Written by Erin Williams, The Root DC
Demetria L. Lucas entertains readers about the ups and downs of her dating in her blog, A Belle in Brooklyn.
The Prince George's County native, an editor at Essence magazine, recently published her first book under the same name. In it she chronicles the best — and worst — of dating and relationships in your 20s. Now 32, she sat down with The Root DC to discuss happiness, heartbreak and survival.
In your writings, you reference strong single women movie characters Nina Mosely (Love Jones) and Nola Darling (She's Gotta Have It). What is it about these characters' personalities that draws you to them?
Well, I think just because they're so rarely seen. I mean both of those women, they are — they are very cosmopolitan, they're very educated, they're not married, but they're dating. They're trying to figure things out. Dating is not the sole focus of their life, it's one of those things. And they're overall pretty happy. There's no, you know, extraordinary pathology.
But more or less, they're young women. They're in their 20s, they're in major cities and they're just trying to figure it all out. You know, they don't know everything. They're very honest about that, but they're trying to make the best decisions that they can. And they're just trying to figure out their way in the world, in terms of when it comes to men and dating, when it comes to themselves, when it comes to what they will and will not put up with.
And I think that's something that a lot of women struggle with. And a lot of women — even if they're not struggling, they think about. But they were made to be multidimensional, and I think too often when you see African-American women especially, they're portrayed as … "single professional woman." It was never just "professional woman." Like, why does my marital status matter so much? You know, OK, what if I'm dating? What if I'm single? What if I'm divorced? Why does it matter?
But those women, they were three-dimensional. They weren't … cookie cutter stereotype of what [a] "modern black woman" is.
You focus a lot on showing the upside of dating as opposed to the downside of being single in your writings …
It's just not all doom and gloom, and what I was seeing on TV versus … what I was living, what my friends and I were doing. There was a lot of upside to being able to go out and not have to call and check in. Or "You know, I can't go because we're going to hang out with his family," or his whatever.
There are very many upsides to being in a relationship. I don't want to make it seem like I'm not pro-relationships at all, but there are very many upsides to being in a relationship, and there are very many upsides to being single. But somehow, we only talk about "Oh, these are the pros of a relationship, and these are the cons of being single. There are also huge cons to being in a relationship, and — real talk — I've got married friends now; there are huge cons to that, too.
Relationships and marriage are just not this bouquet of roses I guess that we're being told that it is. Like, there are ups and downs to both sides in equal amounts. I know a lot of people in relationships and marriages that are like "God, I wish I was single," and a lot of single people who are like, "Oh, I wish I was in a relationship." It's one of those "grass is greener" sorts of things.
Read the rest of this interview at The Root DC.