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When Bae Makes More: 5 Men Sound Off On Love & Money

The tables are turning on that age-old mentality that the man should be the main baller and shot-caller in the relationship.

Finance

Nowadays, there are several factors that point to black women turning the tables on that age-old mentality that the man should be the main baller and shot-caller in a relationship. Research shows that black women are the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs in the U.S., and 35 percent of married black women outearn their husbands, according to the Institute for Family Studies. Add to that the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics findings that indicate 36 percent of black women work in management, professional, and related occupations---the bureau's highest-paying major occupational category---compared to 25 percent of black men. Considering these factors, there's a possibility that sis might make more than her bae.

Money is always an awkward but important topic in any relationship. Below, five men, all from various walks of life and occupations, sound off on how a woman's coin plays a role in dating and choosing their mate.

She Can Make More, But at Least Reach for the Check

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"I've honestly never filtered anyone initially based on salary, as I think other qualities mean more to me. That said, it would be nice if the person I am dating is relatively comfortable in their specific financial space as well as driven and ambitious. I understand why it is difficult in a situation where a lady earns more, especially when the man desires to be the provider. I think it can work once the woman doesn't hold it above his head, and once the man is secure enough in the pillars of the relationship itself so that her extra earnings don't intimidate him. I find that when you are a man, your line of work doesn't even matter. The expectation is that you will take care of things financially, especially on dates. What I do like is a woman who is fair. If we are dating, at the very least, I sometimes want to see you reach for your purse and show some intention to assist or even pay sometimes. Allow me to tell you, 'No. It's OK. I got this.'"

--Mario Guthrie Evon, medical doctor and musician, single, Kingston, Jamaica

Bae Supported My Entrepreneurial Glow Up

"We've been married about a year but lived together for over 10 years while in a relationship. Over the course of that period, our salaries fluctuated. Not long after graduating college, I landed a couple of promotions and held a role that paid extremely well. When my girlfriend (now wife) finished graduate school, she moved into my place. While she was job hunting, I paid the mortgage, bills, etc. And even after she landed her first position, I continued to pay in full instead of splitting things up, not because it felt like a masculine action but because I was making so much more than she was. Later down the line, as we went through career transitions, she did the same for me. I started my own business, and she covered the expenses in the meantime."

--Christopher Taylor, founder of Occupation Optimist, married, Atlanta

What’s Hers is Mine, and Our Roles are Fluid

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"In my line of work, I meet women who make more than me all the time---especially women who have MBAs or multiple degrees. I'm here for it! I can leave my job [if I want], take care of the kids, and do some entrepreneurial things. If you're good, we're good. Some of us have career passions and jobs that are just not going to have high salaries. It just is what it is. For so long it's been told to us that we're supposed to be the providers and head of the household financially, but we also don't live in the age in which that was a thing. Women now have jobs and are obtaining titles that their mothers and grandmothers didn't have the opportunity to do. That's where the shift [in mentality] needs to come in terms of men. The idea of being a provider or protector doesn't have to be tied to finances. As a self-sufficient man, I should find a self-sufficient woman, and we can build something together that's amazing."

--Brandon Frame, Nonprofit Professional, founder of The Black Man Can, dating, New York

He Still Has to Hold It Down

"I'm pretty old-school and traditional. I feel like men are supposed to be the providers. I can go to work to get money, so some of the other things really count. The person's heart is definitely important. My father [taught me] that as long as you're doing what you have to do to contribute--holding down your family--that's what's most important. As long as I'm doing what I have to do to lead our household and set an example, that's all that really matters. It's one pot, really. It shouldn't be looked at as whoever has the bigger pot has more control or power. We're a team. Naturally, as a provider, I'm going to cover as much as I can. If she can contribute, then she should but if the situation calls for her staying home because we have children that we're raising and that makes more sense, then I don't mind. You should welcome someone who makes more money. That's more money for the both [of your goals.]"

--Jonathan Charles, IT Professional, founder of Carnivalist App, in a relationship, New York

If We Live Together, We Split the Bills

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"I once dated a legal professional who also owned a barbershop. She definitely made more than I did at the time. Due to career obligations, it just didn't work out, so money had nothing to do with it. The fact that she had a nice salary and a business was nice, but I liked her for her outgoing personality. She was fun to be around. If living together, though, I expect my girl and I to both pay the bills, and for dates, it's interchangeable; I'll pay some, and she could sometimes. The split of household bills would depend on how much more she makes. For example, if she can afford an S550 Mercedes and I can only afford a Toyota Camry, she should pay for the Benz. Granted, I wouldn't leave her hanging if she doesn't have the funds to cover the bill one month."

--Deven Robinson, Digital Media Producer, single, New York

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I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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