My friend and once I coined the term Over-confident Brotha, during a storytelling of a gent who thought so highly of himself that he could not perceive the characteristics he possessed that lowered his appeal (or as I like to say, his market value). My mother says that many Caribbean mothers instill in their sons and idea that they are prized cock and that any woman they have eyes for, should recognize that they are a prized cock--even if they do not have jobs, or are much older than she, or are not in shape, or are sickly, or have kids, when she does not, and the list goes on. When talking with my mother about some of my suitors who, in our shared opinion, had an inflated sense of market value, she would often respond, “he has some nerve, what makes him think that you would even like him? He is too...[insert one of the dequalifiers mentioned previously].” Interestingly, I was once chastised for talking about someone being out of their league, when they tried to talk to me. The commenting gent thought it was arrogant of me to have had a perception that some men are not worth me getting to know, let alone, date. So now I wonder, have I been raised to have an over-inflated sense of self and my own marketability? What is the difference between knowing your worth as a match and being arrogrant & overtly conceited? How does a woman set a standard for who would be compatible for herself without coming off as exclusionary & narrow minded?
One of the riotously funny cartoons about black dating (on youtube) has a dialogue where the lady says she won’t settle for less than she deserves, which is a rapper-type, who is taller than 6’3”, who will buy her diamonds and expensive clothes & cars, and has a body like some other rapper, and a host of other ridiculous things. In response to deserving the material things, the gent in the cartoon replies, “why do you deserve those things when you cannot buy them for yourself?” I remember my brother commenting that “big-boned” women always liked him for his height and frame, but he wondered why they thought he was a match for them when he thought they were out of shape. Insight seems to be the key issue here. When one looks in the mirror, does one have an accurate perception of how attractive they are, as a package of characteristics, to the outside world? But what about when you have a modest view of yourself, but those you trust sing your praises and encourage you to not think less of yourself--I feel like this is my case. I have been rebuked by family members when I dated people they did not think were “on my level”. So have I been trained to be over-confident?
Compatability. Standards. Expectations. Lists. Compatability seems to be in the eye of the beholder. For some it is okay to have characteristics that their partner does not have. This appears in movies all the time: In Daddy’s Little Girls, the highly-educated and financially successful, never had kids woman, falls for the less educated, not so financially successful father of two (with a crazy baby momma); and in Why did I get Married?, the obese divorcee snags the hot bodied very handsome brother; In Something’s Gotta Give, both the main protagonists have relationships with people nearly half their age. So, sometimes (at least in the movies) opposites not only attract but also have a happy ending. Was it really arrogant of me, as a young, decent-looking, physically fit, university-educated, never been married or prego-ed, career-driven, Jesus- following woman to have thought that the cat-calling, looks like he’s as old as my dad, homely, very likely only high-school educated, probably more than one baby-mama having brotha on the street was out of his league? Probably, but truth be told, maybe my biggest fault was in voicing that he was out of his league instead of just thinking it. So should i fault a brother for taking a chance with me, when it is obvious to me that he will not float my boat? I guess not, if i am to accept the point of some movie script writers; maybe instead, I should start thanking these such brothas for daring to make it known to me that they found me attractive--because truth be told, there are many men who are more compatible who will not voice their attraction. So at the least I can affirm their courage.
When talking about one over-confident brotha, my mom’s take home point was, “consider it a compliment that he tried to talk to you, because guys like that [who have been raised to think that they are the cream of the crop] only go after the best girls.” And once again, the training to think highly of myself. I wonder, which is worse for a well-rounded woman in this day and age, to be over-confident or under-confident. An over confident woman may be a turn off to some, but who’s to say that her holding out for a person who meets her higher-than average expectations won’t materialize into her meeting just the kind of guy she dreams of. Who is to say that some men will not be attracted to her high confidence level and consider it a huge compliment when she pays any attention to them at all. And who is to say that the under-confident woman is better off? What if she were to review her life with regret that she married someone she should not have, because she did not think she should have held out for someone with more to offer, especially when she had so much to give, herself. Hmm. I will end with several proverbs that talk about good women: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD” (18:22); “A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones” (12:4); “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (31:10). Interestingly, there is no parallel verse that I have seen in regards to a woman finding a good husband. My opinion: a good woman should know her worth & recognize that she should be regarded as a treasure and she should hold out for the man who floats her boat; and if some man that she would not talk to anyway, thinks that this is arrogant of her, then oh well--you can’t please everybody ;-p