QUESTION: Hi, C&G. I'm a single black female in my mid-20s and I have the hardest time meeting men. I have morals similar to the woman who recently posted a question---I don't smoke, haven't touched alcohol in a few years (never succumbing to peer pressure again), never did drugs, and am still a virgin. Though I went through a nerdy and awkward phase in high school, I grew out of that and I feel more attractive and I walk taller. I'm intelligent, have a college degree and goals in life, and I recently started taking martial arts. So how come the only guys who approach me are THUGGISH, ignorant and just plain ghetto?! I cannot walk down the street without hearing "boo, can I talk to you?" or "Shorty, got a man?" and it is irritating as hell. Lord forbid I say "Not interested," because that turns into "fuck you, bitch." I hate also getting whistled at or hit on by dirty old men...it makes me sick. (I don't dress hoochie...so lord knows what turns them on to me.) A recent instance of a "no-account thug" trying to talk to me was at the airport...this fool was talking about being held back in school and watching bootleg copies of movies, while I was on my way to a Star Trek convention. What would a Trekkie have in common with someone who has no goals and purpose in life?! Don't get me wrong, I've tried to approach guys myself. I will compliment a guy I find interesting with "nice shirt" or "nice eyes" and it turns into "thanks. My girlfriend thinks so, too." GAME OVER. I've also tried to start a conversation with someone who was reading an interesting book, and nothing came out of that. I also go to community events, bookstores, cafes, movies and the theater...and still, nothing out of that. I've also been on blind dates (one was with a creepy nerd who, out of the blue, tells me that his mother was an alcoholic and that he used to fantasize about having sex with dogs), tried the personals (the guys would act nice over the phone but turn into creeps in person), and speed dating (a horrible experience). I've come to the conclusion that I will never find a nice and normal guy to date. Sure, I have male friends, but there's never any romantic connection. It's not fair. My younger sisters were popular and always had boyfriends with no effort whatsoever. I haven't even had that! What is wrong with me that only thugs and dirty old men find me attractive? Help!
GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Right off the bat, I want to let you know that there's "nothing wrong with you." I just wanted to say that up front in case I forget to say it later!
Meeting men, in my opinion, is probably the hardest thing for a lot of women to do these days. Wait - wait - let me qualify that... meeting QUALITY men, is probably the hardest thing for a lot of women to do.
Reading your question, you seem to really be in touch with yourself and the things around you, so that's a big plus for you.
So, lets see - "Thugs, scrubs and bums - all tryin' to holler at you."
The first thing that comes to mind is trying walkin' and hangin' in better neighborhoods. Admittedly, I say that tongue-in-cheek. But, sometimes the biggest thing a person can do is just change their patterns and places of choice. There may be a whole new crop of men in new grocery stores, new book stores, new restaurants, new cafe's, new parts of town. So that may be part of what you may want to try.
I think a lot of guys know that there are sometimes a lot of women looking for a man. Sadly a number of these women don't demand much more than breathing and a penis from their men. So you'll find a lot of guys that have this amazing confidence and swagger, and they'll walk up to almost any woman and say "I ain't got no job, I'm 38 and live with my mama, I make $6.05 an hour when I feel like working, I ain't got no car and I'm late for a meeting with my probation officer. So, are we gonna' hookup this weekend?" And some women will say, "Sure, Boo. Here's my cell number." Unfortunately, decent, intelligent women such as yourself catch the residual foolishness from these lower standards of other women.
In my opinion, those decent guys you're looking for are out there. When walking down the street, you tend to find more dandelions than roses, but there are roses to be found. I'm not sure where you're writing from, but judging by the high volume of bums trying to "get at 'cha" I think a change in scenery will help you a lot. No, don't go pack your bags and leave town! Just try to bring new places into your 'theater of operations' - the places you do your thing in. Continue to be observant of the men around you, the ones that are reading what you like, listening to what you like, banking where you bank, checking out the sci-fi that you like. I think you are on point for the most part, subtle compliments and conversation will yield you the results you desire.
I'm going to stop with two points I really want to share with you:
1. Please read our Q&A called "Off the Shelf" I believe there are some good "How to meet a man" tips there!
2. This is the most important point I want to make to you. I fully understand the desire to want a companion, and you should have what you want. But, you mention that you are in your 20's and I am a firm believer in people (men & women) spending their 20's getting to know themselves. Finding out who they are, finding out what they like and just plain doing their THING! I think a lot of young women really want A GOOD MAN in their lives so they can get married and have kids and all this stuff when they are like 23 or 24. But that is the time when they need to do their own thing and focus on themselves NOT some boyfriend, or husband or baby-daddy. So, to you I say - don't spend too much time stressing over that good man that is yet to enter your life. I'm VERY glad to hear you're doing karate, and Star Trek conventions and that stuff, I really am. Thanks for your question, read our previous posts and I hope I was helpful to you.
CHUCK: Like Garland said, the problems you're experiencing in finding a worthwhile man are not your fault. There are going to be rude, aggressive, cat-calling buffoons roaming the streets of even your "nicer" neighborhoods. What I think may be your fault is your response to these men. There are women who face the same taunts in the street of "Say, boo," "Hey, ho," whatever, but they do not let them break their stride. These guys expect to be ignored. Ignore them. Let their advances roll off of you like water off of a duck's back.
I do think that the thing that makes it difficult for you to dismiss unwanted male attention seems to be that you are lacking desirable male attention from a guy you want to be with. There's no easy answer for that. You've apparently been experiencing a lot of bad breaks and bad timing. I don't think that there's that many guys in sci-fi/Star Trek fandom that have girlfriends. Or are creepy psychopaths.
If I could offer my quick, admittedly uneducated view of some of the tactics you've taken thus far, they sound to me like an expressway to depression. Blind dates? Hardly ever work out. Personals? Lying bastards, all of 'em. Speed dating? The joke they make it out to be.
Don't give up, though. Focus on being positive, and something positive is going to happen for you. Keep going to community events, bookstores, movies, theatre, etc. Enjoy yourself, approach people if you want, be approachable. Be on the lookout for someone that shares your interests, not just a boyfriend. You're going to get through this patch of bad luck and worse men.
Thanks for bringing your question to us.