Settling for Less

Plenty of times as a woman in my later-20s, my friends and I have the scary talk about settling with our love lives. I have heard my friends mention or complain or try to understand the universe’s will. Maybe it depends overall on our career choices, or where we are physically in our lives. We see others and their happiness, maybe they found the perfect life partner with the perfect fairytale-Cinderella story, or maybe we see those who seem as if they’re excelling so well in their professional aspirations. Sometimes, we can’t help but feel, not envious, but inadequate with ourselves. Friends and peers of mine wonder the next steps and want things to develop quicker than maybe what time will allow.

I’ve gone through this pattern a number of times myself: Ponder on where I’ll be within the next week, few months, or even a year. Then, I’ll get antsy if I’m not moving fast enough to where I expect to be within that time frame. I’ll have my five-year plan of all of these goals and put so much pressure on myself to achieve them. Whatever the case, in theory, I have so many expectations and paths in which I want to take my life.

Then, I’ll meet some guy who is nowhere near on the same plane as me. Hell, I’d be lucky if he could even incline to the plane that I’m on. Instead, he is happily residing on his plateaued, crumbling cement wall.

Being a go-getter or innovator doesn’t come naturally with every person. Some people are content with a job where they clock-in, clock-out, or maybe live someone else’s dream (their CEO) and fulfill their needs as necessary to their employment. Whereas, others may want to start their own company, venture into the unknown, go above and beyond and define their own professional ladder. The two contrasts can certainly affect relationships with one another. In particular, it can affect romantic relationships.

People want to be around others with similar mentalities so that they can influence and uplift each other, offer support when needed. A romantic relationship will take this dynamic to a completely different level if one partner is all about their mission in life while the other sits on the couch, eating potato chips when they come home. It doesn’t really work. There has to be some sort of equal balance between the two. So, what happens when this is all that’s available?

Whether we’re happily single, trying to understand why we’re single, or even in a relationship, my peers and I always try to decipher the types of men who enter our lives and why WE, for whatever reason, seem to find these men. Not only do they not share similar career goals, but it may be difficult to have a conversation with these men. We can’t connect on an intellectual level; these men don’t understand the bigger picture. They may say things that annoy us, they look like idiots in public, they don’t understand our concerns even after explaining them. We go to great schools or get great educations or do side projects and hobbies to better ourselves and be amazing women, but these guys just…well…breathe air. We conduct ourselves with class, poise, and confidence while they may not give two shits and just roll out into public thinking they have “arrived.” Yes, it sounds elitist, but who wants to be with someone where you can’t hold a solid 30-minute conversation or not be embarrassed when they attend your after-work function and actually have to socialize with other people? Maybe he still lives with his mom and she makes breakfast every morning with the crust cut off of his toast and jam instead of jelly so he asks if I make breakfast every morning, with the crust cut off, and if I’ll jam his toast rather than use the Smuckers that I always have in my fridge. He dreams of being the assistant manager at Foot Locker but hasn’t yet even placed in his job application. He still doesn’t know how to do laundry, or relies on his entire room being his dirty hamper. He doesn’t know proper attire to a five-star restaurant. Hell, he doesn’t even recognize what a five-star restaurant is. And if he does, instead of dressing appropriately, he looks like he’s meeting up with some friends for a game of basketball. Simply put: The men just don’t get it.

And I manage to attract every single one. Bums. Lowlives. Grown ass boys who don’t know how to act when other people are watching them. Whatever is your choice of words. Regardless, that’s what tends to pop up on my dating radar. I’ve tried to understand it over the years, but the more that I try to study such a difficult phenomenon, the more it baffles and boggles me (and others who watch me go through the agonizing process). Not only does it confuse me, but it also confuses those around me who see me talking to a man or on a date and realize that we’re two different people. And they’ll give me that questioning look and just assume that I’m probably settling or crazy. However, it doesn’t truly hurt my ego until one of my friends wants to see a picture, and when I show them they have to mask their natural response to be nice. Some will blatantly say, “Really, Brooke?” The true comedy comes, though, when I may go on a date with a guy and he questions other men I’ve dated. He then feels the need to judge me because, of course, he thinks he’s better than the rest and has to re-evaluate this girl who he’s taken to dinner.

I will be the first to admit that on a few occasions I’ve dated guys who I typically wouldn’t be attracted to. They could’ve been really nice guys, but niceness means nothing if there’s a crazy thunderstorm, the power goes out, and all we have is each other for entertainment. Dull, surface conversations are one of my pet-peeves, and I have no idea how I would survive a relationship with someone if that’s all that we had. Or even with men where I know I’m smarter and they cannot elaborate on the subject at hand and it just feels as if I’m talking to myself. It’s even worse when we simply cannot talk at all. Quiet room. Awkward silence. Hear my own heart beat. And that’s when I pull out my phone and start window shopping on Sephora. And yet, this is what my friends and I have to endure in our later-20s: Men who, as one of my mentors says, still do not know how to pee straight*.

So, seriously, as women of our “caliber,” how do we escape this mess? Clearly, if I had the answer, I wouldn’t have to write this blog post. Better yet, I wouldn’t waste my time and deal with some of these guys. One of my best friends and I made a pact with each other that no matter what (at least in our youth) we would not settle for these men who give us intellectual headaches because of their raging dullness and dense meters. We should enjoy our time to ourselves, perfect the crafts that we’re working on. Be the amazing people we were meant to be in society. Fulfill our missions. As long as we’re individually progressing, then maybe we’ll find someone who’s bettering himself as well. Settling can be more heartbreaking than sleeping alone at night. Then, if it just so happens that we’re 50 and still single, then maybe we can settle for some guy. But by that time, hopefully we’re ridiculously rich from not having kids and not spending so much money on a monstrous wedding. So, we can woo some cute 20 or 30-something to be our sugar baby. Why not? 

Though my sarcasm should be wreaking from the letters on your screen, this is still something that I do take to heart. So many times, women are forced to settle with men who they really do not have an interest. Men date out of their league, half-ass so much of what they do, and end up with women who carry them along. What cycle of a weird, backwards, generational-gender roles have we adopted where this has become the norm? Not about the fact that women cannot be the breadwinners, but where have we gone in society that men have become less accountable for their futures and women are held more so responsible? Better yet, why do men think that they’re even worthy to a certain degree?

The goal in life is to find someone with whom we can mentally, intellectually, and spiritually connect. Anything less than just seems to make all of those childhood dreams we wished we would have when we got older just disintegrate into dust. We would be doing ourselves a disservice and not living up to those goals. Call me arrogant, but I dreamed of unicorns as a child and I refuse to settle for less than magic.


*See previous blog post: A friend was dating a guy who used her restroom and missed the toilet bowl.

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