VENT: "What Do You Do?"

NOTE: This myTake is applicable to the over-45 crowd. If you are under age 45, you can read this as a cautionary tale about aging. Otherwise, it really has nothing to do with you. If you are under 25, it really is far afield from your experience, I am sure.

In the old days of dating, i.e. my younger days i.e. when I was under 45, I would catch a woman's eye and if the attraction was mutual, we would go on a date. The topics we discussed revolved around our lives, pets, relationships, sometimes family and friends, mutual interests, et al.

Now, as a member of the aging class, I find there is an almost exclusive focus on my occupation. "What do you do?" has become one of the first, if not the first, questions a woman asks. It is a pretty transparent inquiry into my income, which I understand is important to women. Unfortunately it seems to have become the only thing of any importance to too many.


For some of us, our lives do not revolve around our careers. We don't meet celebrities or have interesting stories. I like my job, but as a topic of discussion, it is pretty boring, even to me. I have other hobbies and interests I like to discuss. Somehow all of the women I meet are singularly focused on career - theirs and mine.

The last time I went out with someone, the question of "what do you do?" quickly came up. I tried to address it quickly and get it out of the way. She talked about her career, then kept coming back around to mine. Once she had drained my wallet and an evening of my time, we parted ways forever, with a simple good-bye.

I suppose I should feel like a failure, but I don't. I like my life's situation and wouldn't change it for any woman. It doesn't make me rich and financial security is a concern, but it is always a concern, for everyone.

For the past several months, I have found myself reluctant to date. "If I hear the question 'what do you do?' one more time, it will be too soon," I told myself.

My friends have remained on my case, trying to get me back out there, despite my reluctance to even discuss the topic of dating with them. So I signed up for some of the new apps. Perhaps I have been feeling a bit lonely, and perhaps some other things.

I don't get many matches through things like Tindr, even though there are lots of women in my age range. It is really discouraging. I have been using these apps for a week.

Yesterday I contacted my first match through a Tindr-like dating app who actually wrote me back. Once we addressed the topic of my initial approach, her first question was "what do you do?"

My eyes rolled in the back of my head. It was over, I knew it, if this is so important to her, I'll just stick a fork in it.

"I have worked as a (job title) for (company) for the past (number of years). I make (number)K. Not enough?"

I am sure some of you will tell me she didn't contact me back because I displayed a bad attitude, which might have even been a little insulting. Had I said "I am the vice president of industrial design for Apple, I make $500K. Not enough?" I imagine she might have been less insulted and that might not have been the end of it. "My position involves a lot of travel and I enjoy taking friends with every so often" might have sealed the deal and I might be married now.

It is a damned if you do/don't situation. In my mind, I never heard back because - no, not enough, thanks. Too bad. Good luck out there and nice talking to you!

At least it cost me minimal time and no money. After more than a week, I know where I stand.

If I ever try to enter the online dating scene again, next time I will reply with "I'll tell you about my job if you tell me how much you weigh."

That'll show 'em.


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What Girls Said 1

  • No one choses what they are attracted to. To paraphrase Schopenhaeuar we can choose to follow our desires but we cannot choose our desires. Women do not choose to be attracted to muscly, confident, successful men anymore than men choose to be attracted to young, pretty, curvy, women. It is no more shallow for a woman to be attracted to a rich man than for a man to be attracted to large breasts.

    A man can fall in love with a beautiful woman without her beauty being the only reason he is with her. Likewise a women can fall in love with a rich man for many reasons. After all, there are lots of beautiful women and rich men in the world to choose from. But attraction must come first. We do not fall in love with people we are not attracted to. Of course there are shallow men and women but not everyone is shallow.

    • It is really difficult for me to understand being carnally attracted to wealth unless a guy projects wealth and status with a fancy car, nice apartment, etc., in which case why would a woman care what the guy does for a living and/or why would she even have to ask? And if she does have to ask, is it then really a "superficial," carnal, innate thing, or a deliberate decision? And if it is a deliberate decision, it's definitely nothing like a breast size preference. That would go back to your quote by Schopenhaeuar.

    • PS Thanks for the comment, it's a good one!

    • Women still have the same biological instincts they had thousands of years ago when they would have had to rely on men for resources. So even though I can pay my own bills I still find ambition attractive in a man.

      Of course I'm not denying there are gold diggers, evidently you've found a few. There are women who use men for money and men who use women for sex. I agree this is wrong. People are responsible for their actions even if they are not responsible for their desires.

      I don't know if it's a case of being attracted to wealth, per sey, more of being attracted to qualities like success and ambition. So when a woman asks you what you do it could be stemming from a conscious desire to shake you down or an unconscious instinct.

What Guys Said 1

  • Good take. It's unfortunate we live in such a greedy materialistic society, where wealth is considerd more important than time with family, personal growth, and what one offers the world.

    To think of all the lonely women who need companionship but pass up the modest men who offer a great and happy life for the slim chance that they may find a wealthier man who often turns out to be a terrible partner.

    When your priority in life is money- people are not.