Bullish: When Guys Just Want to Be Friends

Yep, some men are also intimidated by your awesome job

So, I googled you and you appear to be a scientist.

You not only have a very impressive job, you are good at things that men are supposed to be good at (er, science). That is obviously a ridiculous stereotype and basically everybody wants more women in the sciences, but even when men, logically, want more women in the sciences and say that they love strong, smart women or whatnot, they do not necessarily associate these things with sexytimes. I haven’t forgotten that SATC episode in which Miranda did much better at a speed dating event by pretending to be a flight attendant.

Mindy Kaling’s New Yorker piece about female stereotypes in the movies listed “The Woman Who Works in an Art Gallery”:

How many freakin’ art galleries are out there? Are people buying visual art on a daily basis? This posh/smart/classy profession is a favorite in movies. It’s in the same realm as kindergarten teacher or children’s-book illustrator in terms of accessibility: guys don’t really get it, but it is likable and nonthreatening.

I have to say, while some of this is sexism, I’m not sure all of it is.

Especially in NYC, where everyone is so driven and career-oriented, it’s not unreasonable to want to be in a relationship with someone who actually has time for a relationship. (So, if you have an awesome and important job but also manage to leave at a reasonable hour and not be tied to your phone, maybe find a way to mention this!)

That said, some men actually find “intimidating” jobs really hot. To some guys, it’s a bit of one-upmanship to say, “My girlfriend can’t make it to this family dinner because she’s presenting a paper at a microbiology conference.” You just have to know your market and stop wasting your time elsewhere.

I remember when I first moved to New York and landed this pretty sweet-seeming job as a Director of Marketing. At age 24! I wore cheap office clothes and bought some kind of knockoff bag on the street. I looked, at best, like a TJ Maxx ad.

Surely, this would not have gotten me a date at a Dartmouth alumni event (see Bullish: Social Class in the Office), but I soon started dating a guy – a smart artist whose day job involved both bookkeeping and rat-killing for a small business – who thought that having a “businesslady” girlfriend was extremely hot. He would ride his bike to meet me outside work, and there he was, all sweaty and malcontent in his grease-stained undershirt and work boots. He had a twenty-pound bike lock for a belt. (He deliberately played it up to look like a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.) It worked for us.

I’ve since been on dates with guys of a more blue-collar persuasion who have been similarly into my job. Your career will be boring to some guys, emasculating to others, and – to borrow a phrase from John Mayer – sexual napalm to a few.

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    • Fabel

      I’m not currently dating–or seeking anybody– but I did read this whole column & just wanted to say that I always love what you write about introversion. As an introvert, everything rings so true.

    • Mike

      “I’m pretty sure the problem is with these pathetic cads and not with me”

      First things first, get over the “its not me its them thing” If you’re not in the relationship you want its you, believe me. ( guy or gal) But the good thing once you admit its you then you can do something about it. The truth is though most people in this situation would rather be right than honest. In that case feel free to keep banging your head against the wall while basking in your righteous superiority of how awesome you are.

      Second guys aren’t that complicated. They want fuckable, supportive, nice, reasonably happy partners (where talking long tern here For shorter and shorter relationships eliminate items on that list in reverse order.) Aaaanyway, At no time are we really looking for awesome that’s what your girlfriends admire.

      Yes, It’s very important that my partner be happy and supported in whatever decision she makes: career, personal whatever but you know what those are things I want for her because they make her happy. Personally I could care less if someones a scientist or works in a supermarket or if they’re, cool, trendy, opinionated or particularly smart for that matter. In my personal case I like arty, smart types but simply being nice trumps those other two by a hundred fold.

      Which brings me to my last point. I think the value of simply being a nice person is a vastly under rated quality among women. They value independence, respect, strength and somehow see niceness as a weakness or at the very least as compromise to men. You ever notice your sweetest friends have the least problems getting dates. Its totally admirable to be an intelligent independent person but unless your genuinely sympathetic and nice as a person please don’t wonder why your single

      • Eagle Eye

        Eh, I disagree, as someone who no one would quantify as ‘nice’ or ‘sweet’ in that I’m pretty sure my intensity kinda overpowers the two adjectives above – I don’t think that the OP would really want to be with someone whose looking for a ‘nice girl.’ My boyfriend of 3 years certainly isn’t a ‘nice guy’ he loves and supports me (although certainly not blindly and neither do I simply blindly support him – if I think that he’s making a mistake I tell him, and he does the same). Instead, he thinks that I’m awesome and I think that he’s awesome and together we’re just more awesome. Our mutual intensity compliments one another, whether that means heated political debates or decided to find the perfect recipe for pan seared steak.

        And I don’t think that I’m an outlier here since of my friends in serious relationships, most of them are pretty intense – and few of them would be considered ‘nice.’

      • Sandra
      • Mike

        haha all i did was add some basic guy perspective that was sorely needed to this post. But of course women are natural experts on the subject of guy behavior. That’s why this chick went on 30 dates and doesnt have a boyfriend. Oddly imo not once does she even wonder if its something about her.

    • Daisy

      Where oh where can I get a walrus print dress? Also, “Andie” sounds like a truly awesome person! I do hope she’ll take some of your advice into consideration and lands herself a good man.

    • Mike

      I didn’t mean to suggest you cant get into a good relationship if niceness is not your strong point I’m just saying your drawing from a much smaller pool. I will say as a guy if you took a poll, after sexual compatibility “nice” and “supportive” (being blindly supportive is not really support) would be at the top of the list. Sorta like i imagine employed and not living at home might beat the top of a woman’s list.

    • Faith

      I love this article. Love, love, love it.

    • d

      Somehow I feel if a guy wrote about “When Girls Just Want to be Friends” people would be labeling him a nice guy/creep/loser…

    • Renee

      I’d rather fuck Neil deGrasse Tyson than Channing Tatum…no question.

      • e jerry powell

        And you would be absolutely correct.