By: Nycole Hutchens

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the story of the couple who experienced their ‘15 minutes of fame’ after going viral for sharing their love story with the world.

What was supposed to be an inspiring story went left field quickly once the world discovered the details of this ‘Black Love’ fairytale. 

 In a New York Times article, a 34-year-old woman, who is the VP of a multi-million-dollar company, married a 44-year-old man she met on a dating app after dating for only six months.

After initially reading that description, one would not sense the red flag right away. Many of us were rooting for our ambitious sister for finding her ‘happily ever after’ until the details of her love story were revealed.

Sharhea Wade had almost given up on Stevenson Boyce, a divorced IT Tech analyst with a child from a previous relationship.  

Receiving a phone call from him, on what was the third time, Wade made it clear that if Boyce was contacting her to set up a date only to bail on her, to not “waste his time.”

Boyce had other plans in mind and quickly asked Wade to meet him one night in the parking lot of a Popeyes Chicken fast food chain.

Wade shared that after hours of having great conversation, they definitely couldn’t stop talking to each other and Boyce asked her to be his girlfriend.

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The two moved in together within six months, upon Wade’s insistence, and Boyce proposed a short time later, after being encouraged by his best friend. But when it comes to the ring, Boyce did not buy it, his friend did. The article did note that he paid the friend back.

After the NYT article was released, Boyce tweeted, “Met on @Hinge, the rest is history. No pressure on having to take her on any fancy dates or expensive restaurants. Just good ole conversations and alignment with our goals.”

The internet was set afire with mixed emotions, sparking debates on ‘high standards’ vs. ‘low standards.’

One Twitter user @kiarichards tweeted, “NYT wedding announcements are usually endearing and aspirational. Publishing the Popeyes parking lot engagement story was meant to humble Black women and make them think it’s acceptable to settle for mediocre treatment. Anyway, I won’t be renewing my subscription.”

 Another commenter remarked, “I’ve been thinking about this too because out of all the Black love stories that’s what they chose to feature? Also, aren’t those stories usually about old money types like Archibald IV and some heiress getting married? This was a deliberate choice.”

And it went on from there, with another stating, “They really forcing this romanticized struggle love narrative on Black women and it’s disgusting. We are the only women ON THE PLANET expected to settle for the bottom of the barrel when we are the most paid and educated. It’s gonna be a NO for me.”

 A Youtuber weighed in, stating, “I’m not a gold-digger or nothing like that, But in my opinion you  have to have standards.”

It is no surprise that the NY Times story ‘triggered’ women everywhere, intentionally or not, and there are so many nuances to breakdown that may be too long for this article.

We’ve seen other examples of ‘struggle love’ or a woman of color ‘dating down’ to get to her ‘happily ever after.’ Can you blame them with the pressures of society and a woman’s ‘so-called’ worth tied to changing her last name?

This story has so many red-flags, themes of perceived desperation by taking on the ‘lead’ of a man and leading him straight to the altar, the ‘low effort’ date in a parking lot and a friend purchasing a ring for the bride.

Who could blame women for being concerned about a love story that seems to constantly have the theme that Black women should just accept what we can get?

It also exacerbates the constant programming in a male podcast dominated era that exists on the internet.

Titles like, “Modern day women are delusional” and “Women over 35 are throwaways,” makes you wonder if we are living in a matrix.

A woman’s value has always been tied to her youth and beauty. Getting a daily reminder that it’s ‘declining’ or not deemed valuable past a certain age is not productive or appropriate way to ‘humble’ Black women.

Why do Black women need to be humbled anyway?

Undoubtedly, 400 years of oppression, colorism, racism, sexism, and ageism has been an already humbling experience, so why are our male counterparts adding to the problem and not the solution?

Point blank, plain and simple, women do not have to accept less in order to get more. If anything, women should ‘know their worth’ and add taxes.