A quick internet search of what men want from women reveals a combination of ideas, opinions and wishes from men of all races – except of course African men. Maybe it’s because no one ever bothered to ask them. Or maybe it’s because they have been lumped in with all other black men by those assuming that no cultural differences exist between them. Or maybe it’s because African men are generally known to shy away from openly discussing their emotional needs. It is somehow also assumed that African women know what African men want in a relationship. And, maybe we do. But, times have changed, things have changed, and so have our expectations of each other when it comes to relationships. Those who care to admit it will make known the fact that dating African men can be quite complex for women who do not know their way around the complications of these gentle – yet firm, protective – yet defensive, peace loving – yet forceful souls. Dating them, of course, has its myths, half-truths and truths, but once women are able to wrap their minds and emotions around the many unspoken rules that come with dating African men, the two can live together in perfect unity.
To set African men apart from all other black men, and to clear the air of any confusion, Afrikan Goddess (AG) did some asking around – from African men! Many of our interviewees are educated professionals still in search of the right African woman. A few are in fulfilling relationships, and others are married and content. AG simply wanted to know this: “What’s the most important trait African men look for in the women they date – especially African women.” Here are those that made the top five:
Humility/Loyalty/Intellect: No doubt. Humility is an essential character trait to many African men. AG was sure submission would make the list, but had not the slightest clue it would make it to the top of the list. So, women, if you are looking to snag a good African man, no matter what the 21st century is telling you, these men are still seeking that humble streak in a woman – regardless of race! Though, a few did admit that they tend to expect humility and submission more from African women, than from women of other races or ethnicity.
This is a part of our culture that, according to Alfred Ennin – one of the men AG spoke with – will probably never change. “It has kept the peace in many homes and provides a sound family structure. The bible even says that the man is the head of his household, no matter what women are saying today. This has and will always be the case. Every man wants a woman who respects him”
A message that resonated across the board among several of our interviewees was that men are not afraid to hear a woman’s opinion, and some even admitted that they respect a woman’s intelligence – a lot – and are attracted to a woman who can hold her own in a conversation. What they are concerned with, is a woman who is brash and overstated. “She does not know when to quit and let sleeping dogs lie,” said Alfred. “I cannot stand a woman who thinks she has to have a say in everything – she knows everything and she has to say it even if the atmosphere is not conducive.”
Loyalty was another one that topped the list that didn’t quite stand out on its own. Apparently, the saying “stand by your man,” was not just sung in the 50’s and 60’s. It is expected in the year 2009 as well. Many men said they want, and need to know, that their woman will be there for them, to support them and care for them no matter the circumstances: whether rich or poor, educated or not, faithful or not…
Housekeeping Skills: As society changes, so do the dynamics in many relationships – out with the old way of doing things and in with the new – but not when it comes to who’s responsible for keeping the home. Many African men still believe this is the primary responsibility of the woman in the house. They do understand the fact that women today are increasingly working outside the home, but yet, many said they still want to come home to a home-cooked meal, a clean home, and a loving and caring woman. Many said the right woman, for them, is one who cooks and cleans, but yet, is modern in her way of thinking and the way she runs things.
While many interviewed said they have no problem helping with household chores – many stated they already do – the objection repeated across the board was that they don’t want to be told to do it, or that it’s their responsibility to help out. “I help out because I love my wife,” one interviewee told us, “but if she were to come to me and say we are splitting the house chores 50-50, now that … that I have a problem with. It is not our culture no matter what modern society might be telling our women.”
Several others said they find a woman most attractive if she keeps her surroundings, (and her person) clean. “The dating stage is where we study the woman we’re with. And if she’s not cleaning her own place, what makes you think she will be cleaning your place when the two of you get married?” Brian Jomo said.
Bedroom Skills: Sex did not make the top of the list much. This indicates that sex is not the first thing that comes to mind when African men set out in their quest to find a life partner. Many reflected the fact that it is simply ‘icing on the cake,’ if a woman has good moral qualities as well as is adventurous in bed. Standing alone, sex neither seals the deal, nor is it a deal-breaker for many. Character and moral behavior apparently will get you in the door and keep you there; your bedroom skills will be an added advantage.
According to Chukwudi, “If you thought the saying ‘lady in the streets and a freak in the bed’ was an American saying, you might want to think again.” While African men are exceedingly patient with their women when it comes to sex – because they understand that their sexual attitude is a direct result of the same culture and upbringing responsible for the way African men think and behave – many say they expect a woman to learn quickly.
“Life can be really dull when you find yourself with a woman unwilling to experiment different things in the bedroom,” insists Chukwudi who says his experiences with dating Nigerian women (and one or two other African nationalities) has been nothing but frustrating where their sex life was concerned.
Many of the men said a woman’s lack of sexual experience, or unwillingness to be flexible, is never enough cause, however, to end a relationship as long as the woman possesses those other key qualities. Though some did also admit that such unwillingness was enough to put a damper on the relationship, and may sometimes cause the man to seek thrills elsewhere. African men are looking for the whole package just as African women are also looking for the whole package, but sometimes compromises must be made.
Personal Hygiene: One thing many of our interviewees agreed on was that nothing turns a man off more than a woman who neglects her personal hygiene or her appearance. Unkempt hair, dull clothing, and neglected personal hygiene are just a few of the things mentioned that will leave an African man turning on his heels faster than an antelope.
Many said they appreciate a woman with a good fashion sense, but who is not materialistic in her approach to what she wears and how she looks. A few of the men said they cared less about makeup and other accessories that make African women look dolled up. Instead they appreciate a woman in her natural splendor and beauty. The sentiment “look good for your man, in and out of the house,” resonated with many.
Hardworking/Self-Sufficient: Nothing seems to turn men off quicker than a lazy woman who always seems to want something from them. She is whiny and needy and wants the finer things in life, but will not work for it. It may have been cute back in the days when men needed to feel that a woman’s happiness and success depended on them filling those emotional voids.
Today, that’s a lot of pressure to put on any one human-being. In simple terms, just like men everywhere, African men want to spend their lives with a woman who is self-sufficient in life.
“I need to know that when I’m not around someday, that my wife will be able to stand on her own two feet and take care of herself and our three children. But, you know I’m not worried because she is a true African woman who has not forgotten where she comes from. My wife is self-sufficient and hardworking and I love that about her,” says Kenneth Andoh, another one of the interviewees.
The men have spoken, but are we ready to put aside out 21st century liberated minds long enough to listen? That remains to be seen. But, don’t worry ladies for there are still a few out there who stated that none of the above really matters to them, as long as the two of you have an understanding, fun, and relative chemistry. The caveat on that is that you probably won’t make it down the aisle without these five qualities!
Interviews By: J. Nana Adwoa Banuaku, Funmi A. Adeyele, and N. Amma Twum-Baah. Authored by N. Amma Twum-Baah as first published on Monday, June 1, 2009
Sites That Link to this Post
- What African Women Want : AFRIKAN GODDESS MAGAZINE | December 11, 2012