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Oh dear gawd, HELP

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First off, sorry for the long post. I also apologize if this sounds utterly narcissistic.


I have somewhat of an *issue* that I would like help in, so it can be resolved. It has come to my attention that I am labeled as an (edit) female in the eyes of men. I was speaking with a male friend of mine, who stated this just recently. He specifically noted that when I first arrived (edit), many men gawked at me but once they heard me speak on (edit) issues, it became irksome to the men. Essentially, it was clear that I had my *mod edit* together, did not take things at face value, and aggressively pursued what I desire.


For the longest time, I could not understand why I have been unable to get 'asked out' for a date at (edit), which has over (edit). I was thinking I wasn't attractive or that I was somehow turning men off. Currently, I am attracted to a (edit) who I flirt with regularly. He has asked me out for beers, but these aren't 'dates'. I am (edit) and I can detect when a man is attracted to me. I know this man is. Yet, apparently, my background intimidates men of ALL ages. I do come from a (edit) thereforeeee I have lived throughout the (edit). I understand that I have a general experience with life that many others do not. Further, I have an (edit) degree, plus a (edit). Presently, I received acceptance into a Masters of (edit). I have attended top-notch universities accross the continent for my degrees, thus I am highly independent and have no problems moving from continent to continent, state-state, or province-province. I have done this many times, alone. Yes, I have intelligence. Yes, I have worked in prestige positions. Yes, I do work in a male dominated environment.


However, I am STILL a female who would like to have a relationship I flirt like a crazy woman, I crack jokes to lighten the conversation, I dress girlie (with dresses and skirts), I wear makeup. I am not narcissistically stating that I am hot, but I do know that men find me extremely attractive considering that I am complimented frequently amongst the hoots-and-hollers. I can talk hockey and football. Conversation is not a problem, nor is approach.


With this said, how do I become a (edit) For the life of me, compliments and 'group dates' are the furthest I get with men](*,) . The man who told me I am an (edit) said, himself, that if he did not undoubtedly think that I was already 'taken' when he met me, there was no way on earth he could have approached me. I am so distraught over this that I even attempted to down play my background and education by stating that I worked at a (edit): all just to see if he would ask for my phone number. He told me that it was impossible to believe because, quote, "your dialect, observatory skills and common sense beg to differ about your intelligence level. I simply don't believe you work at such a location." I really could use ENA's help, especially since I have an (edit) with this man I am interested in . I know I should not have to dull down and should be proud of what I have accomplished, yet, I get upset over the fact that my background and education level is taking me down in the *relationship* department. I mean, come on, I went to school with now doctor's, lawyers, and astrophysicists - who all have remained tight friends. I desperately need to become (edit). How?


Thanks and I can't wait to hear your advice. If you have further questions, I will gladly answer what I can.

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without tooting my own horn, I am intelligent, well educated, a successful professional in a highly competitive and "male" type profession. I will NOT dumb down because there's no point - wouldn't want to be with that type of guy anyway. I never had trouble meeting men - the whole "men will be intimidated" issue never affected my life. Well, very very rarely and never with a man I would have been remotely interested in.


I do know that I know when to take off my professional hat, how to be feminine (which I very much enjoy), and I am not arrogant (not saying you are just noting that sometimes it is a problem of acting pretentious or arrogant, not the number of degrees you have).


Yes, it is true, I have met men who prefer that the woman is not smarter than he is - but that works for me because I am more attracted to men who I perceive to be smarter than me. That narrows the field statistically, but not if you live in/move to a major city that attracts educated professionals.


Just my thoughts.

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I may be off here (and I apologize if I am); I agree with you that you shouldn't have to downplay your achievements to get more dates but could it be that you unwittingly underscore your credentials a bit too much in your interactions with men?


Thanks for the quick reply. You raised a wonderful point and I fully understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, I don't bring up my credentials at all. Unless, the man begins to question. I usually keep the focus on him, current events, television, family etc. Things we would have in common that both of us can relate to. Essentially, what occurs is that once he finds out about my background he has many questions. Answering the question is when I virtually see this symbol going off in his head. It is overwhelming and intimidating, or so I have been told.


Statistically, this may be the case BUT *NOT* all smart, intelligent, powerful, prestigious, well-traveled, independent women have difficulty finding dates and/or committed partners to share their lives with.


Even though, as you say, you flirt, do you think you might be also sending out a "signal" (if you will) that says "approach with caution"?


Once again, another well rounded point. I should have included that statistically I'm not devoid of relationship experience myself. This (edit) (if that is a word, lol) is a recent matter. As I stated, I am (edit). I have had 5 very profound and intense relationships, including an engagement. I have healed nicely from all relationships and taken lesson's with me. I don't believe I give off the 'approach with caution' impression, but I will undoubtedly look further into it. I do flirt heavily, especially with this (edit) man. I swear if I touch him any more than I do already, he might view me as clingy and not flirty.

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welcome to enotalone. if you've had 5 profound relationships and an engagement, sounds like you are doing fine, just haven't met your mr. right. keep looking! some guys would be intimidated by a woman like you, but plenty others would be wowed. figure out what kind of guy you want, and hang out where you are likely to meet him.


good luck

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Yes, it is true, I have met men who prefer that the woman is not smarter than he is - but that works for me because I am more attracted to men who I perceive to be smarter than me. That narrows the field statistically, but not if you live in/move to a major city that attracts educated professionals.



Thanks for your response Batya. I concur that I also do enjoy someone who has intelligence and common sense. I don't care about the degrees because, in all honesty, to me they are just paper that the bureaucracy or enterprise wants. I have friends who have no paper trail, yet they can blow me away in conversation ANY day of the week. What I do care about is the level of conversation. If all one can talk about is sports, moosehead, or Britney Spears then I loose my marbles. I like to have variety in conversation, while being able to sit in silence and still feel comfortable with eachother at other times. My intense relationships include all sorts of men from drug addiction ex's, construction workers, bar tenders, waitors, helicopter pilots, and fighter pilots. I don't have a 'type' of man. I must admit, I am like every other woman and I go on initial physical attraction. Then I meet the man and it either works, or it doesn't.


When I meet the man that I am attracted to, that is when I go into crazy flirting stage.

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welcome to enotalone. if you've had 5 profound relationships and an engagement, sounds like you are doing fine, just haven't met your mr. right. keep looking! some guys would be intimidated by a woman like you, but plenty others would be wowed. figure out what kind of guy you want, and hang out where you are likely to meet him.


good luck


Annie, thanks for the Welcome. Personally, I want a man that respects me as a woman, and a man that I have respect for. I personally think that respect is a loaded word with a large amount of significance within it. It includes such qualities as gentleman, sincere, trustworthy, morally honorable, and humorous (etc.)


He could be anywhere... so I will keep watch.

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Yes, ditto to what Annie said!


Perhaps, your concern is not about how you appear to ALL men but to this younger guy in particular?


Do you think your concerned about the fact that HE might find you intimidating due to age, your accomplishments, intelligence, family background etc etc?





You are absolutely right. My predominant concern is with this (edit) man right now. I know the attraction is there. We unabashfully flirt. However, I know that he is nervous. For instance, the other day he came jogging up to me to say hello, and then he completely froze up losing what he was wishing to tell me. Instead, he escorted me to another building (edit) and then went home for the evening. Having found out that I am viewed as (edit) by my friend, I am seeking ways to appear (edit) so that I can get him to relax some more around me and (so girlie) something like a kiss might occur between us while on (edit).


Other than our (edit), which should not matter, he has the same background. He is even (edit). We relate on so many levels and we do such silly things to eachother. Everything is indicative to mutual like. We even spent (edit). I sat there smiling my face off like a sweet sixteen year old girl and he returned the smiles. It's like we are in a face-off and no matter how I act, he's too nervous to ask me on a date.

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why don't you just ask him out? you don't necessarily have to be formal about it, next time you see him, just be like, "you know, I am in the mood for some pie, i think i'm going to go to that cafe down the street." see if offers to join you!


or you can just ask him out directly. or while you are studying together, suggest getting an after-studying snack together.

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why don't you just ask him out? you don't necessarily have to be formal about it, next time you see him, just be like, "you know, I am in the mood for some pie, i think i'm going to go to that cafe down the street." see if offers to join you!


or you can just ask him out directly. or while you are studying together, suggest getting an after-studying snack together.




Thanks again for the response. He has done this exact form of 'asking' 5 times now. I have gone with him for 4 of those times. It's an impersonal environment, like a pub, that we usually go to. He insists on buying. We chat and have a great time. It has all the makings of a date - every single time. We have even gone out with a group of friends many more times. However, not one of these times has lead to a kiss. It is always a hand grab here, or there, or a sit beside one another and lean over eachother. There is nothing 'sexual', just 'subtle intimacy'. I don't dare go in for the kiss. I am a woman and I should be kissed. But, this just might be me being conventional .

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he could be trying to be a gentleman and not force anything? it is possible. or maybe he is interested, but not so interested in kissing you? more likes you as a friend? hard to tell, we weren't there


Annie, another great point! I'm not sure which direction he is taking this in either. I initially thought 'just friends' too. Then he started cruising for what I had thought about him, in subtle ways. To be specific, (edit). When in doubt attempt self-deprecation. I know he was hinting around for whether or not I thought he was 'eye-candy' but I did not realize until afterwards what he was striving for. So, lately I have given him other indications that he is appealing to me. Since then, our 'relations' have progressed each time we have gone out togther, just S.L.O.W.L.Y....... that would imply he is on the gentleman side of the fence.


I won't rule out just friends either .

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I agree with what the others have said, but I also wanted to add something to Ellie's point about your issue being more about this one guy.


24 is young, particularly for a man. Chances are that at 28 you would seem much older to him. You may well be intimidating to many man, but as the others have said, that should not act as a contraceptive to those men who are better suited to you. You've done alright so far!


But your impressive credentials etc PLUS the age gap may well make a difference to this particular guy. He sounds nervous with you and it may well be because he feels a little unsure of himself with an older woman.

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I also had another thought, please indulge me.


I have found with my own credentials (PhD) that the people most impressed are the people who are in my industry, fancy themselves as smart, and might have pursued a PhD themselves but for some random circumstance. I have been "tested" by these people, with them keen to show I'm not so smart and that they "could have done that". It's competitive. It is ONLY these people who have much in common with me academically/industry-wise who are like this. To be sexist (again) I also find it's men who do this, not women.


No one else really cares about my work or my credentials. Many of the people I am friends with just don't value that stuff and certainly (and justifiably) do not see me as some smarty-pants because I have a PhD. (It's not like there aren't lots of inadequate PhD folk out there - in my mind all it shows is a commitment to one topic


My point is that if you are looking to intimidate someone you can't really beat the combination you have here of:

(a) younger

(b) man

© who is in the same field as you and has the same background as you.


If it's a relationship you want I can see that you might need to be more upfront. Maybe he's even expecting it of you?

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You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, having these credentials makes you, as well as I, the prime candidates for competition with your male counterparts. Considering that I have a (edit), I know that there is an entire field of (edit) that is based upon this foundational theory. The males are highly competitive, especially at the educational level you have achieved, and to quote another friend of mine, "these men cannot catch up to you because you will always be ahead." (In reference to the younger men, that is). Those that are up at your level fear you will be given the prestige position because you are a female, as merit supposedly doesn't mean squat. They, forever, wish to stamp you out. During the course of my studies, both in engineering and in my respective field I have watched the number of women go from a starting cohort of half ratio to a dwindling cohort of 3 - 60. I even had a (edit). I'm not stating that all men are like this, as I do know many who are not, but particularly in my field of studies I come up against these *smugg* men everyday. When I found one who took me as I am, it was refreshing. Normally, they perceive me as soft, emotional, a nurturer and require their parental-protectionist guidance. Essentially, I am never to be an equal no matter how much I bust my butt because I would *never* (edit). I just don't have 'man' like qualities (barf).


I too find that my own circle of friends don't give a rats * * * * about the acronyms behind my name. I have the BEST conversations with them, out of theatre. They have no problems telling me how far to go and how to get there when I am being an * * * *. I admire them for not thinking I'm arrogant, but allowing me to be just as human as they. Frankly, it is them who often remind me that I am HUMAN.


You are right. The combination of this particular man does create a 'intimidating' outlook upon myself. However, I have not once given him any indication that he is not an equal in my eyes. It almost appears to be a double standard. I admire their determination, while they in turn, treat me as a competitor, not a colleague. I just can't seem to break the first impressions and the 'atmosophere' that one acquires from being institutionalized they way are, no matter how hard I try.


It is frustrating as all getup!


As far as an inadequate PhD, you made me chuckle... I often think I am an inadequate student myself. Gawd knows my professors have ripped apart my ego and shattered it on the floor right in front of me. I have written research papers for years now, yet I still have anxiety and question my abilities on every new one I start. The bloodshot eyes and dark black under-eye circles have become a defining characteristic of my many re-writes

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If you speak the way you post - that might be part of the problem. Caro33 brought up almost a cliche stereotype (which I happen to agree is accurate much of the time!) and you responded with million dollar words about "feminist studies." I really don't mean to be nitpicky - my guess is you don't know how you come accross at times.

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I have to agree with Batya here. While I see that the competition thing is real, and that some people have real issues with competent women, I'm not sure it's necessarily the way life has to be all the time.


In my own experience, I have to admit I generally get past the competition side of things reasonably quickly (or so I believe). It's probably because I am completely ignorant and unwilling and unable to bluff about it - I'm just honest. I don't tend to engage in academic debate at all. The guys who feel challenged tend to calm down once they realise I'm not actively seeking to outdo them or show them up. They buddy up to me. Or they arc up anyway and we keep our distance. They certainly don't patronise me.


The other thing I do that seems to work is I ask lots of questions. I claim to know nothing then I nicely ask questions about how and why people believe the things they do, how things came to be etc. Once people realise they have to justify their crap around me they tend to stop posturing as much. They admit they don't really know and it actually forms a bond. Or they love to be asked and open themselves up. I have always found an easier bond with people based on shared experiences, feelings and questions than with shared knowledge.


I'm not suggesting you dumb down, and I realise your environment might be different. It certainly sounds challenging to say the least. If the environment seems unable to be changed I guess my only advice is to stay well out of your industry when dating (as you seem to have done in your past).


There also seems to be a contradiction in what you say NeedingSumHelp, in that those around you are threatened by you, and yet also treat you like a nurturer who needs their guidance. Is this latter behaviour because they are threatened by you and want to put you in your place? If it's not, I have to admit I don't possess the imagination to see how these behaviours can co-exist. I would have thought you would either come accross as a ballbreaking career woman who scares them into keeping their distance, or a soft nurturer that they protect but do not fear. Perhaps I am being far too simplistic though...

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It is just my discipline, unfortunately.

The perception that I mentioned - i.e. nurturer is what they *most men in my discipline* believe to be the markings of a woman, thus they see me as a competitor with too many male like attributes and attempt to shut me down to this nurturing level in order to create a glass ceiling for me. It is an oxymoron to say the least.


As for your advice about being a little more forthright, I can proudly say it turns out I won't have to be. He stepped up to the plate after our one-on-one just after I wrote this initial post. After our outing, we were heading home and in mid-street, he stopped and planted one on me because he couldn't hold back anymore. He WAS being a gentleman and decided that now was the time.


I did bring up the untouchable subject with him, afterwards. He said that he understands where this friend of mine is coming from, but that my friend is too serious and does not see my goofball traits, which 'he' finds adorable. He did mention one interesting thing as well, specifically, that my focus on this untouchableness is being premised on someone who clearly fears rejection: no woman is untouchable to a man that is confident with himself.


We are giving it a whirl. Yay!


Thanks again!

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