Thought for the Day:
“A man is not a financial plan.”
Question for the Day:
Are you looking for a man to save you?
Alright, so how many of you are looking forward to Valentine’s Day because it represents an opportunity to cash in on an expensive dinner or a gift that can hopefully be featured in your next well-crafted social media post? I can see my timeline now. Endless pics of open jewelry boxes and dew-kissed bouquets of flowers complete with sticky sweet hashtags like #someonelovesme or #frombae. I can hardly wait. (deadpan) Don’t get me wrong y’all, I enjoy nice things too and would love to have a little something extra to add to my jewelry box this year. Yet, with me and my husband’s current budgetary constraints, I’ll be satisfied with some form of extravagant dessert and a foot massage. I’ve never been a materialistic person, but when you’re raising three kids and have experienced real financial hardship, stuff that is often purchased to represent love becomes far less valuable than the respect, trust, and loyalty that actually IS true love. What matters most to me now after almost fifteen years of marriage is that my husband continues to go to work, be a good father, stay faithful, and support me. As long as he does these things, I don’t really need an expensive token of affection because a man’s “act right” is worth infinitely more. However, many women still believe that “love” is all about the dollars and cents and have lost sight of what makes a healthy relationship truly precious. Strangely enough, a West Coast hip hop icon was one of the first to teach me this lesson.
If you were anywhere near Cali around 1993-1994 you couldn’t go far without hearing E-40’s “Captain Save a ‘Em” bumping out someone’s subwoofers. I was about twenty at the time and remember going home on summer break from Howard University and being introduced to it by my boyfriend at the time. This underground classic is still to this day, one of my jams. If you’ve never heard it, it basically suggests that women who have expensive tastes or children in need of support should be on the look out for “Captain Save ‘Em,” a man who might be eager to offer financial support in exchange for sexual favors. I’m being really politically correct here because I realize that my super spiritual sisters may take offense to me admitting that this is my song, but it is what it is. E-40 has a unique cadence and way of dismantling vocabulary that is not only profoundly original but often, flat out funny! Not only is this song’s beat off the chain, but I laughed out loud the first time I heard it. I actually still own the single on tape and found myself playing it while taking a trip down memory lane, courtesy of the most awesome cassette tape collection this side of heaven. Yes, I still bump cassettes. You can take the girl out of the 90’s but you can’t take the 90’s out of the girl! I think my favorite line is:
“Make that man take care of your kids, make that man call your kids his, make is butt get out there and work, make him buy you a Dooney and Bourke. It’s all part of that brother take care of me, sex-whipped man come save me! Girls out there be on the lookout for Captain Save ‘Em yo, cause he’s saving those.”
Classic! Of course, I had to do the church lady edit here because there were quite a few curse words in that excerpt but I respect y’all enough to keep it clean. (Google it on You Tube though if you want to hear the original, but consider yourself warned) Anyway, though not for children, the song is appropriately provocative in its ability to paint a clear picture of the quintessential “gold digger.” We all know women like the ones described in the song. There are indeed women who see men as their own personal ATM machines and infinite lines of credit. Like American Express, they’re accepted everywhere and typically have no limits. You’ll find them trolling the VIP section at the club or sniffing around music video sets, hopeful that one day a brother with sufficient ends will come along and save them from themselves. As a counselor, I’ve talked to women who are quick to give me the screwface when I suggest a second job or returning to school in response to their financial hardships. Yet more often than not, they are perfectly content to keep using men and compromising themselves if it means regular access to someone’s paycheck.
An inconvenient truth is that many women will spend more money, time and energy on looking attractive enough to hook the big fish rather than on becoming the big fish. Some ladies could easily put themselves through college for all the money they spend on lace fronts, red bottoms, gel manicures, boob jobs, and butt enhancements. If you’re willing to pay layaway accounts all over town for over-priced clothing or pay for your Brazilian hair in convenient monthly installments, then you can certainly make a student loan payment. (ijs) Ironically, many women are much more willing to invest in the external, though internal beauty is the only thing that will keep a man of substance engaged long-term. Materialism in and of itself is issue enough, but using a man to feed this unhealthy need to self-validate takes this dysfuntion to a whole new level. I believe men shouldn’t be automatically expected to do for a woman what she refuses to do for herself. Yes, it is a man’s responsibility to provide for and protect his woman, but women are also called to be help meets for their men. I don’t think the entire burden of a woman’s financial security should fall solely on a man’s shoulders. In fact, I suspect that a man would take greater pride in taking care of a woman because he wants to rather than because he has to. If you can’t eat unless your man gets paid, then you’re a child, not a partner. I personally don’t believe this is ultimately what men look for in a mate.
In this age of “The Real Housewives,” the sacrifice of female dignity in exchange for the latest handbag is par for the course. Nothing seems to matter so long as you have a man that can afford to satisfy your need to keep up with the Joneses. We women have gotten way too comfortable with letting our own personal growth and development go so long as there’s a man with deep pockets prepared to pick up the slack. If you are a woman who is refusing to invest in your own financial future because you are banking on being “saved,” here are 5 reasons why you’re ultimately playing yourself.
- If the relationship fails, you fail. – I am a big believer in fighting for relationships and making marriage work, but the reality is, many just don’t. Add to that the fact that a gold digger and her financier’s relationship was likely rooted in a money for sex exchange as opposed to true love, and it’s fair to assume the relationship won’t have legs. If you had no education, no career, and no savings when you entered the relationship, you are essentially one “deuces” away from skid row!
- It’s too much pressure – If the only cards you’re holding are your looks and bedroom skills, then maintaining those advantages becomes your full-time job. Age will become an ever-looming enemy that threatens to take you out at any moment. There’s always going to be someone younger, tighter, and freakier willing to step in the minute you’re caught slipping. One too many nights in your bonnet or ill-timed “headaches” and you may find yourself replaced.
- You are no longer your priority – When you’re indebted to a man for everything you have, he has to be your priority. Your plans and desires will have to take a back seat, because keeping your man happy will always be the first order of business. You don’t have time to “do you” because “you” ain’t paying no bills! Isn’t that what we tell are kids when they start insisting on their own way?
- You’re self-esteem will eventually suffer – Gold digging may be cute in your twenties and might make you the envy of all your hard-working girlfriends who must fight their way up the corporate ladder. Yet if you’re a forty plus woman who can’t even go to Wal-Mart without asking your man for gas money, it’s no longer a good look. Self-sufficiency is one of the best ways to develop a sense of competency. It’s easy to boast about how strong you are as a woman, but genuinely high self-esteem requires that you prove it.
- It sends the wrong message – As the mother of a daughter, I would never want my little girl to believe she is limited in the level of success she can achieve independently. It will always be important for women to model for their daughters that the right man will be an asset to your life but not its entire value. I want her to know that she can be as rich as she decides because she was born with God-given treasures that pay immeasurable dividends. A gold-digging mentality sends the message that we women are not enough on our own and need to be upgraded to any relevant level of worth. If you’re not willing to tell your daughter as much, don’t live it before her either.
Real talk ladies. It’s time to close our legs, open our minds, and cut the gold digging out. Trying to build upon a foundation of men, money, and designer heels might give you a temporary sense of accomplishment, but it’ll eventually lead you into spiritual bankruptcy. If you find yourself broke, busted, and disgusted at the end of every relationship, then it may be time to pursue a relationship with Jesus, the only one who truly saves.