By Jontae Grace
Mothers have a way of cutting through to the heart of a matter. If I say, “Mom, I got a job interview,” she gone say, “How much it pay?” If I say, “Mom, I’m thinking about going back to school for my Master’s,” She’ll say, “Be mindful of the 50-thousand dollars you already owe,” It’s not so much as a buzzkill, than a reality check that all good ideas need to be weighed alongside their implications.
Lately, Moms has gone on the offensive. She’ll slide up next to me and, with the coy pettiness that only a Black mother can possess, be like, “When are you gonna get married? I want grandkids that I can play with when I retire this year.” You see how she fit triplets into her pregnant question? I’m supposed to find a spouse (read: Daughter-In-Law), and begin having children by September.
I’ve never married, never been engaged. I’m thirty, soon to be 31. I have one son-which, compared to many of my peers, is acceptable for even the bougie-est career woman. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Oregon, and work for a Fortune 500 corporation. I have no criminal record. By most accounts, I’m eligible, right?
By law, I’m single. That is, unmarried. They don’t make allowances for, “She coo, we have an understanding” or “I talk to…” or “that’s Bae Grace right there.” Either it is or ain’t.
I know, as well as most men, that a good wife will save a man’s life, change his life, and give him more life, taking him to heights he might not attain on his own. I am keenly aware that, as hard as The Bible harps on the pitfalls of wayward women, it is almost profuse in its praise for a good wife. I want that most cherished blessing, a family to come home to, a household totally my own. To me, there is no higher achievement in life than to have a woman be 100% yours.
But I’ve never even smelt an altar, never discussed marriage as anything other than an abstract idea, a conversation that couples have when discussing life goals: “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to be married within five years?” By most standards, I’m a serial relationshipper. In my adult life, I’ve had three relationships, each lasting two and a half years. When single, I prowl with the zeal of a Christian missionary in a pagan African nation. I’ve poked more holes than a belt, but I’ve always found it to be more headache than it’s worth.
At this age, men measure women by how much of his wealth he is willing to share with her. The one-nighters get nothing. Acquaintances and ongoing flings get drinks, dinner, and an Uber home. But the wifeys get benefits coverage, insurance inheritance and joint accounts, sparkling jewelry and designer purses. You see, a woman judges a man’s worth by how much of her body and heart she is willing to share with him. A man measures a woman by how much of his money he is willing to share with her. People share the most valuable parts of themselves with those they value highest.
I’m not willing to risk my emotional and financial health if I don’t feel all the way right about it. I’ll continue humping dollar-store sales associates and call center queens before I bet another 18% of my paycheck on an emotion. I did that once before, and it now costs me $500 every month. Until it comes in a form that I’m comfortable with, I won’t pop the question.
I don’t want much, just a woman who does what I want her to do. Before you dismiss me as misogynous, understand that I don’t want a slave, someone who does it because it pleases me. I want it to be her nature. I want a similar human being. I want her to be ME, with big-ass titties.
And it doesn’t have to come in the traditional sense. I would be quite satisfied with a lifelong partner who I didn’t marry. Nowadays, people have all kinds of uncommon arrangements, and I’ve seen some of the longest-lasting relationships happen between unmarried partners. Legal marriage is a business arrangement, a way to pool people’s assets, and therefore increase their wealth. I would be content with buying a ring and making spiritual vow to commit to one another for life, before God. You don’t need a court of law to ordain love.
People who are complex tend to value simplicity, the same way people who are sheltered seek danger and action. Those of us who’ve been to the edge, staring into the abyss, we know that there is nothing more to life than to find the best people to share it with. Achievements, accomplishments, thrills, they bring only momentary flashes of pleasure. But binding yourself to another human being is the true meaning of life. I’d hang up my jersey today if it came, but right now, I have to head to the dollar store before they close.