Ya’ll I was brought to tears this morning from the unlikeliest of places. Let me start with, I love the Bachelor/Bachelorette (and all spin-offs). While Kaitlyn was not my favorite bachelorette (her final pick in Shawn Booth was a horrible choice since he is the embodiment of toxic masculinity), she has since ended up with Jason Tartick of Becca’s season (a better season but her final choice in Garrett was also problematic (he was caught liking insta posts mocking Parkland survivors and Trans* folks)). Ugh, just typing these things out is making me question my viewing choices.
Anyway, Nick Viall has got to be one of my favorite Bachelors (and he’s notoriously single if anyone wants to slip him my number back home in LA). So, obviously I have listened to every single one of his podcast episodes of the Viall Files (hours of my life I can’t get back). But in my defense, he gives excellent advice, OKAY?
Well, this week Nick released an episode with Jason and it needs to be put in conversation with a book I just read, How to Date Men When You Hate Men. In it, author (and comedian) Blyth Roberson talks (and jokes) about the difficulty of dating as a heterosexual woman in a patriarchal society. In a section titled, “Professionally Insecure Woke Boys” (love the microaggressive use of the word “boy”), Blyth acknowledges that “there are certain types of men who you expect to oppress you” and then there are those you don’t expect it from but who do it anyway. Specifically narrowing in on successful women (and women with goals/ambitions), many men state they can’t be with women who are more successful than they are (hello, sexism). Love is literally withheld from ambitious women. It is a tool used to keep women in their place amidst a world that has told women that love is something we should be looking for (and it’s true that not all women are – more power to ya!).
When it’s just your coworker Floyd telling you he can’t be with a more professionally successful woman, it’s easy to be like “LOL, okay, Floyd, I think I can survive without access to your D and your hoverboard and your opinions about grammar.” But when all of society – INCLUDING – the Democrats/socialists/anarchists who you hoped were basically on the side of women – just “feel” that they don’t want to be romantically attached to women who are setting short- and long-term goals and achieving those goals, then successful women are losing out on a socially significant amount of D!
So, back to Jason. Nick asked him about his role in supporting Kaitlyn (who Jason acknowledges has more fame and power, a higher profile, and makes more money) as a leading lady. Jason talked about wanting a partner who wakes up with a purpose every day and goes out and gets after it regardless of what it is. He has his own things going on and stays in his lane. He called her “wildly impressive” (cue my tears). While her podcast and wine/scrunchie businesses are not his thing, he gets to be 100 percent all in on supporting her. As someone with a finance background, he even goes through all of her business financials to make sure he negotiates in her best interests. He talks about his own security. It is not a competition. And he knows she supports him in the ways he needs it as well. A true partnership goes both ways. THIS IS WHERE I BLUBBER.
I hate to keep the Bachelorette references going but I am now thinking about Hannah Brown, who also made a shitty last choice. Jed (A TRASH HUMAN) went on the show with a girlfriend and then got engaged to Hannah. However, she was MY FAVORITE bachelorette EVER because of her sexpositivity (girl, get it) and the way she shut down the seriously problematic Luke Parker (who should die in a fire find a therapist). Anyway, after a fantasy date with Tyler Cameron, Hannah started crying because of how respectful Tyler had been the night before (i.e. not pushing her to do anything she was uncomfortable with). In case you are unfamiliar, fantasy suites are off camera and sex is often insinuated (Hannah even admitted to having sex with Peter four times on his fantasy date in a windmill. GET IT, GIRL). How is it that we live in a world where sincere, authentic, good, respectful men are so far and few between that when women who date men encounter them, we are brought to tears?
I would consider myself an ambitious person. I’m not great with being complacent professionally. Before the last couple of years, I also never prioritized dating and finding a partner because I was blindly chasing degrees and professional success and cultivating some strong friendships. Thinking about the conversation above, I do wonder what would have happened if I had taken dating more seriously earlier. Would I have recognized that men don’t like successful women and pushed through or made myself smaller to find a partner – to settle for someone who would not support my big dreams? Today, I know who I am and would not make myself smaller for someone else. I also know that should I never find someone willing to support those big dreams, I’ll be just fine on my own. It is not worth letting go of who I am to find someone. NOT SORRY.
This has been coming up for me a lot this academic year because I started my PhD last July. I still question that decision every day and I am not sure I’ll finish it but the fact is, I am in it right now. I can give ya one guess as to how men feel about a woman pursuing a doctorate degree. I am sometimes hesitant to share that information even though my number one deal breaker is someone who is not okay with an ambitious partner. One of my dating profiles explicitly says “PhD student in my free time.” Might as well just put it out there. I do get more interest on the apps that do not say that. Insert thinking emoji. I do generally share it on a first date because there is no use in wasting time/money on a second if they have a problem with it.
I recently waited until a second (virtual) date to share this bit of information and only when I was asked point blank after I mentioned homework. The man called me out and asked me why I was being so “cagey” about the topic. He was not wrong. I mentioned not being sure about the degree or if I would finish (only half of the truth). I didn’t say because men usually don’t like it and I actually think I like you so, please don’t be one of those boys. Let me tell ya, if it was possible to fall in love with someone based on what books are on their bookshelf, this would be the one. But let’s be honest, we’re in quarantine and he’s just bored and probably talking to a dozen other women. (This is absolutely what Nick would say if I called his podcast for advice). So, while it’s nice to have someone I am sharing virtual time with who isn’t completely turned off by this degree I’m seeking, that does not appear to be the norm for me or other successful and ambitious women in my life.
I usually have some conclusion I’ve come to but I don’t have any at this point. We can’t change society overnight to make people (men) confident enough to stand by strong women. Living in this world, where I am being punished by the patriarchy for choosing to support myself through my ambitions, is not easy. I guess I’ll say this – Do. You. Don’t let go of your dreams because someone else is uncomfortable with them. And if I die unpartnered, let’s be friends forever and support each other and cheer each other on at every accomplishment.