Last week, we published "Maybe You're Single Because You're Wack" — a piece from Dustin Seibert articulating possible reasons why some of the more physically attractive and financially fit women in his sphere of influence seemed to be perpetually single. Like the rest of Dustin's work on VSB, it was a long, verbose, and admittedly entertaining read. ("You can dress like a bag of shit and not be a wack person" made me laugh aloud.)
It — the piece itself and the response it generated — also reminded me why we don't publish this type of content anymore. Not because it was controversial or offensive or insulting or anything like that. The title of this post has "fuck" in it, for chrissakes. We're generally not in the business of minding whether people's sensibilities are aggrieved when they read our content. Because fuck you. But because the premise — both structurally and conceptually — is ancient. And not ancient in the way that a Christmas standard that still makes you feel good even though you've heard it 20,000 times happens to be. But ancient like a VHS player. Or a Von Dutch trucker hat.
Creating a platform where one person (usually a man) tells other people (usually women) exactly how fucked up their dating and relationship lives are is a dependable way to get a consistent reaction to what you're writing and/or saying. And, to be honest, this is one of the reasons why VSB started off as a place where most of our content was dating/relationship/sex centric. Both Panama and I knew that it would be the quickest way to cultivate an audience and amass a following. Sure, we attempted to add some nuance and wit and balance to it — and I believe we were better at it than most — but ultimately we weren't much different than the dozens of blogs, pundits, and personalities also building a brand off of this.
In the past few years, we've been very intentional with expanding our content and changing our editorial focus. And a byproduct of this change has been us writing and publishing progressively less and less and less of that type of content. Because if we wanted to be considered a progressive and relevant and unique space, we couldn't continue having our brand defined by those types of pieces.
Most importantly, while there's nothing wrong with responding to a query from an individual woman — or perhaps addressing a question about a hyper-specific situation — there's just an inherent uneasiness and off-putting hubris in guys volunteering "how to get chose" advice to women collectively. Even if it's not intended to be interpreted this way, it often comes off as "Listen to me, foolish women, so you'll have a chance of getting with a guy like me." Also, racial and social context matters. We (Black men and women) have heard and read and watched reports and blogs and specials and stories and plays and movies about man shortages and uneven ratios and Kim Kardashian ad nauseam. We know that, for myriad reasons, the numbers are skewered in Black men's favor. Which is why a Black guy getting on a platform to tell Black women why they're "failing" at dating is specifically reductive, myopic, and even, at times, cruel.
Even as Dustin pointed out in his piece, "wack" men don't seem to have much trouble getting chose. Or, specifically, being the chooser. And this status is in large part due to this numbers inequality that everyone already knows about. Which is why "Maybe You're Single Because There's Just A Lot More Of You With Your Shit Together Than There Are Of Us" or "Maybe You're Single Because Slavery, Structural Racism, And The Criminal Justice System Has Combine To Created A Society Where Millions Of Black Men Are Permanently Disqualified From The Dating Pool" or "Maybe You're Single Because There's Nothing Wrong With Being Single" or "Maybe You're Single Because You Were Raised Right" would have been much more appropriate and relevant angles.
The best one, though, would have been — and will always be — "Maybe You're Single Because You're…Wait, Who Gives A Fuck?" Because there are so. many. fucking. reasons. why someone may or may not be in a relationship. And one of the biggest factors is something we have absolutely no control over: sheer luck. Unless you believe that life is like The Adjustment Bureau, where our relationship fates are predestined (and partially controlled by John Slattery), something as small as a decision to catch the 9:50am bus on September 14th, 2012 instead of the 10:15am bus that day could have made the difference between you being single or married. Or married or single. Or alive or dead. Or whatever the fuck. And because of that inherent whatever the fuck-ness that ultimately determines whether you will happen to meet a person you happen to be compatible with and happen to be interested in and you both happen to be available, trying to break down why person A is single and person B is not even though they share the exact same traits is a fruitless exercise. It like trying to determine why one leaf blew onto the street and another blew onto the sidewalk. And when that is your question, the answer, again, is always "Who Gives A Fuck?"
Again Dustin is a very talented writer, and I look forward to him continuing to write long-winded, passionate, and hilariously inappropriate pieces. I'm beyond proud that we've evolved to this ambiguous but conspicuously Black place where people like him and Natalie and Alex and Jozen and Shamira and Agatha and whoever else contributes to VSB can be, for lack of a better term, free. But evolution also means you leave some shit behind. And "Maybe You're Single Because You're Wack" should have been left in 2010.