One of my homegirls (“Angie”) divorced her husband a little over a year ago. After going through the perfunctory post-breakup reflection and mourning period, she started dating again. She’s shared a few of her dating tales, and between the grandmomma’s boys, 40 year old aspiring rap producers, and men who send her texts spelling touche “tu shea”, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that her dating life mirrors the first 35 minutes of every movie Gabrielle Union’s ever been in.
While this perpetual comedy of errored men hasn’t made Angie jaded or discouraged, it has changed her entire relationship outlook. Where she might have been a bit to too pressed to please and impress before, her trials and tribulations have made her a bit more pragmatic about the dating game. During a conversation yesterday, I asked what accounted for this (refreshingly) sober outlook, and she replied:
“If my failed marriage has taught me anything, it’s that the next serious relationship I get in will have to be with a man who loves me much more than I love him. I think all women should adapt that policy, actually. We’d all be much better for it. “
As you probably imagined, this statement stopped me in my tracks. While the whole “for the best relationships, a man should love his wife a bit more than she loves him” sentiment isn’t new (I’m sure half of the women reading this have heard some variant of this from their grandmothers) I’ve always considered it to be stupid, short-sighted, and, well dangerous, and I was surprised that someone as smart as Angie would say that.
I understand that relationships will never be 50/50. One party will always be a tad bit more committed to the relationship than the other (And whoever happens to be the least committed also usually holds the most power…but that’s another topic for another day), but hearing a woman actually say that any man she’s serious about needs to love her more than she loves him is a man’s worst nightmare; a confirmation that, beneath all the sugar and spice, women are inherently selfish, superficial, and full of shit.
But then I put my $9.99 worth of man pride aside and thought about it.
I considered the fact that, because men tend to be socialized to “conquer” while women tend to be socialized to commit, it takes a bit more for a man to entertain the idea of a long-term monogamous relationship than it usually does for a women. (and “it takes a bit more” = “he probably needs to be completely head over heels”)
I remembered that between pregnancy, (relatively) tiny reproductive windows, and the fact that sex is a much more potentially dangerous act for a woman than a man, it does kind of make sense for a woman to be completely sure that any man she chooses to lay with is completely gaga over her.
I even recalled “The Close Bus Syndrome” and “Sadie’s Shady” — two blogs I’ve written that were eventually fleshed out into full chapters in “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night.” Why do these blogs matter? Well, in “Sadie’s Shady” I explain that one of the main reasons why women shouldn’t pursue men is that (generally speaking) women don’t grow on men the same way men can grow on women. Basically, if a guy was really into a woman, he would have done whatever he could to pursue her first. If he hasn’t done that, he’s probably lukewarm, and if a man is lukewarm about a women he’s dating, she’s very likely to get “Close-Bused.”
Eh. It pains me to admit this, but I think Angie might have been right.
If you haven’t purchased the paperback or the $9.99 Kindle version of “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime” yet, what the hell is stopping you? (No, seriously. Tell us and we’ll send Chuck Norris or Liz to fix it)