Lifetime Value of a Woman

I realize I have been pretty ignorant about the selectiveness of men. It’s the same way I assumed men never experienced bad kisses. I really thought most men would be grateful for any female attention, especially kisses. But something else has jarred this flawed assumption.

I called a friend of mine one Sunday and he was still sleeping in bed, around noon. I asked what he’d been up to and he said he’d had a girl over, but she’d left for work. I frowned. It was Sunday. What kind of job did she do? I began jumping to too many conclusions at once. I ignorantly concluded that he was seeing someone who worked in a mall or store. I teased him that when we were younger we all did the ‘shop assistant’ thing but isn’t now the time for careers? (Forgive me Lord, I am not a mean girl, and I am not egotistical, just occasionally judgmental) He correctly reminded me that doctors, nurses, pharmacists and plenty of other professionals work weekends, including financial people. And then he added that in any case, he always assesses the lifetime value and earning potential of any women he’s with.

I was like huh, he does what? He said he does an assessment, considers any girl’s lifetime potential, her ability to bring something to the table, and it’s even better if she has a recession proof job, like a doctor. I was stunned. What the heck? Since when did men start doing that? Assessing the lifetime value of a woman? Her earning potential? And then he had to go and add a quote from Ne-Yo, ‘I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together.’

I was impressed, worried and disturbed all at once.

I was impressed because I’ve always advocated that women need to step out of their comfort zones and think about their futures, their own careers, and their own dreams. I’ve been that liberal and independent type of person who absolutely doesn’t buy into the ‘woman’s role is to cook and clean and take care of everyone.’ I’ve always said marriage has to be a partnership, a coming together of two equals. It doesn’t matter who earns more, it is still a partnership. Doesn’t matter if the woman chooses to be a house wife, it is still a partnership, a union of equal like-minded people. So on that level I was impressed that he considers the earning potential of a woman.

The worry comes in when I think of our cultural and social upbringing. Is he in the majority? If he is, then Houston, we have a huge problem. There are so many women out there, educated or not, who have a strong ingrained belief that it doesn’t matter what work they do, in the end, it’s the man who’s going to take care of them. Newsflash: the men need you to help bring in the bacon! In this day and age, with the global economic crisis, it’s going to take most families two incomes to survive. And even if this downturn passes soon, it’s a wake up call. Who knows what else is going to hit the economy? Men and women need to help each other, financially and in all other areas.

This is where men need to chip in. Just as men may now be assessing a woman’s earning potential, women also need to look beyond a man’s money and assess his ‘home care’ potential. Taking care of children is darn hard work. If men are raising their expectations that women need to work to support the family income, then the men need to roll up their sleeves and do some dishes.

The disturbed part comes in when I think of the fact that men can be a bit hypocritical. You hear some guys say they like smart intelligent women and you watch the same guy fawn over a ditzy ‘blonde’ type. You hear them say they’re 21st century men, their women need to work and support the family. You can’t spend his money for free. Then the same guys get irritated and nervous when the woman is either working too hard, or making more money than he does. And even men who act all liberal and advocate women’s rights, come home and expect dinner to be ready. Seriously, which is it? Men aren’t consistent, they say one thing today, and it’s another thing the next day.

What type of women do men really want? Do they want housewives and homemakers? Or do they want driven, ambitious money makers? Or do they want a cross between the two? The men who want homemakers will find homemakers, there’s thousands of women willing to play that role. The men who also want career women can find them too. There’s an increasing crop of women who are forging their own paths. But all that doesn’t matter.

It really shouldn’t be about just what the man wants anymore. It’s too varied and unpredictable. It’s about what you both want. It’s about having that common agreement about what your roles are and should be. In the end (touch wood), you may lose your partner. If you live your life according to just his/her expectations where does that leave you when the other is gone? There are so many women who end up desperate and broke when their husbands, the sole earners of the family are gone, whatever the reason may be. You just have to be equal partners, because honestly, if you have  5 young children, both of you can’t work full time. Raising the children and earning money are both important to your marriage and your family.

I’d love to be pampered and taken care of. Who wouldn’t? Watching ‘The Real Housewives’ series depresses me enough. I picture living in a big house, with a lovely writing studio, beautifully furnished with a deep lush sofa, and a mahogany writing desk and I’m sitting near the window, staring at my black Range Rover and trying to get inspiration for a new book. No financial cares in the world, my husband (George Clooney) pays the bills and all I have to do is write all day. But it’s just a dream. If I want the that dream (excluding the Clooney part), I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. and go to work. That’s just life.