WE NEED MORE LOVE IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
The Goal of African American Matchmaking: To Help You Find a Loving Relationship!
I don’t watch a lot of shows on television, preferring independent films and Netflix binges to cable. However, the reality show Dating Naked, caught my attention. Not just because it is yet another show featuring naked people, but because the concept of a potential couple meeting for the first time without clothing is intriguing to me as a matchmaker.
Nudity renders most people vulnerable , literally and figuratively open and stripped of masks and illusions. In theory, it could be the most authentic search for true love, free and fun times. No pretenses, no hiding, no clothes. This is where the show has the potential to shine.
In this “radical dating experiment,” it looks like there is some real matchmaking here. At least one of dates appear to be a real potential match that is consistent with what the other is looking for. This rarely happens coincidentally, but is the result of care, research, and good planning. Interestingly, a nude wedding is scheduled to air this month featuring a couple that first met on the show.
Nudity is raw and for some, emotionally powerful. One of the women on the show had such a hard time being naked that she eventually left the exotic island where the show is filmed. Nudity and fear, it seems, go hand in hand. Others can’t seem to move past their lust by associating nudity with sexual availability. These daters tend to be promiscuous!
The titillating nature of nudity is not lost on me. As a dating show, I look for the show’s relevance for Black love. For African Americans, the show may as well be called Dating Naked, Black & Afraid because most people are generally uncomfortable being nude and even more uncomfortable being nude and matched with Black people for a date. Understandably, they feel more at ease around each other. African Americans often feel the same way.
Defying United States demographics and reality, the lack of diversity in both ethnicity and body type, is obvious. Importantly, the inhabitants of this remote island are rendered even more invisible than Black people–I only saw two brothers and one sister featured on the show and we never see a local resident of the island on camera.
Like most dating and matchmaking shows, this one is clearly not created for the benefit of African Americans. Black people are rarely featured and when they are, they are treated like novelty items, “the first Black girl” and “first Black guy I’ve ever dated.” White daters fail to “connect” with them, most likely because they are completely incompatible in other ways besides race.
Black daters are stereotyped: a young Black man is described as “well-hung” and there were a variety of camera angles fixated on the behind of the only young Black woman dater I saw on the show. None of African American daters were picked to develop relationships at the end of the show, likely resulting in feelings of rejection and/or public humiliation for them.
Perhaps most importantly, unlike their White peers, Black people on Dating Naked are not coupled with each other! To my knowledge, no Black man and woman have been in the same show so that they can date. This would easily resolve the show’s race problem and make it more interesting.
In conclusion, Dating Naked is entertaining, but at best, woefully ignorant of the vast majority of people’s dating preferences to date within their own ethnic group; they give this option to White daters, but not to Black daters. At worst, it is purposeful and deliberate sabotage of Black love in favor of another agenda.
In The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, author Judith Orloff, M.D. devoted a chapter to letting go of any patterns that keep you from loving. In her own words:
One of these patterns in being drawn to unavailable, commitment phobic people. It’s important to be very clear about what constitutes an unavailable person so you won’t be fooled by their charm or potential.
12 SIGNS YOU’RE ATTRACTED TO
EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE PEOPLE (EUP)
Here are some red flags to watch for. Even one sign warns you to be careful. The more that are present, the more danger exists.
They are married or in a relationship with someone else
They can’t commit to you or have feared commitment in past relationships
They have one foot on the gas pedal, one foot on the break
They are emotionally distant, shut down, or can’t deal with conflict
They’re mainly interested in sex, not relating emotionally or spiritually
They are practicing alcoholics, sex addicts, or substance abusers
They prefer long distance relationships, emails, texting, or don’t introduce you to their friends and family
They are elusive, sneaky, frequently working or tired, and may disappear for periods
They are seductive with you but make empty promises–their behavior and words don’t match
They send mixed messages, flirt with others, or don’t give a straight answer–you’re always trying to “de-code” what they really mean
They’re narcissistic, only consider themselves, not your needs
They throw you emotional crumbs or enticing hints of their potential to be loving, then withdraw
Does any of these sound familiar?
For those Black women who’ve tried their hand at finding love online, the results may not be all that surprising. But the racial breakdown of desirability is certainly intriguing.
Buzzfeed produced a video to explain the findings of the many studies on racial preferences in online dating:
Advice from African American Matchmaking:
Break out from the the mold of expectations, assimilation, wanna-be behavior, doubt, and insecurity by being yourself.
Keep the faith and keep Black love alive by doing something different, not just online dating.
We know that Black women are desirable and have been for centuries. Don’t allow dominant culture beauty standards confuse you with erroneous social comparisons and avoid over-reliance on technology when dating.
Know your worth and find a partner who does, too.
In her new feature photo shoot for the beauty and fashion magazine Violet Grey, actress and director Angela Bassett goes bold in sexy black lingerie and talks about what it takes to be a woman of strength, but she also talks about her most vulnerable times:
V.G.: WHO MAKES A GOOD DATE TO AN EVENT?
A.B.: A friend or a sister. I mean, the husband is always great, but there is something about a girlfriend…
V.G.: WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR?
A.B.: A passionate woman who knows what she loves and has been blessed to be able to do it…and continue to do it!
V.G.: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?
A.B.: Love…and sugar.
V.G.: WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST VULNERABLE?
A.B.: When I’m told I can’t do something. When I’m told I’m not good enough, that I can’t have something, can’t go somewhere, especially because of the color of my skin.
Hiding secrets from your spouse is never a good idea and the foundation of a healthy relationship is trust. The truth will almost always reveal itself eventually. But that doesn’t stop people from trying!
*Whoa! According to one new study, 25-percent of married couples say that they hid (and are still hiding) something pretty major from their spouse. And 42-percent say they doubt they will get caught.
What is this costly secret that could potentially be a marriage deal-breaker? The study says it ranges anywhere from money troubles to infidelity to (gulp!) a pornography obsession.
And yes, these secrets have (and do!) cause the bearers many sleepless nights.
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