When I was a little girl, my mother urged me to work hard and do well in school so that I would grow up and get a good job and make heaps of money and never have to depend on a man to support me. (The result? Questionable, although I can assure you that no man has ever so much as hinted at his desire to support me.) To the best of my recollection, never did she advise me to get a good job and make lots of money in order to attract a man, which goes to show that the world may have changed dramatically over the past 20+ years.
Just the other day, I was testing my questionable “home cooking” on a group of
unsuspecting victims girlfriends (in yet another tedious effort to convert myself into a multidimensional modern woman), while lamenting about the mysterious recent disappearance of a guy after a seemingly perfect first date. To me, it had been one of those evenings that chick flicks are made of: the conversation had run long and semi-deep, transcending first date pleasantries and venturing into the weird and personal; there had been plenty of common ground, as well as palpable physical attraction- at least on my end. And yet, he had disappeared into the Ghosting Abyss, leaving me befuddled and disappointed. As I rattled off his numerous attributes – funny, smart, accomplished, the list goes on – I could feel my friends’ eyes glazing over.. That is, until the moment I randomly mentioned the names of his very high-profile ex-girlfriends. “Dude, you should have started with that. He’s a star f*cker.”
A star f*cker? Wasn’t that an LA thing, reserved for the Kevin Federlines of the world? Or had I really been away from New York for so long that I had missed out on the fact that men are now looking for women to boost their social media following in addition to their libidos? According to a recent New York Times article, the clustering of “Power Couples” is not only a rising social phenomenon, but also a serious economical concern, as it is progressively curbing financial mobility and propagating income inequality over generations. In simple terms, gone are the days when a pretty secretary can easily swoop up a a high-power ad exec à la Don Draper, giving an economic boost to her own clan. Now, said secretary (upgraded to “admin” title) needs to be Princeton-educated humanitarian with 10K+ Instagram followers, otherwise Don Draper will probably opt for the next better thing.
But where does this leave the rest of us, who haven’t yet broken into the self-made millionaire club? And what about the situation in New York, which has reached a whole new extreme? Perhaps, I have simply tapped into the seedy underbelly of dating apps like Raya, plugged into the most superficial of industries. However, this is not the first time I have heard such douchery: I recall a friend recently telling me about her experience hanging out with the owners of a downtown fashion label, one of which would not shut up about his very famous girlfriend. While he wouldn’t reveal her name, he kept alluding the fact that she had “made it”, as if this was the one thing that mattered. Her consensus? “So many guys are like that, they just want to be able to say “my girlfriend is so successful”, to Google her or show off her Instagram.” How’s that for romantic?
Yet, in a way, can we really fault men for doing the exact same thing women have been doing since the beginning of time – linking success to attraction? I suppose that the confusing thing here is that it further skews with traditional gender roles, which suggest that women are inherently looking for providers, and men for caretakers for their children. And yet, aren’t traditional gender roles a crock of sh*t anyway? All this cogitation gives me anxiety, adding to the already mounting anxiety over the fact that I’m not making enough money, not doing enough with myself, not part of some 30 Under 30 list of young entrepreneurs or millionaire bloggers – basically, the same anxiety plaguing the majority of young people in this city. And that’s not healthy.
I’m not going to let myself off the hook by stating that a guy didn’t want to date me because I’m not successful enough – there’s a reason that somebody (far more successful than myself, may I add ) once wrote a book called “He’s just not that into you.” But if this is, indeed, part of the mystery behind him not calling me back, then I’m dealing with a whole new set of problems that I wasn’t even aware of. As summed up by one of my dinner guests: “I can’t believe that, on top of everything else, I am now being judged by my resume when it comes to dating.”
On that note, you guys can all stay here. As for me, I think I’m moving to Kansas.