THIS JUST IN: There is a movement building on the Internet just for women who like to date incarcerated and fresh-out-the-joint-type brothers. Women meet these guys, trying to help the penal system rehabilitate them, hoping to rebuild a man from the ground up. Not that convicts aren’t viable mates, but you can’t meet anyone at the coffee house, so you start trolling the prisons for husband material? What the hairy, hot fuck is that about? Oh. Probably just a hairy, hot fuck. Jesus Christ on a Saltine, that’s fucking stupid. But some women are so desperate for a man they can mold and control, it’s come to that. Holy shit.
Black women’s unrealistic standards are probably born of bedtime stories about handsome, rich men on majestic horses delivering damsels in distress. Girlfriends often tell similar apocryphal tales about the friend of a friend who nabbed a rich, hung sugar-daddy who saved them from a life of dishpan hands and lower-middle-class drudgery. Through the influence of popular media and the misguided advice they give each other, sisters combine these images and presumptions to draw a composite of a perfect black man. No way he could exist, but far be it for something like common sense to stop the average woman from looking. Her friends meet men who are so close—so close, girl! With just one fatal flaw, like he snores or doesn’t get DirectTV. But girl, he was so close! So as a tribe, they all just keep looking, telling themselves that accepting anything less than perfection would be “settling” because they’ve been convinced that the perfect man exists. This goes on until this perfect black man becomes like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, with cults of nut jobs trading information, hunting tips and fish stories about the one that got away, their lives committed to hunting and capturing a creature who could not possibly exist. But wait—just like Sasquatch and Loch Ness—Mr. Right is on the cover of every magazine, the star of many movies and the next guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show … right?
Of course, he is.
Jimi Izrael is a regular contributor to The Root and author of The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can’t Find Good Black Men. Follow him on Twitter.