand respect from an Uppity Sister. You love it out of her.
Strong women aren’t strong because they have to be; they are strong because Weak ain’t cute—even Weak-With-A-Man ain’t cute, though sometimes, those Sisters who have been broken down romantically try to convince you how lucky they are to have their piece of a man, even when their misery is screaming a Mahalia Jackson Greatest Hit at you.
A kind, dependable man who loves a strong woman is the man you want to fry chicken for, and by the way, wear very impractical, expensive lingerie at 3 o’clock in the morning for as well. He might even get a sandwich–with the big piece of chicken–and a glass of red Koolaid afterward, too, if he plays his cards right.
I think of that scene in The Color Purple (the movie), where Harpo asks the Brother who is now dating Sophia, his estranged wife, “How you gone let a woman with six kids come out to the juke joint?” (Or something to that effect.)
And the man says to Harpo, “My job ain’t to tell her what to do. My job’s to love her, and take her where she want to go.”
There it is.
#9 Try a Little Tenderness (Part Two)
If you are kind to an Uppity Sister, expect kindness in return—not worship.
Here’s the final, and most important rule: an Uppity Sister doesn’t feel like slobbering all over you for being nice, just because there are a lot of not-nice Brothers out there. She just feels like being nice in return—that’s her responsibility, not overwhelming gratitude for finally finding this rare Canary Diamond of Black Man who actually knows how to act right.
Sidebar: And she shouldn’t slobber all over you to make you feel like a man. That’s the job of your therapist.
Definitely, if you want to get next to her, you need to be nice. That’s both simple and extraordinary, but it’s not because you are A Black Man. It’s because you are extraordinary in and of yourself, no matter what color you are.
And here’s the thing: if she’s an Uppity Sister– a woman who thinks well of herself–it will be so easy for her to be kind back.