But she ain’t messin’ with no broke….you know the rest. One of my good friends, who shall remain nameless, is someone who appreciates the finer things in life. Her cat, a pedigree Russian breed of some sort, only eats turkey from Marks and Spencer’s. Well, apparently so – I’ve tried to explain to my friend that cats are like children. If you starve them, they will eventually will eat what they’re given, but she insists on pandering to his upper middle class cat palate.
They say that pets tend to mimic their owners, and my friend definitely doesn’t mince her words when it comes to her standards in a prospective partner. As far as she’s concerned, if you’re not earning 40K plus, you can bounce. Yup, hit the road Jack, and come back when you’ve dug yourself out your overdraft. As she explains, it’s not that you’re not a nice person- it’s that she’s aspirational, and wants to better herself, and if you’re stuck in a job that’s only giving you 40K, then clearly you and her aren’t compatible in terms of aspirations. She doesn’t need your money, she’s making her own – but she wants to be with someone who has the same ideals. Frankly,I don’t wholly disagree with her. No woman wants to be with a man who can only afford to buy Christmas presents from New Look at the age of 28. There’s only so much cheap polyester a women can take before she gets chronic eczema.
There’s been a push recently in the black community especially, to encourage professional black women to date the ‘blue collar brother’. Every film with Gabrielle Union (popular American black actress) has the same plot. It goes something like this:
Gabrielle (or insert other bougie black girl name), is a 29 year old corporate exec/lawyer/doctor/teacher/white collar professional, doomed to a life of perpetual singleness due to in part to her ridiculously high standards, and in part to the general shortage of eligible bachelors worldwide. She’s a daddy’s girl, went to the best schools, has supportive parents, a nice house of her own and a circle of friends/sisters/cousins who are continuously trying to get her to relax, let go and find a man.
Cue bad restaurant date with fellow corporate executive/lawyer/teacher who she finds out is secretly a husband/father/fraudster/two timing rat. As she sits on the side of the road weeping at this travesty of an evening (why is her car always missing in this scene?), along comes Tyrone. Tyrone is the local bus driver/handy man/ jack of all trades with a good heart, a gold tooth and no university degree. He dries her tears with his mechanic hanky and tells her she deserves love, even if love doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree.
Gabrielle finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of love, infatuation, cheap dates, polyester dresses, conflict wit her own inner snobbery, alienation from some other bougie black people, encouragement from the black bougie people who aren’t snobs, and eventually ends up marrying Tyrone. They live happily ever after. The end.
So is it wrong to require a man do earn as much or more than you? And is the issue really money, or is it class? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s the latter. I think most people need to be with someone who they feel they can relate to, and someone who can understand them. I wonder if my friend met someone who was a struggling author but was amazingly funny, treated her like a Queen, she would reject them in favour of Wiz Khalifa. I don’t think she would… Having said that, I’ve seen people who have professional jobs/middle class backgrounds marry people who have more traditionally working class jobs/backgrounds and it works out well for them. Love doesn’t have a price tag, or a particular accent or degree classification. Personally, I’m honestly not that bothered if a man earns less than me. If all goes well this year (please Jesus), I’m going to have a decent career. Now, doctors are NOT ballers, but we ain’t exactly broke either. To expect any man I dated to earn more than me would probably be a bit much. Having said that, I don’t think it’s wrong for my friend to have her 40K limit. Everyone has their standards. Some guys, won’t date women who they rate less than a 7 in terms of attractiveness. Some won’t date a woman that can’t cook. I like geeky guys – if you’re not well read, I’m probably not attracted to you. Nothing personal. If you have a degree but you’re not well read, I’m equally as uninterested, it just so happens that people who are well read usually (not always), have degrees.
Traditionally, women have always required men to be able to demonstrate that they can provide, which is why the courtship rituals we have still hint at men paying for dates, buying gifts etc. Times are changing, with women being more able to financially provide for themselves, but I still think many women want to be able to feel like the man COULD be the main breadwinner if he wanted to be, even if he doesn’t have to be.
On the flipside, I know men who have point blank told me they are uncomfortable with the idea that I’ll earn more than them and wouldn’t want a relationship where that was the case. Now to those men, I say your loss sucker *sticks out tongue*, but again, their frail and pathetic egos are perfectly entitled to their medieval standards :-). (Yes, I am particularly scornful of men like that). I’ve lived in a house where my Mum has a more high powered job than my Dad, and they don’t care. It doesn’t change the relationship – my Dad is secure enough in his manhood to support my Mum in whatever she does.
Men, would you date a women who told you that she wouldn’t be with you if you were earning under a particular wage? Would you date a woman who earns more than you? Women, would you date a man who earns less than you? Do you have a wage lower limit?
Peace guys x