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Thursday, June 16, 2011

On My Level - Part 2 :: Elitism in the Dating Game

I have witnessed and taken part in many discussions amongst young singles that have either directly or indirectly touched upon the issue of 'eligibility'.

Such discussions are often inaugurated by one or more women who are curious to uncover the thoughts and opinions of the men present.

"So... I mean, what is it that guys look for in a woman?"

The question above may be followed by some sort of contextual reinforcement in order to minimize the amount of generic answers received; and Voila! ...another 'relationship conversation' has begun.

Soon enough, another one of the most common questions posed by single women during such conversations arises:

[Variation 1] "Why are men intimidated by successful women?"
[Variation 2] "So do you guys find women who make more money than you intimidating?"

In the past, I have taken pride many times in responding with a confident "Absolutely not... I actually find [advanced material/occupational/educational success] to be attractive." I may include clarifying statements and/or scenarios along with my answer to ensure that no one misunderstood me to say that my attraction is either limited to abundantly successful women, or somehow contingent upon how earthly successful she is. In other words, I measure the quality of a woman based on factors that exceed her material accomplishments.

Today, however, my response to the question of 'intimidation' may require some adjustment. This adjustment comes as a result of my own observations and encounters with many [not 'all'] women who use their own material success as a template to gauge the quality of their male counterparts.

I have sat quietly and listened to too many women openly and emphatically refer to themselves as the 'cream of the crop' while explicitly referencing their advanced degrees, occupations and self-sufficiency to substantiate these claims of echelon. To them, a 'good' woman possesses these credentials; and a 'good' man, therefore, matches or exceeds these credentials. Rarely are virtues such as wisdom and integrity discussed as discriminating factors. Instead, salary expectations, occupational status and superficial appeal seem to rank as the highest priorities.

As some of these women are straightforward in communicating such standards, others are much more subtle. During relevant group conversations, one or more may share their past dating experiences; emphatically recollecting the pros and cons of each encounter. Sadly, it is usually in hindsight when these particular women finally assess the character of the men they date - ie. AFTER he has cheated; AFTER he has managed to keep their dating status 'ambiguous'; AFTER he has shown himself to be as just shallow in his own assessments of her relational eligibility.

Following the long list of cons, the pros usually consist merely of the external attributes that 'fooled' them into believing that Mr. Wrong was Mr. Right - ie. how he dressed; where he worked; what he drove; his affiliations; how nice his smile was; etc.

"Girl... I thought he was it! I mean, he was a lawyer, had a nice place in that new neighborhood I told you about... brutha was gorgeous! No kids, goes to church, paid, went to Morehouse, girl....More-house...[etc etc]."

Now, external appeal, within itself, is not something that should be overlooked in its entirety. However, it should be kept within proper perspective.

Presently, many women place much too high of an emphasis upon what a man has as opposed to who the man has proven to be. What a man has can be justifiably weighed as important - ie. Does he have a job and is it steady and progressive? Does he have transportation and does he maintain it well? Does he have good credit and, thus, properly manage his finances (a reflection upon his character - who he is).

However, when a man's possessions are weighed against lavish standards and then used to make a qualitative assessment of his relational personhood, it is no longer justifiable – just as it is equally absurd for a man to use the physical appeal of a woman as the sole and exclusive factor in assessing her relational personhood.

Those women who advocate such lofty standards often present several common arguments in order to substantiate their expectations. Some of these arguments, within themselves, may possess some level of validity. However, when considering the positions in which these particular women stand, most of the arguments prove to have no real merit.

1. Stability/Security
For women, financial stability and security are two of the most essential attributes of a marriage.

Are the bills being paid?
Is the rent/mortgage taken care of?
Is there food on the table?
Are the children provided for?

It is imperative that each of these questions, among others, are answered with a consistent 'yes'. Wherever there is a 'no', there is a lack of stability and security.

However, the dynamic changes when considering the female demographic in question.

On their own, these women are able to maintain a lifestyle where all facets of stability and security are taken care of - and, in many cases, with luxury. Therefore, any supplementation provided by a man with any level of stable income - provided that he's financially responsible - would only add to an already secure and stable lifestyle. So, for these women, this argument would only prove valid if they planned to quit their own jobs and rely solely upon the occupational competencies of their husbands-to-be; which is not an unreasonable scenario...albeit unlikely.

2. Respect
Generally, a respectable man is one with good character and who exercises sound wisdom and discernment. He works hard and smart at whatever he does. He is trustworthy. He has integrity. He is responsible and respectful. These credentials describe a caliber of man that demands respect.

These are also the credentials that are often NOT considered when the argument of 'respect' is posed by many women within this particular demographic.

Instead, this argument is founded upon the notion that if a man is to be worthy of his woman's respect in a relationship/marriage, he must be at or above her 'level'. Otherwise, she 'can not' respect him. This may be one of the most poignant arguments because it strongly implies that a man with 'less' is, in fact, less.

Less than what exactly? Respectable?

Again, once the material status of these women is considered, there really could be no other insinuation besides the 'eligibility' of respect.

One couldn't say "less than capable of providing for me" since she has proven to be capable of providing well above her own needs.

One couldn't say "less than capable of relating to me" as it would only further incriminate since it implies that earthly prestige is key in order to spark and maintain a substantive relationship.

3. The Double Standard
In terms of general attraction, men are known to be visually stimulated and physically motivated more than their female counterparts. Therefore, in general, attraction for a man typically begins with his subjective perception of a woman's physical attributes and presentation. In other words, if he likes what he sees, a level of attraction has begun.

In cases where the man is looking for any type of substantive relationship far and beyond mere sexual gratification, the same physical attributes that he has found favorable are simply not enough to substantiate a decision to pursue that female. In other words, she may look good, but is she good for him? This is the question that many men ask themselves once they have found a woman to be at least physically attractive. It is a question of her personality, her character, her values and more.

Now, there are other men who fail to ask themselves this very question. These men in particular, once having found a woman to be physically attractive, use her physical appeal as the sole measurement of her relational eligibility. In other words, instead of factoring in her character and holistic compatibility, these men are assessing and choosing their women based exclusively upon on their 'looks'.

In terms of superficial attraction, this phenomenon, devoid of any further assessment of the substantive quality of a woman, is no different from a woman's use of material prestige as the sole measurement of a man's relational eligibility. Both methods are equally as vacuous and ultimately ineffectual. Nonetheless, there are members within both genders who refer to these insipid discriminative practices of the opposite sex in order to condone the same fruitless practices of their own. The general underlying argument is as such:

"[The opposite sex] do it all the time. Why can't we?".

This is one major facet of the 'double standard' argument.

Another facet of the 'double standard' argument generally seeks to draw a universal parallel between the materialistic standards of some women and the natural regard that men have for a woman's physical appeal.

One who subscribes to such an argument may assert that a woman's preoccupation with the material assets of a man is no different from a man's preoccupation with the physical assets of a woman. However, unlike the first component of the 'double standard' argument which seeks to condone one shallow perspective on relational eligibility by implicating another, this component attempts to draw a direct link between shallow materialism and the natural inclination for physical attraction.

It is a case of "apples and oranges"; indicating a common misconception that suggests that a man's basic inherent need to be physically attracted to his potential 'wife' is merely unambitious and sophomoric.

This facet of the 'double standard' argument, then, infers a general misunderstanding of both men and the key areas of relational [marital] intimacy.


Because the above arguments fail to substantiate or excuse any notion that a man must achieve an elevated level of material success before he is relationally eligible, it would be more than reasonable to suggest that the true genesis of such lofty requirements is materialism and elitism.

Materialism: a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress
1. the socially superior part of society
a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence

Many women, having placed such a disproportionate emphasis on material success, have demonstrated that they are subconsciously - or perhaps even consciously - concerned more with collaborative earthly status than substantive intimacy.

Many times have I heard such women fantasize about finding that 'right man', having that 'big wedding', buying that 'big house', and living that 'big lifestyle' happily ever after. Clearly, then, it is about finding a man who is able to transform such a fantasy into a reality; and a man who appears less than capable of bringing such a fantasy into fruition is, therefore, not eligible.

So while they may think and/or claim that they are seeking a respectable man who can help provide a stable, secure, and holistically successful relationship, these particular women are actually in search of a man who is best equipped to provide a superficial image thereof.


Many of these women are preoccupied with a man's level of prestige because they want to look good with him. There is often a desire for the proverbial 'power couple' image. It sounds nice. It receives critical acclaim amongst friends and associates. It is a step up on the socioeconomic ladder.

From this perspective, the societal prestige of being a lawyer 'complements' that of, say, a doctor. However, the societal prestige of a school teacher and that of a doctor do not complement one another and, therefore, the two individuals are not considered 'compatible' - unless, of course, the female is the school teacher.

Some of these women, having been raised in luxurious accommodations most of their lives, express the 'prerequisite' that a man must be able to provide her a comparable, privileged lifestyle. This is perhaps one of the many perverted instantiations of the 'security and stability' argument. Such a woman has placed a higher value upon the prospect of living an opulent lifestyle rather than upon the prospect of a progressive and substantively successful relationship/marriage. While her desire for luxurious accommodations does not, in and of itself, demand disapprobation; it is the misapplication of such a desire towards the assessment of relational eligibility that does.


A dominant concern with the acquisition and/or maintenance of image and status implies that there is a lack of concern with substantive personal growth and character.

Sure...generally speaking, most women want a man with integrity and commendable character. However, to allow themselves to be distracted by the prospect of palpable clout only places them at risk of ultimate relational disappointment.

Such women, having placed a higher value on material prestige, fail to assess whether or not their chosen male prospects have the integrity and character to help build a healthy relationship. Their disregard for essential virtues such as integrity and character, then, signifies a strong lack thereof within themselves; and it is that very lack of character within these particular women that actually renders them relationally ineligible. ironic.

Monday, May 30, 2011

On My Level - Part 1 :: Delusions of Compatibility

It's 2011.

In this day and age, women of color (namely African American women) are making substantial progress in the corporate/professional arena. With respect to their careers, they are ascending to and beyond various milestones of success and realizing many of their goals. They are undoubtedly a growing formidable power in the workforce.

With respect to education, and focusing primarily on the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virgina) demographic, to encounter an African American woman who does not possess at least one advanced degree is a rarity; although, however, it is most likely that she is currently in school in pursuit of such a degree.

Regarding financial status, many women in this category are oft times well compensated. They may live in anything from condominiums to single-family detached homes that they alone afford. They drive late-model vehicles. Their wardrobes are oft times far from meager in variety and breadth. They also vacation in premier locations across the country as well as abroad.

Such women have either worked hard to obtain this level of earthly success, or have been wise and prudent enough to properly manage and capitalize upon what has been passed down to them by, perhaps, their parents. Regardless of the cause or source of there status, they've made it. Unfortunately, though, earthly success has not equated to relational/romantic success for many of these women.

Within the context of romantic relationships, there exists a growing sentiment within this female demographic that suggests a man must have obtained the same level of earthly success before he can be considered 'eligible'. Amongst many of these women, it is a commonly held belief that a man is not 'on their level' if he does not either possess, or is not in pursuit of, the tangible distinctions of prosperity and education comparable to that of their own.

"There are a lot of women, though, who are trying to match up their education level, who are trying to match up their corporate status to find somebody on the same level..."
It would therefore be reasonable to assume that these women believe what makes one vocationally and/or materially successful would likewise produce relational success. After all, to establish comparable prestige as a prerequisite for 'romantic eligibility' not only implies that such "prestige", in their mind, is a conclusive measure of the quality of a man, but is also the foundation of a romantic relationship that is holistically successful.

No romance if no finance...yes? Arguably so. However, this frame of logic seems to venture far beyond the valid notion that a man must have livable income, progressive employment and, perhaps, reliable transportation before he is considered 'eligible'. To follow such logic would suggest, then, that the aforementioned parameters are insufficient; especially if the material credentials of the scrutinizing woman exceed them in any way. If that is the case.... Why?

Why is a man deemed 'ineligible' if he does not either match, exceed, or aspire to obtain the same tangible distinctions of prosperity and education as that of his female counterpart?

Why is comparable prestige a prerequisite to 'romantic eligibility'?

Why is the relational validity of a man measured by his corporeal prosperity?

Why, then, is the substantive character of a man, outside of all tangible wealth and status, widely neglected by so many amongst this demographic of women?

[See On My Level - Part 2 :: Elitism in the Dating Game COMING SOON]

Monday, April 11, 2011

The "Candy Store"

I hear it often.

Perhaps you're the type who says it all of the time...

"Men are lucky. There are millions of women in this area for you to choose from." ("Millions"? Ha...Right.)

It's true. The ratio of women-to-men in the DMV [For my out-of-towners...that's DC, Maryland, Virginia] is lovely. That is, 'lovely' from a male perspective.

Now, while the ratio itself is seemingly in our favor, the task of choosing one woman out of, say, a 'million' isn't quite so lovely. Sure, it's easy when you're on a mission for fun *wink*. A cute face and a nice 'distracting' frame is pretty much all a guy needs to make thangs happen - whatever those 'thangs' might be - and he'll take care of the rest.

But what if he's not one of those guys? What if he's not just on a mission for shameless conquest? What if this man was looking NOT for the next 'jumpoff', but for something worth real commitment? What if his standards called for far more than a cute face and body that makes Apple Bottom jeans look like throwback Jordache'? What then?

I'll tell you 'what then'...

That wonderful 'candy store' ratio quickly turns into a 'candy shelf in the grocery checkout line' ratio.

Yes indeed. With as many women as there are in this wonderful land of milk and honey [all metaphorical implications welcome], only a small few could actually make the cut when analyzed against the standards of a man who has decided long ago not to think with his...flesh. *cue rimshot*

Bold statement, yes.

Risky? Perhaps.

True? I would argue so. In fact, here are some major variables - if you will - that, once considered, illustrate how fast a 'candy store' becomes more like the exiguous 'candy rack' next to the Essence magazines and Sodoku puzzle books:

#1 - She's not a Christian.
This first variable is from the perspective of a man who is not only a Christian, but is also serious about his 'walk' ["walk" basically refers to a person's daily commitment to living a Christ-honoring life). For him, this is an immediate, and tragically disappointing, deal-breaker. Quite frankly, she could look like a "Clueless-era" Stacey Dash; but if she doesn't love Christ, she is not a viable option. Furthermore, this dismal reality is arguably more prevalent here in the DMV than, say, skinny jeans. So where does that leave our candy selection? *boxes of KitKats and Junior Mints slip and fall onto the floor*

#2 - She's 'saved', but not serious.
Even though this particular category of women happens to be Christian *cha-ching!*, you couldn't tell because they look, talk, and/or act like her non-Christian associates *womp-womp*. Her Christian 'walk' is virtually imperceptible outside of 11:15am Sunday service. You would know your way around every nightclub in DC just by browsing through her photo albums on Facebook. Her dress code, too, is often suspect. At first, some women within this category often tend to fool our man with their chosen attire. However, a little patient observance will soon allow that mini-skirt/stiletto/cleavage ensemble to make its appearance at the 30th birthday bash at *drumroll* the nightclub or lounge. *background noises of Snickers bars making impact upon the ceramic tile floor in a gradually increasing one-by-one succession*

#3 - She's just not 'into' men.
Okay... She's a lesbian. Obviously, this isn't going to work for our man. Furthermore, this seems to be the case for pretty much every 2 out of 5 women in the DMV area! (Shoot, maybe even 3 out of 5!) Oh, and "Bi-curious" fits into this category as well.

#4 - She is hard to look at.
Men have preferences. *sarcastic "GASP"* Such preferences also vary among men. Nevertheless, if any given woman falls short of his preferences, well... "We can be friends" *smile*

Okay... For you curious individuals, I'll briefly expound upon some of those preferences that men generally have. [keyword: GENERALLY]:

  • FACE
    A woman's face is perhaps the absolute most important feature that she could possess! It must attract. Not only that, but for an increasing amount of men, it must attract without the aid of *drumroll* make-up! [That's right ladies! Those hours spent turning your faces into a Van Gogh technicolor masterpiece could be working against you.]
    A woman's body is perhaps the absolute most important feature that she could possess!

    ...(wait for it)...

    Okay, yes. I said the exact same thing about a woman's face. It wasn't a mistake. A woman's body is pretty much on the same level of pertinence as her face. It, too, must attract. Not only that, but for an increasing amount of men, it must be attractive without the aid of *drumroll*, not make-up, but *drumroll* 'body shaping' undergarments (yes, men know about those). *rimshot* This applies mainly to those women who use such undergarments soley for superficial appeal, not to those who use them as a means towards weight loss. Nevertheless, regardless of the motive, know that these 'reshaper' tools risk projecting a false realty to the unsuspecting beholder. Be careful and, most of all, be honest. *throwback The More You Know shooting star glides across the screen*

    In addition to a woman's body being authentically attractive, it must be consistent. It doesn't matter if she's underweight, at-weight, or over-weight; if a man is attracted to it, he wants to remain attracted to it. Now, for all the aforementioned body sizes, adjusting your size/proportions in pursuit of improved health is ALWAYS a good idea...regardless of what a man is attracted to. So, if you're under/overweight, it might be time to hit up Weight Watchers...or Subway...and then the gym to tone that muscle. *cue Shawn T. Hiphop Abs*

    There are many other factors of a woman's 'look-at-ability', but I've already covered the most I did promise to be brief. Let's move on.
#5 - She is hard to deal with.
Loud. Obnoxious. Cantankerous. Disrespectful. Insecure. Crazy.
These wonderful S.A.T. words describe a wide demographic of women that most men dread and loathe. To cut to the chase, allow me to expound upon each attribute in brief detail:
  • Loud
    This is a sign of ignorance. She who possesses this attribute often lacks self-control as she tends to instinctively raise her voice beyond reasonable levels when she experiences feelings of anger and/or disgust.

  • Obnoxious
    The woman who possesses this attribute often lacks tact and, thus, tends to act out her anger and/or disgust with almost total disregard of her surroundings and environment (ie. a restaurant). Our man is virtually unable to take this woman anywhere without sure embarrassment. And, to make matters worse, any outward manifestations of his embarrassment are only sure to further enhance the performance by this woman. "Check please!".
  • Cantankerous
    This woman seems to have a deep-rooted inability to operate smoothly with the opposite sex. She lacks many of the fundamental skills of effective communication. She tends to view the man as a holistic threat as opposed to a companion. Cooperation with this type of woman is, thus, a phenomenon that is only in play when it is to her apparent benefit. A man who selects such a woman must be somehow prepared for constant friction and turmoil.

  • Disrespectful
    This woman is a oft times a mixture of the above attributes along with the added 'spice' of derogation. She is as much a private liability as she is a public liability.
  • Insecure
    This isn't your typical self-conscious woman who is worried about how her short chubby legs look while wearing a skirt. This doesn't even pertain to the type of woman who is sensitive about comments regarding the birthmark on her forehead. No. This class of insecurity refers to the type of woman who routinely performs covert reconnaissance missions through her man's cellphone contacts and call history while he is not around. *cue Mission Impossible theme music* This is the type of woman who makes frequent and unfounded accusations of infidelity. To her, any female who crosses her man's path is automatically a threat and, consequently, a cause of countless arguments and interrogations. She, too, can not be taken anywhere unless the man is prepared to defend himself against erroneous accusations of 'looking at this woman's chest' or 'that woman's butt'.

    Another interesting aspect of the insecure woman is her tendency to get distracted by direct attention from others...especially that from men other than her own. *raised eyebrow...Dwayne Johnson style* Because this woman needs constant attention - attention that her man alone can not provide - she is highly vulnerable to any source of affirmation and emotional pacification. To be frank, this type of woman, when single, is considered 'easy'. Once she is in a relationship, she is then most liable to be 'unfaithful'. *car drives by with Project Pat - Don't Save Her playing at full volume* "NEEEXT!"
  • CrAzY
    Many men, far and wide, have at least one grim tale concerning one of these types of women. *soft, gloomy crescendo of orchestral string ensemble* She may not only possess several, or all, of the above attributes, but she also carries the trait of *dunh duhn DUHN*...INSANITY! *classic Alfred Hitchcock scream in the distance*
    She has no control over her unstable emotions because, frankly, they control her - which tends to make her appear bipolar, schizophrenic, and high all at the same time. She is often delusional when faced with the mildest of stressful conditions. She is known to openly blame her man for mistakes that only men from her past have made. She often interprets most of the words and actions of her man as an attack upon her happiness, health, or...who knows. *SMH* She can be a habitual liar, a vindictive brat, or perhaps even a self-victimizing manipulator.
    The scariest part, though, is her ability to blend seamlessly into the pool of otherwise stable the beginning. She is often spoken of with high esteem by acquaintances and associates. At social events and gatherings, she is pleasant. She makes a wonderful first impression. However...*the colorful portrait slowly turns gray as the cheerful melody eerily transitions into twisted melancholy, complete with overdubbed voice of little girl singing "la la la..." slightly off-key* ...only those who have somehow delved deep enough to truly know her (ie. family and significant others) have any clue of her dark side. *cue iconic Jason Voorhees whisper*


    *slow creak followed by the loud metallic crash of wire-frame candy racks as Skittles, M&Ms, and IceBreakers scatter and bounce freely across the floor*

It is at this moment that our man of decent standard realizes just how little of a selection he truly has. He looks around his feet at the Butterfingers... the Snickers bars... the M&Ms. He sees the Skittles, once a personal favorite in his past days of naivety, and remembers that sweet artificial taste of strawberry. Briefly overcome by the lure of modified corn starch and xanthan gum, he proceeds to bend down and reach for a little red Skittle with that semi-faded white "S" imprinted upon its outer shell. His relapse is cut short as his inhibition reminds him that he's about to eat off of the floor. Returning to his senses, he scans across the remaining array of candy that has endured this brutal round of the discrimination process. It is a small shelf - the last one standing - and it displays a variety of much narrower proportions.

He reaches out to grab a shiny bag of Raisinetes. Peering at the nutrition facts, he notes the presence of several of his favorite ingredients. However, the amount of carbohydrates is a bit more than he would prefer. He sets it back down amongst the other yellow Nestle'-branded plastic bags. He tilts his head up and down the modest candy rack, scanning over the Altoids, shaking his head at the Starbursts, and sighing at the cute but unsatiating orange-flavored TicTacs. This rack here has nothing for him. Tastey and sweet they may all be...but not for him.

He leaves the aisle and proceeds toward the automated sliding doors. He's disappointed, but optimistic. His stride is calm. After all, what's the rush?