Sunday, November 19, 2006

Priced Out of the Market

One of my girlfriends recently accepted a very lucrative position. Of course, we're all very happy for her and proud of her. She's worked hard and deserves this opportunity. However, after the initial congratulations, we began talking about how lucky she is to already be engaged with a date set. You see, we have reason to believe that if she were single, she'd be pricing herself out of the dating market with this new position. The media is quick to tout the statistics that the higher black women move up the corporate ladder the slimmer their chances are of finding a mate.

I've heard plenty of men say that they don't have a problem with their woman making more money than them as long as the woman doesn't 'flaunt' it. I think deep down, most good men want to be the providers for their families. I also think that the person with the higher income can slip into a money power trip without meaning to. Unfortunately, when the man has the money power trip, it's expected, therefore not a big deal. But, when the woman does it, it's emasculating.

This is going to sound very retro and possibly anti-feminist, but, I don't think women can 'have it all'. Society is just not built to support us in that way. I think that it's hard to near-impossible to nurture yourself, your family AND your career. Something's going to fall by the wayside. Sometimes, we end up neglecting ourselves. We stop eating right, we don't make time to hit the gym, we don't make our monthly spa visit and we miss out on opportunities to feed our spirit.

As a woman of a certain age, considering the next stage in my life, I'm seriously troubled by the fact that my career success may translate into a relationship roadblock. How can I make it all work? My typical MO is to playdown my resume. Early on in the dating sequence, I've stopped mentioning that I have a graduate degree. Since most people not in IT don't really understand much about IT, instead of saying that I manage multi-million dollar software development projects, I just say I work on computers. LOL When I get raises and bonuses, I celebrate with my girlfriends. It's funny though, because guys that I date will share all of this information with me within the first few dates and the result is just as they expect it to be. I'm impressed and happy for them.

This all makes me think of that Jill Scott song, the one where she talks about how she can do all this stuff around the house, she can raise a child, etc. But, she still needs a man around. (The song is The Fact Is (I Need You). It's track 4 on the last CD) That's how I feel. I can deliver exceptional impromptu presentations at work, but, I still leave half empty bottles of water all around my apartment. I don't know why. (I started buying those little kid bottles so that I wouldn't have any leftovers. ;-))I just do. I am an awesome mentor to my junior team members. But, my red car has a layer of dirt on it so thick, it looks burgundy because I'm not good at the whole car washing thing. I have digestion problems, so I need somebody to rub my tummy every now and then. Sure, I could pay to have all this stuff done. But I don't want to. I want my man to do it. I just hope I don't price myself out of the market.



news2me said...

This is a tough one, Penni, because our definition (black women) of provider has changed over the years and the black man's definition has only gotten to the first base of change. We've grown up in an age where single motherhood is more the norm than a 2 parent household and it's forced us to be prepared for a different reality and to think differently of our roles/expectations in relationships with men.

The idea of pricing myself out of the market is scary and real at the same time b/c the world of black men is older school and still at first base while we're saying 'No, brother, come on home, we are at home.' They still have some perspective changing to do on the new 'we' concept. We can have it all if our definition of 'we' means we're on the same team.

I wonder if our sistren of different races and cultures are experiencing this same thing. I wonder if our brethren of different races and cultures relate better to the first basers and not a more evolved concept. I don't have an answer for that.

But I will offer two words, be who you are no matter who is sitting across the table from you. Be fabulous, insightful, and intelligent, as your blog says you are AND if the price is right, it's undeniable. Peace.

Penni Brown said...

Hi News2Me - I agree that our definition of provider has changed over the years. That's not just in the black community though. The definition has changed in mainstream america as well. There is an old saying that when white america gets a cold, black america gets the flu. The implications of change in our community have a much greater negative impact. Even when white women expand their role in the household, everywhere they look, men that look like their man is running things. Not so, in our world. I say all that to say, we can't necessarily do what 'they' do. We have to look at what's best for 'all of us'.

Thanks for your comment. It's always a pleasure reading what you have to say.