We connected online. You seemed attractive and interesting, and into me. You responded to my gentle teasing with hilarity and emojis. It was the kind of attention you seemed thrilled to receive.
First you tried to guess what I do for a living. Your first guess was financial services, followed by marketing and sales. I said I was a cigarette lighter repairman, and we had a good chuckle.
But when I told you what I actually do for a living, you suddenly went silent.
Yeah baby. I am a social worker. In my day job, I help manage mental health benefits for tens of thousands of people. After work, as time permits, I am an awesome dating and relationship coach. In both cases, a large part of my job involves turning people’s attention towards what is best in them, towards what is most healthy and life-affirming. I spend a lot of time talking with people about what they want. I help them clarify their values, the principles that they hold dear, so that they can align their every action along those values. I help them see options they didn’t know were there, help them look at a problem from every angle, and give them the tools to make sound, impactful decisions that in turn will affect many people. This is important work, and on very good days, it feels like sacred work.
But I’m no millionaire. I won’t be buying you a pair of Louboutins anytime soon, as lovely as those shoes are. I live in Brooklyn, not Manhattan, and not only do I not watch TV, I don’t even own a TV. Plus, even if I had a lot of money, I am not the type to spend it on someone I’ve just met; our first date may very well have been pizza at Grimaldi’s.
As an attractive woman, you’re probably meeting a lot of men who accept your assumption that a man’s value is defined by his income. Who will shower you with gifts, wine you and dine you at fancy restaurants, and take you on expensive vacations. Who have accepted the notion that relationships are a tradeoff of sex for security and generosity.
You’re probably also meeting a great deal many more men who cannot afford the fantasy life you’ve created inside your own head, and who feel badly about it; who believe your implication (through your silence) that you’re out of their league. That until they get that six figure income, that East Side apartment, they will never attain a woman as beautiful as you.
Well my dear, I have been around long enough to know better. I know that my value goes way beyond the money that I make. I’m not in sales, because I’m not a salesman. I’m not in financial services, because I value money only for what it can get me. The men who become millionaires are people who love money for its own sake, and that is not me.
So your disappearance is disappointing, but your pretty face won’t be missed. If your sole criteria in a mate is his ability to help you pay your credit card debt down, I am a bad choice. I have honest work that doesn’t involve breaking laws or bankrupting working people, but I’d be lying if I said my income could buy you jewelry from Tiffany’s.
And by the way? I’ve had sex with women like you, often enough to know that it is never, ever, as good as I think it will be. How we do one thing is often how we do everything. And if your sense of entitlement and passivity which you showed online extends to the bedroom, it’s safe to guess that you are probably a bad lay.
Part of me wants to educate you. To quote the research that shows that being rich is a bad measure of happiness, that the true measure of a man’s happiness is the extent of his relationships and the depth of his love; that when it comes to money, happiness is much more about not being poor than it is about being rich, and that, by that standard, I am happily “established”.
But it’s not my job to teach you this. It’s my job, instead, to move on, thanking the Lord for helping me dodge the bullet of a date with you. Any woman who doesn’t understand this basic fact of happiness lacks the maturity and wisdom necessary for life with me. It’s not she who is “out of my league”. It’s me who is out of hers.