Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Ain’t No Recession Low Enough

I was reading on Naked With Socks the other day about laid-off men and how they’re handling the recession. Great, honest read about the fears that come up when a steady paycheck is no more.
Anyway, in the comments section, I came across an interesting exchange that was kinda on-topic/kinda off, but thought-provoking nonetheless:
From the woman (all quoted posts have been edited for clarity, in case you aren’t going over to NWSO to read):

I think of myself as quite a responsible young lady. And I’m not materialistic at all. But women think of men as providers. And in today’s society, I need somebody that is on my level. I have my own car, own place, professional/office full-time job, and I’m going to school. So I don’t want to sound like a terrible sistah, but if I’m doing all of this for myself, a man can’t really step to me unless he’s doing the same as me or better. If I find out a man lives at his mama’s house, he better have a goal of some sorts. Because no 30+ man should be comfortably living at their mama’s if there are no “situations” that he may be going through at this time. Do we take a chance with a blue-collar man even though his “affairs” may not be in order? I really think a lot of women have these questions in their head. Date him or don’t date him?

His response:

Ok, that’s great, but just like NWSO is no longer employed (it can happen to anybody) is the relationship over when his job is? You date for love not comfort. No real man wants to sit on his ass and be taken care of, but with that said I’m 28 with no car and I live at home with Big D (my Moms and for so many wrong reasons. Some not my fault, but most of them are). But I’m sweet, loyal, honest and will give whatever lady I’m with my all no matter how big or small. If you can’t love a person when they’re doing bad you don’t deserve to love them when everything is going great! There is a difference between somebody who doesn’t want anything from somebody who doesn’t have anything. Love should be based on what’s best for you. If you are that independent (own house, own car etc.), then why should it matter if he doesn’t have one? I’m not saying your man shouldn’t “put in.” What I’m saying is if he’s putting in everything he can, shouldn’t that be enough? And if it’s not, then that’s being shallow. I’m sorry. It is.

In a second reply, he added:

“You can’t really step to me unless you’re doing the same as me or better.”

Do you judge people’s worth on how much money they make? That’s sad. I’m great despite how somebody else views me. I have done so much 4 my female friends in the past couple of years and the minute I couldn’t help them anymore, I never heard from them again. I don’t harbor any ill feeling towards them. When I give, it’s from the heart. I can’t understand how people can place so much importance on something so shallow. When you are really in love all that other ish don’t matter– just the other person. You could easily miss out on true love worrying about being matched dollar for dollar.

So ladies, what do we think?

* Do you judge people’s worth on how much money they make?

*Can you date a man who is not “on your level?” If you’re a professional woman, can you date a blue-collar man?

*If you got it all, does it matter if he doesn’t? (Like you have it, you don’t need him to attain it. So does it matter?)

* Would you date a 28-year-old man who lived at home and had no ride?

*Do you date for love or (financial) comfort? Or both?

* I can pretty much assume that none of us are willing/wanting to date a man who doesn’t want anything. But would you date the man who didn’t have anything?

*Does love conquer all? Is a broke man doing his best OK for you?

My answers in order of the questions:

*No. My first two years in New York, I dated several investment bankers that were complete assholes. Every one of them. I’ve dated a couple lawyers who can frankly KMA (think hard- you know what I’m abbreviating) as well. (That said, I have nothing against lawyers. Investment bankers? Eh.) Good men are good no matter what they make. And assholes are worthless no matter how much they make.

*Eh. In theory. But in application, this hasn’t worked for me. It’s not what he does that bothers me, or even the earning potential of such (and um, the right blue-collar job with overtime can pay out the yin-yang). But I’ve observed that blue-collar jobs often (not always) come with a ‘blue-collar’ outlook. And by that I mean, the guys seem to see life as full of limitations instead of opportunities. For the men I’ve dated, life seemed to be a series of hustles, followed by never-ending struggles, and setbacks. I also think because they didn’t do financially so well, they had a hyper-masculine idea of manhood that didn’t go over well with my alpha-female/ independent streak. Oh, and they didn’t read. That’s not to say every man with a degree and a “career” is on point and a reader. In general, I’m just better able to understand their outlook and deal with the issues they tend to have. (And quite frankly, I do better with pure artist types than anyone else no matter what they actually “do” for a living.)

*It shouldn’t matter. If I’m honest it does. Still trying to figure out why. (I’m just giving you my knee-jerk answer.) It has something to do with having a sense of security.

*No. It’s a lifestyle issue more than anything. Plus, I wonder what growth stunt or major life setback landed him back in the nest A recent break-up/divorce? Bad money management? Home foreclosure, ie. massive debt? No job? Whatever the situation that landed him there, I would think his focus would be on getting out, not on building a relationship. And if he never left? No. (Unless there are massively extenuating circumstances.) Leave the nest, learn to fly.

*I want to say I date for love. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say financial security comes into play. Part of the ideal about pairing off is not just having a warm bed, but not struggling (as much) financially. Do you know what I could acquire if I had someone paying half the rent and bills?! (I’m talking about buying a condo, saving more, stashing in a 401(k), not just spending.) Splitting the bills is no reason to pair off, but I like to think of it as a little bonus that comes along with it. Money isn’t everything, but it is a thing. I have a lifestyle that I enjoy. Nothing extravagant, but I at least want a partner who can maintain it with me or we exceed it together. I don’t want to downgrade for love.

*I’d date a man who didn’t have anything. But he’d have to have a clear plan with time lines, a vision and a talent I could believe in. I can’t do hopeless dreamer.

*I dunno. My heart says yes. EFFORT counts for a hell of a lot. But as my boy would say, “you can’t put [effort] between two pieces of bread and eat it.”


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