Hide your wallets, lest you never date again

Put it away or no man will want you!
It seems that there is no worse (hetero) dating gaffe than having the nerve to make more money than your significant other. If you’re a woman, that is.
An article in The New York Times styles section looks at successful women and the difficulty they have dating men who make less money. It even comes with a lovely cartoon rendering of a poor, emasculated man. Sigh.
Apparently, women in their 20s in several U.S. cities are (for the first time) out-earning their male peers.

The shift is playing out in new, unanticipated ways on the dating front. Women are encountering forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet, and are trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date.
…Young affluent women say they are learning to advertise their good fortune in a manner very different from their male counterparts. For men, it is accepted, even desirable, to flaunt their high status. Not so for many women.

This just makes me sad. Is masculinity so damn fragile that it can’t handle being treated to dinner? Have women really bought in to the antiquated idea that we need to be taken care of? (Or at least, pretend to be.) I think what depresses me most, actually, is the idea that money is so tied up with our notions of romance.
Take this charming segment from CBS, for example: Reviving Dating Rules. Along the same don’t-emasculate-through-success-and-confidence lines, dating “expert” April Beyer says that women should never pay for dates while in the courting process and never ask men out. Cause it would interfere with their hunter instincts or some such shit.
My boyfriend is five years my junior and an idealistic journalist type. So clearly, not so much with the income-generating. And while it’s made for uncomfortable moments (I really like going out to eat A LOT), he’s cool with the idea of me paying more often than not. I mean, I can afford it. He can’t right now. That’s not gender relations, that’s fucking math.
And frankly, anyone who isn’t comfortable with women being upfront about their financial success probably won’t be comfortable with other successes as well. And therefore un-datable. Thoughts?

Join the Conversation

  • MsPitt

    Men are conditioned in this society to think that’s what they do — earn the money. And frankly, lots and lots and lots of women have been conditioned to want them to be the breadwinner. That kind of thinking by WOMEN has to make men feel uncomfortable when they find out the woman earns more and it reinforces centuries and centuries of defined male/female roles. Let’s not blame the guys alone on this one, this one really is the patriarchal system — the guys just happened to be born into it like us. It’s wrong thinking, but it’s pretty widespread among men and women.

  • GreenWeaver

    Oh, please NYTimes. My father has made about half of what my mother does for the past 30 years. That’s not at all a problem for him and he still manages to be sexist sometimes. If you can’t even learn to deal with a woman making more money than you, you have a long long way to go.

  • SarahMC

    My thoughts are as follows:
    Aren’t men offended by this? How could a man read this and think, “Yeah! Treat my fragile ego with care! ‘Cause I’m a strong, virile man!”?
    If you’re so manly, you can handle the fact that your s/o makes more than you. Otherwise you’re a sexist baby and she (whomever she is) should dump your ass.
    I make more than by boyfriend but he has WAY more disposable income than I do because my rent is almost double his. So in the end we go halvsies on almost everything and buy each other stuff at the same rate. The gender thing has never even come up.

  • Nicole Brice

    If you make more money than him or treat him to dinner, you are emasculating him, but if he treats you to dinner and you are a huge “dinner whore.”

  • anotheroneofthosedamned

    I spent the first few months with my fiance arguing about why I would pick up the check. He was raised up to believe that a gentleman always pays for dinner. I was raised up to believe that you pay for what you can afford. Eventually I got him to understand that I would be paying for the meals which I suggested, and he could pay for the meals he suggested, or we could even split the check if we wanted.
    I also explained to his mother, who was a little surprised when I picked up the check for all three of us, that I do it because I think it shows affection in its own way. I love him, and I want to treat him to something nice where he doesn’t have to worry if he can afford it.

  • Peepers

    Ah, what a lovely journalistic trend. Has anyone bothered to name this purported phenomenon as women’s being socially punished for their success?
    I predict that close on the heels of this trend, we will we be treated to yet another spate of articles on women’s inherent fear of success.

  • SarahMC

    Pretty much, nbrice. It’s a catch-22 for women. If we do allow men to pay for us (when we first start dating), they expect us to put out. It’s not romantic if you think you’re owed something in return.
    So glad I just have no part of it.

  • s. pisaster

    I think younger men (i.e. my generation) have much less of a problem with this, although I guess it depends on background a lot too. I’ve only ever dated one guy who felt it was his place to pay for everything. It ended up being one reason the relationship didn’t work – for both of us. Still, my attitude with regards to things like that has always been, if he can’t handle it, I don’t want him.

  • the frog queen

    I haven’t had much experience with men taking me out to dinner. I’ve only had one boyfriend to do this. In fact the majority of men I dated insisted we each pay for ourselves.
    Currently I make a significant amount more than my fiance. So normally its me taking him out when we go out. But he still takes me out once in a while when he can afford it.
    The money thing use to be an issue. Every now and then he’d make snide comments about it. But they stopped after he got some a really nice guitar for his birthday one year.

  • SweetZoeJane

    My boyfriend wouldn’t date anyone that expected him to pay for everything. I wouldn’t date anyone who wanted to pay for everything. I also love going out to eat, especially to places I’ve never been before. Sometimes my boyfriend treats me, sometimes I pay, sometimes we even just split it.
    What really gets me angry is when I pay and the server comes back with the bill after charging my credit card and sets the bill in front of my boyfriend and says, “Thank you sir”. Grrr… that totally destroys the usual generous tipping I give.

  • Murph56

    I think this is basically a “white guy” thing. I have noticed that men of color don’t seem to equate money with masculinity. This is a white bourgeois attitude, that somehow it is “unmanly” to let a woman pay.
    Right now my husband is earning more than I am, but for several years before this, I was the major breadwinner. Naturally he was sensitive about it, but with the uncertainties of this economy there will be this kind of shifting.
    A lot of men–particularly the relatively older ones—were raised with the idea that their earning power represented their worth, so naturally having it be lessened created relationship problems. Men need to be educated in the vein that money is simply money—it’s not their self worth and it’s not their dick.

  • Taina

    “What really gets me angry is when I pay and the server comes back with the bill after charging my credit card and sets the bill in front of my boyfriend and says, “Thank you sir”. Grrr… that totally destroys the usual generous tipping I give.”
    AGREED! Or even worse, AFTER I hand them my credit car to pay, they still return it to HIM for signature! And my name is no way something you can mistake for a guys name. So come on!
    I make the same as my boyfriend, although I was making more than him for a while. I paid for what I could and vice versa. I don’t understand the need to analyze it further than “this is what I can afford.” It doesn’t make me feel awkward, it doesn’t make him feel like less of a man, it just makes us feel full after a nice dinner! :)

  • martina

    It’s never been an issue in any of my relationships, but my mother (she’s 46) has recently started dating after a divorce and it has certainly been an issue. She owns her own business and a lot of men her age seem to be put off by that. A couple stopped talking to her completely once finding that out.
    Her current boyfriend REFUSES to let her pay for anything even though she makes a good bit more money than he does. That is certainly not the end of his “why are you dating him, mom?” qualities, but that was the first one to appear.

  • bailey_comus

    wow, to think my husband married me on the assumption that i would always be the main breadwinner b/c i initially outearned him a bunch! How did THIS happen? Didn’t he know his weenie was gonna wane?
    Good thing we love each other so much despite my being an emasculating bitch and him being an emasculated wuss.
    Or maybe we’re just grownups and we’d rather fight about leaving the toothpaste cap on like other adult couples…

  • Spider Jerusalem

    I just spent the entire week depressed because I got a 17% pay raise, but its not because I now make more hourly than my husband. It’s because I realized I’m going to live and die a teacher, and probably never get my PhD because I’ll never have enough money to pay for the higher degree and the time off to write my doctoral thesis.

  • http://alterdestiny.blogspot.com Erik

    Any man who wouldn’t date a woman because she makes more money than he does is a total chump.

  • Unree

    Not that I’d ever defend the Times’s dismal coverage of feminist issues, but I think Jessica is mischaracterizing the story. The writer focused on the discomfort and semi-resentment that young WOMEN feel when their male dates can’t/won’t pay (at least half of) the cost of eating in nice restaurants.

  • SarahMC

    The image of some dude insisting on paying for X, Y and Z even though he can’t afford it, while the woman can and is willing, is just *so* pathetic and unattractive I can’t stand it.

  • MsPitt

    “If you make more money than him or treat him to dinner, you are emasculating him . . . ”
    But see, he’s not always just conjuring that up through his pig-headed male-pride imagination. Too many of us are part of that. Like the woman in the article who found the boyfriend’s deficient earnings indicative of lack of drive. Come on, lady! You mean “lack of drive” as in “men are supposed to kill themselves working while women make babies”? Please! It’s a code word for “low earning potential.” WE emasculate the low earners (not US, the readers of this Web site, I hope) but many women simply don’t want to “date down” — I’ve had this discussion in various forms with women — many are not nearly so equality-minded as we are when it comes to this. And guess what? THE MEN KNOW THIS, so is it so hard to understand why their pride gets in the way of our equality? They don’t want to be rejected — duh! We — women — need to get on the same page about what equality means and then communicate that. We need to educate our sisters, some of whom were even quoted by the NY Times!!

  • http://norbizness.com norbizness

    I know personal anecdotes are worth squat in the marketplace of ideas, but let me regale you with the following: it’s never been a problem in the illicit workplace dating between me and my supervisor at the East Austin Shaved Ice and Oil Change Emporium. She makes $5.95 and hour and I get all the expired pina colada syrup I can drink.
    BTW, does anybody have a kidney they can donate?

  • lilianna28

    That’s not gender relations, that’s fucking math.
    Hee. Good thing my partner’s a math teacher! As soon as we moved in together, we combined bank accounts- no question of who made more or paid for what, we just paid from the joint account. I made about 10X as much as he did for a good long time because he was still a student. But it was OUR money- not his or mine, even before we were engaged because the argument was so silly to us.

  • Jessica

    Actually Unree, that’s the secondary part of the article, imo.

  • SamBarge

    My husband and I married pretty young – I was still in university and he was just starting out working. Given my graduate work years and child-rearing years, he’s always been the primary bread-winner.
    Now, I’m on the verge of a very exciting promotion/career change that would see that role reversed. My husband couldn’t be happier – for me and for our family. I’m succeeding in something that I’ve always wanted to do and he’s thrilled. Sure, I’ll be earning about $30,000/yr more than him. He’s kind of thrilled about that, too. He was shocked when some of his co-workers tried to tease him about being a ‘kept man.’ I say that they tried to tease him because you can’t tease someone about something that doesn’t bother them in the least.
    Actually, we’re seriously considering having a stay at home parent again only this time, it will be him!

  • kissmypineapple

    SweetZoeJane: I’ll third that annoyance! That’s my biggest pet peeve when we go out to dinner.
    I had a boyfriend who originally thought he should pay for everything, but when I explained that we can split things, or I can take him out, too, it changed. For a while things were equal, and then it got to where we would go to a movie, I would buy our tickets, and then at the concessions stand, he would order and then just wait for me to get my wallet out and pay. He didn’t ask. All of the sudden I was expected to pay for everything. It was bizarre.
    Now, my boyfriend and I alternate paying for things, or base it on who of the two of us has money. We’re getting an apartment in January, and have already decided that rent will be paid by figuring the proportion of our total income each of us makes. Like, if he makes a third of our combined income, he’ll pay a third of our rent.

  • the frog queen

    pineapple, the same thing happened to me for a little while. My bf got a little dependent on my income for a bit too and started working less. I had to explain to him that, just cause I make more money fulltime than he does fulltime, doesn’t mean he can work less hours and party more.. ack. so annoying.
    Can I ask someone, whats with the combined bank account thing? I’m getting married next year but I’m not combining my bank account with my FH… do most people do that?

  • kmldc

    I just saw this as another thinly-sourced NY times “trend story.” I mean, they interviewed what, three women? And they were all around age 25? I’d venture to say that most 25 year olds of either gender don’t have money and don’t go out to fancy places. Most 25 year olds didn’t start a business at 18 or whatever that one woman did (very impressive but RARE). Most 25 year olds are either still in school or are working entry-level jobs. So, I’m not convinced that “men” hate “women” who make more money; it’s probably more that 25 year old guys are still living the post-college lifestyle (futons, pizza, aimlessness), and when some woman comes along who’s living more like a 35 year old in terms of spending power and lifestyle (expensive restaurants, travelling, dayplanners) it puts them off. Heck, it would have put me off at 25 and I’m a woman. And furthermore, if these women want to date men who live the lifestyle they live, I can tell you from my own dating experience that there are plenty of such men available. Most of them live in DC and are on match.com. Most of them are in their 30’s or older. I know because I personally try to avoid dating those type of guys like the plague and I still ending up meeting a ton of them. (I actually like going to dive bars and eating at cheap restaurants, thanks much).

  • http://www.carmentastreet.com Julie

    Did I miss something, or did the NYT article fail to cite any survey data in which a large portion of men said they would not be comfortable in a relationship with a woman who earns more? I never believe a word of these “trend” stories. A few interviews with (only) women giving anecdotes is not enough to convince me of anything.

  • http://norbizness.com norbizness

    Julie: I cannot believe that you are calling out the STYLE SECTION of the NEW YORK TIMES for lack of statistical rigor!
    “Lori Weiss, a lawyer, hides her spending power from dates who might feel threatened.”
    CHECKMATE! P.S. Lori call me, I totally promise not to feel threatened apart from the cholesterol in the gourmet cheesecake you can buy me.

  • TheSoyMilkConspiracy

    TFQ: About the combined bank account thing.
    My boyfriend and I just signed up for a combined account. The main reason for doing this was to make it easier for us to pay for things that are for both of us (furniture, rent, date nights, etc.), as well as to be considered domestic partners for insurance reasons. How we do the bank thing to make sure it’s balanced is very simple: we each keep our own separate bank accounts, but we’ll contribute 100% evenly to our joint one. So I’ll come home and say “hey I put 200 bucks in our account today – match it tomorrow,” and he does. This makes it extremely easy for us to make sure one person isn’t slacking in supporting the other one. Also, if we happen to break up, we’ll just split the pot 50/50 and no one will be out anything. We both have access to the account, so it’s completely transparent.
    I make about double what my boyfriend makes. Seeing as he is a very egalitarian feminist (who also happens to be poor but likes to buy shit), this doesn’t bother him too much – and the only reason it bothers him at all isn’t because of his ego, he just doesn’t want me to have to carry an unnecessary burden. I have to say, though, even though I make more than him, I still don’t make all that much, and paying 100% of the rent is wearing thin. A lot of stress is also created because he came into the relationship with no savings, a fair paying job, and bad credit/debt. I’m 6 years younger than him but have a significant savings, no debt, and perfect credit. I’m basically in charge of his finances now – everything he buys goes through me. Um, I don’t like it (I signed up for a boyfriend, not a kid), but if I want to remain sheltered with a decent lifestyle, someone’s got to teach him.

  • elyzabethe

    What’s dumb, too, is that they’re kind of conflating money with lifestyle differences … all the women keep talking about art museums and fancy restaurants and how the men make less and want to eat at diners and stay in and watch movies … but not all people who make money like going to art museums, and plenty of people who do make money like dive bars … it seems these women’s problems with their mates wasn’t really all about salary differences but also general hobbies, habits and goals … that doesn’t make for as easy a cliche, though …

  • http://everydaygoddess.typepad.com lizriz

    The other side of the coin is the pressure you get from other people if you’re financially supporting your husband or boyfriend. The judgement can be overwhelming no matter how cool with it you and your partner are.

  • noname

    So wait. I thought the trend was lazy, jobless man-boys in search of someone to mooch off of so that we can play video games and tell fart jokes to our buddies all day.
    Anyway, I think women who pick up the check are great, and I’ll have the lobster.

  • http://alberich10.blogspot.com/ DAS

    Actually, lizriz, it goes even further than that — even if one boyfriend/fiance is financially self-supporting, sometimes one still gets flack from family for not finding a man who can support you as well (or at least help raise your standard of living).

  • noname

    elyzabethe – When did museums become expensive?

  • http://flyswallowfly.wordpress.com Waverly Pascale

    I’m gay, so that’s not really a problem, but I can see where you’re coming from. My mother made more money than my father when they got married, but my father had more money saved (so he pretty much paid for the major expenses, like the mortgage, etc.). Soon after they married he went back to law school, because he didn’t think he would make enough money to support a family as an engineer. When he did become a lawyer, my mom became a stay-at-home mom.
    When the woman is financially self-supported, a different dynamic is created in the relationship , I think. My dad actually cooked and did chores and helped out when my mom was rolling in the dough. After he switched careers and began making 200,000+ annually, my mom became a genuine housewife.
    I wouldn’t know, but I guess the same dynamic, in one way or another, would apply to even casual dating.

  • http://dont-read.blogspot.com Malaika924

    Let me tell you my sister and my brother-in-law…
    He: Delivery-man
    She: Lab technician
    They: Happily married for 2 years.
    Re: SarahMC
    Aren’t men offended by this? How could a man read this and think, “Yeah! Treat my fragile ego with care! ‘Cause I’m a strong, virile man!”?
    If you’re so manly, you can handle the fact that your s/o makes more than you. Otherwise you’re a sexist baby and she (whomever she is) should dump your ass.


  • Skittles

    I have experience with both sides of this! In high school, my ex at one point found himself unemployed at a time where I actually had a job (in high school and the first part of college, I was a bit of a slacker who preferred to be between jobs when at all possible). So we stopped going out. I’d want to go out and he didn’t because he couldn’t afford to treat. I finally managed to convince him to let me start paying for things by pointing out that I was actually pulling in an income and he’d been paying for me for months. It didn’t particularly stick once he had a job again, however.
    My current boyfriend makes more money than me, but he’s not in school and not planning on getting an advanced degree beyond an associates whereas I’m hoping to finish a masters. So we’re both thinking I’m going to be the primary breadwinner in the house. We’re both okay with that. We’re actually in the process of deciding if once we have kids it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to take time off and take care of the kids. He’s also planning on taking my last name. Sometimes I’m not sure where he came from but I’m damn sure not about to tempt fate with this one.

  • florafloraflora

    I think the men who feel they must pay for everything and the women who can’t stand the thought of paying their own way deserve each other. It keeps the field clear for everyone else.

  • ekf

    Women are encountering forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet, and are trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date.

    I get why this statement would be an accurate representation of a certain kind of (privileged) situation, but I can’t stop boggling at the framing of this issue as “women experience hostility, therefore women should change behavior/perception to avoid hostility.” Why not focus the article on men who are trying to be less hostile? Why not focus the article on women who are confronting this hostility and insisting on equal treatment? Because our culture so easily accepts the notion that all women, including (and perhaps especially) very successful and privileged women, ought to revise themselves and their actions if it makes men uncomfortable. There’s just so much violence inherent in the concept of this article, and even the invocation of a term like “hostility” just rolls of the journalistic tongue without a hint of trouble. It’s exhausting to feel this much generalized hate sometimes.
    As for my personal situation, my husband and I met in law school, and he worked for the government while I worked in private practice, so I out-earned him basically 2-1. We switched gears for a while, and now he’s working at a big firm and I at a small firm, so he out-earns me, and it’s somewhat up in the air whether or not I’ll work after we have a kid this winter (my income post-nanny might not be enough to justify the stress, and I’m just not happy with my job, so it’s a good time to cut loose and re-assess my career path). Then he’ll really make more than me. But very little of this has mattered over the years. We make nods to traditions, like him giving me an engagement ring, but because I wanted a more aggressive timeline for getting engaged, I gave him a family ring to give to me — and later paid for my wedding ring myself. As far as I know, his cock is still the same size as it was when we met, so it would appear that my moneyed, toothed vagina hasn’t done too much damage over the years.

  • Sailorman

    There are clearly many men who are uncomfortable dating women with means, so the article is probably fairly correct. And of course, along with those men there are plenty of women who want to be paid for and who will neither offer nor feel comfortable paying for dates.
    What the article ignores, though, is why anyone would want to date the men or women in question. Maybe they just date each other…?
    People insistent on paying for their dates = yuck.
    People insistent on NOT paying for their dates = yuck.

  • lilianna28

    @TFQ: combined banking
    It depends what you are comfortable with. My partner and I have no separate accounts- all our money goes into the joint account and honestly, I have no idea what the specific difference is in the amounts. I make more than he does because at tax time it’s pretty obvious, but I also pay for the insurance and daycare with a FSA.
    I’ll be honest, I don’t get the split accounts. I know there are a lot of people who that works for, but my mind always goes to stuff like, well, if he watches more TV than I do, should he pay for the TV? If my showers are longer, to I pay more of the water bill? What gets split? What doesn’t? It freaked my parents out when we combined our accounts before we were married but his income was so little, what would I have done? Charged him to live with me and give him spending limits?
    We have an over $50 rule- you can’t spend over $50 without discussion, and usually any shopping trip gets a heads up from the person to make sure accounts are o.k. We screwed up one Christmas because we didn’t want each other to know what we were spending. We don’t do that anymore :)

  • UltraMagnus

    My rule of thumb has been: If I ask you out, I pay for it. If you ask me out, you pay for it. There.
    Though I will admit I broke my own rule on one date where I insisted I pay, because the guy I was on a date with was one of those entitled, “I just bought you X,Y and Z” types and I didn’t want him to feel like I owed him anything. He still paid (insulting me while at it) and I didn’t even bother to kiss him goodbye, I just briskly walked to my car. :)

  • idratherbedrunk

    I once dated a woman who made like three times as much as me and I thought it was awesome. She’d pay for all the expensive dates. We were always at her place so I didn’t have to clean my apartment messy, at one point she even offered to buy me plane tickets for a vacation.
    The only problem was she market researching executive (who actually thought market research made the world a better place) and would yell at me for my quasi-communist beliefs.
    And I do think she wanted to date a man who made more than her, but just couldn’t find one.

  • kat

    On the combined accounts:
    My husband and I did not totally combine our money. I didn’t want to. It made him a little nervous at first (like I didn’t trust him, or didn’t want to completely share my life or something), but now that he’s used to it, we love it.
    We figure out roughly what our annual expenses for running the household and childcare, and each put a percentage of our income in a “household account” to cover those expenses, plus a little extra for emergencies. The rest is our own to do what we please. We never ask permission, and neither of us have to feel the pinch if the other splurges. We do have to sometimes negotiate how we spend the household expenses, but it’s rare. It helps that we have a similar philosophy on spending and saving.

  • rileystclair

    sorry to reference kind of a silly show, but this reminds me of the sex and the city episode where miranda wants steve to accompany her to some swanky work function, but he doesn’t have a suit and he would rather stay home than let her buy him one (which she can obviously afford).
    i remember wanting to punch him so hard. as a professional woman i would feel deeply hurt and insulted if i was dating a guy who would rather sit at home and watch tv instead of going out because he couldn’t deal with me picking up the check.
    as for the other side of the coin–the women complaining about their less affulent dates’ “lack of drive”, i don’t have a lot of sympathy for hypocrisy either. i get that most women with MBAs might not want to date a burger king manager because he seems unmotivated and lacking in passion (especially if the woman in question feels passionate about the work that she does). that makes some sense to me, but i honestly think people let their jobs define them all too often.

  • ShelbyWoo

    Let me tell you my sister and my brother-in-law…
    He: Delivery-man
    She: Lab technician
    They: Happily married for 2 years.
    I’ll add to that my parents:
    She: Principal at a public school
    He: Bus driver
    Happily married for 40 years in December!!!
    I make more than my husband. My sister makes more than her husband. None of the men in my life seem to have a problem with it. Who cares?
    As for the bank account thing, we have joint bank accounts. As someone else said, it just makes more sense for us (easier to pay bills, keep track of income, etc), BUT, both of us are trustworthy with the money. My last long-term SO I had split accounts with, very untrustworthy with money.

  • ekf

    We don’t have a common account. Each of us has our own account, and we’ve apportioned the household bills according to income. In other words, he pays the mortgage, the utilities, his student loans and his everyday expenses from his account, and I pay the credit card bills, the life insurance premiums, an amount for savings, my student loans and my everyday savings from my account. That way each of us manages some part of the household expenditures, but there’s no feeling of how much one contributes vs. the other. We have a little bit of privacy/independence insofar as we usually don’t have to access each other’s account, but we remain interdependent to the extent that, if necessary, we each have the ability to transfer funds from the other’s account (and to monitor what’s in the other’s account, to the extent that’s ever necessary).
    If we had done a combined account, we’d have to talk a lot more about money, which is something both of us hate to do. This way we have our own little areas of responsibility, and we each have the freedom to spend little bits here and there when we want to without talking about whether or not it’s okay. It’s only really when we have to do long term planning or significant budgeting that we have to sit and talk about money, which works out well for us both.

  • Ron O

    There was a time when I was itimidated by women who earned more than me. I was dissatisfied with my life and had a pretty low self-esteem so I wasn’t doing much to improve it either. Other people had expectation that I would become a high-earner like many of my high school and college classmates. I was extremely jealous of the confident and succesful. I rarely actually communicated my financial situation; I’d just convice myself that I couldn’t afford to date that person and wouldn’t ask again. It took a good long time and a lot of personal growth before I was confortable with my more modest ambitions and supportive of those who had more of it. I had way too much of my personal worth tied up with career instead of qualities like honesty and kindness.
    Right now, spouse earns a little more than me and I like it just fine. More would be fine too.
    Anyway, some of those 25 year old men will come around. If they don’t do so pretty quickly, thier problems are probably deeper and won’t go away any time soon.

  • MsPitt

    Lots and lots of good comments here.
    RE: “[o]ur culture so easily accepts the notion that all women, including (and perhaps especially) very successful and privileged women, ought to revise themselves and their actions if it makes men uncomfortable.”
    I don’t read the article as saying that. I read it as saying “look at these dumb, unenlightened males who, of course, are having a hard time with our success. What are we to do with them?”
    Yes, the dumb men have got to change their thinking, but THAT AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN UNTIL LOTS OF WOMEN CHANGE. We need to get those women (I dare say a majority of American females — none, I suspect who read this blog) to quit EXPECTING the man to be the breadwinner and to pay. Hell, even the NY Times, presumably interviewing enlightened women, found some of that crap.
    Is it any wonder the poor dumb guys think they HAVE to pay, when so many WOMEN act like they expect it? They don’t know what the hell is going on nowadays. It’s so f-ing engrained in the male psyche, he feels like he’ll be rejected if he doesn’t pay — and guess what? He WILL BE rejected by most women!!!
    If you think I’m full of shit, just remember all the people who voted for Bush/Cheney in the last presidential election. That’s the way it is in America, sisters.

  • sara

    Here’s a creepy story I heard this weekend: A family friend, a professional guy in his early 30s, has a very good job in a big corporation. Through work, he met a woman who worked in a company in the same field, and they started dating. They’d been dating a while when she was recruited by his firm. When she was hired, he informed his supervisors of their relationship. Shortly after she started, they called him in and gave him a gigantic, totally unexpected raise. The reason: In order to recruit her from her previous position, they’d needed to pay her significantly more than he was making. But they didn’t think she should be making more than him, so they raised his salary to make it higher than hers. When I heard this, I was flabbergasted. Is that legal? Certainly, they’re happy, because they’re getting married and their joint income will be enormous. But otherwise, it’s terrible.