The Mythical Check List
Last night I had the privilege of sitting and speaking on a panel about relationships for the New York chapter of the National Urban League, alongside Jamilah of The Beautiful Struggler, Adam, and my good friend Demetria of A Belle In Brooklyn.
Don’t ask me why I was on there, clearly the people at the NYULP are geniuses, so there’s your answer. But I digress…
At one point the question was posed to both Adam and I about our thoughts on women who have a check list of sorts for the men they date. Most people know what I’m talking about. The check list is something a lot of men and women have in mind before they actually start dating someone. It varies from person to person, but on any given list such must-haves in a mate can include good credit, a height of at least 6’0 or better, a good job, a degree, great in bed, etc.
Of all the questions we were given, this was the one I was most anxious to answer, because I basically don’t believe it. I said as much yesterday, but for today’s post, I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of why this mythical check list is just that, a myth.
I believe everyone has a type, an ideal man or woman they would like to date, so when I say I don’t believe in the check list, I don’t mean to say it doesn’t exist. What I am saying is no woman has ever applied it to me, at least not literally.
As I said to the audience last night, I don’t think I have ever been an ideal type of man for any woman who has dated me. I stand at 6’0 legit, but there have been women I have dated who were a little bit taller than me (I love tall women, what can I say?). There have been women who always date doctors and lawyers, but then decided to date me, a writer. I have dated women who were older than me, made more money than me, and women who love to tell me they have never dated someone like me before in their life (whatever that means).
So then if I don’t meet the requirements listed on a woman’s mental sheet (or should I say sheets?) of paper, how do I get in where I fit in? Easily. It’s all in the approach.
The way I see it, the way I have always seen it, is my best chances of staying around for a while begin with how I step to a woman. If I come correct and she’s not interested, then who knows? Whatever the reason the woman I approach has turned down my advances, are hers to have, but I know it wasn’t because she saw my credit score.
What does my credit score have to do with anything when I just met a woman? Absolutely nothing. Ditto for all these other “must haves”. All that matters is I’m right there, talking to her right then, and she either is feeling this thing we have going on or she isn’t.
Things like a credit score, whether or not I have health insurance, and how much income I have coming in aren’t really relevant to any woman I’m dating until we’re in a relationship. When my funds become her funds, than we can worry about, well, my funds. But until then, asking me whether or not I have kids (I don’t) after meeting me in the first five minutes is going to send me all types of wrong signals, because if I say no, and she likes that answer, I am going to assume I’m one step closer to bagging her. Why else would she ask, right?
What I believe is if two people have a strong foundation, then whatever they had on their check list in the beginning can be erased. It was a valuable lesson I learned in my last relationship when I fell into some money problems.
Since my ex and I were living together, we split responsibilities on the bills, and my main responsibility was the rent. We agreed upon her moving in, she would pay 1/3, and I would pay the other 2/3.
Before she moved in, I was struggling at the time to make rent, and I actually fell behind by a month, but I never told her because frankly, I was embarrassed. Why? I don’t know, it’s not like she was ever one to care about money in the first place, but because I believed all women do care a little bit about how much their man makes, I never really discussed what I made with her.
One day, when we got home from work (we used to meet up after the work day to commute home together), there was a notice on my door, which basically said I need to come up with the money or we would be out of there in no time. Of course, my ex was upset, but not for reasons I thought she would be. While I was feeling all embarrassed about my financial state, and apologizing for not making enough money to hold down the fort like I told her I would, my ex wasn’t even taking issue with such matters.
As she explained to me, the thing that disappointed her the most wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t bringing home the bacon, so to speak. What upset her the most was I didn’t tell her the truth about what was really going on, and to her, it was a demonstration of my not trusting her. In other words, she wasn’t upset over some superficial item on a mythical check list (Requirement No 5: Must make X amount of money per year). She was upset because I violated a very fundamental thing, and that was being open and honest about everything.
I’m sure some women out there care very much about things like good credit and how much a person makes per year, but I would hardly say such things are written in stone. More like pencil, and any man worth his weight, can be an eraser. Like Biggie once said, all I really want to know when I meet her is, “Ask you what your interest are? Who you be with? Things to make you smile. What numbers to dial? You gonna be here for a while?”
That’s all I need to know. The rest will come in due time.