Question of the Week: Young Black Woman Victim of Colorism, Wants Tips on How to Attract Men Across the Melanin Spectrum

“First of all I love your site, I log on everyday. My name is Nikki and I could really use your insight. I am 22 and from southern New Jersey; here being a dark skinned female is often frowned upon in the black community and black men have little interest in me. The few black men that I have dated I found only wanted me for sex. Not being that type of girl I couldn’t understand why that was. Finally I asked an ex-boyfriend why he felt like I wasn’t (what we often say in the black community) “wife material”. He responded “I don’t want my children to come out too dark”. From that moment on I decided that I would look at other races when looking for a mate. For years I have only been able to attract the attention of Hispanic men, and while I’ve had some wonderful relationships I have always been attracted to white men as well. I often see them look in my direction and stare for a minute , I smile and then either they look away or just keep staring but never actually speak to me. I have great teeth so I know that’s not what’s keeping them away lol. What can I do to make myself more approachable? Should I approach them instead?

First Nikki, I want to give you a cyber hug for all the colorism you’ve had to deal with from your own people. It’s a sad fact that many blacks don’t couple with darker-skinned blacks for fear their children will come out gasp!! dark–because everyone knows that about the most horrible thing to be in the world, or it’s some awful hereditary disease that future parents should pre-screen and engage in batteries of tests to try and prevent the dreaded tar-baby-itis. This is a remnant of slavery and a pathological infatuation with a European standard of beauty, I’m afraid. Lucky for you that you’ve got plenty of options, and there’s a world of men out there who REALLY think black is beautiful, and not just some empty feel-good, no action platitude. You are entitled to love and respect, and not to be viewed as some “jump off” or object to be sexually exploited because some folks more obsessed with color and hue than the Crayola corporation. I think you’re smart to keep all your options open and gravitate to those who will love, appreciate, commit and respect you in the manner that you deserve.

As far as the approachability question–it sounds as if you’re doing two to the most important body language tactics a woman can employ. You’re making eye contact and flashing those gorgeous chompers. Believe you me, there are TONS of men across the melanin spectrum who think there’s nothing more beautiful and alluring than the contrast of smooth dark skin against pearly, white teeth.

But…

As far as you making the first move, I generally don’t recommend it. Mostly because when I’ve tried it, I struck out big time. There’s a reason for that. Despite all feminism has done to try to even out the roles of men and women, they can’t kill a man’s primal need to engage in “the hunt.” Like it or not, men like the pursuit and the chase. But that’s not to say women have to sit at the sidelines and just wait to be picked by whatever lame-ass comes along.

Setting is Key

You’ve got to get to places where you can meet and mingle a bit for some period of time to allow for more time than just a simple eye exchange. Janice talks about this very thing in great detail in chapter eight “You’ve Decided, Now Get Busy: 52 Ways to Find a Date” in Swirling. While you might leave closing the deal to the guy, there’s a few things you can do to help him along. For instance, if a guy is just standing there grinning at you for longer than about three seconds, or repeatedly looks and smiles in your direction, take my friend Matthew Hussey’s advice and say something like, “It’s okay to come and talk to me–I (mostly) don’t bite.”  And once you’ve made a conversational connection, employ the use of your eyes, your smile and your hands to connect with your target. If you like his shoes, tell him so. If he tells a funny joke, laugh and lightly touch his forearm to emphasize a point your making in conversation. All this is very old fashioned I know but women who understand and have mastered the art of making a man feel important reap the benefits. You can’t argue with results. Happy hunting, chica!

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The Man Myth