by Helena Andrews
If you’ve been paying attention for the past few months, you would have heard about conversations, TV shows, books, and even town hall meetings dealing with the subject of single, successful, Black women and their difficulty in finding suitable partners (and somehow how it is their own fault). I have stayed out of these conversations for the most part because although I am single (waaaay too single) and Black (I actually prefer African-American), what I’m decidedly not is successful. Now as a moderately enlightened person, I know that successful is in the eye of the beholder. But for the purpose of this national conversation, successful means educated (possessing one or more university degrees) and making a high 2 figure or 3 figure salary in a career with an upward trajectory and therefore not needing a man to take care of you. I, on the other hand, dropped out of college (ran out of money & motivation – I learn way more from just books) and have no desire to return and I have a JOB not a career. And while I do have 2 nickles to rub together, if I lost one I’d be in trouble.
In this memoir, told in the form of essays, Helena Andrews chronicles her life so far – an only child raised by a lesbian mother between Catalina Island and Compton, graduate of a prestigious East Coast university, successful career in journalism living in our nation’s capital. Being a single woman in DC is notoriously difficult because of several things: the transient nature of the population (they come & go every 4-8 years, and it’s a company town driven by dreams of power, not very conducive to romance. Andrews relates her dating dilemmas hilariously and doesn’t hold anything back. I see Bitch is the New Black as an answer to the above national conversation that seems to blame Black women for our inability to find a “good man”. She is putting a real life face to it and shows that there are no cut & dried answers.
My favorite thing about the book though are her friendships with her girlfriends. A lot of their conversations remind me of ones I’ve had with my friends (but we didn’t have Facebook & IM-ing, we did it the old-fashioned way on the phone). Despite our apparent age and lifestyle differences, I could really relate to Andrews and her adventures navigating the adult world of dating and careers. You will find yourself laughing out loud in several places and crying in others. Definitely worth all the hype.