Dear Black Women: Never Accept Struggle Dates!

Written by Nicole J.

In this age of social media, there is no shortage of material to write about. Since I frequently write about the unique experience of black women and relationships, I spend time online for research, as thankfully, I’m out the dating scene. Many of the social media pages I follow broadcast both the good and the bad of what it’s like to be a single black woman navigating the dating waters. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some tragic displays of “dates”, and I wanted to write something to make it adequately clear that it is okay to have standards for the men you date, even if other women don’t, and even if men resort to name calling because they know they don’t meet said standards.

All that said, let’s dig in.

1)      Eating fried chicken off newspaper

This one happened a few months ago, but it bears repeating. If a man who seeks your attention serves you dinner on a Publix Weekly Ad and a used ice cream bucket, that is not a date! The comments, as usual, were a hot ass mess. From rampant name calling (“ungrateful ass bitches, hoes aint know no better/that’s why you bitches is single now” etc.) to vicious protection of mediocrity (“mother f-cking females should be glad he cooked”) to flat out blaming the woman for not accepting the feeble attempt at courtship (“I’m pretty sure you’ll never get married and if you do, It won’t be long until you get divorced”), there was no shortage of opinions on the thread.

Let me put a Johnny Cochran rhyme on this: If you can’t buy plates, you don’t get dates!

Thankfully there were some ladies with some damn common sense in the comments, calling this nonsense out for the mess it was. Does no one care about a first impression anymore? It boggles the mind that asking for plates would ever be considered asking for too much.

Not because you require LESS than the bare minimum from potential partners means that I, or women who think like me, swirler or not, should. In what universe is expecting plates and cutlery asking for too much? This is not a matter of raising standards, it’s just having standards.

2)      Eating at a soup kitchen

This was another gem I saw recently. The guy from this scenario volunteers at a soup kitchen, and eats there 5 times a week, and somehow thought it would be appropriate to bring the woman he was interested in there, as a date. Even within his story, he judges the people there (“Maybe you can imagine what kind of people use the community meal services”), while using the same services himself! I am all for giving back to the community; I volunteer fairly regularly myself. But no matter what anyone says, a community meal at a soup kitchen is not a date!

There is nothing wrong with a soup kitchen, as they provide a much needed service. But if you got all dressed up in your finest first-date regalia, to go to a place where the less fortunate might be getting their only meal for the day, would you not feel REALLY uncomfortable? Here you are, in your makeup, great outfit, heels, with your phone, and other luxuries, sitting amongst people who may not have the privilege of a shower or a warm bed in ages. Is that not really awkward? How are you going to “get to know each other” in a setup like that?!

To top this scenario off, the date-host in question ended the post saying his audience’s standards are too high and unrealistic, thus making them single. Meanwhile, here he is, on the prowl, and probably borderline destitute himself, and yet shaming this good-sense-having woman for acting “bougie”.

A date at a homeless shelter might be okay with some people, but it’s not okay with me, and it shouldn’t be okay with you either. Wouldn’t me eating there be taking the food out the mouth of someone who needs it way more than me? First dates can be budget friendly if you make the effort. Why not volunteer there together and then go bowling or an escape room after? Men like this are desperate to convince women to settle for less than the barest of minimums because of how little they have to offer. Since his finances changed, he should have postponed the date until he was in a better position. I’d love to know what his plan was before his financial situation took a dive; that would answer a lot more questions. In any case, broke men of any race should not be in your dating pool, period, and you shouldn’t entertain them.

Here’s the thing: I am the prize in the relationship, so you, as the man, have to do the wooing. With me, you get my attention, my beauty, my intelligence, my humor, my affection, and the privilege of having me on your arm. I don’t have to humble myself for the bare minimum. Guess I’ll just miss out with the “good brotha”. Thank you, next.

3)      Any “family” chain restaurant

This might be an unpopular opinion. If you can smell the grease in the parking lot, or if there’s lots of rowdy children around, it is not a date. I’m talking restaurants like Applebee’s and Miller’s Ale House type places (although they both have some items I like, I admit). Also, if the first date restaurant has a drive through, it’s doubly not a date, it’s a damn insult. There are plenty of nice non-chain restaurant options that serve good food without breaking the bank. In this age of Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, I don’t know how someone can’t find a great place to eat within five miles of literally anywhere without breaking the bank.

Here’s another Johnny Cochran rhyme: If you take me to Denny’s, you’re not getting any!
(That’s not as good a rhyme, I know. Nothing rhymes with Applebee’s.)

4) UberEats Delivery run

This is the post that inspired this whole blog. I came across it last week, and now, here we are. Ladies, if he brings you to his job for a “date”, that’s not a date! That’s like having a first date with an accountant and going to his office while he does other people’s taxes (except accounting is lucrative and you’d learn something by being there).

I have never once had an UberEats driver roll up with someone in the passenger seat. How is it a date when the food was chosen, ordered, and paid for by somebody that’s not you, sir? How is it a date when I don’t get to eat the food sitting in the backseat? Is this not just a ride along? If you switch up your hustle and move up to Pizza Hut delivery, would you still be doing this? Like, would I ring the doorbell and you hand over the pizza? Does this lady get a cut of the check, since she’s in the car with him? Again, broke men do not deserve your attention, especially when they try and shame you about having standards that they don’t meet.

5)  Going Dutch

Last but not least, splitting the bill is not a date. Yes, I still support pay equality and feminism and all that, but I said what I said. I split the bill with my bestie and my girlfriends. It costs money to look as good as I would on a first date (high end skincare, all Fenty Beauty everything, great dress, great shoes, hair and nails done, plus a pricy purse to carry my stuff), so the cost of dinner is the price to pay to hold my attention and keep us both fed and entertained. If you asked me out, then I expect you to pay for the privilege of being seen with me. You can call me arrogant or a gold digger all you want, but bear in mind 1) I know I look good, and 2) only people with no gold to dig seem to make that designation.

These are only some of the struggle dates I’ve seen on social media. If they keep happening, I might turn this into a series. What do you guys think? Sound off in the comments!

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