I consider myself to be extremely blessed, growing up in a two-parent middle-class home; living with an example of black love and excellence. My mother was married and pregnant with my older brother at my age. I’m sure she looks at me confused, why I’m still single and my idea of a romantic night, is with Netflix, tacos, and of course a bottle of wine. I sometimes think my mom was blessed and escaped all the trials and tribulations of the dating world, especially dating as a black woman.
I often feel like in many aspects of my life I am fighting this war to prove my worth, and succeeding, except when it comes to my love life. My favorite genre to read and watch is Romantic Comedies; I love a beautiful love story. Somehow this hopeless romantic has given up on her own love story. I’m not bitter or an angry black woman, I’m just disappointed.
My parents worked so hard to build up my self-esteem and ensuring I know how valuable I am. It wasn’t until I entered the world when I understood why. Each day there is a subtle reminder, that as a black woman, I’m not good enough. I can’t help but notice that on social media, men glorify every race of women, expect black; admiring all hair textures, except for tight coils. Men seem to love our full lips, curvy shapes, and soulful eyes on everyone, except for black women. I have had a very ethnically diverse upbringing.
I grew up in a Muslim household and had a multicultural experience. At first glance, most people wouldn’t think I am Muslim, and to be fair I don’t always conduct myself in the most Islamic way. When it comes to dating, I’ve had the pleasure of dating three different variations of myself, and each one attracted a different kind of man.
As a hijabi, I suppose there was some type of mystery about me. People assumed I wasn’t Black American, and curious to know about my background. Often the negative image of Muslims in the media kept suitors away. For the others, who pursued me, I placed them in two categories. The first were the ones, who assumed I wasn’t black, and showed their disappointment and disinterest when they discovered the truth. The second were the ones who accepted me and still were interested in dating a black woman. Unfortunately, to my dismay, they always said something to ruin it for themselves. My top deal-breaker lines were, you’re pretty for a black girl, I can tell you have “good hair” under your scarf, and you’re not black, you are Muslim too, so that makes you special. Honestly, hearing those remarks from nonblack men never affected me, but hearing them from black men was disappointing. Although none of them said it, it was obvious being just black wasn’t good enough to deserve their love and affection.
When I decided to come out of hijab, I knew I was ready for a drastic change. I cut and dyed my hair. I left my hair in its the natural kinky state and wanted to announce to the world, yes, I am a Black Woman, and proud of my roots. With this new attitude and style, I noticed I was attracting different types of men. The majority were black men, who loved and wanted to be with a black queen. Everything they did was to express how woke they were, including dating a natural black woman. I often felt that they were more interested in the idea of me than reality. A lot of assumptions are made about black women, with something as simple as hair. Wearing my natural hair, people assumed I was this woke young college student ready to start a revolution. Honestly, I just happen to love my natural hair and wasn’t interested in being a part of any movement. Unfortunately, the young black kings I was talking to never took the time to learn that about me. Instead tried to use me as an accessory piece to their woke persona.
Although I remained with my natural hair, I often decided to straighten my hair or wear a weave. Of course with a less natural look, I once again attracted another type of guy. I do not know exactly how to categorize these men, but I noticed a pattern of similarities. They always spoke about how much they love natural beauty and told me I looked better with my natural texture and without any makeup, but I received the most compliments from them with makeup on and my hair straightened. Honestly, I don’t think they’re even aware of their hypocrisy, but at the end of the day, I knew they weren’t the men for me.
As I stated earlier, I love a good love story and fairytale, and one of my favorites is Princess and the Frog. I like to consider all of my past and failed suitors to be frogs, and I still haven’t found my prince. My prince charming is someone, who loves and appreciates all three variations of Kareema because those three strong sides make a perfect whole. Reflecting on my dating life, I’ve noticed that men or just people in general already have a definition or box they place black women in and expect us to fit this small definition. So, to answer your question, what it’s like to date as a black woman, it is an emotional roller coaster. Unfortunately, too many of us have similar experiences, and the only thing we have in common is our skin color. In a variation of a quote from Forest Gump, but truly black women are like a box of chocolate and you’ll never know what you’ll get, please stop treating us all the same. As for me, I’m going to continue and enjoy this bumpy ride, until I find my prince.