Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Black Blogger Pretends to be White Woman On Dating Site OkCupid

If I only I thought of this. Regardless, blogger Kia Matthews rocks for conducting this experiment.

A few months ago OkCupid released a study result showing how many responses women received based on race. And black women seem to get the least responses. Matthews was chatting about the results with another OkCupid user when he jokingly suggest she should pose as a white woman and see if more men responded to her. Erin, one of Mathews readers, donated her image for dating science and Matthews went undercover as a white woman. In my opinion I think Erin and Kia are both cute girls. The main difference between the two is race and body size. Kia is black and curve-a-licious. Erin is white and slim. Matthews writes on The Frisky she didn't see a shift in quantity on her white profile, but quality:

"By the end of day two, Erin had 13 messages and 10 IMs—and guess what? None of them were of the “Are you a freak in da sheets?” variety. Erin was complimented on her sense of humor and wit. Me? I regularly get asked if I want to let a guy shove his d**k “all over” my face – whatever that means. I’d been on the site for the better part of a year and I had received no more than two messages that were as complimentary as the majority of Erin’s had been in two days."

Oooh, this is taking me back to my race and gender classes. Talk about sexualization of black women. This could also be an issue of body politics. Are the men disrespectful to her because she is full figured? Or is it a bit of both. Black women have been stereotyped as being oversexed, hot mamas for centuries. And bigger women are disrespected because of their body size. Some people hold the ridiculous idea they don't have choices and should settle for any man who wants their fuller frame. Even one who just wants to put his thing in her face. Yet, a man's stomach can stick out farther than his behind and he's still a stud? Don't get me started...

I've tried online dating off and on for about 5 years. My cyber spot of choice was I'm a combination of Kia and Erin because I'm black and petite. I didn't get the crude pervert messages like Matthews. But 13 dudes didn't hit me up in two days either. I may have received two messages a day. Within my three month trial I only dated one person. He was an anesthesiologist from Africa. On our third and final outing he called me a "lesbian" because the three girls kissing by us at the concert we attended (yes I said 3) didn't upset me. Long story, but you can figure out how that night went. Back to what I was saying...Unlike OkCupid, visibly lists a man's racial preference in a woman. Often the men checked everything but black. But what shocked me, sorta, was most of the black men who matched my list of qualities (college educated, professional, non-smoker, Christian etc.) were not into black women. They checked off white, Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, Eskimo, Ewok, Smurf, Snorkel...anything but black. I live in Los Angeles, so I can't say this would be the case if I looked for black and non-black men in other parts of the country. But, I was not surprised when I saw OkCupid's results.

Online dating is like shopping on Ebay, you never know what you're gonna get until the package is delivered. The downside to meeting people online is people look make judgements based on photos. I'm guilty of it too. When men (including brothas) see me and Kia's cute brown faces do they automatically think: Shanay-nay, neck roller, unedumucated, gold digger or hoe? When they run by Erin's profile do they automatically think smart and sexy? I think all of the above is true and untrue, depending on who's looking.

There are success stories in online dating. My uncle met his fiance on Hopefully his luck in love will rub off on me and Kia.


  1. Hey! Thanks for reading my article.

    I too used to be on Match and your comment about men choosing all races except for black... oh my sweet god that used to burn me up! How is it the year 2000 something and this is still happening? HOW?

  2. @ Kia:
    Nice job on the article and thanks for posting on my site.

    Unfortunately prejudice is alive and kicking in 2000-something and will never die. But you're a smart, talented, pretty young woman and you're gonna meet guys who don't buy into the stereotypes and will approach you. I see you've gotten some offers at The Frisky already. LOL You're putting yourself out there and that will increase your chances. Good luck!

  3. I am a white male, and I'm currently dating a black woman.

    There are plenty of assumptions people make according to race. Even my girlfriend was surprised that I wasn't so prim and proper, or that my maker didn't leave me with shortcomings below the belt. She dated many men of different race, and wasn't disappointed with me in any way.

    In my experience on dating sites, few women responded to my kind and respectful emails. Most went unanswered, and swift rejection was the usual response.

    I think women tend to judge men by wealth and status. My luck might have been different had I said I was a doctor or lawyer.

    I would suggest to any woman, try using a male friend's photo on a dating site and see what kind of response you get. You'd be shocked with the number of unanswered emails. The silence is humbling.


  4. Thanks for the male opinion. So you think women turn down the nice guys online? I believe that. It's hard to judge someone based on a profile photo and self-description. I'm glad your girlfriend took a chance and was pleasantly surprised by you in all departments. ;)

  5. Being a black woman with a few extra pounds, I've experienced the same issue. And to my very nice white female friends who swear by, I finally had to explain that it's not the same for black women as it is for all others. Then I had them look at the ethnicities that men choose. Sure enough they were surprised. Interestingly, when I've reached out to the white men who viewed me, they've responded very nicely. The black men do not respond or just wink. In any case, I just tell myself they are too intimidated so I wouldn't want to be with them anyway!!

  6. Fist off, id like to say that this is an excellent blog and keep doing what your doing. Now as for the topic, i do feel for you and all of my educated black sistas out there. Its not easy for black males and females nowadays. However, I have to co-sign with my man Joe...women do judge on wealth and status, which is way a bigger guy may have more success than a bigger girl. He wont get women based on his looks, but he get them with his wallet or status.

    However I will agree that black women have been given an extremely bad rap. Which is more reason why you should be extra diligent when looking for a mate that can truly value what you have to offer.

    I wish all my sistas good luck and know that there are plenty of brothas out here looking for you.

  7. @ Anonymous: Girl, I'm with you. I don't want to be bothered with a man who doesn't want me for whatever reason. I'm sure you got it going on and you'll meet someone.

    @ Ozzie: Thanks for reading my blog. Spread the word about Cocoa Fly to friends. Thanks for calling some of us women out who look at the income status and occupation field on dating sites LOL. And thanks for shedding light on some of the issues men face.

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