“Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger; but she ain’t messing with no broke niggas…”
The year was 2005, and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” was blaring from every radio imaginable that summer. It was a great song that brilliantly merged Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” Kanye’s pre-Kim Kardashian flow, and Jaime Foxx’s spot-on imitation of Ray Charles. While I understood Kanye’s intention with the song—bringing light to the issue of men and women using each other for material gain or a chance to be “on the come up,”— I believe that this song also made some women ashamed to expect or ask for the best from a man for fear of being labeled a gold digger.
I recently had a conversation with a new male friend about my dating expectations. I shared with him that I really enjoy cultural events such as Broadway plays and live jazz, and I told him that I would really love to share these kinds of activities on a future date. He said, “Ain’t no man gonna do anything like that with you. Your expectations are too high.”
I swirled around his commentary in my head for about 24 hours and thought, “Well, Leah, maybe that is a high expectation.” But then I had to re-establish my wants and desires for me and simply say, “Leah, that’s ONE man’s opinion. You can remain open to a man who can meet and, better yet, EXCEED your expectation for spending quality time with you.”
As I’m actively exploring redefining my dating experience, I uncovered that this fear of being labeled a gold digger was silently lurking in the back of my mind. Like many women, I didn’t want to appear like I only wanted a man based on his social status or his accumulation of wealth. I unconsciously lowered my standards for fear that I wouldn’t be able to attract a man at all.
Now that I’m stepping back and giving myself the chance to evaluate this gold digger premise, I recognize that evaluating a man based on his accomplishments and possessions—and deciding if I want to engage further with him based on those standards—is more than OK. I believe that a man who shows up in my world with a certain level of accomplishment and any accompanying material possessions is showing me that he has done his WORK to be a MAN. And even if the tangible results of his efforts have yet to come to fruition in his world, if he’s doing the WORK, there is nothing sexier than a man on a REAL mission to make his life the best it can be. And THAT kind of work, passion, drive, and energy to live your life like it MATTERS is EXACTLY what I’m looking for in a man.
So just like the gold miners who went to California during the Great Gold Rush of 1848 to find their gold treasure, I am on a similar mission. I’m allowing myself to be comfortable with knowing what I want in a future dating partner or a future mate and to have no qualms in seeking out men who meet my standards. I’m giving myself permission to sift through, decline, or accept men into my world based on my expectations. I’m giving myself the grace to set a GOLD STANDARD so that I can ultimately receive a GOLD-STANDARD MAN who will honor and respect me for the GOLD-STANDARD WOMAN that I am.
So, yeah, I’m a gold digger, and I’m no longer choosing men with broken mind-sets, expectations, or limitations. The kind of gold that a man has to offer me, and more importantly, to offer to himself and the world at large is an important factor in choosing if a man is worthy to enter my universe. It’s my right to set and enforce a GOLD STANDARD in my life. If I don’t stand for what’s important to me, then no one else will.