I say haaaaaa!!!!!
And in case you’re wondering, I’m growling – not laughing.
I work really hard…every day. My work requires an intense amout of physical exertion and often leaves me with very little tolerance for oafishness. So when I engaged a co-worker in conversation about dating the other night, it was difficult for me to do so with the required level of diplomacy and delicacy needed for the topic. My phasers were already set for ‘kill’ and he was an unwitting target.
Male employees are an oddity in the shoe store where I work and one male employee in particular is incredibly hard to miss. Antoine Thomas is 6’11’. His thin frame and wide hands made him a natural fit for playing basketball, which he did do for a short time before he was expelled from a southern HBCU. He has beautiful midnight skin and an impressive baritone. He’s physically impressive, but by no means attractive…at least not by my or any of the women who work in the shop’s standards. Not that any of that matters. Antoine is confident in his looks and his work ethic, and like many men in the Atlanta area is convinced that he is God’s gift to women and is a catch.
With that mentality, he does what many men between the ages of 18 and 45 do in this city: they simultaneously shop and date multiple women in search of the ‘best pick’.
The pervasive definition of what is the ‘best pick’ is what had my dander up that particular evening.
Antoine strolled over to the section that I was cleaning up after a herd of customers had rampaged through the store. My brow was furrowed in frustration in the wake of the havoc they’d wreaked on shoes, shoe boxes and tissue now strewn all over the floor.
“What’s up,Malaka,” he purred. (I think of Antoine as a jaguar who communicates with deep, guttural purrs.)
I immediately brightened. He and I often engage in wild, playful banter that makes the evening go by much faster.
“ ‘Sup Big A!” I smiled.
He leaned his hip against one of the risers and put his head in his massive hand. His palm swallowed his face.
“Dude, you know I was telling you about these two girls I was going out with right?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “But you didn’t like the one because she was a messy eater?”
His eyes brightened.
He sighed deeply before continuing.
“Well, the other one I really like, but she’s such a liar! Like a pathological liar!” he exploded.
I laughed and continued cleaning up the mess in my area. I motioned for him to continue while I worked.
“It just seems like every time I find a quality girl, something goes wrong.”
Alarm bells immediately began ringing in my head. If he had just admitted that this girl was a pathological liar, when then made her such a “quality” catch? I had an idea, but I wanted to hear it from his own mouth. I asked him to explain what she had done to make her such a liar.
“Dude, okay. So we went out one time, I paid for everything, and I thought we had a really nice night, you know?”
He sighed again before continuing.
“Anyway, we were supposed to go out again the next night, but she never called and she never picked up the phone when I called her. When I did get in touch with her, she said she had a family emergency – that’s why we couldn’t go out.”
“Oh? What was the emergency?” I asked. That sounded perfectly reasonable.
“Her mom went into labor,” he grunted sarcastically.
“Say what? How old is this girl?”
“27,” he replied.
“And how old are you?”
I looked at him suspiciously.
“Antoine…define ‘quality’ for me.”
He immediately straightened up as he began to describe his ideal woman. He pounded his fist into his palm as he went down his mental list.
“Aww, man. She’s like 5’8”, light skinned, curly hair, nice…tiny waist. I think she’s like Black and Italian.”
He looked at my face, as if waiting for approval. Remembering that I am part Ghanaian, he mentioned something about her being part African…though he could not remember what part of Africa she was allegedly from. I was disgusted, and didn’t bother hiding it.
“You’re so shallow,” I spat. “Just because a girl is light skinned with a big booty, it doesn’t make her ‘quality’. You never mentioned anything about intelligence, consideration for others, or an education!”
My words were stinging and my tone condescending. He looked like a whipped dog. I didn’t care.
“I mean, the woman just told you a bald face lie – an utterly ridiculous one at that- wasted your weekend, refused to call you back, and all you care about is her rack, some curly hair and some light skin? Man, please!”
I turned my back on him and there was no further discussion on the topic.
It is at this juncture that many color conscious readers out there will denounce me as a “yellow girl hater” or an “angry dark skinned” woman who couldn’t catch and keep a man if you glued him to my lap. But those who know Malaka Gyekye know that it wouldn’t matter if I was arsenic white or tar black, I KNOW that I’m beautiful. That being said, what pisses me off as a non-ambiguous Black woman is the assumption and belief – that has so deeply penetrated every facet of global society – that there is only one standard of beauty and it falls between the color range of peach and caramel brown.
Antoine has spent the last 2 weeks licking his wounds and tending to his bruised ego after being so heinously dealt with by this ‘quality’ woman. And there are hundreds of men in this city and others who suffer the same humiliation and disregard as though it were warranted. Really it’s not. And the only reason ‘quality’ women continue to treat men this way is because it has become socially acceptable. That’s the real Kardashian Affect, as far as I’m concerned: that pretty girls are permitted to lie, lie on their backs for money and insane international fame, and dog men out. It’s okay, because they’re ‘pretty’.
Imagine if a less ‘quality’ (i.e. dark skinned) girl had done the same? Oh, I’d wager Antoine would have a fit.
I have no sympathy, not one iota, for men who allow themselves to suffer maltreatment at the hands of a woman simply because she has a pretty face, wearing their newly affixed badge of scorn like a mental retard . Has it not dawned on you that she’s also in search of her idea of the ‘best pick’? Perhaps the admirable qualities of hard work, fidelity and gentlemanliness mean nothing to her at all. Perhaps she’s also in search of a six pack and a fat wallet, and nothing more.