Why Are Women Expected to Date Men With a Lower Educational Level?

Why Are Women Expected to Date Men With a Lower Educational Level?

Dear Evan,

I was at a speed dating event last night for the second time. Just like the first time, it was full of smart, pretty, successful women in their thirties and forties and men of similar ages with manual labor jobs (and a few running their own manual labor businesses) but no men of equivalent professional or educational status except for one doctor. Why he was there, I do not know, as he made it clear that he was not really looking to date anyone. He did however buy me a drink in the bar afterwards and asked me what I thought of the event. I said I would be unlikely to go again because I have nothing in common to talk about with the men that I have met at these events.

He proceeded to give me a lecture as to why I shouldn’t automatically dismiss dating the two guys who were responsible for service washes in the launderette as they may be perfectly nice people and that career women in their thirties get what they deserve if they don’t. I am just wondering how many other men think like this? For me, it seems plain common sense that, while professional women with masters degrees may be compatible with men in less successful professions, the guy that left school with no qualifications to work in the launderette is highly unlikely to be a good fit.

It is not the first time that I have come across the attitude that career women deserve to be alone if they don’t want to date men without any education, or men a generation older, or the obese. I am just wondering how many men really think like this.



It doesn’t matter how many men think like this.

Just like KC’s email a few weeks ago about how she receives emails from disappointing men she meets online, you’re illustrating an amusing concern with men’s preferences in women.

Men do what they want. They don’t do what you want.

My answer to you is largely the same as my answer to her.

Men do what they want. They don’t do what you want.

If he is a dishwasher and he finds you pretty, he’s going to ask you out.

If you don’t go out with him because you intimate that you’re “above” him on the dating food chain, it’s predictable that he might lash out at you.

You may be technically correct that he’s not of your social station, but that’s of no concern to the man you’ve just insulted to his face.

Literally, the ONLY thing he can do when you tell him that you have nothing in common (without getting to know him) is tell you that you’re wrong for judging people and that this attitude may come back to haunt you.

Women tend to adhere more to their checklists, which usually call for a man who is just like you, but better. And without your flaws.

He’s right about that. This is one of the big blind spots that women have in dating.

Allow me to explain.

You painted a black and white world, Fiona. It wasn’t that he was less educated than you. It’s that he was a laundry operator. It’s not that a man is older than you, it’s that he’s a generation older than you. It’s not that he’s a few pounds overweight, it’s that he’s obese. All of your examples are extreme, but not all men are extreme examples of anything.

So, to be crystal clear: no one (besides the fat, stupid and elderly) is saying that you have to date the fat, stupid, or elderly.

Got it? Good.

How do I find a man with traits I desireWhat I am saying – and what these men are inartfully suggesting as well – is that you don’t marry a list of traits. You marry a human being. And if you never think outside the box, you may well find yourself standing alone at the end of the dance.

The reason that I call this a blind spot for women is because women tend to adhere more to their checklists, which usually call for a man who is just like you, but better. And without your flaws.

Taller. Richer. Smarter. Funnier. Saner. Sexier.

Alas, men don’t care if you’re taller, richer, smarter, or funnier.

We just want you to think that we’re amazing.

Which is why men can date ANYONE – regardless of education, income, and height – while many women can only date 1 in 1000 men who are 6 feet tall, with a masters degree and a $200,000 income.

So are some men unrealistic in thinking that they deserve a chance with you?

Yes, they are.

Are they also correct in pointing out that they are open to a lot more women than you are open to men, and this may hinder your ability to find lasting love?

Yes, they are.

To your original question, no one is saying (apart from the jilted men) that you deserve to be alone. But I would be remiss if I didn’t pull out the nugget of wisdom from the flawed logic of the laundry operator.


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  1. 391

    Am I wrong to believe it was the doctor who said that She would get what She deserved? He was meeting and greeting at a speed dating event but not interested in dating, really?
     Men don’t mind casual dating as much as women! Just because a doctor dates a waitress it does not mean he is going to marry her. A woman does not have in mind that She wants a pretend relationship with a fast food worker. An educated man will date a fast food worker and compliment himself on the fact that he isn’t a snob. All the while he is using her as his personal porn star and when he tires will find one thing wrong that was obvious from the get-go and drop her. But, he ” tried”

    I know beautiful women who don’t have careers or fine educations  are constantly being made to feel ashamed over the fact. Even made to feel foolish that they focused so much on their looks. The average looking, slightly pudgy career woman feels constantly ashamed that maybe She focused too much on her education etc… We are all deeply insecure unless we are thin, beautiful, educated and have great jobs.

    A man did once tell me that if he wants intellectual stimulation he can pick up a book. Women are for sex and he wants a hot partner.  I do believe that if a career woman dates beneath herself She should pick for looks and cool, kind disposition alone. Perhaps, trade in for a newer model every so often as well.



    1. 391.1

      Alice wrote “I know beautiful women who don’t have fine careers or educations that are made to feel ashamed over the fact.”

      Not not likely by men, I think.  Women are HIGHLY competitive with each other, especially when they perceive another woman as higher status.  The woman who is perceived as higher status is often ridiculed by other women so that she is not seen as better.  Hence the beautiful woman who is shamed for lack of education, and hence the educated woman shamed for lack of beauty.  Men don’t interact that way – not with each other, and not with women (we compete differently and don’t often use shame).

      So much of women’s insecurity, I think, comes from competition with other women.  Therein also lies the cause for their confusion about what men want – confused by extrapolation from what WOMEN want. 

  2. 392

    It matters to me, increasingly, that a partner shares at least some of my education and intelligence. I lived with a guy for 5 years, and initially we got on quite well (we both dived, and that was a real pleasure). He worked as a truck driver down mines for 30 years and then, during the time we were together, a taxi driver. It wasn’t so much his lack of intelligence (he was quite bright), it was his lack of ambition as well as the fact that we couldn’t share much in the way of ideas.  I’ve been out with dozens of guys who haven’t got a PhD, like myself, indeed some who didn’t finish high school, but it really boils down to the fact that we had little to share with one another. So, Evan, I disagree with you. Some parity of education does matter. There is a whole culture that is not being shared, a whole philosophy of being. I actually value a capacity for knowledgeable and intelligent conversation.
    My ex told good stories, but the stories were not new. He told the same ones over and over and over again. He fell asleep trying to read books. He didn’t try, at all, to increase his knowledge base. He had an ambition to go to college, but couldn’t do the homework required for college entrance.
    Intelligent conversation really matters. If the man isn’t up to it, then it’s rather sad. I really miss the kind of conversation I had with a couple of wonderful men I knew years ago. Both are now deceased. So, I’m left with an ache in my heart.

    1. 392.1

      Spot on.
      I‘m not looking for just a breeder and a provider, I want a partner. I look for someone with whom I could talk to when we‘re old and grey, the kids are away (if we have them), sex is off the table and theres not much of anything else to do but talk. Time usually reveals huge differences in worldviews and interests that less educated men and I have. Sure, interests don’t make a life, but neither does the mere fact of having babies together. Can you build a life together while living in completely different worlds? Not really.

  3. 393

    1. take it or leave it, period.
    2. If you don’t like him, go find someone else and go to step 1.

  4. 394

    It’s painful to read the words of these middle ages women. Feminism has set them down a road of guaranteed failure and they’re starting to feel the effects of it. I usually preach about personal responsibility but women in general are followers by nature and they only followed the zeitgeist by living the sex and the city lifestyle. Teach your daughters to know better, all you can really do.

  5. 395

    The point, which most of you seem to be missing, is that there is nothing wrong with expecting your partner to bring the same things to the table that you do. It’s called looking for your equal. As much as people may want to believe that education and socio-economic status only play a small part in a successful relationship, even when the man is the less “successful” of the two – which goes against centuries of mores the world over, countless studies, statistics and real-life couples strongly suggest otherwise. My standards are high, but they are in line with what I myself bring to the table and every man with whom I’ve had a relationship has met them. Like someone in a popular movie once said, “Settling never made anyone very happy.”

    1. 395.1


      I strongly disagree that guys are missing that point. I think most guys, myself included, would most certainly agree that there is nothing wrong with trying to find someone on your level.

      The one problem I have always had is the idea that plenty of women have that no man is good enough for them, and bring absolutely NOTHING to the table in any relationship.  The attitude is that men are nothing but lower life forms to be disdained at best.

      If that’s all that’s out there in the dating pool, I do not swim!!!    

    2. 395.2

      Sophia, you wrote: “The point, which most of you seem to be missing, is that there is nothing wrong with expecting your partner to bring the same things to the table that you do”
      This is a perspective that I think many women share with you, but most men don’t.  I read your statement and the first thing that crossed my mind was, why would I want to marry someone who brings the same things to the table that I do?  Wouldn’t that be like marrying myself?  That is the last thing I would want!
      As has been stated in earlier comments, most men DO NOT want a partner who brings the same things to the table that they do – they want someone who brings the things they lack.
      Men view attraction from the polarity of masculinity and femininity.  We ego-invest our masculinity in certain concepts – some of us invest in our intelligence, education, and income potential.  Others invest in their physique.  Still others in their creativity and craftsmanship.  Whatever qualities a particular man ego-invests his masculinity into, he will consider those qualities as MASCULINE.  He will hope that a woman will find those qualities attractive in him, and he would NOT find those qualities attractive in a woman.  Instead, he would look for her to possess other complimentary qualities that he would find attractive. 
      I realize that this isn’t how most women see things.  That much is evident from the comments that so many have made on this blog.  But so many women believe that men are intimidated by educated, intelligent women, and the truth is that it is not a matter of intimidation but rather of lack of attraction.  Men are not attracted to qualities in women that they consider to be masculine.  Whereas women do not view those qualities as masculine – they view them as POWERFUL.  And women want to be powerful….they just want their men to be more powerful (or at least equally powerful).

    3. 395.3

      Sophia, I agree on some levels, but not on all. True, there is nothing wrong with wanting the best man we can get. And if that means him bringing the same things to the table as we do, so be it. But requiring it is another thing altogether. Settling never made anyone very happy, but neither has unrealistic expectations. If you aren’t finding men who bring the same things to the table, who are interested in you, or who are also attractive, good in bed, etc…well, maybe you need to rethink what actually makes you happy. Often, if we look back at men we dated, we can see that many of them possessed many of the things we wanted, which is why we dated them, but a lot of them turned out to be jerks, or worse. So do those things really make us happy? Maybe a man with different qualities is who will make us happy. I read an interesting fact recently. Dolly Parton was married to a simple blue collar type of guy, and she is happy. They have been married for 45 years and she says they are proud of their marriage. He owns an asphalt business. She certainly out earns him by millions of dollars. And, I read somewhere that he was not always an owner, but a driver for the business, initially. Probably Dolly’s money that helped him buy it out maybe?

      We women wanted to have the same rights as men to education and employment opportunities. Well, men have, and still do marry women who do not bring the same thing to the table. Why is that so important to us women? Especially wealthy CEO types? Couldn’t a man who is not her equal in the business world be exactly what she needs? He would be home when she gets in late. Instead of him leaving town, or not having time for her because he is pressed for time, trying to meet some critical deadline, he would be home, and have time for her when she gets home from a conference.

      I think men would totally understand you wanting a man who has the same, if you find him, I think men are put off by the fact that high achieving women insist on high achieving men, while men do not insist on high achieving women. To them, when talking about equality, doesn’t sit right.

      I have learned not to insist on high achievers, for reasons I listed above, but also many other reasons. Most high achieving men I’ve known were also jerks. Being a high achiever seems to go along with that. Oh, I know, not all high achievers are jerks, and I would certainly not disqualify a man for being a high achiever. I simply value different qualities in a man over his being a high achiever.

      So let’s get to why this is so important for men to at least bring the same things to the table. It’s simple, we women are selfish whether we want to admit it or not. If a man brings the same, or nearly the same money to the table, we don’t take the hit to our finances that men do when they marry down. It bothers us more than we admit when we are the ones paying the majority of the bills, vacations, Christmas presents, etc… Dare I say it? When it comes to this aspect, most of us are still traditionalists. The man is still supposed to bring home the bacon. Oh yeah, and fry it half the time. haha

      I look back at the many men i knew in my childhood, men who made a lot of money, and those that did not, and most of them were more than generous with the money they had. For most of them, taking care of people with the money they earned made them feel like a better man. That’s what a man did. He earned the money, brought home the bacon, and provided for those he loved. For as much as we claim to want to be equal, we women do not feel that same thing, except for children. But for the man in our lives? No, we certainly do not get the same pleasure providing for our man the way men do providing for his woman. That’s why we want a man who brings the same, or more to the table than we do.

      So let me get this straight. We women want a man who younger than us, looks fantastic, is a great lover, is nurturing and kind, is our equal or better in education and career/earnings, etc..etc… Well, be prepared to be disappointed, unless you are just looking for short term relationships. Men like that are rare, and those who have every last one of those qualities plus the other qualities we want in a man, know they are rare. How could they not with the way all of the top shelf, 2nd shelf and 3rd shelf women make it obvious by their interest? So these guys have their choice, if they are interested in long term, and when they do decide on long term, they usually choose a woman their age or younger, and don’t require her to be a high achiever. She may be, but he doesn’t require that.

  6. 396

    I’m with the doctor. He is being very kind actually. We are talking about relationships not applying for jobs. Basically the doctor is saying hey you look OK but your over valuing yourself in the relationship market and your in disagreement of some good very direct feedback. People always over value what they have whether it be themselves or things they possess and people naturally want what they cannot have.

    Women have been led to believe all this education and empowerment has made them more attractive and more desirable in their minds which largely is a lie and some good marketing. Evolution dictates Women want the most powerful, confident, successful, and attractive man they can attract. Problem here is you have women who possess more masculine traits than the average dating pool and they wonder why they aren’t attracted to anyone. We have not evolved past our primitive biology in terms of pair bonding.

    What rational person would think holding off on a college fueled professional life quest would make them more attractive? No one. It’s a reinforced social norm.

  7. 397

    That guy running car wash probably makes more money than you fiona…

  8. 398

    Thanks, Evan, for your words of advice! I was initially shocked as a woman to read what you were saying, but by the end of the article, I see what you mean.  What I’ve taken away in a nutshell is that:  All “educated” people are not “broad-minded”, and vice versa. So, look beyond the titles, and look at the person/man instead.  

  9. 399

    No, this article is wrong. Women who want to date ANY man that makes more than she does is instantly labeled a gold digger.

  10. 400

    I disagree. If a woman meets a man who just happens to make more than her, and she wants to date him, that is one thing. But, if a woman will only date men who make more than she does, I have news for her, and that is that she really is a gold digger.

    I’ve heard a few other women say, “I know my worth.” They were speaking about dating, or not dating a man based on his income. I see no difference between them and prostitutes. It’s sad that women like that deem men worthy or not worthy based on income. It’s a selfish attitude, and not one rooted in love.

    I recently ran across a video by a very young woman who does the sugar daddy thing, and this girl was trying to convince the audience that this is not prostitution. She insisted that it was no different than having a boyfriend who bought you nice things, and gave you money when you needed it. I corrected her in that she was giving him sex based on one thing and one thing only, and that was the money and gifts he was giving her. So that is prostitution. If your worth is measured in money and material things, you are a prostitute. And I would add that if a woman thinks that it is no different than a girlfriend, then she is the kind of woman men are terrified of ending up with.

    Let me ask you something. What would you do if a man pulled out a tape measure, took your measurements, and then said, “OK, your measurements will do. We can date, and maybe get married.” Would you date him? I know I wouldn’t. That would be the last he would see of me. Even if I measured up, what if that changed after we were married? Wouldn’t that worry you? It would bother me. OK, so the same goes for me and incomes. What if he loses his ability to work? Would you leave because you can no longer live in the 8,000 sqft house in the gated community and now have to live in the 2,000 home in a normal community? Would you leave when you had to trade in your Lexus or BMW for a Chevy?

  11. 401

    Basically Fiona the professional Doctor guy was telling you he didn’t want to be with you because you were just attracted to him being a professional not to him . Whereas the laundry guy/s you were attracted to as a person you were just dismissing them because of their job, they were not professionals. He was trying to tell you that this I’d stupid and you should give them a try, he was trying to be nice to you telling you this as you would ultimately not be happy with him. The concept of constantly applying tick boxes can be a never ending process, that will never be fulfilled and only lead to unhappiness, give it up.

  12. 402

    I am a female lawyer in my mid 30’s. I took your advice many many times and have dated men with no college education who worked minimum wage jobs, but had other attributes that I really liked. I have a doctorate degree but I grew up poor and so I have a lot of things in common with people that are not as you say of my social stature. It does not work and here is why. The big difference you miss is that women are not intimidated by a man’s social status, job earning ability, fame fortune. In fact women are taught to be drawn to men that are of higher social statute because of the old idea that men are to be the providers. But with men it is not the same. The men who were significantly below my status felt extremely insecure, they were constantly trying to compete with me in some way because they felt inferior to me. Simple by being me. I was asked not to talk about my job too much, not to talk about money ever (even in long term relationships), and many of this men did nothing but cut me down to make themselves feel better. So no, the answer is not that men are willing to date with abandon and are not as picky. The answer is that men are in fact picky in that they need to feel superior in the relationship. While a college degree versus a doctorate would likely be fine. A doctorate versus a minimum wage job does not work. This is why there are so many single professional women, and professional men of their statute are married to uneducated women etc. I tested this many times at speed dating. I look the same by I change my career to secretary instead of my actual profession. 100% of the time I received double if not triple the amount of men wanting to see me again.

    1. 402.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Lisa: in fact, professional women are considerably more likely to be married.

      “New research by the sociologist Leslie McCall reveals that while marriage rates have fallen for most women since 1980, those for the highest earning women have increased, to 64 percent in 2010 from 58 percent in 1980. Women in the top 15 percent of earners are now more likely to be married than their lower-earning counterparts.”

      So there’s that.

    2. 402.2
      Karl R

      Lisa said:
      “While a college degree versus a doctorate would likely be fine. A doctorate versus a minimum wage job does not work.”

      Most advice of Evan’s (and most advice given by anyone else) works far better in moderation than in the extreme.

      If your doctor recommends you get more sleep, you’ll probably benefit by making sure you get a full eight hours per night. If you try for 14 hours per night, you’ll probably have some consequences.

      If a doctor advises that you cut calories, and you switch to a 500 calorie per day diet, you will probably suffer some unfortunate consequences.

      If Evan recommends that you (in your mid 30s) expand the age range of men that you’re willing to date, then he probably means men in their mid 40s and late 20s. His advice will probably backfire if you start dating 18 year olds and 80 year olds.

      If Evan recommends that you consider men who earn less than you, then you may want to consider men who earn half or two thirds what you do. That will probably produce far better results than men who have no income, or the minimum wage earners.

      If Evan recommends that you consider men who have less education, then you’ll probably do far better with the men who have BAs or BSs, rather than the men who dropped out of high school.

      Lisa said:
      “The men who were significantly below my status felt extremely insecure, they were constantly trying to compete with me in some way because they felt inferior to me.”

      Some men will be like that. Others won’t. I’m one of the men who doesn’t see a PhD or a J.D. as intimidating. My father has a PhD. I am quite well aware that a PhD means that you’re extremely knowledgeable in an extremely narrow field.

      It’s quite likely that you out earn me. You didn’t mention whether you’re an associate or a partner, and you didn’t mention your area of specialty. If you’re in corporate, bankruptcy or IP law, then you almost certainly out earn me (given your age), even if you’re an associate.

      I don’t have a degree, but I see PhDs and lawyers as my peers. I expect them to treat me as a peer. (Obviously, we each have our own niche where we have more knowledge.) And in my line of work, that means that if I pass the lead partner a note during the middle of a trial, I expect the lawyer to read the question (as written) to the witness … even if the lawyer doesn’t know what the answer is going to be.

      And I’ve had lead partners do exactly that.

      I am an anomaly. But there are a number of other men who never completed college (such as a number of entrepreneurs) who wouldn’t be intimidated by your success.

      Lisa said:
      “I look the same by I change my career to secretary instead of my actual profession. 100% of the time I received double if not triple the amount of men wanting to see me again.”

      So what? During the time I was on Match.com, my income went up two of their income brackets (my income almost doubled). Each time I went up a bracket, the number of “matches” I got tripled. Based on that observation, I would say that income matters less to men than it does to women.

      You’re not scaring one third of the men off. If I was on Match, I could scare off that many women just by cutting my salary by $5,000.

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