The other day my friend hit me with the age-old question. It is that question that many black women in their twenty-something’s from all socioeconomic backgrounds will face at some point. Whether or not she addresses the question to herself or her girlfriends, it is one every woman has to answer and decide her stance.
“Benè call me ASAP,” SD said via Twitter. “I need to talk to you about something I know you can give me insight on.”
“Ok, cool. I’m at work I’ll hit you up when I get off at five,” I replied.
Five o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. I was overly anxious to hear what SD wanted to discuss with me as I usually was the one seeking advice from her. Furthermore, I had a feeling that this conversation was about a man. Since I wasn’t really dating anyone I had to vicariously live through her.
“Hey girl what’s up?” I asked when she picked up.
“Nothing much,” she replied. “So I been knowing this guy since high school and we’ve been acquaintances for a really long time.”
“Recently we got back in touch with one another via Facebook. We have really great conversations and we’ve been talking everyday for the past month,” SD said.
“Why am I just hearing about this? But go on,” I said jokingly.
“Girl he wants to drive all the way from *———— * to *————— * to come see me,” she said.
Now in my head I’m thinking, ok what’s the problem. He sounds like a good enough dude.
“Ok, you don’t want him to come see you?” I asked.
“It’s not that. Girl he has five kids,” she said.
“NO. DON’T. DO. IT.” I yelled. “How many baby mama’s does he have?” which is a very relevant question nowadays.
“Four,” she replied.
Now I know this seems like a closed case as soon as she said five with four baby mamas, especially when SD has no children. I was on the phone dumb founded that she was even considering continuing any type of communication with him. This was a no-brainer. At least I thought.
I was all for her remaining friends with the guy, but I told her she had to make it very clear that she was not interested in him in any shape, fashion or form. Hell, he needed to be worrying about his five kids. I even quoted my grandmother hoping SD would see the light, “Baby you never want to get with a man who has all these kids. Because his income is steadily going out the household to those kids, while all yours is coming in,” my grandmother once told me. I was so firm in my point I just knew SD would agree. Bam! She hit me with the, “Well what if you miss out on a good man just because you’re discrediting him for having kids?”
As someone with former law school aspirations I had an immediate response to her question. But what I wasn’t sure about was how much I believed in my response. In hindsight it seemed as simple as we don’t have children, if God knows it’s our preference to date someone without children, then He has created a man for us that meets that criterion. On the surface it sounded logical. Yet, I couldn’t help to ponder how superficial and selfish it sounded once the words left my mouth. If a man has all the other qualities on your list (ladies don’t act like you don’t have a list), should he be scratched off just because he has kids?
Next I tried to argue with SD that it was the caliber of men she chooses, which is why we were even addressing this issue. Once again I was taken aback my own thoughts. Single black men with children have absolutely nothing to do with a lower or higher tier of men. One of my good friends- who has his Bachelor’s, Master’s and is pursuing his Law degree-has two children. In many conversations I’ve had with him he always verbalized his concept of a strong family unit. And one day he wants a wife and more children.
Fact is life happens; and everybody doesn’t experience the traditional- date, get engaged, marry and then have children.
I can bet money based on his credentials alone, many women would jump at a chance to date him. Black man, loves black women, pursuing law degree, has a job, a car and his own place. Sounds good on paper doesn’t it? (Note: I’m not saying that degrees and materialistic values are all that matter or are of uber importance to every woman. However, these qualities initially will make a woman at least consider the guy). But how many of those same women would think twice about continuing a relationship once they found out he has not one, but two children?
Ladies, let me ask you this. If you were a single mother would you want men to say you are not a suitable life partner because you have a kid(s)? Everyday women have children and are forced to become single parents. However, many of them still handle their business and possess the qualities of great women, phenomenal women. If we as women truly want to be considered equal in this world, I think we must use the same measuring scale for men that we use or want used for ourselves.
Am I saying I could seriously date a man with five kids? Hell no! Mama ain’t raise no fool.
I am saying that it’s time to reevaluate some of our ridiculous standards that potentially keep us from complete happiness with an incredible man.
Are kids an automatic disqualifier for men or women in matters of the heart?