It's official: I cannot take another second of the sheer and utter foolishness in the dating scene here in Charlotte.
I have lived in many places, but I've never witnessed such low-quality dating in all of my life.
I am tired of hearing from black men in this city how they cannot find a "good" or "quality" woman to date, and I am tired of hearing from black women that there are no "good" men in Charlotte. I'm tired of meeting men who think that they are players, yet their game is so transparent that they can't manage one relationship, let alone the multiple ones that they're trying to have. I am tired of women moaning and groaning because dating sucks in Charlotte, while simultaneously detailing why someone is treating them like shit and yet still "dating" him. What is up with women calling and texting other women about men here in Charlotte? If I hear of or experience another person texting or calling another woman to ask about some guy who's playing them, I'll scream. I mean damn, if you have to ask the question ...
The success of Greg Berhendt's He's Just Not That Into You and Steve Harvey's book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, has less to do with what's inside of those books than it does with what's going on inside of women. This is not the first time that women have heard what these men are saying. We've heard it from the women in our lives many times over. For some reason, we just cannot hear it unless some guy is standing there telling us about ourselves. Why? Because women devalue women, and if a man isn't saying it, then it does not have the same weight. While women point at men for devaluing women and being sexist, we're just as likely to mimic the behavior in many scenarios, especially dating.
Black women are even more likely to do this because it seems that many of us have internalized all of the negative rhetoric about black men and are using it to justify unjustifiable behavior. The whole idea that there is a shortage of black men has sisters of all walks of life acting like desperate, pathetic figures. Where is the strong black woman when it comes to relationships? If you're so strong, why are you knowingly sharing a man when HIV statistics are through the roof? Black women are dying in record numbers.
I often hear that "Brothers aren't shit." If that's what you think about brothers, why are you surprised that you get what you get in dating? I understand the need for companionship, romance, and affection, but at what cost?
Conversely, I'm not sure why more brothers are not trying to disprove the stereotypes about black men. You would think with all of the education, wealth and status that they like to put on blast when chasing women, they would realize the negative consequences of this behavior. With the so-called "black man shortage," you would think that more men would be trying to operate with some self-respect, authenticity and integrity. Instead, they're fucking their way through life, never slowing down to find out who they are as men and who we are as women. It is truly sad that I see very little difference between the dating behaviors of black men that I meet in their 30s and 40s and those of my 18-year-old students. For the record, capitalizing on the distorted number of "marriageable" black women to black men does not make you a player -- it makes you a predator.
Which leads me squarely back to the wack dating scene in Charlotte. Lazy dating is my term of choice. I have never seen so many men AND women who think that chilling at the house is a date. It is not. One of the tenets of dating is getting to know someone in different scenarios so that you can find out more about them -- likes, dislikes, challenges, strengths, fears -- little stuff like that. In addition, it is very difficult to do that when you're juggling multiple people. If you can't figure out how to work, do your laundry and keep a clean house, why in the hell do you think you can manage multiple partners? We are complicated creatures, and that is sheer lunacy. If you are a man in your 30s, you have probably been "screwing" for at least 15 years. Do you really need that much new p$%^&y?
Black women: Get some damned standards and stop making it hard on the women who actually have them. I'm tired of dudes looking at me like I'm crazy when they do something crazy. Imagine what a classroom would look like if professors based their standards for excellence on the worst student in the class?
This is why I have dubbed dating in black Charlotte "The Great Minstrel Show" -- because there are so many boys performing in "man face" and so many black women laughing on the outside while crying on the inside. The performances are chockfull of drama. Like minstrelsy at the turn of the last century, it is tired, played out and devoid of authenticity.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of communications and media studies at Goucher College and editorial director for RushmoreDrive.com.