For Richer and For Poorer (No Romance Without Finance)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are not necessarily the views of all members of The Superspade. It may be simply the nonsensical rantings of a frustrated twenty-something.
You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?
Whitney and Bobby. Reese and Ryan. Britney and K-Fed. Eddie Murphy and his wife. Babyface and Tracy. Kimora and Russell. What do all these lost souls have in common? They are no longer in marital bliss. Technically, theses people have enough money where all they have to do is be in love and live. But yet, more and more celebrities are breaking up. Why?
I have been having this ongoing dialogue with my female friends that circles around men and finance. It is my belief that women and money are a lot like fire: They can either help you or hurt you. With that said, as women begin to outpace men in the areas of education and high paying jobs, we come to a fork in the road as I perceive it. Women want men to be men. A significant portion of this traditional gender role is that a man should provide and furnish comfort and security. Or they want him to have at least the same level education/money as they have. On the surface, this seems fair. You don’t want any deadweight in your relationship. However, do these kind of expectations reinforce class in American society, especially in the area of romance? If I drive a bus or work at the post office, is it unlikely that I can date a lawyer or a doctor?
Think about it. Education, in theory, affords you access to more resources. It is an economic truism that people will buy as much lifestyle comfort as their paycheck will give them. Hence, if a woman is making top dollar, then how does this affect the dating expectations? Along with more income, comes a different environment. When you come home from a long day of work, who is more likely to understand what you are talking about if you are a doctor/lawyer/engineer? And how does this affect the power dynamic? I know some women who try to rule over their man because they hold the purse strings. Or on the other end, the man tries to over-compensate because he feels inadequate about his lady making more change. It is a real obstacle.
Perhaps this belief is only prevalent in the young adult demographic, but I have encountered frequently. However, this is like having your cake and eating it to. If a woman today is likely to rise more quickly, especially a minority woman, is it fair to put all the weight on the man?
A lot of women in my age group want the men they deal with to be a “high roller”. They are more concerned with status than character. And as men, we feed into it. I would venture to say that 75% of what we do is to please a woman somewhere.
I had a conversation not too long ago with a certain young woman and she expressed to me that she was afraid she was going to be poor if she stayed with this certain young man. She came from a little money and he was more blue collar. She continued to go on about the lifestyle she was accustomed to and the like. So I asked her, what did comfort look like to her? She replied it was paying the bills, saving, taking trips on occasion. I then asked her, how much did she need a year to feel and do those things, and she said a quarter million.
This is just one of the many conversations I have had with a variety of women. I am not saying anything is wrong with it, however, when pressed, they could not quantify these abstract wants and desires. If you cannot quantify it, then you will never be happy. Because it will never be enough. And while that man is out trying to stack, these will be the same individuals that will complain about him not helping around the house or with the kids or spending time with them. You can’t win for losing.
In Other Words
Maybe I am tripping. But I know for most people in their twenties, you don’t have a dime. You just finished school and you got bills. You have not made any real money and you just trying to get by and adjust to the “Real World”. Yet, when you go out, all the shorties is checkin for the dudes with the rims. Where do the real women hang out at? The ones who see your potential and love you for you? What happened to finding a good dude with some goals and who treats you like a queen? What happened to working as a team and making it together? By making the profit motive supreme, you miss out on some really good people. But like they say in the mob, “Nobody wants to work for it anymore.”
What people do not realize is that when you struggle and come up with somebody, it brings you closer. It is not predicated on a business transaction, it is based on some real, hell or high water type stuff. Then we wonder why the number of unmarried couples outnumber the married couples. Whether it comes to money or relationships, you have to have teamwork. A woman cannot expect to sit around while a man is working, or vice versa. Both people need to play their position. The money will come. It is more important that you share the same goals and values. And anyway, everyone needs to focus on getting their own in this world and stop waiting for someone to give it to them. As my mama says, “If you waitin for somebody to do something for you, you gonna be waitin a long time.”
I could just be voicing my insecurities, because I was never the dude with money. I have lived on a budget for as long as I can remember and I had to work for everything I have. Yet, I am a decent dude. I might not be able to “cake” a woman off now, but I am resourceful and she will never have to guess where she stands with me. And by the way, I am going to be rich. But you do not want someone who is going to fold on you as soon as money is tight. Every man needs a Hilary-stand-by-your man-ride-or die chick. I want to know that the woman in my corner is loyal and she is real. And fortunately for me, I have found that one. ;).
Final Thought…For Now
Ladies, I am not saying that you are gold diggers for having standards. But make sure your expectations are reasonable. You should hold yourself higher than any dollar amount a man could give you. Demand more than his money, demand his heart and his time. If you have that, you wont ever have to worry about finances.
Fellas, if we want to demand the ladies step it up, we have to make sure we are real men. I am Old School, and it is my belief that the man should set the tone for the relationship. We must lead by example. Prove to the ladies that you are worth the risk and that by hooking up with you, she is joining something great. If all you have to offer is that same ghetto-mentality and lame duck excuses, do us all a favor and just turn your wallet over now. Many a good woman has been ruined because she was under “bad management”, ya dig?
I could go on for pages, and I got a little off topic. But this is just how I see it being played out in my neck of the woods. I will revisit this issue from time to time and report my findings.
But in the meantime, you, the SuperSpade community, let me know what you think. What is the role that class plays in romance? How important is money really? How are prevailing attitudes affecting our relationships? Sound off.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas