My Friend Married the Maintenance Man

Few of our friends were thrilled, but her announcement also represents a common occurrence when it comes to black women and dating.

By D.S. Coleman, The Root



I vividly remember the day my homegirl announced that she was marrying a maintenance worker.

We were all enjoying a nice dinner, and then it was as if a hush had fallen over the crowd. She has a master’s degree and had purchased a house, while he was not bringing the same to the table. So most of our friends were not exactly thrilled about their relationship.

Her announcement reminded me of that scene in Coming to America when Randy Watson, with his band Sexual Chocolate, finishes his performance and only three people clap. People were semihappy that she was finally jumping the broom, but deep down, many felt that he wasn’t good enough for her. They felt that she was settling and dating someone who was not on her level.

This represents an all-too-familiar occurrence when it comes to black women and dating. Black women have to deal with the potential of making more than a mate, having a higher degree of education and having greater social mobility than their life partner. This makes dating a complex world to navigate.

The Pew Research Center reports that there are only 51 employed, never-married young black men between the ages of 25 and 34 for every 100 black women in the same boat. What does this shortage of available bachelors mean when it comes to relationships? The Atlantic paints a dismal picture, pointing out that black women are less likely to marry overall. A recent Brookings Institution study goes on to say that among black women who do marry, the college-educated are less likely than other groups to marry a man with a similar level of education.

How much does this really matter? …


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