I saw the shift take place in the 90s. In fact, I was a part of it.
I went to college in the late 80s. Back then, girls had all the power. Guys would clamor for their attention. Girls would sit back…pick and choose whoever they wanted to date. If you weren’t tall, light-skinned with good hair and nice eyes…you were showt (adj. [show-T]. urban pronunciation of ‘short’; meaning: left out; not picked; too late).
As a short, dark-skinned, nappy-headed dude, I was showt! Since physicality was not my strength, I had to use my wit, humor and general nice-guy demeanor to woo the ladies. But when it was all said and done…I was still showt!
But after I graduated college in the early 90s, I began seeing the shift from physical status to emotional status. Women were looking for men with good relationship qualities. The guys who were once overlooked, began to pick and choose whom they wanted to date. Those were some good years for ya-boy…lemme tell ya.
Several of us picked one and got married. I chose my wife from among nine other women (that’s a story for another day) and got married in 1997. However, others chose to remain in a state of perpetual picking.
Fast-Forward One Generation
Fast forward 20 years, there’s now a generation of men and women, ages 25 to 45, who have witnessed and experienced a climate of men picking and not choosing. In my observation, younger men, who followed their older predecessors, grew up, valuing picking over choosing.
Over time, women had to adapt to this new normal. That brought on the dawn of women competing for the attention, time and affection of the few good men, who were picking and choosing a wife. By competing, I’m talking about women knowingly or unknowingly highlighting their assets in an attempt to be chosen over other women.
Most women I know think it’s unacceptable to compete for a man. They believe they’re too valuable and precious. It’s beneath them.
And they’re right – until they’re not anymore.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
By and large, women still hold on to the dream of having a family with a good man by her side. However, in this era of scarcity, the elusive good man is hard to find (particularly when women out number men in major cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, L.A., Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc.). And if you find one, he has to be willing to pick you, cut-off the others, and choose you as a wife.
But why should he choose you over the others? Is it because you’re so fabulous, wonderful, blessed and highly favored? Maybe. But how would he know that before he starts dating you. That is…unless you highlight your assets for him to see. I’m not talking about wearing a Beyoncé-style unitard out to dinner (though you undoubtedly would get attention!). Let’s get serious. I’m talking about highlighting those wifey characteristics that all good men want…like being supportive, encouraging, humble and a little flirty.
Perhaps you believe it’s still the man’s responsibility to pursue you and find out? Well…yeah… if you still hold true to those good Christian values of 50 years ago, when men’s focus was on finding a wife and starting a family. But these ain’t those days anymore.
Could it be…the tide has shifted so far left that it’s now the women’s responsibility to make men aware of how fabulous, wonderful, blessed and highly favored they are? Because know…you’re living in a day and age where the availability of good relationship-ready men is anemic. Just attend any singles event in your city, and see how many more women show up than men.
Is it Acceptable to Compete for a Man?
In an attempt to achieve their dream of a husband and a family, some women, in my assessment, have abandoned the notion that their wonderfulness will be discovered organically. These women have started…knowingly or unknowingly…highlighting their assets so they will get picked over the others. Some have gone the unitard route…others the wifey route. Some women are even doing the picking themselves. Either way, they are still competing for a man, just like the short dark-skinned nappy-headed dudes had to do back in the late 80s.
To the women who feel it’s beneath you to compete for a man (and who think it will always be the man’s responsibility to pursue you), stand your ground! I agree with you. I pursued my wife. But just know…that was a generation ago. You’re now living in an era where men are perfectly content perpetually picking and not choosing. Just know that the good ones, who are choosing, are faced with a barrage of choices from the unitard-clad Yoncé-types to wifey-type chicks competing for their attention. Therefore, you just might end up showt.
But if you reach the point where your desire for a good husband and family weighs more than your contempt against competing for it, then go for yours and sin not. Make sure you don’t compromise your body, soul and spirit while competing. Trust me…good men will respect you all the more if you do it in a dignified way.
BMWK – Is it EVER acceptable for women to compete for a man?