This is a reaction to Annie Brisibe-Porbeni’s essay: “In Search of Mr. Right or Wrong in Diaspora: The Plight of the Young Black African Woman” The article dwells on the predicament single, educated, intelligent and fun-loving Black women of African origin face in North America — when it comes to the issue of dating and marriage. These women’s dilemma, distress and anguish are captured in the following excerpts:
“…How many of you have boyfriends, husbands or even seeing someone right now with the possibility of a serious commitment…?”
“…Living abroad has put us in a box where men are concerned. You are forced because of lack of choices and a thin pool of educated, descent, okay looking and well mannered young Black men to now accept anything that looks your way…It’s even harder finding an African male of your choice because the ones that under normal circumstances you won’t even look at are running after White women. Even when you give them a chance to get close they treat you like you should be happy to have them…”
“…I worry that I may never find a Mr. Right or Wrong. I can’t date an Asian, a Caucasian, or even someone from the Middle East my parents will kill me… it’s not an option; cultures, dealing with racism, how to integrate into their world or them mine…there are too many issues to deal with. I am not ready for that. It’s hard alone being a Black woman in this society…”
In this rejoinder, I make two interrelated arguments: that generally speaking, African women in the Diasporas spends eternity waiting and or searching for Mr. Perfect — when human perfection is an illusion; and that a second group allows cultural considerations to influence their lives. As humane as the African culture is, certain aspects of it are energy sapping and regressive; therefore, these women should not subject themselves to its demands.
Most African women (in the Diasporas) put themselves in the situation in which they find themselves by virtue of their supercilious attitude. Most can’t even tell what it is they want and what they want in a man and in a relationship. They are confused and can’t decide whether they are Africans or are “non-Africans” living in the West. These women want to be co-captains, coequals and at the same time quote Oprahisms or threaten you with the intervention of the social service or the police if you tell them to behave like a wife. No man in his right mind will go near such a woman — unless by mistake, he was drunk or was desperate for something!
Most of these women spend a great deal of their valuable time searching for Mr. Right. Sometimes, what a woman need is “Mr. OK,” and not “Mr. Right” or “Mr. Perfect;” and so they become blind or too engrossed with their trivial requirements — so much so that they wouldn’t recognize Mr. Right even if he came along. Such women come to their senses only when it is too late. This gives rise to the phenomenon of women complaining: “There are no good men around…” Oops, ladies, he was right there all along but was too shallow to recognize a good thing!
Every Nigerian man I know would rather marry a Nigerian woman. The same can be said of all the African men that I know. But sadly — and this is especially so in the last decade or so — these women want to know the type of car one drives, whether one lives in a home with a 2-car-garage or in an apartment, ones salary and investments and so on and so forth. They want men with exotic cars, Armani suits, Gucci watch, Italian-snake shoes and a cellar full of French wines. They want a ready-made man — never a struggling man with potentials who is decent, loving, and morally and ethically upright.
The educated African women — the PhD holders, the lawyers, medical doctors, masters of this and masters of that and their likes are among the snootiest. These same women complain about Black men going after White women! The sad truth is that, more often than not, the White women are ready to “work with you,” but not so for the vast majority (of a small number of African women). And then they wonder why more and more Black men are ensconced with non-African women? Their demands have, in some cases, driven feeble-hearted African men to commit the unthinkable. Today, especially in places like Houston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles, we have a segment of Nigerian men selling their soul to meet the demands of these unscrupulous and greedy women.
The fault is not our women’s alone. Good gracious, Lord knows that some African men can be and are devilish, conniving, lying and cheating bastards who will take women for the ride and, if need be, take them to the cleaners in a heartbeat. Besides, some of these men would commit illegalities even without the women asking. These men live to please women’s narcissism. Still, I don’t feel sorry for most women who complain about the lack of “good men” for relationships or marriage. My attitude is that of indifference. And in any case, they don’t need my sympathy!
As for some of the women in Annie Brisibe-Porbeni’s essay, I wonder how many men they shunned, dismissed, laughed at and even “spit” at? I wonder. A woman can’t be that smart, funny, educated, sassy, spunky and fun loving and not have flock of men after her. But unfortunately, we have a small group of women (not necessarily Annie’s subjects) who, once they attain certain status get greedy and dream pipedreams — waiting for Mr. Perfect to sweep them off their feet.
Yes, it is true that as Africans, marriage is highly rated and the unmarried women are generally frowned upon. But the women Annie Brisibe-Porbeni wrote about live in North America. These are educated women; these are women who probably believe in the equality of both sexes. These are women who, at the very least, have spent an upward of five years in the West. Therefore, they should know, or at the very least, should have known that as humanistic and benevolent as the African culture is, it is also a culture that can be oppressive, relegates women to inferior and painful positions.
Any critical observer of women knows that, in most cases, women are women’s worst enemies. Most of the time, it is women who are goading fellow women to get married and have children long before their time or long before they are ready and capable. In this day and age, do women really need a man, a ring, partner and the title, Mrs., to feel complete, happy and blissful? I don’t think so. I don’t because one need not be married to be happy. One need not be married to have children. One need not be married to feel accomplished. One need not be married to have a wonderful life.
To feel otherwise is to stunt ones growth, happiness and sense of fulfillment. African women should stop worrying about what society thinks or feels about them in terms of their marital status. They don’t need men to feel complete! And for those who must worry, well, they should stop searching for Mr. Perfect or Mr. Readymade. African women should cultivate their own gardens instead of waiting to be fed; plant their own flowers instead of waiting for men to bring them roses. You are capable; you illuminate the world and give joy to humanity. Be you…