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Monday
May102010

Rejecting the PREMISE of the QUESTION- Contemporary Public Humiliation of Professional Black Women

I don't know about you, but the Anti-Black Woman regime may have finally overplayed their hand with the "Single Black Women are Going to Die Old and Alone and Be Eaten by Nine Cats Mantra" and that INFAMOUS panels of comedians, actors, and washed up personalities that Nightline assembled.

I am heartened by the growing number of Black women who have approached this latest cultural homicide of single Black women.  Don't underestimate the significance of this latest response from numerous Black women.  These women reject the PREMISE of the question.  The question posed is What's So Wrong With Black Wimmenz That They Can't Find No Man?  So inordinately past discussions have focused on "fixing" or "diagnosing" the faults of Black women and indirectly Black men.  What if there is nothing wrong with us at all? Its like asking what's wrong with the slaves? The slaves didn't create the system of slavery. They didn't maintain it. They didn't benefit from it. Slavery wasn't dismantled by the slaves "changing."  The system itself was destroyed.  A system so powerful that years later, its remains linger.

We get bombarded by statistics and random anecdotes about all the unfit people the various panelists have run into in their very narrow lives. We get demeaned by listening to advice given by men who've NEVER BEEN IN A SUCCESSFUL LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP...with a Black . . . woman. We watch as other desperate, delusional, emotionally unstable, low self esteem having,  attention seeking Black women line up to speak for all of us. And we never question the PREMISE OF THE QUESTION.

Jeff Bolton offered this unique take on the whole Single Black Maleness... It isn't a tragedy that successful Black women are man-free. Its a miracle! We ought to be jumping up and down clapping. They are managing to live relatively decent lives without having to enter into a blood oath upon the alter of "Male Centered-ness":
These issues are being reported with no small amount of energy given to the efforts of these remarkable women. Here’s the answer to the issue and we’ll put the subject to rest once and for all: admire these women and leave them alone. There’s nothing wrong with them. They shouldn’t be forced into a box made by society’s
expectations for them. Why is the sad, tired story of the failure of black men in society placed ahead of that of the success of black women in this pop culture reporting?

For society to become concerned with the plight of black women now that black women are succeeding on their own terms would be comical if it weren’t so sad. Many of the black women succeeding today have toiled in obscurity for years at the bottom of the societal barrel, often in broken homes and with life circumstances that would melt most people. The fact that our society is saying black women need to find a good black man to settle down with is an insult. Jeff Bolton

Danni McClain also connected some dots in the nebulous matter that's been floating around in my head for a while about this Marital Mogadishu Movement.  In her post over at Feministing, she challenges the premise that marriage is superior.
I’ve been following enough of the recent media frenzy around straight, unmarried black women to make an educated guess about the analysis and diagnosis that emerged from the show. The takeaways were likely as follows:


Professional black women aren’t getting married because we’re unlovable, inflexible and have an inflated sense of ourselves and the lives we deserve. Our character flaws are compounded by the fact that black men are too busychasing white women or serving time for non-violent drug offenses to look in our direction. Let’s be honest: Men of all races run screaming because they find us ugly, mannish and overbearing. We should be thankful for self-proclaimed Black Woman Expert Steve Harvey, because even when he demeans and talks down to us, his intentions are pure. Feministing



If all of these TERRIFYING statistics are true, then that means SINGLE BLACK WOMEN are soon to be in the majority. So why not politically and socially organize to create a world where singleness isn't inferior. Because I would rather y'all do that then torture yourself by continuing to engage in public displays of desperation or SETTLE for the very least Steve Harvey thinks you deserve.

If I was in this current crop of  folks peddling this relationship snake oil, I'd take a self assessment because they may eventually cause Black women to question  who came up with this whole scheme in the first place.  Trust me, if women could have children safely up into their 50s most of you wouldn't even be entertaining this foolishness. So maybe the solution isn't "fixing" single Black women, but promoting the development of  fertility treatments which make it safer to delay motherhood. Something like THE BLACK  FERTILITY PROJECT!

I'd much rather you  place your fate in the hands of scientists than comedians and washed up actors. Notice I said "y'all."

hat tip: Jack and Jill Politics and the What About Our Daughters Network

Reader Comments (35)

"Trust me, if women could have children safely up into their 50s most of you wouldn’t even be entertaining this foolishness. "

Actually this may happen sooner than we think. Not too long ago having children after 40 was considered bizarre.

What I would like to know is why has no one questioned what is behind all these questions. I mean why the heck should anybody even care if professional black women aren't getting married? What's so great about getting married anyway?

When I was in my 20's I remember reading an article that said single woman and married men were the healthiest people in the country. That's because when men are married, their wives remind them to go to the doctor, their wives make sure they're taken care of. Single guys might forget about getting that prostate exam. On the other hand, women who are single don't have to deal with taking care of a husband and children and can focus on their own health. So in that vein, why would any woman want to get married?

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEva

well who wants to raise a teen when they are 60 LOL

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

I recently came across an article about Blacks having the high student loan debt. Though some characterize this as negative, there is a positive side. Blacks are doing what they need to do to further their education. I personally go by the mantra that everything in life is relative. Some people have $30,000 worth of students loans, some people drive BMW and Mercedes that cost twice that much. It's all how you view what's important.
Some Black women believe having a man is the end all be all, while some Black women could care less. Right now I'm the former. I am very ambitious and driven.
I have plenty of friends with husbands and boyfriends, some good, some bad. Still, I don't go around saying poor me I don't got a man. I had a few, and let me tell ya with all the drama and ego rather be alone for a minute and work on my dreams.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShell

Before the birth control revolution women had children in their 40's. In fact, a lot of unplanned pregnancies happen to women in their 40's because they believe they can no longer get pregnant. Most women can have a healthy baby till age 41. It doesn't matter what age you have the child, it's all about maturity. I've seen enough spawns of Satan with teen and early twenties mother.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShell

I admire the fact that many people, in addition to black women themselves, are rising up and rejecting this negative and false press. It's the same kind of resistance and counter-efforts black men and their allies should have been engaging in 5 and 6 years ago when all that Down Low scare tactic nonsense blew up all over the place.

You may not be able to control your opponents, but take refuge in the fact that your allies don't take the garbage lying down for too long.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScipio Africanus

Personally, I view high singleness rates as a problem. Especially considering that many of these women aren't really unburdened and "free", because they are often raising children without the help that produces the best outcome, i.e., husbands.
With all the increased financial stress, mental stress, and emotional stress that entails.
But I don't think all these people screaming (or chirping, as the case may be) necessarily have the best interests of black women at heart.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterforeverloyal

For the enimies outside our race it's all just an effort to try and make black women, especially professionals, who have the best opportunities to really make inroads into the power centers of this country, rethink their decision to gain an education and work on their careers.
Their has already been a successful effort to slicne the number of achieving black males. Now it's time to work on the famales.
For the enimies within our race (whether they intentional enimies or not) it is first a continuation of the same mentality that makes some of us want to breakdown our achievers just to make themselves feel better. It is the same group that desires to define the entire black race by our most dysfunctional. It's the "see she might have education but she ain't really happy" crowd. Next it is the ever growning number of black men who have become too defeated or too lazy to make their own achievements wanting to bring these uppity black b___hes down a notch or trying to convince you to take them on and take care of their needs once they can't live in mama's basement any longer. It also is a little of the HNIC syndrome. We are so used to their only being room for one black of note on our jobs that we want to discourage any other black person from even rising close enough to be a threat since we don't think the powers that be will allow two or more to acheive. So, just like in the 70s at the blue collar level, they are turning black men who first entered corporate america against the black women. They have some of them believing we will take their jobs since we are so-called double minorities.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBee

Mr. P-H-D Steve Harvey... I almost view what he is doing as practicing psychology; which requires a degree and certification. I'm fascinated how the media spins it off as relationship expert.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLD

This post has echoed many of the sentiments that I have expressed among those in my social circle. It seems that the marital status of professional black women has become the latest cash cow for certain media personalities (e.g. comedians, actors, etc.), and its seems that everybody is getting paid off of these lame discussions/debates/news segments, BUT US!

I raised this point before in aonther BWE Blog, but before black women jump on the bandwagon of "I need to watch (or buy or patronize) this project or program because it's talkin' bout me..." we need to ask the following questions-

Who is behind this piece? Most of the time, the ring leaders behind these pieces are not very positive toward black women.

For people who postulate themselves as "professionals" on this subject matter, just what are their credentials that make them qualified to even hold a meaningful discourse on this subject (and no, having a tv show or being a media personality does not count)

Is the discussion well rounded (i.e. does it include women who choose to be single and don't see it as a stigma or women who don't limit themselves to black men)?

Are the people behind this project using these discussion platform to hock their products? I've come to the conclusion a long time ago that I will not watch any of these show on network TV because it will be the same discussion with the people time and time again...

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTamTamm

Personally (and this is coming from a biased view because I'm married) I feel that more than we should know within ourselves that our decisions are logically based, we should not pay too much heed to these negatively charged press releases and "studies" because:

(1) In retaliation, BW may try with purposefulness to be single -almost in a vengeful way. Which is not good. or

(2) Other BW may try even more desparately to get married and do something irrational (like marry some guy with non-violent offenses sitting in a jail cell or follow some other bad suggestion made).

Either way, our responses should not be dictated by any of what these surveys and studies and negative media says.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is positives and negatives to being married and also with being single. I would even go so far as to urge BWE bloggers not to beat down on women who had OOW children because who knows the reason they chose this path.

Many reasons.

I know for me, I did not want to get married in the beginning of my adult life. No way! I wanted a jeep, a dog and a gun. That was it.

As time went by, I softened up to the idea of children, but the way men were, I was toying with the idea of having oow children. I AM NOT ENCOURAGING THIS. But I am saying that I can understand where the "logic" is coming from.

Again there are advantages in marriage (and in having children) and there are advantages in singlehood, just let it be our own decisions.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

I can honestly say that marriage is a wonderful thing, but if some women choose to be single, good for them. Marriage is not for everyone, and society should not look down on single women -- period.

This frenzy that is leading women to get any man -- regardless of whether or not he is marriage material -- is dangerous. It's better to be alone and happy than be hooked up with a damaged man who adds nothing positive to your life.

As Evia always says on her blog, "vet your man" -- make sure you know him before getting in too deep.

And I find it odd that no one says anything about single Black males -- my understanding is that the percentage of Black men who never marry is higher than then percentage of Black women who never marry. So, why is the marriage frenzy only focused on "lonely, unwanted Black women"?

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Kayden

And I find it odd that no one says anything about single Black males — my understanding is that the percentage of Black men who never marry is higher than then percentage of Black women who never marry. So, why is the marriage frenzy only focused on “lonely, unwanted Black women”?

B/c men don't buy self help books, a black men especially aren't a valuable demographic marketing wise. Its all about the dollars, these folks don't care about BW.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

Yup, 80% plus buyers of all self-help books are women. Professional black women are a high income demographic, despite the hoopla about the majority of us being worth $5. We're the major buyers of hair care products, grooming products, and a whole lot of other things.

The media works with corporations to push us towards certain products. Folks are working to cash in on the anxieties of black women.

In this case, it's relationship books, TV talk or reality shows, a poorly made "documentary" about our hair, anti-professional BW movies, and the like.

Nothing wrong with discussing marriage, and so forth, but the typical media angle is racist / sexist. Using a multiple married black male, or those with suspect sexual orientation, as "experts" instead of real psychologists, therapists, or whatever, is insulting and belittling towards black women.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Chambers

"And I find it odd that no one says anything about single Black males — my understanding is that the percentage of Black men who never marry is higher than then percentage of Black women who never marry."

It can also be said that men- overall- aren't as preoccupied with marriage as women are.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZabeth

Betty C said:
Nothing wrong with discussing marriage, and so forth, but the typical media angle is racist / sexist. Using a multiple married black male, or those with suspect sexual orientation, as “experts” instead of real psychologists, therapists, or whatever, is insulting and belittling towards black women.

Me:I wonder would white women take any kind of relationship or marital advice from David Letterman or Tiger Woods?

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertruth p

I've got the goods and they "ain't" damaged only the thinking of those who think that BW are unwanted, damaged, etc. etc. etc.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwannatwinkie

The most intelligent comment I've heard from a black man in the media about the "single black professional women problem" came from the Tom Joyner Morning Show a couple weeks ago. No, it wasn't from Tom or J. Anthony. It was from their weekly commentator Jeff Johnson. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Why is it that people are saying that the problem is with professional black women and that they need to lower their standards? Why isn't anyone holding black MEN accountable to BRING THEMSELVES UP TO STANDARD?" I wanted to reach through the radio and give him a hug.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

Hi everyone! As a WOC, I don't think we need to dismiss the reality of black women and their marriage prospects. However, I don't think it's being framed correctly AT ALL in most of the press. Steve Harvey is a sorry excuse for a human being.

That said, what is the problem? Of course, some BW women don't want to get married, and in lots of places marriage isn't even an option for lesbian BW. But there are BW who do want to get married and are more than a little disappointed in our prospects. I agree with the previous poster: can we start holding black men accountable? I mean REALLY accountable? Yes there is racism, and oppression, but FFS me and plenty other WOC are doing so much better than our male counterparts. I don't want to hear the non violent offenses blah blah, the police discrimination blah blah. I know too many black men who had an awful lot of chances but wanted to live a certain lifestyle without putting in the work. So now that so many BW are in business and medical school (and more) raising families by themselves, I really cant have that much pity. I realize that it's not easy being a black man, but its not easy being a black women either, and look at how well we're doing.**

**By this I mean employment, education, etc. It's not perfect, but it's progress.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose

ditto Mommie Dearest! Jeff Johnson is on point about several other issues as well . . . and a lot more thoughtful and intelligent than those other clowns on the TJMS. :)

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrevmamaafrika.com

We seem to be missing the point about why the focus of the mainstream media is now on professional Black women.The funny thing is the achievments, qualifications and progress that professional black women have made has been totally ignored but the apparent failures and insecurities are what the press is trying to force down our throats.It is as though we do not know what the mainstream press thinks about us and that is that we should remain silent, powerless and oppressed.The Obama administration has given many jobs to Black women ensuring that we are both high profile and powerful this is a threat to the white power structure and sadly some black men.The issue at the heart of Black people is a lack of respect and self love for ourselves and each other we must not let ourselves be fooled by the white media who enjoy demeaning us, turning us against each other and making us feel bad about ourselves.Hispanic, Asian and white women complain about the low quality of men out there yet for us this is supposed to be all our lives are worth, we as Black women have achieved so much and this should remain our focus.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

I am not sure why the dicussion regarding the marriage rate of professional BW has anything to do with bm. If you are a professional bw you are surrounded by professional men all the time. In addition, if you live in an upwardly moblie area then you are meeting men at your level all the time. I don't think that bw can hold bm accountable for anything...that's a man's job. Men police other men. No way around that. If a bw wants to get married then get married to a man at or above your level...period. This conversation has nothing to do w/bm. I never focused my marriage hopes on bm so I didn't have this 'despair' over my marriage prospects. When I was in college all the ww stated for all to hear that they were focused on their studies, career blah, blah blah, yet almost everyone that I knew was married within 2 years of graduation. Now who are they fooling.....bw need to wake up. You can't wait to look for mister right after 40 when everything is in order. It can happen, but not as likely as when you are younger. Also if you get married younger you can build a life together and faster. Bw can do 2 things at once. But who cares what bm do....I don't. They were (and are) irrelevant.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@revmama,

Jeff Johnson is a breath of fresh air on that show. I listen to him on Tuesdays (or is it Thurdays?..) while taking my son to school, and I switch stations when I can't take any more of that other foolishness...

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

@ Sue- ITA that the media's sudden focus on the dating and mating habits of black women is very suspect. I do believe that the mainstream is very calculated in how they downplay our achievements, but want to showcase our dysfunctions, real or perceived. In some cases, even celebarate them (Precious, anyone?...)

However, I don't understand what you mean by black men being irrelevant. I am married to a wonderful black man and I have a son who will grow up to be a black man, and they are certainly relevant to me. Not to mention my father and other black men in my life who love me and whom I love.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

What I mean by irrelevant is that what they do as a group doesn't have to factor in the lives of bw and marriage. If you happen to meet and fall in love w/ a bm and he's at your level then great, but they as a whole are not the majority of men that professional women will come into contact with. Of course individual bm may be relevant to a particular person, but the fact that so many bm are incarcerated, high school drop outs etc really doesn't factor for the marriage equation of bw. That is ALWAYS brought up in these discussions on tv and in mags as if that matters to your marriage prospects. That only matters if you think that the only man that you are able to marry is black. I guess if that was the case the sorry state of bm as a group would matter. Otherwise the fact that a criminal is in prison shouldn't even be brought up in a discussion about marriage. Until there are fewer men than women in the US (the entire us population)then we all have just as likely chance to marry. I am not restricted to dating bm so why is the fact that bm have high incarceration rates, etc a concern when discussing marriage. If you are already married then of course the particular man in your life matters, bm or otherwise. But let's be honest here, if a professional bw wants to marry someone on her level...economically, educationally, then she will most likely NOT marry a bm. Those are the facts...I'm not saying that it is impossible, but the facts speak for themselves. Of course this discussion is for those who want to get married. If you don't then no problem. But no one can convince me that 70% of bw do not want a partner for life.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

I agree with Melanie at #24. Black men who are incarcerated, high school drop-outs etc. are completely irrelevant to me if as a single black woman I was seeking marriage, because those are men that I would never ever consider as marriage prospects.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNia

Ditto Mommiedearest at #17. I have said that myself during one of our other discussions on this board but maybe not so elequently. The answer...because, as we are discussing now, it is not about real analysis or solving the problem (If it is a problem, a point of which I am not convinced). It is about downplaying black professional women. Like I said it's the old mentality of she might be smart, have a degree and make money (or one of those three) but she ain't got a man...boo hooo."

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBee

@24 But let’s be honest here, if a professional bw wants to marry someone on her level…economically, educationally, then she will most likely NOT marry a bm.

Then how would it be explained that the majority of BW are in fact married to BM?

Just attended a graduation at FAMU(Florida A & M University and the largest graduating class was PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy), 141 of them in fact.

This was about a 60/40 split of BW to BM. The second largest class was the Law school graduates at about the same ratio. The Engineering and Architectural class was made up of a majority of BM in fact.

I think the above argument speaks to the big lie that there are more black males in prison than are in college.

That BM are in such a "sorry state" as a group that the "majority" of us are not even marriage material is not even close to be fact.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertusk91

@Melanie

Sorry for confusing you with Sue earlier. Sometimes my eyes play tricks on me when I try to read without my glasses...

I understand your point that black men who are incarcerated, drugged out, or have no education, or have no desire to better themselves, etc... are irrelevant when it comes to marriage. I have to agree with Nia that those are not the type of men PERIOD, black or otherwise, that I would consider marrying. On that note, I have to cosign tusk91 that the majority of black men do not fall into that category. Again, that is more of the mainstream media's jhedi mindtricks, just like them saying that no one wants to marry black women. If a black woman finds love among the other crayons in the box, good for her. Love is a good thing wherever you find it. But I refuse to buy into the notion that black men in general are so sorry that the most likely way a black woman at a certain level is going to find a "suitable"* mate is to go outside the race. I know plenty of professional, single, straight black men who happen to be nice people of good moral standing.

*I put suitable in quotes because personally I don't equate a man's marriagability (sp?) with the type of job he has. If he is gainfully employed and has aspirations to better himself as a person, then I consider that good. I'd rather be with the UPS driver who takes care of his responsiblities, loves me, respects me and treats me well than be with the investment banker who treats me like crap.

Also, black men do not hold the patent on being trifling. There are plenty of shiftless, good for nothing men in EVERY race and ethnicity.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

@Bee

Say it! I believe this is all a smoke screen to hide the insecurties that the mainstream and some black men (and sadly, some black women) have with black women who are doing the darn thing. They are trying to send us in panic mode. If it works, then black women will start "knowing their place" again and begin settling. Going back to another old mentality, "It's better to have a piece of man than no man at all."

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

I agree with you Mommie Dearest. But I think what also needs to be said is that the men you described: "Single, straight black men who happen to be nice people of good moral standing" aren't always seeking marriage themselves. Because a man, black or otherwise, is a good, decent person doesn't automatically mean he wants to be married or more importantly, wants to be married to you -nor should it. So, you could work with a whole office of decent black men (as I do), but if none of them are interested in marriage then they are irrelevant (not irrelvant in a bad way, just irrelevant). However, if there are men of other races in the same office who ARE in fact seeking a marriage partner then those are the ones that black women who want to be married should seek out.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNia

Also, just to comment on the original post - I definitely agree that this whole debate on single black women can actually lead to lots of positive creativity in many areas on our part - that's what I try to focus on anyway.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNia

@Nia-

Point taken. I've dated some good men who were not interested in or ready for marriage at the time, (at least, not with ME) so we moved on. Fast forward, I've run into a few ex's who are now happily married (to black women btw) and doing well.

I think that is a trap that many women fall into (not just black women). Some women stick around waaaaaaayyyyyy too long with a man "hoping" that he will "see the light" and marry her one day. If a man is not ready, he's not ready. Move on. If he becomes ready, and he wants YOU, he will come back. And then if you are still available (because you haven't been sitting around waiting on him) YOU can determine if you want to marry him.

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

I am sick of the false dichotomy between a blue collar man who treats a professional BW well and a white collar man who treats her poorly. There are blue collar perpetrators of domestic violence and white collar sweethearts.

Love is not enough. It is necessary, but not sufficent.

As many people have said before, a professional BWmay want to be with someone with similar experiences--living abroad, comfort interacting with educated, high-ranking professionals, reading literature and serious publications (Economist, for example), comfort interacting with non blacks and non straight people, comfortable with a high-ranking, high-earning mate. It's NOT just about a man's job and how he treats a professional BW. The job is often a proxy for other attitudes and behaviors. Of course, for something as serious as marriage, vetting is of vital importance.

@ tusk91:

A majority of BW can be single, and they are, according to skewed stats at the same time as a majority of married BW are married to BM. The categories are not the same. People do not have to be "sorry" to not be marriage material, just uninterested in marriage.

BM have the lowest marriage rates of males categorized by race in the U.S. In the dance of love, men usually pursue and propose. So, based on the stats, it appears that they are less interested as a whole compared to men of other ethnic groups.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeisha

@33 From what I gathered nearly 45 percent of Black men have never married and 42 percent of Black women have never married.

Not so much a "majority" of BM or BW who at one time or another have never been married but, I do understand your point.

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertusk91

from a biblical standpoint, it's been prophesied that in endtimes there would be 7 women to 1 man. look it up.

it says the women would be soooo desperate they would cry out "you don't have to feed me, clothe me, take care of me, or marry me. just call me your woman so i won't be mocked as an old maid!" are we there yet ladies??? i think so.

my advice is that if we are in those times now (and we are) that you embrace being an old maid. better than taking on a downlow hiv std carrying homo freak who aint good for nothing but a teaspoon of sperm and a lifetime full of headache and heartache. embrace the old maid and buy a damned cat

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKayKay

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