Well Maintained ≠ High Maintenance

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Is this heifer worth it?

This past Friday I decided to end my long, grueling week by attending a “peppermint” themed happy hour with my roommate at a 30yo+ establishment. We’re not 30 (though I’m inching closer *smh*) but we went to support the event, fellowship with close friends, have a delicious signature “Red Stiletto” martini, and go in on some of the best fried chicken wings made in this city. After a couple of hours, a couple of Red Stilettos, and a plate full of cleaned bones, a brotha (~40yo) who knows my roommate came over to offer to buy us drinks and chat. Distracted by calls to make plans for a trip to Caribana, my roommate left me alone with this brotha. I didn’t mind since he seemed cool and I was feeling talkative from my martinis. He asked me basic questions about my career (grad school), interests, thoughts on living in this city, etc. During this convo, he mentioned his yacht (o_O), how much he loves to travel and how frequently he vacations, etc. At some point during our exchange he says to me, almost in an accusatory way, “You look like you’re high maintenance.” HOL’. UP. Say what? You’on know me. The sistagirl in me crept out and with some ‘tude I asked him what he meant by that and he proceeds to tell me it’s mostly due to how well put together I look–from my hair (MC-styled curls), to my nails (he clearly didn’t notice my broken/naked nail), to my outfit (jeans, a plain top, and some peep stilettos). And apparently the roll of my neck and side-eyes further confirmed for him that I must be “high maintenance.”

This isn’t the first time a man called me high maintenance, particularly based on my appearance–I regularly get manis/pedis, I dress well (if I do say so myself lol), and own a few Coach and Dooney & Bourke handbags and a pair of Gucci sunglasses (all gifts). But since when did looking good and taking pride in one’s appearance make a person high maintenance? I like to look good. For ME. The fact that some men dig me looking good, and approach me because of it, is an added bonus. Unless I ask or require that a man I’m dating be the one responsible for making sure I stay looking good, by breaking off bread to my stylist, manicurist, and favorite clothing/shoe stores, why is my maintenance anyone’s concern? I hold my own ish down (even in my grad school poorness), Ms. Independent if you will, so my resources that I put into my looks, recreations, and possessions is my damn business. I’ve never made these things anyone else’s prerogative but mine. And if I’m not mistaken, isn’t a woman who expects her man to keep her glam’d up in her top of the line tastes the type of woman deserving of the title “high maintenance”? Based on the evidence, I don’t fit into that same mold. Besides, if I had to depend on a man I was dating to stay well maintained, I’d be a sad sight.

What puzzles me even more than being called high maintenance as an insult are the men who use the term. More often than not, being a high maintenance woman is not a good thing and many men who value their almighty dollar try to avoid them (or so they’d have you believe). Yet, most of the men who have ever accused me of being high maintenance are the same men who, without prompting, flex about how much and what they have. Now, if a man thought I, or any woman, was high maintenance (based on looks and a brief convo) and potentially bad news as a result, why would he feel the need to basically tell me how much he has and how able he is to provide and fund the finer things in life? I don’t get it. Am I missing something? Perhaps men do it as a tease to say, “Girl I got enough to give you the world on a silver platter… but eh, I won’t”? Or maybe talking about his financial well being is like a litmus test, just to see how the woman is going to respond, and depending on how she responds will determine how the men continues to interact with her. Or maybe he’s just so consumed with himself that he can’t help but brag about what he’s working with? I’m genuinely perplexed by this.

And as a result of my experiences and my visceral feeling about the subject, I have come to the following 3 general conclusions about men and this idea of high maintenance women:

(a) Men don’t really know what it means for a woman to be high maintenance or have the ability to properly identify her.

(b) Men are naive enough to happily brag about what they have (job, car, yachts, etc) to impress a woman without recognizing the risk of that woman being high maintenance (or even a gold digger) and would require that he use his resources for her upkeep as long as they’re together? Or….

(c) Men pretend that a woman being high maintenance is a negative thing (why? who knows), but in reality they love the idea of having a fly woman whom they are maintaining because she makes him look good and it’s a small price to pay.

Bottom line: men are simple. And full of BS. And I don’t feel sorry for any of them who end up dealing with trifling, hard and/or expensive to please women.

So I’m curious to know what other people think of this idea of a high maintenance woman. Am I off base in my assessments of men? Do I not give men enough credit for identifying different types of women? What constitutes “high maintenance”? Is being high maintenance really a bad thing? Is a woman’s high maintenance even really a deterrent for the average man?

Maintaining Deez,
~Gem

P.S. Love40, Baby.

19 thoughts on “Well Maintained ≠ High Maintenance

    Ivy St. said:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    First!!A mutual friend (Mr. Mississippi) of ours stated he couldn't date a woman that wore dress scarves. The scarf itself was an indicator of being "high maintenance" and he refused to have to buy her scarfs all the time. Mind you this is the SAME friend that weeds women out based on if they can attend a "corporate event." :/I think man use the term "high maintenance" when they encounter a woman that has confidence really. I'm sure the physical accessories play into it as well, but I think "high maintenance" just means they actually have to work at pursuing this type of woman. In some cases, I think they say it to stroke their own ego. Like here they are talking to this high maintenance (re: classy, put together, confident woman).High maintenance should not equal taking care of your physical appearance. High maintenance should have more to do with a woman demanding her man bend over backwards to please her with no regard to how it effects him financially, emotionally or physically.

    thatdamnafrican said:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    My definition of high maintenance follows Ivy St. "High maintenance should not equal taking care of your physical appearance. High maintenance should have more to do with a woman demanding her man bend over backwards to please her with no regard to how it effects him financially, emotionally or physically."I think the "high maintenance" label is like any other label that men (and women) have for each other. Sometimes people have their own variation on the definition depending on their experiences. I don't think a woman's appearance ALONE can tell you if she's high maintenance or not, but women who are high maintenance do tend to need really nice things. Regardless, dude made an assumption based on limited evidence (your appearance & a short convo) and he turned out to be wrong.I see that this isn't the first time that someone has called you high maintenance based on your appearance, but I wonder how many men haven't assumed you were high maintenance.

    SaneN85 said:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Just showing love, I don't really have much to add. I'll try to be more thoughtful on the next post though.

    Sukez said:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I agree with Ivy. And Sane. Lol.I think high maintenance is past the appearance. It definitely taps into that ego point she had that thurr. (that was a moment. Excuse it lol)I can't think anymore. :-/ sorry

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:50 am

    @Ivy,lmao @ "first!" you are a mess! we both know mr. mississippi is a hot mess and full of #@%&. i bet if i wore dress scarves all the time he wouldnt think twice about it. if he found a woman he respected, he'd bend over backwards to make her smile and have what her little heart desired…. that said, i feel you on some men assigning high maintenance to a woman with confidence. and i agree about high maintenance women also including general high (and sometimes unreasonable) expectations for a man who is pursuing her. thanks for commenting! you bring up good points :)@thatdamnafricanquestion: are you turned off by high maintenance women? what are some identifying markers of a high maintenance woman? did you think i was high maintenance upon first meeting me?@SaneN85 LOL girl i appreciate you just reading and leaving some love. your presence is good enough :)@SukezLOL so what you're saying is if you have a big "ego" you are high maintenance? is there a difference between having high confidence and having a big ego that could put a woman into the "high maintenance" category?

    keisha brown said:
    July 27, 2010 at 5:26 am

    ugh. my blog train is killing me in these early wee hours. if i hadn't just had a conversation with a lesbian about her broken heart (her gf broke up with her for a DUDE)..i'd be convinced to just switch teams because i'm almost, officially fed up.it's all bullhst. dudes throw out the HM tag at a woman they dont want to have to work for. that's all well and good, but these same dudes end up with THE most HM chick out there! that's why i scoff at Ne-Yo/Jamie Foxx' she's got her own song (even though i like the remix's beat). if dudes were REALLY trying to find the chick that matches his fly..why are they only going after the Kimmy K's and Amber R's??? The ones that want and need to be maintain in order to give up their golden kitties? alas. we're dammed if we do and dammed if we dont.

    thatdamnafrican said:
    July 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    @Gem: If we're using the definition I used before, then yeah I'm turned off by HM women. Without getting to know the person, you're shooting blind. Generally though, you know if someone is HM if she is emotionally clingy, requires overly nice things (relative to the man's salary), and/or demands constant attention. Now, women who embody these traits aren't shunned from every man. They are pursued and hunted like any other woman. There are HM women that men CHOOSE to bend over backwards for and others that they CHOOSE not to. It doesn't make the woman any less HM (they want what they want with no regard for how it affects the man), it just means there is another reason (e.g. assets, heir to Bill Gates' inheritance) why the guy was willing to overlook it.So how does this prove that some men aren't full of sh*t? It doesn't. Some men ARE full of sh*t. Just like how some women are full of sh*t. It's the world we live in.I didn't think you were HM when I first met you. Nothing about you threw up a red flag in my mind. I normally give people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them (or I try to). Innocent until proven guilty. Spend enough time with a person and the truth always comes out.

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    July 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    @thatdamnafricani hear you. and im inclined to agree with most of it.

    Thomas said:
    July 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Good post GEM. I will say that my wife is definately high maintenance. I don't think that is really a problem though. She isn't offensive about it; just has upper middle class standards. I'll give you a little background. I'm white (not really, native american but whatever,) and she's black (trinidad.) In any case, we met in high school and went to college together (She went to Columbia and I went to NYU.) We both grew up with professional parents and were upper middle class at the very least. As a result, both of us, have as my friend described "y'all are some whole food shopping, luxury car driving, macbook pro holding siddity mf*s." My question to your question (which is usually bad) is this: While it certainly is a virtue to be able to exist in any condition, why exactly is it a negative trait to have a standard of living that you aspire to or desire. I feel like a lot of problems in our country are based on the idea that people should be ashamed of their success, or, more specifically that people shouldn't set a standard that places them in a position to require high end merchandise and services. Why is that? Why should a woman be forced to validate low expectation standards because so many fail to complete college, do something with their life, etc, etc?

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    July 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    @kblol yeah in many instances we're damned if we do, damned if we dont. the story of my life. BUT, even in the midst of nonsense, it can be fun to deal with. makes for great stories and develops good convo btwn men and women. they need to know how ridiculous i find them at times lol.@Thomasthank you for commenting! always appreciate the male perspective–esp from a married pov. from what you've mentioned, i am probably a lot like your wife. there are certain things i like and for the most part im willing to do what i need to do to get it, and dont expect some one else to do it for me. so i dont think there's anything wrong with having a certain standard of living. as i mentioned in the post i like (and often sacrifice) to get my hair and nails done, buy organic foods, wear certain types of clothes/shoes, etc. which is why i "feel some type of way" when men see that about me and say im high maintenance as if they dont want to be bothered because they think they may be called on to allow me to maintain my standards. and if thats his mind set, its probably best he keeps stepping. because he's not willing to see who i am or what my true requirements/expectations are from him which go far beyond any material possession he has or could buy.

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    July 27, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    @Thomas oh! one last thing! this–>"Why should a woman be forced to validate low expectation standards because so many fail to complete college, do something with their life, etc, etc?" a whole other issue that i plan to get into once i get back from vacay!!! im so intrigued and delighted that you, a MAN, would bring this up :)

    Thomas said:
    July 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    @Gem…I will definately stick around and participate. I've been married 17 years so there must be a reason she kept me around. I look forward to your blog everyday.

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    July 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    @Thomas awwww thanks!! i look forward to writing (though im only doing it 3x/wk). i gotta get you to guest post one of these days. i imagine you have lots to share with 17yrs of marriage under your belt :)

    Thomas said:
    July 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    @GemNo problem. The secret to marriage and relationships seems to be summarized with the following comment: "Stop listening to anything that anyone single has to say, ever." Now I realize that is harsh so I shall explain. I will use some basic math to explain.There are plenty of bad relationships out there, however, no one who isn't in a relationship can currently be in a good relationship. Being single doesn't mean you know nothing about good relationships. Being in a good relationship means you know about good relationships. Life is always about odds and odds are someone in a good relationships (especially a man who is in a good relationship; because men are some ignant asses) can be a good asset. He can provide valuable information for women and perhaps intervene from time to time in the hopes that men might have their case of severe rectal cranial inversion to subside.

    Thomas said:
    July 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    @GemI thought about this last night and the answer to your final question "And as a result of my experiences and my visceral feeling about the subject, I have come to the following 3 general conclusions about men and this idea of high maintenance women…" is this:Men want to maintain a woman so they have perceived control of the c**chie. Men fundamentally don't like that basically some skin that is attached to a woman forces them to change up and basically bow down to the power that is the aformentioned (and very nice, god its nice) anatomical part. So here's how it all works with HM chicks and a man. 1. Said HM chick likes things.2. Man hopes that HM chick cannot maintain said lifestyle without assistance.3. Man hopes that said female cannot maintain said lifestyle without man. 4. Man attempts to provide said woman with said lifestyle.5. When the woman accepts said lifestyle in what ends up being an exchange of goods for services (c**chie for goods).6. Said woman likes goods so she's more than willing to provide said services.7. Man thinks this gives him some control over getting said services.The moral is that men always look for ways to have control over this body part that they can't possible ever have control of. sn: need info on mixedchicks for my daughter Olivia.

    Pattycakes said:
    July 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Dang. He called you "high maintenance"? *takes an appropriate pause* So, was he cute?

    Cheekie said:
    July 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I'm doing the blog catch-up rounds but I needed to *dap* you for this dayum post. WTF, damn folks' standards are low dinna mug! Because you were well put together (I mean, you were OUT in public), you're high maintenance? What's regulah maintenance to him? Pajamas and a stocking cap?

    Gem of the Ocean said:
    August 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    @pattycakeslmao he was good looking. and actually, probably more YOUR kinda guy than mine. ill introduce you if we're all ever in the same space@cheekslmao the whole phrasing of your comment is funny to me. but my sentiments exactly. why should i dumb down my appearance just to make you feel more comfortable that im NOT high maintenance?

    [...] am no stranger to being called a “bougie black girl” or high maintenance. And when I take a serious assessment of who I am and what I like/want, these labels aren’t [...]

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