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The Pros & Cons Of Creating A 'What I Want In A Man' Checklist

Before your write down your man wish list, be sure to look at things from a realistic perspective.

Love & Relationships

One of the reasons why I think it's important to tackle topics like this is because it's a reminder that when it comes to finding the one who is truly right for you, it's not really a one-size-fits-all kind of process. It's wise to keep this in mind because, if you're not careful, you'll hear someone else's love story, admire it, then think that if you do things exactly like they did—BOOM your man will suddenly appear. And then be pissed if "he" doesn't

Yes, y'all, I get it. Some women have written a list of what they wanted in a man and everything on the list did indeed manifest. Along those same lines, we've featured stories on the site of women who had a tattoo that made a romantic connection happen, prayed a particular prayer and got married—the testimonies go on and on. But just like those ladies are individuals with their own unique romantic journey, sis, so are you. That's why it's essential to pray, meditate, ponder on what is the best "method" for you to take in your quest for love.

Oh, and if you're hellbent on comprising a list, here are some things you should seriously consider first—just so you are able to keep a balanced and realistic perspective on what a what-I-want-in-a-man list can—and cannot—do for you.

PRO: You’ll Have Clear Direction About What You Want

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I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who's heard that it's not a good idea to go grocery shopping when you're hungry and/or when you don't have a list in tow. If you do, everything that you see will look good to you and/or you could end up getting things that you already have, don't need or even really want. Along these same lines, that's why it can be a good idea to create a list of what you want in a man before getting into a relationship. While it's another message for another time that it can also be a good idea to not "shop for a relationship" when you're "hungry"—and by that, what I mean is needy—when you've taken the time to think about what you truly desire in a person, as well as a relationship, it can bring forth a clarity that cultivates the kind of self-confidence that reminds you not to settle for less.

CON: You Could Find Yourself Closed Off to What You Actually Need

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If you don't get anything else out of this article, please hear me when I say that wants and needs are not always or automatically the same things. I can't tell you how many couples I have worked with who totally regret the spouse that they chose (if you quietly can relate, check out "What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?") because they were more focused on what they wanted than what they actually needed. What's the difference? There's one woman I know who was caught up in her now-husband, ever since I met her. He's fine. He's talented. A lot of women lusted him. I get it. But his work ethic sucks. While she was out here being focused on wanting him, she didn't really focus on needing someone who would be a good provider (among other things). So now, she's out here doing most of the work (literally) and that's been the case for many years.

A potential con that comes from the "what I want in a man" list is you can be tempted to treat it a lot like a Christmas wish list. You're so busy thinking about what tickles your fancy, that you're not really pondering what would be good, long-term, for your mind, body and spirit.

It takes a lot of maturity to realize that needs should definitely come before wants, across the board, in life. If you do decide to compile a list, make sure that necessities always trump fleeting cravings and desires.

PRO: Your List Can Keep You from Being Superficial

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A wise person once said, "If you don't have a map, you don't know where you are going." Along with that, I once heard Bishop TD Jakes say that if all you want is to be with someone, nothing but "something" could be all that you end up with. In other words, when you're not thoughtful about what you desire, it can be easy to get distracted. Trust me, I know from whence I speak. There are some men in my past who were able to reel me in, bed me up and totally waste my time, all because I was caught up in the superficial of what they had to offer—good looks, semi-great sex and something to do. That's cool but it's also pretty shallow and superficial.

That's why it's important to create a list that reflects the quality of relationship that you want, not just the kind of man that you desire. Hear me when I say that there is a lot of "fine nothingness" walking around out here who might be a good time but won't hold you down when ish hits the fan and you're looking for real long-lasting love and support.

CON: Your List May Actually Be Hypocritical and/or Unrealistic

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Another potential downside of creating this kind of list is you can find yourself wanting what you, yourself are not. For instance, I know one woman who said that a man who'd been married before or had kids was non-negotiable. I mean, go off, sis—that is your right. But what's interesting about that is she was already twice-divorced with two children of her own. I know another woman who wanted a man with a six-figure income while she was in five-figure debt. Then there's the woman who wanted a man with a six-pack but said she refused to go to the gym herself because "her husband should love her just as she is".

Yep. It can be really easy to create a "what I want in a man" list that oozes with hypocrisy that may even teeter on the side of being unrealistic. One way to avoid this "con" is, after you finish your list, purpose in your mind to make sure you are what you desire. That significantly ups your chances of attracting what you wrote down anyway.

PRO: You’ll Be Able to Nip Ish in the Bud Much Quicker

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If there is one thing that I do actually like a lot about creating this type of list is it can help you to spot BS much quicker. If you want a man who is interested in marriage, then you won't go past a couple of dates when someone who says he doesn't want anything long-term. If you want to be with a man who has certain values, you'll nix the potential for a relationship the moment he shows that he isn't on the same page as you are. If you want a man who is spiritually at a certain level, why keep seeing someone who couldn't care less about God or his purpose?

Time is valuable. It's something you can't even get back. One benefit of having this kind of list ready before you start seeing someone new is it can let you know if something should last for three dates or—not.

CON: You Might Not Recognize the Universe Is Operating in an Unexpected Way

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What inspired me to write this is this con right here. There are some women I know who can personally attest to the fact that they were so—pardon the pun—married to their own list of what they wanted in a man that when their now-husband came into their life, they almost missed out on him. For some, he didn't look the way they wanted him to. For others, their husband had certain personality traits that, while initially they didn't think they would be drawn to, it has actually balanced them out in the long run. Some didn't want a man with kids, but they have come to adore his children as their own. Others didn't want a "dreamer" but now he's a thriving entrepreneur. Some wanted to meet their man at church but ran into him at a football game. Others wanted him to come at a certain time, but he either came much earlier or…much later.

I can pretty much guess what some of y'all might be thinking. When you take this particular point into account, why come up with a list at all? At the end of the day, what I'm really trying to say is a list is cool, but it's best to use it as a guideline not some written law that has no room for editing—or for the Universe to alter if it so chooses. Bottom line, if you want to write a list, do so. Yet allow space in your head and heart for life to surprise you too…with a lot of what you want and even more of what you really and truly need.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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