Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why Are "Booty Books" So Popular

I have a theory on why "booty books" are so popular among black women and I may get into trouble for saying it: I think black women are lonely and are starving for affection. I saw and heard a lot of things running that bookstore cafe of mine and one thing I noticed was how black women and black men don't communicate. I would watch them talk around each other like the other wasn't there. They just weren't hearing each other.

The things I overheard black men say about black women were shocking to me: that we were gold diggers and just wanted their money; that we don't stand by them -- almost like black women were heartless. I would listen and not interrupt. (Even though I owned the space I was often a glorified waitress, serving up coffee, tea, and pastries, going virtually unnoticed.) Where they got this image of us is a mystery to me. Black women are some of the most giving loving people on the planet. It was hard to hear black men talking about us this way. Not all men spoke this way but some definitely did. Some men were just lonely and shy. Really nice people just too afraid to approach. (I always preferred the quiet one's myself.)

Then I would hear the women...

The word "dog" was used often enough. They seemed to have such a hard time finding a "good" man -- and sometimes a good man was right in the room. I had a number of really fine, educated, available men who were regulars to my store. After all, where would a smart, available man hangout in a black neighborhood but in a bookstore. It was so frustrating to see the men and women just not see each other. Sometimes the guy was just too shy to approach. I would even sometimes try to intervene and introduce them. (I got to know my regulars pretty well.) Sometimes it worked. But others ...

Once Talia, my little helper and barista, and I spent about a half an hour with a young man trying to shore up his courage to go talk to this girl he liked. He finally got up and went over to her table. Talia and I cheered when he came back with a huge grin and her phone number. Another time a lady came back into the story and introduced me to her "Indigo baby." She and her husband met and had their first date at Indigo and she wanted me to meet their new daughter. I was so shocked I nearly cried. I try to think of that when I feel down.

All I'm saying is there is a lot of loneliness out here due to a lot of mistrust. The "booty books" might be a symptom of something bigger. A lot of empty beds and lonely Saturday nights. A lot of fear of being hurt, and a lot of memories of being hurt. I think that there is some deep talking that needs to be done between the sexes in the black community -- and a lot of healing, too.


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