Love Letters: What’s It Mean When Men Aren’t ‘Bringing Enough to the Table?’

m3 money on the table

Now, I know it’s April Fools Day, the one day y’all have an excuse to be habitual liars. But y’all know I bring that truth 24/7. If you’re looking for some realness in your relationships, I got you.

Send your inquiries to, or find me on Twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname. 

Here’s today’s question:

Can you properly explain what it means when men say they feel like they aren’t bringing enough to the table?


When this question landed in my inbox, I turned to the wifey and asked, “do women not know what men mean when they say they need to ‘bring more to the table?'” Although she had heard the phrase, like DW, she also wasn’t clear on what it meant.

Huh, I assumed it was common knowledge. But you know what they say about assuming.

It makes a Kanye out of U and ME.

But we’re here to talk about table-bringing, not bridge-burnings.

I spend a lot of time in this space talking about gender stereotypes — and we’ll keep talking about it until folks learn to get over them. These stereotypes have been spoon-fed to us since birth and we all know them well. For instance, a woman isn’t defined by things like intelligence and compassion, oh no. Society tells us that being able to cook, clean and birth babies while looking like a supermodel is the height of womanhood.

Men deal with it too.

We’re taught that a successful man — or A GUDDD MAN, in Tyler-Perry speak — is typically a brother who is financially secure. He’s got his own car, can pay his bills and the bills of his mate with no problem, has stellar credit, etc.

So, by some stereotypical definitions, THIS is a good man.


Playa please.

When a man say he’s not “bringing enough to the table,” it often means his finances aren’t where they need to be. This often causes him to bow out of relationships before they even begin. Society and stupid R&B songs are constantly reminding him that he’s a Scrub if he can’t pay your Bills Bills Bills.

Y’all lose more GUDDD MENZ that way.

While financial stability is necessary for a good relationship, it sure isn’t the key to happiness. Ladies, encourage your men that money certainly isn’t everything. A driven man working hard to make ends meet is worth more than an inattentive baller.

And brothers, despite what your grandma, momma, daddy and granddaddy told you, you don’t have to be a multimillionaire to start a relationship with a woman. A relationship is a partnership — you shouldn’t be expected to be a Jordan-wearing ATM machine. If both of you are working toward financial instability, it will make your relationships stronger.

It’s nothing wrong with a man who wants to bring more to the table — it’s great to be a provider. But don’t let pride and society dupe you into thinking that the foundation of your relationship is money. It won’t last.

Thank you sir, can I have another … question?:

In an interview Taraji P. Henson stated that she no longer wants to date black men because they are jaded and angry. A lot of black women are following her footsteps. Do you think this is a fair concept or do you think this is another way to malign black men?


Playa, it seems like I get variations of this question every other month. I know y’all look at Cookie from Empire as the holy mother of the hood, but she’s way off base here.

First some clarification. Taraji never said that black men are jaded and angry. She said she’s tired of dealing with whiny AMERICAN men, and she has her eye on European men these days.

If she or anyone else doesn’t want to date Americans — black or otherwise — that’s her decision. But to lump an entire country of men, or ethnic group, into one category is outright ridiculous.

Actually, it’s just lazy.

When Taraji says American men and jaded and angry, what she really means is the American men SHE HAS DATED are jaded and angry. Those guys don’t speak for all of us. I’m sure you ladies would be pissed if I called all American women loudmouthed golddiggers based off the pair I’ve dated.

I’m sorry Cookie, just because you dated a bunch of Lucious Lyons doesn’t mean we all are worthless. Y’all gotta make better life choices.


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