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Women today want partner, not provider

Wed., Sept. 28, 2011

Dear Carolyn: I am a reasonably handsome, fit, clean-cut and educated man in my mid-40s.

I work as a security guard, which enables me to read for 40 hours a week, which I just love to do.

When women find out how much money I make, their contempt for me can barely be hidden. I wonder when I am going to be valued by a woman for who I am, and not my ability to be a “provider.”

Where are all the feminists who are looking for men who view them as equals? Could it be that even “feminists” are looking for a man to provide for them, and if they can’t find a suitable male who makes enough money, they just do without a man? – T.

That’s certainly one narrative you can write from the facts you have.

Here’s another: These women aren’t looking for a man “to provide for them,” but instead to pitch in as much financial security as they do. You got a job that allows you to avoid work (!), and while you’re right to pursue what suits you, know that a prospective mate could be turned off by that choice. And, forget these are tough times, since those pass; these are independent times. Women whose husbands support them represent a small fraction of American women. Partnership is key.

Granted, that still pins your romantic struggles somewhat to your income. I can offer another narrative, though, that doesn’t.

A 40-hour-a-week (minimum, right?) reading habit says yours is a life of the mind, to an unusual degree and at the expense of other ambitions. That’s going to appeal to an equally specialized woman.

With any narrative, framing this as standoff – T.-vs.-world, “I’m fine, and they’re all corrupt pseudo-feminists” – is counterproductive for all involved. You want people to look past surface qualities to see your true worth, and so you’ll need to show that same courtesy to others. Like everyone else, you’re looking for a needle in the library stacks; doing that right takes all the unbiased patience you’ve got.


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