Looks and money aren’t everything. In fact, they come in somewhere between second and last place.
“Guys, if a woman tells you she doesn’t care how much money you make, she’s lying, don’t believe her.”
That was the closing line in a submission I recently fielded for The Good Men Project.
I didn’t accept the article, but it got me thinking. (OK, my knee jerked all the way to my chin and I gave a second’s thought to totally blasting the author for personally insulting me, but AFTER that it got me thinking.)
Because any time I put my editor’s hat on and review an article for publication here I ask myself, “How would our audience respond to that?” Not that we don’t publish anything that our audience disagrees with, I’ve got plenty of troll action on my own posts to prove it. But while we don’t aim to AGREE with an audience, we do aim to engage an audience in a conversation about what it means to be a man. So we do think about how our audience will respond to our content.
In asking that question I realized that it was likely that a large number of our audience, of both genders (our readership is about 30% female) would have agreed with that point of view. The idea that all women care about a man’s bank account, or at least his earning potential, is a prevailing belief system.
Because movies – Watch any movie about a young woman getting engaged and it’s almost guaranteed that someone will ask, “But what does he DO?” Of course they mean, “What does he do for a living and is it respectable and lucrative?”
Because Social Media – Did you read the one about Ms. Pretty and Mr. Banking CEO? If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably seen it more than once. And you’ve probably seen a string of gloating comments after it along the lines of, “Good for him, she deserved it!” (I figure they both deserve exactly what they get, my response to that meme one was one of my first articles for GMP.)
Because men – Like the author of the article we didn’t publish, a lot of men are focused only on the women who DO care about a man’s ability to “provide” for her. Just like the women who focus only on the men who DO care about a woman’s ability to be decorative “arm candy,” they’re blind to example after example of long-term life partners who don’t fit that stereotype, they only see the examples of rejection after rejection from people who DO.
Because women – Yeah women. Because there ARE a lot of women whose first concern is being “provided for.” Loving and being loved ranks somewhere between second and last place. Just like there ARE a lot of men whose first concern when choosing a mate is whether or not she fits his idea of beauty, or even more superficial, fits his peer’s idea of beauty. Some people choose their mate for security, social status, ego, whatever.
If you believe that all women care about is money, and all men care about is looks, maybe you need to look at what YOU care about. What attributes do you value? Do you put yourself down because you think you don’t make enough money? Or because you think you aren’t attractive enough? Maybe the potential dates and mates you come across are just a reflection of what YOU think is important.
People looking for superficial attributes tend to end up in superficial relationships. And what happens when those attributes go away? Mr. Banking CEO may think that his asset (money) is an appreciating asset while Ms. Pretty’s asset (looks) is guaranteed to depreciate. Really? Because banking is such a secure profession these days? And because we haven’t been showing amazing progress in slowing the aging process? Nothing is guaranteed, not looks, not money. Not even love, but I’d put my money on love.
I don’t care how much money a guy makes. I do not need to be provided for. Luckily I am a healthy adult, with intellect and skills, and I’ve made my own way in the world since before I was 18 years old.
That said, if I’m going to be in a partnership with a guy I DO care that he cares about making money.
Yeah, I do. Because I care that he cares about making a contribution to our life, to the lifestyle we choose, to the future we’re building, to the dreams we share.
But it’s never about the number of dollars in his bank account, or the amount of money he expects to earn in his lifetime, it has to be about his commitment to making a contribution. Because if I only cared about the amount, no amount would be enough. But when we’re partners in creating a life, and a lifestyle, and we’re both doing our best to contribute to our goals together the amount is somewhere between second and last place on my list of priorities.
And yeah, I expect him to care about my looks. I expect that he’ll expect ME to care about my looks, that he’ll notice if I take the time to look special for special occasions, that he’ll realize that those extra minutes I spend in front of the mirror before we go to dinner are my way of showing respect for him.
But it can’t be about how good I look when we leave for the restaurant, it has to be about the respect I show by making the effort. Because if it’s about a standard of beauty, hey, there’s always someone prettier. But if what he cares about is my respect for him and my willingness to look my best, whatever that may be, then I’m always going to able to meet that standard.
I’m not looking for superficial numbers on a bank statement, and I don’t want to be with a guy who’s looking for a women who makes his friends green with envy.
I’m looking for a partner.
Well, actually I’m not. Because I’m in a relationship with a wonderful man who does care about making a contribution to our life, and who does notice when I take extra care with my appearance when we go to dinner.
That, you see, is part of why I’m with him. Because he doesn’t need to provide for me, and I don’t need to impress his friends. All we need is to love and care for each other and let the Ms. Pretty’s and the Mr. Banking CEO’s of the world fight about the superficial stereotypes.
Photo: Flickr/Tax Credits