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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Independent And Successful Single Women’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That They’re Independent or Successful » Independent And Successful Single Women’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That They’re Independent or Successful

Independent And Successful Single Women’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That They’re Independent or Successful

Rusty - November 19, 2007

I often hear women complain that single LDS men are “afraid” of independent, successful women. This reminds me of when I was in high school and thought that the only reason chicks didn’t dig me was because I had zits. I know, can you believe the shallowness of all those girls to overlook my otherwise perfect body, my dashing butt-cut hairstyle, my immaculate record of integrity (with a perfect measure of bad-assness), impeccably-timed humor, Jordan-like agility on the basketball court, genius intellect and Clooney-like confidence?

Damn zits.

In all my years of dating and discussing girls/chicks/women with my friends/buddies/roommates I never once heard one of them say, “She was totally hot, super-strong testimony, hilarious, we totally got along but she’s just too smart.” or “We were laughing the whole time but I realized I could never be with someone who went on a mission.”

I may be going out on a limb and will perhaps sound a bit un-PC here but can I suggest you might actually have other shortcomings? (this reminds me of the answer we all give to the job interview question, “what are your greatest weaknesses?” and the response is always “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard.”)

Maybe a list will do:
- You’re insincere.
- You watch Everybody Loves Raymond
- You never flirt.
- You have a dolphin tattoo
- You are not attractive.
- You don’t like sports.
- You say negative things about others.
- You don’t play Worlds of Warcraft
- You’re too concerned with how you look.
- You have red hair
- You’re from Arkansas
- You’re more cocky than confident
- You don’t get sarcasm
- You drive a Pontiac
- You flirt with everyone
- Your roommates laugh at me
- You don’t get along with children
- You are always a downer in Gospel Doctrine class
- You’re not concerned enough with how you look.
- You say stuff like “Divine Sisterhood”
- You eat your peas one at a time

In other words, it could be ANY ONE OF THESE THINGS! I’m not saying these are all good reasons to avoid dating you, but they are certainly reasons other than “too independent/successful”. Yeah, guys are jerks, but women certainly aren’t immune to such shallowness. (too…many…stories…to…share…)

When I was on my mission I wrote a female friend who had it all. Beauty, personality, intelligence, her own furniture. When I got home I immediately went out with her. Nothing. She was clearly interested in me but I couldn’t figure out why I had no desire to pursue the relationship. Then I figured it out: she didn’t get my humor/sarcasm. Not that anyone is required to laugh at my lame jokes or sarcastic quips but there was no way I was going to spend any substantial amount of time with someone who didn’t appreciate that part of my personality. And it wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t my fault, it just was.

Until recently I hadn’t thought about the possibility of her going to her (pre-blog) friends and complaining that I didn’t pursue her because I was intimidated by her success and independence. Whatever she needs to say, I guess.

74 Comments »

  1. I was friends with a girl in high school who asked me if I was gay. Here’s how the conversation went:

    me:“No I’m not gay, why would you ask that?”
    her: “I’ve been flirting with you for months and nothing”.
    me: “Maybe I don’t like you like that. Can’t you take a hint?”
    her: “Jerk”

    Comment by cj douglass — November 19, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  2. Here is my take.

    Its age…..

    In order for a woman to be successful and single she has to be what 25-30?

    A lot of the really eligible Mormon men are married by 25. All of my mission buddies and guys I grew up with were all married by then. To generally a woman who was their age or a year or two younger.

    So the older single woman has a reduced pool from whom to select from and is competing against the 20-25 year old women for some of the same men. Plus she is generally not interested in the younger single men for obvious reasons. She is wiser and more mature etc.

    Comment by bbell — November 19, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

  3. @cj douglas: my conversation would have been a little different.

    : )

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 19, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  4. What is the definition of “independent/successful”? My wife and I started dating in high school and we got married just a couple of years after high school (I didn’t serve a mssion). It was only several years after we were married that I realized I was married to a strong willed woman. That’s because she was always sweet and kind to me. In fact what attracted me to her in the first place was the fact that when she told me I needed to clean up my act (which all the girls I dated told me) it was not because “it makes me look bad” (which is the reason all the others gave) but because she said she cared about me and didn’t want to see me get hurt or in trouble.

    Now almost 34 years into the marriage I realize there are many men in my ward and stake who are intimidated by that sweet little lady I married. She is almost constantly in one leadership calling or another because people know she can get things done. But I know, and they know, that if you ask her to do something she’ll get it done – just stay out her way while she’s getting it done, or face the consequences. I am man enough to admit that while we raised our four sons in their youth, she was the one who made the rules and she was usually the one that enforced them, as well. I was often the “peacemaker” during those interesting times but now when they call home, it makes me smile when they have a short conversation with me but they really want to talk to their mom.

    If my wife had chosen a professional path in lieu of being a wife and mother I’m sure she would have excelled in whatever she did. If being “independent and successful” is related to being strong willed and results oriented then I think my wife is proof that you can be the strong and successful type while maintaining a loving and caring personality. Her first inclination is to serve others.

    Rusty – I’m not sure if this comment was what you were looking for but your post inspired me to say something in defense of strong willed woman with an acknowledgement that being strong willed doesn’t have to be accompnaied by being unpleasant.

    Comment by Lamonte — November 19, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

  5. Rusty,

    The really funny thing is when they say the reason men don’t like them is because they are too smart. I’ve had a woman tell me that who was unquestionably the dimmest bulb in the room.

    Comment by Mark IV — November 19, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  6. Great post, Rusty. This line of thinking seems to occur among some women in order to make themselves not feel bad for not getting asked out as much as they like. And considering how far it is from reality, it’s really rather sexist.

    Comment by Eric Russell — November 19, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  7. LOL. I think this is my favorite Nine Moons post.

    A few more reasons:

    1. You have “man-hands”
    2. You don’t move your arms when you walk
    3. You’re a low talker
    4. You’re a close talker
    5. You wear the same outfit everytime I see you
    6. You don’t like me using my funny voice to make fun of your stomach gurgles.

    Comment by ECS — November 19, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  8. “You’re from Arkansas”

    I take it your wife does enjoy your sense of humor and sarcasm.

    Comment by Tim J — November 19, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  9. P.S. For those who haven’t figured it out, the “you’re too smart” excuse is another version of “it’s not you, it’s me”.

    Face it. He’s just not that into you.

    Comment by ECS — November 19, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  10. bbell,
    That may be in certain places; in my experience, there are plenty of really eligible Mormon men (and women) in their late 20s/early 30s in, for example, New York, Boston, the DC metro area, and the Bay Area. There may be more single women than men in these age ranges (although there may not be; I really don’t know), but there are plenty of men to date.

    I suspect, honestly, that Rusty’s right a large portion of the time. That is, there may well be Mormon men who are intimidated by smart, successful women, but I suspect they’re in the minority. I suspect that there are other confounding problems for most smart (and, for that matter, dumb) unmarried men and women. Besides the personality problems and physical problems Rusty mentions, the problem may just be dumb luck.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 19, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  11. CJ,
    Now I know you’re lying. Girls didn’t flirt with you.

    (And that remark proves why CJ and I are friends, he gets my lame humor)

    bbell,
    But your comment presupposes that all the boys are getting married but not the girls. Aren’t there just as many men over 25 that aren’t married as women?

    Lamonte,
    Hey man, if you knew my wife you’d know I married someone very similar to what you describe (ask CJ). No need to defend strong-willed women, I’m in your corner on that one. But when I’ve read the sentiment that LDS men are afraid of successful and independent women I think it’s more of a “they’re afraid that my accomplishments are greater than their own.” or “they’re afraid that a relationship would lack intimacy because of my independence” rather than “they’re afraid of me because I’m domineering.”

    Mark,
    HA!

    Comment by Rusty — November 19, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  12. Eric,
    YES! I knew SOMEbody here was sexist!

    Thank you ECS. You just passed one of my (before-I-got-married) dating tests.

    Comment by Rusty — November 19, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  13. Rusty – Of course you can ask CJ about my wife as well! And although my comment was “in support of strong-willed women” it was not meant in opposition to your post but rather as advice to those women who assume their “independence and success” is what turns men off when, in reality, it is usually a prickly personality, perhaps as a result of their “independence and success” that turns men away.

    Comment by Lamonte — November 19, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  14. Rusty,

    There are simply more active single women then active single men. Its gets more inbalanced as age increases. Its been discussed a lot in the naccle. Even BYU can be as much as 60% female depending on the year.

    Its sad.

    Comment by bbell — November 19, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  15. Here are my observations as (a) someone who found himself unexpectedly single at age 32 and had to re-enter the dating pool and (b) someone who served in a bishopric (about 15 years later) in Washington DC and found himself counseling bright older single women:

    – Generally speaking, there is a real dearth of single, faithful LDS men between the ages of 30 and 55. Most of the single LDS men in that age range have either never married (*WARNING WARNING WILL ROBINSON*) or are divorced (as I was; also a warning sign). The ones who have never married are likely to have serious commitment (and/or moral) issues, since there are plenty of great single LDS women around. (Once you get above 55, then widowers start entering the dating pool as well.)

    – LDS men are following (though a ways behind) the general societal trend towards postponing marriage, avoiding commitment, “hanging out”, and so on. I believe Pres. Hinckley has made some comments about this in a recent General Priesthood Mtg, and I caught a rebroadcast on BYU TV of a fireside Elder Oaks gave at BYU Idaho about “hanging out” vs. dating.

    – While I am sure it has probably happened somewhere, sometime, I have never personally known a single active LDS guy who dropped or avoided a given single active LDS gal because she was “too smart and successful”. On the other hand, I’ve known guys (myself included) who have dropped or avoided gals for just the opposite reason. (Before Sandra and I married, I had her listen to the original radio version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; I told her later that I was relieved when she laughed in all the right places.)

    Generally speaking, I have tremendous sympathy for faithful LDS women who are single and over the age of 30. My anecdotal observation — which I suspect would be backed up by statistics from LDS social research — is that there are significantly more faithful single LDS women over 30 than there are faithful single LDS men over 30. And those men who do “come onto the market”, through divorce or a spouse’s death, don’t tend to stay single very long; I was single less than a year and dated several LDS women, including at least two (besides Sandra, whom I married) who wanted to marry me.

    While serving in the bishopric in DC, I spent quite a few hours counseling single LDS women (late 20s to early 40s) regarding marriage prospects (and lack thereof) and gave several priesthood blessings upon request. My advice was always: it only takes one, i.e., one good, faithful, loving LDS man. But I had no easy answers for them, since many of them had been looking for ‘just one’ for years without success. And while I have seen some of them marry happily, I know of others who are still single and searching. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — November 19, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  16. While I am sure it has probably happened somewhere, sometime, I have never personally known a single active LDS guy who dropped or avoided a given single active LDS gal because she was “too smart and successful”.

    I actually had a guy say outright that he was intimidated by me. (He was in his bachelor’s program, I in my master’s.) And I’m thinking “intimidating?” Get real. Another worried that I wouldn’t be a good mom because I had a master’s degree, and came out and said that. Kinda put a damper on our relationship. (Guess it’s obvious I didn’t marry him.)

    But I agree with ECS in a lot of cases. The first guy probably wasn’t that into me. The second guy, I dunno. He proposed later, so I don’t think it was a copout…he was genuinely concerned that my education meant I wouldn’t care about family roles or something. Maybe that was just a way for him to say I wasn’t his type. I was grateful to marry someone who liked the fact that I was educated. I do think there are some guys who feel threatened by that, though. Not many, but a few.

    Comment by m&m — November 19, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

  17. Some thoughts from a single, male, over 25, faithful Latter Day Saint…

    Like bfwebster said, more often the opposite reason. I pretend to be more intelligent than I am but I’m also no idiot. I’m amazed how many women, even women over the age of 25 that don’t want to do something (like play a game, for instance) that makes them think. Not that that’s the only way to tell but it sure is a good indicator.

    The older you get, the more picky you are and that can be good and bad. You don’t want to be too picky but you also know better what you want in a relationship and are done dating around to find out what you want.

    Many older women AND men don’t flirt as much/as easliy/as obviously as they used to. This makes it harder to tell a girl is interested in me or likes my flirtations.

    I hate how much crap older men get for not being married and older women don’t. Is it really more the man’s responsibility? What a joke. Gimme a break! 95%+ of the older guys I know want to get married more than ever and are tired of the dating games. Which leads to lastly…

    Some of us older, single males are just relationship retarded. We’re very inexpereinced and/or always have to take a lot of effort to “put ourselves out there more” or whatever.

    Basically, (and this would be a good blog topic) I want to found the first Mormon monastic order…and yes, I’m bitter.

    Comment by Bret — November 19, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  18. Interesting thoughts, Rusty. I have to say I agree with what you are saying.
    It’s easier for women to think that men are intimidated by them than to admit fault because, honestly? Women have feelings. And as a society, women have been forced to play the “hey, don’t I look great? I’m vying for your attention so please come and date me!” role. And when, after making an effort, women are “still” single after years of trying, it’s easier to figure it’s over intimidation rather than weakness. So, yeah, I get that. I mean, I get why women do it. That doesn’t mean it’s right or correct –I just understand it.

    Because seriously, most LDS men (as others have pointed out) want strong and successful women. Unless they are control-freak-abusers that want to squish a woman under their thumb (there are some of those out there), every man I’ve ever met like women with confidence and education.

    Bret-
    I’m sorry that you are bitter. I’m sorry that men get more crap than women do about not being married. I’m sure the double-standard is real. I don’t envy you.

    Oh, ECS watches too much Seinfeld. I know this because I do, too. :)

    Comment by Cheryl — November 19, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

  19. I can say, I was dropped by someone in college because I was too smart, or at least he must have thought I had other ambitions in life other than marriage and family. (Shows how little her really knew me). He basically said that he did not want to interfere with my goals. I think that is indicative of how little he thought about himself and how I could feel about him as well as how little he knew me. I was in the nursing program, but my life plans were to have family, I am not in anyway shape or form a career woman.
    I now am a stay at home mom, after many, many years of working. I love it.

    Comment by Tigersue — November 19, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  20. Oh, I also have no pretensions on my physical attractiveness. Even at my smallest, I was 20 lbs heavier than my absolutely beautiful, smart, kind, wonderful roommate. If I were male, I know how I would have wanted to date out of the two off us, and it would not have been me.

    Comment by Tigersue — November 19, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  21. bret,

    let me introduce you to a girl…

    Comment by mfranti — November 19, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  22. bret,
    I know several, too…. :)

    Comment by m&m — November 19, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  23. Hey, not fair! I purposely did not say “Bret, I have a girl for you…” out of respect –so I get to set him up first! :)

    Comment by Cheryl — November 19, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

  24. wait…i forgot something

    :)

    i feel better now.

    Comment by mfranti — November 19, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  25. Hey — if we’re setting people up, don’t forget the faithful, single gay guy.

    Sheesh.

    ;P

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 19, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  26. so on a serious note, how many of you women out there have been on the receiving end of being too independent and successful?

    I was 25 or 26 when I joined the church. I lived in a nice little house overlooking aliso viejo, CA. I was a broker,snowboard instructor and I made more money than most folks ever dream making. oh yeah, and i had a daughter.

    so…dating mormon boys from the singles ward was like dating in high school. AWKWARD. I swear they didn’t know what to do with me. I guess my standard was too high? I expected them to act like men and not little boys.
    But I kept a stiff upper lip, and did what any good mormon girl would do in order to get to the temple.(actually, marriage wasn’t really on my mind.)

    yeah, it was all me. I was too.. I don’t know…opinionated? wealthy? independent? ohh yeah, i remember–to much of a mom.

    i’m not disagreeing with your thoughts, rusty. (i may have developed a blog crush on you because you do have a good sense of humor.) it’s just that I know many women who, really have a lot to offer and yet, their independence is a turn off to some men.

    oh yeah, be nice folks. there are real women out there who suffer from this and this discussion is a bit harsh.

    Comment by mfranti — November 19, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  27. silus,

    that would have been easier if you left out “faithful”

    i don’t know what to think? man?woman?

    i live about a mile from you. we could do coffee…i mean, herbal tea at the beehive tea room.

    Comment by mfranti — November 19, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  28. Bret, meet Silus . . .

    :P

    Comment by Kaimi — November 19, 2007 @ 6:23 pm

  29. I don’t think it is so much smarts as…ambition? will?

    Based on my observations at BYU, I think many men there didn’t really know what to do with a woman with a plan. If you have one year left of college, isn’t it normal that you would have an idea of what comes next? Graduate school, internship, Peace Corps, job offer accros the country, mission, etc. Nothing too out there, yet a man (with his own plans) hears this and thinks “how will her graduate school in Chicago mesh with my program in Seattle?” cannot reconcile the 2, and moves on to someone with no plan to have to sort out.

    I don’t know how this pans out in non-campus single situations, although my guess is that men trend toward the younger single women.

    Comment by a spectator — November 19, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  30. Interesting, I knew a lot of single guys in law school at BYU. What they were looking for were women who could think.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — November 19, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  31. Stephen M –

    We were already taken. (oh, snap!)

    Comment by Cheryl — November 19, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  32. Sorry everyone. I should clarify and say that I’m not bitter TOWARDS girls (at least not that much>:) but more so bitter towards the fact those reasons exist and in me, no less. So please, I refer any set up through my facebook page Thank you:)

    Kaimi,

    Thanks but Silus and I have already met and things just didn’t work out. It’s intimidating with how independent and successful he is.

    Comment by Bret — November 19, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  33. You’re too kind, Bret… but we both know it could never have worked — we were from two different worlds…
    Oh, and Cheryl: the Beehive Tearoom is AMAZING!

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 19, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

  34. Er… sorry, mfranti, I was looking at Cheryl’s name.

    But the Beehive Tearoom is amazing, and I’m free most afternoons… drop me a line!

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 20, 2007 @ 12:01 am

  35. I have noticed that some very successful and independent women are indeed also very successful in the realm of romance.

    How they do it is probably a complex mix of factors that would not be easily written down in a simple blogger’s list.

    I think most men want women who can think, who can carry on a conversation, who could sustain themselves and their children if given a tragedy their husband passed or something similar. But the truth is, women are human beings, and although they are amazing at multitasking, just like other human beings when they tend to excel in an area, they also tend to lack on others.

    They may become too practical when it comes to their appearance: short grandma looking hair, plain office type makeup, out of shape office body (this is different than out of shape mom/wife body which is much more attractive believe it or not), etc etc etc.

    They may not be good at those things women in men’s lives are good at, like cooking and all sorts of homey things. After all, men are looking for a wife, not a husband.

    On another channel of perspective:

    Historically, women have been discriminated against when it comes to authority. While society has been trying to strive for equality… well, this equality is not yet present 100 percent. Women still are underpaid and they still struggle to penetrate leadership circles and specific areas of the labor market.

    Therefore, I have noticed that some women… lets make the emphasis clear on the word “SOME.” Yes, SOME women, do become VERY authoritative when they become successful in their jobs, etc. It is as if they try to counterbalance this historic discrimination by becoming TERRIBLY BOSSY! Authority seems to go to their head rather easily. And men… well…. MOST men are turned off by bossy women.

    This is NOT TRUE of all women, and possibly not even true of most women. But if you think like a man, you would ask yourself… why take that risk? why risk my wife will become my boss instead? No. No need for it, no time for it. Let’s let someone else deal with these type of women.

    Are men threatened that a woman earns a higher income? Yes, especially in today’s LDS BYU type of societies where love is expressed by Diamond karats. HEHEHE, let’s face it, we know women ARE SHALLOW AND MATERIALISTIC… not that this is a bad thing, after all, they need to know their man is going to be able to support them and their offspring; but, lets face it. We all remember that girlfriend that left us for the jerk with the nice car. So yes, men may have this sense that if their men don’t make as good of an earning as they do, they may not be worth it.

    Now, most of you just need a freaking makeover. Drop those extra 10, 15 or 40 extra lbs. Start dressing like women and grooming like women and you’ll probably find the love of your lives!

    ;)

    Comment by Elusive — November 20, 2007 @ 12:27 am

  36. I do not mean that women who catch men are without ambition or plans, I simply mean that they may have developed them after their men had fallen for them, so they made it work. If a woman’s life seems too complicated and you don’t really know her, it is easy to move on and never get to know her.

    Let me ask about the RM thing:
    I have heard elders say this numerous times while I was serving. [that sounds like the elders were being particularly rude to me; I don't think they saw me so much as a Sister but as the source of wise-cracks in District Meetings] The fact that I heard it more than once (and what a thing to say in front of sisters, let alone think) made me think it was a pervasive attitude. Is it not? Do people grow out of it? Of course, I know many many sister RMs who are married, so clearly some men are more sensible than to let a mission get in the way.

    Elusive–you sound like such a catch

    Comment by a spectator — November 20, 2007 @ 6:57 am

  37. Now, most of you just need a freaking makeover. Drop those extra 10, 15 or 40 extra lbs. Start dressing like women and grooming like women and you’ll probably find the love of your lives

    !

    who knew it was just that simple? I will get the word out!

    Comment by mfranti — November 20, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  38. I had a minor crush on this girl in college. Quite smart and really pretty. Then I actually had the opportunity to work with her on a regular basis. I quickly discovered that she did not like my sarcastic brand of humor at all. She got very cold with me and it took me a while to figure out why. I just thought she was a wet blanket. Then she got really ticked off at my irresponsible side. Similarly, I ended up rather disillusioned with what I saw as humorless self-righteousness. In the end the project we were working on ended, and we were both glad to be rid of each other.

    Fun times.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  39. Bret-
    I’m going to add you on facebook –so look for my first name. Who knows? I have plenty of wonderful girlfriends that are tired of the dating game, too…

    Comment by Cheryl — November 20, 2007 @ 9:47 am

  40. Seth R,

    Are you blaming women for not liking your sarcastic humor and irresponsibility?????

    You’ve got to be kiddin. There are times and places for sarcasm, but a “brand” of humor that is always characterized by sarcasm… well… and “irresponsible side” …. I mean, please don’t expect women to be all over you because of these particular traits of yours.

    Yeah, I can see how you would not be getting too many smart women come your way… but something tells me you have it in you to change this outcome…

    Comment by Manuel — November 20, 2007 @ 11:42 am

  41. Manuel-
    Seth is married, and I know for a fact that his wife likes his sense of humor (sarcastic or not). Oh, and she’s brilliant, too. (Hi, Misty! :))

    Comment by Cheryl — November 20, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  42. Well lucky him! I guess sarcasm and irresponsiblity will do for some women.

    There you have it Bret! Maybe you need some of that in your life so you can catch a brillant woman too. hehehe.

    Comment by Manuel — November 20, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  43. I married my wonderful wife the Autumn after she was graduated from BYU. She chose to be a mom for the first 20 years of our marriage and worked part-time when she wanted. Ten years ago she went back into the full-time workforce. She has served as an at-large member of a Statewide Board of her profession during that time. We’ve got 5 wonderful kids and we are all very involved in the Church. Three children are married to great spouses. Three have served missions. The only valid challenge for her being “smart and successful” is me.

    I really wonder about any man who doesn’t want “smart & successful” and any Sister who gets told that as an excuse, IMHO, should drop to their knees and thank the heavens they have avoided THAT dope.

    Comment by mondo cool — November 20, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  44. Manuel, I don’t know if this translated or not, but I was being self-deprecating. Seeing it from her side, ya know? I’ll admit I didn’t see it from her side at the time. I just thought she was a stressed out, self-righteous basket case. I see her a bit more sympathetically now.

    And I do feel a rather lucky with the wife I’ve got. She happened to have a thing for sarcastic dorks as it turned out.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  45. Manuel,

    Sarcasm? What’s that?

    Comment by Bret — November 20, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

  46. Seth, I was being sarcastic…

    Comment by Manuel — November 20, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  47. So, the consensus seems to be that smart successful women are not, in fact, intimidating at all and that if they aren’t getting any action, there is something wrong with them. Hmmm.

    I know a few hot single LDS women attorneys who are going to be very disappointed to hear this. It’s amazing how the guys seem to disappear when they find out what these women do. Intimidation? Insecurity? I say yes.

    Comment by MCQ — November 20, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

  48. So, the consensus seems to be that smart successful women are not, in fact, intimidating at all and that if they aren’t getting any action, there is something wrong with them. Hmmm.

    MCQ, You’re missing the point which is not that there is something wrong with them but there is something ELSE! wrong with them besides their professional/educational achievements.

    Intimidation? Insecurity? I say yes.

    But what about all the hot professional women who are married? They must be the less educated of the bunch. After all, men don’t like to have intelligent conversations with women unless its online where there manhood isn’t going to be called in to question right? :)

    Comment by cj douglass — November 20, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  49. “Seth, I was being sarcastic…”

    Apparently sarcasm translates just as poorly on the internet as self-deprecation.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 20, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  50. An actual conversation from a date during my singles’ ward years:

    guy: So, do you date a lot in the ward?
    me: hmmm, well, not that much, but lately I’ve been going out a fair amount, I guess…
    guy: I think I know why that it.
    me (all ready to graciously accept a compliment): really?
    guy: Yeah, there are a lot of women in this ward who are gorgeous and really smart and successful and talented, and they’re kind of intimidating. You’re not like that at all!

    uh, thanks, I guess…

    Comment by Kristine — November 21, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  51. Kristine,
    That’s a terrible thing to say, but I’d bet money he was saying, “you’re not intimidating like the rest of them” rather than “you’re not gorgeous, smart, successful and talented like the rest of them.”

    Comment by Rusty — November 21, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  52. MCQ, You’re missing the point which is not that there is something wrong with them but there is something ELSE! wrong with them besides their professional/educational achievements.

    Exactly what I was saying CJ, only I don’t consider their acheivements to be something that is wrong with them.

    But what about all the hot professional women who are married? They must be the less educated of the bunch.

    No, they are the ones who happened to meet men who were secure enough not to be intimidated.

    After all, men don’t like to have intelligent conversations with women unless its online where there manhood isn’t going to be called in to question right?

    Or their grammar, right CJ?;-)

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  53. I don’t know if I ever read this blog before. The title caught my eye at an LDS Blog site. This was funny.

    I can think of reasons why I did not marry when I was younger and prettier and less mentally ill.

    On a more serious note, I do think it is sad how we tend to seek value in whether or not we are attractive to the opposite sex. I am talking about the intangible level of attraction outside of thins we can control. I am as bad as the next person in some of the uncharitible thoughts I have had about some in the opposite sex and how they were not in my league. That may have been wishful thinking on my part given my severe shyness and other issues.

    It hurts to think what a person might think about me in the exclusionary sense. And they would be right in a lot of ways.

    But those things hopefully don’t exclude me from being a friend. :)

    Comment by Barb — November 21, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  54. In all honesty, I knew several independent, successful women whom I considered marriage-worthy while I was still single. Alas, they didn’t see me the same way, so regardless of whether I felt intimidated by them or not, it just wasn’t going to happen.

    Plus, I think there is truth to the old adage: Anyone can get married if they’re not picky.

    Comment by dpc — November 21, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  55. Exactly what I was saying CJ, only I don’t consider their acheivements to be something that is wrong with them.

    MCQ,
    Always finding a way to twist words……you must be one a them ejumacated gals….:)

    Comment by cj douglass — November 21, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

  56. MCQ,
    I don’t think CJ is saying that their acheivements are what’s wrong with them, in fact I think he’d agree with you that those are positives. What he (and I) are saying is that just because a woman has those positive traits it doesn’t mean they’re the only deal-makers or deal-breakers. You can’t say, “Men didn’t pursue her because they were intimidated by her beauty and charm.” Well, not really, it was more because she talked bad about people and smoked, but everyone latches on to the “beauty and charm” thing because those are positives and it makes the guys look like jerks.

    Barb,
    Welcome! And I think you’re right about wanting more charity from others than we’re willing to give. I too hope I can at least be a friend (and frankly I’m not in the market anymore so it now only matters on a friendship level anyway).

    dpc,
    I think you’re exactly right.

    Comment by Rusty — November 21, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  57. Rusty, thank you! I appreciate feeling welcome.

    I felt that the fact that I did not know how to drive hindered my romantic prospects. At least, it seems like men were trying to push me into driving. I know it is important in this day and age and I could see where they would want that in a wife. I know I would want a husband who can drive. But I don’t think I was wired that way.

    I guess that I have never been what one would consider successful. I did graduate from College with honors. It took a lot of years. Upon graduation, I was gainfully employed selling pens.

    Comment by Barb — November 21, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  58. you must be one a them ejumacated gals

    CJ, stop flirting with me, I’m a guy.

    Rusty, yeah, I get it, I just think that there are a lot of circumstances where there isn’t anything wrong with the girl, at least nothing important. What is wrong is that there are precious few guys who are secure enough to be with a girl who has more education or income than they do. I think we ought to stop pretending and ackowledge that, along with the fact that it’s pretty sad.

    Comment by MCQ — November 21, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  59. CJ, stop flirting with me, I’m a guy.

    I think MCQ is intimidated by your independence and success, CJ.

    Comment by Kaimi — November 21, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  60. Rusty (51),

    It would be nice if you were right, but in comparison to the rest of the women in that ward, I was seriously below average :)

    Comment by Kristine — November 22, 2007 @ 10:15 am

  61. Ha, like ECS when I started reading this thread I immediately started thinking of Seinfeldisms. And if Kristine was seriously below average, that must have been one hell of a ward!

    Comment by Kevin Barney — November 23, 2007 @ 6:35 am

  62. In my experience there is no one answer. There are absolutely guys who are intimidated by success, and there are just as many who love it. I think location has a great deal to do with it. I have a good friends I have been friends with a while. Smart, funny, successful, attractive, etc. She owned her own business and a home in an area many couple cannot come close to affording. Her business put her in area where she with a great deal of famous actors. She dated some seriously hot actors.

    When I asked several guy friends why no one in the ward dated her their response was “she owns her own business and her own house, unless a guy has both he cannot date her”. Another set of guys said “when you go to a concert and she can get back stage because she knows everyone it is too intimidating-I want to be the one who does the cool stuff”. Intimidation happens.

    The LDS church is a very patriarchal society and some men get caught up in that. They feel if they are not better than the woman on most fronts how are they going to lead/preside? I know lots of men who don’t feel that way, but we can’t just say it isn’t common, because it is.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — November 23, 2007 @ 6:55 am

  63. ITA with Tanya Sue. Didn’t President Hinckley say recently that men should not want their wives to have more education than they do?

    Comment by an interested visitor — November 23, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  64. Tanya Sue, there is another reason some men might not ask out your friend. If I were in that area and available, I doubt I would ask her out. It wouldn’t be because I want to lead/preside or I would begrudge her in any way her success. She sounds wonderful in every respect. Rather, from your description I think my assumption would be that any woman who regularly dates hot actors is simply out of my league. If she asked me out, thus indicating that she didn’t think she was out of my league, I would happily go out with her, but in the absence of some sort of a signal from her that she would welcome my attentions I would never ask her out.

    In other words, sometimes intimidation has a rational basis.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — November 23, 2007 @ 8:50 am

  65. Kevin-she would say yes to anyone who asked her out-and give them a chance. She actually asked guys out. She was totally cool-as long as the guy had a job and was a hard worker, she didn’t care how much they made. Seriously, guys always told me she was too successful and she owned a home. Other than that they would have wanted to date her.

    An interested visitor-Most people I know took that as a statement for men to get their eductation, not for refraining from dating/marrying a girl smarter or more successful (or more educated). And if I remember it was phrased as a question, not counsel-not don’t be with a woman who is more educated than you, it was “do you want your wife to be more educated than you?”. I personally believed to be something to push men to get education.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — November 23, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  66. I think a nice Venn Diagram might do some good in this conversation.

    Some people just don’t understand set comparison and boolean logic.

    Comment by JM — November 23, 2007 @ 10:21 am

  67. Good point, Tanya Sue, but I believe it was meant to be a comparison, and even a way to shame men into acquiring more education: why else would President Hinckley even mention women at all if all he wanted was to ask men to be come more formally educated? He could just as easily have said, ”Men, go to college” instead of saying, ”Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? ”

    Obviously, he wanted men to feel that it was unacceptable to have less education than their intended wives. Otherwise, the appropriate response to his rhetorical question could/should easily be a resounding ”hell, yeah!” or at very least, ”What’s wrong with that? Why not?”

    In my experience–having spent more than a dozen years in singles wards across the county, I can attest that this attitude is rampant. I even had a bishop who encouraged successful women to LIE about their training or occupations and tell the guys they were dating they were in the social sciences or arts instead of hard sciences so ”the guys wouldn’t feel intimidated.”

    Comment by an interested visitor — November 23, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  68. Interested Visitor-Ok, now I just want to shoot that bishop! Then again it sounds like a singles ward bishop I had, so…I cannot stand when I hear leaders say things like that. It isn’t as uncommon as one might hope.

    The honest answer is that the statement by President Hinckley was disturbing to me. I want to date that man that says “HELL, YEAH!!!”. That is my kind of man! I wasn’t fond of the statement then, and that hasn’t changed.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — November 23, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

  69. My two cents: I will never marry, I will never consider dating a woman whose education is “far superior” than mine. I frankly don’t think of this difference in terms of intimidation, I just think it is a significant difference, just like I will never consider marrying a woman who is 30 years older than me.

    When I first read this post, I didn’t think “successful and independent” translated to having “far superior” education.

    I think the criticism against Hinckley’s rhetorical question is out of place. He is pointing out a hypothetical extreme to make his point across that it is important for men to get an education.

    So, I am sorry ladies but I think the correct answer to his question is:

    “No, that would not be ideal if my wife’s education was far superior than mine. If more and more women are getting educated, I should do my part and get educated too. Most likely, those women wouldn’t want to marry an uneducated man.”

    We all have standards for dating when it comes to significant differences, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are scared or intimidated, that may mean we have common sense. For example, women most likely wouldn’t consider dating men that are “much older” or “much younger.” I know exceptions do exist, but let’s be realistic. Most people follow certain standards when it comes to great differences.

    In circles of average people in average situations, most people are looking for companions that “ideally” have a common ground. It is no secret that the more differences between two individuals, the more difficult it will be for them to get along and reach a level of harmony.

    A difference in education that can be labeled “far superior” is certainly not in accordance to a common background, and I have a feeling the average couple would struggle with such a difference. Not only the male side but the female side as well.

    Comment by Manuel — November 23, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

  70. Well, to some extent I agree Manuel, but I don’t take it quite that far. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dating a woman with “far superior” education. If the spark is there and the two of you hit it off, full steam ahead says I.

    But I do think there is the factor of being equally yoked to consider. If the two of you each feel you have things that are being contributed to the marriage, and there is no resentment being created, I suppose it will work fine, even if the couple is very different from each other in certain ways.

    But a higher education simply is a huge difference. It might not be too bad if both have higher degrees and one simply has a PhD in addition to her masters. But for a guy who just feels REALLY lower than his wife in education… Yeah, that could definitely become a source of resentment in the marriage, on both sides.

    Husband and wife don’t always need to be on the same page. But the more and more you are NOT on the same page in life, the harder and harder the relationship becomes.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 24, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  71. I asked a girl with a far superior education than me to a date, and she said no.

    Then, again, I’m sure that wasn’t the only reason, since my sense of humor tends to be on the verge of inappropriateness for active Mormon galls, and I gave her a ride up to Big Bear Lake once and she got carsick from how fast I drove.

    All of which illustrates the point of the post, which is that there is more than one reason that someone doesn’t date another person. So, smart single ladies, I love y’all, but there is more to you being single than just being smart!

    Comment by Jacob M — November 24, 2007 @ 10:39 am

  72. Hi Manuel,

    I don’t mean to argue, but where are all these inordinately higher-educated women to whom President Hinckley was referring as he spoke to the men in his address? He obviously was speaking about women graduating from college AT ALL, not women getting multiple PhDs in astrophysics.

    In fact, he began his address by lamenting that more women were earning undergraduate degrees than men, as if that were such a horrible thing. It was in this context that he asked whether men would want to marry a woman whose education was “far superior…”. I’m sorry, but a year or two of college and a diploma is arguably not a “far superior” education, and even if it were, so what? If a potential mate cannot handle that his wife prefers the academic life, or makes more money, or wants to work while he stays at home with the kids, then that’s too bad!

    Many LDS men are already at a disantvantage when they go on missions and forfeit two years of dating life; losing social skills and valuable late-adolescent growing time. When they return, their (female) college freshmen compatriots have surpassed them academically and they have every reason to feel “intimidated” as they struggle to catch up.

    It’s silly for either men or women to wage a power war when it comes to dating and marriage as a Mormon. If “obedient,” both men and women are at the awkward disadvantage of constantly battling sexual urges and dating an appropriate lengtht of time withougt becoming too familiar. There simply istn’t enough choice in the Church, either. I often believed that I would rather date and marry an interesting, mature, kind and intelligent non-member than an RM who was always trying to one-up me and cited “intimidation” (intellectual or spiritual) for not wanting to date (me or anyone else).

    Far too many games…

    Oh, and I did marry that wonderful, interesting non-member…at nearly 40… and I have never regretted it!

    Comment by an interested visitor — November 24, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  73. Forgive the typos–something must be wrong with my comment box. I type two paragraphs before seeing the text appear on the screen! What’s up with that?

    Comment by an interested visitor — November 24, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  74. Interested Visitor,

    I don’t mean to argue either, and don’t take this the wrong way, but your comment just made me understand why the specific target audience of President Hinckley’s remarks are men and not women, and why this was said in Priesthood meeting specifically.

    You stated:
    “In fact, he began his address by lamenting that more women were earning undergraduate degrees than men, as if that were such a horrible thing”

    If you read carefully and in context, you will read that his concern is that men are not getting an education. That is what the “horrible thing” is. That there are more and more men not caring about getting adequate education to face today’s challenges.

    Your focus on “women this or women that” is so self centered and a typical mistake so many feminists make. As if everything was about them. Sorry if I sound a bit aggressive but this address is not about you; it is NOT about women. It is about MEN. It is directed to men. It is about men’s responsibilities and men’s achievements.

    From his address I quote:
    “Elder Rolfe Kerr, Commissioner of Church Education, advises me that in the United States nearly 73 percent of young women graduate from high school, compared to 65 percent of young men. Young men are more likely to drop out of school than young women.

    Approximately 61 percent of young men enroll in college immediately following high school, compared to 72 percent for young women.”

    When given statistics to measure the performance of men, it is just natural that the statistic has to be measured against a standard. There most natural standard in this case of course is women’s performance.

    He continues to say:

    “It is plainly evident from these statistics that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? We speak of being ‘equally yoked.’ That applies, I think, to the matter of education.”

    In this context he is talking about men having a high school level and women having a university level. And not what you said: “I’m sorry, but a year or two of college and a diploma is arguably not a ‘far superior’ education.”

    It is plain for me that he is saying we are being left behind! That we are not keeping up with our very responsibilities to provide for our women and children. The title of the address is “Rise Up, O Men of God.” He is saying we should rise up and become worthy of today’s generation of women.

    It is a disgrace that a feminist wave has decided to pollute and adulterate the meaning of this special message, which was not even intended for them to begin with. It angers me and it saddens me when bitter people twists and vilifies a message to find fault where there is none.

    With regards to your comment:
    “If a potential mate cannot handle that his wife prefers the academic life, or makes more money, or wants to work while he stays at home with the kids, then that’s too bad!”

    Clearly we have been taught the different roles of husbands and wives in marriage, and your reversal of roles is definitely not the norm in Church. It is not dismissed but it is definitely not considered the ideal. If this is a challenge for you, I am sorry. The stay at home dad and work force mom is not really intended to be except whenever it is absolutely necessary.

    From the Proclamation I quote:
    “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.” from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

    With regards to your comment:
    “There simply isn’t enough choice in the Church, either. I often believed that I would rather date and marry an interesting, mature, kind and intelligent non-member than an RM who was always trying to one-up me and cited “intimidation” (intellectual or spiritual) for not wanting to date (me or anyone else).”

    I believe this is true. I believe you women actually don’t have enough choice in the Church. And I also believe this is exactly the type of issue President Hinckley is concerned about and what he is trying to address. It isn’t about men adopting a new attitude of “oh well, I’ll let my wife be the educated one, who cares.” The solution to me would rather be an attitude that says “As the man of God that I am, and as the man of God my leaders want me to be; it is expedient that I raise up my standards and become educated; become the type of man that can respond to todays challenges and today’s better prepared women.”

    Comment by Manuel — November 25, 2007 @ 12:33 am

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