How Do I Let Men Know I’m Not Out of Their League?

Hi Evan, I just turned 37. I am very attractive and smart and down-to-earth. I love helping people and have the biggest heart. I am a positive person and smile a lot and I can’t seem to find the right guy AT ALL. I have first dates then second dates, then the guy sees my classic Jaguar and my luxury apartment and he thinks that I am out of his league. I was told that a couple of times.

I met a handsome professor and he was a good person with a great heart but he continued to ask me over and over why I was going out with him when I could have any man that I want. I am not arrogant and sometimes try to play down my looks and the Jag. Men will say “Ooh, nice car” and I’ll say “Oh, it’s old.” Are men thinking that I am too expensive? Do they think I’m out of their league? I don’t have a league – I just want to meet a nice guy! Help… Niki

Niki,

Let’s flip this over, shall we?

Good looking guy with a big heart and a fat wallet drives a Ferrari. (It’s his second car – the Jag is in the shop).

The only men you can intimidate are the WRONG men.

He goes out on a first date with you. You look at him and swoon, before asking the very serious question: “I don’t get it. Why are you single? You could have anyone.”

He says, earnestly, with a sad smile, “I just haven’t met the right girl.”

You reply, “I get that, but how can I possibly trust you? You’re 37. You’ve probably been with a hundred women. And from everything I’ve experienced, guys like you aren’t solid relationship bets. You’re a lifetime bachelor with looks and money. You’re an alpha male with testosterone and ego. My dating coach told me to run from guys like you and stick with nice guys who want commitment.”

He says, “I am a nice guy – who just happens to be successful. I am very much looking for a wife and family. You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

I don’t know about you, Niki, but I’m sold.

And any guy who chooses to engage you beyond your looks and car will be sold on you as well.

As I’ve said repeatedly, the only men you can intimidate are the WRONG men.

A guy who feels the need to run away because he can’t handle your beauty, success or kindheartedness is nothing but an unfortunate and pathetic little man.

Good riddance to men who are afraid of Ferraris or perfect bodies or PhDs.

They don’t even count in my world.

If you are as great as you say you are, you should have no shortage of quality suitors.

I guess the only question I could ask you is the same question I’d ask of any man who perpetually finds that women are “intimidated” by him: How come you’re letting people get intimidated by you? Why aren’t they seeing your friendly, open, warm, vulnerable side?

If you were a comedian, at a certain point, you can’t keep insisting that you’re funny but “nobody gets the joke”.

As a single person, at a certain point, you can’t keep insisting that “all men” are intimidated by you, no more than a woman who suggests that all men are liars, players, losers or perverts.

It’s easy for you to sit back and say, “I’m great, but no one can handle me.”

It’s harder – and more important – for you to look in the mirror and figure out why.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Still-Looking

    Niki – I met a very nice lady who had a similar complaint – she felt as though men were intimidated by her wealth. I explained that her profile certainly gave many hints of her wealth – pictures of her sailing in the Med, mention of her beach house, her part-time employment in an art gallery, etc. To cap it off she drove her Porsche for our first dinner.

    I explained that men are going to fall into one of three basic groups: 1. those who are intimidated by a wealthy woman; 2. those who are going to view a wealthy woman as a potential “sugar momma”; or 3. those who are not going to be intimidated whatsoever.

    My advice was to downplay her wealth & revise her profile; run from slackers looking for a sugar momma; and focus on men who are not going to be intimidated (primarily other high-earners).

    Telling a wonderful man who is 5′ 4″ that women who aren’t interested in him are not worth his time or energy isn’t very helpful. There’s a very lengthy blog that discusses the reality that it is more difficult for short men to find a GF. Likewise, many men are going to be intimidated by a woman who is extremely attractive and appears to be wealthy. Is it fair? No, but it is the reality. (Read some of the comments on “Why Don’t Men Like Smart, Strong Successful Women” and “Pity the Pretty”).

    You are in an enviable position in many regards. While some men will always be intimidated by you, you can overcome the initial feelings of intimidation that other men may have by your words and actions — make the man realize that you are truly interested in him for who he is — and the initial feelings of intimidation and uncertainty will soon dissipate.

  2. 2
    david

    yeah, there’s a piece missing from this puzzle…I’m a 42 year old guy and I don’t know any guys (but I’m sure they exist in some form) who would not go out with a hot woman with a nice car and nice place… it’s not the car or the apt., it’s something else, trust me

  3. 3
    Steve

    Niki;

    People who might (wrongfully or correctly) eliminate a person based on something superficial, would not eliminate that same person if they already knew that person a little bit.

    Why not give these guys a chance to know you by leaving the Jaguar at home for several dates?

    Steve

  4. 4
    Robyn

    Rachael Greenwald covered this exact problem in her book “Have Him at Hello: Confessions from 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love . . . Or Never Call Back”.
    It’s what she called “The Park Avenue Princess” problem.
    If men think that you’re high-maintenance / “expensive” – i.e. they can’t afford you financially, or don’t think they have anything to offer you – they will back off, no matter how lovely and charming you are.

    In my experience, cars are one thing that guys do notice immediately. They may not know how expensive your dress / shoes / handbag is, but they know exactly how expensive your car is.
    Don’t drive the Jag to your first few dates with some one new – take a cab.
    Let them see the real you minus the heavy bling (expensive car, flashy jewelry). That’s not to say that you must dress like a schlump. Just tone it down a wee bit.

    Find a way to work into the conversation what it is about the guy that you find attractive / awesome / admirable that has nothing to do with money / wealth, and ideally is something unique to the guy.

    Then he will feel appreciated & admired for himself (not his checkbook) = good ego boost = he won’t be intimidated.

  5. 5
    Nikki

    David,

    How can you be sure it is something else? I am a lawyer, and I was dating another lawyer years ago. I made partner at my firm. I did not discuss the huge salary increase, but most people in our area know the firm well-and the large salaries that come with partner status. My ex worked as a public defender. We were having dinner one night, and he advised me that he did not want to date a woman who earned more money than he did. Mind you, I NEVER discussed income, bank accounts, or anything else financial with this man. I tried to laugh it off by saying, well, there is simply more to donate to charity. He then advised that he wanted a woman who was the “setting” (for a ring), not the entire “ring” by herself. I never flaunted my success. I always stroked his ego. Of course, we broke up that night. Years later, I am dating a teacher who loves me and just went ring shopping with me. I know he does not have a large salary, and I am fine with that. I picked a classic ring that reminds me of the first ring my father gave my mother when they married years ago. My teacher is a far better man than the 5′ 5″ attorney who suffered from very low self-esteem. He constantly referred to himself as “ugly”. I tried to convince him otherwise. What a waste of time. Some men just don’t understand.

  6. 6
    Carl

    Evan,

    If Niki will let me drive the Jag
    please give her my cell number.

    All best wishes,

    Carl

  7. 7
    Chau

    “They may not know how expensive your dress / shoes / handbag is, but they know exactly how expensive your car is.”

    haha Robyn, soooo true!

    Rachel Greenwald’s book is one of my favorite dating books and every single woman should get their hands on it.

    It’s one of those rare dating books that are actually based on raw data.

  8. 8
    Joe

    Robyn hit the nail on the head. Unless they’re wealthy themselves, guys will look at you and think, “I’m not going to be able to afford to keep this woman in the style to which she’s become accustomed; why bother getting to know her?” If you’re well-off, you gotta be low-key about it.

  9. 9
    Jon

    I feel for you Niki but my past experience in dating (prior to my marriage) leads me to believe David is more accurate. In fact, it was a date with a highly successful, attractive woman that led me to realize that my wife to be, was the girl for me. In short, she spent the entire date talking about her career and her travel, that she was never at home. It became clear to me that she wasn’t being honest with herself that she wanted to ‘settle down’. To this day, as far as I know, she still hasn’t and it’s three years later.

    If you really want a nice guy who’ll treat you well and his status doesn’t matter, they’re not so hard to find. I don’t think a good man runs from the superficial qualities of looks and wealth, they run from red flags, particularly when they know what they want. But I think as Evan said, look in the mirror first, make sure what it is you really want, and then be open to the types of guys you say you want.

  10. 10
    Helen

    This is another of those interesting scenarios where the men appear to be divided in how they think. Some men commenting here (and in Rachael Greenwald’s book) would not be comfortable dating a wealthy woman, because he would fear that he couldn’t provide for her. Other men such as Carl and david wouldn’t mind at all.

    Perhaps this is one of the ways of thinking that needs to change with time. As women on average gain parity with men in terms of income, there will be a growing number of women who are substantially wealthier than many men, just looking at distributions. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want men, or feel that the men need to subsidize them!

    Men, there are many ways that you provide for women and make us happy that have nothing to do with consumer purchases. If women don’t mind, why would you?

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      It says far more about the men than it does the women. And since you can’t change men, as a woman, all you can do is a) realize that your target audience is men who are NOT intimidated by you, and to b) become self-aware about any off-putting behaviors that may unintentionally sabotage your success.

  11. 11
    Michael17

    Well, this is how I see it. We fall for someone not so much based on what we think of them, but how they make us feel about ourselves. (Or would it be better for me to say how we find ourselves feeling about ourselves due to them.) It’s great that the woman is smart, pretty, and kind, but does she make ME feel uniquely smart and cool.

    I am wondering if the guys that Niki has been seeing have any idea of what she likes about them. This actually is more important that someone like Niki, who has all this going for her, shows this kind of appreciation to the guys she is seeing, than it would be for a plainer woman to show that kind of appreciation to the guys she is seeing.

    Why? Well the best way I can illustrate it is to point out that employers shy away from hiring what are known as “overqualified” candidates. It’s not so much about the employers being “insecure”, they just know that hiring someone overqualified might sound great in theory but, going by how similar-looking situations have worked out in the past, is actually a bad risk for them. The way the employer sees it, the overqualified candidate might not work as hard or she might leave when a more suitable position comes up. It’s just how these things tend to play out. So if the overqualified candidate really wants to be hired, has to work harder to show the potential employer that she really wants this job and why.

  12. 12
    Steve

    @Niki #5
    Driving a Jaguar is not flaunting success?

    Ever hear of the book “The Millionaire Next Door”? Their favorite cars were Corollas or Camry’s. LOL, maybe you can get that rich and get more dates by leaving the Jag at home? :)

    No disrespect

    Steve

  13. 13
    Steve

    In reply to #10 and #11

    Helen: not all men are the same. Just like some women don’t care about money, some do. We are individuals.

    Why should men change? If there was an article about something that made many women uncomfortable or feel unfeminine everyone would be supportive at least to the point of telling them “well that is what you are about, that is fine”.

    Why not with men who don’t feel comfortable dating a woman who makes much much more than them?

  14. 14
    Liz

    All of us want to be “needed.” For men, as Michael said, smart, pretty, and kind is great, but unless a man feels “needed” it doesn’t go far. I am an attorney, I make a decent living and get to do stuff I really enjoy. But let me tell you, I am not driving a Jag (own a SUV that is a Hybrid), wearing my rolex, expensive accessories, or telling my potential date about my beach house, my speaking engagements or the daily battles at work. Instead, I lead with my hobbies, if he asks, volunteering, cooking, photography, and every month I take a small road trip in CA to run a 1/2 marathon. I have had a date think I am a paralegal for two dinners, just because I didn’t talk about my profession (I avoid it at all costs). On the other hand, I want to be provided for and protected–so my dating pool at my income and age is rather small (I am fairly young-don’t worry very optimistic too). And I can see that once they realize what I do, see my home, this gets complicated. “Google” doesn’t help! I have heard, “why do you like me,” and “so where would I fit into all this.” However, I think this has more to do with the men she is selecting and what she is leading with.

  15. 15
    Helen

    Michael17: I know you always tell it exactly how you see it, so thanks. This is helpful.

    Steve: note that I never stated explicitly that it’s men who should change. I think society as a whole – both men and women – will be changing how we think about men, women, and money in the future, as the income disparity narrows. There are possible implications for many ways in which men and women interact. It is an interesting time.

    Niki (OP): I think some of the points people here have raised (Michael17 and Still Looking) about making your special man feel special would be helpful for you. He wants to know he has the ability to provide you happiness and satisfaction in some way.

  16. 16
    Goldie

    @ Steve #14: well I’ve dated single dads. Fifty years ago, there was no such thing, just as there was no such thing as a high-earning woman. Times change, and we have to adjust, otherwise we will end up eliminating a lot of good people for no valid reason.

    Michael17 has some really great points in #12, IMO. They apply not just to Niki, but to any woman that has a lot going for her. Or man, for that matter.

    One more thing — to the commenters that tell Niki not to “flaunt the Jag” — her letter actually says “I have first dates then second dates, then the guy sees my classic Jaguar and my luxury apartment and he thinks that I am out of his league.” So it looks like Niki isn’t necessarily flaunting anything, it’s just that, she cannot hide her apartment and her Jag forever. What’s she supposed to do — lie about it? tell him, “Oh no we can’t go to my place today, my six roommates are home!” Sooner or later, he’ll come by her apartment and see the Jag! What do you recommend?

  17. 17
    nathan

    The Jag would make me pause, no doubt. Especially if I see it on a first date. I don’t think that pause is a sign of intimidation. It’s more that I’d wonder if I would be able to keep up financially in any way to what this woman is used to in terms of dating. This would especially be the case if I didn’t know her at all, and only had what was present to base any judgments on.

    I really like Helen’s comments here (that might make a few laugh, given how contentious we were with each other on a recent thread.)

    “Men, there are many ways that you provide for women and make us happy that have nothing to do with consumer purchases. If women don’t mind, why would you?” This has always been my approach to dating. Not being fixated on how much money either of us spends, and seeking women who are also not fixated on that, and who see that there are so many other ways to show you care.

    The thing is, you don’t really know how someone operates until you spend some time with them. You can find people who makes little money but expect high class everything on dates, and you can find people who are well off, but are totally flexible about dating, money, and the rest.

    So, maybe Niki just needs to figure out a few ways she can demonstrate that flexibility. To show guys she isn’t expecting that he break the bank to date her. And yes, I’d agree with the others that if you can leave the car home for awhile, do so.

  18. 18
    Mia

    You know what? I’d be freaked out by a MAN with a jag, too! I would find it materialistic and off-putting; I’d wonder why the guy wasn’t spending money more wisely and question whether our values meshed. I’d wonder if he would try to buy my affection. I make plenty of money for a single person and grew up in a six figure household but we saved our money for a great college education and travel, not to throw around on a huge fancy house and fast cars.

    There is nothing wrong with that lifestyle, it’s just difficult for me and probably many others to comprehend — because I’m not in the same class and league. It seems that there are often problems when trying to date above or below one’s league in looks, education, and social status. All this advice about finding some bald, nerdy nice guy to date doesn’t exactly work unless you are nerdy and average yourself. I rarely get pursued or asked for a second date by a guy less attractive, educated, and successful than me– and I think at the end of the day, a mechanic who grew up in a blue collar hood will want a similar woman because that’s who he’s COMFORTABLE with. Who he’s compatible with.

    Maybe this woman should work harder to find men closer to her status, or who share her values — say, a guy who may not make a lot right now but is excited about starting his own business and can see himself caring about nice things.

  19. 19
    David T

    @David 2 I think it could be many things and it is going to be different from man to man.

    Sometimes it is an ego thing. Some men just don’t feel “manly” enough if she makes more. (Nikki’s 5’s public defender is an example. Also comparing a person to a ring is disturbing so it just as well he didn’t like the money situation.) That is silliness, IMO. In some men’s cases it might be a self-esteem “I can’t afford her” thing (Nathan 18), thinking “I won’t be able to keep up with her travel, fancy restaurants, etc. She won’t want me simply for who I am and be willing to help pay my way.” I think many men fall in here.

    In other cases it can be a more fundamental problem of mismatch values. For context, a few years ago I dated a well off lawyer who made about 4 times my already fairly generous salary. It was a bonus that she was so well set financially. She lived in a nice but modest house and drove a mid-range SUV (just like Liz 15), but she could have afforded much more. We were gf/bf for a few months and parted amicably for reasons other than money.

    Recently I briefly considered dating a nice woman (we went out once) who was independently wealthy. She had a few issues that made her unappealing to me, but the first deal breaker was what she drove, how she dressed, her manicure, her bling, etc. . My problem wasn’t that she happened to have enough money to own whatever caught her eye but that she put real value in having expensive things. That was clearly important to her.

    Mia hit my number on the values (though I disagree about the class and league thing. If values match, it becomes a choice whether or not to feel comfortable.) No matter how much money I make, I will never own a Jag or Porsche or Ferrari or Maserati etc. because that is not what is important to me. If I had the extra money, I *might* go to the expense of having my shirts fitted so I look nice, but I am not going to spend $500 on a pair of jeans, or $800 on a shirt just because it has a fancy brand name that also happens to be high quality. That is a real turn off. Like Nikki 5 said, for me extra money means more for charity.

    It is a choice and whatever floats your boat is fine. If I dated the OP, every time I saw that $200k 1966 Jag and sat on her $15,000 antique divan looking at her wall full of $22,000 Theodore Geisel prints, I would be thinking about what else could have been done with that money, and it Don’t Work For Me.

  20. 20
    Ruby

    Having known quite a few professors, I could see how a man like that could not be all that compatible with Niki. They don’t make tons of money, they tend to be very involved in their intellectual pursuits, and relatively non-materialistic, as a general rule. I agree with Still-Looking (#1), that her best bet would be men with similar values, and a similar earning capacity.

  21. 21
    Henriette

    I’m not arguing against what any of you – especially Evan – have written. But please consider this. I know several dozen women who’ve made it their life goal to marry men who will support them financially at a very high level and not a single one of these women were high earners or came from money, on their own. Every last one of them wore simple clothes pre-marriage and drove, at most, simple cars (in general, they didn’t even own cars). But this doesn’t mean they didn’t value sapphires, Jaguars or Chanel every bit as much as the women who turn up with Bling on the first date. The biggest difference is, the women who wear the Bling have already paid for it themselves… the others are just waiting for some guy to buy it for them.

    Oh, and interestingly enough, the guys who marry poor women and provide them with expensive stuff end up feeling like The Big Man who saved the Little Girl. The guys who marry women who already can afford their own toys too often end up resentful and sullen.

  22. 22
    Helen

    nathan, our viewpoints have never been that different, ever.

    At the risk of being pilloried, I will throw the idea out there that it is not such a terrible thing for a woman to want or own expensive things. (Of course, this comes from a woman who doesn’t own anything expensive, so what would I know…) It doesn’t necessarily make her shallow, morally bankrupt, or any other stereotype.

    For example, David T, when you wrote: “If I dated the OP, every time I saw that $200k 1966 Jag and sat on her $15,000 antique divan looking at her wall full of $22,000 Theodore Geisel prints, I would be thinking about what else could have been done with that money, and it Don’t Work For Me.”

    … first, I laughed at the Dr. Seuss innuendo. :D Second, I thought (and forgive me here, because I’ve enjoyed your comments on the whole): why would it be any of your concern how she spends her money? If she has plenty of disposable income, it may make more sense to spend it in those ways she prefers, rather than in an investment that doesn’t put money back into the economy. Also, would you judge a man in the same way if he had such expensive accoutrements?

  23. 23
    Dagaz

    Niki,
    i’m afraid you bark at the wrong tree… perhaps, for men is the biggest turn-off is not what you own Jag and super condo – but the fact of showing off attitude, kind of? even if you do it half-conciously.
    on the second date you showing the guy all visible and material attributes of your success. i don’t know for sure about the man in this situation, but if a guy would do the same to me, my impressions about him would be: 1. he’s all about show-off ; 2. if he shows me such things on the second date already, that means he’s mostly about all material stuff.
    needless to say, both of these thoughts are HUGE turn-offs

  24. 24
    Nicole

    I was going to say that the men were being silly until I read Liz’s post.
    There are definitely a not insignificant number of high earning women who do want to marry a man who can keep them in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.
    And if a woman isn’t willing to either a) keep working or b)downgrade her tastes, then the male teacher probably does need to run the other way when the lady doctors and lawyers walk in.
    It really does seem as if for a lot of high-achieving, high-earning women, being able to find a man who will support you in an expensive lifestyle AND let you stay at home is a big status symbol.
    Ugh.

  25. 25
    Sherel

    I am with Evan on this one. Dont hide your Jag or your condo. Any man that can not deal with it, is not the one for you. And how dare folk question her about how wisely she spends her money. That Jag may be a drop in the bucket in terms of her income. The reality is that there are 3 camps: 1) Those that little egos can not take a woman making much more then them 2) Those that will try to take and advantage of the situation and 3) Those that do not have a problem with it. Sad to say # 3 is in the minority but they are out there. Although the Lifetime channel migh make you think otherwise alot guys can not handle a woman making ALOT more than they do.

  26. 26
    Liz

    Nicole I don’t find myself “silly.” I think men are happiest as the provider in the relationship, and protecting the women their with. This by no means indicates I would rely on anyone to provide an “expensive lifestyle,” while I stay at home (although if educated, successful women are blessed to stay home with their children and that makes them happy–trust me, as a mother, its not a status symbol). But, I acknowledge that my career, income, and professional life is a lot to take on. Inevitably, they discover it, and sometimes it creates a strange dynamic. Oh and while everyone has to be realistic, and compromise, down grading isn’t a necessity either. Patience,is however a necessity. No one should run from those evil “women doctors or attorneys.” :)

  27. 27
    Nic

    Second car perhaps? Only if you considering that as an option. Not for men but for yourself. I got jetta TDI diesel I am driving around on weekdays. And some weekends to load my kayak and golf clubs. And on other weekends I drive my other car. I noticed the 42-50mpg is quite a conversation piece for a lot of men from OR, to ER to golf course. Best, Nic

  28. 28
    David T

    @Helen 23
    I would not pillory anyone for disagreeing, or for choosing to spend wealth differently than I would. :)

    All I am saying is that points to a different set of values and perspectives than mine and I would not be interested in emotional intimacy with someone like that.

    This is just one of three reasons I have seen in this thread that a man might choose to not date a woman who has and spends loads of money. The OP needs to find someone who matches her wealth or matches her value set and who isn’t hung up on the ego of having a higher salary and also is OK with having her help pay his way when they go to a 5 star restaurant every week.

    I agree with Mia, that with that particular lifestyle (and I am extrapolating a *lot* when I assign a value set to the OP based on the few words “classic Jaguar” and “luxury apartment.” Apologies to the OP if I am off base) she is most likely to have luck with someone else with money.

    @Sherel 26. I am not questioning anyone’s wisdom. I am talking about different world outlooks. This is not a wisdom issue.

  29. 29
    priya

    I am dating a guy who has 38 store building as his corporate office in big city ,plus office in London and Paris.
    But i meet this guy online three years ago and ended up becoming good friend as we interacted daily online and occasionally meet in real world as i travel sometime to his city, just for a cup of coffee and chat as we really liked each other.
    All these three years i didnt know that he was super rich.He kept it simple.He never flashed his wealth on my face.
    If i knew how rich he is on our first date i would have ran away too.
    Seriously, most of the men in his position i have came across till date were sort of players,dominant,arrogant,self centered jakkas,not interested in marriage and kids etc. and this has become kind of stereotype for super rich men.Even Evan tells woman on his blog to not to chase alpha men ,doesn’t he?

    Try online dating that might wok with you.Try to be simple on first few dates instead of taking fancy car for dates.Let people see your mind first before they see your wealth.This guy applied same strategy and it worked.I was freaked out big time after visiting his office first time but then i knew he as a person last three years so decided to stick with this relationship.

  30. 30
    Nathan

    I completely disagree with idea that men who wonder about what driving a Jag means are a) guys with low self esteem or b) are automatically thinking the other person is superficial. It is perfectly reasonable to wonder about compatibility if you have vastly different incomes, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence to a relationship. I don’t get the sense from Niki’s letter that she is obsessed with fancy this and that. She sounds like she wants more options, not less. In which case, why not make a few subtle shifts to de-emphasize possessions while on dates?

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