Have your ever turned down a date by, or are you considering pulling the plug on a relationship with a great guy because you’ve heard remarks like “he’s not on your level?” Are you a professional woman feeling pressured to turn down a great guy because he doesn’t have the abbreviations M.D. or Esq. after his last name?

For black women who have chosen to pursue the levels of higher education and profession, I think many have observed the lack of eligible male (particularly black male) counterparts. But for some professional black women fortunate to find a great guy, these same women are sometimes faced with the dating dilemma of feeling like their family, friends, and/or associates are frowning on their decision to date a blue collar man.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with this pressure. And I grew up observing how the “white collar woman and blue collar man” can be a great match. My father is what many would consider a “blue collar man.” He never went to college, and owns his own company. My mother attended prestigious universities, and earned her doctorate. They have been married almost 30 years- and for as long as I can remember, my father has loved and devoted himself to my mother and his daughters (myself included). Because of this, I’ve always looked for a man that mirrored similar qualities as my father. Furthermore, I grew up knowing that there wasn’t anything that a white collar man could give me that a blue collar man couldn’t.

And while I would never advise a woman to lower her standards (assuming she has reasonable standards), or just date anyone that approaches her, I do believe that sometimes women miss out on relationships with great men because we get too caught up in the superficial qualities of a man (like if he has a Ph.D. or drives a Mercedes), as well as what other people think.

At the end of the day, it’s your choice on who you love and who you build a life with- no one else’s. Moreover, I believe the best relationships are made by partners that are not only similar, but complement one another. Where you’re weak, your man is strong- and vice versa. This is what I saw from my parents- and it’s something I aim for as well. So if you’re a white collar woman who’s looking for true love, think twice before turning down that blue collar man who had the courage to step to you- he may turn out to be everything you should have been looking for.

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