The “Stay In Your Lane” Double Standard

Not only is the idea that "assortative mating" the order of the day in Black American mating life a fiction, your correspondent puts the notion that the "Non-Select Guy" must "settle" for subpar Black women to the acid test

My recent "Tinder Experiment" made me rethink everything I thought I knew about online dating for the Non-Select Guy...
My recent “Tinder Experiment” made me rethink everything I       thought I knew about online dating for the Non-Select Guy…

“It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So”

Earlier this month I wrote a Facebook post that shares the same name of today’s column; it was a followup to a recent column here, “What Does A Black Woman Owe A Non-Select Guy On A Date?” (, Aug 18, 2020). It deeply examined a commonly held notion on the Black American dating market today: the idea that one should “stay in their lane”. The Facebook post I wrote wound up going viral for reasons that I will reiterate here, but with a twist since I first wrote that original post. Read on!

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Oh, it sounds innocent enough; Black folks love saying the phrase, “stay in your lane” so much that it has become part of the white noise of daily Black American discourse on Black social media. And, on its face, this Black “take” on what is known in more learned White circles as “assortative mating” makes sense: People, men and women alike, tend to mate with people who are more like themselves, than not. In today’s world, that would especially apply to educational background; for example, Charles Murray discusses this idea to a large extent in his excellent work, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” in the chapter “The College Sorting Machine”. In fact, Murray asserts, it has been this massive social phenomenon that took place from roughly the middle of the last century to present, that has seen the most assortative mating, or in the Black parlance, “staying in your lane”, that has played such a powerful role in the cultural, political and economic shaping of the entire country over the six or seven decades(!). And while Murray does note that this state of affairs is not without its serious tradeoffs and downsides, it also carried many great benefits that one could argue, was a good thing for all.

Put this together with Hollywood/Disney tropes like what I call “the Shrek fantasy” – you know, where ghoulish looking guys happily pair off with similarly ghoulish looking gals, which has a powerful hold on the American imagination, rooted as it is in the ideals of equality and a kind of symmetrical fairness, and you can easily see how just about everyone in American life in the 21st century would reflexively think that yea, “there’s someone for everyone” if they but only “stayed in their lane”.

Of course, the problem is that such concepts and notions that got their start in White America, loses quite a bit in translation in Black America.

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In theory, “staying in your lane” sounds egalitarian, but in practice what it amounts to, is that Non-Select Guys, and Non-Select Guys alone, should do so; Select Guys, be they Fuckboys or no, and especially Black women, regardless as to their appearance or track record, are totally exempt, as my viral Facebook post makes clear:

“The general consensus from Black women was that I should “stay in my lane” – that I had the problems with Black women as per my last essay, because I was gunning for Black women out of my league, and should instead deal with more “average” looking Black women. In fact, quite a few Black women were keen to let it be known that they had no sympathy or empathy for such uppity and delusional Black men like me; that’s what we get for thinking that we deserve IG-level chicks.

One sista in particular, whom I will not name and belongs to a Facebook forum who’s premise is that its Black female members are seeking eligible Black bachelors, was just this pointed; I quote her directly:

“I don’t feel sorry for those guys. They always going for chicks out their league then get butthurt when they use them.”

When I asked her directly as to what my “lane” was, her direct response was as follows:

“a woman of average looks who’s returning the energy you give her. It’s very simple. I think we all know when we’re dating someone who’s not feeling us as much as we’re feeling them.”

When I pointed out the fact that today’s “average” Black woman is a dress size 18/20, is 5’4″ and weighs 200lbs – which is more than me, I might add – she completely sidestepped my response as if I had never said a word. And when I noted that I was an above average Black man by definition, her retort was to say the following:

“maybe in income but when it comes to looks you’re average. If you have a nice body that could put you over. It’s the opposite sex that rates you not yourself. Most people rate themselves higher then what they are.”

And there you have it – the mindset of today’s Black woman when it comes to mate selection. Because I am of, at best, “average looks”, I should then go for “average” looking Black women – with no further consideration as to my income, social status, accomplishments, or occupation.”

But wait, there’s more:

“I’ve learned that whenever I’m having a contentious back and forth with a Black woman online that looking up her profile sheds quite a bit of light on the matter. And there it is: The lady in question is indeed the “average looking” Black woman: obese, Wookie weave, outspoken. Her arms are bigger than mine, and I workout daily with a 40lbs cast iron kettlebell. She weighs more than me and I wear a 44S suit. And by her pics, it’s highly unlikely that she’s taller than me at 5’7″ – more likely that she comes much closer to the Black American female average height of about 5’4″ or so. It’s also interesting to note that her profile states she’s single and seeking men.


Armed with this additional information, I returned to the fray pointing out that she fell right in line with the aforementioned citations bearing on Black female attitudes and then reiterated the fact that not only does today’s “average looking” Black women fall far below what a high-perfoming Black man can get on the open mating market but that she was a standard bearer of how today’s “average looking” Black woman appears – and that simply wasn’t going to scan with a Black man like me. I can, have, and will continue to “take a knee” first.

Annnd we’re off, LOL.

Not surprisingly, she took umbrage to my pointing out her own looks when it was she who “went there” in the first place with the “staying in your lane” premise, which was completely predicated on a Black man’s looks (mine), expressed her outrage at the idea of being a “high value” Black man that is floating around Black social media circles these days (thanks in no small part to my colleague “Saint Kevin” Samuels) in response to my designating myself as a “high-performing” Black man, and doubled down on her original argument. Yet, she belongs to a Facebook group that ogles clearly conspicuously handsome, fit and in some cases (but not many from what I’ve observed), high-perfoming Black men(!). Additionally, she is very much a sample of the Black women who make up this group: clearly overweight to flatout obese; most sporting Wookie weave; solidly in their 30s and beyond; and of course, single, be that with kids or not, ahem. Yet no one in Black American life sees a problem with this kind of delusional double standard that the “Matchmaking Duo” pointed out in the Essence interview above; the same kinds of delusional double standard that forced Ms. Pope to get out of the “Black Love Business for Black Women”. By the way, I happen to know several other Black matchmakers, who also quietly left for greener pastures, due to Black women’s delusional double standards.”

The reason why Black women can and have been so flatout delusional for so long, is due to what I refer as the “Black Love Machine”:

“Indeed, Black America sports a phenomenon unique to any other group of American women; in fact, I call it the “Black Love Machine” – a multi-billion dollar industry of Black love experts of varying stripe, who have been catering to Black women’s delusions for at least the past few decades. With few exceptions, these “experts” are Black men, who all fit a kind of cookie cutter archetype: tall, buff, conspicuously model looks handsome, exceptionally well-dressed, and says all the right things Black women like my interlocutor and her Facebook group compatriots want to hear: notably, that nothing is their fault; that they are wonderful “just as they are”; and of course, that Black Men Ain’t S___(TM). Not a pudgy, or pot-bellied, or “teddy bear” looking Black man among them; they ALL look like they live in the gym and eat like birds. Yet, the Black women who flock to their messages of “hope” and “affirmation” look just like my interlocutor – and I say this from first hand, “boots on the ground” experience, having attended quite a few of the church revival-like events these guys have thrown. Nevertheless, Black women like this have no qualms attempting to upbraid high-performing Black men like me to “settle for less” because I don’t present as one of their dreamboat guys, my income, social standing, accomplishments, talents, or occupation, be damned. Simply put, in the eyes of the rank and file Black woman – who, make no mistake about it, DOES in fact resemble the star of today’s post – the only people who should “stay in their lane”, are “non-select” guys like me.

And no one in Black America has any problem with this. Incredible.”

Indeed! And, making matters worse, is a small but growing cohort of Black male dating coaches for Black men, who despite ostensibly catering to Black men, essentially ape their brethren in the extant Black Love Machine, as I pointed out in a recent open letter to C Boogie Productions and Tony Maceo, who did a livestream where they scapegoated Non-Select Guys for the umpteenth time:

“Second, and this follows up on the first point above, I’d like to directly address something Tony said in today’s livestream at around the 2 hour, 45 minute timestamp: The idea that “self-improvement” for Non-Select Guys had its limits. Well, I would agree with Tony; his admonishment to C Boogie to better refine his tagline is well-warranted. However, here’s the problem and a serious challenge for C Boogie moving forward in his role as a fill-in-the-blank coach: You simply cannot ask a NSG to do all this real work, only to net a rather dumpy 5 who thinks she’s a dime. As I note above in my Patreon post (and which has since gone viral on Facebook and Instagram), guys like me aren’t going to get up before dawn, workout like mad for several hours right before the sun comes up, then work from that point until late at night, just to get a barely passable 5. It. Just. Won’t. Work. If we’re going to play the “self-improvement game”, the payoff simply has to be better than that – and if the best C Boogie and his ilk can do is to say that there are no guarantees – which is really saying, that what you’ll be able to get is the aforementioned contemporary Black American 5 fat chick with an attitude – no wonder he and others like him will be struggling to get a full house, because no guy will pay for that, let alone put all the work in.

No one in the Black Manosphere has put in more sheer work along “self-improvement” lines than me; I have literally changed my appearance; made more money; hired a personal trainer; become a member of one of Philly’s most exclusive social clubs; and successful as a businessman; you name it. And if all of that can only net me what Tony’s talking about, I would tell any other NSG he is a Fool of the First Order to embark on such a “journey”. I make no bones about or apologies for swinging for the fences. Dumpy, frumpy Plain Janes with a heart of gold and “all dat mouf” simply will not do – and I will happily “take a knee” before I go that route.

Now, we all know what I’m saying isn’t just me talking through my Kangol; the country’s largest cohort of confirmed bachelors in the country are Black men like me – over 40, single, childless, accomplished. I’ve known Black matchmakers and organizers of “professional social mixers” over the years who have either gone out of business or have quit, because the failure rate of such attempts to bring Black men who do in fact have their acts together with clearly by any measure Black women who simply don’t make the cut, is so ridiculously high. I’m sorry, no amount of “take me as I am” is going to work. It just won’t.

There is no shame in swinging for the fences, gentlemen; better that than to “settle” with a woman you never wanted in the first place, simply to satisfy some odd schema cooked up by guys on the internet, and where you’re likely to be miserable roommates with said Plain Jane. After all, if one’s reach cannot exceed their grasp, what is a heaven for, right?”

It’s time we called out the sheer bullshit and fuckery here.

SHAMELESS PLUG AD BREAK: Like what you’re reading now? Wait till you see my very first book, “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman”! Here’s YOUR chance to help me bring the dream to life, by supporting “The Book of Obsidian Fundraising Campaign”! All the details are over at Now, back to the article!

It has always been my position that Non-Select Guys shouldn’t spend much time dealing with online dating and the like, for the simple reason that since our “Tinder Age” is so weighted toward the visual, the Select Guys had an inherent edge – right?

Well, as it turns out, that might not be as “true” as we’ve all been led to believe.

Inspired by a recent text message discussion with “Saint Kevin” Samuels, where he had sent me a series of quite hefty Black women from his Tinder account a few weeks back, I decided to conduct my own experiment as a result of not being able to view the images on my Blackberry; the following are the results of my “Tinder Experiment”:

“As you all know, Kevin has been revealing some of his online dating experiences, particularly with regard to Tinder. He’s been quietly sending the pics and profiles of many of the Black ladies who “swipe right” on him for quite some time now; about two weeks or so ago, he sent me yet another salvo of hefty sisters trying to holla at him via Tinder. My primary phone for texting and the like is a Blackberry Passport (the phone of businessmen, yes?), but its not setup to deal with Tinder, so I decided to use it from my PC. I had to create a profile in order to view the pics Kevin sent me – and while doing so, the “mad scientist” part of me jumped out: What if I could make this a social experiment of my own? After all, I AM the Dating Coach for the Non-Select Guy, right? And, my own personal views aside, online dating IS the lingua franca of love today, is it not? So, I made a full on profile and just put it out there. Within 72 hours, I got back half a dozen “swipe rights” of women between the ages of 35-55, within a 20 mile radius of Philly. ALL OF THEM ARE NON-BLACK. ALL OF THEM ARE FIT AND TRIM – including a lovely blonde lady from the Garden State who is damn near five years my senior(!). One lady is Asian, in her latter 30s, with a small son and has snapped pics of her in a bikini. Now, let’s be brutally honest here – we all know that the chances of finding anything like that in present day Black America is RARE. Moreover, if a “non-select” guy like me can get that kind of action within 72 hours, what does that tell you?”

Indeed, I had better success from simply posting up a profile on Tinder, than a pretty well-known study on the same topic and using another online dating giant, OKCupid (“Cupid on Trial: A 4-month Online Dating Experiment Using 10 Fictional Singletons”, Jon Millward, Jun 19, 2012) – and here’s the real kicker here: I had better options that what would be on offer in Black America – my supposed “level”.


As a result of my experiment, I can no longer hold to my original position – one that I’ve held for years, I have to admit. It just goes to show how powerful ideas that have little if any basis in fact can get to the best of us. Even me! Testing such far-fetched notions in Black American life in real time reveals their veracity – and the simple truth here, is that supposed “Non-Select Guys” like me, have better dating and mating options outside of Black America. There’s simply no getting around it.

The whole of Black American society and culture has conspired to see to it that Black women have options no matter what – and that means “keeping” a certain segment of Black men down home on the farm, so to speak.

It’s a new day.

Now adjourn your asses…


Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host, newly minted dating coach and soon to be author. You can catch his daily live shows on the global livestreaming radio website Mixlr, as well as the all-new members-only Obsidian Radio Zoomcast, and his podcasts on YouTube and Black Avenger TV, as well as his weekly dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. He’s also a semi-professional pest.

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