Relationship advice for Ladies unfortunate enough to be Successful…

The Irish Time’s ‘advice’ column has been seriously pissing me off as of late but today they really have outdone themselves. Some poor soul sought help in the matters of lurve because men feel threatened by her success and money.

I’d like to respond with some erm, actual advice that isn’t from a 1950s home economics text book. You can see the full Irish Times response to the individual here. If you are reading it, I’d advise keeping all portable items (such as laptops, mobiles, coffees and cats) out of arms reach. Don’t forget to inhale and don’t read the comments section. Just…don’t.

  • Ok so regarding the first bit of advise about ‘going younger’ because younger men have less presumptions about female roles. Men in their 20s vs. their 30s/40s, hmmm… apart from the infamous ‘I just turned 30, what am I doing with my life‘ sad little crisis I haven’t personally noted a difference. Some men are men, some are boys looking for a replacement mother. Don’t presume the age thing will be the easy fixer. A lot of it is based on their experience with their own mammies and previous relationships – so don’t judge by age there.
  • The Irish Times advises on being ‘more vulnerable and practicing feminine wiles’…i.e. ‘being more of a girly girl and less of a man’. Presumably this involves the ole Legally Blonde ‘bend n’ snap’ routine, blushing when a man pays the bill and always being in need of a handkerchief. Alternatively I would suggest you tell those deviant feminine wiles to go FUCK themselves and actually build relationships based on trust rather than manipulation. But hey what do I know?

 

  • On a serious note here, the problem with busy careers and relationships isn’t that you have one, it’s that it’s busy. I’d advice weighing up how much of your ‘social’ time is at work related dos and how much is enjoying your own pursuits beyond it. Both are obviously situations that you could meet someone but if you are only doing one and not the other, perhaps adding a few outside work activities will increase the odds… while simultaneously scratching something off your bucket list, like a new skill. Sailing is awesome way to meet people, get outdoors, learn new skills, compete with others and have a few drinks afterwards. The weather’s getting perfect for it too. You don’t need a boat and you’ll be welcome at any club. Drop em an email. Howth and The Irish are particularly friendly.
  • Sod being vulnerable. You know what’s cool? Women who drink whiskey. As a whiskey drinker I’ve always found it a) yummy b) much more interesting than wine and c) a great conversation starter with a fellow fan. Same goes for cigars. Seriously though, you sound like a woman who knows who you are and what you like, so pursue your own interests with passion – they make you more interesting.
  • Throw away the Irish Times advice column and read Lean In. Actually based on their advice, you probably shouldn’t be reading the IT at all – at least not publicly – waaaay to intimidating. Perhaps they want you to restrict all future convos about current events to the Daily Mail and/or the Kardashians.
  • Be proud of who you are, how much you enjoy what you do (which presumably you do, to be that successful). Animatedly talking about your work should give off plenty of ‘warmth and sparkle’.. and yes, the ‘unfortunate’ side effect of confidence.
  • And now to the the frankly just embarrassing advice that feeling needed taps into the ‘primitive part of a man’s brain‘ so he ‘feels like a man‘…Well, first of all everybody needs to feel needed. Secondly, nobody needs to feel ‘needed’ on a first date, or a second, or a third. ‘Needing’ someone this early on is just going to look weird, ‘fake’ and well, needy.  Needing someone really doesn’t come into the picture until you are in a serious relationship. (No? Am I totally wrong here?)

 

  • And on that touchy first date note, I follow a simple rule. If they ask you out, they are paying. If you suggested the date, you should be paying. I know people will disagree on that one, but there it is. Simple rule, gender free. Unfortunately the venue you go to will probably hand the bill straight over to the dude, causing an embarrassing situation. I always find the ‘run to the loo end of meal and pay on the way back’ is a great way to resolve the backwardy response of spotty teenage staff who (as in Ely the other day) feel otherwise obliged to publicly inform you as you reach for the bill ‘BUT THE MAN IS SUPPOSED TO PAY!!’

  • Avoid giving the impression you’re on a mission to find a man‘. I would say the exact opposite. You’re a strong woman who knows who they are after all. Be clear about what you want, in a positive way. I’m not talking ‘2.5 kids, to be married before my sister’ creepy stuff, I mean ‘this is who I am and what I give in relationship… and the type of person I’d like to meet gives/is/does…‘. Don’t go meandering into a long convo about what didn’t work in your previous relationships, obviously. You probably know how to give the ole exec summary, so if pushed, give that – err, from an angle of what you’ve learned rather than the ‘He’s a dick. I hope he dies. Let’s leave it there.’
  • HAVE A TIMEFRAME. Know your cut off point when someone doesn’t make the mark. Be understanding but don’t waste more time on people who don’t deserve it. It’s cruel on you and on them. Don’t waste more time on them just because you’ve already wasted so much time on them already. Incidentally another reading suggestion now that your reading time is freed up is The Art of Thinking Clearly – an excellent book on decision making through all aspects of life – relationships, social and business.
  • Reconsider your watering whole. Sounds pretty obvious but go to the places people with the same cash flow situation as you tend to hang out. It’s always easier to date someone with the same income as you. Your problem isn’t you, it’s that it’s a smaller pool you are fishing from.
  • DO the online dating thing, now. I’d recommend a paid service. People take it more seriously. And of course, Tinder, Tinder, Tinder. Everyone’s doing it. Nobodies embarrassed and you can actually talk to people SOBER (a revelation for us Irish). You probably live in a nice area so hey, this is a great app to find people locally and meet for a quick coffee.

Obviously as a single person who ain’t loaded (and just likes to shop like they are), I’m not the best person to give advice but hey, after this IT advice ‘go stick spoons in your eyes and sit on a cactus’ would be a vast improvement.

Ps. this will have mispellings because it ain’t the paper of record. But – to quote a rather suitable film about the development of one ‘wiley female’ into one of the most famous inspirational female characters of all time – …

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Fink says:

    In case the OP who originally asked for advice in the IT also reads this post, my advice is to note the last two bullets and then exit the post. I completely agree with Rachel that the IT response was laughable – Kate Holmquist’s “feminine wiles” was good comedy, you women should approach you career with drive and vigor but remember to tone it down us sensitive men who don’t want to be upstaged.
    Unfortunately Rachel’s response is predictably militant, another woman who feels entitled to tell women how they should behave. At the same time I think her last two bullets were useful – while I am certainly unqualified to give tell you what you should do next, my advice is to use statistics to your advantage, play a numbers game. Go out more, meet more people, go on more dates, be open to dating people you may not have been open to in the past. Mostly have fun and relax, stop trying to treat this like a career objective or something that needs to be accomplished in a certain way in a certain time-frame. For that reason please don’t read “Lean In”, it’s a fantastic book for the 6 lucky people in the world who happen to be in situations comparable to Sheryl Sandberg.

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  2. Rayray says:

    I’m not going to get into why I feel entitled to give an opinion (as clearly you feel entitled to here? Confused?!) But it is just an opinion and as I highlighted several times throughout my post I’m the first to admit I clearly know absolutely nothing about successful dating. The rest of your advice is sound however… apart from the Sandberg thing. Yes she lives in an ideal bubble that other women can only dream of but there are plenty of useful tips everyone can use in their day to day working lives, regardless of position.

    I’d also point out that the 6 lucky people in the world in the same situation as Sandberg are probably the 6 that don’t need to read the book! 🙂

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