|Actress Yvonne Orji and Emmanuel Acho via IG|
By Veronica Wells
Years ago, I was attending a cultural parade downtown. Having reached my limit of human interaction for the day, at the parade’s conclusion, I announced that I would be returning home. This was a deviation from what the rest of the group was doing: following up the parade with an early dinner at a Nigerian restaurant. When one of the women in the group learned that I wasn’t joining them, she tried to persuade me to go.
“You might be missing out on your African Prince.”
I knew she was joking. Still, her comment just confirmed the fact that I needed to carry my then-single ass home. I’d heard variations of concepts like that repeated over and over again. When women offer up advice on how to “get a man” they say something to the effect of go out and be seen. Put yourself in the right places. (I remember one article even suggested going to steakhouses because men love meat.)
Meeting your life partner is as simple as being at the right restaurant, happy hour, after-work mixer or day party. And any time you opt to go home and spend time with yourself is time you could be missing out on meeting “the one.” I always knew it was some bullsh*t.
I’ve watched too many women go out with the expectations of leaving a venue boo’ed up, only to have their hopes dashed when no one approached them.
I don’t say all that to shame women. Because I totally understand the desire to “find the one” and be married. But I also understand most of the messaging we’ve received about how to do that has been profoundly inaccurate. Mostly because it seeks to provide a formula…just one.
The other day, a girl I went to college with tweeted this and almost made me run around the room.
When singer Michelle Williams announced that she was engaged to pastor Chad Johnson, I saw a woman in some comment section ask Michelle about the prayer she prayed to get a man like him.
I shared this with my sister, alarmed. And she told me to chill, that these women were just joking. I wasn’t so sure. And if they were, it was probably one of those “unless you gon do it” jokes. These women, like so many others, are looking for thee blueprint as if just one exists.
Interestingly enough, in thinking about this topic this week, I stumbled across relationship expert Tracy McMillan who, as you might assume, also had a theory about how to bring love- in the form of a romantic partner- into your life. She said there’s no such thing as getting a man. She said, “We don’t get anything. We create it.” Essentially, the process of loving ourselves, nurturing ourselves, being the person we would like to attract emanates out and draws similar individuals, potential life partners, to us. We know the physics of “like attracts like” but rarely do we apply it to our love lives. Instead, we’d rather sit at steakhouses and interview women about how they “got” what we want, as if finding a life partner is like buying a house.
If we are to assume Tracy’s method is true—and I believe it is— then how do we instruct women to love themselves? The truth is you really can’t. It’s a journey that is as unique and tailor-made to each individual as our fingerprints. And the gag is, your self-love journey can’t be fake. You can’t trick the universe or God by embarking on a self-love journey with the sole intent of getting a man. You have to love yourself genuinely and authentically just because it’s a better way to live. And I think we can all agree that all people are attracted to those who seem to be living in abundance.
There’s no one way to do that. It can’t be unlocked with a magical prayer, going where the mens go, or studying someone else’s relationship. You have to figure it out for yourself. And at the end of the day, you always appreciate the things you worked creatively for more than those that you achieved by following someone else’s formula.