By Vangile Ganthso (@Vangi22)
These social, economic and cultural lines are drawn in the wind and adhered to silently, with very few lovers venturing beyond them, in fear of some kind of unnecessary complication.
In a recent taxi ride from Randburg to Braamfontein, I found myself surprisingly charmed by a taxi driver. He quoted poetry (Mzwakhe Mbuli) and songs (Dionne Farris), was delightful to all the passengers and was, at times, genuinely funny. Most importantly though, he found a way to make me feel really special. Granted his taxi industry references were lost on me and there was a lot of polite smiling, but I must admit that his was one of the most pleasant taxi rides I have had in a long time. And he didn’t even ask for my number afterwards. All he said was that I should remember that I am beautiful and carry myself as such. (I know, right?)
The thing is, when I got home and told a friend about this taxi man, she laughed at me (or him… I’m not quite sure) then immediately dismissed it as part of my fascination with people. Seemingly, there are lines that exist within the dating pool and these lines become more apparent as we grow older. In varisty, we could meet while waitressing and date for a while even, because we share a common space. But the minute one of us graduates and it becomes more apparent that, for example, one was paying their way through school and the other has career-waiter aspirations, things go horribly wrong.
These social, economic and cultural lines are drawn in the wind and adhered to silently, with very few lovers venturing beyond them, in fear of some kind of unnecessary complication. Rarely will a CEO of a multi-million rand organisation be found dating a security guard, especially if the CEO is the woman, because as my friend Jeri, so eloquently put it: “Such situations only work out in Tyler Perry movies.” In the real world, it would appear that more (financially) successful men are willing to overlook their partner’s profession, in favour of their character attributes than (financially) successful women, and even then, there are a few no-go’s.
So what happened to “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”?
Everyone walks into a relationship with a set of negotiables and non-negotiables. Some are financial, others, social, cultural, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. In the wise words of Mam’G (my mom): “Uthando lubalelekile mntana’m, nencoko funeka idibane, kodwa indlala xa ingena ngomnyango, uthando luphuma nge festile.” In my quest to understand why my friend had laughed so hard (and why I knew in the back of my own head that I was more entertained than charmed), I did some research. I asked a few friends if they would date below their income bracket. More specifically, I asked if there were any jobs that were no-go areas.
It was interesting to note that there was a definite split in the responses I got. In general, many people felt that if that as far as income bracket went, they would date people who had the same socio-economic aspirations and led similar lifestyles. Provided these people had good hearts, were socially responsible and all that “beautiful pancreas” (inner beauty) jazz of course. Many of my artistic friends, felt that their cultural, emotional and spiritual characteristics were more important than the job they did, but later admitted that on initial contact (especially if there was a uniform involved), they would probably say no. My “professional” – and I use this word with caution – friends were a lot more straight forward. “No. Taxi drivers, petrol attendants, security guards and generally all unskilled workers are a no-go for me”, said a thirty year old financial services professional.
What was also interesting was that no one wanted to date someone whose end goal was, say, a petrol attendant. Potential could be negotiated, up to a particular age, but it was very apparent that most people would only consider certain jobs, if there was a compelling reason to why they were in that position. If the said job was a passage and not the final destination.
“Does the person have dreams and aspirations? Because you can become a police commissioners or a proper bank manager through the internal structures. A security guard on the other hand I can’t consider, why aren’t they a cop, with health cover and life insurance? It depends, but if they don’t have dreams and ambition then no. But a definite no to a security guard” – Anonymous
As much as we all want to be good people and we all want to give good people a chance, the truth of the matter is that the work we do forms part of the people we become. And as charming as the taxi-man is, no one person is completely one thing because we are all quilted somehow. There are elements of him espoused by the work he does that render him initially undesirable, to me. I would prefer someone else made me feel special. This is a preference, not a prejudice. So no thank you. Taxi drivers, security guards, petrol attendants etc.
For interest sake: TOP 5 UNDESIRABLE JOBS FOR PARTNERS ACCORDING TO MY SURVEY
- Taxi Driver
- Security Guard
- Petrol Attendant
- Truck Driver
- Prison Warder