We all remember this famous song from Jennifer Lopez….
Think you’ve gotta keep me iced, you don’t
Think I’m gonna spend your cash, I won’t
Even if you were broke, my love don’t cost a thing…
In the video, J’Lo’s lover spoils her with expensive gifts, but she is still not happy in the relationship because she never got to see him. This song was her message to him, telling him that he she didn’t need his money or his expensive gifts (she had her own money anyway!).
All she wanted was him.
I was about fourteen when this song came out and it was an absolute favourite of mine because to me, the lyrics spoke of true love. Money didn’t matter; all that mattered was love, true love.
Well I am now 29, and my views have changed.
I will tell you why.
My close friend is in a dilemma. She currently likes a guy who she describes as the ‘perfect man’, but there is just one problem: He is a ‘struggling guy’. For those of you who don’t understand, let me tell you who a struggling guy is: He is over 30, has a job, earns between 100k – 200k, does not have a car, and lives in a self-contained apartment somewhere (probably on the mainland). By now, some of you will be wondering: “He is not that bad now!” or “How can you be saying that he is struggling when he even has a job?”
Well, the issue is that at face value, the guy might not be ‘struggling’, but when you compare him to the woman who he loves, then it’s another story. At this point, I will bring in my friend. She is a Manager at a swanky bank, she drives a 2016 Toyota Camry, she has a flat in Lekki (the real Lekki o!), and she travels abroad every year. The guy who she is in love with fits the description of the ‘struggling guy’ I just gave you, and he says he wants to marry her.
“Babe, I just don’t know what to do…” she told me when I saw her last week. “He doesn’t even have a car! Whenever we go on dates, he has to take Uber. One time, he didn’t even have any cash to pay for the Uber when he got to the cinema, and I had to pay for him. Every time, he is always complaining that he is broke. And he says he wants to marry me. With which money ehn? And the sad part is that I love this guy. I can’t even introduce him to my parents! What should I do?”
I didn’t know what to say. About five years ago I would have said something like: “As long as the two of you love each other, nothing else matters.” I have always been the girl who didn’t care about how much a man was worth. I have always been the girl who could enter okada with her boyfriend. But I have been shown so much pepper from two categories of men that my views have drastically changed.
- The Cheap Skate
These guys have decided to use our hearts and our independence against us. Now, if you ask this guy to buy you a gift, you are labelled as a goal digger. If you ask him to pick you up at home for a date, you are labelled as being lazy. If you ask him to take you out to a restaurant, you are labelled as not being a wife material. Because we sang those lyrics by JLo (My love don’t cost a thing!), these guys have now decided to not give us anything. “Ehn, I won’t give you anything now. Shebi your love does not cost anything!”
- The Leech
These guys are broke, but want to suck all the life and money out of you. Their usual prey are single, successful, independent women who are almost thirty (if you have car, this is jackpot for them). They capture these women with their smooth English, their big dreams, and their exposure (they are usually very knowledgeable because they have too much spare time on their hands). They tell these women to believe in them, to help them achieve their dreams. They promise and promise and promise. Before you know what, these women marry these men, and one of the most disastrous scenarios occur: Deadbeat husband with no job, always sitting on the couch, looking fresh, with the remote control in one hand and beer in the other, while the wife goes to work every day, slaving away to keep a roof over their heads.
I didn’t know what to tell my friend because I was not sure if her guy fell into any of these two categories. So, when I left her house, I went for a drink with two of my male friends, and I asked for their opinion because I knew that they would be able to see the situation better than I did.
Here is what they had to say.
“She should better leave that guy!! All that English he is speaking, it is because he does not have money. How can a guy of over 33 not have a car and be living in a self-contained apartment in Yaba? What kind of nonsense is that? I am sure he does not even buy her anything. Na ‘I love you baby’ she go chop? See a man is supposed to provide for a woman, Shikena! When that balance is off set, that is what leads to wahala in marriages. What if the guy never becomes rich? Is she ready to live like that all the days of her life? Is she ready to foot the bills in her matrimonial home? Is it ‘love’ that will send her children to good schools or pay for their trips to the UK? And I know that your friend, her eye don open well well. Isn’t she a fine girl? What about all those Oil and Gas men? Why can’t she marry one of them? Abeg jare, she should go and look for a man who is her size. That her guy’s wife is still in Year 2 in Unilag!”
You women, I don’t understand you. When you people do all this ‘e go better’, you are not helping men at all. That is why most of you are where you find yourselves where you are today, taking care of a man like he is a baby. You must demand things from men, and they have no choice but to comply. Every woman should ask her man for money, whether she needs it or not! It is the only way to know if the man is serious! His money is his sweat, and if he is willing to share it with you, then you know that he is serious about you. In this your friends case, the guy may be a nice guy o, but that is not the point. Can he take care of her? No woman should ever date a man who cannot provide all the things that she is used to. Na trouble go finish am. Before you know what now, he will start beating her, and then she will cry domestic violence. I’ve said my own.”
I was absolutely gobsmacked. I would have thought that they would support the guy and tell me that my friend should stay with him, until things get better for him. But here they were, telling me the exact opposite! All this while, I felt guilty because I had decided to start demanding things from any man who dates me, but these guys were telling me that I am indeed right!
So, what does all this mean?
Love don’t cost a thing?
Love costs something – MONEY!
Does it mean that a man and a woman cannot be happy together if the man does not have enough money, relative to what the woman has?
Does it mean that women should always marry above their level, and that men should always marry below their level?
What happens if the tides turn – if a woman starts making more than the man?
So many questions….
Biko, help me answer them in the comments section below
Image: Irene Abdou Photograpghy