Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Work for the man you want?

When it comes to the opposite sex, I'm a late bloomer - relatively speaking. My first date was my junior prom with my gay best friend. Hmmm, considering that let's be real. My first date was in college.

Dating at that point was just for fun; an extra-curricular social activity second to the work of school. Yes. I cared about the men who I spent time with, some very deeply. There was at least one real love there, maybe more. But they weren't my priority, and they shouldn't have been, as I was taught. Or should they have been?

Go to school, work hard, get a good job. You can do anything you put your mind to. These familiar adages preached to me from the moment I stepped into pre-K at Westside Elementary School have stuck to my ribs, the very inner of my being. I've listened and followed the directions necessary to achieve my career goals to a T and it's worked out just fine; but what about my goals for my social and family life? I know that I want to be married and have children, in addition to being a brilliant dancer and choreographer. They are equal life desires. I know I'm not meant to live my whole life as a solo artist. I do indeed enjoy independence, and treasure the opportunity to be SYDNIE!, but at some point SYDNIE! needs and wants a permanent companion.

Where is the advice for your five year old to help her achieve her relationship goals? If I could be taught before I understood what it is to be grown up, how to be a successful career woman, why was I not also taught how to achieve a family, if that's what I want?

I was reading over on ABelleinBrooklyn.com recent posts about Entitlement. Belle's blog entry facilitates a discussion about women feeling entitled and deserving of a man, because they have achieved certain milestones career wise in life.

She writes:

I did a roundtable recently with some single men and (without giving too much away) one of the gentlemen, 30, pursuing an Ivy League advanced degree, brought up an observation that he’s noticed while dating:
[some] women feel that, because I went to the top HBCU, I went to the Ivy League, and I have a certain type of salary, I’m entitled to a certain type of man. Wrong. Wrong. You’re not entitled. You did that for yourself, not for us.
He added:
I refuse to settle for a woman who bases their romantic decisions on biological and social-economical clocks. Okay, you got your career you wanted. You got everything you wanted. Now you want kids. So now you want to marry me? That doesn’t make sense.
I couldn't agree with this man more. It doesn't make sense that you should all of a sudden magically have what you want relationship-wise because your career is on point. If you worked for your career and made that work, why wouldn't you also work for the man you want? It doesn't make sense to me that if you really want a lasting relationship, that you put it on the back burner first and only when the job is just right, you bring it forward. At what point are we suppose to transition from love and relationships being an extra-curricular activity to being a priority? Do we have to choose?

Is there a plan for love?



jinglin' baby said...

unfortunately, we live in a world where women seriously out-number men. we also live in a world where lots of our black men are/have been incarcerated and dont date "us". let's also throw in the fact that we just wont be compatible with every guy we meet. so, if thats the hand we're dealt why would we put finding a man at the top of the list?! im all about securing my own financial freedom BEFORE i get seriously involved with someone. if i fall in love along the way...fine. im not saying put a man on the back burner, but i'm also not going to spend my days chasing after a man that 45 other women want as well. i'd much rather be chasing that promotion or that raise...since often times its actually more attainable than the man.

Mexifro said...

I think your blog is so on point and exactly what a lot of my fabulous lady friends and I talk about these days. I don't think our culture has designed the type of man for our type of woman yet. I mean what man really wants a woman who is as smart, as capable of earning money, and probably more capable of running a household, raising kids, cooking, cleaning etc? Not because this doesn't sound good in theory, but in reality if we don't think we need anyone to complete us, then what is the point of having a partner? We both need roles and we both need to contribute somewhat equally to each other's lives. But who plays which role and when? I don't want to be a completely frustrated and exhausted working mother like mine was. This is not the legacy that I want to inherit, but now that I am 3 years from 30 and my biological clock has (gasp) started ticking, I am starting to see that "having it all" just means trying to look like everything is balanced when it isn't. My priorities are starting to shift more to family and partner but I still have no idea how to balance that priority with the career one...the life purpose one...the one that I feel I was born to manifest.

I have dated the past year and a half with the premise that "I am not looking for anything serious" because I am focused on school and career now. So every man I date I don't take seriously. And guess what? At some point, no matter how much they liked me in the beginning or saw me as girlfriend material, they also started to not take me seriously...and that no matter how pragmatic and logical just plain 'ole sucks! I am left thinking perhaps I have it backwards. That you cannot compartmentalize your life like this and expect that everything you desire will just fall into place magically as it is suppose to. I have faith that there are enough good men out there for all of us. I agree that dating minority men is extra challenging for many reasons that deserve another post, but I also feel that we are responsible for how we make men feel when we put them second, third, even fourth place in our lives.

Sydnie said...

@jinglin' baby: My friend Tara brought out the same point - that pursuing the career is so much more concrete than pursuing a partner. I guess my point/question is, even if there is no specific plan to find your mate, shouldn't we expend just as much energy on it if that's what we really want?

@Mexifro: I think some men do want a superwoman: someone who clearly is capable to do it all, but allows them to help him out, share the load. In today's society I think that is a more ideal partnership.

I agree with you that if you don't take your man seriously, then the feeling will be reciprocated. I haven't actually experienced this myself, but it only makes sense. Is it possible to expend equal energy toward the career and the man?


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