Experiments in Black Dating: Fear of a Black Woman Who Earns Less Than I Do
On Friday, 10 August, 2012, I experienced an amazing helicopter tour of the Big Island, Hawai'i. Immediately after, I spent some time on Hapuna Beach and poolside at the resort where I was staying. I usually don't have time to think like this so I wanted to maximize the usefulness of this time. After retiring from the beach to my hotel room to shower off the sand and sweat, I had a revelation. At least, to me it was a revelation. This epiphany specifically regarded dating and relationships with women whose income is lower than mine.
What occurred to me in the shower was that don't want to be in a relationship with a woman who earns less money than me. While she may make less than me when we meet, I hope she aspires to earn as much or more. I would completely support this pursuit.
Reading that, you're probably wondering why a single, heterosexual, successful Black American man would make such a statement. Don't most men want to make more than their female partners? I think most men would argue, privately, that if their woman earned more than they do, they'd feel less like a man. They'd also state some B.S. about how the hunter/gatherer instinct "should" prevail (with no logical reason for this inherited belief) and it is the man's place to be the "breadwinner" in a relationship. Further, I think you'd hear that men are somehow insufficient or "not a man" if they are earning a lower income than their female partners.
Much of this thinking is tied up in a societal definition of what it means to be "a man". Like all beliefs, this falsehood is a learned belief. It is also a lie. US society in particular seems to have a strong belief that women should be dependent on men, likely rooted in Christian dogma.
I find this dogmatic and usually unquestioned belief to be needlessly self-limiting.
Personally, I can't help but think that being with a woman who makes significantly less than I do (as in 25% less or even more) doesn't sit well with me. The reason is simple. To my mind, income is a proxy for and measure of one's ambition. Thus, I want a woman with an ambition and passion for success that matches my own.
In my observation, Black women seem to want to save the world, usually before they have bothered to save themselves first. Whether it is by becoming teachers, social workers or "human resources professionals", they seem attracted to positions where they can "help people" but that this society -- here in the United States -- does not value highly. The reason people in these types of jobs don't have high incomes is exactly this. These roles are not highly valued, for whatever reasons.
(Whether this is "right" or "wrong" is immaterial to *this* discussion. We're not here to make moral and ethical judgments about one career path or another. We're simply looking at incomes.)
So Black women are drawn to these types of positions like a moth to a flame, then they "curse the darkness" about how little money they make. It's the most absurd argument ever. (That's saying a lot because I find myself in many absurd arguments with Black women. The relationship to reality that the average Black woman holds will be the subject of a different post.) This state of trying to save others before making sure that your life is in order is flatly and provably unworkable.
For myself, I don't want to be in a relationship with a woman with a low income because I'd be concerned about her reasons for choosing me. There would always be a cloud of suspicion hanging over her motivations for choosing me. Having been "chosen" by lower income women before, I'm acutely aware and afraid of these circumstances. I've always been very clear that I don't want to be in a relationship with a woman who *needs* me. I want her to *want* me. I want to be with a woman who doesn't need a man to take care of her but instead chooses me out of an authentic desire to be with me.
I want to be in relationship with a woman who has mastered, or is at least actively pursuing mastery in, this area of her life. I want her to choose me, willingly, not to see me as a lifeline to a better life. Worse yet, I don't want her to assume that she can become a "kept woman", eating bon-bons, Peggy Bundy (link) style, at my expense. I want a woman who respects and appreciates the value of a dollar, and the hard work required to earn it, just as much as I do, if not more.
Both in this process of dating as well as in my daily observations of life generally, I've noticed and encountered a great number of Black women who are willing to forego income in the name of their commitment to society and other people, a commitment to the same society that doesn't value the contribution they want to make. It sounds like a self-inflicted martyrdom to me. That's not sexy and it's not cute.
A woman who makes significantly less than I do does not appeal to me not because of her income itself but because of what that income says about her. The meta-message of a woman who earns less than I do is that either she lacks the ambition required to be successful in this area of life and if that is the case, there will be carryover into other arenas of life. As T. Harv Eker says, "how you do anything is how you do everything". This will show up, in various forms of expression, throughout a woman's life.
Another meta-message of a low earning woman is that she appears to be looking for a man to save her. Again, there's nothing appealing about this scenario either. The helpless, victim mentality that seems so popular with women in general and Black women in particular is quite unattractive. It speaks to a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. What successful Black man would want to be with a woman who lacked a mentality of abundance, success, and self-confidence?
Finally, true happiness comes from seeking out alignment of one's beliefs and values with one's work. Far too often for my taste, I find that Black women believe that such alignment is impossible to achieve. This is the kind of negative thinking that can never lead to success. I want to be with a woman who is driven to succeed, not out of a love of money but because she knows that she has the capacity to do so and is thus willing to push against convention, criticism and societal norms to set and pursue a goal that is bigger than her.
Charlie Hoehn has said that you are the average of the 5 closest people to you. Thus, to inspire success in yourself, the best thing you can do is to surrounded yourself with people who are as successful or more successful that you in whatever arena(s) you wish to be successful. In a relationship, you will spend a lot of time around your partner, probably more time than with any single individual. This person will have an outsize influence on the quality of your life and whatever level of success you achieve (or not). Doesn't it make sense to choose a partner who supports your success and its pursuit?
I'd love to find a woman who does something she loves and knows how to be compensated in accordance with the personal success she has found in her career. THAT is sexy!
Until next time...