I ain't saying I'm a gold digger, but yes, you have to have a little gold.
Let me give you a little context to explain my decision. When I was 19, I started my own very successful freelance writing business and by the age of 22, I dissolved it not only because of the economic downturn, but because I saw a more profitable career in Corporate America. Within three years, I was making six figures, flying across the country, buying stocks and working to earn a master’s degree - all while working full-time. I made good and bad choices financially, and twice, I’ve walked away from jobs, leaving me with no income streams. But divine intervention from God and my ability to get back in the game allowed me to recover each time, coming back more financially stable and resilient than before. I now find myself in another decently-senior position in a Fortune 500 company, writing this blog, sitting on important non-profit committees and attending high-profile parties in between.
So to be clear, I'm not someone who is looking for a meal ticket, I'm looking for my equal.
That may sound like a tall order, especially since you've likely seen me go on dates with men who pay for dinner with coupons, just the same as you've seen me date successful men who are jerks. I've tried both because I know jerks come with checking accounts of all sizes and the best man isn't necessarily the richest man. (In fact, he's usually middle of the road.) But I don't just desire a nice guy, I desire MY guy.
Around the tenth time a man shamed me for wearing $900 shoes or paying for a country club membership, I made a declaration: I would no longer date men who weren't in a similar financial situation. The only exceptions I would allow were professions in education, retirees from certain fields or someone with "a strong potential" based on similar drive, education and ambition. I've learned that if a man is ambitious and aggressive enough, there's no way he'll be financially challenged forever. Just like a start-up with a lot of buzz, his stock will go up over time, and that's an exception worth making.
Now before you jump down my throat and tell me I'm being elitist, let me explain my reasoning further.
Similar socioeconomic class = better match.
Recently, I began to notice that my longest relationships are with those in the same socioeconomic class as me, and that I tend to date men on the more affluent side. Then, I decided to put a number to it: Situations lasted longer and were ultimately more successful when the guy made over $75,000 annually. While I can't fully explain the $75K figure, it really just stuck. In business, we have a term called Key Performance Indicators, essentially meaning that if you perform at the desired rate, you'll yield successful results. Thus, seeing that I usually date men in their mid-thirties and early forties, it makes sense that by that time, he should have a house, car, and decent credit. And if he makes $75K a year or above, I can safely assume he has a similar education and drive and we'd have a better shot at being a good match.
Less affluent men are intimidated by me.
Men who aren't in the same socioeconomic class are intimidated by me - the restaurants I want to go to, the type of clothes I wear, my home. Little by little, they begin to put me in a box and start judging me based off my affluent lifestyle, rather than on the fun we have together and the shared interests we have. Guys I've gone out with have called me 'bourgeois' — one even called the community I lived in 'stuck up' twenty minutes into our date. I've even been out with guys who make it clear they're looking for the woman to be a breadwinner — and let me tell you, there's nothing enticing about a man who's a gold digger, either.
It forces men to show me who they are (minus their material posessions.)
While it could purely be my subconscious working in favor of my theory, I noticed that doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, executives and other similar types didn't question my lifestyle choices because they had the same lifestyle. We had similar cars, jewelry and other material things, which led to an unspoken assurance that neither was dating the other for financial security. And since men are used to impressing women with material things, it also forces them to show me who they really are a bit sooner. Also, instead of focusing on the glaring economic differences between us, we have more time to focus on religion, family, goals and other things that help build the foundation in any good relationship.
Also, men with higher incomes have typically dedicated and invested in their future, which means he won't just support my career ambitions with encouraging words, but he'll empower me to become stronger and sharper because he's been there and understands a high-stake environment. That's a hard conversation to have with a man who's made $30K for the past decade. It's very difficult to explain to someone why you work yourself so hard when their income may be a reflection of complacency (even though sometimes it isn't). They can support me emotionally, but they can't necessarily be a partner to a woman like me.
And no, I'm not shallow.
I'm sure many people will disagree with my stance, and there are days when I disagree with myself. For instance, when I go on a date with a guy who makes less than $75K and then feel sh*tty about my aforementioned income requirements. Let me make it clear: Not dating men who make less than a certain amount of money isn't about being shallow or liking nice things. I'm one of the hardest working people I know, and I simply want a husband who works equally hard and brings the same if not more bacon to the table. I want to know that if we ever went broke or faced a tragedy, we'd both work through it and have the endurance to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. And no one should make me feel bad about it.
But I have one caveat: If I make an exception to the income rule, I know the man must be secure in himself and his manhood, because a man who can't hold his own beside me, can't stand next to me. It's not to say that a man who makes $50K can't, I just haven't been fortunate enough to meet him.
But until then, show me your paystubs.