There was once this thing considered ideal for an African woman seeking to date an African man.
This thing of tall, dark and handsome.
So let’s be honest, how many of us African/Black women chanced upon this tall, dark and handsome man who was equally caring, unselfish, loving, attentive…blah,blah blah? My guess is none of us. And even if we did get this tall, dark and handsome man, chances were, he might have been lacking in other areas we considered crucial in building a healthy relationship. Unfortunately or fortunately, we were forced back to earth and concluded that a love interest’s character was what mattered as opposed to only how he was supposed to look.
I am a short woman. Just 5’0 tall. In the very recent past, I had never thought anything about my height since I come from a family of short women on my maternal side. But not until someone I considered a love interest seemed thoroughly bothered by my height. In a short duration of time, I got descriptions of pint sized and too short which really caught me by surprise. Nobody had ever seemed bothered by my height in the past. Including those men who felt there was not enough spark to warrant a romantic relationship with me. At least they were polite enough to spare me the bodily criticism.
To make matters even more appalling, the fact that I had recently done the big chop was also a huge cause for concern. Now when an African woman decides to go the big chop way, just know that she has tried just about anything on her African head from braids, to perms, relaxers, color, you name it, to finally settle on rocking her naturally, God given tuft. Here I was, riding on the wave of the natural hair movement and actually starting to really love it when out of the blues someone decided I was a fad follower, had a school girl look and just needed to grow that damn African mane. As if my past experiences trying to figure out this kinky head did not matter at all.
My weight was also a contentious issue. I was flab. For a moment there, I felt like an African female version of humpty dumpty, with barbed wire short strands sticking out of my head. They tell you that a confident woman is never bothered by other’s opinions of her but trust me, when someone decides to attack that very thing that makes up you as a woman, it is bound to cause all kinds of bodily insecurities. And so I was left licking my wounds. Never mind the fact that I had mentioned beforehand how I looked to him and I’m barely plus size but simply, a short woman with a perfectly God given apple shape and short African hair.
This experience got me thinking about how being superficial has actually only served in being detrimental to our love lives. We often times complain as women that there are no good men left out there when in reality, we have this long mental list of standards that we use to gauge a potential mate with. Half of those standards being based on how he looks. I equally know of men who would rather be caught dead dating a dark woman, short woman, fat woman, a woman with tattoos…you name it. And yet, those very same men will sulk and whine that there are no marriageable women nowadays.
This obsession with things appearing on the surface causes us to spend a huge chunk of our dating life analyzing and sifting through men and women trying to match our standards with them. In the process, we forget all about ourselves and whether we are indeed what someone else would call an ideal mate. And all because we have let our superficial standards on others take us down the selfish route.
I’m not trying to suggest that you date the very first person who comes your way that you are thoroughly unsure of. It is perfectly in order to be unsure of some people and especially when you get that deep intuition that this might not work in the long run. However, sometimes and in certain situations, we need to cut potential mates some bit of slack. Otherwise, we will waste our years wearing our critical lenses and bemoaning the fact that we can’t seem to find someone to love us unconditionally.
Do you love yourself in the first place unconditionally or are you simply looking for someone to make you feel good about yourself? That you can walk arm in arm with that magazine, cut out, looking woman and others will acknowledge how much of a good taste in women you have. Or that you will show off your sexy and dapper man to your friends and will almost swear the green eyed monster has paid them a visit.
Indeed some of the couples considered most incompatible are the ones who ended up having the relationships to be admired by many. For them, it was not only a matter of looking at the surface and quickly writing each other off for perceived flaws but being patient enough with each other, to discover that despite what many considered their significant differences, they indeed complimented each other.
This encounter has taught me that despite failing to meet a man’s standards, I do not need to wallow in self pity at this kind of rejection. It has also opened up my eyes to the fact that I need to personally be realistic when considering a potential mate to date. I do not need to tear down their appearance just because I do not feel attracted to their physique. Rather, I need to reject them in a way that does not make them feel inadequate as individuals. Indeed, that which you consider inadequate to you, could perfectly be adequate for another.
I would love to hear if any of you has ever had a similar experience to mine.