Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All the Single Ladies...

During the holiday break I had a discussion with my single sister (CEO), single best friend from college (PHD), and a happily married male pilot. The conversation was insightful, in that in the eyes of this very successful man, the weight of the world lays on the shoulders of women, more specifically black women. He went on to say that the reason our jails are filled with so many black men is because their mother, spouse, or partner enabled unacceptable behavior. He felt that black boys/men were not held accountable, which has led to lives of crime and incarcaration. He also said that a man needs a woman to build him up and encourage him. He said, “At the end of the day it is his woman’s reaction to him that makes a difference.” He continued to discuss all the needs and requirements that a man needs to be happy and successful in life. I asked what about the needs of the woman. What’s in it for her? Needless to say, I could hear the crickets chirping. The conversation was interesting to say the least. When I returned to work, my boss posted a video on Facebook ( ) about successful unmarried black women. He was shocked at the comments that he received about the video. He expressed to me that he thinks every woman wants a man to share their life with…I did not disagree with him, but I suspect that the increasingly high rate of single black women is due to the fact that women, successful women, are not willing to settle for “just having a man".  In this video, Steve Harvey said something very poignant. He said, “His generation of men never taught the ones coming behind them the principles of manhood, and that this is due to the lack of male presence in the home.” These two conversations with two different men led me to write this piece.  I am willing to bet that the reason that the percentage of single, successful, black women has risen to such high rates is because our sense of worth and what we expect and require from a relationship has also risen. We raised the bar!

Do you remember the movie, “Waiting to Exhale”? The character played by Whitney Houston had a conflicted relationship with her mom, who was pressuring her to be with a married man so she would not be alone. I think our generation of women has come so far from just “wanting to have a man”. A companion is what is desired…a best friend and lover. When those basic needs are met, her love, support, and commitment is his for the taking. Is that asking for too much? I think not! Women want a man who is comfortable in his own skin, confident and strong, and not intimidated by her success. Having great character, goals, and a career would also be nice. Again, not asking for all that much, but because, like Steve Harvey mentioned, a lot of our boys were never taught how to be men; they define manhood in dysfunctional ways (womanizing, non communication, controlling, etc.) On the other hand, many black girls were raised to be strong and to take care of themselves. They are educated, successful, strong, and are taking care of their own emotional and physical needs :-). Many of the single women in my life have great careers and awesome friends. Some of them have children and very supportive families. I think that they all would love to have a companion to share their lives, but at this point either men are intimidated by their love of self and success, or the men that are stepping up are not worthy of their time or friendship. They are learning to lead full, meaningful lives without a man…

A haunting question comes to mind…Does finding and nurturing your own “worth” leave you without male companionship? I think not. I believe there are men out there that value a woman’s worth. There are men that can see that light shining from within a beautiful woman who is confidant and secure in who they are.  These men will do what it takes to earn that love. They may not come in the package you have in your mind, but they are out there. I think for too long women fought to make things fit, and would try to overcompensate and disregard her own needs to make a relationship work. All relationships require compromise, but compromise does not mean sacrificing yourself for someone else’s happiness. I think many men don’t get this yet. The patriarchal society that we live in caters to men and their needs. I remember having a conversation with my own husband about one of his friends and the choices of women that this friend was making. My husband said some interesting things about the women, which angered me. I said, “wait a minute now…have you looked at your friend lately, and what he is bringing to the table” There was this feeling of supremacy that this friend should have better, but I told him that this friend needed to get his stuff together and that he was no prize at this time either.

Relationships are quite complex and there are no simple answers or formulas of what works and what doesn't work. My boss told me that I am happily married and my perspective might be different if I were single. I don’t think so, because at a very early age I decided that I would rather be alone, then to settle. I thank God for sending me my prince, but had he not come when he did, I would have waited, even if that meant being alone. At least I would like to believe that.

This is just my interpretation of this topic. I would love to hear your take on it. This is not just about black women. It is about women in general and all of us living a life of worth and refusing to settle! Please share your thoughts…


  1. Gary "THE PILOT!"15 January, 2010

    "happily married male pilot." Humm I do have a MS in Engineering, Ex-Fighter Pilot, Command Pilot with many hours of combat. Designated Aviator in the Navy and Air Force. I did not mention what we "Bros" contribute to a woman or the needs of a woman? My lack of comment was indicative of how comical your comment was. Lets see look outside your window. When Women could not fight wars, or build infrastructure. When men fought and died for your ability to be free, your kids, your way of life. The heavy lifting to construct freeways, and streets. The Dirty work in the mines and railways to jumpstart commerce. The Test pilots of vehicles that killed and maimed so your Air Bags on your VOLVO work. I could go on, but my point is just as you take these things for granted, they enabled you to grow to become the great women you are :-). You profess that your completeness is independent of us men. If you feel that way, communicate as well as you do you should be proud of us. We understand you need nothing to be happy and we give you nothing shouldn't you be happy?

  2. @Gary...
    Isn't being a happily married, very successful pilot enough of a title?

    V. J. J.

  3. Gary,

    "happily married male pilot, MS in Engineering, Ex-Fighter Pilot, Command Pilot with many hours of combat. Designated Aviator in the Navy and Air Force....This is for you! Click link below...


  4. And the God Father of Soul has spoken!


  5. Well, the way I see it is it works both ways. We women have had to learn to take care of business because our men are not stepping up. The days of staying home while He works and brings home the bacon are gone. WE have to work to HELP make ends meet. A lot of times we end up with better jobs and make more money trying to better our lives and the lives of or family. Men have to accept that we are equal and treat us as such. We have to accept that some men such as the pilot cannot handle this. Instead of getting that sister neck roll on them we need to take the time to educate them as to how we became the person we are in the hopes that they will evole as well. We must start with our young men because sme of the older ones are already a lost cause. We must also be patient with our brothers because they have not been taught to be strong. I do not mean physically but mentally and emotionally. They have been taught that men don't cry nor accept help; that they take care of making money, paying the bills etc.They have to learn that we are tehir help mate as well as their play mate.

  6. Successful relationships are based on both parties working together and not trying to be in competition with their status and financial power. As successful women in our high profile careers why can’t we also have successful relationships? In our mission to put black men down do we realize we’re also turning, the good men away as they have no time for the drama and anger we portray. Why is it that successful White women don’t seem to have the same problem? Is it because they’re comfortable with a Blue Collar partner? Someone who loves and cares for them someone who is there for them?
    “Just can’t handle a strong black woman” or “our black men are intimidated by a sisters success”, we need to let go of this excuse sisters this is a crutch we hold on to when our relationships have failed. We need to place the same emphasis on our relationships as we do our career, our success ratio would be far greater.
    I am a successful Black woman. I just decided to do a self examinations which lead me to self actualization. Looking at ME and decided to see things for what they are. This was frightening; I realized that I did not give my relationships the same priority, passion as my career. I did not know how to separate my work life from my love life. I was all high on the almighty power , that I was bring home the Bacon ,Sausage and some that my home/personal relationship was minuscule.
    Black women are doing themselves and our future generations more harm than good with our strong front. We ACT as if all is great! Yeah right (that’s what we tell each other not our pillow at nights).
    Too often the I-can handle-it-myself society we live in seems to promote loneliness rather than companionship which is an important part of sharing the burden and worries we have each day.
    We’re shooting ourselves in our foot damaging our families with our “strength”. Really ,when a generation of young black boys and girls are raised by single women. We’re starting a vicious trend by allowing them to believe there is no consequence to fatherless families; (Which brings us back to “Successful Pilot” argument.
    We seem also to forget that our man sometimes needs a nipple to suck on!

  7. Thanks to all for your is the dialogue of us all that will lead to healing and effective relationships for both men and women. When writing, "All the Single Ladies", I did not at any point want to send the message that companionship is not wanted or needed. The message I wanted to send to both men and women is that until we truly embrace and value our worth from within, a happy healthy relationship is not possible. Both men and women need a companion that will celebrate each others successess, encourage their dreams, and love unconditionally...and that settling for less should not be an option...

  8. Men accepting women as equal is not the point here. I just feel you have a definte bias in your writing. Quoting Steve Harvey while suggesting girls have this angel like quality. Didn't see much anything positive about BRO's in your piece. WORTH is dangerous word to use when talking about people. What is life worth? Look on TV and compare your worth to those you see?

    Settling for less? Explain that. What does a Bank President Deserve? an MD? How about a Waitress? a Flight Attendant?Is it money? a Type of Job? What part of the person as a whole makes you settle? Their looks? Body? Religion? How about sexual compatibility? Tall or Short?

    So you must mean not being in love! Settle on that. But if you feel the man is...... can you even try to love him? Is that it? Did all that success adjust your image on what that MAN must be? Started thinking about what you deserve vs What you see. You work so hard at a career but wnat a man in a ready to heat box. Wish it were that easy. Funny thing a know a lot of guys that settle also. Just that it's not manly to talk about that. When we settle they are usually HOT HOT Women.

    You, me everyone can find faults in everybody. When I was dating most of the Professional women were very competitive. Talked about work and goals. What was common, they were controlling. They felt they had to lead things that were simple as if to prove something. That drive I loved but it gets in the way. So you would say I had trouble dealing with their success.

    My point in our conversation was: Black Men have been the doormate of society for very long time. So long our ability to fix it is lost. Women have enabled us to get there by feeding us, putting up with Bullshit etc... So you moved on, got yourselves going and moved on. We lack the ability to do much and need you with your strength to right the ship. As you reach out your hand you say before I pull you in the ship you need to....... Black men need more caring and love then ever before, is it your fault NO! But you can win the Battle and lose the War!

  9. Gary,

    Of course my writing is biased...I am a woman. But don't get me wrong, I am a woman who LOVES men and more specifically my MAN, who had no letters, no insurance, and no job when I met him.

    What I see in both of your responses is resentment and anger...If you read my piece, and understood my piece, you would see that there is nothing negative about men. For some reason though, you interpret finding "a woman's worth" synonomous with putting down a brotha. Not the case at all! You definitely did not understand what I meant about settling. It had absolutely nothing to do with the letters behind a man's name (that you listed so nicely in your description of yourself) had more to do with not settling for being treated less than what you are worthy of.

    I actually agree with much of your last paragraph above, but I also believe that women cannot lose themselves in trying to "right the ship" as you put it. This is where we differ...both parties in a relationship need caring and love, and that is what I see missing from your perspective...Men, just like women, need to do the work to get themselves to a place where they can give and receive love...and not settle for less!

  10. As I read the piece above one thing stood out for me. You see, I am not a black woman, but I can still appreciate a "woman's worth". I am a latin woman and for most of my life gave up who I was to make "my man" feel better. I married young, and it was acceptable in my culture. I was taught to just grin and bear it, divorce was frowned upon. When I finally decided to seperate, my own mother took my then husband's side. Every day a little piece of me started to disappear. And for what, to not be a failure, to make him happy ... what did it get me, many years of unhappiness. Sometimes a woman will give up her dreams, surpress her feelings all to enable "her man" to feel more of a man. As a strong professional woman that is a hard pill to swallow. You're not doing anyone any favors, least of all your man. Because the same things that drew him to you, your beauty, your strength, your independence, are the things he starts to dislike when you are no longer praising him.

    I've learned through my journey that we are all responsible for our own actions, whether you are a black, brown, yellow or red man, YOU are responsible for your own actions or lack thereof. It is not a woman's job to build you up. It is not our job to ensure that you feel like a worthy man. It is not our job to keep you out of jails. We all make choices, choices that we have to live with.

    I've come to a point in my life where I had to make a choice. Continue to live the way I was or choose to make a change. A change I feel was for the better. It was a tough choice going against everything I was led to believe was right and proper. A choice to leave the man I loved, grew up with and with whom I share two children. A man that may be the right choice for another woman, but not the right choice for me.

    I hope and pray he can become the man I know he can be, without a woman to pick him, prop him up, and make him feel good about himself. Because in the end HE and HE alone is responsible for that!!

  11. I am not a relationship expert and I don't think anyone else on this blog is. What I'm hearing here is that men are at fault in all of the cases of professional black women being single. And the recurring theme when these women become single, is that men are intimidated by their success or self-worth, or they can't handle a strong black woman. That's tired and played out. Is there no blame on these women that they're in the situation they're in? The black family structure is shrinking by the day, and instead of offering a solution, I just see the finger being pointed at the black man. What we need in black relationships is friendship and mutual respect. Until we can figure out how to do that, I guess we as a people can't move on. And by the way, lookup the definition of compromise in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It's a little different from your interpretation.

  12. I earn a high six figure income, the result of hard work and higher education, and I cannot recall a single conversation with my male African American friends in the same tax bracket that included so much as a hint of intimidation. I suspect it is comforting to many women to think their degrees stand between themselves and a healthy relationship, but that notion is worn out, like a favorite sweater best left in the back of the closet.

    If black women were strong, they wouldn't use their success as a crutch for what has not come to pass. Life is tough, careers get in the way of social life, stressful jobs are not conducive to productive conversation after 12 hour days. Black women should either deal with the consequences or stop advertising an indomitable strength of character that seemingly applies to an entire demographic.

    Obviously you and “some” single successful black woman missed the boat as it set sail along time ago. Unfortunately, they will continue to remain on that shore alone and you will continue to help them stay there. My mother once said that some of the qualities of what made a woman were lost during the feminist movement. Some by choice and others because of the environment dictated their actions. Most women of today are nowhere close to the strength of their mothers and grand-mothers. As that precious model unfortunately has not been updated in most of today’s “American” women. And most men have that precious example born in to them! So don’t just blame our daddy’s and male role models. Nothing has changed in this world in 50 yrs. Most men are still raised and nurtured by woman and taught in school by woman. And your definition of success has left you blinded.

    As Mrs. Booker started out her “discussion with my single sister (CEO), single best friend from college (PHD)”, I can see where the pilot was coming from with listing his titles. No one successful or not should “settle for “just having a man" or a woman as you clearly pointed out your husbands short comings that you (I’m guessing a so called successful woman ) settled for a man “who had no letters, no insurance, and no job” when you met him. Way to go. Another man that can high jump or I guess the bar wasn’t that high then. “Single Ladies: You may want to inquire the writer about that!!!” And as your “reason that the percentage of single, successful, black women has risen to such high rates is because our sense of worth and what we expect and require from a relationship has also risen. We raised the bar!” Guess what? We applaud you, as the millions of men stand behind me clapping and wondering when will you be successful in getting a man, let alone keeping one. (Booker- What did you do to get and keep yours?) Unlike some successful woman most men don’t sit around wondering and spending weekends pondering the “why” while patting each other on the back for our accolades. As most successful men w/ all their material items and money, etc. are busy having fun with the woman who are just out having fun or whatever their motive is.

    I digress!!! I started to rebut every point, but your writing, as a married woman has no suggestion for your single woman readers and clearly had me bitter. I apologize ladies. and I do applaud Gary, the pilot for clearing that up. So I offer this to you: Your success is truly worthless in terms of keeping a man and let alone getting one too (just keepin’ it real). My beautiful woman caught me. That’s right and with her fine successful self approached me with her beautiful smile, look, and conversation before she or I knew what either did.

    Most black woman want that top 1% of successful black men (but after reading this - you break him down because the bar has been risen (LMAO) therefore making it about “.2%” of black men). ***Sigh*** and you are competing with 99.9% of women ***as I shake my head***. I do agree with never settling. But, there are other values in men besides title, money, no letters, no insurance, and no job when you meet him (Right, Booker)! So are you willing to date the garbage man, postal worker, or maintenance man? Most would say “Hell to the nah” or Why? Because you are blinded by your “so called” success. And then say to yourself “What would we have in common?”, “I can’t bring him to job functions!”, “What will my friends think?” LMAO!!!!! Thus leaving you with the .2% that probably doesn’t want you because they see their own success. Well anyway, what you want depends on where the man is in his life: single, married, divorced, retired, TIRED. Basically circumstance!! Bottom line: some fail to approach you because of fear of exposure of who they are and what you will like or accept. Others are so simple and straight up that there is really nothing more to them. In every aspect of a man’s life, it’s all about “timing”. Most men never put a time table let alone status on the woman he is dating. And that where you start from. If you are worthy (LMAO) to be wifed than the rest is relevant. Sometimes you have to step out on faith and make it happen. Don’t just wait in the cut for him. Use that success in finding that man that completes you not add to what you already have obtained. Again I apologize if I have offend any of you ladies, but I got my successful black woman (ROFL). Just kidding. Let Go and Let GOD!!!!!!


    As a Black woman (that's all the title I need ).
    What can I say.....I was about to post my views on this topic but WOW you said it all !!! A little harsh now ;-( but that's what SOME OF THESE these SSBS need ! A reality check .The only thing I would like to add is dont look for someone to complete you,be complete in and of yourself,be happy with who you are, be comfortable in your own skin,love who you are , when you can do this you can handle any relationship. Whatever you want out of a relationship or life you have to give 100% of yourself ,If you are not willing to do so ,then I suggest you wait until such time. Think about it deserve 100% right? So does the other person! Sisters wake up!

  16. Alicia Booker20 January, 2010

    Wow...I am so inspired that my writing has evoked so much emotion. I believe the point of my piece has gotten lost, and as the writer I have the perogative not to try to prove my points...People will take from it whatever fuels their own individual plight, and as the author I am powerless to others interpretations. I thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feel free to continue the discussion, but I have now moved on...

  17. It would seem that the emotion of the argument has been exhausted and there now exists an opportunity for a meaningful discussion. Strength comes in many forms, most notably in one's ability to see another point of view.

    I wouldn't dare determine the intent of a blog I've only read once, but I get the impression that educated black men have recently become engaged in conversation - why stop now?

    For what it's worth, when I come home from hop scotching political land mines and our so-called lighter counterparts at work, I need peace of mind. When a woman brings home her CEO strategy and strong arm tactics that serve her well in her daytime battlefield, it causes friction.

    All relationships are a negotiation of power, such that a domineering man can easily coexist with a submissive woman, albeit an unfulfilled union. My experience is that women have pushed this equilibrium to the limit and forget that I am a grown man. To re-brand emasculation as love is fraudulent and I will have no part of it.

    Apparently, neither will most black men - well educated, well paid or otherwise.

  18. Alicia Booker21 January, 2010

    "I wouldn't dare determine the intent of a blog I've only read once, but I get the impression that educated black men have recently become engaged in conversation - why stop now?"

    I love this statement...we are talking, which is a great accomplishment...

    I invite black men, and all men to please continue to speak their minds, frustrations, etc...

    What made me a little uneasy is that the conversation began to be a competition between who was right and who was wrong....and that was never my intent. My intent was to remind women of their "worthiness", to do the work needed inside so that a man will value her as a whole...That is not to say that men don't have similar issues and I thank all that contributed to this discussion and offered a different point of view. Maybe now we will be able to step outside of ourselves and come together to explore the real needs of both men and women...

  19. Alicia,
    "feel free to continue the discussion, but I have now moved on..."

    WOW throw a grenade in a room and MOVE ON! OK this is your Blog. Your Choice. But remember for every Failure there is an enabler behind them.

    Never heard one of my boys say "I wish that broke down, poor ass ..... would get a job and stop eating my ....Drinking my.....and sleeping on my...." about another GUY!

  20. Alicia Booker21 January, 2010


    As with the first conversation we had, its been very interesting. I enjoyed our first discussion and I appreciate the door that you opened for men to share their plight. However, the discussion that transpired based upon my blog entry was moving in a hostile direction that was the opposite of what my intent was...Maybe its the way I communicated, or maybe it is the experience of others that drove the interpretation.

    In any case I have no desire to place blame or point fingers at men or women as to the rise of successful single black women...My intent for this blog and in all of my writing is for all of us to do the hard work on the inside that will make us complete, so that when a soulmate reveals themselves, men and women will be ready to receive them. Not settling goes for both sides...and when I say settling it has nothing to do with a person's profession or the money they make, it applies to not settling for anyone who does not value the complete person from the inside out. Men cannot rely on women to fix their issues, nor can a woman rely on a man to make her complete.

    Thanks again for the time you took to read and share on my blog.

  21. Ladies and Gentlemen… what part of “A Woman’s Worth” didn’t you understand? Alicia’s piece has nothing to do with a man’s worth and everything to do with a woman’s worth. That’s not to say that one is more important than the other, only that one has nothing to do with the other. Many of the points you make in your responses are true, in part and/or their entirety. Many of your points can/should be the topic of healthy discussion – but NOT here. What’s disconcerting to me is that many of the comments have little or nothing to do with what the piece truly was about. In fact, they seem to have fueled a lengthy discussion with angry undertones that do nothing to lead us toward healing but rather to a debate about who is “more” worthy – again, not the point at all.

    Self worth and self love for men or women have nothing to do with one’s significant other, how they make you feel and what they do for you. It does however, have everything to do with YOU! Whether male or female, ones self worth is not and should not be contingent upon what someone else is bringing to the table. Frankly, they [your significant other] should be the cherry on your own whip cream, not the core ingredients that make up who you are.

    I AM a successful black woman - emotionally, mentally, physically, professionally and socio-economically – defined not by the letters after my name, the money in my bank accounts, the material items that I have come to acquire or the successful black man on my arm. My success is defined by who I have become as a result of the experiences I’ve had along my personal journey, the love of “self” I have developed as a result of those experiences, the respect I have for who I am, what I give to others and the light that emanates from me, not because of the beautiful black man on my arm but because of the purpose I fulfill everyday that has been defined by God. Only after you learn to love, respect and acknowledge your own worthiness can you truly come to the table with something valuable to offer someone else.

    And Gary, for the record, my beautiful, successful, black man who also has several letters after his name, a list of personal and professional accomplishments and a seven digit income, all of which have nothing to do with his personal definition of success, wants you to know that he does not see himself as a door mat for society nor does he succumb to the rhetoric that the inequities that do exist are beyond his control. One should be very careful not to generalize or speak for an entire race of men. In fact he wants you to know that your blaming of women for being “enablers” is yet another cop out and an excuse that society has come to expect from black men. It’s no wonder you’ve taken this discussion so personally. You clearly have your own issues of “worthiness“. Perhaps you would benefit from reading the piece again and changing the “woman” to “man” and the “she’s” to “he’s” and the “her” to “him”. Sounds like you could benefit from the piece on a personal level.

    Keep writing Alicia and keep inspiring the masses. Most importantly, please know that there are successful, black women who have done EXACTLY what you prescribe in the original piece and as a result have been blessed with healthy, happy relationships with healthy, happy, successful and secure black men.

  22. Gary, happily married, successful pilot with many accomplishments, you should be cautious about how you use the term “enabler” and even more careful to understand not only the definition of the term but the psychology behind the behavior. Any psychological or spiritual counselor will warn that the “enabler” in any relationship should be extremely careful NOT to become the source of blame for the husband/wife/significant others problem/behavior/issues. In fact, most professionals stress and reinforce that the “enabler” is NOT responsible for the person’s problem/behavior/issues nor are they responsible for that person’s recovery from same. A gross contradiction of what you write in your responses. Which brings one back to the original message in Mrs. Booker’s piece. While it was clearly targeted to women readers (it is in fact posted on her blog titled “A Woman’s Worth” after all) the philosophy can certainly be applied to both men and women. You missed the message my brother, perhaps because of your overt hostility. It is unfortunate, as it appears that it could be of great value to you in your pursuit of self-worth, self-respect and self-love all of which will lead you to the inner strength required to right your own ship.

    A Strong Black Man Who Admires, Respects and Loves A Strong, Black, Beautiful Woman!!!