A man I’m seeing for just a few weeks told me to “just pick me” when I was talking about the difficulty of dating for educated black women. I’m confused because the fact that I was talking to him means I want him to pick me. I’m not sure what else I need to do to let him know I’m interested. Help! —Anonymous
Huh? There’s so much wrong with this story.
Your dating life doesn’t sound like the negative stereotype that you’re complaining about. You’ve been dating a guy for several weeks. You’re talking to that man, on the phone, in person, wherever, and he just told you that he wants you to choose him. Isn’t this absolutely the ideal dating life for any woman of any color, educated or not? I think it is. But you’re so busy harping on unfavorable statistics about educated black women and dating that you completely overlooked the clearly interested man on the other end of the phone or in front of your face who is trying to get your attention. C’mon, hon!
And he’s not just interested; he’s really, like, super interested. How can I tell? You’re having all manner of inappropriate conversations with this guy. You’re complaining to a man—one you’re interested in—about men. That’s salon talk, or brunch chatter or ladies’-night lamenting.
No man, especially one you’re dating, ever wants to hear a woman complaining about men. It’s an enormous, gigantic, huge turnoff. Would you like to hear a guy you’re interested in complain about women to you? Wouldn’t you think it was a sign you’re probably wasting your pretty trying to get his interest? When you do hear it, don’t you think, “If he did less complaining, maybe he’d have somebody”? So, um, you know that’s what the average guy thinks when you complain to him about men.
Just like you, a guy you’re dating wants to hear what you like about him, what you like about the time spent with him and the funny thing he said that you remember. He wants to hear compliments and that you’re interested in him. Everything you’re saying about how hard dating is for single black women (just a note: it’s hard for everyone. This is not a “black woman problem”) is sending loud-and-clear signs to him that you’re still searching, because he clearly isn’t holding your interest. If he were, you wouldn’t be complaining about the lack of options, especially to him. What you’re telling him is that he has staunchly entered your friend zone, the place where romantic interest goes to die. It tells him you’re just not that into him.
The good news here is that the guy you’re interested in is so interested in you that in the middle of the worst line of conversation ever, he spoke up and told you to choose him so you don’t have to be alone, so you don’t have to complain about men and so you don’t have to resign yourself to being a statistic. It was risky. It was bold. It was ignored. Sigh.
We can fix this. What you’re going to have to do here is stop complaining about an issue that is currently not affecting you and speak up boldly about your interest. Try this: “The other night when I was talking, I went about what I was trying to say all wrong. I like you and I’m enjoying spending time with you. I hope you feel the same way.” It’s direct, it’s honest and it’s a way-better strategy for letting a man know you’re interested than complaining about male-kind.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “Tattoo of Boyfriend’s Name Will Likely Be Around Longer Than He Will”