Does This Law Degree Make My Ass Look Fat?

September 8, 2010 by  

Quick question: You’re a single guy, let’s say in your late twenties to mid-thirties, with a decent job, given the choice between the following two single women to date; which one do you choose?

Choice A: A real-world-hot 28-year-old receptionist on her fourth job in three years, who lives with two roommates in a fifth-floor walkup in some outer borough, aspires to someday have a job that gives her either free shoes or health insurance, and only sounds like an idiot when she speaks out loud.

Choice B: A real-world-hot 28-year-old BigLaw lawyer (I know, just go with me here) who paid off her school debt by herself in three years, lives alone in a doorman building in Manhattan, is funny and down-to-earth, and runs a small, successful side business selling artisanal cupcakes that she bakes in her spare time.

Clearly, you choose Choice A.   Why?  Because, if the status quo in my firm…and in my life…and in my friends’ lives…and in any bar from New York to L.A. is any indication, a law degree confers about as much romantic value to a single woman as a meth habit and a hidden penis.

Don’t believe me?   

Let’s replay a quick conversation I had a couple of Thursdays ago with my friend Stein, a graphic designer in his late twenties who I’d set up with a third-year finance associate at my firm who’s so pretty and fun that I still half-suspect that she’s not actually an associate, but really an actress posing as a lawyer for some kind of (horrifyingly sad) new reality show.   As soon as I asked Stein what he thought of her, he scrunched up his face in consideration.

“I mean, she’s cute,” he said, still scrunching. “Hot, even.”

“I know.”

“She was actually really funny and cool.”

“Told you.”

“It’s just that…”  He cocked his head to the side and started grimacing.  “It’s just that she seems…really together, you know?  I just…I don’t know.  I think we’re maybe in different places.”

And there it is.

Different places, indeed.  See, it used to be that lady lawyers took a hit in the dating world because the J.D. badge meant that you were probably too nerdy or “argumentative” or just a puffy, hideous troll.  But this new strain of rejection dispenses with such frivolity.  This time, the hotter you are, the less appealing you become.  This time, ladies, you got it wrong.  Again.  You’re sexy, funny and charming and worked like an animal to get into the best law schools and nab the highest paying jobs in the world’s most elite lawyer factories so you could be financially independent and could pursue a guy for love, not for his ability to support you, but…no dice.  Turns out, they like you better when you’re more of a disaster.  (But not to worry, according to the latest reports, if you can’t provide that full disaster experience for them, they’ll cheat on you with someone who will—so, you’re covered either way.)

Sure, a few guys—the smart, if not more Darwinian, types—realize that at its core, dating an ambitious, fun woman who can pay her bills (and theirs!) and who isn’t, say, a crack-whore, isn’t a bad thing.  They realize that maybe, just maybe, one of the upsides of dating a woman who’s more successful than they are is that, at the very least, they know that the only thing she wants from them is…them.

For the rest of you guys, though, what are you so afraid of?   That you won’t be able to take care of us?  That you’ll be emasculated? That we’ll think you’re a loser?   Tell you what, here’s when we’ll think you’re a loser:  when you’re a loser.   And if we’re interested in dating you, then you’re probably not a loser—at least not to us.  I mean, really, is it so impossible to believe that a cute, successful woman would be interested in a cute, not-as-successful man?  Are you really that insecure?

Apparently, yes.  So, for you guys out there, the ones who think that a lady J.D. isn’t worth your time because she’s just too successful, too intimidating, too together, let me clue you in on a little secret on behalf of the together-est of together women lawyers everywhere—though, be warned, it may titillate and/or confuse you.

We’re not really that together.

I hope you were sitting down for that one.  See, like most folks perceived as having tidy, charmed lives, we’re the same unhinged wrecks that you are; we just hide it more efficiently and have better accessories.   True, we have enough sense and ability to manage to get out of bed every morning and do something productive—or at least lucrative—with our time, but that doesn’t mean that we’re winning any gold medals in the Race to a Perfect Life.

If you still don’t believe me, you’re clearly not too familiar with the parade of horribles that is this blog.  If you were to meet me, your Legal Tease, at a party, you might think that I’m just the epitome of lawyerly togetherness.  What you wouldn’t see is that most of my non-existent spare time is spent rocking back and forth in a ball under my desk at work, praying for a time-machine.  Nor would you see that my most promising recent relationship basically amounted to rolling around on the floor of my office with a certified lunatic whose idea of courtship involved offering me a position as his mistress via drunk 11 a.m. voicemails made from the inside of his girlfriend’s coat closet.  And that’s just the low-hanging fruit.  Intimidated yet?

And I’m not alone—an unofficial survey of the hottest, most together-seeming women lawyers I know yields: a recent hush-hush hospitalization for a nervous breakdown, a second abortion, a serial mistress, bulimia, boob job number three, a foreclosed mortgage and a broken engagement.  Oh, and bedbugs.

So, take heed:  The next time you meet a graceful, shapely, six-figure-siren who has a white shoe pedigree and lights up a room with her sparkly, charming wit, instead of running in the other direction to your man-cave of insecurities (or more likely, to your unemployed hook-up buddy in Astoria), take a deep breath and realize that this untouchable legal goddess probably has IBS, cries herself to sleep at least once a week and wonders how much of this year’s bonus she should use to freeze her eggs.   In other words, go get her champ!   Trust me, you have nothing to lose.

An excerpt of this essay is also being published today on everyone’s favorite legal tabloid, Above the Law.  Make sure to check it out here!

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125 Responses to “Does This Law Degree Make My Ass Look Fat?”

  1. Cheryl on August 9th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Having a law degree and a legal career for those of us in our 40s and 50s who are re-entering the dating market is still no selling point, and in many cases, a deterrent. The same guys who were intimidated by the fun, charming, attractive 28 year old lawyer, are still intimidated by the 50 year old one. I beg to differ with the author, though. We do have our shit together, more than most, anyway. No body’s life is perfect – at 50 you accept that and you either choose bitter or ‘who cares what other people think, I’m going to have fun’. Give me fun every time. It’s been proven – men want women who are playful, youthful and sensual. Educated women know how to be those things. A man of quality will also want the brains – so weed out the horndogs, and let them receive their just desserts with the bimbos. Work to find the quality man – he’ll appreciate you, and you’ll be glad for his companionship. I hope you’ll find this to be the most valuable free advice you’ve ever received.

  2. lawgirl12 on October 11th, 2011 1:53 pm

    I am a 27 year old female third year law student who has been pushed my entire life to achieve independence, career success, and then afterward, told to find someone who matches on both of those fronts. I’ve always been told I’m attractive–hot even, until super recently always had a dancer body, love to go out and drink–although I tend to drink with guys and dislike most girls, yet am still girly in personality. I’ve always had success finding guys to date–generally other lawyers, even though many of those relationships haven’t worked out as one would hope…sometimes because of me, sometimes b/c of the guy, and sometimes due to both of us. A couple of weeks ago, I broke up with the first non-lawyer, non-law student guy I have dated in six years. He was a bartender/manager at a tiny local bar, four years older than me, with no sense of direction, no future goals, plans, or ambitions–other than to be happy. I’m assuming due to my parents, and due to the environment in which I’ve been educated, I’ve turned out not remotely domestic or maternal. And that is who I am. The bf I broke up w/ coincidentally, was the type to make me gourmet dinners, take care of the house, etc–but we couldn’t discuss political/societal/academic issues. My world centered around questions such as how to save a woman’s house from foreclosure or how to bring an equal rights case against the local police for selective enforcement while his focused on how to book band A or band B for a particular night at the bar–not that he didn’t care about social issues, but they just didn’t hit close to home in his day to day life. But he made me happy and made me laugh. I think we as female lawyers or lawyers to be, have been so trained not to accept guys who provide a balance to our lives as being inferior or lesser than our “high intellect” deserves. But you know what? Very few guys in our position would agree. I have been half of a “power couple” in pretty much every relationship until this one, and the most serious ones have ended miserably. Lawyers (not just female ones) are too simply trained to logically take all facts and make an objective decision. When it comes to relationships or marriage, objectiveness just isn’t what makes someone happy. I’ve already been realizing what a mistake I’ve made in terms of my own relationship that I ended for what I will happily admit are very shallow reasons (what he does, lack of vision, and lack of education). After reading the response posts to this blog, I even more so realize how lucky I was (and what a mistake I’ve made). While two high power jobs may work for some people–for many people that I know even–it just isn’t for everyone. Due to the way I’ve learned to assess potential mates, I have looked for education and intellect and matching income potential, but rarely for fathering skills. I think the problem for female lawyers is our view on who our ideal partner is, and I think we have it all wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of women who will and do end up w/ similarly situated men partners. I’m just saying it’s not the end all, and that not doing so doesn’t constitute failure. We law girls just need to reshape the way we look for and at guys–and decide if we want a co-worker or a spouse. I’m not saying the two are mutually exclusive in all cases, but they may be in some.

  3. gnome on December 1st, 2011 7:12 am

    I notice women are either lawyers or idiots with no health insurance. Maybe you’re a bitch?

  4. Mike on January 5th, 2012 5:26 am

    Sounds like the good stuff is indeed intimidating (top-achieving star athelete prom queen partner-track 1%ers), while the resulting neuroses are complete disqualifiers, rather than normal, relatable human foibles. All in all, it’s a dead-lock explanation for why people go for the mostly-average rather than the high-octane, high-irregularity example of two equally-hot 28-year-olds.

  5. Shalom Beck on April 18th, 2012 4:05 am

    A woman whose income is adequate to maintain her standard of living cannot committ to a marriage.
    So marry down, boys, if you want to marry for keeps.

  6. L on May 1st, 2012 2:51 am

    To get where we’ve gotten, we have developed a certain hardness for sure. Independence cuts both ways. And yes, unlike men, we typically refuse or frankly can’t get used to “dating down.” Attracted to assertive driven power etc. That’s why I’ve told men I would prefer if they can afford for me to stay home to play housewife. Then I can feel feminine (and stay attracted) and he, not emasculated. Laws of attraction.

  7. Charles on November 28th, 2012 6:43 pm

    Only an insecure man is afraid of a successful Barbie Doll Goddess with a brain. To me, if the girl was a tall, curvaceous (like those delicious Brazilian babes) and who was affluent, smart humorous and adorable, the problem is solved. Some guys suffer from “I need to bed the damsel in distress” or just happen to be the Ted Danson (Cheers) types who want to date lesser women. If a GODDESS wants you then make her yours. My thing is that I just hope she is a freak in bed and with no hang ups (ie. that she speaks latin and greek…and I am not talking languages here…if you get my drift…yeah, I want a rascal in bed). It is all about biology, to me, tall, attractive, exotically shapely,sexy, smart and humorous will wind my clock anyday!

  8. Jc on February 2nd, 2013 6:49 am

    I am a successful and athletic 6 figure earning professional man with a graduate degree, who works in commercial banking. I have a fair amount of contact with lawyers, male and female, CFOs, and CEOs. With that in mind, I am not at all intimidated by other ‘successful’ people, women or men. What I am quite turned off by though are ‘successful’ ‘career’ women whose egos have swollen. Primarily, over-inflated egos are a turn-off in a professional sense, though when considering whether I want to date a woman, her having an over-inflated ego is a deal killer. I enjoy competing with my buddies in sports. If I am looking for a competitor, I’ll go work out at the gym with my buddies or compete with them in some sort of sports competition. I’m not looking for a competitor in a wife. What I am looking for in a wife is a person who can ‘put humpty dumpty back together again’ after a tough bout at work, or someone who can sooth my sore muscles after a strenuous workout, or someone who will bandage up my future kids and tell them their owwie will get better after they fall of their bike or have some other small accident. I want a nurturing and supportive partner, not a competitor. I’ve gone out with a lawyer, a doctor, a veterinarian, and a college professor, as well as several elementary school teachers. I’ll take the humble and caring elementary school teacher over an argumentative female lawyer 9 times out of 10. The teachers have generally tended to be much more caring, which is what I am really looking for. A woman’s paycheck or status don’t mean a thing to me; I already have ‘status’ and a fat paycheck.

  9. Jc on February 2nd, 2013 7:00 am

    …oh yeah, and I could care less about my so-called ‘status’. I was just as good a guy before I had my degrees and fancy job titles and was broke as I am now that I have all of the fancy titles and am in a better financial position. The only thing that really matters is whether a person works hard and treats people (including themselves) with respect. And as for the admin at the front desk who has had three or four jobs in the last three years- Try doing your job without her and you’ll realize she is equally as important as everyone else in the company or firm. The only difference between the admin and the lawyer is that the admin either places less value on career than the lawyer, or she didn’t have the same opportunity to get the law degree as the lawyer. Everyone has value.

  10. Anonymous on May 19th, 2013 9:33 am

    Huh. I actually was researching on the internet whether female lawyers ran into dating difficulties.

    And I went looking because of MY personal biases. While I am happily married, I hypothetically thought about whom I would date. And lawyers would not be one of them…and it all comes down to the marriage culture of today.

    A wife is inside your life. She knows your secrets, how you think, how you feel. She knows your vulnerabilities.

    A wife LAWYER….that is a fiscal and emotional raping that I would NOT risk. And frankly, with the stereotype of high maintainance and demanding nature that lawyers fairly or unfairly have…welll….there are a LOT of girls to choose from. Cutting them out means lessening my odds VERY slightly but somewhat protecting myself.

    Divorces these days are nightmareish enough for men. They are guilty and fiscally raped until proven…well…broke. And even then Judges, who WERE lawyers, try to squeeze the turnip some more.

    Letting a snake into your bosom…not smart.

    Nope, no bad experiences with lawyers. Never had a divorce. Never even been to court. Just looking at things in what I think is a rational way.

  11. Anonymous on May 19th, 2013 10:28 am

    Just to add one more thing about mating ‘science’.

    Having read “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature”, it points out some facts which directly mirror a lot of the tenor of this post.

    Men go for fertility (youth and beauty). Women go for status as an indicator of ‘winning genes’. Doesn’t matter if you are a sparrow or an Associate.

    How does this fit into this article? The wonderful lady lawyers are jumping up and down saying “Pick me! Don’t you see I’m wonderful AND high status? Much better than that secretary.”

    Men don’t care about status. We don’t. Sure, there are outliers but for the most part, it’s barely a bonus for us. WOMEN thinks it matters a lot…and tries to use it as a selling point. We don’t care.

    The second thing is these women who ‘rationally’ say ‘well, it’s okay to date a low status guy’ somehow find that things never work out. Now, as stated before, men don’t care about status. They care about beauty and affability. MAYBE they are insecure. Totally possible.

    OR…maybe these women are unconsciously NOT satisfied with dating Lowly Pauly the Street Artist. That little faint flush of shame at the company parties. “Here I am, an accomplished litigator who does 80 hours of billables a week…and the best I can do personally is HIM…”

    It’s much more emotionally satisfying to put it all on the man even though it’s a cliche that men cheat down, women cheat up.

    But you associates would know better about the truth of that than I would.

  12. dingbat smartbot on June 16th, 2013 12:00 am

    Thank you all for the responses. I see why i have been tentative about marrying a lawyer lady or two. In my case ……. the neuroticity and my feeling that i was the last depature port..

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  17. KJ on August 14th, 2014 5:28 am

    LOL at some of the butthurt men and. PUAs trying to demean women. You can scream “you are old news at 30!” all you want at these women, but I still see attractive, fun-loving women over the age of 30 get dates all the time, more so than their male counterparts.

    To Kurt, yes men over 35 are not marriage material, so quit making excuses for them. Good men always get picked up in their 20s, even long before their prime moneymaking years. I always tell men who want to be married to significantly younger women to get a couple starter wives before you get the “one.” Why? Women are willing to marry divorced men or find already married men attractive; it shows you are worthy of settling down with. A hot 22-year-old who has her pick of the litter would rather take a successful 40-year-old man who could have been married 5x over a guy the same age who never was married. The former might have problems, but it least it shows his desirability if he could get 5 previous women to marry him. The latter? Freak alert!

    And lol at the guy who says 14-year-olds are the most attractive. Can you say creeper and pedophile?

    Oh, and to The Messenger: while I appreciate your rundown of how men are not marriage material after a certain age, your post reeks of insecurity over your domesticity. Stay-at-home moms are the worst and tend to be the boring, lifeless and unintelligent creatures. Yes, red pill/traditional men will applaud you, but what they won’t tell you is that you eventually wear out your welcome. There is always a younger, prettier one waiting in the wings. At this point, your husband likely left you, but if he didn’t, time is ticking. Good luck trying to find work too; stay-at-home moms tend to be the laughing stock of the those trying to return to the workforce. Women have be both nurturing, compassionate and be skilled domestically while still holding down a career. Sucks for those who think it is one or the other, especially SAHM.

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  24. Jason on September 12th, 2016 11:29 pm

    As someone currently dating a 3L, I am working through some of the insecurities you mentioned in this post. I am a Software Developer who makes six figures, but my girlfriend will be making high six figures in biglaw next year.

    In the back of my mind, I cannot help but wonder why she would want to date someone like myself with less earning potential than her. Though I could end up making a lot more if I launch my own business, I fear that money will become an issue for her.

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