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Regarding Online Dating Ads, St. Patrick’s Day, and Being A Black Lady

15 March 2010 11 Comments

The whole online dating thing is beyond out of control. This weekend BlackPeopleMeet.com tried to break fly and use a picture of D’Angelo in a Facebook ad, so I roasted them appropriately and moved on. But then this morning I opened my e-mail to find this:

Direct your gaze to the upper left-hand corner. Did a Black Big Beautiful Women dating site just send me a St. Paddy’s Day promotion?

Let me explain. A few years ago I did an online dating experiment. I was 30% legitimately interested in meeting someone and 70% interested in entertaining you with the inevitably disastrous results as presented in this post. I posted a limited profile on just about every dating site that seemed semi-reputable, including one where you had to check a list of adjectives about yourself, which I suppose is how I ended up on a Black BBW Singles site among many others whose mailing lists I can’t get myself off of no matter what I do. I’m not sure exactly where the line between regular-sized and big and beautiful is but most guys place me on the big side of it while the rare men who fetishize big women don’t consider me big enough. Whatever. I sure am black, so BBW Singles it shall be. What I am not is encouraged by anything involving St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m sure that 99.99% of my fellow Black BBW’s feel the same. So no, this promotion doesn’t do anything for me and actually has me kind of miffed.

Let’s be real here. I’m not able to identify with any ethnicity except for my own, but I do have a very close Irish friend. She is really Irish as in from Ireland, not from Boston or what have you. When she hears Americans refer to themselves as Irish in any way she rolls her eyes and replaces her usually cheerful face with a blank stare. “I am Irish. Those people are Americans.” Italian people do the same thing to “guidos,” and African people do it to slave descendant black Americans. We are Americans, we like to live these hyphenated lives and identify with some culture that pre-dates that whole United States thing. It’s part of what makes us different on the world stage while also making us look kind of foolish. While St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, Americans use it as an excuse to get as drunk as possible, dress like leprechauns, and run through the streets with no jacket on while singing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” until they can’t sing it no more. That is not Irish. That is American. Sure there’s a St. Patrick’s Day parade, but the legions of drinkers taking to the streets dressed in all green do so four or five nights surrounding the actual holiday, obscuring most of its cultural value. St. Patrick’s Day is pretty much the Irish-American version of Kwanzaa, just way more fun. Sure it makes you feel warm and fuzzy about having some kind of ethnicity but otherwise is fake, fake, more fake, and phony.

Back to the topic at hand. I can’t begrudge anyone a cultural experience or a night of drunken revelry, but you won’t see me out there. I tried to go out on St. Patrick’s Day a few times in my early twenties and every reason that black women are few and far between in Irish pubs reared its ugly head: my hair was touched many times, people spilled beer on me and stepped on my feet without excusing themselves, and of course I was the only black chick as far as the eye could see and the handful of black guys in there wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Everyone was so drunk and gregarious that I spent most of the night talking to guys who looked like this:

I can’t work with that! Yet after a few hours surrounded by douchebags with green spray-hair and beads I’d always convince myself that I can! Ten years into the game and I am finally sure that I cannot and will not, and my white friends can go have a blast without me. For the record, I generally love Irish bars. My policy when traveling is to always find an Irish pub because no matter where you are in the world there will be an English speaker in there and some good beer. But there’s always someone messing up a good thing, so when I’m stateside I have to be way more choosy. I’ve come to realize that I’m a grown black lady and some things just aren’t for me, St. Patrick’s day being one of them. And shame on whatever dating site sent me this promotional e-mail, both for refusing to honor my request to remove me from their list and for having the nerve to present such woefully poor targeted marketing.


  • [fung'ke][blak][chik] said:

    two words: Colin Farrell
    you can celebrate Ireland giving us him.

  • OneChele said:

    Pierce Brosnan… he is aging like Irish Whiskey and I would not mind a sip.

    As for this ad… #HolidayFAIL (know thy audience)

  • ASmith said:

    So hilarious. So on point.

    I don’t deal with St Paddy’s day. On a regular night white folks are too extra for me (unless I’m drinking alongside) so on St Paddy’s Day? Oh, no THANK you. I’ll stay my behind in the house. The #tomfoolery is too much like undergrad Friday nights, b’cept these are grown people I work with and have to try to look at straight tomorrow morning. Nah. I’ll do them and myself a huge favor.

    BUT, I am with fungkeblakchik. Thanks Ireland for Colin. I do appreciate that!

  • Dare said:

    Men like those pictured bring out the Lace Curtain haughtiness in me like little else.

  • Kyle said:

    I haven’t been out on St. Patrick’s Day in years; serious drinkers know that it’s amateur night.

  • Peajai said:

    I don’t care what the holiday/occasion, using a thin white woman to advertise for a black BBW site is an automatic fail.

    But St. Paddy’s Day is also my friend’s birthday so that is the only reason I would ever celebrate, go out, or even remember this holiday.

  • Noel said:

    Try marching in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. I still have nightmares about the beer bottles that flew past my head. I’m with you, Thembi, no thanks. And you know what? They turn the Chicago river green for this s**t! As if that river doesn’t have enough issues. Why?!

  • Tafari said:

    Why you gotta throw shade on Kwanzaa???? :)

    That ad is just damn foolishness? Flat out!!!

    And I don’t get why so many Negroes get excited about St Patrick’s day. It has always confused me. They are quick to point out that everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s day but shun Blackness during Kwanzaa. Just saying.

  • snowallinyabraids said:

    the last time i went out on st. patrick’s day i was invited to ireland by a supremely drunken, 40ish bartender slash sprite and narrowly avoided gettin’ natalee hollowayed. clearly, i was with you.

    pog mo thon, st. patty’s! pog. mo. thon.

  • NotPlayinFavorites said:

    The fact that they dye the Chicago River green for this is crazy. I mean, ITS OUR WATER SUPPLY! WHAT THE DEUCE!

    But the madness insues when I have my friends in the car and we’re driving over the bridge and they are just absolutely thrilled by the green water that they’ve been seeing for EONS here.


    It always amazed me when I saw chocolate people gettin wiley over St. Pat’s Day. Chummone Now.

  • Stacy said:

    LOL!! Too funny! Esp the part about the black guys who won’t make eye contact– so true! I will admit that I was at the pub on St. Paddy’s Day and the 2 other black guys in there refused to even acknowledge me. lol I found that hilarious :)

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