It started out innocently enough–with a tongue-in-cheek play on words that went over half of the audience’s head. Little did I know that it would reveal a greater problem with the dynamics of dating standards when it comes to men versus women.
The Facebook status read:
“I just got asked out on a date by the garbageman. Dating garbage men is pretty indicative of my love life as a whole.”
Some people understood that the second “garbage” was an adjective and not the actual occupation. Again, many of my statuses are either satirical, informative, comical and–on a good day–all of the above, but for some reason, a great number of people didn’t get it, which left me and other friends frustrated at the missed joke. “I just got asked out on a date by the garbage man. Dating garbage men is pretty indicative of my love life as a whole.” Some people got that the second garbage was an adjective and not the actual occupation. Again, many of my statuses are either satirical, informative, comical and–on a good day–all of the above, but for some reason, a great number of people didn’t get it, which left me and other friends frustrated at the missed joke.
My frustration, however, came from the fact that the common response was, “you should date him, they make a lot of money! They have good benefits! They make 80k a year…” or something of the like. Not to mention they missed the genius of my joke (side eye). Only one person after over 100 comments decided to even ask me if I said “yes,” because the immediate assumption was that my shallowness disallowed me to date someone who was a “garbage man,” versus solely dating men who turned out to be garbage. Not one person asked if I found him attractive, if he was nice, or if he had any other redeeming qualities. Nope.The general consensus was that I should date him simply because he made a lot of money. Even after I informed people that I wasn’t in need of someone who made a lot of money, and in fact, I was faring well on my own, it was still the driving point to the majority of everyone’s argument.
Which makes me wonder, why is there such a strong sentiment for people to think that a woman needs saving? This whole fairytale, Cinderella story of Prince Charming saving me from my four-bedroom house that I live in with my evil, cuddly cats and whisking me off to our happily-ever-after in his waste management truck is completely wack. In all honesty, he is very nice, but I don’t find him attractive, and while everyone is expecting me to be shallow in regards to how much money he makes, my shallowness lies in, “what my babies gon’ look like though?” I don’t relegate myself to being a damsel in distress and quite honestly, whenever I have found myself in a bind that I can’t get out of without help from an outside source, nine times out of ten, it has mostly been another woman who helped me. (Shout out to my mama, I love you girl, P.O.P. hold it down!)
Why are women forced into these archaic rules for dating? Why are women often relegated to, “you owe yourself this man, simply because he makes good money, you don’t have to like him, but you will learn to love him, he will take great care of you?” Got me out here feeling like Rose Dawson. Listen, there is nothing wrong with being a garbage man at all, and I would even date someone who was a garbage man, but in all honesty, my personality would probably vibe better with someone who was a starving artist rather than a paid garbage man–or more importantly–is that your endgame? I am an extremely passionate person and passion is also attractive to me. I would want to date someone who is passionate about what he does but I am also practical enough to know that pursuing your passion is not always attainable. Now, now, now, he could have been my Prince Akeem, “when you think of trash, think of Akeem,” and per the comments, he had his own money, but he wasn’t quoting Nietzsche either. He asked me out simply based on my looks and one dry ass conversation. I feel like I should have the right to turn him down guilt-free based on the same set of criteria. If he was fine and made me laugh, you best believe I would have my ass on the back of that truck, like, “let’s go boo,” but I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for wanting to be with someone who was someone I would consider an equal on multiple fronts.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but when men date, they are allowed to pursue women with a litany of “qualifications,” and in fact encouraged to do so. Men aren’t out here being told that they should date someone based on her financials. Men aren’t encouraged to date women they aren’t physically attracted to because she makes good money or has a big heart. Maybe one day when I’m tired of living the life of a lonely cat lady searching for love, I will feel differently, and turn that trashman into my treasure, just for the simple fact that I don’t have to be alone, but today won’t be that day, and next Wednesday at 10 am, isn’t looking too good either.