Black Woman: Would You Marry a Blue Collar White Man?

The Question

Asked of me by C.B.:

If you are educated, would you or have you married a blue collar wm? Many folks are quick to suggest bw take or accept a lower level bm on the academic and economic label. Why is this a problem if a bw marries a wm on a lower scale. (I do know a lady who married a produce manager wm, and she is a phd level. They just had a second baby.)

The Answer

The following is from my personal perspective. It is not intended as follow-what-I’m-doing advice (which is never my intention on this blog), but it’s an example of how I think. Your own dating and marrying philosophy may differ. πŸ™‚


About me: I like to joke that I am over-educated. It doesn’t mean I know everything, but I am excessively curious about a lot of things, and I always need to know more. Since I was eight, I loved reading encyclopedias and dictionaries. Today, I enjoy scanning the internet(s) for obscure information.

I used to want to be a fireman, police officer, and an artist. Then I wanted to be an astronaut, research scientist of weird diseases, writer, and a lawyer. My interests continued to change, but my desire for information and knowledge did not.

I graduated from high school, wishing I left a few years early, then proceeded to obtain an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree and finally a Master’s Degree. It took a lot of years of hustling to achieve these diplomas. I often worked while attending school, and for the advanced degree, my employer(s) paid for the education.

Do the diplomas make me happy? They were not attained for personal happiness. The purpose of my education is for personal self-fulfillment and is a necessary tool, among others, in working as a “professional” in a white collar corporate environment or pursuing self-employment. For the time being, I am done with obtaining another degree, but I will goΒ  for additional certifications and a license or two.

Blue Collar vs White Collar Men

Not all men favor extensive schooling, and they are able to work at not just good, but great blue collar jobs, without a need for a high school diploma or college education. They even make more than anyone in a white collar profession would earn in their lifetime.

I’ve known a variety of men. My Mom likes to tell people I date the United Nations. Some of the men didn’t finish college. Some of them were self-taught in order to work in their office profession.

The odds are always low that I would encounter an available blue collar white man, based on my social circles, work environment and personal interests. In addition to that, based on observation, blue collar men marry earlier than white collar men. They start working right after, or even during, high school right into a stable well paying position, with excellent long term benefits. Whereas the potential white collar worker will spend the next 4-8 plus years studying and putting his life on hold.

Final Answer

I don’t believe I would ever find myself marrying a blue collar white man, because I don’t think we would be a good fit. It is not easy to meet men who like women with a college education or advanced degrees. I don’t care what his race is. I don’t volunteer my educational background unless asked, but once they find out they’ll lose that “loving feeling”.

On the flip side, I will be real here: it is not easy talking or relating to a man with definitive educational gaps. Now, I know everyone who loves exceptions will offer up a spate of their genius IQ high school or college dropout friends*, but I’m talking about what I’ve met on average in the general course of life.

I don’t play Jeopardy with every man I meet, but for fun I’ll look for some indication that this guy keeps himself informed or has an intense interest in anything beyond his nose. Usually, I find that he’s satisfied with his lot in life. Good for him. He will not even have the slightest desire to know more, travel, explore or fulfill some lifelong aspirational ambition. Nope. He’s happy as a pig in s&!t (although, in fact, pigs put their stuff in one corner and do not wallow in it).

But hey, who am I to decide he needs more? So, where he sees bliss, I see stagnation. And I’m happy for the guy, but I realize that we wouldn’t last long as a couple.

My philosophy is this: if I like learning, studying, schooling, travel, and seeking opportunities to explore, why would I expect to get along with a man who doesn’t? I’m old enough to know that I cannot.



* For example, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and men like these don’t count in this relationship equation. Steve returned to college to continue learning, but focusing only on classes that served his interests. Gates and Dell left college a number of credits shy of their degrees.

The difference with these men is that they are ambitious, eternally curious and they never stopped learning….


44 thoughts on “Black Woman: Would You Marry a Blue Collar White Man?”

  1. kind of ironic how BW who are looking for WM always uses the movie “Something New” as a tool to get their points across but if you haven’t seen the movie its a black professional woman dating/wanting a white guy who happens to be blue collar, so basically i hope there isn’t any BW saying they wont date a blue collar guy but is using that movie as an example because no matter how professional you are or how high of a degree you have that would just make you look stupid for contradicting yourself, no offense to any one because they should have their standards but come on a higher degree standard? hes not applying for a job lol

    GoldenAh: We’re having a discussion about choices and preferences. I stated mine; all of the ladies here have stated theirs. Each and every one of them can like or dislike whatever they want. There’s nothing contradictory about any viewpoint, because they all vary. And that’s all good.

    I respect their opinions, and I expect that you show the same respect to all contributors here. They aren’t writing for approval of their opinions, options or choices. They are free to feel however they may about anything and everything. And guess what? Contradictions will ensue. We are women; we are allowed to be contrary. πŸ˜€

    Is that clear?

    What you are learning from us, is that we are different people with different tastes and objectives. We have a lot of commonalities as black women, but you need to realize that that does not make us all think the same, walk the same, or talk the same.

    Thanks for your contribution, but remember to check the attitude. Okay?

    Take care.

  2. *Horshack face* oh NO. I get the “water seeks its own level” argument, but I don’t believe I can do it. I’ve been subjected to struggle–and have struggled–all my life…there are TWO lives at stake here. We can’t eat potential, after all; I demand RESULTS, especially if (God forbid!) I’m stuck in this country.

    *My turn to date/marry may be a long way off, but the very thought is frightening. *shudder* I can, will and MUST earn my way to better men…

    GoldenAh: The economy is so bad, Mexican men are returning home to where the unemployment rate is half of ours. That’s wild. Everywhere is doing better than here.

    I mean, I’m not saying that blue collar men do worse than white collar economically or even socially. But there has to be a fit and we have the right to decide if it would work or not.

    I see your tweets sometimes, and they have me rolling. πŸ˜€

    Glad to hear from you, Rainebeaux.

  3. I believe higher learning is a path for acquiring or maintaining wealth, whereby one leaves a strong legacy for their descendants.

    I wish that pride of learning would come back, whether it is first generation getting a degree or the 5th.

    I agree. It’s not my intention to downplay or discourage education.

    These days, I think defining blue collar is tricky – if a man is an electrician, but also has a degree… he out of consideration? If a man is highly educated, but owes several thousand dollars in student loans (can be a class marker because upper middle or so don’t worry about student loans nearly as much), in addition to other cost-of-living bills, is he automatically a better fit than that electrician who may have spent a lot less on his education and is financially stable, if all things are equal? Does HOW a man obtained his college degree matter? I think there is a difference between primarily attending a brick-and-mortar institution vs online, particularly for an undergraduate degree.

    I don’t have all of the answers. Of course, every woman has to follow her own path. These are just a few questions I ask myself in terms of the long-term compatibility. I work primarily around white collar professionals as well, and early on, I assumed that having a college education meant that a man was also naturally curious. Unfortunately, that’s not been my experience.

    GoldenAh: Oh, I didn’t think you were downplaying or discouraging education. I was agreeing with you. πŸ™‚

    You make an excellent point about men leaving school with close to a quarter million in loans, and you wonder if it’s worth it. He’s behind the curve, compared to a blue collar guy who’s been working that whole time and for a decent paycheck. Going for a degree seems more like high stakes gambling now-a-days.

    There can be so much drama in an office environment I wonder how anything gets done. πŸ™‚

  4. To me the bigger issue is having things in common. There is a better chance of finding someone you have a lot of things in common with by comparing experiences. That will hit all areas in life, including education levels. If you meet a man that is not just talking a good game but really has a heart to succeed and progress in life, that is a man that an educated woman might have a chance getting with. For me it was not enough to have someone that was educated but one I had many things in common with, especially at my age where people tend to slow down and give up on dreams. I did not date for many years because I was bored with the men I was around. Most of them were at least at par with my education level. My husband has such a zeal for life that I was drawn to him like a magnet.

    The exception to the rule I would think in not dealing with blue collar men are those that are entrepreneurial at heart. You can see he is working at the job to learn about a future business. I guess my husband and I are thinking a lot about this after watching How I Made My Millions. Two of them became millionaires from dealing in trash and moving junk. I did not meet any blue collar men with that type of initiative.

    Having things in common, especially on how you approach your futures is essential in a good chemistry with a future romantic interest as goldenah stated in a comment.


    GoldenAh: You are such an inspiration for me, because I used to date a lot, and then I went on hiatus for the same reasons as you. I lost patience, became bored and annoyed, among other things. It is great when a man has a lot of get up and go – no matter his age. It is surprising to me, encountering guys in their early 30’s who seem so old and retired from life.

    I agree with your exception: healthy ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit makes a difference. I respect it very much regardless of whether a man is blue collar or not.

    Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts, Pamela. It’s appreciated. πŸ™‚

  5. I think I could marry a blue-collar white man but I’m talking about the guy who is blue collar because he doesn’t have a bachelors degree but he still wants to travel, is well-read, and has ambition. Like you, I’ve had an interest in everything careerwise and I’m finally finishing up my bachelors degree. Eventually I want an advanced degree, but I’m not sure in what field. What you said about blue collar folks marrying earlier is statistically true. High school educated women tend to marry in their early 20s while college educated women marry in their late 20s or 30s. The dating field is now leaning towards the assortive mating pattern where college educated folks want to marry other college educated people; the preference to do this wasn’t always as strong as it is now.

    GoldenAh: If he can appreciate and respect the hard work of your degree. It’s all good.

    It is unavoidable for educational and marrying paths to diverge. Like marries like.

    I wonder if black women are the only ones left having this kind of conversation, because I suspect other women make sure they marry equal and better without compromising.

    Congratulations on accomplishing your degree, Jamila. πŸ™‚

  6. Long post alert!

    My philosophy is this: if I like learning, studying, schooling, travel, and seeking opportunities to explore, why would I expect to get along with a man who doesn’t?

    I think the same way. I’m a lot less concerned about a specific (type of) profession than I am with the above.

    Here’s what I think: coming from a working class family and environment, and becoming socially mobile with my education and career, I completely understand what it’s like to simultaneously dwell in different social arenas. Also, I know educated and/or white-collared employed men who have no desire to move out of their comfort zone. So, I’m not going to automatically discount a man who isn’t white-collar, particularly since there is a difference between skilled and unskilled workers. People can hate on “the trades” if they want to, but given how many service or knowledge oriented jobs are being outsourced, having a skill MIGHT be the difference between bankruptcy and living well. Just sayin’.

    This is inherently a class issue, so I can understand why someone who was born middle-class or higher wouldn’t (or couldn’t) maintain a relationship with someone who didn’t have a parallel experience or higher.

    At the same time, I feel there is some intellectual dishonesty going on when this is discussed in the blogosphere, even though class is an admittedly muddled issue in the United States. From what I understand, Americans, and perhaps blacks in general, tend to downplay class, or oversimplify by making it a singular matter of income/wealth. Education as well, since many blacks have a degree, but won’t talk about the fact that they may be one of few (or possibly the only) in their family who received a post-secondary education. And no, I’m not talking about 40-50 years ago, I’m referring to the present.

    Now…..does it matter the type of blue collar job? Hells yeah, it does, and I make no apologies for it. Sanitation engineers and Burger King managers need not apply, for example. The aforementioned is not an exhaustive list.

    I think it’s fairly easy to identify “explorers,” so to speak, by talking to them, regardless of profession. I’m curious by nature, so I wouldn’t be any more compatible with a doctor who has never lived or traveled outside of his hometown (and doesn’t want to) than an electrician who was the same. I’ve learned that education and love of learning isn’t JUST about college – although I fully concede that a good college experience opens the mind of the student to the world around them.

    All that said, I also agree that blue-collar men tend to marry earlier (and stay married longer) than their white-collar counterparts, so it’s more likely my pool of available men would include more of the latter than the former. And that’s fine by me. I’m open to all options, assuming I’m otherwise compatible with a man.

    Good post, Goldenah.

    GoldenAh: From what I understand, Americans, and perhaps blacks in general, tend to downplay class, or oversimplify by making it a singular matter of income/wealth. Education as well, since many blacks have a degree, but won’t talk about the fact that they may be one of few (or possibly the only) in their family who received a post-secondary education.

    I feel the idea of class among Americans and, as you say, black people in particular, is either to ignore it or pretend it is about showing off through bling, vulgarity and crassness (I think of Trump and Puff Diddy Daddy). I believe higher learning is a path for acquiring or maintaining wealth, whereby one leaves a strong legacy for their descendants.

    I agree that black people today downplay or are dismissive of class or education. I wish that pride of learning would come back, whether it is first generation getting a degree or the 5th. I feel that black media has us turning away from education and by virtue of that moving up the class scale. This thing about keeping it real, or that education makes us white, mentality keeps black people from grabbing opportunities they should be wholeheartedly embracing. I believe the rejection is a result of fear: those who leave the hood, or even the working class relatives behind, will be abandoning everyone and becoming a stranger to everyone familiar.

    Oh, I have deep respect for plumbers – that’s some serious money there. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for your thoughts on this issue, Daphne. πŸ™‚

  7. I personally would like to end up with someone at the same level intellectually and financially or better off. But that’s me.

    I guess it depends on the individual.

    The only concern I have would be would this person resent you for having a higher level of education and a better financial situation. If it’s going to be an issue, I say avoid it. It’s not worth the emotional stress and guilt.

    GoldenAh: That’s why it doesn’t work, unless he really really really doesn’t mind. Some guys cannot even take a woman with .02 cents more than him.

    Thanks for stopping by, Toni. πŸ˜€

  8. Right on Betty! Mmph! Great post! Also agree w/Vonnie & likewaterforchocolat. Marrying down never works in a woman’s favor.

    GoldenAh: No, it doesn’t. There’s got to be as much commonality as possible which glues a couple together.

    Thanks for your comment, Shermy. πŸ™‚

  9. Great post and great insight. I measure all men with the same yardstick and I would not marry a blue collar wm because I would not marry a black one either. In the past, I have dated blue collar men and they usually have a very limited view of the world and abhor knowledge and the unknown. They usually lack ambition, because as far as they are concerned, they are what they wanted to be when they grow up and see know point in wanting more. I’m not saying they are all like this, just the ones that I have encountered. Also, I do not like to be considered not “black” enough, bougie, overeducated by anyone due to my tastes and curiosities. So, in order to avoid that conversation, I usually avoid blue collar men of any color altogether. Just they want to be accepted for what they are, I need to be who I am and be proud of my accomplishments and not feel guilty just to stroke some guy’s ego. I also like to hold conversations on various topics and this is nearly impossible if you are with someone who has not been exposed to anything or has no thirst for knowledge.

    GoldenAh: Good point: I wouldn’t want to be with a guy that makes me feel bad, or want to suppress, my accomplishments. I earned my degrees while working, and from the point of exhaustion, fatigue and hunger. I don’t have a problem with any guy who’s blue collar, but like you, my experiences have been the same. At this point in my life, I’m not motivated to work extra or overtime just to prove how accommodating I am. Just cannot be bothered.

    Great feedback, Likewaterforchocolat. πŸ™‚

  10. exactly, the intellectual curiosity has to be there. I travel lots, read up on things, try all types of cuisine, just generally like to KNOW stuff and experience life. Will the local “nicely paid” plumber want to know/do that stuff? He may be happy with his lot in life, but I don’t need to be bored to tears with it and can never converse with him.

    GoldenAh: Vonnie, I loved those wedding pictures of you with your friends in Martha’s Vineyard. Awesome.

    I hate the traveling part of travel (airports and the TSA suck!!), but once I get there, I am thrilled and deliriously happy about it.

    If I ever get the time, I’d love to take one of those “learn to cook” vacations. Nothing intense, but food tasting and drinking is fun to me.

    Yes, I agree Vonnie, he has to be curious, and want to learn more or know about something. He doesn’t have to be an expert.

    Thank you for your contribution!

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