Monday, December 1, 2008

Optimistic Compared To What?

A woman who was and still is considered to be a "dime piece" to many who know her, confided to me recently that she has "given up on love". I was confused that she of all people (who I figured could have anybody she wanted) could come to such a conclusion. She lamented in the fact that her 42nd birthday is approaching and she has never been married. To make matters worse, she (who you would think has men clawing at her front door) has been dateless for the past few weekends. I didn't understand at all. I have a male friend who has often said that when you find a woman like that, she's probably crazy.

While I have found his theory to be true in more than a few cases, I don't find it to be completely true in this woman's case. She broke it down for me and said... Now, at age 41, most of the guys she has met are either married or lying about being married (so they can make her a jump off), or they are divorced or separated (angry at the world) and not eager to get into another serious relationship or divorced or separated and wanting to test the waters to see what's "out there" and date a score of women. She does not have time for any of these men in her current life, she says.

I pointed out all of her positives to her... she has a degree and is just months away from completing a second degree... she has raised two very mature and responsible young men... she has a comfortable home, a good job, and a nice car... all positives in the search for a man. Basically, I meant that she was free to focus on getting a man more so than a lot of other women her age who have to focus on other things such as education, employment, and child rearing.

She said that all of those things sounded good but then, on top of all that, there was the problem of being able to find a guy who could bring as much "to the table" as she had on it. I have heard all of this argued and written about before. I told her in despite of all that, there might be someone out there who is at the exact same point in their lives as she is and that it was a sin to just cash in on all of her options. I hate when I'm attempting to give someone hope and they keep shooting me down... especially, when they use my life as an example to do it.

For instance, she said that I had found and married my soul mate while I was in my twenties. (I was actually 30 when I said "I do" but, who's counting?) She noted that she has already missed out on 20 years that she could have had with a husband to help raise her sons and help out with other things. I informed her of the incredible upside she had right now and that 41 is not old as in, you're ready for the retirement home. I told her that she still has another 20-30 years of living to do with a man and that it would be better this time around because she wouldn't have to struggle to raise a child, buy that first home, or get an education. She and "whoever" she wound up with would be free to just "live" now. I told her that she had a wonderful opportunity and not to squander it.

I asked her if she ever considered dating younger men and she informed me that she'd been there, done that, and that they had "mother issues". She said, "I've raised two boys and I'm not trying to raise a third." I then asked her if she has considered dating outside of her race. She said that she has done so a few times and found that all men have the same issues, regardless of race so, race wasn't the issue. I was glad that she brought that part up. So many people have so many stereotypes about someone of another race being better for them just because they are another race and that is not the cause. If it is so, it's because they are a better person and that's the long and short of it... not what they look like (another topic for another blog post).

She thanked me for making everything seem better and she said, "Your wife is so fortunate to have such an optimistic man that always sees the glass as half-full rather than half-empty." (This is something that my wife has often said about me herself... the optimistic part, not the fortunate part. Just kidding-lol.) I was getting the impression that my argument was not convincing to her at all. I guess it is pretty rough being a single female in your forties. Perhaps, I am a bit too optimistic but, what is the alternative?

25 comments: said...

Hello there Keith!!

There are sooo many dime pieces who do not have husbands or partners in the pews each and every Sunday. I counsel sooooo soooo many lonely sistas who lament that there is a scarcity of men out there who are husband material.

It's really not true. There are plenty of men who are husband material out there. I have met many eligible men (different races). I am not married for ONE reason....I never made marital status a priority.

I have noticed that many women I talk with have the WRONG concept of the elements that matter for longevity in a relationship.

They THINK that having a gorgeous home that they bought by themselves, and a trendy car and a fabulous wardrobe and banging body, and pleasant personality IS ALL that is needed to have droves of men interested.

Maybe so... but NONE of those things will cause a man to fall in love and REMAIN in love for a lifetime.

Just ask the twice-married, twice-divorced Halle Barry...or the jilted by Leon, Jane Kennedy (who was WORLD famous for her looks and sweet personality).

I don't want to go on and on but I listen to TOO many women who don't understand that the superficial things are nice but THAT is not what keeps a marriage on fire for 20 and 30 years.

Having a nice personality only the surface...a nice personality is NOT THE SAME as having a strong character.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Anonymous said...

I agree that there really is no alternative that is worthwhile but to be optimistic. I have lived the alternative and its really not a great place to reside.

Now I admit I haven't been single in well over a decade, but I do know that holding onto a rigid list of requirements seems a surefire way to stay single. No, I am not saying settle for any man, but women IMO tend not to be realistic in their wants in a partner.

Sometimes you gotta get a diamond in the rough, I mean look at the Obamas. From all I have read, I doubt Barack looked like a catch when Michelle hooked up with him. He may be president-elect now, but he could just as well be a highly educated low paid community organizer still driving a beater with holes in his shoes.

Sunflower said...

Good Morning Keith, As usual you are thoughtful and well spoken in your post. I so agree with Black Womanblow the trumpet..It's not the
superficial that counts, but the
charactor in the long run. Good beginning point..Now we must go deeper.

Angie B. said...

It's tough being a single sista..I
have been through the same challenges and struggles your "dime
peice" has been through. I'm tellin's rough.

Toni said...

I love this blog, I just love it..You go into so many different places on this's not just one thing..I'm really feeling this post. It speaks to my existence right now.

Lisa said...

Hi Keith, Blackwomenblow the trumpet is absolutely right...Good looks can't keep a man, neither can
fast sex, a good house and an education.. In the long run, I guess you have to have strong charactor and an ability to get along with the man...I'm still working on that last one.

Halo said...

Heyyy Keith, good post..another one..I think this is going to resonate with a lot of women..Especially African American
women..We are just hard pressed to find marriagable men now of days..
There is so much game playing in relationships now of days.on the part of both parties,men and women.
I hope you touch on that in a future post.

James Perkins said...

Good Post brother. I know a lot of women like the one you described
who are drop dead gorgeous and are
dateless on Saturday Night...It really is a strange phenomenom.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Yo Brother,send some of em my way!
lolololol, just kidding.

Simon Bastion said...

Great Post Keith. Interesting perspective is all I'll say. I would like for you to get deeper into this in another post also.

Tate2 said...

Hey man...A lot of those women you talk about in your post don't have men because they are in fact too superficial and materialistic..IE-
High Maintenance...At least this has been my experience.

Anonymous said...

Maybe your "savior" Barack Obama can pass some legislation and do something about this.-lolololol..
You haven't mentioned him in your past four posts...So I'm going to let you off the hook.

Keith said...

@anonymous- obviously it's attention that you want...For someone so oppossed to Brack Obama's name being mentioned, you seem to mention him a lot..Do not come to my blog again you coward and if you insist on making your little stupid comments..I'm going to just delete them.

Vanessa said...

Good Post Keith, Like the other women who have commented I have certainly had my challenges on the dating scene...I haven't given up yet. That "optimism" thing is the only thing keeping me going right now.

Strongblkwmn said...

Another good one. You always come up with the best topics.

Most of my single girlfriends seem to be extremely frustrated, but none of them want to settle. I think that's a good thing. Settling for less is a terrible thing. I feel for them. It's rough out there. I don't know what I would do if I was suddenly single.

CurvyGurl said...

There are a number of reasons we lose optimism, but I think reality smacks women in the face around the 37-45 age range. You look around and think "uh oh, how did I lose so many years?".

I understand what your friend means, but I tend to lean on the thought that if I've given up on finding a mate, I've given up on myself.

It's complicated...

Raven said...

Hmmm...this is a hard one. I don't think women should settle for any old thing, but (please don't kill me sisters) I do see friends pass over men that really are great, but their job holds no they let them go in favor of looking for the man with the portfolio (which means nothing right about now). I can understand wanting a man to be on equal footing, but sometimes I do see friends missing out.

**Oh well...I guess I should hush...I'm married and don't have to deal with least that is what I am told.

Raven said...

Um...big you have a Stan?

The Dreamy One said...

Does this anonymous person have nothing better to do with themselves than to make idiotic comments? from what i see evidently not.

ok onto your post. i think that we as black women will not wait on the one that is meant for us. the one that is special sent from God. theres someone out there for everyone. unfortunately we as women pass up the one that we think dont fit our qualifications. that man might be staring them in the face but we dont give them a chance.

thats my spin on it. she will just have to wait her season again. cause you know that is how God operates. hopefully she will get it right when its her turn again!!!

Terry said...

Well I’d like to be pragmatic about this but I won’t.

As a man in his forties who dates women in their late thirties and forties I will say that I do see a trend. It’s one with a double edged sword. On one hand, women who are older tend not to “settle”. That of course is a good thing. On the other hand however, they can often be searching for something that might not exist for them.

Nothing is ever perfect. As fantastic as you marriage is Keith, I dare say that you would not proclaim that all things are always just as you like. No man who has been married to such a lovely Bride for such a long period of time can say so.

Relationships as we all know, are a matter of give and take. As we get older, that becomes a more challenging task. There’s a story in there somewhere about old dogs and new tricks.

In order for anyone to find someone, (me included), often we have to be realistic with ourselves. Not everyone will always be all things. And we shouldn’t expect them to be.

One might say that perhaps I’m advocating a lower of standards because I would think women too picky. On the contrary, I think they need to be picky. Just be careful what you are picky about.

But what do I know…I’m pushing the short side of fifty and single.

Mizrepresent said...

The only alternative is to broaden your perspective and fine tune your list of what you really want in a relationship at this point in your life. It sounds like the sister knows what she don't want, but hasn't really said what she does want. I look at my parents relationship, my mom's second husband of 40 years and i know without a doubt...that's what i want! I want a partner, a friend, a lover, a buddy, a lifelong mate, for as long as possible, or as long as our happiness endures. So, i've learned to look inside, not that i'm blind to the outside, but what i'm looking for is not so rare, and like any fine jewel just may take some deep exploring.

LadyLee said...

Again, you always have great posts... Really. I like coming over to your spot, because you always make me think.

I am in the category of being a divorced black woman. I've had around six serious relationships in my lifetime. I must say that I realize that anything serious, especially marriage, take A LOT of work, and personally, I really don't know if I'm up to that. So I don't have that desperate yearning that a lot of black women have. True, as a woman, I do desire a mate of my own, but I am real intensely concerned about agendas and motives and watching a man live his life. And I would hope that the man that I decide to be with (if ever), will have that very same standard... Honesty and Integrity are key with me. Character is of the utmost importance. And as you know, we are all works in progress, and we will be chiseling off the rough spots of our character 'til the day we die. So my perfect mate would be a man who has an understanding of that. He is strong where I am weak. Likewise, I am strong where he is lacking.

I agree with CurvyGurl when she says...

"I understand what your friend means, but I tend to lean on the thought that if I've given up on finding a mate, I've given up on myself."

I'd like to add, not only would it mean that I have given up on myself, but I have given up on God. All the blessings, all the prayers he has answered, the path He has had for our lives... surely, we can't give up on Him blessing us with the man He has for us...

Hmm... this dives way over into the condition of our faith. We all got areas where our faith is weak or strong. That "man thang" is one funky gray area for us single black sisters. We won't get into that. I'll be blogging over here ALL day. I may do a post on this.

Again, great post... And why does Mr. Anonymous keep messing with you? WOW.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I recently "hung out" with a guy who is legally separated from his second marriage. Though he has been unfortunate in the love department, he did not hesitate to want me as his third wife. Well, he didn't say it like that. He told me "I wish you were my wife."

I say that to say, not all divorced men run from commitments. Some of them really want to find what they feel they've missed previously. I truly think it's about finding a connection. No matter who he is or what he has. It's not settling, it's being real.

Though I choose not to date any previously married men or men that have stepped into fatherhood, I understand that it is just that: a choice. Those are the two things I am not willing to settle on.

Now, on the flip side, I will date a jobless, carless, moneyless man in a heartbeat AS LONG AS he has aspirations. I am more attracted to a persons goals in life, where he sees himself rather than where he is. We all have to start from somewhere.

I lost my point somewhere along the way, but ummmm, I enjoyed the post.

Thanks for dropping by my blog. It is crazy how we had the same experience in the AF.

Kofi Bofah said...

There is no telling what goes on behind closed doors. All that sparkles isn't always gold. I am guessing that since this woman is actively looking for a man that is 'bringing something to the table' she may have dismissed those that were interested but did not look good on paper and inadvertently repelled those men of her class that may have eerily felt as if they were meal tickets.


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading