Preferences and Limitations

It’s been 3 weeks since B. Simone, comedian and entrepreneur, created a stir with her comments about a dating preference. In May, she was featured on Nick Cannon Radio on Power 106 FM in Los Angeles. During their 20-minute conversation which covered topics ranging from her appearing on “Girlfriends Check-In” with Loni Love to relationships, B. Simone told Nick Cannon that he could set her up on a blind date. Among the prerequisites for a man that she gave Nick, B. Simone made the following statement which quickly overshadowed everything else: “He can’t have a 9 to 5.” She made additional comments stating that she thinks “entrepreneurs should date entrepreneurs” and that someone who is not an entrepreneur is probably “not gonna understand” her lifestyle.

B. Simone has since addressed her comments through a video on her Instagram account. Two factions quickly emerged between people who found her comment offensive and those who did not. Some felt that her view was condescending to people who work a “9 to 5” job. Others felt that it was simply a preference which B. Simone is entitled to like anyone else. It is a subjective situation that has clearly been perceived differently among those who heard or read about B. Simone’s statement.

Although I am on the side that believes her preference is simply that, this situation raises something more to be considered: At what point does a preference become a limitation? I understand how people may have been offended by the implication that someone who is not an entrepreneur may not fully understand B. Simone’s work and lifestyle. While I do believe that I understand what B. Simone meant by saying that, I also think it may be a disservice in that it could be a limitation as much as it is a preference.

“It could be a limitation as much as it is a preference.”

It is not always clear what shapes our preferences for qualities in suitable dates and potential mates. Some people want what they saw growing up. “My parents were together for this number of years” or “My parents always did this or that [for each other].” Some people simply strive for what they did not have (e.g., two-parent household) or vow to do better than the people around them. Others simply want to beat certain odds (e.g., high divorce rates). I challenge everyone to think about their preferences in a mate and what contributes to that. We may find that we are imitating a superficial portrayal of a “good” relationship. Everything is not always what it seems. Additionally, you may also realize that what you prefer is a quality or feeling that can be found in more kinds of people than we ever considered.

In B. Simone’s Instagram video in response to the backlash, she gave an example of being up at 3:00 a.m. answering e-mails. Her rationale was that an entrepreneur could understand why she was up and could possibly be up working as well. I’m sure that was just a simple example because I don’t think a reasonable man would care that you’re up sending e-mails if he trusted you to be doing just that and if the light wasn’t keeping him from sleeping. She furthered her example by mentioning having a meeting out of town the next day and inviting the guy along to make a trip of it.

Having worked a 9 to 5, I know there are sometimes barriers to picking up and going on a whim. There is this pesky protocol of paid time off if you have that option and the hours available. And in some cases, it may not be approved. Now there are a plethora of funny memes about booking trips before getting time off approved and not cancelling plans even if the request was not approved. And of course you could just call in sick. But for some people, their job does not always allow that kind of flexibility. Taking off work for any reason for some people is the difference between having a full paycheck or not.

Image from reddit.com.
Image from memeful.com.

But there are certain day jobs that offer more flexibility [and income] than some would believe. Some people can work remotely, allowing them to be at work from anywhere as long as they have the necessary connectivity. And certain positions grant people the leisure to set their own schedules. So what B. Simone desires may be within some guys that work a traditional job. In fact, it may offer balance to her on-the-go lifestyle which comes with a degree of uncertainty when business isn’t booming, bookings are slow, or if the “cancel culture” has it out for you.

“We have to learn how to let people’s preference be their problem.”

Overall, we have to learn how to let people’s preference be their problem (or solution). There are “preferences” that have larger impacts in society. We call those preferences “prejudices.” B. Simone wanting to lay next to an entrepreneur at night does not keep a Black student from participating in his graduation ceremony because his locks are too long at a school where they prefer something more compliant. Her preference does not subject unarmed Black people to police brutality in a society where some would prefer that our existence was less threatening.

Maybe in her quest to find a boyfriend, B. Simone will bump into a guy who checks all of her boxes; but happens to work a 9 to 5. He may have entrepreneurial aspirations that he will soon achieve. Then she will have that boxed checked as well. Or this man may provide all the love and support that she desires, and B. Simone may eliminate that entrepreneur box altogether. Best case scenario, she will get exactly what she wants in a mate and will reciprocate it. Let’s just pray that this Black woman can manifest the type of love that fulfills and uplifts her without enduring trauma first. Because we should all prefer a love without limitations. Entrepreneur or not.

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