You Love African Men, but do they Love you Back?

Many of us African women will swear that there is nothing better than an African man. They understand us right? They too get the 3am calls from relatives back home who can never seem to get the time differences right. They too understand the Western Unions to our cousins for their school fees. They even sympathize with us the when our white co-workers ask if we speak African, or if we can teach them how to “twerk.” But after living full time on the African continent, I was able to interact, date, and listen to the daily musings of our brothers in their natural habitat. These interactions have left me wondering if African men love us the same way we seem to love them? Now, please take this with a grain of salt, and know that my opinion is probably a gross generalization, BUT; do African men still see us as their Queens, their ribs, their support? Or have more culturally ambiguous, less “dramatic” women replaced us?

I’m sure we have all heard that we African women are too pushy, too loud, too demanding, too controlling, too damn dramatic. Are African men starting to believe this, and are they now all looking for their very own Kim Khardashians , leaving the Fatimas, Onyekas, and Wanjirus of the world high and dry? Take for example, what happened to me a couple years ago when I had some friends over to my home in Tanzania for Sunday day drinking (don’t judge me). One of my Tanzania guests slowly became so inebriated that he thought it was time to speak on how he really felt about my white roommate and I. He proceeds to tell me that I was not as valuable as my roommate because white women are the top of the top, to have one is a symbol of evolution apparently. I CALMLY asked him “So, hypothetically speaking, even if I am more educated, made more money, have a more successful family, and can offer you more because we come from the same continent and share experiences, you would pick her because she is white?” He looked me dead in the eye and said, “Yes, it’s easier to be with a white woman, but you are still beautiful.” We later kicked him out for spilling all our gin on the floor.

 Another case, one of my friends doing her masters degree in a cold, white, Scandinavian country, met a seemingly great guy last year. They were from the same country, spoke the same language, and shared the same experiences of going to university in Europe. She thought she had finally found someone who understood and appreciated her. Slowly though, he began revealing to her that he really only dated “exotic” women, you know like Asian, or Hispanic. He wasn’t into African women and their attitudes. In short, my beautiful, intelligent, proud African friend wasn’t his type, and could never be no matter how hard she tried. Another time, a friend of mine from a country where the women are mostly very dark skin, and very curvy, said he went to Ethiopia and couldn’t believe how many beautiful women he came across.  I asked him if he thought that they were more beautiful than the women where he is from, he said “YES! The women back home are not that attractive, they are so dark, I can hardly ever find one that is even kind of cute. But in Ethiopia these women are gorgeous!” I told him that this was a fundamental problem; doesn’t he think he should at least speak highly of the women from his country, not belittle them in the face of other women with lighter skin and more European features? He said no, that he was just being honest, Ethiopian women made the women from his country, (beautiful women who I think look very much like myself) look like "animals." The list of experiences could go on, between my girlfriends and I, have had our fair share of less than pleasant interactions with many African men. African men that we speak so highly about, African men that we have loved all our lives, whom we were raised with, who raised us. African men who many of us were taught to covet and respect, have we lost the shine in their eyes? Do African men really love us back?