The List: Decoded

photo (7)In my last post we established there was a survey and people responded...

Let’s get the boring bit out of the way. I considered making an infographic of the demographic information, but I didn’t want to incur Afua’s judging eye. You all know she wishes she could do hates my diagrams. *brushes shoulders off*

So here is a round up of the makeup of those surveyed:

      • 34 women responded to the survey
      • Most of the women surveyed were between 22 and 30
      • Over 2/3 of them have Masters degrees
      • The demographic is basically split 50/50 between living in Africa and living in the US/UK/Europe
      • A majority of them are either in business or nonprofit/ policy type of work

Essentially, all of the women who responded are iterations of Afua and I— so yes… selection bias… *we know*. But it’s interesting that within this selection of women, there were varying levels of expectations. Yes, we did find that most of them were fairly together (good looking, well educated and well situated in career/ finance). However, there was a lot to be said in terms of values (religion, communication, wellness) for both themselves and their partners. The graphs below illustrate how women responded about themselves and then about their partners.


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Some of the ladies admitted they were walking around aimlessly or only sort of where they want to be, while they expect their mates to already ‘be there’ or be really close. Someone commented that this was because they want a man who is head of the household and is able to be a leader in the home. I speak a lot to guys about this topic and many of them would prefer women who are with them on the come up and who are willing to be part of their career journey. To them, gold diggers aren’t just the uneducated video vixens that Kanye raps about looking for a ticket out of the ‘hood— someone’s else’s words… not mine. Well. Ok. Sorta Mine… but paraphrasing from guys on the matter. I don’t think it makes you a gold digger for wanting someone who is well seated in his career. However, there seems to be some insecurity on the guys part about genuineness from a woman who’s lost in her own career path but holds solemnly to his firm foundation. And then there were the women who were ok with someone equally situated in their careers. Nothing surprising there. But if you are a woman with a masters degree, six figure salary and excellent 401K, couldn’t he just be en route? I mean, is nobody at least willing to be with someone who is not quite all together… yet? Michelle was killing the game before Obama meandered his way onto her radar… and we see how that turned out right? One respondent put it this way:

“…Career focus is a close 4th, but it’s not to say he would need to be or aspire to be a CEO. He needs ambition matched by action and follow through and he’s good with me.” #touche


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This was an interesting one. Yes… Yes… its true: All of my friends are hotties. No… you can’t have their numbers. But while most of my girls are fours… they are willing to be with threes. Which is to say, they are willing to choose to be with someone who is less attractive than they see themselves. There were individuals who want more attractive men, but I know them and it’s near impossible because they are definitely really good looking. Nevertheless, it looks like attractiveness isn’t as much a priority as I hypothesized… or at least that looks aren’t the sum game of attraction (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). So this is essentially a middle finger to those who say the problem is educated black women all want Denzel’s and Chris Attoh’s. We would be just fine with the Idris’s Tyson Beckford’s errr, regular guys of the world.

Health and Activity

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I laughed when I saw this because it sort of reminds me of how I generally hate working out, but definitely don’t want a guy that doesn’t excel at some sort of sport. I see my sisters agree. The narrative is: ‘Look— I am going to hope that my metabolism does not slow down and these fries don’t catch up to me… but you— you BETTA not get fat.’ I mean I, like my paddies, fall somewhere between being a total lazeball and remembering to skip rope from time to time. As long as we both don’t end up looking like the Klumps… I think this is fair. I know guys who say the opposite in that they expect a woman, after child birth and desk jobs, to somehow manage a Victoria Secret figure. As if!

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Most Important Characteristic: It seems in our survey that the most important trait for everyone is monogamy, followed by religion. The comments people left offer insight into the interplay between religion and monogamy, and make it clear that we want loyal husbands above all. The first quote rightly points out that the interplay is still flawed because no one is perfect and people are tempted no matter what their spiritual affiliation:

If hes a christian, issues related to monogamy, and a few other categories shouldnt be a problem….shouldnt….shouldn’t

It is really important that my future mate is very supportive. I think that a lot of these characteristics are great independently, but if there isn’t that love and support base then I don’t think you have much long-term.

Religion/spirituality and monogamy tie for third. A man who shares similar spiritual beliefs will should also (in theory) highly value monogamy. Career focus is a close 4th, but it’s not to say he would need to be or aspire to be a CEO. He needs ambition matched by action and follow through and he’s good with me.

I found it interesting that the second and third most important characteristics were communication and finance/ career focus. On the issue of finance, one person rightly noted:

The finance section is most interesting. One’s proclivity to have fully manageable accounts is different from your current state of finances and this is a gray area in the survey. For instance, though you typically may have money management on lock, recessions, education financing, family circumstances or other components may skew the answer to be “out of control debt/ broke as a joke”

I was mostly correct in my hypothesis except for the bit about looks. Attractiveness was not even a close fourth or fifth which should restore our belief that woman of high caliber are not superficial women with impossible standards.

As if fifteen metrics were not enough, someone also pointed out ‘respect for culture’ as an important ideal. This is really important in the African context when we consider the diversity of ethnic groups and the increasing inter-ethnic/ interracial phenomenon. They had this to say on the matter:

Culture… it is hard to be with someone who does not value culture and or is not open to people of different people. For example, he has to be willing respect rule and follow traditional practices out of respect for me and out of interest. not just say ok thats good for you… he need to be interested on his own also if he is from a different culture he should know enough to share with me!

600_NotMarriageMaterial-275x275So what did we learn?

Well— really smart, good looking Afro women want monogamous men who may not be that attractive but are more fit and more ambitious than they are. They want men who have similar ideals with respect to sexual proclivity, number of children, political inclination and attitude. Essentially– partners who can be leaders in and outside of the house. I wonder if this is a really antifeminist conclusion (I will leave that exploration for the discussion). *shrugs*

Funnily, a work mate of Afua’s once commented that men could only be two of three things: good fathers, loyal husbands, excellent businessmen. Either you get a good father who is a great business man but cheats… a dead beat dad that’s faithful and has a great job or… a man who is both a great father and husband but can’t hold a job. Based on this, I would say that women want a good husband with a great job… I don’t know where that leaves the kids though… no one is perfect right?

So I have to ask, if you could only choose one of the three combinations. Which would it be? Sound off!

To see the rest of the graphs and charts from the survey, click here for the google analytics.

*** All quotes from the respondents are taken verbatim. Even if they have grammatical errors, you can catch the spirit of the words… so… catch them. ha!


The Overflowing Fountain of Youth

photo (7)

I am not complaining about the fact that Jesus gave me baby bottom skin.

I just want to make clear I am grateful that, as they say, black don’t crack and the cellular make up of my skin allows for me to avoid the worry of wrinkles and crows feet.

Having said this… I think my skin is stopping me from being great. Wherever I go… if I am to be approached I can almost guarantee that 95% of the time the guy is younger than me… by at least a century. I have been hit on by so many high school aged/ uni freshmen that its disheartening. And it would not be as disheartening if there was the balance of sophisticated suave men of my age group trying to pick me up at airports.

So first I was like… do I smell?

Should I wear my degrees on my forehead?

Should I walk around in blue/black/ grey and get a FLOTUS bob… it totally works for Afua.

Maybe I should wear make up… weaves mayhaps?

Anything to repel these small boys, abeg!

I recently concluded that in my next relationship story I should date someone who is older then me. I have had my share of younger guys and I think its time, as I consider a long term forever type of situation, that I make time for more established men. The problem is… The ones I have met have been too rigid and super… Well… Boring.

Its not like I need tattoos, earrings and jays (though I’m still a sucker for a proper pair of sneaks— trainers as they’d call them here). I just feel like I need someone who can balance being a useful member of society with utterly useless moments. For example, is it absolutely positively necessary that on BBM or other chat platforms I use proper greeting etiquette? If I hit you with a ‘yo’ or a ‘question?’… We should have the understanding that all of the niceties that might normally precede are included. All of the ‘How was your day’ and ‘how are you this fine blessed mornings’ are part and parcel.kerrywashingtonandhusband

Or is it just me?

Well recently Kerry Washington got hitched to a Nigerian football player 5 years her junior (and no… It wasn’t for papers). I gave her a standing ovation in my mind and then I thought… Maybe its not me. At the end of the day, if I can’t establish a working social contract with guys my age… That doesn’t make me a mad woman… Does it? My dad thinks dating younger is crazy and my history hasn’t helped my cause… But Kerry gives me hope, have you seen the guy?.

*Two slow claps*


– – –

photo (3)Bright colored clothing. Abnormally high 80s style ponytails. Large thrift vintage store jewelry.

You do smell.

We all smell.

Even before we open our mouths, we have an odor aura that projects statements about us, right?

I’ll admit when I first picked up on this trend of yours, I was disturbed. ‘Amma, for the why?’ ‘You do know men mature slower than women’ ‘Can’t you at least get someone your own age.’ But now, honestly I’m warming up to the idea, and for two reasons. 1.) I used to think you needed a serious man to balance you out, but the more I know you, the more I know you have an internal balance already, and 2.) The older we get, the less age matters (within reason)… So for these younger guys, sha: if you like it, I love it.

I don’t understand this new conclusion for your next relationship, because in terms of your list of priorities for a forever type situation… a guy’s ability to be outright silly and abreast with popular black culture trumps age, period. And the former tends to be found in guys that are of a certain age group. It’s not a bad thing, it just is what it is. You and I both share the blessing of a ‘baby face’, and on top of that I also stand proudly at 5’2 on a good day (I lie, 5’1.5, but who’s measuring), however I recognize that if I were to meet someone attractive on a flight for example, say from Kumasi to Accra last week, my first few exchanges with him would not be about the differences in the release of ‘Yeezus’, ‘Born Sinner’, and ‘MCHG’. (Dear Reader: If you don’t know what any of those three things are, it’s okay).

So, my point is…


It’s not the face. It’s what you place as priorities for your mate as well as for yourself, and how you project it.

I will say this, the combination of being ‘down’, yet enlightened may be a little difficult to find in Ghana… you usually get one or the other. Most of these youngins make it through your first tollgate, but remain parked there, ie. they would not be able to spar with you about the merits of Moyo’s ‘aid is dead’ argument vs. Gates’ ‘aid can never die’ argument  (Dear Reader: If you don’t know what any of those two things are, it’s just a little less than okay). But there’s hope for you yet, because your predilection is likened to that of Kerry Washington’s, so hopefully with a population 5x the size of Ghana’s, you can pick up someone suitable from our friendly neighbor… road trip soon? large

Black Love Comptability Test

A little over a month ago, I was having a conversation with my boss and I mentioned that my birthday was coming up the following week. It baffled me that the first comment out of her mouth was, ‘Oh, you’re a leo! So am I!’ This got me thinking about astrological signs and how some people really get into their meanings.

There is a book written on black love signs, and I took a peek at it while at a friend’s house. The book explains the positive and negative characteristics of males and females under each sign, and explains why certain personalities are more compatible as a result (both for platonic friendships and for love). Here’s a sneak peak:

Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. You’re down to earth, practical, and cautious. Basically, you’re always the same- predictable, reliable, grounded. (Ground-ed, ground, earth- get it?)

Fire signs: Leo, Sagittarius, Aries. Like the element of fire, you’re unpredictable, feisty, aggressive, impulsive, and hard to control. (To put it more bluntly, it’s going to be your way or no way at all!)

Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. In reality, people generally love to be close to lakes, rivers, oceans, and ponds. If you’re a water sign, people love to be close to you because you’re reassuring, emotional, intuitive, soothing, and nonthreatening.

Air signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius. If you’re an air sign, you’re independent, aloof, analytical, intriguing, and very hard to keep up with. You must have freedom. Like air itself, you cannot be contained, harnessed, or backed into a corner. If this happens, you’ll simply disappear.

–> From a practical standpoint, earth and water signs make beautiful mud together. And fire and air make a bondfire that’s hard to put out.

As for your compatibility matches and your opposites, here’s what author Thelma Balfour says:

Compatibility groupings (each sign is compatible with all the other four signs in the group):

  • Aries works best with Sagittarius, Leo, Gemini, and Aquarius
  • Taurus is compatible with Virgo, Capricorn, Cancer, and Pisces
  • Gemini is more suited to Leo, Aries, Aquarius, and Libra
  • Cancer is better with Pisces, Scorpio, Virgo, Taurus


  • Aries- Libra
  • Taurus – Scorpio
  • Gemini – Sagittarius
  • Cancer- Capricorn
  • Leo- Aquarius
  • Virgo-Pisces

If nothing else, it was amusing to have someone tell me what I like in men, who is best suited for me, what makes me tick and also what tickles me, just because I was born on a certain day. For those of you who are born between March 21- May 20th*, there are excerpts of the book online that will tell you the same (see here). There’s just so much complexity in an individual- I’m wondering if yall are buying any of this? The author herself states that this stuff isn’t foolproof. She notes that it is just one way to help you “leap over some of the many frogs before you meet the prince or princess of your dreams.” What do you think?

  • *Aries – March 21-April 19
  • Taurus – April 20-May 20
  • Gemini – May 21-June 20
  • Cancer – June 21- July 22
  • Leo – July 23- August 22
  • Virgo – August 23 – September 22
  • Libra – September 23- October 22
  • Scorpio- October 23- November 21
  • Sagittarius – November 22 – December 21
  • Capricorn – December 22 – January 19
  • Aquarius – January 20- February 18
  • Pisces – February 19 – March 20

What You MUST Know About the Selection Process

Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony wrote an interesting article on the notion that bad marriages predominately happen to good people who are not good for each other. See the full article HERE. A few noteworthy quotes from the piece are below:

In his best-selling book, The Social Animal, New York Times columnist David Brooks says that “by far the most important decisions that persons will ever make are about whom to marry, and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses.”

But the skill of choosing a marriage partner has often been treated as relatively unimportant in our society and a whole lot less complex than it actually is. And herein lies the secret of why marriage has often turned out so disappointingly for so many.

It’s frighteningly easy to choose the wrong person. Attraction and chemistry are easily mistaken for love, but they are far from the same thing. Being attracted to someone is immediate and largely subconscious. Staying deeply in love with someone happens gradually and requires conscious decisions, made over and over again, for a lifetime. Too many people choose to get married based on attraction and don’t consider, or have enough perspective to recognize, whether their love can endure.

Warren’s main assertion is that 75% of what makes a great (or bad) marriage has less to do with hard work as it does partner selection based on ‘broad-based compatibility’. Perhaps online dating offers a good way for people to find a lasting connection based on compatibility.

TAKE OUR POLL BELOW! We want to know, what are the most important compatibility factors to you in a mate? You can select multiple choices, and add in others that are not listed.