December 21st, 2007 | 9:49 am

Are Men Threatened by Your Success? Come to Washington, D.C.

filed under Intrepid Women Series

Contributed by Sally Lee

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This piece is in response to “The H-Bomb,” an article by Erin Abrams which was published on The Glass Hammer a few months ago. The basic argument of the piece was that smart, successful women with high-powered and high-earning jobs (in this case, graduates of Harvard Law School), had a hard time meeting men who were not threatened or intimidated by their professional status and income (hence, the H-Bomb).

To those women in New York and other large cities who have felt it necessary to apologize for their hard-earned success because of the insecure men that they encounter, I have a suggestion. Move to Washington D.C., a city where there are plenty of men who actually like and even expect a woman to be educated, successful, and have lots of money. It seems, at least according to an unscientific poll conducted by this observer and her female friends, that there are plenty of men on the D.C. dating market who have visions of quitting their jobs, being provided with a weekly allowance, and having all the time in the world to play golf!

Honestly, not all men are like that in D.C., but there are some sad yet funny stories to share regarding the dating woes of women in our nation’s capital regarding these types of men. For example, I once dated a guy who said to me, “If I quit my job for six months and try to find myself, you’d be able to support me, right?” I wasn’t sure if he was serious, particularly because we were on a third date, so I replied, “I don’t understand the question.” He answered in an exasperated tone, “You know what I mean. If I decide that this job isn’t for me, you’d be able to take care of me until I found something else, because you make enough money, right?”

I really was not sure how to respond, and even after I dropped him off—yes, he had asked me to pick him up and take him on the date, because I have a nicer car—the puzzled expression remained on my face. It finally dawned on me a few hours later, that the proper response was to be offended, and it was an easy decision not to see him again.

Just a few short months later, another unfortunate specimen casually mentioned that he was looking for a “sugar-mama,” and asked if I knew anyone who might be interested. This time, I wasn’t taken off guard, but still unsure of what choice words I wanted to say to him, I merely arched my eyebrow in his direction. I found it hysterical that he interpreted my expression as a sign that I was skeptical about his ability attract a sugar-mama, and was hurt by my apparent low rating of his “hotness.” It didn’t occur to him that I was turned off by what he was suggesting.

Even when I’m dinner with platonic male friends, it’s the same situation. One time when the bill came, I pulled out my wallet to pay my portion of the $100 tab, when the guy looked at me and said, “Here, let me help out” and proceeded to place a $20 bill on the table. Did he think he was doing me a favor? This time, however, I politely pointed out that he needed to put a few more bills down, and ignored the confused look on his face.

To take it further, I actually have stories of friends who have been treated to the “Oops, I left my wallet at home” line by guys when they’ve been out on dates. It was particularly annoying when one of them had this experience on her on her birthday! The worst stories I’ve heard are from women who have gone to the extreme of paying off significant credit card debts for their boyfriends or husbands.

Another interesting observation is that, while men do not like it when a woman asks what they do for a living, in this city, men are the ones doing the sizing up, and will determine whether or not they will continue a conversation based on their perception of a woman’s earning potential, after which they will proceed to ask her to buy the drinks. So ladies in New York, if your problem is in getting men to appreciate your success and not be intimidated by it, this is the city for you!

Now, in defense of these particular gentlemen, Washington women have helped contribute to this situation. Due to the demographics of our fine city—8:1 women to men, (an oft-cited, if not entirely verifiable statistic), women tend to be more aggressive in the dating market than in most cities, as competition is fierce. My friends who have moved here from other places lament that they have never had such a hard time meeting guys, and find it ridiculous that they are now competing over the types of men that they would never give a second thought to in their hometowns. As a result they will sometimes do what it takes to get a man, even if that means bearing the financial burden, which has created a very different dynamic.

So, if you really want to meet men that will not shy away from successful women, come on down to D.C., because they’re waiting for you!

1 comment

  1. San

    Well… what can I say? I mean… want to have money but don´t want to work? mmmmm.. sounds awful similar to apolitician. Want to live off their charms? Hey, it sounds like another politician! Oh, right, we are talking Washington DC, the city of politicians, right?

    Now, being a bit more serious I believe that the H Bomb was about the difficulties for women with a brain and a succesfull career to find a partner in the sense of an equal. Someone that would not be scared of you because you have a brain, but that is not a kid in need of mommy…. (for financial or any other resources). So, from that point of view it seems that DC is as awful (or even worse) than NY!!