I recently spent a Saturday morning strolling around a downtown market with an old friend. The sun was shining, familiar jokes had left a smile etched on my face and I just couldn't get over the deals I was seeing (three green peppers for a dollar?! No way). Life couldn't get any better.
We walked along the stalls, taking in the eccentric atmosphere, chatting about life. As conversations held by females in their mid-twenties sometimes do, our chat turned to dating. My friend, a dedicated medical school student who fits the type-A personality description to the fullest, started explaining about how she thought guys were intimidated by her. She informed me that her new resolution is to only date someone at her level of education or higher.
That statement made me drop the cantaloupe I was examining at a fruit stand.
I asked for some clarification. In her own roundabout way, she told me that she expected her partner to be at least a doctor (or, if she had to settle, maybe a lawyer). No one "underneath" her would really be able to understand her mind, let alone provide a suitable lifestyle. People with advanced degrees were smarter than those who just finished four years of college. Don't even get her started on a bottom of the barrel high school diploma.
I was absolutely floored. A red flag went off in my head as I asked myself a question. In 2012, does a class system exist in the dating world?
As she continued on about how her future wedding would only be involving two doctors, I started examining my own life. My parents are two of the smartest people I've ever met. They "only" have high school diplomas, but have prided themselves on continuing their educations in the real world well into their sixties. I thought about some of the people I went to college with. Even with a B.S. next to their names, I'm skeptical if they'll ever be able to balance their own checkbooks. Thoughts of Steve Jobs, a college dropout turned technology giant, popped into my head as I glanced around at people on iPhones. I sighed to myself, thinking about how staying inclusive to your perceived class was such an awful concept.
Until another thought popped into my mind. Through friends of friends, I had met a nice guy a few weeks earlier. He had a similar blue-collar upbringing. He enjoyed the same type of music and movies. And yes, he was attractive. He also worked in a factory after dropping out of college. After talking to him for a few weeks, I didn't see anything that would indicate a future together. I nervously asked myself if I was engaging in the class-exclusive mindset, just like the friend I had scoffed moments before?
After calming myself down, I realized that I didn't have class warfare on the brain. I have big plans for a career, he wants to settle down. I have a move to New York on my brain, his boots are firmly planted in the Midwest. As good of a guy as he was, we just didn't click. That's why things didn't pan out.
As I continued looping my way around the market place, I suddenly got sad for my friend. While class differences do exist, it's safe to say you're setting yourself up for an uninteresting world if you let them define your personal life. I hope that someday, she'll find a good guy who accepts her, loves her and supports her. Maybe he'll be a doctor, lawyer or politician. But not-so-secretly, I'm hoping her future hubby is a garbage man. In a world with so many other problems, thinking about what class your significant other belongs to should be the least of your worries.