Dating Below Your Class

My new favourite blog is ‘Mind of Malaka’ and its not because its written by my BFFFL (Best Friend for Freakin Life) and co-blogger for Adventures. Mind of Malaka is my new fav blog because the writing is excellent, the author’s frankness/humour shines through and the issues she chooses to deal with are the realities she encounters.

Her latest post dealt with an issue that comes up from time to time where women and relationships are concerned – ‘dating below your class’. Now what does that mean? Dating below your class simply means dating a man who is not your equal – not your equal in terms of social status, not your equal in terms of educational/work achievements, not your equal in regards to anything…I always felt that it was only Ghanaian women (does this apply to women from other African countries?) living abroad who ended up dating below their class. Why? For the same tired old reasons – the black men abroad choose to date white women, mixed race women and any other woman rather than the women who originate from their own countries. In a way I don’t blame the men – suddenly the average African man travels to the west (when I say abroad I tend to mean the west) and he’s exoticised/eroticised as a handsome black hunk with above average sized male appendages…

Now let me not loose my train of thought. What is the issue with dating below your class? This issue came up time and time again on Home Affairs, Joy 99.7 (a Ghanaian radio show/station) that the author Boakyewaa Glover and I were recently invited on to share our perspectives on why so many accomplished women are single – I guess we were both the poster ‘women’ for single accomplished women.

Now I wish I could put my hand on my heart and say class doesn’t matter. I wish I could put my hand on my heart and say I could meet a guy from Bukom tomorrow who is a carpenter with no education past JSS and as long as I loved him nothing anyone says matters. My truth though is that is does matter. It does matter whether the man I’m attracted to is capable of eating in a restaurant without embarrassing me (note: he does not need to know how to use all the umpteen cutlery but he does need to know that the warmed towel brought round is not to wipe your face). I don’t mind dating people who are purposely counter-cultural, in fact I am usually attracted to men who choose to shun conventions, who choose to pursue their passions, who choose to grow their hair long but in my local context (Ghana) I find that those with the freedom to make those choices are still from ‘my social class’. We went to the same kind of schools; we have the same sort of friends…some people just choose to break the rules.

One of my biggest concerns with dating outside your class is that it only adds to the issues that men have. Most men have been socialized to have an expectation of superiority to the women they date. In my experience when men date above their social class (in this instance social class also means a woman who earns more/is better educated/has greater social mobility for e.g.) his insecurities are magnified and nothing you the woman does is going to make him feel better. In the long run his insecurities drive you away or he leaves you for a woman who makes him feel secure (one who is in his social class or even below his social class). I feel that for a man dating below your social class is not as big a deal as it is for women. Am I wrong?

What are your general thoughts on social class and dating?

27 comments On Dating Below Your Class

  • Damnit!!!

    I just wrote an extremely long and thought provoking comment, only to have it deleted!

    Abbr version: yeah. I agree with you. Guys have to date dumb bimbos below their social class in order to feel superior. Rare is the man who doesn’t.

  • Class issues rearing its ugly head again.

    Personally, i think dating across classes is an issue and always will be. There are two schools of thought on this. 1. Society expects the woman to date up and therefore accept it more. 2. Women make it more of an issue when they are dating down. They not only point it out to the guy any chance they get but also laugh about “his ways” to their friends. This is obviously a gross generalisation. This fuels his insucurities which in turn makes “his ways” more pronounced and he ends up leaving or being booted out. Thankfully, that hasn’t happend to me yet …. or maybe it has but in too arrogant/confident to have noticed it.

  • I am sorry I know this blog is for women I dont want to say anything but i just have to on this one. I love pussy in fact think Ghanaian women are some of the hottest women in Africa blessed with the best asses on the planet.

    white women always love for who you are but a black woman there is always a condition to it. I was very sad when I read this post because it shows the african / (Ghanaian) to point yes I said it women will not change.
    I bet if the capenter from Bukom was worth a couple of millions of $ and had the laters benz this social class would not be an issue or even matter. So in other words what do you term as “social class”

    Women who worry about social class are normally the shollow ones who have nothing and want to be something or look like they have something.
    Oh please “you are not on my level” the next thing she is in my bed, caz she see me step into a $50,000 car with flip flops. Shallow women.

  • Abena, we are rare indeed but if you look hard enough, you’ll find us. I’m dying to hear the extended version of what you wrote. Indulge me please…..

  • “why so many accomplished women are single?”, Until I see a paper or research document revealing this shocking finding, I might find it difficult believing this ‘fact’. It just seems to the normal eye that accomplished women are single. I think they are attached, engaged, going out, messing around with some dude or something far from being single. It just seems so because accomplished women tend to marry when they are older, but this certainly doesnt mean they are ‘single’.

  • @nana, abena, farouk – agreed

    @superfly – of course i cannot speak for everyone but for me, no amount of money can make up for the lack of a meaningful intellectual connection; we have all come across our fair share of uncouth, vapid soi-disant “rich men” who think they can buy everything, including their women, because the “dumb bimbos” of abena’s comment have convinced them that it’s possible, even easy. too bad if this comes across as snobbish but it’s just the unfortunate truth.

    @edward – i don’t think you should be shocked at all. many accomplished women are indeed single. i don’t think that any woman who is “engaged” (i.e. he put a ring on it) would call herself single; and as for “going out” or “messing around with some dude”, i would consider as naive, any woman who called said “dude” her boyfriend. hooking up with someone on the regular, or eating a few nice dinners ensemble, do not a (serious committed) relationship make.

  • @Superfly,

    some interesting points in your piece, sadly marred by infelicitous statements equating women with their pussies, alleging that all white women are one way, black women another…

    having said that, social class obsession points to some shallowness, i agree.

  • Image is nothing. Thirst is everything. Obey your thirst. 🙂

  • Nana,

    Quick question. How do you feel about dating above your social class?

    The notion of below and above are both reprehensible to me.

    If I had a daughter, I’d hope that she’d feel comfortable bringing anyone home who was true, loyal, devoted to her, and hardworking.

    If she didn’t, I’d take it as a sign that I’d been a bad parent.

  • @ Kofi – Quick answer – In Ghana i don’t think anyone is above my social class 🙂 now if we were in the UK for e.g. i would have concerns about dating a Duke/Earl/Lord… a few years ago, when i was young and idealistic i would have agreed that class doesn’t matter. Now i just choose to accept that it does matter. If i do decide to ‘date’ outside ‘my’ class i will do so with the full knowledge that i would have major issues…

  • I wish there were available stats on whether this is empirically true, i.e. class matters.

    Interestingly, you seem to use class in many different ways: with dukes and earls, class is a function of heritage.

    In some other cases, class for you is a matter academic and economic attainment.

    In yet others, it is a matter of social decorum

    It is hard to see all of these as being truly determinative. You wouldn’t be in the class of a truly rich Ghanaian with a Ph.D, for example.

    Politically correct opinion now attaches ‘class’ to conduct that is sensitive, thoughtful, unselfish and in good taste. Even there, there is really no objectivity to the definition. So much better to be modest about claims about who we are and what class we belong in.

    It just seems to me that as humans we have a lot to learn from each other, being poor or badly-lettered should not be an automatic disqualifier.

    I suppose I’m being idealistic…

  • Oh Dear women of this blog,
    dont take offence its not a personal attack on any one. I sense grave anger flying up in here! isn’t it why the blog was set up so we can all share are views.
    By the way nana I think you are very impressive.

  • Oh please Superfly! How can you say white women don’t care about someone’s social status? That is a blatant lie. All women regardless of skin color can care about someone’s social status or choose not to. It has nothing to do with skin color. Don’t come here and belittle black women. *KMT*

  • @Edward I have the study you requested for. You can find a copy of it at this link One of its thesis which I find most relevant is encapsulated in the following taken from the text:

    “It is becoming increasingly clear that the challenge of finding a mate once one has a profession is not confined to America. If you are “too accomplished” and female, chances are higher, on a global scale, that you will remain single than if you are less accomplished in the workplace. This is true in Poland and in Germany, in American and in Japan, and in virtually every other country where there are increasing ranks of professional women.” ~ Single Professional Women – A global Phenomenon, Challenges and Opportunities.

    The study ends with some interesting posits about what could be done to change the phenomenon.

    You’re welcome 🙂

  • In Ghana, class matters.
    The class lines in Ghana dont stand out as much when you move to the west and I think that is how you find Ghanaians marrying outside their class. Plus, you can fake class in the west. Can’t do that in Gh.
    In marriage, class matters because it is a big supplier in the ego business.
    Just like other differences between people, it is one less hurdle that can be avoided but if you choose to face it, you better have the legs to jump it.

    You are right. Men dating below their class is no big deal. Not every woman we date shows up on our resume.
    Not the same for women though.

  • @Abena – Yep, there is nothing worse than you writing an extremely long comment which goes missing!

    @Farouk – I seriously doubt that women make it more of an issue when they are ‘dating down’. I think that’s part of the men’s insecurities, they misinterpret anything you say and its like ‘oh, because you have this job you think…’

    @Superfly – Ermmm, not quite sure which of your assertions to respond to – let me try and not respond to the obvious comments that will get a purely emotional reaction out of me. Money and social class do not necessarily go together. Money can’t buy you class.

    @Edward – Lol, I hear you…what one person means when they say single can be different to what another person says. When i say i am single, i mean there isn’t a particular person that i have agreed to date – it doesn’t mean that there is no one i’m hooking up with for e.g. In my books, hooking up does not a relationship make. Or i dey lie?

    @Shane – It looks like we’re on the same page with your comment to @Edward

    @Kofi – Ouch! Shallowness? Ain’t that a bit strong – i think its more of a pragmatic position 🙂

    @Oluniyi -What thirst?

    @Kofi – Yes you are being an idealistic 🙂 and there’s nothing wrong with that

    @Superfly – Why thank you. I don’t think people are angry at you – they are merely responding to your comment. Yes this blog is to share views and when people share views that come across as prejudiced i think readers are entitled to point it out. Thanks for sharing.

    @Ms B – 🙂 See comment above

    @Qafai – Wow, i need to check this study out

    @Mike – What does it mean when you say ‘Not every woman we date shows up on our resume.’?

  • Dating below your class is quite an interesting issue, personally i will not advice any woman be it black, white or what ever to date below your class all in the name of ‘Love’. I have been there before and insecurity almost drove me crazy, but thanks to my strong personality, I flee before i was sent to the mental home. One other disavantage is that you will be come stagnate, ,not move forward and not go higher than you are presently, that the guy will ensure. Love wisely!!!!1

  • Nana, there are some women we date that aren’t permitted to claim a relationship with us. Those women, for example, do not show up on our resume ….. if anyone were to check.
    There are women out there that are capable of putting same gag order on men… but they are comparatively small in number.

  • As much as I like to be a romantic and dismiss class differences as irrelevant, economic strength and the ability to mingle with ones partners associates does matter more than I had hoped.

    I think today it’s easier for men to date and have relationships below their class. Most societies still expect men to provide. Thus, as long as they can tolerate not having intellectually engaging conversations (the intellect is trained by education, which usually correlates with the wealth of ones parents (I know a few positive exceptions to this rule and I adore them)) or even enjoy the power of economic or intellectual superiority, they don’t loose much by having a lower class companion. This in parallel makes it easier for women to date upclass these days.

    Accomplished women on the other hand need to take on a provider role in addition to being ridiculed by their “friends” for being stupid not to have chosen a better provider. Women more often move to the class of their partners instead of pulling them to their class, probably because more men want to lead in a relationship.

    Combine this with the expectations we inherited from the generations of our (grand-)parents where men were schooled and had their economic career furthered and women rarely earned money and were expected to marry a financially strong man more educated due to his schooling, but in the end they were of the same class. Transported to today; Professional women now are rightfully proud of their academic and economic achievements, but still their parents and social surrounding expects them to expect to marry upwards, even so this today would mean to marry beyond their class.

    Inter-class relationships come with more complications than intra-class relationships and this is not just a matter of up and down. For me it’s not obvious which class is “higher” or “lower”: the rich black political elite, the even richer arab business class, the chinese immigrants, the western expat intellectuals, the remnants of the colonial masters, the indians, …

    I have learned, it is important that you and your partner are sophisticated enough to be able to mingle in each other’s social circles. If you can achieve this an inter-class relationship can be even more rewarding than staying within your class. Thus, as long as we are both financially self-sufficient I would date (and hope to marry) somebody up- or downclass as long as I can look up to and adore some part of my partners intellect and am appreciated for my intellectual strengths. I personally have a strong disposition to be attracted to people of a different race, which still practically guarantees an inter-class relationship; racism, both back home and here, is still much stronger than I have thought.

  • @Hilly – Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. I’m glad you made it out of a difficult situation

    @ Mike – Does that mean those are women you would be ashamed to admit you dated or slept with? Are they below your ‘class’?

    @NVit – Wow, this comment could be an entire post 🙂 Clearly this is an issue you have thought about. Hmm, you have given me a thought – perhaps i should blog on inter racial dating

  • Here are 2 examples directly related to class:
    High-society guy dating a beautiful young girl that was discovered by chance and given a job as an energy drink promo girl. His S-class won’t go to the slums where she lives as it would be totally out of place. She won’t be on the resume.
    Then there is the area slut that the other ladies shun and refer to as classless though they all used to be in the same click. Can’t have her running around claiming a brother just because he’s hittin it.

  • @Nana — Please do! Interracial relationships are obviously of interest to me. Because many actually fulfill the prejudices, one can’t just dismiss them. Yet, true interracial partnerships get unfairly tarnished by them. Any tips of how to avoid this? — Assuming you don’t want to consummate one of “those” relationships 😉 which can be quite rewarding as long as you manage not to expect more, which I can’t.

  • Mike – Oh Charle! My initial thought was, ‘that’s a bit harsh’ but then i thought about my own ‘sex’ cv and realised that there is one guy that i definitely won’t claim

    @NVit – Lol! One post on inter-racial relationships coming right up! (when time and motivation allows)

  • @NVit: I found your post interesting. I think your focus on earning power and cultural expectations is just about right. Men in the top managerial & business classes in this country have access to the relatively small amounts of money it takes to keep some of the relatively poor women (an unsurprisingly large number of women) on a financial string.

    I would not really call the relationships that arise here ‘dating.’ I think a power-fuck is a more appropriate term.

    Something else flips into action when a more financial secure woman attempts to power-fuck a poor guy. Culture! A culture that puts a premium on maleness. So you can be a more capable provider and the guy still expects you to be more ‘womanly,’ aka subservient, around him.

    Another interesting dimension is that in our Akan language and in Ga as well, men fuck, women get fucked. The man is active, potent, propulsive, the woman inactive, reactive and receiving. The power dynamic here is such that, no matter what ‘class’ the couple belong to, in bed the man is the superior.

    Seems that women just can’t win.

  • @ kofi – you’ve hit the nail right on the head. sex is always always about power, even when it’s about love, (or money). i’m almost inspired to write a guest post on the P’s of sex: power, pleasure, phallicism, the respectively biological and colloquial names of male and female sex organs, pain, passion, etc. perhaps it should be called ‘pex’ instead… lol

  • Shane, you should do a guest post.
    I’m too high off the Lakers’ win, I can’t make heads or tails of what you just posted!!

    Kofi, you mentioned that “something else flips into action when a finacially secure woman attempts to fuck a poor guy” etc etc.
    I inteprete that as “something else flips into action when a woman wants to pimp a man”.
    Yes, society gets in the way. BUT the woman’s attitude & emotions get in the way big time.
    If only women knew how much power they had!!!!!!

  • Power fuck: love the term!

    My dad married above his social class (not education-wise but economic-wise). Considering what pride/ego he has, I am surprised they’ve stayed married for 25 years…never heard my parents fight, never heard a cross word about class status etc.

    Now I will not pretend there haven’t been murmurs of discontent sometimes, and significant hurdles where extended family has been concerned, but I think the level of committment between them has made them weather the difference…so I guess what I’m saying is, it ain’t easy but it sure as hell ain’t impossible either

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.