My next boyfriend and my next and my next after that were all very good men, with great senses of humor and warm spirits, but they were also some version of lazy, dependent and unambitious. She goes onto say she wrote their resumes for them and encouraged them to improve themselves, but that their lack of "personal-admin" abilities is eventually what ended things.
But in the larger more wide-ranging sense, I can't help but think about the gender coded stuff in these determinations.When men date down, it's a woman who isn't good looking enough.When women do, it's a man who isn't of means or ambitious enough.It's nothing personal against Machado's essay, which I think is honest and insightful. And yet, it's an insightful corollary for how we measure men and women. This unforgivably cruel slideshow of celebrities dating or married to people "uglier" than they are is a perfect example of how the term is used — hot people should not be with less hot people; talented people should not be with nobodies. Take this interesting essay over at by Jessica Machado, who recounts a history of boyfriends with less-than-stellar prospects. One woman's loser is another woman's godsend who just so happens to be going through a rough patch. Dating down is typically apt when a man or woman dates someone else who is considered "not good enough" for them.
Dating down can take many forms: It could be because they are not good-looking enough, or not rich enough, or not cool enough or not ambitious enough, or the inverse. Machado writes about Jeff, who is eight years her senior, on probation for petty theft, who enjoyed smoking cigarettes and chilling with his friends at a restaurant job long after he was no longer paid for it.
Or, according to my friend, "It could also mean dating someone you don't really even like because you don't want to die alone. He lived with his dad, just like you thought he would and seemed to have no particular plans for anything: Jeff and I were together for three years.
Like a Republican." (Other friend response: "I would date a Republican if he were exactly like Jack Donaghey in looks, wealth, and temperament.") But I have to say, even when I realized that someone I dated wasn't a good match or didn't want the same things, a.) I didn't think of it as dating down, and b) I would only even realize that in retrospect. When we first hooked up, I was just beginning my freshman year of college and by the time we broke up, I was juggling two internships, a bartending job, a 4.0 and a pretty serious partying schedule that didn't include him.
What kept us together wasn't as exciting as sex or arguments over our incompatibility — but that I could show up at his place at 10 p.m.
for a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and a snuggle in front of "Law and Order." There was a comfortable fondness and security.
I knew he wasn't going anywhere, literally and figuratively. I have a history of dating guys who couldn't get it together (and to their credit, weren't too stressed out about it, either).