Why Don’t Black Women Just Go “Rent-A-Bae”?

“Black women as a whole will never admit to our failures and shortcomings, particularly those that pertain to relationships. To have to resort to buying an escort aka “a man on demand” would be an admission of failure. More importantly it would be a failure in that they couldn’t even motivate the men they are actually fucking to step up and take them out on an actual date or outing. Sad.”
-A Black female listener, who wishes to remain anonymous

In last week’s column, “What Do Older Black Women Have To Offer In The Black American Dating Marketplace?”, I made the case that Black America faces a very real problem of an outsized cohort of de facto Black Spinsters spanning in age from the late 30s to the late 50s and beyond and we simply do not know how to meaningfully contend with the problem they bring to our collective doorstep. I further argued, that when closely examined, most of the ladies of this cohort offer precious little to Black men like us – successful, ambitious, industrious, honest and even committed-oriented – for reasons that we all know deep down to be true: because far too many are set in their highly dysfunctional ways.

But what I didn’t get to examine last week was another sobering fact: that, for most Black women in the burgeoning spinster cohort in today’s Black America, they aren’t actually looking for a serious relationship or by extension, a Good Black Man; they’re looking for something else.

In today’s column, which can rightly be viewed as a kind of followup to last week’s essay, we ask a very simple question: “Why don’t Black women simply just Rent-A-Bae?”. The answers may (or may not!) shock you – so read on, dear reader – read on!

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A PAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS MOMENT
Although I’d been quietly conducting my own “field research” on dating and mating-related issues in today’s Black America for a solid decade at this point, it was earlier this year, while attending a Derrick Jaxn event here in my hometown of Philly, that it became crystal clear what the “missing link” was in this complex puzzle. We know that “Black Love, Inc.” is a multi-BILLION dollar a year enterprise, once one adds up all the pieces and players: media, authors, social media personalities, thought leaders, influencers, celebrities of varying stripe, theologians and clergymen – it is an ever-expanding miasma of “stuff” that Black women of a certain stripe eat up as much as they do their much-beloved Mac-n-Cheese.

Back in May of this year and as noted above, I attended a Derrick Jaxn event – to be fair, it was officially billed as “The I Love Me/Self-Love Summit Tour” and actually featured the triumvirate of Jaxn, Stephan Labossiere and Ace Metaphor – and the place, a ballroom in one of the “airport hotels” – was packed to the gills. According to one of the security/logistics officials at the place, the number was tipping at nearly 1K in attendance, easily 95% Black women of just about every stripe: I saw young chippies in their 20s and grannies who looked to be every bit of 70-plus pushing walkers(!) and everything in between. The place was so packed that Black women lined the walls in “standing room only” fashion – and all three of the ballroom’s walls were full.

The “Q&A” portion of the presentation was little more than a thinly-veiled fig leaf for Black women who wanted to try and get next to Jaxn – something that would be confirmed when my research assistant ear-hustled the numerous florid comments from breathless Black women in the ladies’ room – they were firm in their intention that what they really wanted was some private time with the self-described “self-love ambassador”. The kabuki dance of buying tickets to these “events”, books and tee-shirts and other merch, along with mouthing all the platitudes of “raising standards” and “knowing your/my/one’s worth” and so on, is so much theater, so much…a monumental waste of time AND money. There’s gotta be a solution to all of this – right?

It finally hit me like a ton of bricks: Black women, particularly those of a certain age (those that we all tend to hear from the most in both the White mainstream and Black Vaginavision media) don’t really want a relationship and aren’t particularly interested in decent brothas either; what they really want is to be able to get a hunk on their arm for an evening!

So…why don’t Black women simply Rent-A-Bae? As it turns out, quite a few other women around the world – and here in the States – are doing just that.

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ENTER “RENT-A-GENT”
While strong and independent Black women who are living their best life are going through the pathetic motions of supposedly pursuing “Black Love”, elsewhere in the country there is another cohort of 40 and 50-something women who are just being a lot more pragmatic about the whole thing. Frustrated that their chances of finding a sexy hunk with a heart of gold on OKCupid, Match or Tinder is all but impossible, they’ve turned to one Ms. Sara Shikman, founder of Rent-A-Gent.me – a “hunk for hire” service that offers White women the guy of their dreams for an evening of whatever – from being their plus-one to those swanky events, to merely cooking dinner in speedos – everything BUT sex. And all for the price of just $200 USD an hour – what a bargain!

Rent-A-Gent has been around since 2013 and has been featured all over the media, including ABC News and even GQ – and now has offices in every major American city EXCEPT ATLANTA. Now, THAT is curious – especially given the cultural, historic and very real economic importance of America’s most famed Black city. There are quite a few highly educated, high-earning Black women living within “The A”‘s environs – what gives? I mean, an outfit like RAG should be a slamdunk, right?

Right?

But, as of this writing in late 2019, nada. One has to wonder…why?

Sure, you could argue it’s because RAG is a “White” outfit that caters mainly to a White or perhaps it might be better said, a non-Black female clientele. Fair enough. However and as you can clearly see, RAG does have quite a few brothas in its lineup. Still, you might say, RAG could be missing that certain “something” that would make the sistahood feel a bit more comfortable. Alright then.

So, how do we explain away the fact that Atlanta is no slacker when it comes to other business opportunities – especially those that center on and cater to, Black women? The famed playwright turned movie director Tyler Perry only recently opened shop there with his production company; all his future films will be shot on location in and around Atlanta. Why hasn’t some Black corporate lawyer analog to Ms. Shikman saw the gold in them there hills?

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A BLACK FEMALE LISTENER WEIGHS IN
The above quotation that leads off today’s column just might give us the answers we seek; it hails from a Black female listener of my show who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. As you can see, she argues that the real reason why there has been no “Rent-A-Bae” for Black women of the type I am addressing is because it would be a “bridge too far” for far too many of them; having to resort to “renting a man” for an evening out on the town would be a tacit admission of abject and complete failure as a Black woman. It would put to bed the many lies that so many Black women of this cohort have so deeply invested in – like the high educations and salaries and all that comes with it, would lead to relationship success.

But, as the lady’s quote points to, it goes even deeper than that. “Renting a gent” would also mean, that many Black women simply aren’t as “sexy” as they might have previously imagined; that the Black men they currently ARE sexing either can’t be bothered to “treat em right”, or – and this is something that I think is highly just as likely – those guys aren’t the kind you want to take out into the light of day. Great to have fun with at home when no one is looking; but you really can’t take them to the Delta Sigma Theta winter ball, if you know what I mean.

“Saint Kevin” Samuels, a fellow traveler of mine and an image and public relations expert, goes a step further: he argues, that unlike White women, Black women’s social circles can be downright ruthless about the “vetting” process of any potential new guy that comes into the fold. An escort for the evening would raise all manner of questions that a CIA-level cover story would have trouble passing muster – and if the word got out that a sista had actually “rented” a brotha, there would be hell to pay. Not only do I think that Samuels’ arguments are spot-on, but his and my nameless/faceless Black female listener both explain in a big way, why “Black Love, Inc”. continues to hum right along, despite everyone seeing it for the sham that it is.

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THE POSSIBILITY OF A “RENT-A-BAE” TRUCE?
Nevertheless, Samuels does think that the future could see Black women going the Rent-A-Gent route, but much depends on cultural change. Personally, I think it would be a welcome development – because at long last, it would end all of the bullshit so many Black women tell each other, tell Black men and most importantly, tell themselves. They can finally own the fact that they are who they are, that they aren’t interested in changing one little bit, that they are about “living their best lives” and aren’t interested in good brothas who don’t come in hunked-out packages. Speaking of packages, they can finally just own the fact that they are every bit as shallow and superficial as they lambast so many Black men for being and simply get their credit cards ready when they want some hunky company.

Of course, all of this raises questions about the fate of “Black Love”, that it would reduce us all to little more than cardboard cutouts that some of us can buy and sell – and there would be something to be said for that. Part of the “shock of freedom” that Shelby Steele mentioned, is the realization that Black Americans – in this case female and of a certain age – now have the means and ability to be, simply put, frivolous. That’s what freedom means, after all – and it brings equal measures of gravitas and levity. No longer would Black women for whom it applies – and there are many – have to be beset by that age-old conundrum of having to settle for Mr. Settle For Less when Mr. Wonderful is only a Google search and a debit card swipe away.

And, to be sure, the “no sex” part of the “rent-a-gent” proposition is a major stumbling block – and Black women are quite a bit higher sexed than White women are, at any age. How to navigate that one would require legal minds a helluva lot sharper than mine – but, I’m sure it can be worked out…somehow. Crack that nut and “Rent-A-Bae” could very well become a reality!

And would finally end the madness that “Black Love” has truly become.

So – how about it, ladies?

Lastly, to Mr. Jaxn, wherever you are – you are seriously in the wrong line of work, bro. Rent-A-Bae is calling you!

Now adjourn your asses…

MOA

Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host and newly minted dating coach. You can catch his daily live shows on Mixlr, 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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