Illusion of Choice
Call me naive. Call me foolish. I think that marriage should be based on love, respect and understanding. I believe in love, romance, and I want to believe that the life, we end up living, is the result of the choices we make.
One of my friends once told me that some women maintain an illusion of choice. According to her, women who think that they have a choice between staying at home or making a career live in a la-la land.
When I raised my eyebrow at her, she explained it further. To have a choice women either need to be born into money or marry into money. Since she was not born into money, my friend chose to marry it. She said she was not going to marry up, she was going to marry smart.
Financial Security as a Marriage Pre-Qualifier
My initial reaction was annoyance and defiance. My first marriage was based on lies. I lied to my ex-husband because I was making more money then him. I wanted to protect his ego. It did not end well.
My mother made a choice to become a mail-order bride, trying to find a way out from a financial disaster that was rapidly closing down on us. Even in my second marriage, I bring more home than my husband. According to my friend, I did not marry smart.
I was offended. I was hurt. I was infuriated. Then, a few days later, when I calmed down, I thought about our conversation.
My friend openly admitted to me that she was a so-called gold digger. The negative connotation of these words never bothered her. Financial security was a very important (if not the most fundamental) marriage pre-qualifier.
Who doesn’t want financial stability? My mother based her decision on the same financial pre-qualifier when she listed herself in an American mail-order catalogue. Was she a gold digger? No. She was looking for someone who would protect her and her family, take care of her and secure her future.
I had to give my friend credit where it belonged. She was a good entrepreneur. She possessed a certain set of skills (wits, looks, sex appeal), and she knew how to use these skills to her advantage. She knew how to plan and how to make strategic moves. Financial security was her top priority. Love and romance came as a nice bonus.
No Romance Without Finance
According to my friend, romance without finance did not exist. She refused to sit at home and watch movies borrowed from a library. She wanted to go to expensive restaurants where tables had white linen tablecloths, and waiters handed her an extensive wine list.
She refused to date poor students who did not pay their bills on time because they had to choose between food or bills. She detested shaggy painters who were hoarding ketchup packets from diners because they did not want to splurge on a bottle from a store.
My friend accepted dates only from bankers, lawyers and doctors. She wanted only good for herself. In this particular case, money constituted good.
However, money wasn’t everything. She met a man once (a pilot, by the way), whose net worth had an obscene number of zeroes, but who had never heard of Steinbeck. No spark was produced. After all, besides money, she appreciated the value of good conversation.
With years we grew apart. I was too busy getting an accounting degree, building my career, dating poor students and shaggy but romantic painters. She was busy looking for a wealthy husband.
Desire for stability and security is a normal human need. However, when a woman expresses her desire for a man who is financially viable, for some reason we label her a gold digger. Why?