As a single woman in my forties, I feel like an oddity. Most of my friends (female and male) are married. They have started families and built lives that seem fulfilling. But me, I am still alone. And it’s bugging me. Seriously.
I take (some) comfort in knowing I am not alone. News reports, magazine articles, radio commentary and blogs have all focused on the plight of single black women. Whether I agree or not with the public sentiment is a topic for another day. But I know one thing for sure. It’s not just me.
But there is also another side to this discussion. One that I rarely see or hear about in the media. Single black men. Their voice seems to be missing from this conversation. So I decided to ask one.
What follows is an open, honest, four-part conversation with Bleek G. As a single black male, who just turned 50 several months ago, Bleek has a unique perspective. He is educated (two colleges degrees), has never been married and has no children. We covered such themes as age, dating vs. marriage, “settling” and the quality of black women. Here are his thoughts.
On the status of single, black men
In general, black men are single because they are looking to find someone they are compatible with and someone who is compatible with them. They seek women who are their equals. As Bleek puts it, “Someone who will have my back when things get rough.” Someone who will not try to breakdown the (sometimes fragile) male ego.
For older men such as Bleek, there are various reasons why they remain single. Some have made mistakes. According to Bleek, older single men “didn’t recognize what they wanted until it was gone.” Other reasons included fear of losing their personal freedom or their single status.
Bleek did acknowledge that once a man reaches the age of 40, he will have periods of self-reflection. Most older, single black men (and presumably men of other ethnic and racial backgrounds) don’t want to live their lives alone. Fear of being without a companion resonates deeply and causes them to look at their long-term prospects.
However, as Bleek pointed out, not living alone may not always equal getting married. Many older men consider long-term companionship or long-term relationships as serious options. When I pressed this a bit further, he stated “Some men just don’t want to be married. They have heard stories about bad marriages from their friends or even experienced bad marriages in their own families. Some are afraid to open themselves up completely and give themselves to another person.”
Bleek admitted that a combination of things account for his single status. “My younger self was afraid, had some fear of letting go. Now that I am older, my fear is different. I don’t want to be alone.”
Bleek offered up this last thought on why some black men remain single. The vision that men see for themselves and the vision women see for men is very different. “The media sometimes offers up images of men who are extremely successful. Most times, we feel as though we may not be able to measure up.”
Our conversation began to drift toward the topic of settling. My next post will explore this further and why Bleek says the stigmas attached to older single men may cause them to do so.
This post was inspired by the WordPress E-book: 365 Writing Prompts.