Why are men intimidated by successful women?

I have had this blog post brewing for some time now and then a series of events involving some of my girlfriends drove me to finally write it!

It all started when I was chatting to a very good friend of mine who I often go to for man advice when I need to ‘woman-up’!  She is my friend who will tell me to stop waiting in for his phone call, stop wishing that something will happen that clearly won’t and instead helps me not to cave in and call him but to buck up and move on!  If a guy is really interested he should be chasing me, right?  She is the voice of reason and reality amongst my girlfriends, a no-nonsense, head-strong kind of girl and stunning with it.  She is also single at them moment.   Anyway, said feisty-friend was telling me about a conversation she and a girlfriend were having in a sauna at their local gym with some guys.  Somehow the conversation turned to relationships (doesn’t it always) and one guy confidently admitted that he would ‘never’ approach my friend or her girlfriends as they were clearly confident and independent women who ‘owned their own cars, had good jobs and lived in their own places’!  The guy’s mates then all heartely agreed concluding they would ‘look’ from a distance and ‘admire’ but never ‘approach’.  My friend was not sure whether to be flattered or insulted but after reflection decided on the latter.  What is with that?  So a guy would not approach her due to the things in her life that are indicators of her achievement, success and ability in life??? When she challenged the guy (who of course grew increasingly intimidated at being questioned at all) he responded by saying ‘Well then what could I bring to the table if you have a good job, your own home and a car?’  Screwed up or what?!  Duh! How about love, support, encouragement, companionship??

The more we discussed this, the more angry I became at this skewed idea men have about what a woman most wants in a relationship.  I know there really are those women out there who want to be kept in Jimmy Choo shoes, Prada bags and dine weekly at The Ivy but really the majority of the women I know of all ages want to be loved, desired and cherished above all else – much more than any material provision.  Yes it’s important, particularly if you’re at the family planning stage, to have a stable income of sorts and to know your man will step-up and do what is necessary to support your family financially (as will you when you can) but I don’t know many women that really essentially need a man to earn more than them as their number one requirement in a relationship.

Just a few short weeks after this conversation, a young man of just 23 was telling me about his desire (verging on desperation) to get married by 25 and have children by 28!  He then told me about his brother who recently dated a beautiful woman who picked him up for their first date in a Bentley. After discovering that she and her friends earned upwards of £90K and she had a penthouse flat he swiftly dumped her and refused to see her again!  I can understand a little intimidation at that level of social circle but to dump a girl and potentially miss out on a soul-mate due to her high-earnings when she was really very keen on him (so clearly the financial imbalance did not matter to her) is frankly prideful stupidity!

Less than a week later another singer friend posted this image on her FB wall dedicating it to all her single-singer-girlfriends who had been told they were intimidating by men just because of the job they do:

Her post was flooded with ‘likes’ and comments with women identifying with her frustration.

Then, in this week’s Grazia magazine ana article says Chloe Sevigny says she frightens men  – but are they really intimidated by female breadwinners?  In the article Chloe actually goes as far as saying her success equates ‘romance suicide’.   Even more perplexing is that in the same article, writer Tony Parsons, says men always want to be the high earner and comments, ‘For if a man can’t be the bread-winner, then what exactly is the point of him?’  I’m just lost for words at this point!

So then, what is a successful, able and strong girl supposed to do?  Dumb herself down in order to get a man???

I discussed this with a male friend who pointed out that men have been conditioned since the dawn of time to be the ‘provider’ and it’s hard to escape the pressure and conditioning of that.  It’s a good point and I do appreciate and realise this.  I even get how a man’s self-esteem is often intrinsically connected to his earnings – not necessarily that they have to be ‘high’ earnings but, that if he is struggling in this area he is often struggling in every area of his life due to feelings of inadequacy – something I feel does not affect women with quite the same force.  However, I quipped back at my friend that many mindsets have existed since the dawn of time but have been challenged, evolved or even overturned as society progresses and changes!  It’s 2012!  We women can vote, we can choose to have a career or have a family or both at the same time and we are stronger and more confident.  This is progress people!  It is a mortal shame if the result of these breakthroughs mean we have to miss out in love, be alone or worse case scenario, not reach our full potential in all areas of life.

Surely there is another alternative or is it me that’s deluded? The alternative I had in mind was a man confident and secure enough to rejoice in my triumphs with me, to celebrate my victories and to spur me on to be all I can be to my highest potential.  It goes without saying that this is also a woman’s role in a relationship – a partnership!  Is this really not possible in 2012?  Really?  If so then what kind of progress have we really made?

Comments please – from BOTH sexes!

Thirty-something female: Things I’m still learning but really should know by now!

I read a great article recently in the UK Huffington Post called, ‘Turning 30: 30 things every woman should have and should know’. It was one of those articles that makes you smile, laugh and wince all at the same time.  I’m pleased to report that I faired not too badly but then I’m past the ’30’ mark already!  It was really thought provoking for me in terms of having a little ‘stop and reflect’ on how far I’ve come and also what I still want to achieve.  I think having goals are really important, short, mid and long-term ones (realistic, stretching and crazy) and whereas I’m generally a forward-thinking, leave-the-past-behind kind a gal, I do see the value in looking back on what you’ve learned and achieved if it’s in a positive and constructive context.

So, as I’m still very much a ‘work in progress’ (aren’t we all?) I’ve made my list slightly different hence the revised title – Things I’m still learning but really should know by now!  In fact there are 3 sections – things I should/do know, things I should/do have and things I should/have done! Please note, these are things personal to me and I’m not saying in any way these are things ‘all’ women should know, have or have done – but it might give you some food for thought 😉

THINGS I KNOW (OR ‘SHOULD’ KNOW):

  1. Drinking lots of water is good for you
  2. When a guy doesn’t call, he’s just not in to you – get the hint!
  3. Being organised really helps in life
  4. We are generally more attractive than we think we are
  5. Don’t read into a guy’s silence, words, actions or anything – he really isn’t thinking anything you think he is!
  6. Diets generally don’t work
  7. The friends you fall out with and then make up with again are your friends for life
  8. It’s important to smile every day and laugh often – it’s literally good for your health!
  9. It’s essential to forgive (including yourself) and to let go in order to have true freedom
  10. You really don’t get too many genuine friendships in life so when you come across new people you gel with, invest in them and cherish them.
  11. Similarly, when you find someone to love who ‘gets you’ and who you connect with, don’t waste time – hold on to them for all you’ve got!
  12. Time speeds up and passes too quickly
  13. Music can make pretty much every thing better
  14. To love hard and recklessly, not measured, reserved and careful
  15. A balanced view of your faults and victories, strengths and weaknesses
  16. There is never a ‘good’ or ‘right’ time to have a baby
  17. The power of a woman!
  18. Some pain is necessary and therefore good
  19. What you believe
  20. Patience pays off

THINGS I HAVE (OR ‘SHOULD’ HAVE)

  1. A car that’s new-ish
  2. An expensive, designer handbag (apparently)
  3. An outfit that immediately makes me feel ‘hot’ when I put it on
  4. Decent matching, underwear
  5. Good hair (!)
  6. A clear view of what I want and where I want to be in life and well on the path towards it
  7. A dessert Island song list
  8. A good set of knives
  9. 3 friends I can call on anytime day or night in any circumstance
  10. A dog
  11. A child
  12. A friend who knows the worst thing I’ve done and still loves me and accepts me
  13. Confidence in my looks
  14. A Gay best friend
  15. A heterosexual male friend who really is ‘just a friend’
  16. A healthy relationship with my parents
  17. An iPad
  18. Some FM shoes
  19. A favourite place in the world
  20. Great memories and stories to re-tell in my old age

THINGS I HAVE DONE (OR ‘SHOULD’ HAVE DONE)

  1. Lived abroad – preferably New York!
  2. Had a liaison with a guy way above my league
  3. Spontaneously wake up one morning and take off some where for the day either alone or with someone special
  4. A reckless thing and not regretted it
  5. Decided one day to change my life and really do it!
  6. Written a novel
  7. Danced naked in the rain (or at least in just underwear)
  8. Felt so sad and broken I thought I’d die then wake up the next day to realise I survived it!
  9. Felt so happy I could burst
  10. Ate something weird or unusual
  11. Something I dreamed of as a little girl
  12. Fallen in love
  13. Had my heart broken
  14. Loved and accepted myself
  15. Ate dessert for main dinner
  16. Held a piglet
  17. Trusted a man
  18. Written a song
  19. Slept on a beach
  20. Got my ideal body

Feel free to share with me your list as mine is in no way complete and ever evolving but it was fun to do! 🙂