Archuleta A. Chisolm
Black Men Aren't Being Asked If They Would Date A Bus Driver
Remember in 2006 when Tyler Perry gave us Madea’s Family Reunion? I know, it’s been a while. Believe it or not, Perry provided us with a worthy message within the bad wigs and typical tropes.
Frankie, a single father and bus driver in Atlanta, is interested in Vanessa. After a long day at work, Vanessa gets on his bus and he greets her but she just nods her head. He attempts to talk her head off, while she is just trying to sit and relax. She attempts to make small talk, but at one point she snaps and says "Will you just drive this bus please man!" He found that she likes to write poetry and continues to say, "You know I like poetry too. Check this out: Roses are red, Violets are blue, if you go out with me, you will like me too." This has Vanessa smiling and laughing. She halfheartedly declines his offer in going out until this older lady says, "Miss... He really is a nice guy." She looks at the lady with a smile in reception to her message. After she gets to her destination, she turns around to Frankie and says, "I'll think about it.”
When former Real Housewives of New York star Eboni K. Williams sparked a massive debate across social media after her viral interview with Fix My Life host Iyanla Vanzant hit the internet, well, good ole’ Frankie came to my mind. Bad wig and all.
While discussing the topic of femininity and today’s difficult dating pool for women on The Grio, Eboni asked Iyanla to give some advice on how Black women should “position” themselves in today’s dating world to stay in tune with their divine feminine energy and build with a potential partner without competing for dominance.
After Iyanla listened to Eboni for a minute, she asked her,
“Would you date a bus driver?” Without skipping a beat, she responded, “If he owns the bus…if he owns it. If he owns the bus, Iyanla.” Well, that opened the door for the spiritual guru to challenge and fix her life.
To be clear, this whole conversation about feminine/masculine energy makes me physically ill. But that’s a whole other blog post for later. Anywho…
Unfortunately, Eboni made a cardinal mistake. She allowed her guest to control the interview. She’s so much better than that but in the heat of the moment, she included her opinion in the narrative and now she is on a whirlwind tour to explain herself and clean things up. No, ma’am.
Aside from that, is Eboni being shallow to judge a person only by what they have or do? Or, is she just exercising her standards? Nothing wrong with having standards, right? If you don’t know what you want, then you’ll just be subject to anything.
According to Iyanla, Eboni’s stance is a problem and the wrong way to measure men. She added that some of the criteria that we, as women, look for keep us unhappy, angry and imbalanced. She said that this way of thinking is not bad or wrong. Rather, it’s obsolete.
Let me just interject with something I say in this space all the time: Black women are tired. I don’t mean the today, drained me type of tired… but the somebody come and get me off this ledge type of tired. It’s too many things we are held responsible for.
We’re expected to regulate our energy - making sure it remains feminine and not cross-over into masculine. This means we can’t show any leadership in our relationships or strive too far, because then we’ll be doing way too much and compete for dominance. But then when we have the audacity to have standards, boundaries, and expectations, these things can’t be too defined because then we’re shallow and selfish. Remember, Black women are expected to just be happy if a man finds us worthy to be with.
Yes, society is jacked up. And Black men and women can’t even have viable, loving relationships because there are too many rules, defined by people who make this stuff up in their own miserable lives. There is so much contention over energy levels and standards, there is no room left for just being.
The reason why Black men aren’t being asked if they would date a bus driver is society’s expectations for men are different. The set of expectations men have for women in relationships is different, and it doesn’t include matching them financially.
The fact that Eboni Williams wouldn’t date a bus driver is her business. Being picky or selective or even selfish is her prerogative. I believe that the triggering happened when it was perceived that a bus driver can’t possibly be a viable partner to a successful woman. As if being a bus driver is lowly and beneath standards.
It’s perfectly okay for a woman, who has achieved a certain level professionally and financially, to desire a partner on that same level. Vice versa. What’s not okay is to judge or offend someone for the work they do, and consider them to be less than.
And just to be clear, Eboni, the owner of the bus company might not be what you want just because he’s the owner. But we get what you were reaching for.
The older lady was right - Frankie ended up being a nice guy. He and Vanessa had a happy ending. And their union helped change minds and inevitably heal everybody else’s life around them. Again, it’s a Tyler Perry movie. In real life, we have to be hopeful that Black love will endure and that it trusts where the bus leads.