A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

Dating Up Vs Dating Down
By Gwen Jimmere

Remember "Calvin” from the 90s McDonald’s commercials? The high school kid who gets a job at Mickey D’s and the entire neighborhood is oddly ecstatic for him? (No one ever gave me props like that when I worked at McDonald’s, but I digress...) Ring any bells? (YouTube it if you’re still in the dark.)

Anyway, Calvin looked to be about 15 in that 1990 commercial. But let’s fast forward 19 years to 2009 and assume our boy Cal is still tossing around fries and flipping mechanically separated beef at the age of 34.

Would you give him the time of day? (Fellas, feel free to replace “Calvin” with “Crystal”)

Some upwardly mobile folks would say no, that Calvin and Crystal "aren’t on their level". Some would say yes, because "at least they’ve got a job". Personally, I kind of teeter-totter between the two.

Whenever I consider “dating up” I end up with snooty people who seem to have forgotten where they came from. Don’t let the degrees and the occasional set of glasses I rock fool you. I’m from the streets… Well, not really, but I did grow up in the ‘hood’. And like most folks, I require an equally grounded partner who can balance “being real” with “being intelligent”. Elitists irritate me.

Speaking of intelligence, whenever I date down, I end up with people who speak with such eloquence, they say things like “like-ded” and “hurt-ed”, then call me an English-freak when I feel the need to correct this nonsense. (I am kind of an English-freak, but come on…“like-ded”?)

So from now on, my ad reads as follows:

“Single, twenty-something professional female. No children, Master’s degree, pretty good credit. Slightly flawed, no warrants. Seeking comparable species in male variety.”

I suppose I’m looking to “date laterally”. No “ups” no “downs”. The guy doesn’t necessarily have to have a Master’s, or even a Bachelor’s, but he definitely has to be just as driven and resourceful as I am, with a solid plan of action that can guarantee “things that take up space in your mind” to something that generates “things that take up space in your wallet”.

I must admit, I’m a bit of a S.N.O.B.—I Settle for Nothing Other than the Best. Cute, huh? Thanks. I made it up myself.

With that said, “settling for nothing other than the best”, in my mind, doesn’t necessarily entail flawless white diamonds, Venetian caviar and champagne dreams. Well, maybe champagne dreams…

You see, I don’t believe most of us really need all that fluff to be genuinely happy. We all know money doesn’t buy happiness, so “marrying well” solely for the proverbial love of the dollar seems to be bit of a cop out. Marrying far below our places in life and levels of intellect doesn’t seem fair to either party, also. I mean, we all need someone who “gets” us. Someone who can relate to us, someone who understands the women/men we are. Someone who can appreciate our perhaps seemingly odd nuances (like how I tend to dance with myself in the mirror at random times), even if they don’t really understand why we do these things.

So, I suppose I’ll happily remain on the market until an interestingly lateral mate shows up and sweeps me off my bi-weekly manicured feet.

Because to me, “good enough”, frankly, isn’t good enough.