it’s the 21st century and women are proudly taking on various roles in the world. In addition to child bearing and being wives we are running businesses, working full time and taking control of our lives. There’s no more excuses for not being able to achieve your dreams as a woman. Our long hard fight for gender equality has meant we can no longer sit back and blame our failures on past biases against women. It’s made us busier, especially if like me, you are a woman living in the U.K. So where do we then find the time in our busy schedules to date? the way I’ve observed life for my African sisters in the UK is either you’re a frequent church goer hoping to meet Mr. Right and carry on your Sunday worship routine or you get on the tinder band wagon.
This is simply because, the African girls that want to date Africans have to face the fact that the brothers from the motherland are dating over the fence. its no secret that our African men are dating European women because they don’t want to be weighed down by African cultural norms. especially when it comes to providing and being the main earner. most of us grew up seeing our fathers bear the financial burden of the home and we honestly feel that going halves for a meal should not be the norm but a yearly event that we will expect to be paid back for in some way. I guess we are spoiled, our African men genuinely take care of us.
So when I did find myself a single, African woman, a mother in the U.K. I decided if I didn’t want to die single I would definitely try online dating. I was not phased by the stories I had heard about people showing up to a date looking nothing like their profile photos, or the fact that the person I could be meeting could be a complete phony. I went into it with full and foolish confidence.
I started getting together all the essentials of a good online dating profile, i.e. a good selfie to really show your face, a full body picture to show your whole body, a picture with friends (to show you actually have some and someone out there finds you fun), and a good “about me” bio. I tried a few sites, my first being Tinder. Tinder in my experience wasn’t good, I matched with quite a number of blokes and got talking to a few but never really seemed to get past chatting. I think tinder is the go to site for a hook-up and not if like me you’re looking for something serious and long term. Delete App.
Then I heard about pof, plenty of fish. it was dodgy from the get go, members without profile pictures, dodgy unwanted, cringe worthy selfies from the get go and in my experience a lot of what I wasn’t into. I came across a profile however of a 40 something year old Irish man with a thing for African women. On paper he looked good, business owner, two kids and local to me. I was already planning holidays with ‘our 3 kids’. we decided to chat for a while before meeting, and this is a good shout because the online dating world is full of people that are liars, some are married and want a bit on the side and some could even turn out to be, God forbid, something like the ‘craigslist murderer’! so Irish and I were chatting, he was recently divorced, I was recently separated and we both had children, we were into live music and comedy shows and we both loved Africa, it really did feel like a match made in pof heaven. So one day I was at a job interview from hell, I had applied for what I thought was an office sales role but it turned out to be a charity sales job on the streets on Portsmouth. I found myself in Portsmouth handing out fliers and trying to get donations from passers by as part of a ‘job on training’. An hour into it, I realised I couldn’t do it and messaged Irish about it, he offered to drive all the way to Portsmouth to pick me up. We chatted none stop as he drove me home and he was the perfect gentleman. it all went very quickly, (and this in my opinion is a red flag) I met his teenage kids, I found myself cleaning his insanely dirty apartment and I couldn’t ignore the fact that every time we went out someone made a comment about the fact that I was ‘too good for him’. the straw that broke the camels back was when on an Abba themed night out he ‘mooned’ a bartender that had asked me what I was doing with him, alluding to the fact that I could do better. I was embarrassed and I never went back. App Deleted, number blocked.
Then a friend told me about Bumble. its a dating app which favours women in that once you’ve matched with someone, they cant message you till you’ve messaged them and then they have a few hours (or days ) to respond. if they don’t you’re instantly unmatched. so it weeds out the time wasters. i matched with quite a few good men (pun intended). almost all of them were recently separated or divorced, which if you’re above 30, you will probably get a lot. the younger ones always seemed too eager to meet and not eager to chat. So if they are more than an hour away from you, you will probably not be up to meeting them if you have to take a bus or train. This is my way of looking at things since I made the decision early on that I would only meet people in public and never with my daughter, therefore it was important for me to chat with the person, video call, etc for at least a month before meeting in person.
I must admit I feel my experience was better than most of my friends. One had a guy take her to a taco restaurant and he ordered one taco for them to share! another showed up and was completely different from their profile picture. Unfortunately all the dates I went on were with white men because of (probably), my location being in a predominantly white postcode. I therefore do not have any perspective of my own to add on black men on tinder. I would say however be weary of white men looking for black women only for the experience. if someone even matches with you just because you are of a certain race then that is a red flag too. Here’s an article by Elite dating, that i think is worth a read https://www.elitesingles.com/mag/relationship-advice/meeting-people-online. here’s another interesting one Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Internet Dating
And how did my online dating journey end? well its been 4 years, we chatted for a while before meeting because I couldn’t find a baby sitter so that was good as it gave us a chance to get to know each other a bit better. the bottom line is, the rules of dating I feel are the same whether you’re dating online or the old fashioned way, love yourself enough to be able to recognise when you’re being treated less than you deserve, always have your own money and do tell someone where you’re going. I would say never pay premium for any site unless you’re seriously limited by what you can do on a basic profile, I didn’t pay for any of them. Most sites have a lot of functions without having to pay for the premium package. Most importantly don’t be afraid, love is only a click away.