I broke my lease at my old apartment in Baltimore. It was a sketchy complex where tenants smoked weed on their back porch, played rap music loudly on Sunday mornings, and a package might be stolen from your doorstep if you were not home to receive them (sorry,Zappos.com). I was only partially employed when I moved there, so it was the best place I could afford and still keep all of my furniture. In hindsight, I should have sold most of it and moved into a decent studio.
I had only had one month left before my lease ended and my credit score was good enough for me to move in without a deposit. In my defense, I tried to organize a payment plan before I left, but the useless employees that worked on Saturdays only instructed me to leave my name and forwarding address in a legal pad until a manager could get back to me. My new job started almost immediately and on my moving day I nearly totaled my car in an accident. When I didn’t hear back from the stupid leasing office I simply let it go.
I was still legally obligated to pay the balance, so when I finally received a letter from their attorney two years later I explained my situation to her lest she think I was one of those dead-beat Negroes that skip out on their lease in the middle of the night. To my surprise, she sounded like someone’s kind, elderly grandmother. I told her my story and we had a nice chat about her grandson’s college career before getting down to business.
Attorney Grandma: So can you afford to pay $200 a month? (I owed them $887 and some change)
Me: No, ma’am not really. Would it be possible to pay $300 now and then $100 a month?
Attorney Grandma: Yes, that’s acceptable. Your payments will start on June 15th.
Me: I don’t suppose there is any way to postpone that? I’m off contract in June and I’ll probably be collecting unemployment.
Attorney Grandma: (sounding very sympathetic now) No, I’m sorry. I can’t postpone your payments. You said you have a sister; can she help you out?
Me: No, we’re already helping each other out as much as possible.
Attorney Grandma: Sounds like you need a boyfriend.
Sorry if it hurt when your jaw dropped to the floor or you snorted a beverage out your nose at the impropriety of her question. I swear I could not make this stuff up even if I tried! The sad thing was that someone her age who was living in a world of privilege (I had to assume from the size of her company and its clientele) had no idea how offensive her remarks were. Truth be told, I could have paid off the debt in full, but I didn’t see why I should make it easy for them and deplete my emergency cash fund in the process. Plus, I wanted her to gain a little empathy while she was collecting a debt for this band of slumlords. If I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t be too proud to accept financial assistance if he offered some, but she had no right to assume that 1.) I was single or 2.) That having a boyfriend would fix my problem. Attorney Grandma obviously does not realize that the modern, high-value, single woman no longer depends on a man for money. As long as she can support herself, she’s responsible to make her own decisions. Unfortunately, this same feminist “bump”, if you will, has produced a new set of problems for her when it comes to dating- she may never meet a man who can live up to her high standards.
It doesn’t seem like men’s standards have changed much for decades. A lot of men, especially those who have obtained some financial success, are inclined to choose a woman based on her age and looks. As long as she appears to have value, (especially to other men) he may overlook her lack of substance or means of supporting herself; that is, unless they get divorced and she takes half his money. Now there seems to be a trend among this new generation of men of forgoing committed relationships altogether in lieu of video games, Netflix, a “dad bod,” and one night stands he finds on Tinder. Certainly, there has to be some desirable ones left in the middle, but a lot of them are extremely difficult to find . . . desirable. They either don’t market themselves very well online, where first impressions are, however unfairly, vital to dating success. Either that, or some lucky woman snapped him up in college and he’s off the market for good.
Enter the modern, high-quality, single woman doing her thing. She’s got her own money, her own apartment and a vibrator in her nightstand. She tried online dating a lot– and it isn’t working for her. Either heartbroken or fed up with the bullshit, she decides to focus on loving herself. She gets in shape, works ridiculously long hours, builds her confidence and gains some wisdom. She spends time with friends, working on her hobbies and traveling. Now if she decides she wants some romance in her life, her needs are completely different. She’s a sexy, independent, intellectual and she’s secure enough to stand on her own. What she wants and needs is a fun and interesting companion she can continue to grow with, and maybe even gives her a little eye-candy. He doesn’t have to be a globe-trekking, adventurous Adonis, (unless that’s her thing) but he does have to show that he’s engaged in life beyond his 9-5 job and paying his bills. She is looking for someone relatively equal to her in status, attractiveness and accomplishment. She’s earned it right? Wrong. Now her standards are too high, particularly if she is past the age of thirty. This woman is told she better stop acting so entitled and just take what she can get. Let me say here that I won’t deny that men must have similar frustrations, but I’ll be damned if I don’t know of a lot of attractive, successful, single women and not one single man I could introduce to any one of them.
There’s an article from the Elite Daily on my Facebook page that is basically a rant/manifesto by a woman who sounds like she’s been on one too many disappointing dates. It’s unfortunate her credibility is overshadowed by her bitterness because she tries to make a valid point. Of course in the commentary, she is accused of acting overly entitled and having little to offer in return. Well, self-worth can be highly subjective and any attempts to quantify it would most likely be met with even more cynicism. One might question her approach at journalism, but that doesn’t make her frustrations any less real.
I mean the nerve of us women asking for the things that we want. It’s almost as if we thought we were men. I suppose it’s not our standards that need to be lowered, as much as our expectations to actually have them met. Listen to one of Paul Carrick Brunson’s matchmakers, Gee Sanders, advise women to adjust their expectations in this video, particularly if she doesn’t have an ideal body type. We all know the road goes both ways, but that doesn’t seem to be the message she’s implying. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume her message is intended for those women with an unreasonable, laundry list of superficial must-haves. She still leaves us with the overriding assumption that if a successful, attractive black woman is single and doesn’t want to be then she must need to adjust her attitude. Let me tell you, any woman who can afford this kind of matchmaking service isn’t looking for a provider, but only someone who can operate on her level. Maybe, as Kovie Biakolo suggests in this article in the New Pittsburgh Courier,
“Maybe Black women like many women who don’t necessarily see marriage as their route to status of any kind, have become more picky. And as far as I’m concerned, if you know that you’re a beautiful successful sista with a lot going on, why shouldn’t you be picky?”
All we want are the same things that couples who got it right possess. We know that we’re not perfect and a good relationship requires compromise and understanding. We only want to feel that we’re appreciated and valued in the same way we already feel about ourselves. We want someone who is willing to meet us halfway. We want what everyone wants: the feeling that we’ve found the real thing instead of a hollow, papier-mâché relationship we patched together out of desperation, loneliness and frustrated tears.
That is all the modern, high-value, single woman wants. That, and maybe a little eye-candy.
Is that really too much to ask?
For more on setting standards and conveying yourself as a high value woman, click here.