I just read yet another article on how more and more women are out earning their husbands, but I’m not linking to it because the conversation, frankly, has become old hat.
Will someone please explain to me why I should give a damn or be concerned if I were to ever date a woman who earns more money than me? It’s 2009, but even if it was 1909, I wouldn’t have a problem. As a matter of fact, I’ve been okay with this since around 2005, when I was a 20-year-old college student dating a 28-year-old lawyer.
Now to be fair, she was a domestic attorney, and for those who know anything about the law profession, domestic attorneys don’t bank quite as much as their corporate or malpractice counterparts. Still she had more than me and a house and a car in its current year of make. Meanwhile I had a meal plan, a dorm room (with strictly enforced visiting hours, to boot), and a 1995 Nissan Maxima (I actually called it a Minima, because it did the minimum amount of work a car could do) with power windows you had to roll down by hand.
Steadman Graham I was not (Oprah, she wasn’t either), but for the year-and-a-half we were together, money, or the lack of it, was never an issue for her, for me, or for us.
So when I read about these men who whine over not being the breadwinner in their family anymore I have to scratch my temple and wonder what the hell is wrong with these guys.
The reason no man should have a problem with a woman making more money than him is not because it means nothing but easy living — enjoying the spoils of someone else’s hard work is never a good look, no matter the gender — it’s because discriminating against a woman just because she brings home more coin than you is the male equivalent of a woman discriminating against a man who doesn’t make enough.
In other words: They’re acting like a bunch of gold-diggers, but I call them pride-diggers.
A pride-digger is a man who ties his self-worth to his wallet. If a woman is making more than a pride-digger, he gets itchy and uncomfortable with the role-reversal, thus making it difficult for him to see how good she is to him and for him. He won’t rest until he’s back to being the breadwinner, and so he digs and digs and digs as far as he can to earn more just so his pride can be realigned back in place.
If you ask me, it’s all a bunch of foolish, dogmatic, traditionalism. No person should ever measure a man by whether or not he makes more than his woman. He should be measured by how happy his woman is with him.
When I was with my ex, the esquire, I stayed in the picture for one year and probably made as little money as I ever have in my life. But if she had to stay late at work, you can bet I would drive out to her office to keep her company and bring some take out if she was hungry. What I realized is all I needed to keep her happy was make her laugh, put it down in the bedroom, and encourage her on days when she was ready to give up on her job.
Those three things are lessons I have applied to every girl since the esquire, but not because what was good for her is good for the rest of the ladies. It’s because making a woman laugh, putting it down in the bedroom, and lifting her spirits when they are down are priceless attributes a man can and should provide to his woman for free. Men should take some pride in that.