A good friend finds herself irritated by the incessant chatter about the "single black woman" phenomenon. She confides that she recognizes the challenges that many black women face in pursuit of love and she feels for them, but she's coming from a different place. At age 38, she has no interest in walking down the aisle, settling down or raising children. She never has. Therefore, the logistics and statistics for finding a good (black) man don't mean a lot to her on a personal level. Perhaps, she's a bit of a loner that way, but she's definitely not alone in how she feels.
It's true, however, that love, marriage and a baby carriage are high on the list of most single women and preferably in that order. Women are socialized to believe that being a mother, with a loving husband in tow, is the holy grail of womanhood. For many, it's impressed upon them early and often. Wittingly or not, they find themselves
But that's what most people excel at -- believing and behaving as everyone else does and judging those who dare to do otherwise. People, in general, don't strike me as being particularly adept at running their own lives, much less the lives of others. Yet there seems to be no shortage of unsolicited opinions. According to conformists, everyone has a lane, and love it or not, you don't leave it. To them, it's unthinkable that an attractive single woman wouldn't succumb to bridal envy or to the maternal instinct to take her uterus for a spin. In fact, society seems far more comfortable with the narrative of a depressed and disheartened woman waiting for Mr. Right to come along than we are with a single woman who is happy living life free as a bird.
I understand that protecting our comfort zones is high priority. The doors become unhinged and the walls weaken when we feel threatened by people who believe and behave differently than the traditional manner most of us are accustomed to. Whether it's being openly gay, having an open marriage or, as in this case, declaring open season on the Pollyanna notion that all straight women want the same thing, society still gets its panties twisted up in a bunch at the thought of such things. The only thing most of us want open is our mouths so we can bark about how wrong a person is. And, if the spirit hits, we'll commence with stoning people with Bibles in the public square or on comment boards.
As Erykah Badu states it at the end of her new video, "people assassinate that which they do not understand." To my friend (and everyone like her), continue to be you. People will always sound the alarms simply because someone sets fire to their safe and neatly packaged belief systems.
Mason Jamal writes about issues pertaining to the style, substance and sensibilities of men (and sometimes women). For more of his musings, you can visit www.MasonSays.com. To have his commentary delivered directly to your email, subscribe here. You can also keep up with Mason's random thoughts and daily observations on Twitter @masonsays.