The Ketchup Rule for men. (I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger… part 2)


So my nameless friend,  (the same one who requires men to earn a 40K minimum) is a continuous source of great blog post fodder. This time, we were chilling at her house talking about the dearth of eligible black men – in fact, the dearth of eligible men (regardless of race) who live and breathe on this planet, full stop, when she came out with another corker- the ketchup  rule. As usual, I sat with bated breath to hear the latest piece of hilarity from her. Wait for it…my friend refuses to date men who go to posh restaurants and ask for bbq sauce or ketchup.  In her words “Why are you asking for ketchup? Why must you put ketchup on everything? Why don’t you have any class?…it’s so embarrassing..” In fact, I told her I was writing this post and she said “And just so you can accurately quote me. I apply this rule to ketchup and BBQ sauce”.

You may laugh, and I’ll admit that at first glance it seems ridiculous, but hear me out – I think there is a deeper issue that she’s getting at here. Now obviously, she said this a bit tongue in cheek, and I don’t think any man who asked for burger sauce instead of hollandaise would be automatically chucked to the reject pile… but they wouldn’t be making a good first impression on her. I don’t think it’s really about the burger sauce though, I think it’s actually more to do with perceived compatibility and social class.

My friend isn’t alone in her standards. Ok, maybe she is alone in THAT standard, but she isn’t alone in having standards. I think we all have silent cues that tell us whether we think someone has a level of class or manners that we see ourselves being compatible with, or whether they’re going to be awkward interacting with people in our social circle.  Although the standard may differ from person to person, and we may deny it initially, if we look at our dating choices we tend to date people who are similar to us in terms of social class. I’m not saying this is right, or commendable, I’m just saying it is.

One evening the same friend and I went out with a guy who was friends with a mutual friend of ours. We were around 16/17 at the time, and to be honest, it was an accidental meal, because frankly, he kinda invited himself, and frankly, we hadn’t really planned for him to be there, although of course we wouldn’t turn him away..(I really hope he doesn’t read this or remember this, if he does – this is all in love and good humour..I hope). But that wasn’t the main problem. Nope, as Tesco’s points out, it’s the little things that make a difference.

As the meal progressed, we looked at each other in horror at various points throughout the evening, and I think my shins were a bit bruised from the kicks my friend would give me every time another table manner was left rolling in the dust of social tumbleweed. Such as shouting ‘Oi, waiter’, in a very quiet restaurant in a fairly nice area of town. Or asking for refillable drinks. “Is this Nandos?” We thought. “Do you hear a little portuguese woman singing ‘Senorita, senorita’, in the background? Nope. “Is there a quarter chicken on your plate?. Nope. “So please just take your elderflower juice and sit calmly, cheers”.  It was rather embarrassing to be honest, but as I write this, I feel awful for even caring. In fact, I feel a bit embarrassed for being embarrassed, because it sounds rather snobby. So what?? So what if he asked for refillable drinks like we were in GBK as opposed to a nice Indian restaurant, surely these things are irrelevant and insignificant?  Surely we should be able to look past this to the person that lies inside? Manners are learnt cultural behaviours, and it’s not fair to judge someone on them, right? But the point is, we did. And we do.

If I’m perfectly honest, I think everyone has a hint of snobbery in them when it comes to dating. Whether you are working class or Prince Harry himself there will be something that you see as ill mannered or tacky behaviour that you’ll find to be a bit of a turn off. Am I right on this? I guess the question is whether it’s a deal breaker for you or not…personally, although I cringe at shouting loudly for the waiter, my Dad is king supreme of uncouth behaviour in restaurants, (much to my Mum’s chagrin) and I’m not always the best when it comes to table manners, so I’m more laid back on that front. Having said that, I’m a snob when it comes to grammar. My grammar isn’t perfect (I know some twit will rake through this post with a comb to discover my misplaced apostrophes), but I do make judgements of people based on how they speak, and too many double negatives will leave me squirming. I know it’s snobby, I know it’s wrong, and I’m working on it, but frankly, I’m just not there yet. I don’t really judge my friend for her standards – primarily because I love her to bits and I think she’s hilarious, and secondarily because I think everyone has them in varying degrees. When do deal breakers become ridiculous? And do you think we all have a level of snobbery?



  1. January 5, 2014 / 9:54 pm

    I am a black man that have accepted the reality of women like your friends. In some very weird “I like a challenge” way I am enthuse about a woman who factors in things like class perception because at the end of the day I know she is someone I can grow with. That being said I would hate for the first time I tipped off a pet peeve to be the last time I see such a lady. I wrote something that kind of refers to this as my very first article.

    This might sound crazy but I say “Bring on the Standards” because I believe some serious social Darwinism needs to take place in the African-American community. Will a lot of brothers get frustrated, of course but a lot of them will also change. Girl’s generally laugh when I say, “Women are the gatekeepers of intimacy” but unless dudes are willing to go without or start paying for it you’ll see a generational improvement in the stock of local black males. It’s social engineering that works for us instead of against us.

    The Ketchup Rule for men is one theory I can co-sign.

    • January 6, 2014 / 7:39 am

      Wow, I’m surprised that you would say that. Not sure I agree with the ketchup rule lol, but I definitely agree that some standards are in order if the black community wants to get a grip on the situation we seem to have at the moment. Too many women having children with men that aren’t prepared to be fathers, too many unresolved issues between black men and women – it’s a shame. It totally agree, women are the gate keepers of intimacy, I wish more women believed and knew that.

      • January 6, 2014 / 8:04 pm

        Well it’s not the Ketchup rule literally that I endorse it’s the notion that being a “tad snobby” and conscious of your social settings isn’t a bad thing for black women. I always hear how black women are expected to take the bottom of the barrel but I see it more like black women scooping from the bottom and a lack of a “Ketchup rule” maybe why.

        One of the things I loved about my ex-girlfriend, a closet black feminist, was the fact that she was overtly conscious of things like class, manners, and social perception. I was not like this to the degree she was and many… many… people had considered her a snob for it. The girl I rebounded with after she left me for a Spanish man wasn’t as concerned about appearance and at first I thought it was nice until I found myself on the receiving end of a embarrassing moment at a restaurant. Basically women with standards sometime seem snobby but that’s often the trade off for demanding better of people you expect to do better. I have base my understanding of it from my mother.

        I grew up watching my mother get into one abusive relationship after the next. Around late forties to fifty she married a good man who was the only step-father I knew growing up. By the time I was twenty she had informally divorced him (got separate apartments) and the reason she gave for it was that he was too boring and he all he “does” is eat and sleep. Now she dates a over-weight wannabe playboy that clearly resemble a ex that she had to get a restraining order against at one point in my childhood.

        Once I thought my mother could do little wrong and of course I placed the blame solely on the men in her life, my father included. However, around the time I reached twenty and my mother got with her wanna-be playboy I noticed a huge change in her personality. My mother all but stopped caring about me and starting assuming the most stereotypical of things from me. She started to accuse me of stealing when she lost things. She stopped buying food for the house but sent me to get “dinner” for her and her man and at one point had me shovel out a spot for him to park. The woman that raised me literally became so hopelessly in love that I became nonexistent.

        Anyway after college I moved out and thank god for it. I can now re-evaluate my life honestly without fear of hostile reprisal to my living situation. My mother chose and accepted HORRIBLE men to be with, my father included, and every step of the way she blamed them and never herself. My mother current boyfriend is a older dude trying to relive his high-school days of sneaking out at night for a quickie. Even after my leaving he barely stays over for an extended period of time and my mom spend many a night having loud tearful emotional conversations with him, which she seems to thrive off of.

        I can not help but think that my mother could of benefited for a “Ketchup Rule” of sorts to help her not be a serial dater of losers but than again I think something else may be at play for why she never sought out quality men. Anyway as a result of that upbringing I oddly enough have a huge distaste for black women that will accept any sort of behavior from their boo especially if they know better. I have seen men and women become so enthralled at the mere fact they are in a relationship that they become too scared to evaluate how they look socially and to the people they are closest too.

        I may or may not be talking in extremes right now and comparing apples to oranges but I hopefully the gist of what I’m saying make sense.

        • January 6, 2014 / 11:01 pm

          I totally hear where you’re coming from. Yeh, I definitely think there’s this underlying feeling that black women should be grateful for a man so we should accept anything from anyone and not have standards. It must be so hard to watch your Mum go through all that…the sad thing is I know so many women with similar stories. The cycle seems to continue through generations as well-it’s crazy. Do you think most black men/ men in general secretly appreciate a bit of snobbiness, or would you say you’re an anomaly in that respect?


      • January 7, 2014 / 5:22 am

        It different from guy to guy and I believe it isn’t the majority view right now frankly a lot of men do feel like displaying proper decorum is the same as compromising who they are… You know how there is a lot of “socially acceptable stupidity” in our society and that is true whether male or female.
        Many people see their cruder behavior as keeping it real and think they don’t fully appreciate it when other point out that it isn’t charming or endearing.

  2. January 6, 2014 / 12:54 am

    Wow! You’re such a brilliant writer. Do you teach writing? Do you have a literary job outside of this blog?

    • January 6, 2014 / 7:37 am

      Aaaww that is the nicest thing you could say, thank you. No I don’t at all, I’m actually in my final year of med school, this is just a hobby 🙂

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