Story: I haven’t actually seen this covered in your blog, but how do you discern “leagues”? As a woman, how do you determine who is and who isn’t in your league? I’m attractive & very fit by most people’s standards, do well professionally, extroverted/sociable, but I am also in my late 30s. I bring a lot to the table, BUT I know my age is not as desirable as a 20 year old. So help me understand this concept?
City: New York
I asked a few friends to define leagues. This is what one male friend said:
Yeah, that’s a tough one for women. You can’t go by the guys you can pull because guys will date “down.” You can’t ask your guy friends because they always have some agenda, even if just to protect your feelings. You can’t ask your girlfriends because they’re either protecting your feelings too, or otherwise clueless or saboteurs. The only answer is prove the negative. League is a “ceiling.” If you’re chasing after guys who don’t seem available (regardless of the reason they tell you), then they are “out of your league.”
If you’d like a basic definition, then go by the type of responses you get from your online dating profile. Gather up 10 or so responses from those men, look at their profiles, get an average read on their age range, body type, career level and attractiveness. That’s your type, with a little wiggle room.The reason I use online dating as a barometer is because all the basic stats are right there, presented for the other person’s approval. Leagues are defined by superficial criteria. Not depth or substance. Despite that, they still factor in to who we date and why. Everything from how we look to what we do and where we live is considered. A 45-50 year old i-banker or lawyer is not going to date me seriously. Maybe if I were really hot. That might make up for my very modest lifestyle, wardrobe and income. But I’m not. Could there be one or two bankers that look past that? Maybe. But I’m not going to beat my head in to a wall trying to find that needle in the haystack.
Like my male friend said. Prove the negative. If you have to heavily pursue or “chase” someone, they’re out of your league. The question you seem to be asking is the one hardest to answer or define. In my opinion, the “leagues’ as we used to know or define them don’t exist anymore.
I think a lot of women focus on age and think that that is a large contributing factor for men. I disagree. I don’t think it’s about age as it is about the degree of difficulty. As recently as a few years ago a man might dismiss a woman “of a certain age” because he feared she would be on the marriage or baby track. As we discussed the other day, those aren’t necessarily the priority of many men and women anymore. Some, of course. Many. But I think – and this is just my opinion – the number of men and women seeking marriage and kids are much fewer these days. Life is just too unsteady now. Nobody knows where they’ll be in a year or two. They’re erring on the side of caution and not taking on that level of added responsibility. So age isn’t as big as a factor anymore, in my mind.
As for men, since they no longer are the primary breadwinners and so many women are making just as if not more than they are, they no longer have an income bracket to justify their “league.” Most women aren’t looking for men who can provide a lifestyle. Those women are providing it for themselves. In a sense, what men used to bring to the table – namely a sense of security and financial stability -is no longer as eagerly sought. So their stock has taken a hit. What those men – and they make up a big chunk of the single male demo, I’d bet – seek is someone with lower expectations.
And therein lies the problem.I truly believe the biggest hurdle that single people face is something they develop all on their own – their expectations. That, in a nutshell, is what a league is. It’s a caliber of person we feel we deserve or are entitled to.
The bottom line, for men at least, is that the external and superficial things you bring to the table will eventually mean nothing if you’re a great big pain in the ass. Drama queens need not apply. You could be 25 or 45. Doesn’t matter. Eventually, the clock will run out on his patience. Women, on the other hand, appear to tolerate a whole lot of crap for much longer simply because the guy looks a certain way or because they’re in some unspoken competition with their single girlfriends. Women also seem to expect a certain kind of treatment simply because they are women. Those kind of expectations are what get us in to trouble more often. We want to be treated equally.
So men treat us as equals and treat us as though we think the same way they do. That’s where men screw up. They expect us to approach situations the same way they do, and if we don’t, we’re all “nuts.” Well, many of us don’t have the same takes or perspectives. That doesn’t make us irrational or crazy. It just means some of us think differently.
I think the older a man or woman gets, the higher/greater/more unattainable their expectations become. If they’ve chosen to stay single for this long, then why “settle” now? If they can find someone who is easier to deal with, why tolerate what they perceive to be drama? Why bother getting married when most marriages fail?
This whole “leagues” issue was much more simple when the only options were single or married, if you ask me.