*There’s a Starbucks about a half block away from the gym where I train in Los Angeles.
I occasionally grab a coffee and talk ish with the same group of brothers who I see gathered there every day.
Not long ago, I inserted myself into a lively discussion they’d been having about the opposite sex.
Mind you, the brothers I spoke to that evening were over 30, dreadfully overweight, bald (or well on their way), and either retired, nearing retirement, or completely jobless and “looking.”
At first, I listened while they quietly took jabs at a sister whose hands were full with cups of coffee and the keys to her car.
She quickly shuffled past our crowded table and made a beeline for the parking lot, deliberately ignoring the whistles and stares coming from our direction.
Her icy demeanor triggered a long series of insults from the group, which didn’t surprise me. It’s in the nature of immature men to spew hateful words at the women who reject them.
“That bitch should be glad we gave her any attention at all,” one guy uttered. “I know she got a bunch of cellulite under them yoga pants, and that wack ass ponytail needs to go.”
“Yeah!” another guy howled. “These women walk around thinking they’re God’s gift to men, but most of them look sloppy and washed up after 35, especially the sisters.”
I took mental notes as the ego-wounded hyenas surrounding me exchanging wisecracks about women who “let themselves go.”
“These bitches come up with excuses for why their arms get fat and saggy and their stomach hangs. It’s not leftover weight from a baby she had 15 years ago, and I don’t wanna hear sh*t about a thyroid condition. It’s because they believe weaves and makeup can hide everything else. But i’mma tell ya’ll what my father told me – you can put lipstick and hair extensions on a pig – but it’s still a pig.”
I listened to their nonsense for 20 minutes, choosing not to join in. But I eventually lost my cool after some creep with a lazy eye loudly declared “If she aint a 10, I aint f*cking with her!”
“Preach!” shouted the others.
Not wanting to offend anyone at the table or ruin the vibe, I let out a chuckle and nodded my head approvingly, so they wouldn’t get suspicious.
But the devil on my shoulder suddenly caused me drop a “truth bomb” on the entire table … and it wasn’t pretty.
With what I imagine was disgust on my face, I said coldly: “Ya’ll niggas must be crazy.”
Immediately a deep silence fell over the table. Smiles turned to frowns. I had their attention, but my window to speak was limited. So I didn’t waste time with pleasantries.
“Half of ya’ll must live without mirrors in your house.”
“Hey you, (I pointed to Mr. Lazy Eye), nigga you ain’t handsome. I’m looking at a bunch of niggas with ashy knees, bloated bellies, and empty pockets, but y’all have the nerve to demand physical perfection from women? That doesn’t even begin to make sense.”
I continued with my lecture until someone interrupted.
“So what chu tryna say nigga?” he asked. “We aint good enough for quality women? I shouldn’t want the best these bitches have to offer?”
“No! That’s not what I’m saying. We should all have standards. But if you’re a 5 on the scale, don’t go fishing for a 10.”
Over the summer, I came to realize that my own standards for women were unrealistic compared to what I had to offer them financially, spiritually, and even physically.
At 30-years-old, my life is hardly a blueprint for success. In fact, if I’m being honest, dating is a luxury that bleeds my wallet bone dry.
And because I reside in Los Angeles – the land of freakishly beautiful people – my charm and modest physical appeal aren’t quite enough to grab the attention of every “dime” I see.
But I’m no different than the average nigga my age whose cupboard is fully stocked with Ramen noodles, white bread, peanut butter, and tomato sauce. It’s part of the struggle.
However, unlike most, I don’t spend my time lusting after Instagram “models” and video vixens. That’s a waste of time for a guy like me.
Instead, I stay in my “financial lane” – which means I date women who won’t turn down a “free” walk on the beach, or happy hour at Red Lobster.
Also, if I were a 45-year-old divorcee with man boobs, erectile dysfunction, and a barren scalp, I’d set practical standards for my dating life.
In our society, women feel all the pressure to stay beautiful and trim, while men can get by with a few (or more than a few) extra pounds around their midsection and jawline.
Even the term “dad bod” absolves men from the responsibility of keeping themselves in shape, or dressing stylishly. This gives men an advantage in the dating world as they grow older.
But gradually women have begun to demand the same level of physical and financial accountability from men .. and then some.
Fellas, this means you have to bring more to the table than a winning personality and a steady paycheck.
If you want to be with a 10, then you’d better be able to match her level.
Otherwise, shut up and hunt for girls at Target like the rest of us.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: email@example.com and/or visit his blog: www.enterthehat.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood