Singular Experts

I’ve been single for a while now, getting my life together for myself, by myself. I think I’ve reconciled the occasional loneliness, and the fact that I miss having someone lay next to me. I take little treks into the dating world, but nothing too serious and I’m enjoying that. The most important thing is that I’ve learned not to stress. But the more I learn to be happy with myself (and whatever relationship status “myself” has), the more I am bombarded with opinions on why I don’t have a man and how I am not likely to get one unless I change, fix, or adjust “myself.”

Ever since Steve Harvey became an author, and then by default some pseudo-savior of the Black relationship, he’s inspired others to jump into the fray, using their homespun version of advice and personal experience to tell single women in no uncertain terms, exactly what is wrong with them- and how they’ll never get a man if they don’t fix it. These people have waxed professional on all that single women do- the way they think, act, dress, speak, where they work, who they’re friends with, and even their sexual activity. I’ve been reading articles and listening to interviews from all kinds of people. Now, let me first say that I have nothing against Steve Harvey- he’s a talented comedian and radio host- but I didn’t buy or completely read his book, and I’m not about to. I won’t go into whether I think he’s right or wrong (and I couldn’t any way because I didn’t finish the book); I’ll just say that I don’t believe that his brand of “wisdom” is something that applies to me or my life- simple as that. The one thing that does bother me about him writing his books is that he has subliminally proclaimed himself an expert on what single women are doing wrong- and in doing so, invited the battering of the single women’s life from other parties. I’m sure this was not his intention, but it surprises me when people in the business of communication don’t realize how their words can affect other people. I’m aware that he was not the first to write a book of this kind; but his fame and him writing his books have been super helpful at publicizing those who wrote before and after him.

In some ways, these new “know-it-alls” have valid points. Yes, some single women are angry, bitter, promiscuous, emasculating, broken, damaged and have unrealistic expectations. But I want them to remember that a single woman is first a PERSON- and these are traits that PEOPLE share- not just single women. Single women did not create the mold on any of these traits- they were already well into their existence. Making an example of single women as though 1) they are the only ones who exhibit these traits and 2) they don’t sometimes have good reason, is pretty damned unfair- and not very truthful. If you’re going to tell the truth, you need to tell the whole truth- which is that EVERYONE is sometimes guilty of letting their past hurts and disappointments affect their present behaviors (remember that men feel things too and that all these women in relationships were single women at one point). Another truth is that men have just as much responsibility to try and understand what makes us tick as we do to try and understand them- and neither party should have to change themselves to achieve that. Relationships will never work if only one party is giving- and the idea that the single woman has to adjust (her dress, behavior, demeanor etc.) while her potential counterparts remain the same sounds like only one person is giving- which is ludicrous to me- but that seems to be what’s being implied.

I know that some will say I’m too sensitive (and I can admit that sometimes I am) but I’m also pretty good at reading between the lines- and I know when a dart’s being thrown at me- and my behavior. I just want it to stop. Stop the self-righteous attitude, stop the posturing, stop giving single women the impression that the real world is some kind of nightclub- and they’re standing outside of it in jeans and Timbs, not able to get in until they change. It’s rude, and you’re overstepping your boundaries. You don’t know these women- their pasts, their trials, their struggles, their anything.

If anything, what we need to be doing is teaching people how to be happy. No one ever says just be HAPPY- and that’s what’s wrong. Happiness is essential to living any sort of satisfying life, single or not. And happiness is deep, and personal- because it’s individualized. It’s something no one can do for you. Finding the key to YOUR happiness is a road you have to walk alone- even when you’re in a relationship. That’s why it’s so key.

So if you really care about the single woman, and you want to help- tell her to be happy- whatever happy means. Don’t tell her to get rid of her baggage, close her legs, stop listening to her friends, or think like a man. Just tell her to find out what really makes her happy- soul deep happy- and then tell her to do it. That’s the best advice anyone can give.

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