Gwen Guthrie was basically telling brothas in that song to hand over the cash. Check the lyrics out! I just really peeped ’em today and never really paid attention. Guess I was too busy jamming to the song (it’s catchy as hell!). The precursor to songs like Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills”*, Guthrie makes it plain:
Boy, you’re silky ways are sweet
But you’re only wastin’ time if your pockets are empty
I’ve got lots of love to give
But I will have to avoid you if you’re unemployed
Now I must say that the song is pretty extreme but there IS something to it all. Not so much the “what are you gonna do for me/put some money in my hands” part. But just the idea that expecting your significant other (SO) to have a J-O-B is not asking for much at all.
As I’ve mentioned, I was working with homeless clients this summer. I got about three marriage proposals/inquiries. Probably because I have 4 walls and a roof, but I’d like to think it was also because of my stunning smile and charming personality. Anyway, one guy who was really sweet said something like, “oh, you wouldn’t want a guy like me anyway. You probably want somebody young and rich and with a house.” I responded, “well, no, he doesn’t have to be rich.” Implying that yes, a place to live and younger than my grandpa would be preferable. I was serious about the rich part, though. You don’t have to be rolling in the dough to be my man, but you damn sure better have a job (all of this doesn’t count for people who had a job and got laid off or are unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control like an injury or some shit).
I’m not trying to be supported. I’m not trying to get rich off of a man. HOWEVER, I have become accustomed to certain things. See, I grew up not having much and yeah, I know how to get by on very little. I don’t want to, though. I don’t have to. That’s why I’ve been going to school all of these years and trying to put myself into a position where I can do the things that I want to do without being hindered too much by the cost. If I’m going to be in a relationship with someone, he’s going to have to meet me at that level.
I have dated a range of guys: A GED recipient who moved mattresses for a living (while trying to get signed as a rapper) to a Wharton grad who traveled the world and drove a Porsche. It’s not particularly important what you do. One past relationship involved a guy who was perpetually broke and content with doing nothing but watching TV at home because that was free (he stole cable). When we first met, we did all kinds of things together and really had a good time. That shit came to an abrupt halt though and we just sat around. I still liked doing those other things, though: going out partying with our friends, out to dinner, movies, amusement parks, EVERYTHING. So in order to continue doing the things I enjoyed, things I wanted to do with my SO, I had to foot the bill for myself and for him. Everytime.
Yall, I was working in nonprofit. I was paying rent at my place in a pricey area of town, a car and other normal living expenses, all of which I could handle for myself. But tack on the expense of paying for my man and for feeding him several times a week (buying groceries & cooking at his crib or going out) and I’m starting to lose MY cushion cash (the stuff you use for a new pair of shoes or to visit a friend out of town)!
I imagine some guys would get pissed at this point and say something like, “why do you have to have so much? why can’t you be satisfied with a man who has a regular job and can’t afford all of this and that?” My response: First of all, I don’t expect a guy to kick out the full cost of everything that I want. I do expect that we can chip in together on some things. The burden shouldn’t be on one person all the way. Secondly, I like what I like. I refuse to dumb down or cut out things I enjoy, things I could afford to do solo, because my man is a bologna & cheese nigga.
We need balance and there can’t be balance if I’m carrying all of the weight. So, while I maintain a dude doesn’t have to be ballin’, he does have to be into the same things I’m into and see value in some of the good things life has to offer. True, many of those things are free and low cost, but there are times when you just want to go out to a bourgie ass restaurant in your bourgie ass outfit and order a bourgie ass drink and leave a bourgie ass tip because it’s fun. I don’t want to do that with a nigga who’s going to hem and haw, spending 15 minutes talking about the prices on the menu.
And hey, if we can come up with ways to do things we both enjoy for free or low-cost… I’m ALL aboard. That’s more money I can put towards a snazzy briefcase or my weekly blowout! Because, see, I am not rich. I am not balling. I just know what I like and I’m going to hustle to make it happen. My SO should be on that same page.
I still feel like I haven’t made myself clear here, but I know some of yall feel me.
So really, how important is money to a relationship?
*By the way, “Bills, Bills, Bills” isn’t really that bad of a song as some men were screaming about back then. The song is about some no-count asshole who ran up his girl’s phone bill, maxed out her credit card, drove her car and didn’t fill up the tank and telling his friends that he was balling. Hell yeah she should be asking if he can pay those bills. HE ran them up!!