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Sexy, Successful…And Single?

Sounds cheesy (pardon the pun), but some women dread revealing their occupation. Who are they? They’re women with impressive jobs—doctors, lawyers, engineers.

By Elsa K. Simcik

ere’s the scene: A woman’s spending way too much time around the cheese tray at her neighbor’s drab get-together when suddenly, a tall, slightly stubbled gentleman (think Jack from Lost) approaches. After about 30 seconds of swapping stories about how they each know Trish (host of said drab gathering), he predictably asks her, “So, what do you do?”

A woman having an impressive job always yields the same
A woman having an impressive job always yields the same reaction from a man…
reaction from a man: Confusion, awkwardness, that moment when he’s wondering, “Is my job as an assistant manager of a copy shop going to sound pitiful?”

Apparently just because you have a lot of degrees on your wall doesn’t mean you have a lot of suitors at your door. And as women continue to achieve higher-level jobs, there are more smart, accomplished gals who have to face the fact that they may intimidate men. In fact, in 2003, women accounted for 36% of all chemists, 28% of all lawyers, 30% of all physicians and surgeons, and — wow — 66% of all psychologists.

So are successful women doomed to a life of tense cheese-tray introductions? Of course not. These women can either be patient till an equally high-powered man or a naturally confident fella turns up. Or they can know how best to present their career so as not to scare off less-assured guys. Here, some pointers:

Ask for advice
Bring your career down to reality, suggests John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Open up and show a vulnerable side right from the beginning: “When a woman immediately senses that a man is intimidated, she should find a way of communicating that she has a need for some advice,” Dr. Gray explains: “For example, if she’s a doctor, she could talk to him about something frustrating that happened at the hospital that day.” Dr. Gray points out that men want to feel needed, so this tactic is a good way to bring him inside your circle.

Chat up a guy about his career
“I say date someone who is as equally passionate about his job as you are,” recommends Jill Farrar, a lawyer. “After speaking
And what if a guy is perhaps too pleased about your turbo-charged career?
legal jargon all day, that’s the last thing I want to come home to. I find myself usually dating doctors, architects or even salesmen—guys who are consumed with their jobs and want to swap stories with me.”

Find equal footing
Don’t let the conversation just be about work. Find a way to change the topic to something you can both relate to: The last movie you saw, your favorite spot for a hike, the wine-tasting class you’re taking next week. The goal here is to get talking about mutual interests—or hobbies you can share with each other. This isn’t just resume-trading time. Show what else makes you tick.

Know when it’s not going to work…
Still, some high-powered gals know that there are some situations where it’s best to say ‘there are other fish in the sea.’ “I dated a guy who couldn’t get over the fact that I had a Master’s degree,” admits Whitney Bessler. “Since he hadn’t been to college, he would always remind me that I had two more degrees than him. He even made a point to read the newspaper right before he picked me up. I didn’t care about our educational differences. But I did care that he made an issue out of it.” Whitney packed up her two framed diplomas and left.

And what if a guy is perhaps too pleased about your turbo-charged career? That’s a situation Kory Jones, a surgical resident, faced. She thought dating a musician/bartender would provide a nice balance to her intense, life-and-death, grueling-schedule job. “Most guys I date get fed up with the amount of time I spend at work,” explains Dr. Jones. “But this guy encouraged it. He told me to work hard so that when I was done with my residency I would ‘make the big bucks.’ The last straw was when he introduced me as his Sugar Mama.” The lesson here? Sometimes you don’t have to think too hard to know when a relationship just isn’t going to work.


Elsa K. Simcik is a freelance writer in Atlanta. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and CNN.com.
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