Dating guru Demetria Lucas, pointing the way to eligible black men

By DeNeen Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some women were not taught to be damsels in distress and drip sweetness to attract a man. Instead, you were instructed to approach dating as if it were an assignment -- aloof, projecting independence while sitting there waiting and waiting to be approached. And then, when the man gets up the nerve to walk across the room, and ask you to dance, you say no, hoping he'll come back and ask again.

But you are still single, sitting at the bar. Waiting. Not recognizing that the man is more delicate than you imagine and you sent him away to nurse his wounds, sometimes for years.

It doesn't have to be like that, says Demetria L. Lucas, a.k.a. A Belle in Brooklyn, a relationship columnist who has devised rules black women should abide by when seeking a date. She advises them not to think about the dire statistics and well-publicized odds against them. Instead, focus on possibilities, Lucas says.

Lucas, 30, advises single black women to stop being "so alpha." Take a fresh approach. Add a little softness. Remember you can attract more bees with honey. And soon, they will be swarming.

If this sounds suspiciously like 1950s dating advice -- downplay yourself while building him up! -- Lucas insists this is not her intent. After all, how can you ever get a man to love you for who they are if you can't get past the first date? She is, she says, offering black women hope.

"Now that the weather is nice again and the men are out," she writes in her blog A Belle in Brooklyn, "I want to do a quick refresher course on how to meet men."

Rule 1. "Smile & Say 'hi.'

2. "If you want to meet a man, look like you want to meet a man. . . . Lip gloss and a comb never hurt anyone. Use both liberally.

3. "Men don't notice you across a room because of your brain. Give them something to look out for.

4. "Flatter your best asset. If it's your smile, um, smile. If it's your legs, wear a skirt.

5. "Stop looking for men in bunches like at the club or happy hour. Men are everywhere, on the street, in line, in the elevator, on the train (in fact, I ran up on a superior cutie last night getting off the train. . . . I smiled, said, 'Hell-o.' He took it from there.) When you see someone that catches your eye no matter where you are, say something. ('Hi' is fine. If he is remotely interested, he will take it from there. He's been practicing opening lines since he was 13.)

6. "Go out alone. (But be safe.) I know you just thought 'hell no!' Try it, just once."

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