Today we have a guest post from someone who has read this blog, been featured many times and identifies closely with our experiences here in Ghana. Some of you may have seen this post last week because I
got trigger happy and sent it accidentally published the article. Some of you even made comments. So here we are publishing it again, but this time in the appropriate RR fashion complete with pictures and a fabulous introduction to the insight you will receive from this writing. I am especially intrigued by the way she has clearly flipped all of my dreams upside down by insisting that my ideas of a ‘perfect mate’ are actually the worst of them all. She essentially asks, who would we choose if our choosing were only about making us happy on the inside, and not, say… bringing two families together and providing a financially stable future. I guess all we can ever do is wonder. I hope you enjoy the post, and as always, please leave your comments below so that everyone can see and join the conversation!
We all know the old adage borrowed from economics: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Every decision we make has an opportunity cost, meaning there is value on the decision that was forgone. To put it in simpler terms, assuming the best choice has been made, there is a “cost” incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would be had by taking the second best choice available. So what if I said that actually, the tall, dark, handsome, six figure guy with the high-powered job and jet set life, was actually not at all the ideal? What if marrying him actually comes at a cost?
Allow me to introduce myself, I am a close friend of both Afua and Amma, and I have been featured in a number of their stories on this blog (but, wait did I just out my self? *shrugs * ). Although I was born in Ghana, my life history identifies me as a * returnee,* one of those know it all Ghanaians with UK and US degrees who just cant seem to shut up. Fortunately, and unfortunately that’s me – with an Ivy League degree to make matters worse. I am sure it comes as no surprise to anyone, that relationships, love, and marriage are topics that I discuss amongst friends almost daily, after all two of my closest friends do run this blog. These conversations are always interesting, and usually end up with me “quitting” and declaring a desire to move to the moon, since this planet country cannot seem to accommodate me or my preferences for a mate. But I usually return to my senses following the melodrama, and something profound (I’d like to think) manages to find its way out of my mouth.
Since my return to Ghana I too have had to answer the questions as to why I am not dating. I usually lash out reply with some commentary about how single is a “choice” and blah blah, and I too have been asked if perhaps my standards are too high? The latter of these two questions perplexes me for several reasons:
- Because you don’t know me or anything about me, except that I am educated and lived abroad most of my life and so decide to assign to me thoughts based on some appraisal you made up on your own , oh because “girls like me” are well…all the same: demanding , not submissive or “too know” and just talkative.
- Because your definition of “high” MUST be my definition as well
Basically, I am a bit sick of the stereotype of being uncompromising and difficult to please just because of certain requirements
people typically assume I place on men. I actually believe in many criteria for choosing a mate, I also believe that it depends on the person. But I digress; let’s get back to this “high” standard issue. It seems the Ivy educated, fortune 500 company job having, 3 piece suit wearing type of brother is assumed to be the only standard we speak of when the topic of finding a mate comes up. What if we reconsidered and actually considered this type of brother as not THE standard, but as a compromise. Believe it or not, there are more important things than education, money and influence (gasp), and what if the opportunity cost of having a boardroom brother is you and your children’s happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way intimating that every Ivy league board room brother is so into his work that he neglects his family. I am simply suggesting that perhaps boardroom brother, if you are reading this, you might actually be the compromise and not THE STANDARD.
Sometime ago, a friend of mine told me a hilarious sad story about a guy whose wife had left him quite heartlessly. It turns out she never let go of her ex, but she married her husband because quite frankly he was balling. I am not promoting infidelity, but what if she hadn’t compromised to marry a man whom she felt was equally matched in credentials? Because from what I hear, she wept like a baby at her wedding, and those weren’t tears of joy ya’ll. She wept because she was denying herself of the benefits of the next best choice. To say the least, she compromised…. She compromised BIG time.
As much as what I am about to say will make me cringe, it must be said: my type may also not be the ultimate. Sorry Ivy women, but when brothers who we deem as better matched with us go off and marry a “basic” chick perhaps he is not compromising even though that’s what we believe. Maybe, having a great job, and a great education is not the ultimate. Like you haven’t arrived just because your name is followed by numerous consonants. This idea that a couple can only be designated the title of “power” couple if both of them have crazy “qualifications” to boot is quite artificial not to mention cursory . “Our type” likes to believe that we are at the top of the dating food chain, or at least should be. But if that’s the case why are we still single? (not that I am complaining because the single life is the #bomb #lovingit #gimmecoupleyears). And honestly, I blame my parents for putting that inflated view of myself into my head (actually I blame the whole system for making me feel entitled and myself for believing it of course).
Deep down inside, I want to be with a free spirited Vegan artist who would happily debate the Western aid agenda’s influence on the African woman’s idea of reproductive health, who does not conform to the ideals of modern society. But since I have a certain lifestyle and certain expensive habits, I am willing to forego a little freedom and possibly a version happiness to travel and live comfortably. I can already hear the comments on being a “gold- digger” and the rest coming my way. But honestly, it is not about digging for gold, it is about security. It is about being comforted to know that finances or the drive that produces healthy finances is not a worry. Everybody thinks it, and I say it. At the end of the day, it is about opportunity cost, you weigh the options, and decide which consequences (good and bad) you are willing to forego and/ or are willing to accept (and that decision is entirely up to you). So however you turn it, “high standards” and all that other stuff we go on and on about is really a compromise we make according to what we deem important. For the fortune 500 brother out there, who may think he’s God’s gift to womanhood owing to his credentials and job, chew on this a bit, because even though society likes to make you feel like you are what every man should aspire to be and every woman should aspire to be with, you may very well be somebody’s compromise.