By Chevonne Harris–
A recent conversation with an older woman got me thinking. I’m not sure how we got on the topic of men, but 10-minutes into the conversation she said something that stuck with me. While talking about the single life, she joked that she’d been single for so long that if a man were to touch her “in that way,” she wouldn’t know what to do.
Although quite comical to hear a 70-plus, God-fearing senior citizen joke about sex, it also reminded me of the dozens of older black women I know who’ve lived the latter part of their lives without companionship.
For as long as I’ve known this woman, the idea of her having a partner, boyfriend or some type of male companion has always seemed foreign. Despite her having two adult sons, I always assumed she came made with no libido — naive of me, but true. It was only in moments like the aforementioned I was reminded that she is in fact a woman who, like all of us, values, deserves and craves intimacy.
Then it hit me. What if I was destined to live a similar life. What if I, the single, independent, hands on her hip, pays her own bills, you must not know about me, career-oriented young woman becomes the single, black woman stat we so often read about. What if I become, dare I say, the archetypal asexual black woman.
You know, that forever single auntie, big mama, church mother, sister girl or friend who, for as long as you can remember has flown solo, seemingly naive to or content with their single lives. Always smiling and nine times out of ten, has a Bible within arms reach. These women are the ultimate masters of disguise, brilliantly suppressing any traces of sexuality, feelings of loneliness, and any other telling evidence that may offer the slightest hint they are unhappy with their current state of singleness.
Yes, we’ve all heard the stats and pity tales of the SBW, but it’s another thing to witness the numbers in real life. As a 26-year-old young professional who spends way too much time on work and less time on social activities and hunting for a mate, judging from the numbers, it looks as though I’ve unknowingly stacked the odds not in my favor. Here’s how I stack-up on paper. I hold two degrees, possess limited cooking skills (quite frankly I don’t find it that enjoyable), was born and raised, and for the most part support and adhere to the doctrines of the black church, have no desire to pursue a man, and would prefer that my ideal mate be 6’2, brown skin and somewhat resembling of Columbus Short. Again, the odds really aren’t in my favor.
I love my singledom, really I do. I come and go as I please and it’s one less Christmas gift I have to buy. But every now and then there’s a moment; a moment of too much idle time and I wonder when love will pass my way. Not lust, like or a one night, but that Olivia Pope, Nina Mosley can’t eat, can’t sleep, get my hair my wet in the rain kind of love. Today, I had a moment.
While I certainly have no intention of living in this moment, and for the most part am content with not being in a relationship at the present time, there are rare times when I wonder. Times when I wonder if I’m destined to follow the path of so many other black women who waited for love, turned a blind eye toward love, or thought any chances of love and intimacy had passed their way.
Yes I know I am still considered a spring chicken when it comes to relationships, and I have plenty of years to find my Columbus Short. While I wholeheartedly believe love will happen one day, if possible, I’d like my “one day” to happen sometime before I hit menopause or forget what “in that way” feels like.