I spent all of my dating years trying, with all my might, not to be perceived as a golddigger. Like a Tyler Perry heroine, I run away from wealthy men and into the arms of working class men, assuming that they’ll be able to love me better. But the problem with this situation is that, soon after the relationship begins, working class men dump me. They persistently tell me I deserve better. That they need to make more money before dating me. That they’d love to marry me, but my PhD and my dreams don’t really work with where they’re headed.
I was perpetually confused by this phenomenon. I don’t really do anything in particular to be called high maintenance: I regularly run around in $12 dresses. I drove a 1998 brown Altima for years. I call up my friends when there’s a sale at the grocery store. But for some reason, men, regardless of class, assume that I need to be with someone wealthy. They hear me talking, but all they think I’m saying is:
This always happens to me when I’m hanging out with guys, even the ones who are financially successful. One man told me about his accounts on a first date. I was in jeans and a t-shirt, and I was slightly sweaty. I was confused. And recently, while hanging out with two guys, one asked me what type of man I was looking for.
“I want a man who loves the Lord and communicates well.”
His friend immediately started singing Babyface’s “Soon As I Get Home.”
“I’ll pay your rent, soon as I get home from work,” he sang, teasing me. “That’s what she wants! A man to take care of everything!”
I laughed, and shook my head. Now even the successful men were calling me a golddigger. I know the lyrics to that song. They include this gem:
“You’re the kind of woman/That needs a man with lots of cash/With a stack of major credit cards/And with me you don’t have to ask”
Class is not only about money; it’s also about access, power, knowledge and expectations. I may be thrifty and have little money, but I always get exactly what I want. These men didn’t pay attention to my $10 dress; they were listening to me talk about my dreams. My expectation that I’ll be great is scary, especially for men who think that they will be forced into financing my dreams. They could never see that I didn’t expect them to get me there. I pray, and trust the Lord, and work really hard to get where I want to go.
Ultimately, the amount of money a man has means less than his drive and where he wants to end up. I need a man who believes he is important, who has a dream that is worth investing in and supporting. I don’t have time to invest in someone who doesn’t believe in himself first.
I’m not dating anyone right now–I’m trying my hardest to stay single until May 2014. (These men are making it difficult, though. So many cute guys! So little time! :-p) As I think about my relationships, I realize that when a man tells me I deserve better than what he can give me, I should believe him. It’s not about the cash in his accounts; it has everything to do with where he’s going in his life. I don’t want anyone slowing me down as I fulfill the plans that God has for me. I don’t want any distractions. The men that I meet these days all have twelve legitimate hustles and have expressed a desire to see me be just as successful as they are. If I do end up with a wealthy man, or a powerful man (as my frustrated friends have been telling me for YEARS), it will be because I’m just as driven as they are.
After all, I can get my own money.