In developed parts of the world where men and women have near equal earning power the
general understanding is that you don’t ask a man for money. You have your own money so unless you’re married or the guy has said it is okay for you to ask for money, you never ask.
However, here on the continent boys as young as 13 may get asked for money and gifts from girls in school. By the time a teenage boy gets to Secondary School, a girl or two, may have asked him for top up, lunch money, or a phone. By the time these young men reach adulthood giving money and gifts to women become the norm. As they get older and more financially established they might even become Sugar Daddies, older men dating young women where at the most basic level the man is financially supporting the woman and she is his “girlfriend”. For those men and women exchanging sex and sexual favors for cash and gifts in transactional relationships I say to each his and her own.
For the men out there who are not seeking to be Sugar Daddies how do they feel about being asked for money? Is there a waiting period for money requests? Do they really not care about you chopping their money?
I reached out to adult males from Sierra Leone and Ghana (about 20 of them) to find out how long they believe a woman they are dating should wait before they ask for money. These men do not in anyway represent all African men or men from these countries (Regardless of what this headline claimed). Some of them are married with children, divorced, single and others are dating. The youngest is 29 and the oldest man we spoke to is 45. Except for the two footballers in the group all those asked have a minimum of a college degree. Half of the men are currently living in the diaspora while the other half are on the continent, but each man in the diaspora dates within their community and has lived on the continent as an adult. The surveys were done on Facebook and on Whatsapp. The question asked was this: How long should a woman you’re dating wait before she asks you for money?
About half the men I surveyed said that a woman they are dating should not ask them for money because they expect her to be financially sound and independent. Later some of these men said that even though they frowned on it, the reason for the request was also important. Requests for money towards an “investment” that would later churn out a return were preferred over requests for monies for “consumption”. What constitutes consumption? Those include trips, shopping, upkeep, food etc.
Regarding monies for investment on education one man in Entertainment said that he felt like word got around that he was big on a woman who was investing in herself so then women he was dating and those he wasn’t would ask him for money for school. Initially he said he would give cash but when it seemed like the chicks weren’t going to school he switched to checks. If you ask him for school fees he asks you to provide the name of the school and he would write the check only in the name of the institution. He said this lessened the requests and made many a woman upset with him. They said he didn’t trust them.
Another man in top level financial management said that a woman should not ask for money while dating unless the relationship was transactional, that is he gives you money and you give up sex and you guys have that understanding. Other than that if its for love he says “never ever” ask.
Why do these mean feel like a woman should not ask for money? One man who is in construction said that when a woman asks for money it could make a guy feel like getting money from him was a deciding factor in the woman’s desire to start the relation in the first place. He said that any man who works hard for his money doesn’t want to part with it easily. He also said that the men most willing to part with their money in Ghana are drug dealers, and criminals, since they get there’s rather easily. He also said that a woman should leave any man who doesn’t pay attention enough to know and provide for her needs before you had cause to ask.
None of the men said that sex or sexual favor was a factor in their decision making, however one man in Technology, did say that a woman should not ask for money before there was “heavy petting” in the relationship.
Those men who said it was okay for a woman to ask for money at any time made up a third of the responses. Now this doesn’t mean that they would give the money but they wanted a woman to feel comfortable to ask for whatever she needed no matter the length of time. These men said that what they consider with regards to whether or not they gave a woman money was first how they felt about her, and second the reason for the request. Does she want the consumption for investment.
One man said that whenever he is dating a woman that he puts her on an allowance, a sort of monthly salary that she gets whether or not she asks or not. He plays football professionally. Another footballer also said that he would do anything for a woman really, it didn’t matter how long they were together as long as he was in a position to help.
One man also in Technology said that perhaps a woman should wait 30 to 60 days before she asks for money. He said it would be weird if you just became friends with someone and they started asking you for money, so same for dating, a woman who asked too early would “get the eye”, a side eye that is. He said he believed in reciprocity. A man should give and the woman should give and they should support each other.
The final group of responders whom we shall call the traditionalists said that part of what they understand their role to be as men was to provide especially where feelings are involved. One man in Music said a woman can ask him any time and his response to what others had said about not wanting to be asked was “small boys”.
The one Francophone man we spoke to, a diplomat said that if he wanted to be in a transactional relationship he would go and find a high class prostitute in a foreign part of the World and pay her for sex instead at least that way he is not only sure he is getting the best product but the terms are clear right from the start. Otherwise he felt a woman should be independent if she wanted to be with him.
What we learnt from this survey is that change is in the air, this current generation of African men are not like our father’s generation. They will pay for the dates, and give you gifts as and when they choose but they don’t want you to ask them for money. If you must ask for money make sure you have a plan, think of a business, think of your education, find something they can contribute to that could later not just benefit you but you both should the relationship develop to something serious. And these investment plans should be genuine and not something you come up with as a clever way to collect money because they’ll find out eventually. Know however that if you do ask for money for whatever the reason that the man’s perception of you might change, while he may not verbalize it. If you ask too early on, he might wonder if the reason why you accepted the relationship was because you wanted to gain something financial. If a man giving you money is important, you may find more success with men who make a lot of it in industries that pay a lot. So try to date an athlete or a criminal. Those in the criminal category might include politicians (they are most likely corrupt and stealing from the State), drug traffickers (self explanatory), and Sakawa boys aka 419ers aka money doublers. A decade ago I would say also look for men in petroleum but today with even the Kingdom of Saudi posting a deficit an oil man may not be splurging on you either. Have you seen Oando’s numbers?
Perhaps the safest thing for us all to do is to ask these questions right from the start. If you’re the kind of woman who wants money from a guy and sees it as part of his duties then on date one or two you ask him how he feels about being asked for money (He might give you eye but it’s a great opportunity for discourse). If receiving money is a deal breaker for you then you need not continue if he says he doesn’t believe in giving a woman money. And to the brothers out there perhaps you need to ask the women on date one how long they wait before they ask for money.
As someone who has bought multiple plane tickets, bus tickets, phone cards, paid school fees, etc. for the men that I have loved I feel that when someone truly cares for you no matter their gender or what the norms say they will be attentive to your needs and you wouldn’t need to ask. If a man is listening to you and fully present in your life body and soul he will want to cater to your heart’s desire, he may not give you cash in an envelope as I myself have received many times (and spent just as soon as I received), he will get you not just what you want or need. If he makes you ask and if you feel you need to ask then you might need to talk about your financial relationship. Also a man who truly cares for you might initially give you side eye when you ask but he may also advice you like babe I think you need a couple tips in managing money and you need to spend less. He might say I don’t mind giving you but you seem to have a spending habit and we both need to be more responsible. You may then realize that you suck with money and start Googling about managing money (See: Money Matters).
I was once with a man and I was sure he loved me. I knew before we met that he was in the habit of giving women cash. When we were together however, he never gave me any though I would tell him I was broke. A year into the relationship when I was comfortable having the conversation I asked him how come he never ever asked me if I needed money. His response, “I was afraid you wouldn’t accept and think that I was disrespecting you.”
“You’re so independent I don’t always know what I should give or provide without it seeming as though I’m trying to do too much. I wanted you to know I wasn’t like those other guys who try to give you money to woo you.”
I guess it’s like one man in Finance said when I asked him how long a woman should wait to ask him for money, “there’s no cut and dry answer.”
“What does she need the money for? Or is she just asking to see if he really likes you since that’s the order of the day in our neck of the woods?”
While you don’t have to give money, every now and then it is really nice for a man to respond to your needs as part of his love language.
Up next in this series: How long you should wait before you ask a woman for sex.