Earlier this week I settled in to watch one of my usual reality television guilty pleasures Why Am I Still Single. In the show matchmaker Siggy Flicker works with hopeless singles in hopes of finding out why they’re still single. Hence the show’s title. On the latest episode Siggy works with a young African American woman named Ebony who is searching for the perfect Prince Jamal…not Prince Charming. Princess Ebony has even created a vision board with all the requirements her prince must have. What’s on her list you ask? Well amongst other things, Prince Jamal must be gainfully employed, making over $80K (but that’s negotiable based on his benefits package….yes she said that), cultured, well traveled, have no children and prepared to be the sole bread winner once (and after) she is with child. Siggy tried to tell Ebony that while she did deserve the best, maybe she needs to be willing to negotiate on some of her ‘must haves.’

To illustrate her point Siggy dressed Ebony up like Cinderella and presented her with a bevy of potential Prince Jamals for her to choose from. She then proceeded to have Princess Ebony read from her list of requirements and every time a prince didn’t stack up he was to relinquish his crown and walk away. Needless to say at the end Princess Ebony was left without her prince because none of the men could fully measure up. Even when Siggy hooked her up with a seemingly great guy, Ebony’s list and relationship walls kept her from connecting. By the end of the show Ebony was still determined to find the Prince Jamal of her dreams no matter how unrealistic her requirements may seem to others.

It got me to thinking, is Prince Jamal even a possible reality? Is Ebony being unrealistic or would she simply be settling by refusing to compromise on her list? Let’s be honest, no woman wants a loser, but is it realistic to demand your potential mate have an $80K plus salary whether or not you’re pulling one yourself? What if the field he works in and loves doesn’t command that kind of salary? Is it fair to say he has to look like a mash up of Barack Obama and Shemar Moore when clearly, unless they’re related, he will never achieve anything near that in the looks department? It’s perfectly fine to have standards and demand a certain level of treatment, but when do requirements go from simply having standards to idealizing a fantasy? Every woman wants a Prince Jamal just like every man wants their Cinderella, but just because a man doesn’t have an $80K salary doesn’t mean he isn’t worth building with. None of us are perfect; we don’t come out the womb ready made like Pillsbury biscuits. Part of a relationship, in my opinion, is having a partner that complements you, not completes you. Your other half should be weak where you’re strong and be able to help, push and support you in creating the person you envision. If my potential Prince Jamal came to me today making $45K, barring any glaring red flags, I would give him a chance because he could very well be working towards something more financially rewarding. No passport? Maybe I can be the one to give him the little push he needs to begin exploring the world….together.

Am I a smart, wonderful, amazing woman that deserves the moon and the stars? Yes, but I’m not ready made. I’m still learning and growing and won’t stop until the Lord takes me home, and I have to accept the fact that my man will most likely be the same way. I want a Prince Jamal and no I don’t believe that I should settle, but I am willing to negotiate, because perfect princes only exist in fairy tales, the perfectly imperfect man (and love) I want is very much real.

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