Dating & Stereotypes: What’s Your Learning Curve?

Name: David
Comment: Hi Moxie, I recall you mentioned that as a dating blogger you have difficulties finding suitable mates.

How about being a psychologist? I had great conversations and wonderful first dates until I revealed (when asked for my occupation and education) that I am a psychologist with a PhD.

In addition, even before revealing the above, when I say to City dates that I live on Staten Island, it seems to be the end of the encounter, either in person (e.g. speed dating) or on a dating site. I am fit, attractive, and own a car.

Your advice?
Thanks.
Age: 44
City: Staten Island
State: NY

 

There are two separate issues here.

Let;s tackle the non-problem of your career. My ex is a psychologist. Personally, I loved being with someone who not only appreciated and understood my need to analyze things, but encouraged it. However, I can see why some people might find that intimidating. As I said in a recent post, no matter what you do for a living, there is going to be somebody out there who will not date you because of it. If anything you should use your job as a filter of some kind to help you determine compatibility.

Yep, some people won’t date me because of what I do and some people only want to date me because what I do. That’s life. I think the problem is that people mature believing that they have far more options than they actually do.  There will always be stereotypes and biases applied to us that cause us to be pursued, judged or dismissed. Lawyers deal with it. Finance people deal with it. Fireman deal with it. If someone recoils or stops showing interest once you reveal what you do for a living, it’s because they are either intimidated or ignorant themselves, as they live their lives basing decisions on stereotypes. If they aren’t even willing to give you a chance, they’re not worth your time.

Speaking of stereotypes, let’s tackle the second issue in your letter. Unfortunately, inhabitants of Staten Island are typically perceived as simple and boorish. There’s another issue in this specific scenario because many people tend to envision the “typical” Staten Island resident to be Italian and to possess the “typical” personality traits of Italian people i.e. loud and ignorant. (Please watch A Bronx Tale. The Robert Deniro character is also an example of the “typical” Italian male. Quiet but strong, hard working and devoted to family. We’re not all loud-mouth and violent gangsters with mob ties. Kthanxs.)

The other problem is that you live outside of the city. I dread bringing this up as it will just arouse and awaken all the whiny dudes in Queens who like to cry elitist. Boo hoo. You have to understand, OP, that people who attend an event in Manhattan or any other major city want to meet people who live in that particular city. Not Queens or Long Island or Astoria.They don’t want to deal with the commute and all the stress that comes with it.  On the opposite end of this expectation are the people who live in Jersey and Queens who attend Manhattan events and get upset because they didn’t meet a bunch of Patrick Batemans and Mr. Bigs. They, too, struggle to find someone suitable.

The trouble with relying so heavily on stereotypes is that, while there usually is a layer of validity to the stereotype, the image and assumptions constructed are not based on reality. They are usually an extension of our personal opinions and desires. What hinders dating most is the unreasonable expectations that we have the tendency to develop based on ideas we have in our head.

I’ll never forget meeting a guy on OKC. In one of our pre-date conversations, I gave him the link to this web site. He took a tour and read dozens of posts. In his search he came across one of the password protected posts. He emailed me and asked for access to the post entitled “Too Many Cocks.” I assumed he made a typo, as the post was actually entitled, ‘Too Many Cooks.” Suffice to say that this guy had assumed I was some kind of Slutty OKC Unicorn -attractive, intelligent, sexual and interested in extreme sexual acts. When I wasn’t as “open” as he thought I would be, he balked. All it took was to read a blog title too quickly to cause him to manufacture an image of me in his mind that did not exist.

Equally counter-productive is to look at a photo and assume that you’ll be meeting someone who looks exactly like that picture. As a good friend once commented, a photo is nothing more than a moment in time.You can’t expect someone to appear or behave exactly like how you assumed (or hoped) they would because of a couple of one-dimensional representations. There needs to be a learning curve of sorts. If you dismiss someone because you have a specific idea of how they should look or act and most people don’t meet that image, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

My advice, David, is this: If you want to date a woman who lives in the city, move to the city. Either that or accept the fact that where you live and what you do will be used against you and will thereby limit your options. Just keep in mind that everybody’s options are limited. Your assumption that other people have it easier is false. Pretty much everybody struggles to meet someone. It’s the people who accept that their audience is smaller that experience the least frustration and has more success.

 

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25 Responses to “Dating & Stereotypes: What’s Your Learning Curve?”

  1. The D-man Says:

    At first I assumed this was from a woman. I’m surprised he’s getting less than positive results from women about his occupation because in my experience women tend to be very interested in psychology.

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    • India Says:

      Well, just because you are interested in something does not mean that you want to date someone who does it professionally. I like to read about politics etc and no way in hell am I ever dating a politician.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

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  2. LostSailor Says:

    How about being a psychologist?

    I think that, even if they’re in therapy (perhaps especially if they’re in therapy) women will assume you will be analyzing them or will see through their facade of games, penetrating their dark secrets within. Or something like that.

    I live on Staten Island

    Sorry, man, but Moxie’s dead right. Fair or not, justified or not, to Manhattanites, Staten Island might was well be the far side of the moon. It doesn’t matter that your fit, attractive, and have a car when prospective dates think they’ll need the equivalent of a pressure suit to see you.

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  3. D'Alias Says:

    My advice: 1. There’s not much you can do about your career when it comes to dating. All you can try to do is meet people on your level since other people with professions are less likely to hold it against you. How you define your “level” is up to you and fairly discernible through trial and error.

    2. Your location: SI has a bad reputation so just don’t put it on your profile. Save that info for the first convo, first few txts, or even the first date. A nice way to ease the pain of living far is to schedule the first date near her (you have to travel anyway) & then bring her someplace nice on the Island for the second date. Then drive her home, take the ferry over to the city with her and walk her to the subway, or bring her directly to the express bus only if it drops her off right near her house. Lots of people are shocked that SI isn’t as far from Manhattan as they think. And find they actually like the grass, riding in a car instead of the subway, no alt side of the street parking, and that it isn’t all live episodes of jersey shore and mob wives. There are def people who, once they know what the commute is, still don’t want to do it, which is fine. Lots of others will put up with it once they see what it really is, they just don’t know that yet cuz they’ve neve tried.

    I think when people have deal breakers it’s up to them to vet their potential dates vs their potentials to lay out every painstaking potentially unflattering detail about their personal life and circumstance in a profile.

    To me, a profile is about maximizing options. It’s perfectly fine if some get cut during the messaging phase cuz they find out a deal breaker within the first few contacts that wasnt in the profile. Who you are looking for by withholding that bit of info are the ones who wouldn’t have messages you if they saw it up front but realized by meeting you that what they used to think of as deal breakers actually aren’t such a big deal after all.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      Lots of people are shocked that SI isn’t as far from Manhattan as they think.

      No, it’s actually not that far geographically or by public transportation from Manhattan. Depending on where you are it’s closer than some places in Queens or Brooklyn. I’ve had friends who’ve lived there and spent many weekends in SI, Richmond neighborhood, but on the far side from the ferry. The best part was a pizza place that had the most awesome garlic pizza. But for NYC, Staten Island is the ‘burbs. It’s easiest to get to from Manhattan, but once there, it’s hard to get around.

      Whether in the profile or not, once revealed, it’s going to be a deal killer for most Manhattan women. And I’m assuming from the OP’s letter that he prefers dating women from the “city” rather from SI. If he can’t, or doesn’t want to, find someone on SI, he can’t really complain that “city” women don’t want to date someone from SI…

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  4. fuzzilla Says:

    A different city? If you live in Staten Island, does your address on a piece of mail say “Staten Island, NY” or “New York City, NY”? (I get the overall point and I don’t like traveling for dates, either, unless someone really knocked my socks off).

    I’m tired. D’Alias has good advice. Although I guess I wonder how he’s meeting people, what the context is. Is it in Manhattan, where, like Moxie says, people will presume he lives there and be disappointed that he doesn’t? OKCupid? Is there no one desirable to target locally?

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    • LostSailor Says:

      Different city? Well, yes.

      Something addressed to NYC will be delivered based on zip code, but most people put their borough as the “city” when giving their address. Except for Manhattan. Manhattan people just put “new york” as their address. Chauvinism and unconscious bias? Yes, indeed. But we pay a premium for it…

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      • mindstar Says:

        And except for Queens where most people actually list the specific neighborhood. Ex. Forest Hills, Jamaica, Long Island City etc as opposed to Queens, NY.

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  5. D'Alias Says:

    ^^^ SI is one of the five boroughs of New York City. The mail says Staten Island like how mail from BK says Brooklyn. It’s anywhere from 35 min to 90 min from Manhattan depending what parts & how you’re travelling. 24 hour PTs is available but some buses stop after midnight or rush hour.

    The dating options for professional singles over 30 are very limited – there’s tons of young families. There are also a lot of unionized workers (civil servants), etc. Historically, this meant that people in their twenties were fairly stable and so more likely to marry earlier. The high rate of home ownership makes for low turn over, and the lack of a cute downtown esque area where you can party without a car makes it hard to attract hip singles despite the lower rent and proximity to Manhattan.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Heh, I used to have a crush on some asshole who lived in Brooklyn and sent him a present from amazon once. Yep, the address said “Brooklyn, NY.” Forgot about that.

      Anyway, yeah, the Staten Island demographic sounds pretty suburban, more or less. Different world. Though I imagine if the OP owns a home he’s probably not real keen to move to some shitbox just to say he lives in Manhattan. He should ask himself what his desired demographic/lifestyle is and zoom in on that.

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  6. VJ Says:

    Several things come to mind at once. But all good advice above too.

    No, the rabbits of SI have no problems finding mates.

    Meh it could be worse. It might be ‘Jersey, right?

    The OP obviously just missed the great boon in ‘sexy psychiatrists’ via the contact hit from many NYC movies in the 1970’s-1980’s where they were prominently featured as stock player/types in Woody Allen films, etc.

    I’m sorry, if chemical engineers and bouzouki players can get dates in the big city so can psychologists.

    And no, it’s awfully unlikely that you’re just ‘too smart’ for the competition’ as well.
    Cheers, ‘VJ’

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      A handsome, fit psychologist sounds pretty good to me. Maybe the location is a red herring and there’s something else he’s doing that’s off-putting. If he were willing and able to take on the burden of traveling for dates, I’d think that would at least partially make up for the undesirable location thing. The woman could go out to him sometimes to even things out once they’ve been on a couple dates and she’s determined he’s worth the trouble.

      I accepted a date with a guy from a far suburb before and said “yeah, just so you know, I don’t have a car, but if you don’t mind coming out here….” I felt bad when he was all “oh man, I had to drive all the way home to walk my dog first and then head back this way.” I think he was a bit late/harried/rushed arriving to the restaurant, which would be the case all the time if the date actually went anywhere.

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  7. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “How about being a psychologist? I had great conversations and wonderful first dates until I revealed (when asked for my occupation and education) that I am a psychologist with a PhD.”

    Well, there’s psychologist and there’s PSYCHOLOGIST. Like most professions, there is a wide variance in this profession. Many psychologists work for the NYC Board of Ed – they are essentially teachers of children. That is vastly different than someone who runs a private practice treating mentally ill patients. Or, maybe you’re a “TV Psychologist” like the ones on that work in law enforcement and, because they went to school for a few years, they can tell when people are lying by reading their minds. In real life, they’d probably be broke too.

    NYC is a fairly sophisticated market. For the most part, people are neither impressed nor threatened by a psycologist or a “PhD.” Now, a psychiatrist may be a different story.

    The Staten Island problem is a no-brainer. There are two ways to get from SI to Manhattan – by car through Brooklyn, or by ferry. The ferry is free and fairly quick but it is for commuters without cars, not daters – in other words, it takes you to lower manhattan where virtually no one lives and the same on the Staten Island side. So once you’ve reached your “destination,” you still have at least 30 minutes of travelling to do by train or bus, and you, of course, will be without your car. If you’re driving, you’re likely to be sitting in traffic on the Verazano Bridge, and/or the BQE at any hour except maybe 1 AM – 5 AM. If you’re exhausted reading this, imagine doing it. Or knowing your date will be doing it. Having a car is only useful if you are dating in Staten Island (or NJ, or parts of other outerboroughs where parking is ample). Women in Manhattan only care about your having a car if (a) you keep it in Manhattan so they can go shopping (with you) to the malls and outlets out of the city and, of course, (b) it’s nice, impressive car.

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    • Speedy Says:

      Actually you’ll find the vast majority of PhD holding psychologists have nothing to do with, nor are they in any way qualified in, teaching, therapy, “analysing people”, talking or feelings. You can see this from the relative membership levels of the 56 divisions of the APA.

      Personally I’ve never encountered any issues at all, I’m not sure really sure what David is on about.

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      • LostSailor Says:

        It doesn’t really matter if the majority of PhD-holding psychologists are qualified to analyze people. What matters is the perception of the people she/he’s dating: many of them are going to hear “psychologist” and assume “analyzing me.”

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        • Speedy Says:

          All I can tell you is that it has never happened to me, possibly because I don’t flounce around trying to create an air of mystery about it.

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  8. ISOf16 Says:

    I Totally agree on the discussion about how people have crazy stereotypes. I use to tell people I work in a factory, and would get all kinds of commens on how amazed they were that I could spell, or even know how to write. As if believing anyone who worked in an automotive factory can’t read.

    Speaking of “password protected posts” How does one get to read those? I have written to Moxie 3 times and have never got a reply. It sure would be nice to know what one has to do to get access.

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      If I wanted to give you access to those posts, I would have. I stated in a post last week that I only let people I know in real life or people with whom I’ve developed an online relationship with who have divulged their real life identity have access. Repeatedly requesting access, both privately and now here, is exactly why you don’t have access. Learn how to take a hint.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

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  9. hammersandnails Says:

    I think a lot of Manhattan people are lumping Staten Island in with the other boroughs in a way that is not accurate. I’ve lived in Manhattan and queens and dated girls from Manhattan, queens, and Brooklyn.

    I don’t think twice about western queens, or Brooklyn . Staten Island is a whole different animal. The one time I went home with a girl from SI who insisted on her place, I was on the UWS. The cab ride was almost $90. I left and found myself deep in residential staten island at 5 am with a dead phone (long story). I walked for hours to finally find the bus. Took the bus to Brooklyn, and then hopped another train to get home at nearly 10 am. Nothing at all like astoria/lic or w’berg/bushwick/etc whatever.

    I honestly think it’s weird seeing where the practicality ends and the small mindedness kicks in. I’ve spent a few years living in midtown and the UWS, and I’m sure I’ll be back again. I’m in LIC now and loving it. It’s weird as someone comfortable with the boroughs to see someone that’s never been to queens think that, from UES, LIC is just such a hike. It’s a 7 dollar 11 minute yellowcab ride. They would have no problem with the 30 minute, $40 west villiage ride. I don’t understand people that don’t give queens or Brooklyn a try if they are going to end up someplace unfortunate just to be able to say they live in Manhattan. I guess it’s just familiarity. I certainly would be hesitant going to a neighborhood in Brooklyn I knew nothing about after heading out to marine park a few times.

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    • hammersandnails Says:

      Just to clarify: Marine park is a nice neighborhood. It’s just faaaaaar, compared to the Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg or Green Point that come up more frequently.

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  10. D'Alias Says:

    Yes, Hammersetal – same thing for Jerseyians who live in places like Hoboken and Edgewater – shorter cab ride than crosstown. That’s why I think the whole “must live in manhattan” thing is Ignorant (unless the person restricts him/herself to walking distance – now THAT I get). That’s why lots of people who grew up in NYC tend to be more open to trying out the surrounding areas and other 4 boroughs than people who moved here as adults. Whatevs – to each their own.

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  11. GuyDatingAbroad Says:

    I was on a date in Moscow, and sexier is not correlated with location of the city, unless you are in the GUM walking mall in the Red Square where trophy girlfriends hang out with millionaire boyfriends.

    Here in Geneva, the young and loud singles–most of whom smoke–definitely hang out in the centre, if that is your definition of sexy.

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