Should You Go For the MBA or the Mrs.?

So, I read this little article: Susan Patton: A Little Valentine’s Day Straight Talk and it made me sigh and shake my head.

Like this quote:

“Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry.”

I have a problem with the concept that my future happiness is going to rest in one single human being.  Not in what I accomplish.  Not in what I experience.  Not in my wide and diverse group of friends.  But in one single, solitary individual.

I call bullshit.

I say that’s something my grandma believed.  Both of them.  Even the one that was married ten times.  (Maybe particularly the one that was married ten times who never seemed to be able to live without being someone’s wife.)

Is there value to be had in a one-on-one relationship with someone that you face life with as a partner and equal?  Absolutely.

Is that where you should derive all of your future happiness from?  No.

I think placing that much of a burden on another human being is a recipe for divorce.  That’s too much to ask of anyone.

You should find your happiness within yourself and let another person enhance that, not rely on them to define you.

I, as you know, am single.  Always have been.  I am also highly educated to the point of scaring people when it comes up in conversation.

I do not rely on anyone else to make my life a life worth living.

I have traveled to over twenty countries, lived in three.  I have done any number of adventure activities and have friends from all over the world.  I have thrived in my chosen career and been proud of it, but my work has not defined me.

I have lived a GOOD life.

One that was not based upon being someone else’s wife or partner.

Which is why I call bullshit on that article.

Now.  Having said that…

When you are a highly-educated woman, it is HARD to find an equal in this world.  And, when I look back over my life to date, I think that the two times I had the highest possibility of meeting men that were at my intellectual level were when I was in college.

(As long as I could look past the drunken, stoned behavior and their apparent need to get through as many women as they could while they were there…Not all of them, but a pretty high number of the social ones.)

So, I don’t think it’s bad advice to say “keep an eye out” when you’re in college.  College does provide a concentrated group of individuals of a similar age and inclination who are forced to spend a lot of time together.  That alone makes it a good place to meet a future mate.

Now, having said that, I have another issue with that article.  And that’s the assumption that men that don’t attend a college like that or don’t have a certain type of career aren’t a valid option.

In undergrad, instead of dating future investment bankers and lawyers, I actually dated a local cop.  And I have to say that, even to this day, he was one of the most compatible people I have ever dated.  He was intelligent in a non-pretentious way.  (Another quote from the article, “When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky….”  Haha.  No.  Not my friends, thanks.  I HATE pretentious people.)  I respected that man because he was driven within his chosen field and a good human being who treated me well and respected women.

That’s more than I can say for many, many of the men I went to school with.

More recently, I found myself highly compatible with yet another man who never went to college.  A man in a very non-traditional career who yet again was highly intelligent, driven in his chosen profession, a decent human being, and content with his life.  A man who also wasn’t the least bit intimidated by my income versus his because he was secure in himself and knew that life is not all about how much you earn or whether you drive a BMW.

So, yes.  If you are attending a top college and want that stereotypical future CEO husband, lock him down in undergrad.  Be the first wife, because you won’t be the trophy wife with that good an education.

Better yet, though.  Look outside the narrow confines of that limited future upper class group of classmates your locked in with and find a man who will be secure enough in himself to let you be you.  Even if that is someone who outearns him and didn’t feel like settling down and having kids until she’d reached the C-Suite.

A Few Thoughts on Gifts In Honor of V-Day

I read an article this morning that basically said that giving a woman a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day is infantile and should never be done.

Well, hold up there.

Two of my favorite gifts from guys were stuffed animals of some variety.  So, personally, I think a stuffed animal can be a great gift.

But not just any stuffed animal.  Not just some random-assed teddy bear you grab at the gas station on your way home.

No.

The reason the two stuffed animals I received worked is because they meant something special.  They showed that the guy in question was buying me a gift.  Not just some random, generic woman a gift.  Me.

And they didn’t buy them because it was safe.  These gifts were personal.

I can’t explain the first one without people thinking the absolute wrong thing, so I’ll describe the second one.  (It wasn’t a Valentine’s Day gift, by the way, but I still think it would’ve worked for Valentine’s.)

At the time I lived in a small little apartment.  Small enough to have one color scheme throughout the whole place.  And that color scheme was forest green and burgundy.

Well, the guy I was dating at the time had to go to some two-week training and we hadn’t seen each other for a week before that.  These were pre-FB, pre-Skype, pre-everything days, so there was really no contact during that time.  Maybe a phone call or two.  And I was kinda done with it.  I liked him, but why date someone if you don’t ever see them?

So, he shows up at my door and he has this teddy bear hidden behind his back.  And he gives it to me and tells me he saw it at some random store and it made him think of me.  Melted my little ice-cold heart.

Why?  Because, first, it was a cute teddy bear.  (There are some fugly ones out there, so cute counts.)  That showed good taste in general.  And, second, it matched the colors in my apartment perfectly.

It was personal.  I really could believe that he had seen that teddy bear and thought about me.

And for me that’s always what counts when it comes to gifts.  It isn’t the expense.  It’s whether the other person actually thought about me when they bought it.

The other gift that’s in my top three is a sand dollar-sized shell from the beach.

Why was that a good gift?

Because the note that came with it said that it reminded the guy of the night we’d walked on the beach together.  A special moment for us.

It was a shell he probably picked up off the sand.  But it had meaning.

It was a GOOD gift.

So, if you’re thinking of giving someone a gift and you want it to be a good one.  Then give the gift that will work for THAT person.

If you’re dating a woman who needs to show all her friends that  you’re the “right kind of guy” then by all means send a dozen roses to her at work or buy her a diamond tennis bracelet.  Or maybe she just really loves roses?  Fine.  Send them.

But if you’ve never seen her with roses on her table.  And she’s never said anything about liking roses?  And maybe she has her place decorated with daisies?  Well, then, maybe you don’t get her roses.  Get her daisies.

This applies to any gift for anyone, by the way.  Get them something that matters to them.  That works with their life.  Be thoughtful.

And Happy Valentine’s Day for those of you who celebrate it.

If He Isn’t Acting, Walk Away

This really is advice for the ladies.

As a woman I have more than once liked a guy and not acted on it for any number of ridiculous reasons.  I don’t want to ruin a good friendship, I’m not sure he’s ready for it, I’m just not in a perfect place for a relationship, I’ve been burned before by being the one who acts first, etc., etc.  So, for a guy, if you like a woman and she isn’t throwing herself at you, you probably still have a good chance.

For a woman who likes a guy (or a guy who likes a guy), if he isn’t acting, it probably isn’t going to happen.

I was watching The Bachelor this week.  (Why?  I do not know.  If I hear him call one more woman bella or say ‘yay, yay, yay’ about another chick…I’m sure it works on a one-to-one basis, but not when he does it with every woman.)

Anyway.  I was watching The Bachelor and I saw two perfect examples of this.

The first was when Juan Pablo said he wasn’t going to kiss any of the girls on one of his group dates.  Seems he’d already kissed six girls and wanted to set a good example for his daughter, so he said he was going to refrain from kissing anyone else.

And then what did he do?  He went and made out with some chick.

Why?  Because she had really pretty lips and teeth.

Not the first man to do something like that.  And certainly not the last.

The second was when his front-runner basically told him that she’d dated a man with a young daughter before and that it hadn’t worked for her.  Not only that, she clearly showed signs of not liking kids.  And definitely not wanting the three kids that he wants to have.

What did he do?  Tell her how wonderful she was, make out with her, and give her a “let’s keep going” rose.  Ostensibly for her honesty.  In reality because he’s sexually attracted to her.

That’s what men do.  If they’re attracted, they act.

This is the hardest thing to realize as a woman: Men Act.

If they like a woman, they act.

Yes, I’m generalizing.  I’m sure there are some guys out there who don’t act or who haven’t acted.

But more women have wasted more time holding out for a guy who really didn’t have an interest in them than have ever walked away from a guy who really did want them but was holding himself back.

So, my advice to the ladies: If you like a guy and he isn’t acting.  WALK AWAY.  Don’t stay friends.  Don’t keep flirting.

WALK AWAY.

If I’m wrong, he’ll come after you.  And if I’m not?  You’ll free yourself up to meet someone who is interested.

Walk away.

That is all.