All Articles Tagged "Dating Down"
Being the “My Fair Wedding,” “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Bridezillas” junkie that I am, I’m no stranger to women declaring that they want to feel like a princess on their wedding day. But just because I get what they’re saying when they express the mood they want to set for the ceremony — or most importantly their dress — that doesn’t mean I actually get it. It being the desire for grown women to still hold on to the notion of fairy tale celebrations, and much more, fairy tale marriages and relationships that by the sheer descriptive use of the word “tale” (and the Disney studio they were borne out of) suggests such stories are far more rooted in fiction than reality, and likely should have been let go around the same time one stopped believing in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy.
I should interject here and mention that I will try to make this post come off as non-cynical and non-pessimistic as possible. Feel free to let me know if I failed in the comments.
The reason the whole princess complex is on my mind today is because of a recent statement miss Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas made during an appearance on “Good Afternoon America” Friday. Chilli, who is now 41, is basically known for three things: being in TLC, dating Usher, and being too picky to find the man she claims she wants on the VH1 reality dating show “What Chilli Wants.” OK, four things if you count her baby hair, but that’s not particularly pertinent to this post, although I implore you to check out her sculpture game in the clip below. Impeccable. Anywho, as I digress, Chilli was asked the question I really wish people would stop asking women altogether, which is would you “date down.” In this interview, “dating down” is considered getting involved with a man who makes less money than you and Chilli’s answer is every bit of why I don’t like this line of questioning to begin with. She responded:
“I’m very picky, I guess you want to call it that. Here’s my issue with ‘dating down’ – it sounds bad, it makes us seem shallow — the problem with dating down[...]I think that for a female, no matter how much money you make or not, every woman wants to feel like a princess, you know. I don’t look for a guy to pay my bills, I can pay my own bills. I can do a lot of things for myself. Thank God I’ve been blessed. But I would love to go on a date with a guy and he pays for it or we go on a trip together and — if I have to pay half then I need to go on that trip with my girlfriend, not a dude. I’m just saying.”
As I alluded to earlier, hearing a grown woman who is every bit of 40-plus say she wants to feel like a princess is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I could have even settled for queen in this instance because it would at least be fitting for a woman of her years, but there is something about the use of the p-word that perfectly describes the conundrum Chilli presents. She wants to be married and she’s proud to pay her own bills, yet she wants a man to desire to take care of her as someone who is incapable of doing so and going out with anyone who doesn’t have the ends to lavishly spoil her as she sees fit would be considered “dating down.” Okay.
I won’t pretend like I know Chilli personally, but I’d just like to present two pieces of evidence for discussion. Exhibit A: Usher Raymond, a man of rather fine means who committed the ultimate no-no, in her words, which was cheating on her. Exhibit B: Floyd Mayweather, another man with an exceptional net worth who Chilli was rather smitten with on her VH1 show and who barely acknowledged her presence when they went on a semi-date to a theme park. Both men could absolutely afford (financially) to whisk her away for an island vacation, neither man was particularly keen on paying the non-monetary price (if any was set) to be in an exclusive relationship with her. She may have been “dating up” financially, but she was most certainly “dating down” fundamentally, and that is the main problem with the princess complex.
OK, so maybe we all haven’t been asking this, but as a lover of T.I. I can admit I have been a hater of Tiny. And as my Twitter timeline often shows on Monday nights, and obviously author Shahida Muhammad’s as well, lots of women find themselves asking, out of all the women T.I. could have, why did he choose Tiny?
As Shahida points out in her case for Tiny, the question over T.I.’s choice is totally rooted in superficiality. We make comments about Tiny’s face, shape, hair, clothing, and everything else on the outside to suggest Tip can do better without any thought for the fact that she’s a good mother, a talented singer/business woman, a devoted wife—you know all those things we should be looking for in a partner. You could argue that “ghetto” is an internal trait, but considering T.I. is straight from the hood, that argument is only going to get you so far.
But we’re also being hypocrites when we criticize her. Shahida writes:
“We often call out artists for constantly displaying such unrealistic and unhealthy images of women in their videos, but when we see an artist settle down with someone like Tiny she gets ridiculed.”
You can’t argue with that point at all, and it says a lot about how men bring out the worst in women when it comes to jealousy, cattiness, and wanting something they’ve got.
As T.I.’s Family Hustle has gotten through more and more episodes, I find myself thinking these two are the cutest, country couple I’ve ever seen. The way they interact, their Atlanta accents, even both of their short statures make them look like the perfect match on the outside—and as a few Clutch readers pointed out, if you happen to think T.I. is nothing more than your average, ordinary dude in the looks department, then the question becomes why not Tiny?
Whatever the couple has that attracts them to one another seems to be working. They’ve been together for 10 years with minimal rumors of infidelity, and T.I. doesn’t skip out on a chance to acknowledge his wife for holding him down throughout years of legal battles. At the end of the day, those are real examples of love and honor that will get you to the alter if you’re looking for something real; not looks. T.I. appears to have made the right choice.
Have you ever questioned why T.I. chose Tiny? (Be honest) What do you think about the couple? Perfect match or he could do better?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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