In 2017, I took a job prospecting matches for celebrity matchmaker Jasmine Diaz. This role encompassed three responsibilities that I enjoyed very much; marketing, selling, and asking questions. My approach was simple. I found attractive men on the internet and sent them cold messages on Linkedin and Facebook. I messaged over 100 men and had an open rate of 80% and a response rate of 50%.
The men that I was scouting were black men, in their late twenties to early forties, in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago New York, DC Metro, and Philadelphia area. From a sales standpoint I wanted to prospect the right way by first determining if the men were single. As a former sales development rep SDR, this approach seemed reasonable. Why waste time reaching out to men who were married, or in a relationship.
The problem was that I really had no way of knowing if these men were taken unless I caught a glimpse of a wedding ring in a photo, and relied on the probability that the photo was recent. For anyone who bemoans that women don’t approach men, consider that women just don’t know if a man is single. From engagement to marriage, women proudly don their rings to signify their ineligibility.
A man could have a fiancé and you would never know. He will flirt with you mercilessly then walk away as if nothing serious went on. Leaving the woman to lament over everything she might have said, or done wrong, and all the hints she so blatantly dropped. All the while not realizing that the man of her dreams was already engaged.
Think he would tell her, not a chance.
So after a few hours of in depth researching and Google, the marketer in me took over. If I wanted to know if the men that I wanted to speak to were single, I was just going to ask. As a dating coach, I always took note of how reluctant women and men were to ask the simple question of – Are you in a relationship? As if ignoring the truth would make it less true.
So with impeccable copy, I began to cold message en masse and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The messages began with a polite phrase – “We don’t know each other, and I hope that you find this flattering…”
The one thing I learned is that black men are open to love, and the idea of it finding them is very attractive. The serendipitous nature of the message whether it correlated with a conversation they’d recently had, or something they had recently read, or seen, helped to pique their interest. Black men I learned, did believe in romance and the thought of being chosen at random and introduced to the woman of their dreams was at worst interesting at best, a dream come true.
So after countless conversations with strangers I’d met on the internet, and making it seem like I was asking the questions only to them, and for the very first time, I learned more about black men in those conversations than I had my entire adult life.
So what did every man tell me that they were convinced was unique to them? First they’d open with the phrase, “I’m simple”. Which I soon recognized was code for – I am impossible to please – then they would proceed with a predictable explanation of why they were single in the first place. After thirty minutes or so, they’d tell me what they were looking for.
Lastly, I would ask one of my favorite questions to ask: If you could have any qualities together, your wish list person, anything at all, what would they be?
Regardless of the answer, the qualities that men wanted, every single time, were the same. Maybe they described them using unique words, or nuanced sentiments, but these common characteristics were consistent throughout each conversation.
The thrill of the chase is an understatement. Men love the excitement of dating, and the anticipation of what’s to come. And that is what starts the pursuit. This isn’t something that women can just manufacture. I always say that the one thing that will determine the success of your relationship are the circumstances in which they start, and if the way that you connect with someone starts off exciting, in anyway, you will have a willing participant.
This isn’t always positive. Sometimes the excitement is an affair, or crossing a boundary with a co-worker, or dating a friend’s crush. Even a friends’ ex. But nonetheless men can’t help but to find intrigue by any circumstance that yields excitement.
Almost every man I interviewed mentioned bike riding as an activity he’d enjoy with a date. Amongst the various date ideas, and past times, what remained consistent was the playful nature of the activity. Men want someone who can be playful, and “let her hair down” to have fun. Dating can be all too serious, especially when you’re ready to settle down. The insecurities that come with trying to find a good man can make women uptight. The more carefree, easy going and open to new adventures a woman could be, the more attractive.
Tell a man what you want, and he’s more likely to give it to you than not. Tell a man what to do, and he’ll do it for someone else. Women have a tendency to hide their desires from men, thinking that it’s never the right time to ask for what they want, be it commitment, marriage, even oral sex. Men however value transparency. They don’t want to be met with hints, or pouting, or anger. They truly just want to know what you want and if they can give it to you, they will. Women who put up with what a man gives her thinking that that is all that she is worth, or that he is capable of, are missing out on what a man has to offer.
I found that most men wanted a woman who could be honest with him and level with him so to speak. If she really wanted something that he could provide, instead of assuming that he was denying her, just say so.
As unfair as it is, men want a woman who is patient. Maybe this means ride or die, or maybe it means just giving him time to do things his way, and when he is ready. While a woman may know fairly quickly how she feels about a man, he may need more time to admit that he feels the same way.
It isn’t necessarily fair but it’s the common frustration that men expressed to me about dating. Feeling like the clock was running from the moment they agreed to the date. Many of the men that I interviewed expressed feeling rushed by the timing of their past relationships. Men want to feel like a woman will give him the time he needs, to evolve the relationship and trust that he will deliver on his ask. But on the other side of the