I thought that when I finally got my golden ticket into medical school, and my life felt (somewhat) figured out, I would be on a stable career trajectory and an easy dating path would follow. I mean, who doesn’t want to date a future doctor? I couldn't have been more wrong.
Dating became even more difficult. Looking back at the shambles that added up to my so-called “dating life” throughout the past three years, the route was nothing short of a natural disaster.
Why was it, then, that when I was so insecure during my undergrad years, I had managed to obtain such stable and meaningful relationships? And why does it now feel so impossible?
I brainstormed some of the reasons why things haven't worked out for me thus far. Sure, the majority of my school and work colleagues managed to secure relationships within the field of medicine.
But, I never wanted to pursue that. I live for difference. After a long day of medical puzzles, emergencies and extreme stress, there is nothing I wanted more than to unwind with someone who just doesn’t get it. Sometimes, it’s good to just leave work at work.
So then, why have there been so many dead-ends? Is there some secret about us ambitious gals about which guys are just are not aware? And then, when they find out, they have no choice, but to run for the hills?
It would be nice to blame my dating failures on my dorky awkwardness, but I know that there HAS to be some other reasons.
I know that many women in high-status careers face similar struggles: From law, accounting, management and engineering, something just isn’t adding up. Why are guys out there intimidated by career-oriented women? And, what about us career-oriented, ambitious women, is so impossible to understand?
Guys just have to understand these things about us:
1. We know what we want.
And, we let people know exactly what that is. The sky is the limit. We have high standards for what we want to get out of our lives — we have to. We’ve worked so hard to get where we are and we’re confident that we will be able to do anything to get to the top. The 10th promotion?
We’re working on it. The nice car, six-figure house and vacation to Maui are on our soon-to-do bucket lists. We’re ambitious — and you may or may not be able to deal with it.
2. We play hard, but work harder.
Working an 80-hour week is hardly surprising to any of us. We're fine to sleep three hours, five nights in a row just because we’re just that busy.
When we have to bail on dinner for the third time in a row because we’re finishing that deadline, delivering a baby or attending a late meeting, it may just push that man away. Again.
3. We can’t have kids until later in life.
I don’t know when late fertility became a turnoff, but I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. When did it become so wrong to wait until after the age of 35 to have children?
Sure we won’t look as hot as that MILF who hardly looks old enough to have a baby, but at least we can afford a whole boatload of baby-nappies and diapers. Is that not enough?
4. We might not have time to cook you that four-course meal.
In fact, we may not even have time to buy groceries. If we do, they are likely of the quick on-the-go type fixes. Tuna in a can? Check. Carrots and celery pre-packaged for snack time? Check.
Some of us may be more organized on this front than others, but it's likely that a meal requiring any more than one hour to prepare is just wishful thinking.
Pizza and a glass of wine seem to take the front seat in my working-gal diet. Impress us and do the cooking for the night — we will be very appreciative.
5. We have a routine, and we stick to it.
If you don’t actually attempt to make plans with us in advance, hangouts are very unlikely to happen. Our time is likely micromanaged, to a tee. How else are we supposed to fit in hot yoga, a date with our girlfriends an after-work drink with colleagues and the paper we are planning to publish next month?
Your last-minute invites are not looked upon positively. If you genuinely care about hanging out, please make an effort and plan something in advance.
No, it does not make you look desperate — it transforms you from a lazy schmuck to an organized, mature gentleman almost instantaneously.
6. We have male work friends.
You should not be jealous of them or feel insecure — there is a reason why we’ve agreed to a date you, after all.
You should not be worried about these guys in our career hemisphere, as it is likely that we are dating outside of our scene for a reason.
It is important to stay connected in the work environment, so please don’t be intimidated.
7. We DO like to have nights in.
Despite our go-go-go persona during the day, we do enjoy a rom-com on the couch with some popcorn and your smile. We like to kick back in sweatpants and a ponytail.
8. We’re not always as tough as we act.
We appreciate you asking us about our day, listening to us rant and occasionally, holding us when we break down in tears. Our career often requires us to force strength when we’re feeling down or weak.
It is hard to have a constant shield of toughness, and we appreciate you being around when we need that support.
So, men of the world, next time you decide to ask out a career-oriented woman, please ask yourself “can I handle her?” We have opinions. We won’t let you make all of the decisions.
We won’t take a backseat to you. And, we sure as hell won’t sacrifice our careers after all the hard work we’ve done to get there.
But, deep down, all we really want is someone who understands and understands our goals. Someone who understands that we may be busy, but are comfortable with that; understands that eventually, we do want the same things as you, but that it might take a little longer for us to get there.