Moving on up: What's Love got to do with it?
I grew up pretty fortunate. I was raised by a Single Mom, and although we didn’t have money for prestigious private schools, braces, and Tiffany bracelets, I had everything I needed. My mother, and the rest of my extended family made sure that I was well versed in the classics, educated on current events, and had a palate well suited for international foods. While I may not have been considered upper class, my standards were pretty high for where I wanted to be in life. However, I wasn’t one of those people who felt they were “above” certain things or certain people. My grandmother taught me to respect everyone I saw regardless of whether or not they were the janitor or the CEO. I carried that attitude with me everywhere I went.
With all that said, is it appropriate for a girl who grew up semi-silver spoonish to date a man who did not grow up in the same environment? In today’s society, women are beginning to outnumber our male counterparts when it comes to seeking out levels of higher education. Many times when we enter college we end up crossing paths with men who may not be from families or neighborhoods where we come from. It is not entirely impossible to fall in love with a man who may be less educated or make less money than we do. By society’s standards, two people from very opposite sides of the track should not fraternize with one another. Two people from different backgrounds could never make it in a marriage according to the constructs of their world. But how do you put a limit on love? Do you forgo any hopes of a decent relationship because you are waiting for someone that falls within society’s standards for you? Love doesn’t pay the bills, but money doesn’t keep you warm at night either.
True love definitely cannot be defined by anyone else’s standards except your own. I think that all too often people are so stuck on what they think they should be doing, that they tend to overlook unforeseen opportunities. Life doesn’t always end up how we imagined, so it is safe to say that the man who walks through that door every evening may be wearing a set of coveralls and a baseball cap instead of a suit and tie. But it’s all in what you make it. You have to look at what the person is offering you emotionally and spiritually. If in fact you decide to marry a man who makes less money than you are accustomed to, then by all means be prepared to pick up the slack. Don’t chastise him years later because he couldn’t afford to buy you that shiny new BMW you wanted. And if want you want is a man in a suit and tie that makes six figures, then be prepared to sit up and wait long hours while he’s working overtime. Some of us choose to go to college in pursuit of our dreams. Instead we come out with a mountain of debt and a job that doesn’t even cover our student loan payments. Others work their way up, slowly saving their nuts for the winter. It’s all about what you are looking for in a mate. You have to assess your needs and values and determine what’s important to you.
One of my favorite television couples of all time was Dwayne and Whitley from ‘A Different World’. Dwayne, a Brooklyn brainiac of humble beginnings was always pining away for Whitley, an upper class Southern Belle. I remember an episode where Dwayne asked Whitley if she had her choice would she pick a man who was smart, or a man who had money. Always on her toes, Whitley looked over her shoulder and replied coyly “Oh definitely a smart man….because that type of man is never poor”.
Truer words have never been spoken Ms. Whitley.