View from Outside

The Dating Truth for Black Women – Go to Europe and Don’t Look Back

In a new series of articles, black women living outside of Europe share their views from the other side. In our third article, Betty Byte (not her real name) spells out why she is determined to live in Europe. 

A benediction that was given to me a long ago from a beautiful, elegant black female co-worker of mine at my first job post college. She said overseas I would be showered with more male attention that I’d ever know what to do with and that if I stayed enough, I’d be married. My lovely friend is a jazz singer when she wasn’t working in the states as an office manager. She was married to a French West African man and had lived in Paris for three years. She told me this as we sat together sipping our lattes in Starbucks. I smiled and told her that I knew what she was talking about and how I had always planned to go to Europe with friends, but it never manifested.

Years later after Starbuck’s cafe chat, I sat alone struggling with rampant dating dry spells. I thought, what in the hell could I do to change this man less void I was trapped in?! I had done every damn thing in the book to find a mate. I had put up countless unanswered web ads (hello Ok Stupid!), went to Meet Ups, worked out like a demon, upgraded my appearance, signed up for speed dating parties, met with expensive dating coaches and memorized all current dating books. I did all that footwork and yet my phone only rang from my usual suspects – my mom, siblings, bill collectors and my job. Ahem and my ‘crew’ of 7 women friends had shrunk due to matrimony and moving away to 2 gals who were ‘in it’ with dudes so no calls from any of them. There comes a time in a single ladies’ life when you come to the Zen realization that you are very solo and trapped a negative dating space – even if that place is grand ol’ New York City. Thousands of women of various races, ethnicities and ages lament that the New York City is not the perfect spot for romance let alone marriage to bloom. This fact would make things doubly hard for black women, because if other folks are catching a cold, we get the Black Death.

I bought my first ticket to Europe after my boss joked if I ever planned to use my vacation days. You see, my job is my constant companion. Work had become the only ‘husband’ I had come to know since leaving college. My job was a selfish lover who didn’t care that I was lonely and ate most meals alone. So right after my boss went back to her office chuckling, I went to my desk and started looking for flights. I’m very embarrassed to say that I didn’t know anything about flights to Europe, airports, airplane security measures etc. The only thing I did have was a passport. It took me about a week to work out the details. I informed my now surprised boss, that I’d be taking a two week vacation in the coming month. I decided to Paris to visit an old boyfriend then London to hang out with an English buddy who had gone back to grad school in England.

Paris was challenging. I got lost every single day (even with Google maps!) and my French skills were poor so I could barely read street signs or communicate with anyone. I was terrified and baffled with my head buried in my travel guides. Although I remained panic stricken, I noticed I was often assisted by men, loads of them. When I told them “Je suis Americane. Je ne parle pas francias”, those French dudes (white and black) just pushed that fact aside and started talking English and found American accent enticing. While I stayed in Paris, I was hit on con-stant-ly. So much so that my, non PDA ex boyfriend was leaving work early to accompany me around town while holding my hand. I was still loyal (damning trait with most black women) so I paid little attention to the guys who were trying to wrestle me away from my ex there. The second eye opening event that happened to me while in Paris was witnessing all types of black women–the doe eyed schoolgirls, ones with children, those of a certain age, fashion divas, the ‘not so great looking’ etc. with partners. As a forever singleton, I make mental note of the black women that I pass that are with a significant others on any street. The number of black women paired up with various men was staggering.

Right on the heels of my Parisian visit, I took the Eurostar to London. I nearly fainted when I got to the border security for England. I was delighted to hear everyone speaking English even if they were riding my nerves questioning my travel details. My first time in London was wonderful. I shopped like a fiend at Primark, ate Jamaican food in Brixton and learned the global importance of football (Soccer as the Americans like to call it). I loved riding the pricey tube through the zones of London even if it did shut down at midnight. I made getting around a breeze. Once I got past my tourist activities (that took a mere 48 hours) I got right back man hunting mode. I hit the bars and lounges in the West End in my pretty yet painful Kurt Gieger heels. In London, I was insanely popular with the Italian, Spanish and Irish (Straight out of Cork/Dublin – not the States) fellas. I also took up online dating in London, it proved to be an efficient way of meeting England’s overly polite bachelors. The quality and looks of the men who responded to me was astounding. I have gotten thousands of views, hits and messages on my ads on various London dating sites. I had abandoned the practice in the States. I just ‘can’t’ with men online in New York City. It’s a joke.

In London, I saw the same thing I did in Paris, tons of black women with all types of men as partners. I remember seeing an advert of a couple getting ready for an evening out. It showed a montage of a black woman and white male prepping for their date together. The last scene was of the woman opening her door wearing a lovely evening dress while the spruce bachelor brought roses to his date. I stood with my mouth gaping wide open in Victoria station. People glared at me and tripped over my excess baggage while I watched the ad for about 30 minutes. I had stood in Grand Central station many times in my life and never seen an ad like this one.

Without saying, I keep going back to Europe making going back home to the States as painful as a root canal. Simply put my love life in Europe is exactly like what my soothsayer co-worker told me it would be. I’m exhausted of waiting for things to pop off here. I’ll become a mummy (not the child producing kind) if I stay in the States.

I’m hell bent on moving to Europe. Each year I keep focusing my efforts on finding ways to stay permanently.

I’ve learned many life lessons from my journeys abroad. Lesson 1 – Do not wait or depend on adult women friends to do big things with your life. If you want something, make it happen yourself. Lesson 2 – Learn a language. It will help your career and widen social/romantic opportunities. Lesson 3 – Do not ignore the hard truth about time – You do not have forever. Lesson 4 – Life is not meant to be lived alone. Do want you need to find a partner or a husband. You deserve a mate.

Now some folks are going to have words with what I’ve described. With daggers in teeth, they will be growling that there are hordes of spouse less black women in London/ Paris or that black women’s dating lives will not be enriched if they decide to live there. Please do not listen to these trolls because it is simply not true. Yes there are dating choices for black women in the states but our numbers are overwhelming – it much better for black women to ‘Hunger Games’ their dating game and head to places where your ‘odds are forever in your favor’. I’m not waiting for the dating supernova to happen to black women. I’m leaving and going to Europe.

My love don’t live here anymore. Actually, it never has.

Soon to be expat in the way of James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Janet Jackson and Tina Turner,

Betty Byte is a New York City writer, bedroom dj and frequent flyer on Virgin International Airlines.

Next month DeVon Thompson explains how music crosses cultures.

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  1. Absolutely awesome. I have to say, I am happily and deliciously in love with a great black guy here in the US. HOWEVER, a brief work trip to London last fall definitely gave me a lot of pause and generated a lot of excitement in my heart. I was seriously looking for work opportunities there when I found my guy. I think your advice is spot on. I do believe that far too many of us are holding our breaths and waiting for our black prince to emerge from the street around the corner from where we are. And the reality is that he just might not be there. The world is large and filled with great people. We should definitely chip away the concrete around our feet and travel this great world… love is out there. I believe it, I believe it!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience and how great it is you are deliciously in love. Savor it!

  3. […] of finding “Swirling Success in Sweden” while others are bear hard-nosed messages like “The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don’t Look Back” — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  4. […] of finding “Swirling Success in Sweden” while others are bear hard-nosed messages like “The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don't Look Back” — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  5. […] the joys of finding "Swirling Success in Sweden" while others are bear hard-nosed messages like "The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don't Look Back" — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  6. […] of finding “Swirling Success in Sweden” while others are bear hard-nosed messages like “The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don’t Look Back” — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  7. […] of finding “Swirling Success in Sweden” while others are bear hard-nosed messages like “The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don’t Look Back” — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  8. blkLondongirl

    I am a black Londoner born and bred, open to dating a man from any race, and I would whole-heartedly disagree with much of this post. The options for black women in the UK are slimmer than the ones you would find in the US – even more so if you are educated and haven’t procreated. I usually wish I had been born in the States as at least the black men do not wholeheartedly jump ship the way that they do here. The only black men who check for sistas are usually the ones that no-one wants or who know that because they’re in demand they think they can, and usually do, get away with treating the many ladies competing for them like crap. IR dating is definately more accepted and widespread here but the people who are really enjoying that are not black women as, unfortunately, negative stereotypes/eurocentric ideals of beauty limit the number of non-black men who check for us. I do think that in France the men are more forward and you can get a lot of attention there but again I’m not sure as to the quality of that – having only gone on holiday there I do not know for example whether these guys were good men etc. Anyway I might get dismissed as a troll but I speak not only from my own experience but that of plenty of sistas out here. If you do not believe me read this blog post that went viral which perfectly describes how black women in the UK are ignored by black men and the wider community:

  9. B.W.I.E (™)

    I hope the author of the post sees this, in fact I will send it to her. Personal experiences are just that, personal. So you’re both probably right!

  10. […] reading this exciting story of determination.  You may be inspired to start packing […]

  11. I always see happy interracial couples. I think wm/bw couples have learned to live in their own dimension.

  12. LaTonya Patrice

    I am currently in a relationship with a French West African man. I met him while I was in Paris when I was married to my ex husband. He gave us his card with his number and email address, we communicated over the years however he never flirted he was only nice and a gentleman. When I told him I was getting a divorce our conversations changed. I have plans to go back to Paris soon.

  13. I’m considering trying out Europe in a year, but am curious if it’s possible to get back in touch with the woman whose story this is? Wanted to know if she still feels the same way now, and if socially and safety-wise, in her opinion, the Europe then (at the time she gave this feedback) feels/is the same Europe of today, and if she’d still recommend it as she did. Regardless, as a Black woman, I can’t wait to move out of the states (especially for political reasons, in light of recent developments).

  14. B.W.I.E (™)

    Nowhere is particularly safe for black women in Europe. The politics of the West is shifting or has shifted to the right to far right. Europe is a continent and you will be moving to a country. Do you have one in mind? Research what is happening there. Hate crimes are being reported more often in Britain post-Brexit, neo-Nazis are marching in Sweden post the Trump election, etc. Do your homework so you know what you may be getting into. Just like in the US we have to keep our eyes and ears open.

  15. […] of finding “Swirling Success in Sweden” while others are bear hard-nosed messages like “The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don’t Look Back” — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another […]

  16. Living in Boston or Seattle gives you the same effect. It’s because you’re so rare and different from the other women so you stand out in those cities so you get your pickings of some of the most attractive men. My worse dating experiences by far were in NYC. Black women (or women in general) are basically invisible there, the men are complacent and very superficial. And sadly the black men who did hit on me were no where near as educated or successful as I am( which matters to me). Coincidentally the only two men who were the craziest about me were both European men who were visiting NYC temporarily on business. Each of them were like a whirlwind romance that you can only write about in books. One was German and the other was Swedish and they were both incredible men who simply adored me. One even wanted me to move with him, which I declined. Interestingly enough I had the same experience while living in Boston and visiting Seattle. Every time I visit friends in those two cities I’m shocked at how much I get hit on. It’s like everywhere I go, there’s some white guy hitting on me. When I lived in Boston, my dating life was way better than my best friend and she’s a tall blue eyed blonde. I am a brown chocolate girl with big curly hair and I was getting hit on by white men way more than her. It made our friendship a little weird because we were both shocked by it. But in NYC, she’s the one who gets all the attention. Nonetheless, black women will always be highly desirable in places were there is a very low percentage of blacks and/or minorities. I know for a fact that my love is probably in Europe somewhere or he’s atleast from there and is living in the US somewhere.

  17. I am interested in moving to a European country once I am done with attaining degrees in the states, but I don’t know which country to move to. One of the comments I read on here has stated that there is a lot of political upheaval going on in many European countries right now. I agree, because I read about it often. Maybe when I do finally move to a European country of my choice that all of this political upheaval will have settled down by then. All I know is that I don’t want to stay in this country for too long.

  18. B.W.I.E (™)

    Hang in there! Do your research! As you noted, there is instability in Europe now with many countries experiencing anti-immigrant atmospheres.
    Good luck with school.

  19. Excellent article! I think one BIG factor that the dissenters in the comments seem to be missing is that Black Americans have a certain amount of privilege in Europe that Black people from other countries do not. We are seen as “exotic” and “cool”. Black Brits experience the same thing when they come to the US, hence the Black British woman a few comments above saying she would rather be in the States than be in England. When talking about international relations, nationality plays a HUGE role – moreso than race, IMO.

  20. B.W.I.E (™)

    Good points!

  21. Marcia Lynette

    I would never have dated a French Man. They are sexy! But i only like to hear them talk. They are so very proper, & nice looking too. If i were dating i would rather date a Hispanic,

  22. B.W.I.E (™)

    Follow your heart!

  23. Great post, interesting comments. Though we all live in the same world, experiences will generally be different. Normally people will share based upon what they experienced.
    As a black west African woman, i believe one should follow her heart. What ever is in your heart go for it and pursue it.
    Do not forget that as humans we are not always same. desires , interests, wants and needs continue to change on a daily bases. Who knows may be some time to come Europe will come chasing black girls.

  24. I am a black woman in south Africa an i am in my early 30s looking for a white companion in Europe, i’ve been single for sometime now an noticed that i am into Asians n white please help me find true love n a stable realationship.

  25. B.W.I.E (™)

    We just posted a new article today, 12 May 2018, that may interest you:

  26. Polished Diamond

    I am currently making plans to move to Zurich, Switzerland for about 4 months next year to learn German with intentions of staying there. Just wondering if there are any African American women living there already that would like to connect. I have visited many countries in Europe and Switzerland is by far my dream country.

    I have done a lot of research on black women in Zurich, Switzerland. I got some negative feedback but still going. I spent the majority of my childhood in Denmark so I feel I can handle Zurich.

    I hold a Master of Science in Finance and Investments from a prestigious university here in Los Angeles.

  27. B.W.I.E (™)

    Good luck with your move! If you are on Facebook join this private group:

    I think you can meet sisters in Zurich there.

  28. Funny enough, I met my guy on Bumble, while in the states. He’s Swiss German! But, I just thought he was another white boy until we started speaking. Very different experience so far. He was visiting the states when we matched. And it’s been the strangest adventure…because now I’m learning German, we are making plans to visit one another…the time difference is staggering and we are flirting with marriage in our future. And…he’s so different, man. I never in life thought I’d be with a European man. And here I am, falling for one and it feels so much different than my relationships with black men…I’m not afraid of loving him…

  29. I like to talk to the Black women and get to know them,they are real,look at them as people,other than just sexual,and big ass,etc…they need to be Loved as everyone foes and Need.

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