Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

The Only Reason Why Relationship Advice Even Exists

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In less than a week, VSB will celebrate its 5th anniversary. As of today, we’ve published 1289 entries, and those entries have received 472,695 comments. And, between the comments, email, Formspring, Madame Noire, Twitter, Facebook, and people recognizing the shirt and chasing me down at bus stops, the number of dating/relationship-related questions I’ve been asked and answered numbers in the thousands.

That’s thousands of questions about men and money and sex and cohabitation and celibacy and intimidation and exes and dating and independence and texting and where to meet people and dating men with ashy elbows from thousands of different people. And, controlling for occasional outliers, I’d say that (at least) 75% of the women asking questions already know the answers before they even ask.

So, why do they continue to ask? Well, the most common question I receive—and the fact that this particular question happens to be the most common question—answers that question.

As I’ve stated numerous times before, I’m not a dating and relationship “expert.” My particular form of “expertise” is just me combining my experience, education, and observations to give the most practical and objective advice I possibly can. That being said, there is one particular sub-subject I—and many other men (and women)—do have a real expertise with:

Random Woman: “Is he into me?”

While it comes in various forms and is constructed various ways, this is the question I hear the most. Unfortunately, after they’ve asked the question, and have volunteered the background info I’ll ask for to give a better assessment, the answer usually is “Sorry, but probably not.” 

Anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a “Damn, I guess they don’t like me as much as I hoped” conversation or realization knows how it feels. And, knowing how it feels, giving that answer (usually) is not fun. It’s even less fun when realizing that they already knew the answer before asking.

This sounds delusional, which fits one of the most common stereotypes men have about women and relationships. But, delusion (usually) has nothing to do with it. It—and most of the rest of the questions I receive—is all about hope, hope that manifests in two separate ways:

1. “I know the answer already, but I hope someone agrees with me so I can be more sure about my decision.”

2. “I know the answer already—I can feel it in my gut—but I really don’t want to believe it. Maybe, hopefully he’ll tell me my gut is wrong.”

Much of the pushback people who dole out this type of advice receive is also related to the concept of hope. According to them, people (the advice givers) have positioned themselves to profit off of people’s (primarily women’s) hope by putting a tux and tails on common sense and calling it “genius.” While their concerns about the intelligence/independence level of the people asking questions—and the true motives and agendas of the advice givers—are warranted, this pushback has the tendency to minimize the fact that it’s easy to be objective when you’re not invested. Of course it’s easy to read an email or a tweet and deduce that person A doesn’t like person B as much as person B likes person A, and that person B is an idiot for even asking. But, when you’re person B—and, as mentioned earlier, we’ve all been person B at some time—it aint always as easy.

The variables constituting love and attraction are so intangible and so subjective that a level of hope is necessary to want, pursue, and maintain it. I mean, knowing how love has a tendency to completely and thoroughly f*ck us up, who in their right mind would even want that? Well, we do (Most of us do, anyway). As delusional and idiotic and nonsensical it seems, we hope it’ll be different for us. And, as long as that hope exists, relationship advice—an awkward way of finding some truth in a haystack of hope—will too.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://www.blacklatinafabulous.com Maris

    This is true. I tend to err on the side of “he hate me”, and that’s not all that helpful, either.

    • H.H.H.

      interesting. i usually feel the converse/inverse (she aint diggin’ me) and as such, stick to m’self/don’t make a move.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        But isnt this a problem? I mean guys are usually the ones that are supposed to be in pursuit. If you dont make a move then and she thinks the same way as you but she is feeling you, what happens then?

        • H.H.H.

          we end up dancing by ourselves at the same party?

          when the party’s done, i stop and get a slice of pizza and roll home?

          life goes on *whistles*

          • Kema

            And this is the dude that causes me to ask the question “is he into me?” smh!

            • Malik

              Better than “is he in me” question.

              • nillalatte

                BOL! Haaaaaaaa

              • Kema

                Lol!!!

              • Sweet GA Brown

                Cues drum snare.

              • A Woman’s Eyes

                that too would be dreadful lmaooo

            • h.h.h.

              i know… stinks, don’t it?

              i’ll eventually get over it, i’m a guy, i’ll figure it out.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “But isnt this a problem? I mean guys are usually the ones that are supposed to be in pursuit. If you dont make a move then and she thinks the same way as you but she is feeling you, what happens then?”

          on the guy’s end: vaseline. on the girl’s end: twitter rant

          seriously though, something like this happened to me in college. was at a club, saw a banging chick, danced with her a couple times, kept it moving. didn’t even think to ask for her number because, well, i thought she worked there, lol. and, i just assumed she wasn’t interested. night ends, one of my boys is getting at one of her girls, and we’re in the car, waiting for him. the banging chick is off to the side, hanging around. they leave. boy comes back to the car, turns to me and says “you’re an idiot.” I ask why and he’s like “yo, you didn’t know that jordan (her name) was feeling you? she even waited around afterwards to see if you’d talk to her.”

          moral of the story: f*ck canadians.

          • Sweet GA Brown

            Moral of the story: You don’t know unless you know.

          • That Ugly Kid

            Pause. N!ggas out here using vaseline to beat their meat? That sh*t is too thick. And messy. And difficult to clean up. I’m not speaking from experience. Just thinking out loud here.

            • GirlSixx

              Vaseline Clogs Pores!!

              Take that however you will.

              lmbo..

          • A Woman’s Eyes

            moral of the story (In Scar’s voice): pay attention and be prepared!

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      So, if Maris and H.H.H were digging each other, nothing would happen since you would both assume the other wasn’t into you, right?

      • H.H.H.

        more or less….such is life *shrugs*

  • weethomas

    Good thing I’m person C.

    • nillalatte

      C I be feelin dat ’cause A & B can get all out of whack sometimes.. A be liking B more and then B starts liking A more, then they dance all around C just to C if they really like their place in the alphabet with all the letters gettin’ all mad and shyt. noimean?

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Lol.

      • LMNOP

        Chicka chicka boom boom. Will there be enough room?

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    “… people (the advice givers) have positioned themselves to profit off of people’s (primarily women’s) hope by putting a tux and tails on common sense and calling it “genius.”

    I think that’s the definition for Steve Harvey in the Urban Dictionary.

    • Latonya

      I was done with Steve after read what he did to Bernie Mac and his ex wife. That man can’t tell me nothing.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Why are you leaving me hanging like that?! Lol What did Steve do?

        • Latonya

          When the movie Ocean 11 Steve called the producer and said Bernie was not the right choice for the movie! This was coming from Bernie Mac on mouth. After that I alway give Steve the side – eye.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Oh wow, that’s dirty. And, I’m not surprised at all that Steve Harvey would do something like that. He seems like such a snake.

            • Latonya

              Yeah that man is full of crap.

              • That Ugly Kid

                Aren’t we all? It’s….kinda the reason why we have to poop.

                • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                  *directs TUK to yesterday’s post*

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            “When the movie Ocean 11 Steve called the producer and said Bernie was not the right choice for the movie!”

            i’ve heard about this, but i still havent seen any type of sourced evidence

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      There is no entry for Steve Harvey, but there is one for Steve Harvey suit. I’ve made the mistake of going into a Big and Tall shop that sold Steve Harvey’s brand of suits. All I will say is that it has helped millions of women figure out their sexuality. If you still wanna get with dudes after seeing one of those suits, you’re definitely straight. LOL

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Those suits are so hideous.

    • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

      @Ms. Val:
      Over the past six months or so I’ve read quite a few comments from you borderline excoriating Mr. Steve Harvey; clearly, you don’t care for what he’s selling and possibly don’t approve of him as a human being either. All of which is your right.

      But I find it equal parts odd and fascinating that everytime I or someone else, asks you to specifically layout WHY you take such issue with Mr. Harvey, especially what he’s written in his book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”, suddenly you demure. To be sure, no one, certainly not I, am asking for a doctoral thesis, or the yearbook answer – just something a bit more concerte and visceral as to why you dislike Harvey’s message to the ladies so.

      I am familiar with Harvey’s book and cannot disagree with what he’s said, in the main – and this is coming from one who doesn’t consider himself a big fan of Harvey’s either. Sure, I can quibble with the nature of the book and relatively minor points throughout – for example, I think Harvey, like so many Black Men of a particular SES level (and I’ve discussed this before here at VSB) is falling over himself doing the White Knight in Blacface thing – but overall, I simply cannot in good faith call BS on what he’s written. While not in the style I would prefer, which is more along a scholarly/academic line, packed with studies, graphs and empirical data, Harvey’s more folksy, down home take on how Men think along sexual/romantic lines and why, does give Women valuable information they need to navigate the SMP (Sexual MarketPlace) of early 21st century American life.

      So, I am asking you, Ms. Val – can you layout specifically, what you take issue with Harvey vis-a-vie his book? I for one would certainly like to hear it.

      Thanks!

      O.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        you know, i’m actually curious about this too. i understand why someone like steve would turn off someone like val, but in the little bit of his books i’ve actually read, nothing in there was as bad as many of us have made it out to be.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Well, Champ, it’s really not that complicated. He’s a huckster, who capitalizes on Black women’s perceived desperation for a relationship. Plus, he’s like the person who ‘re-gifts’ at Christmas, expecting the recipient is too stupid to realize they are receiving a second hand gift.

          • GypsyCurl

            Well said Val. He is feeding off of this motion of desperation, like women are walking around like Joan from Girlfriends, “I need a man! I need a man.” —I for one am not.

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            With all due respect Ms. Val, it is quite complicated indeed, since you have yet to answer my pointed questions. One is left to conclude that you either have no intention of answering them, and/or you’ve never read the book in question. Either of which is fascinating to me, because I’ve always seen you as someone who was rather thoughtful and measured in your comments. Perhaps I was wrong.

            That Harvey is a “huckster” is nothing new – nor is he alone. Oprah must be several magnitudes the huckster over Harvey, and I do not recall you regularly ranting against her, or for that matter Demetria Lucas, or Iyanla Vanzant, et al.

            As for the notion that Harvey (o anyone else) has capitalized on Black Womens’ perceptions of desperation of wanting a relationship: even if true, the fact remains that if Black Women themselves didn’t drive the market forces at play, Harvey & Co. wouldn’t exist.

            Still wondering if you can address the question I put to you.

            O.

        • veryaveragebrotha

          Well, I hate Steve harvey on a personal level because he’s a bigot who has repeatedly stated that ‘Women shouldn’t date atheists because they are morally bankrupt.’

          I hate him on a professional level for the same reason I hate pretty much all relationship experts. They are unethical, unprofessional and lazy.

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            @VAB:
            A hallmark of an atheist or free thinker is their ability to use Reason. By that metric and assuming that you are indeed an atheist/free thinker, your statements do not appear to be reasoned.

            For example, is what Harvey said accurate when put against the evidentary record of Atheism worldwide? Harvey could easily mention Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Sung/Il/Un’s North Korea of easy examples supporting his position. What would you say to that?

            What does a “professional ” relationship expert look like, VAB? Please explain – and offer a few names that in your view, exemplifies this? By the way, Harvey does NOT consider himself a relationship expert, and has made this clear on a number of occasions. He considers himself an expert on what and how Men think in sexual/romantic contexts. If you disagree with him on these grounds, I would be very interested in knowing exactly how and why.

            You were saying?

            O.

      • mena

        Kema and I spoke about this before. It has nothing to do with the message and everything to do with the messenger. I actually read a lot of his book in a bookstore once and it honestly is a good read. There isn’t anything in there that is over the top and it just seemed like plain common sense. I especially liked that he spoke about his daughter in one of the chapters.

        Anyway, it is hard to separate the message from the messenger at times. I personally don’t have a problem with Steve Harvey and the way he delivers his message is the way a funny old a$$ uncle would. But men and women have gotten on him saying that the 90 day rule is horrible which, as Marshal pointed out below about the middle ground, to me was just him saying if you want a relationship, make sure you have spoken with the guy about what you want before you spread your legs and make sure you are ready to have s3x and not to just get a guy in a relationship.

        Just my two cents. Also, it’s the same with Tyler Perry. I have only seen one of his films (took my mom to the movies) but his new one actually looks good.

        • Kema

          Anything with Lance Gross looks good to me!

          • mena

            Though he is “hot” and very easy on the eyes, he is also too pretty for my tastes. Not at all the type of guy I am attracted to.

            • Malik

              Lance Gross aint close to pretty.

              • mena

                Ummm…IMO, yes he is. *confused*

                Why do you think differently?

                • Malik

                  I’m not saying dude is ugly. But there’s absolutely nothing about him that says pretty. He’s a traditional clean-cut masculine looking man.

                  • mena

                    Again, no one is debating his attractiveness.

                    I hold him in the same regards as Taye Diggs. Both gorgeous men but sexually not appealing at the same time.

            • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

              Mena, Lance Gross is NOT pretty. I do not fall head over heels in lust with pretty men. You know who is pretty, SHEMAR MOORE. Now that’s what you call PAWEEEEETYY !! Like dammmn brotha, you soooo beautious. Go on witcho baaaad baaad PAWEEETYNESS.

              • mena

                Shemar can be the president of the club with Taye and Lance being certified members. All 3 of these men are gorgeous. Absolutely. But I, in no way, find then to be s3xually attractive.

                There are people who, looks wise, are just ok but are s3xy as all get out. And then there are people who are gorgeous that do not measure on the s3xy meter for me. I call these men pretty–great to look at but nothing else.

                • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                  Nah, Lance is good for other thangs ma!! :) Mmmmmh, mmmh, mmmh. He is a certified CBB.

                • Kema

                  IMO pretty when it comes to a man is when I look at him and wondered how hard his momma prayed for a girl. lol! There’s a feminine quality in their facial features.

                  • Malik

                    hahahahhahaaa

              • Sweet GA Brown

                ….until he kissed Sweet Brown.

                #aintnobodygottimeforthatswapinspit

                • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                  say what?! He kissed SB? why? For a commercial? To fulfill a fantasy? Like, I don’t get it.

        • AnGe

          I read “think like a man…” and I only know a little about his history. I guess he cheated on his wife, got a divorce, but is now remarried.

          Thought the book was a good read. I thought it was interesting to read about relationships from someone who has been married, has been a hoe, has been a cheater, and who opted to get married again. Didn’t agree with every statement he made but some stuff was interesting to hear. I at least respected his perspective. I think one chapter he was pretty blunt about cheating and why it happens or at least why he did it. I found it pretty honest. Nobody is perfect but int the same regard i didn’t even look in Tyrese direction when he wrote a book with Rev.

          Rev I may want to hear from but Tyrese!!!? Please.

          • Sweet GA Brown

            Rev kinda loss credibility with me when he decided to do a book with Tyrese. I refuse to give Tyrese’s opinion a chance.

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              Yep.

            • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

              Nah, Rev is still up thurr. Honestly, who takes Ty SERIOUSLY?! I find him to be quite entertaining and hilarious. You should read the advice he gives with a grain of salt.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          This is true about the 90 day rule. I think a lot of women would be better off with a set period of time than giving a fuzzy point, because it would give some women leeway to lie to themselves. The Man In The Head syndrome is real!

          • Kema

            “Hmmm… its been a whole week. I guess thats a long enough wait.” lol!

  • iamnotakata

    1. “I know the answer already, but I hope someone agrees with me so I can be more sure about my decision.”

    2. “I know the answer already—I can feel it in my gut—but I really don’t want to believe it. Maybe, hopefully he’ll tell me my gut is wrong.”

    People that ask these type of questions are “seeking” either validation or more than likely for you to fuel the flames of their delusions.If you know the answer already why ask?

    One thing I know is true, if some one is into you, you will know because they will make time for you. Which leaves no time for you to ponder about whether they are.

    • Latonya

      Cause all gut feeling (common sense) go out the window when you are dating and feeling lonely.

    • nillalatte

      “they will make time for you. Which leaves no time for you to ponder about whether they are.”

      Girl stop. There you go dropping that knowledge and shyt. :D

      • iamnotakata

        Lol

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “One thing I know is true, if some one is into you, you will know because they will make time for you. Which leaves no time for you to ponder about whether they are.”

      this is true. time—well, a willingness to spend it—is the best indicator that a man is into a woman

      • Tx10inch

        I have to disagree a bit there Champie. What if she’s really into him but he not so much and he’s just being nice because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings? He’ll make time for her, especially if he’s bored/lonely, not dating anyone and she’s giving him chex.

        • Sweet GA Brown

          And the struggle continues…

          • Tx10inch

            Don’t fret. Women do it to…trust me. It’s tha circle of strife.

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

              the deluded must have their enablers. mirages make the world go round ~*~

        • GirlSixx

          You ain’t lying..

          Just because he tolerates you (spends time) doesn’t necessarily mean he likes you.

          SBM taught me that.

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          +1 Tx if only it were that simple. Smh

        • Rewind

          logic wins again!

          Cliches don’t work in life.

      • GypsyCurl

        I have to co-sign. TIME is the biggest currency/barometer. I met a guy, who I only wanted as a friend. But he thought I wanted more. I found it very amusing how he was trying to dodge me b/c I knew what he was doing. But it was for nothing b/c I didn’t want a relationship with him. He was so paranoid that I wanted to date him that he didn’t take the time to get to know me. If he would have, he would have learned that I didn’t want to date him. I am the type of girl that can be friends with a guy and leave it at that.

        • Sweet GA Brown

          Its hard navigating those type of situations. I believe some guys dont know how to have female friends. The outcome is every female that is nice to him must want to be with him. The same goes for some females.

        • Rewind

          Maybe that had nothing to do with you. Maybe your approach to him mirrored another woman’s approach prior to you, and got worried you would do the same thing she did.

          But that’s something that trust and communication could squash right away if people were mature at the same time.

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      Wisdom, Iamnotakata!

  • Malik

    Just me, or do these posts feel shorter?

    • mena

      While Panama’s posts have become more reflective, Champ’s have seemed as though he’s just not feeling it as much anymore. IDK. Just something different about his writing. Either way, I am glad that they are still writing.

      • nillalatte

        pisttt… Ms. What’s her name.. Gay Reindeer gots him tied down lately. Ummmm….hummm… dat’s the difference. You ain’t noticed?

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          That Gay Raindeer loving has him STRAIGHT! :)

        • Kema

          Gay Reindeer aint got time for him to be writing long post and sh*t!

        • IcePrincess3

          Yep. I agree, lately it feels like Champ is just phoning it in. I’ll give him a pass cuz he’s in a new relationship. He just wants to skip the damn post & get to the sex! Lmao

          • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

            and also take issue with the conspicuous consumption of Charmin (ahem)

        • mena

          Lol!! I noticed this before she entered the picture.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “While Panama’s posts have become more reflective, Champ’s have seemed as though he’s just not feeling it as much anymore. IDK. Just something different about his writing.”

        interesting.

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        Yes. Champ has been half-assing his posts lately. Not much deep thought. Rambling. Recycled topics. Panama seems consistent in topic, tone and length of his posts.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      today was shorter than usual. as was yesterday. but both monday’s and tuesday’s posts ran over 1200 words. and, my last week—where I had all the SXSW stuff—was easily the most I’ve ever written in one week on VSB.

  • nillalatte

    So, what you’re saying is… he’s just not that into me?! *EPIC wall slide* Wait, wasn’t that a movie? Yeah, never mind. Boy, you be tripping. Ain’t no man gon walk away from dis. You know it. I got it. ;) LOL *nilla gettin her ‘bad biotch’ on. :P

    • That Ugly Kid

      *walks away from Nilla*

      You were saying….

      • nillalatte

        *Licks TUK’s face* You know how it is.

        • That Ugly Kid

          Nope. But what I do know, is that you licked the wrong head…so Ima bounce until you get your act together Ms. Latte!

          • nillalatte

            go head on den… ain’t nobody sweatin’ it. When you come back I have milk and cookies… the good kind. :P LMAO

            • Kema

              They always come back…

            • That Ugly Kid

              Woah dere! You ain’t say you had milk and cookies an sh*t…

            • Rewind

              Nilla be all kinds of SCANDOLOUS.

  • That Ugly Kid

    Nope sorry. Never been person B. I don’t chase deez h*es!!! They chase the TUKmeister!!! Nah, I’m totally bullsh*ttin’. My nickname isn’t TUKmeister.

    Lol but in all seriousness, I read body language and appearances a lot in an effort to avoid being person B, with pretty good success I might add. I still end up being person B sometimes, but not nearly as much as I would have. Reason is that I can tell when a woman is out of my league, so I don’t waste time approaching her and putting myself in that position. I just admire from afar.

    Like today while having lunch with a friend at Subway. She (my friend) pointed at this very pretty chick with an incredible azz who walked past our window. After lamenting how I want to get at her, my friend asks why I didn’t. After telling her why, she seemed genuinely suprised.

    “How do you know if you don’t talk to her?”
    “Trust me. I’m not her type. I can tell.”

    I think catching body language early can save a lot of time and disappointment.

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      Some people are not able to or are unwilling to see themselves as they really are. So, they don’t ever seem to find their level. Like guys on the street that hit on women who are obviously professional women and are ‘out of their league’ but, they try anyway.

      I often wonder if those type of guys are sadists.

      • That Ugly Kid

        Like guys on the street that hit on women who are obviously professional women and are ‘out of their league’

        Well, that’s not quite what I meant by “out of your league”. I’m not talking about in a “class” way. Let’s not pretend like professional women don’t date “street level” guys. I’m speaking solely body language. I can mostly tell what type of guy she’s into (bad boy, artsy types, nerd, etc). Behavior patterns that aren’t based on anything career/finance wise.

        • nillalatte

          Oh, really now? Humm… What kind of guy you think I’m into then? You don’t have to see my body language to read my mind, now do ya? Just testing yo’ theory, bruh.

          • That Ugly Kid

            My theory is that I read body languages. Can’t see yours. So you ain’t testin’ sh*t!

            • nillalatte

              I could give you some body language right now, but Imma be good and play nice. :D

              • That Ugly Kid

                Twerk.

        • prissychrissy23

          Please provide an example?

          • That Ugly Kid

            The way she walks, moves her hands while she’s talking (especially if talking to her girlfriends), the way she looks at me and other guys in the vicinity, etc.

            • mena

              I agree with TUK.

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

              i’ll take “eye contact” for a thousand.

              • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

                I’m not good at telling when eye contact is intentional or not cause even the ones who are interested are shy with theirs (they look away pretty quickly). My new method is to just assume she’s diggin me. I suck at reading body language so I decided id be better off letting the combination of boldness and trial and error be my guide. Much easier

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              If she starts clapping for emphasis during the conversations….if she clasps her hands on her lap and talks meekly…if her gaze lingers at you and then cuts away or if she straight ignores you.

        • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

          @TUK:
          “Well, that’s not quite what I meant by “out of your league”. I’m not talking about in a “class” way. Let’s not pretend like professional women don’t date “street level” guys.”

          O: By and large, they don’t. Please see “Disintegration” by Eugene Robinson and “Is Marriage For White People?” by Ralph Richard Banks for more on this point.

          I was having a convo with a longtime O-Files reader/commenter about precisely this notion that Black Women of a certain SES class level are seeking love in the arms of Pookie and Dante from Around The Way because they can love and treat her right while their SES counterparts – in Scandal parlance, the Edisons, if you will – while they have all the right stuff on paper come up short on EQ and the like – is a polite fiction, a romantic urban fantasy; a pretty lie.

          The truth is, that assortative mating is a very real thing, even for Black Women, who, yes, do tend to “love down” a bit more than other Women in contemporary American life. However, this is starting to change, both with more Black Women marrying or otherwise partnering with their SES counterparts, or, when such a mate is not available, they simply remain alone. Indeed, the biggest cohort of spinsters in American life, when looked at racially etc, are Sistas who are highly educated. At best Pookie and Dante might serve as a dalliance, but hardly anything more than that.

          It is this kind of rank ignorance that the Afrosphere, particularly those who consider themselves any kind of “relationship experts” need to address, pronto. More on this point and more, in today’s commentary by yours truly below.

          Wait for it…

          O.

          • That Ugly Kid

            Professional women do date street level, blue collar men. Difference is that it’s not long-term. Especially if the man is complacent at his current position and isn’t trying to move up.

            • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

              @TUK:
              OK, now we’re cooking with gas – we’ve both agreed that the Pookie/Dante Option is purely in a short term mating context, if it happens at all. Glad to see that we agree!

              Now, here’s the hard part: TUK, what percentage of Black Women are doing this? On what basis do ou assert your claim(s)? Is that number, say, below/above 10%? 20%? 35%?

              Do you know? And if so, by all means, do share that data with the rest of us! inquiring minds and all that…

              O.

              • That Ugly Kid

                Don’t know the numbers, never looked into it. But I have experienced/seen it enough to know that these type of women most likely aren’t outliers.

                • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                  @TUK:
                  How do you know they aren’t outliers if you don’t even know what the numbers overall are? With all due respect, you’re putting a lot of weight on your subjective, and anecdotal experience. How many American cities have you seen this play itself out? How many Black Women overall, have you seen do this – 100? 1,000? 10,000? Even at the upper limits of the numbers I just mentioned, that’s a drop in the bucket statistically – hence virtually useless when discussing scalability here.

                  And that’s what the Afrosphere needs more, not less of – what works, for the greatest number of Black folks, most of the time. Everyone’s not going to be a special snowflake, and I am all for dispelling such notions in the first place. It forces us to be much more pragmatic.

                  O.

                  • h.h.h.

                    not to butt in, but AFAIK, there are no “stats” to prove or disprove TUK’s point. I understand O’s position that everything needs to be based off of data and stats, but if he’s going off of his own personal experience to navigate his path, why would this be such a concern?

                    Do we really need to put a “YMMV” on everything subjective?

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              I agree. Also, if blue collar dude has a plan and is hardworking and moving up, she ends up married to him.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @Ms. AWE:
                What does that mean – “moving up”? Most people in white collar professions rarely move beyond mid-level management, if that. Certainly most Blacks working on the white collar side aren’t C-level, that’s for sure.

                Put that together with the fact that at present, the Blue-collar sector of America is roughly around 20%, and it’s highly unlikely that said Brotha’s “moving up” will occur; what then? See, this is what I mean by the Afrosphere needing much more in terms of hardheaded and clear eyed analysis of the facts on the ground – no matter how unpleasant or dispiriting they may be.

                O.

                • mena

                  Usually when people say “moving up” they mean financially. Even though someone may stay in middle management their entire career, middle management can range in income from 40k – 150k. A guy can be blue collar and still move up financially. Your point isn’t valid when you look at it financially instead of as receiving higher titles.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    @Ms. Mena:
                    Surely you’re aware of the fact that wages – especially in the dying Blue Collar field(s) – have been flat for decades. Indeed, the only areas of the economy that have seen rises in income have been in fields Richard Florida refers to as the “creative class” – so again I find Ms. AWE’s comments along these lines most curious.

                    O.

                    • A Woman’s Eyes

                      Today was a busy day, so I didn’t get to reply to your response until now. I was speaking of people who are working hard to build their own business. Such as blue collar dudes who are eyeballs deep in building a tow truck business or open a car wash. The income goes up. He begins to think about marriage and marries the woman he sees himself with. Such men are assumed to have less income than they actually do, because of the stereotypes of “blue collar”. That is what I mean.

          • GypsyCurl

            “It is this kind of rank ignorance that the Afrosphere, particularly those who consider themselves any kind of “relationship experts” need to address, pronto.”

            I don’t know what “it” is that your refering but your comment brings me to your question to Val…. I, like Val, am not in agreement with Steve Harvey. One of the reasons is because he tells black women to “date down”. I have heard him say this on a few talks shows when he was promoting his book. And I disagree with the sentiment that a professional black woman has too high of a standard for her potential mate. I never hear or read relationship advice directed toward white women telling them to lower their standards and “date down.” In contrast, I have heard this from many black males and black male relationship “advisors”.

            • mena

              But can we look outside the box for a second: maybe dating down simply means removing yourself off of your perch. I agree with you that no one, man or woman should date people who aren’t mentally able to compete. But, in the same breath, there are people running around with a level of esteem that boarders on narcissism.

              Men don’t look at degrees and money in their women the same way we look at it in our men. They just don’t and the guys can correct me. This isn’t to say that men want an uneducated women or a chick who can’t bring home more that $7/hr but that they just don’t hold it at the same level that we do.

              Also, if you have a great job and are able to take care of yourself, the only thing you should need from a man, in the financial sense, is someone who can handle their finances and contribute to maintaing the household.

              Self worth in accolades and titles, as talked about a week ago by a post from Panama, is going to stop a lot of relationships before they are even able to start.

              I think that when some people say date down, they are coming at it in a negative way, but others are saying to just re-evaluate what is truly important and to stop being so awestruck about your (not you but in general) accomplishments and to look past that in other people.

              Also, it has been written to white women. Women, in general are outpacing men in education at Olympic speeds and are starting to bring home more money as well. As we, women, gain more of a foothold in business, more women will have no choice but to date down financially or find themselves alone.

              • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

                Standing ovation for Mena! Brilliantly stated my dear. U been on it this week

              • A Woman’s Eyes

                Very well said mena. A lot of the professional stuff doesn’t apply in learning how to be in each other’s space, negotiate relationship stuff and be happy together.

              • Marshal

                BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!!

                Some ladies are the Traji Henson character- I mean the CHARACTER- in Think Like a Man,rather than being Genuine and Open Minded.

                REAL Men aren’t intimidated by Successful and Smart Women- we just don’t want to date the Status, the Money or the Degree, but the Person BEHIND all of them

                • Kema

                  Exactly what I always think of when I hear of women wanting a man’s financial portfolio to match their own.

              • GypsyCurl

                I like your analysis, Mena.

                “I think that when some people say date down, they are coming at it in a negative way,” —I agree that the connotation is negative.

                “but others are saying to just re-evaluate what is truly important” —I agree with re-evaluating. I see that as very different from from dating down.

              • The Guy Formerly Know As Hmmmm

                It’s official. I’m a fan of yours. Well said.

            • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

              @Ms. GypsyCurl:
              Your concerns are undue. Black Women of the caliber you place yourself won’t need to worry about “dating down”. Most likely, your options will be:

              1. Get with your SES Black counterpart Male

              2. Go the Situational Lesbian route

              3. Sit out the mating dance altogether and become a Spinsta

              4. Give “Swirling” a try

              It is highly unlikely that you’ll “date down” statistically, as more and more Black people become professionals. You’ve got nothing to worry about there.

              O.

              • GypsyCurl

                O: Thanks for your crystal ball assessment into my dating future. However, my comment doesn’t pertain to my personal dating. It is my reflection on the type of advice Steve Harvey and others and my qualms with that advice. I am giving my opinion from there (as you often do on a blog). So you need not concern yourself with my dating life.

                • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                  You’re welcome.

                  ;)

                  O.

        • GypsyCurl

          “Let’s not pretend like professional women don’t date “street level” guys. I’m speaking solely body language.”

          TUK, this is not a Tyler Perry movie. I expect a guy to be on the same level as me (or above). Why would I go backwards?

          • That Ugly Kid

            And there’s your problem. You see it as going backwards. When it isn’t. Fix that.

            • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

              @TUK:
              I don’t see why it’s important to “fix” Ms. GypsyCurl’s or any other Woman’s mindset on these matters; she has every right to determine for herself what her mate selection criteria will or won’t be, end of. Last time I checked, Pookie and Ray-Ray weren’t crying into their beer at the local taproom because they couldn’t find love; indeed, if anything, street-level Black folks seem to be doing just fine getting together and making whoopee. It’s their Bougie counterparts that seem to have all the trouble…

              O.

              • That Ugly Kid

                You misinterpret. I’m not saying she can’t date whomever she chooses. I’m saying that she needs to understand that just because someone isn’t on her level career/financially wise, doesn’t mean dating them is “dating backwards”.

      • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

        @Ms. Val:
        “I often wonder if those type of guys are sadists.”

        O: I think the term you’re looking for would be “masochists”…

        O.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        You have a point, but you’re incomplete. The example you’re talking about is true, though I’ve actually seen stuff like that work with my own eyes. On the flip side are dudes that don’t really play the game, so they don’t even know what their level is. They’ll just go out when they can, get the first broad that consents and run off, not knowing whether or not they could get someone better (in whatever way they define better) if they put a bit of effort into it.

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          Exactly Todd, that’s what at least half of the men out here do. They have no idea what league they’re in and are too lazy, impatient, scared, or content to be thorough about finding out so they settle for the first acceptable semblance of a decent/good option.

          On the flip side women get way more attention (mostly for sexual reasons) from menl who aren’t all that into them so they hold out forever thinking one particular guy will suddenly fall in love with them or thinking that they can pull a guy of better quality than the ones who are actually into her. Then when she tells guys she can’t find a man they smack their teeth cause they know she turns down decent dudes but thinks they “don’t count”.

          It’s all very interesting and sometimes sad to watch play out too.

          • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

            Word on the flip side. I swear that if somehow came up with a way for men to only give attention to women that they intend to wife (or at least give a serious relationship to), a lot of women would end up with seriously hurt feelings. There would be some women who’d get zero love from men, and a lot more women who would drop down about 5 notches in terms of dudes.

            • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

              Yes! So true and honestly there is a way. The way the older generation has been sayin all along but F*CK THAT, neither men or women want to put that cat back in the bag because we’re all too horny and sexually adventurous to go back to that. It definitely would kill MOST of the confusion on the parts of women tho. It would get the hurt feelings out of the way earlier so they could get on with their lives and learn to appreciate what they do get to enjoy in life.

            • GypsyCurl

              “I swear that if somehow came up with a way for men to only give attention to women that they intend to wife (or at least give a serious relationship to),”

              Sorry Todd but this is exactly what I want. I don’t need every guy hitting on me. It is annoying. Guys are like dogs in heat.

              “a lot of women would end up with seriously hurt feelings.” —It will not hurt my feelings if Jeromey ROME did not approach me. I don’t get approached by many guys who I would date but I don’t dwell on who doesn’t want me. It actually saves me from a heartache.

              • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                You missed my point. The problem wouldn’t be the number of guys who approached. Like you said, I’m willing to bet that a lot of women agree with you in decreasing the number of dudes who would try to holla. The issue would be the quality of guys that WOULD show up. That would change a lot of lives and mindsets in a hurry. It would like what happens when dudes holla at a bunch of women and Bumqueisha, the lame chick from the hood, is the only one giving you love. Dudes come to Jesus about their level, if only because they see it play out live and in HD.

                • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                  @Todd:
                  I definitely see where you’re coming from – that if we could somehow “screen out” the short term mating element, Women would get a “true” sense of their longterm mating value; many Women may not like the results.

                  Having said that, I think you view is a rather short sighted one; in purely Evo terms, both short and longterm mating are options that human beings and other forms of animal life make use of in order to put their genes forward, based on their particular circumstance at any given time. Therefore, short term mating has its place and is again from an Evo standpoint no better or worse than LTRs.

                  Studies have also been done that confirm that Women know where they “rank” in terms of the two mating options. A good illustration of this is the HBO show Girls, where Hannah has quite a short term mating histoy yet none of it leading to longterm mating success. This is because Women like the fictional Hannah have (or are perceived to have) lower mating value than other Women; so, they go to the option that best gets them results.

                  I’ve long held the view that in the Black community, Women who would under previous circumstances wouldn’t likely mate at all are now in a position to outpace Women who could land a hubbie or failing that a longterm mate. Interventions like welfare/TANF/WIC as well as The Pill, changing social mores surrounding single moms etc, have all been a boon to Women who have short term mating as their main go-to option. Of course this does put pressure on Women who were in a previous era able to get LTRs because their sisters can give away the milk for a much lower rate; but intrasexual competition has always been around.

                  O.

                  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                    I see where you’re getting at. I was originally thinking of average women when making that remark, but you’re onto something there. 10% of something beats 100% of nothing at all.

              • Kema

                @Gypsy… I read Todd’s comment and thought the same thing! If men only gave attention to women that they intend to wife (or at least give a serious relationship to), a lot of women would be happy! That would make things so much easier and the question ‘Is he into me’ would no longer need to be asked. But I did get where you were going Todd.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Like guys on the street that hit on women who are obviously professional women and are ‘out of their league’ but, they try anyway.

        I often wonder if those type of guys are sadists.”

        in this instance, the possible (but improbable) upside of trying (she might actually be feeling me) is more important than the probable downside of not trying

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          I think you’re right. Those guys don’t seem to hit for average, they are always swinging for the fences, striking out about 99% of the time.

          See what I did there! A sports analogy! :-)

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Thanks in advance for freeing me. :-)

      • GypsyCurl

        “Like guys on the street that hit on women who are obviously professional women and are ‘out of their league’ ”

        AMEN AMEN AMEN

        I have a couple of valet guys who keep asking me out. I found it so funny when one guy asked me if I liked Jazz and wanted to go with him to a Jazz club. Ummm, no thank you. Jazz is not my thing and you are not impressing me by asking me out to a Jazz club.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Lol. I think he has watched too many 90′s Black romance films. I think they all hung out at jazz clubs in those films.

          • Micthemessenger

            …or maybe he just likes jazz.

            • Kema

              He coulda been ‘the one’. smh!

        • Sweet GA Brown

          I had a guy pull the “i like jazz and that the main genre I listen to” line on me. I talked to him on the phone and would hear it in the background so I figured he may be telling the truth. We went out on a date and he was all into Rick Ross and being turnt up.

          “You aint got to lie, Craig!”

        • That Ugly Kid

          Sooo, you’re the stuck-up kind? Makes sense now.

          • GypsyCurl

            Perhaps. But, I am always kind and polite even when I am rejecting men. I was once told that I hurt men’s feelings with a smile, which makes them feel better. #SouthernBelle

      • Amethyst

        I call them LOA dudes. Law of Averages, they figure the more women they hit on, the higher their chances of getting lucky someway, somehow, somewhere along the line!

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com esa

          quality vs quantity every time ~*~

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          @Amethyst- And they’re absolutely right. I commend them for having thick enough skin to put themselves through that for the sake of results. How someone could refuse to at least respect that is beyond me (not speaking of u personally tho). Rejection is a coldblooded B!TCH even to otherwise confident ppl. Those dudes r true O.G.’s wit battle scars. I wish them nothing but success in life

          • Kema

            “You miss 100% of the shots you dont take” Wayne Gretzky

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      Chicken. When I was your age, I swung for the fences, and I’m not talking orgies. (That wasn’t until later.) I might have whiffed more than I hit, but I had a tendency to look like Barry Bonds on a steroid cycle when I did get a hit.

      In short, man up dude. Stealing from Rollo Tomassi, don’t give a woman a reason not to f*ck you, let her figure it out.

      • That Ugly Kid

        Call me what you want, but I’m efficient. I’m not saying I’m afraid to approach beautiful women. I just know which ones are a waste of time. Why waste time talking to Beautiful Woman A, when Beautiful Woman B is giving me the “I want you to f*ck me” eyes from across the room? That’s what I’m saying.

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          Nah I feel u TUK, u gotta be efficient when possible. Most men do this. It’s where the “you’re not approachable” cliche comes from. When there are 10 or more chicks I find attractive in the room, u best believe the one who’ flirting and checkin me out is the one gettin approached. I like to know the feeling’s mutual. Tryna “grow on” a woman ain’t my style. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’d MUCH rather reward the sexy one with good taste anyhow. #mutualbenefit

          • Amethyst

            Looool @ ‘grow on’ a woman. U sure about that TQ?….Jusy sayin’…

            • Amethyst

              *just

            • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

              @ Amethyst yea I’m sure. I didn’t say I wasn’t tryin to grow BECAUSE OF a woman ;) lol

        • Micthemessenger

          Eff that. My name is MicTheMessenger, and between

          my first rejection at the tender age of 7

          all the pretty girls sayin i was too broke and awkward to date in my teen years
          (how can someone be self-made-rich at 15 without being named bow wow still baffles me)

          a word-depleting weakness for legitmately beautiful women

          my first beautiful love treating my heart like a trampoline

          nice guy, shy-guy syndrome

          i tend to get palm-sweating, stuttering, black-man blushing, mouth open, eybrows up FROZEN around beautiful women. My cool comes ALL THE WAY OFF.

          However, an older woman once told me that she believes that man SHOULD be more in love with his wife than she is with him.

          How y’all feel about that?

          • mena

            Aren’t you married? You tell us :-)

            • Micthemessenger

              you know, i really had to give some thought to that question myself.
              i’ve been engaged for a year and a half. i used to think that this statement was damn gospel, but life has definitely changed what i believe about the way EYE (I) love. i do believe that love can be a choice. i’ve pursued, dated, and loved my fiancee for about four years now. we had our honeymoon stage, which lasted pretty long. and we’ve been through our fair share of sh!t (admittedly, a good deal was my fault).
              but i’ve experienced a sporadic, intense increase in how much i love this woman. i don’t know who loved who more, but it progressed from colleagues, to associates, to friends, lovers, and soon spouses. i used to think a man had to love a woman more, and for some guys maybe. but for the WILLING, i think the right person can completely change the status quo when it comes to loving someone uniquely. You must be willing to open yourself up to the possibility of EXTREME HURT to feel EXTREME LOVE.

              But that sh!t is NOT for the faint-hearted. And for me (or us), wherever we were when we started, we’re right here now *does eye-to-eye thingy*

              so to answer your question, i think it’s case by case.

              Yes i know this is late as ever.

          • Amethyst

            I have an Aunt who strongly believes that. She says as the years go by, men start taking the woman/relationship for granted, while women tend to fall more in love with their husbands, so it eventually balances out. She honestly thinks the worst thing a woman can do is marry a man she loves waaay more than he loves her.

    • Rewind

      I completely suck at understanding body language regarding me unless I’m in a negative situation. Otherwise, I can read people like a map for any situation.

      Henceforth, I never know a girl is hitting on me or feeling me until someone curses at me later for missing my chance.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    *watching Krush Groove*

    Lol. They even threw Donnie Simpson in this film.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      i’ve still never seen that

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        It’s a fun film. It’s really campy. And, it’s interesting seeing the people like LL, RUN DMC, Sheila e, Kurtis Blow, etc. It was my first time seeing it.

  • Furious Styles

    Rule of thumb-if you have to get a third party’s opinion on somebody’s attraction to you, if they really had “something come up” for the second time in a row, or what their vague text message really meant, you’ve lost already. How do you know? Ask yourself if you think that person of interest is consulting a third party about you.

    • BkSweetheart

      + 1 million

    • prissychrissy23

      Well I previously thought this too…but then I dated a guy after mutual third party negotiations to get two shy people together after years of crushing on each other lol.

      • Furious Styles

        prissychrissy23,
        “Well I previously thought this too…but then I dated a guy after mutual third party negotiations to get two shy people together after years of crushing on each other lol.”

        So the third party knew the both of you? Oh, then that’s different. And more practical. I’m talking about going to a friend/blogger/oracle that knows nothing about you or the other person. That rarely bodes well.

    • Sweet GA Brown

      MESSAGE!!!

  • nillalatte

    Nilla: “Champ, is TUK into me?”
    Champ: “Not yet, but he could be.” :P

    OR

    Champ: “Not ever, but he’d still hit it anyway… in the dark… with the lights off… and a hood over his head. Nope. I would say TUK is probably not into you.”

    • nillalatte

      Enough messing with TUK. I’m out.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      you two need to get a room. overlooking a lake. of deez

      • That Ugly Kid

        It’s okay Champ, she just wants the D. If she behaves, I might give it to her….