Life and Religion
|Kiss & Tell: For love and money|
|Status, finances impact dating in Charlotte|
|Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 10:47 am|
It’s a common gripe among many people in the Charlotte area – the Queen City is just too cliquish. It’s a complex web of social circles, many of which frown upon mixing with others. And it appears that this social caste system also applies to dating.
|Michaela L. Duckett|
While waiting Uptown to catch the Lynx back to my office, I ran into an old friend from my hometown. She recently moved to Charlotte, but we hadn’t seen each other in a while.
However, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, you don’t have to see your friends on a regular basis to keep up with what’s happening in their lives.
My friend had tweeted about going to dinner at Brio with “someone special.” Later she posted a picture on Facebook of her and the guy on their first date with a caption about how handsome he was. Apparently a lot of her “friends” agreed. The photo received more than 40 likes in less than five minutes.
The train was crowded that day, and I was glad to have someone I know to sit next to. I inquired how things were going with my friend and this “someone special” she’d posted about. She makes a sour face and tells me that he broke it off with her because he didn’t approve of her job. He’s a teacher, and she bartends and waits tables at an establishment in Uptown – some swanky upscale spot where a glass of wine costs $16.
“It’s like he thought he was better than me,” she says. “When I told him what I did for a living, he ended the date. What makes it so bad is that I bet I make more money than him.”
And she’s probably right. I know Uptown bartenders who could easily bring home $1,000 a night. Although those figures are pre-recession, you can’t knock the hustle. And I don’t know any teachers making that kind of cash.
My friend apparently does all right for herself. She lives in a luxury townhome in South Charlotte and sends her twin daughters to private school. Plus, her late-model sedan is paid off.
“I just get so tired of people looking down on me because I’m in my 40s and waiting tables,” she continues. “It’s not like I’m not educated. I have a degree in psychology. I make good money and take good care of my children. Besides, we are in a recession. I can’t find a job in my field. I’ve tried, but that doesn’t mean I’m worth less than anybody else.”
I think she’s about to cry. We pull up to my stop. I hug her and exit the train.
A matter of ambition
Basically, the teacher treated my friend the way many women would treat guys who work at a fast-food restaurant.
I once had a guy accuse me of being classist because I took issue with the fact that he barely made 10 bucks an hour, hadn’t graduated high school and had no plans of even attempting to get a GED. I don’t know many women who wouldn’t have an issue with that. In my personal opinion, it just showed a lack of ambition, and that’s a major turn-off.
Over the phone, this dude told me that he was content with where he was. He said he didn’t need to further his education because he was already making “good money.”
He said his focus was on finding a wife and starting a family. He said he wanted at least two children, and had the nerve to add that he was a traditional man who believed in the woman staying home to raise the children while the man worked and provided for the family.
Hilarity. I explained that the fact that he actually believed he could comfortably support a family of four all by himself making less than $20k a year was enough for me to know we could never ever be.
He got heated and started calling me all kinds of stuck up.
“You probably just a gold digger anyway,” he said. “That’s what’s wrong with women today. You’re always looking for a man to take care of you. You’d probably rather have a rich dude that bought you nice stuff and treated you like crap than a regular dude like me that doesn’t have a lot of money but would treat you like a queen. You don’t even deserve...”
His little broke-man rant probably went on and on after that, but I hung up. He called me back a couple of times, but I didn’t pick up. There was nothing else to say.
A colleague tells this story about a time he tried to set up a female friend on a blind date.
The night of the date, the guy he was setting her up with had to work late. Instead of cancelling or showing up late, he just skipped going home to change and came directly to the restaurant in his work clothes.
The woman took one look at the guy in his blue-collar uniform and dismissed him immediately. Little did she know, he owned the company and does quite well for himself.
“And some women wonder why they are single,” my colleague says. “They’ll pass up a good man just because they see him wearing a uniform. Acting like that, they are going to stay alone.”
I ask if they ever went out again on another date.
“Heck no,” he says. “She messed that up. It’s been a while. I think he’s married now with a family, and for all I know, she’s still single.”
Women who only date men with wealth and status often get a bad rap, but it seems that people sometimes have just as much to say about successful women who date men who are not considered to be on their social or financial level.
It’s like when Whitney Houston started dating Bobby Brown or when a well-known socialite, who we’ll call Chelsea Davis, started dating her new beau Jackson.
Chelsea is one of the few in the real estate business who have continued to thrive as if the recession never happened. Perhaps, it comes from applying what she’s learned from her grandfather – a real estate tycoon worth millions she is set to inherit.
Her dad is a plastic surgeon who has clients all over the country and her mother was a popular TV news anchor who recently retired and is very active in the community.
The pool of men on Chelsea’s level both financially and socially is relatively small, and most of them are married. So it’s not uncommon for her to date someone who makes less money, but no one really expected her to date someone like Jackson – a twice-divorced ex-convict who served time for trafficking drugs. I’ve also heard that he was convicted of murder and assaulting a police officer.
Jackson works in customer service, and paying child support eats up most of his $8 an hour salary.
Whenever Chelsea and Jackson go on dates, they drive her Maserati instead of taking his old beat up Pontiac. She usually pays for dinner, but says sometimes he’ll pick up the tip. When he escorts her to big events, she’ll buy him something nice to wear.
She doesn’t see the big deal and says if the roles were reversed – a man driving a woman around and buying her clothes – no one would think anything of it. She says she doesn’t mind doing for Jackson because she loves him and knows he loves her back.
My friend Carmen thinks Chelsea is just desperate and that Jackson is really with her for the money.
“It just all sounds like too much work to me,” says Carmen. “I just couldn’t be taking care of some man just so I could say that I have one. I ain’t saying I’m a gold digger, but trust I ain’t messing with no broke ni____s!”
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