In 2002, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large wrote about the black experience in Seattle in which black women complained about how few black men there were to date.One woman said to "bring your own black men (or women) to date because Seattle is hard on black women's dating aspirations." More than a decade later, black women say that’s still the case.Which is why, in part, Margo Jones finds herself once a month at Sea-Tac Airport, either picking up her boyfriend Ramonde Carpenter, or flying out to New York City to visit him.
That’s what it means for 37-year-old Marquetta Riley, anyway.
On a recent Friday night, Riley, a tall, fit woman, stood before her vanity, a full spread of makeup and hair products in front of her.
Her makeup brushes made a tapping sound as she dusted off her final application of eye shadow and powder. “A little makeup, a little blush, a little eye shadow.
Ah, a lot of eye shadow.” Riley has been in relationships before, most of them long distance.
On this Friday night, she’s meeting an ex-boyfriend from 14 years ago for dinner – he called her hours before from Los Angeles, saying he would be in Seattle around 7 p.m.
She has a type: “Dark skinned, tall, lean, like athletic-build black men. Not easy to find that type in Seattle – or to find one that isn’t timid, she said.For example, a month ago Riley was at a bar-restaurant called Cactus when she spotted an attractive black man. And he kept turning around looking at me for about 45 minutes.She echoed the women in Large’s column, saying that it’s nearly impossible to find a black man to date in Seattle.University of Washington sociologists Stewart Tolnay and Kyle Crowder called it the “marriage squeeze,” noting the declining rate of black women getting married.In the last 40 years, black women have had a harder time finding black men to marry for various reasons – high mortality, high incarceration rates and interracial marriage.For single black women, that may mean being willing to go out.