Should I call her?
June 4, 2012 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Should I call this woman?

I’m in my early 30s, without a degree, and make $11 an hour in one of the most expensive cities in the US. By sheer happenstance, I had a nice conversation with a pretty woman at a café near my place. She is lovely, smart and has a master’s degree. After we spoke for about 10 or 15 minutes I asked for and received her phone number then politely left.

I'm almost positive she isn't aware that we're in such different strata, so should I risk getting more attached to her? I know there's a chance she won't care, but it seems like a huge long shot. It seems like this would be deal-breaker for the vast majority of comparable women.

Should I call her?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (52 answers total)
Why the hell not?
posted by mhoye at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

What is the downside? Ask her out, don't lie, and see what happens.
posted by brainmouse at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Words of wisdom.
posted by deanc at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [23 favorites]

You have nothing to lose.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2012

Dude. Let her find her own reasons for rejecting you, if she wants to.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [23 favorites]

What they said. Go for it already! If you had a good conversation that you both enjoyed, you're already on her level in some way.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:07 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

She gave you her number, this means she wants you to call her. So call her. Good luck!
posted by arcticseal at 8:08 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Call her, don't lie, and don't make a lot of comments about differences in your "strata" or whatever. That's always been awkward for me, when dating a guy who makes less money or whatever and is always making jokes or comments about it.
posted by sweetkid at 8:09 PM on June 4, 2012 [11 favorites]

Go for it.
posted by mleigh at 8:09 PM on June 4, 2012

Call her!
posted by rtha at 8:09 PM on June 4, 2012

Why wouldn't you? She seemed to enjoy the first 15 minutes of chatting with you. You sound like a nice and smart person too. Better to know, than to spend the rest of your life wondering. Good Luck.
posted by MT at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whenever a guy I'm being nice to and he wants my number because he's interpreted it as a romantic thing, I've given him the wrong number.

If she doesn't want you to call, she won't answer. Take a chance, don't be creepy.
posted by discopolo at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Other than your mutual sincere interest, so far you only know what you think are your "weaknesses" and what you think are her strengths. Neither of you has anything close to the full picture of one another, including whether one or more of your "weaknesses" is a total turn-on to her or one of her supposed "strengths" makes her aloof and unempathetic, for example.

Take her on a date. Enjoy the process of sharing who you each are and what matters to each of you; don't presume that you know upfront what those things will be for either one. Does she think you are lovely, smart and attractive? Shazam. Only by learning more about her character, and sharing more about yours, will either of you be able to gauge whether her educational background and/or your current job are factors with any weight at all on whether you might make a delightful couple. For all we know, your addiction to Skyrim and/or her affection for the New York Yankees could prove bigger obstacles to a relationship than anything you've picked up on so far. Roll with it. YOU GOT THIS.
posted by argonauta at 8:17 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

lots of girls are looking for a 'diamond in the rough'- this might not be the most attractive way of phrasing it, cause there's nothing wrong with making less money....but you may have lots of characteristics that outweigh a higher paycheck- a sense of thriftiness, a respect for people at all different social strata, a hard work ethic...this may or may not be true in your case because I don't know you, these are just examples. plus $11 an hour is more than $0 an hour. a lot more. it's also more than minimum wage.

if I met you and you were holding it down I'd be happy to meet someone smart enough to hold it down on what may be a low paycheck.
posted by saraindc at 8:19 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Of course you should.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

"if I met you and you were holding it down I'd be happy to meet someone smart enough to hold it down on what may be a low paycheck." (me) to continue, especially since many people on much higher wages can't seem to hold it down.
posted by saraindc at 8:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

For all you know she's sick of rich assholes and her idea of a dream date is a forty by the river. Don't project your insecurities into her mind. Give her a call instead.
posted by milarepa at 8:29 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maybe her master's in in Philosophy or Creative Writing or Underwater Basketweaving and she earns the same as you or less.
posted by milk white peacock at 8:31 PM on June 4, 2012 [13 favorites]

Short answer: yes!
Long answer: I know plenty of smart, lovely people with MAs who are jobless and burdened with student debt, struggling just like everyone else. There are also lots of people with advanced degrees with great jobs, and plenty of cash.
You don't necessarily know into which category she falls, but you do know that she is smart and lovely and gave you her number...go with that and see what happens.
posted by tillei at 8:32 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definitely call her! One of my most fun relationships with a decidedly non-intellectual guy who made a lot less money than I did--not to say that you fit that descriptor, but to say that there's nothing wrong with that. Degrees and high paychecks do not make a guy awesome: his attitude and joie de vivre do. GO FOR IT!
posted by smirkette at 8:34 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Strata, schmata. My husband comes from a completely different socioeconomic background, and I won't deny that it's been noticeable sometimes. But you have a wonderful chance to complement each other in unexpected ways, and learn, and be compassionate towards people different from yourself, and see the different ways people can contribute to a relationship and society, and support each other as you both strive for better things.

But only if you call her, dude.
posted by Madamina at 8:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by latkes at 8:53 PM on June 4, 2012

If you guys hit it off, she deserves a chance to get to know you without you preemptively deciding it won't work out. And if it doesn't, there could be a lot of reasons--not everyone's first concern is money.

If I were her, I think I'd be with saraindc, impressed that you're managing to make it in a big city on a small paycheck. And I definitely agree with milk white peacock; a master's degree is (sadly) no guarantee of a lucrative job.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:53 PM on June 4, 2012

She wouldn't give you her number if she didn't want you to call her. So call!
posted by SisterHavana at 8:55 PM on June 4, 2012

I know a full professor at a major US research university whose husband drives a bus. They've been married forever. Go for it.
posted by gingerest at 8:57 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

You'll never know if she's so shallow that she wont date you because of your (current) income unless you give her the chance. If you tell her what you just told us, you may unwittingly CONVINCE her that you are not worthy (so don't do that). I daresay that if you don't call her because you are ASSUMING she's that shallow, then you are the one with the character flaw (judging her before you give her the chance). Yes, dammit... call her.
posted by brownrd at 8:57 PM on June 4, 2012

Dude, she GAVE YOU HER DIGITS. The ball is so in your court it's practically lounging there, giving you the side-eye, wondering WHY you aren't hitting it back over the net. Don't mess with her head by never calling and having her wonder why you asked for something you had no intention of using.

You're not trying to date the majority or women, you're trying to date her. So Stop trying to read her mind and her preferences like you have Xmen superpowers or something. Who knows if it will go somewhere or not, and go have a nice conversation and stop wondering where it all will go. Who knows, but I'm pretty sure you have to play to win.

And by play, I mean call. Within the next couple of days, probably.

(and good on you for asking for her number!)
posted by anitanita at 9:00 PM on June 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

I make more than pretty much every guy I've been in an LTR with or dated. It's never been a factor in my decision-making process re: whether or not I wanted to date anyone.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:09 PM on June 4, 2012

Words of wisdom.

I knew what this was a link to before clicking it. So apt.

You have absolutely nothing to lose by calling and everything to gain. Maybe it will go somewhere, maybe it won't, but you should find out.
posted by grouse at 9:12 PM on June 4, 2012

It seems like this would be deal-breaker for the vast majority of comparable women

Nah - the idea of "a woman wants a brilliant man with a great job!" really applies where/when women aren't allowed to obtain either. If the only way she can obtain wealth or status (and as such ensure her future children will be provided for financially) is through her husband, of course those are priorities. When women are aware they can obtain their own wealth/status independent of a man these properties typically become less important.

Bottom line, give her a call.

If the subject comes up, perhaps say why you're at the job. "I work at such-and-such....the money's not great, but I love meeting all the people that come in" or "the hours are flexible so I can go to the park and paint in the afternoons" or something.

...I say this because if I met someone in their thirties who was in a near-entry level position I MIGHT worry that they have absolutely zero ambition, or are unstable and job-hop every three months or something. A simple explanation would put me at ease....and I am also not all people, and other people might not even care at ALL.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 9:36 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Call her. My man makes much less than me and I don't care.
posted by manicure12 at 9:51 PM on June 4, 2012

Women do not give their phone numbers out when asked unless they have an interest.

If it turns out that she's going to negatively judge you or find you incompatible based on your social stratus, so be it, but for the love of gods don't do it for her in advance.
posted by desuetude at 11:38 PM on June 4, 2012

yeah, another vote for strata, schmata. Just as another data point: I have a master's degree and publish art books at a major museum. My partner didn't go to college. This week is our seventh anniversary, and it's the best relationship of my life.

Maybe she'll care and maybe she won't, but do yourselves both the honor of allowing her the chance to value who you are for the qualities you embody -- none of which have much (if anything) to do with things like degrees or job titles or tax brackets.
posted by scody at 11:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

This comparable woman says that you should call her. One of the pleasures of having a degree that gives me more earning power is knowing that I don't have to care about the earning power of the people I date. You would be negating that benefit if you didn't even give it a shot.
posted by rhythm and booze at 11:53 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you don't call her you'll regret it for a long time and always wonder if she's the one that got away. Be an alpha male and do it.
posted by Bacillus at 1:42 AM on June 5, 2012

Hesitate only if you got a strong sense from your 15-minute conversation that she is shallow and snobbish. Which I feel like you wouldn't be here if that's the sense you got. Good luck.
posted by Infinity_8 at 4:32 AM on June 5, 2012

I know there's a chance she won't care, but it seems like a huge long shot.

It's a much longer shot if you never call her.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:34 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a master's degree sitting in a drawer collecting dust. My partner has a high school diploma and cooks for a living. I make about three times what he does. Been together six years and still making googly eyes at each other.

Ask her out already!
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:57 AM on June 5, 2012

My husband is an engineer with two Masters degrees and a 90% finished PhD. At the time we met, he was working at a hedge fund and pulling in more via part-time work than both of my parents make combined. Also, when we met, I was unemployed. And when I am employed... I work in child care. The amount of money that I make is quite simply laughable in comparison.

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary yesterday. The monetary discrepancy has never been an issue. And yes, I know we're on the more socially acceptable "man earns more than woman" side of things, but the point remains that it's not about the money. It's about being able to respect your partner for who they are, not how much they make.

Which is something you can only determine about this woman by calling her and seeing how things go!
posted by sonika at 5:29 AM on June 5, 2012

Are you a kind and decent human being with ethical care for others and capable of working towards a life in line with your values? 'cause that is not a dollar amount.

Call her.
posted by Zen_warrior at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

As a woman with a master's degree I'm telling

First of all, no situation is permanant, especially in this economy. A good person knows this. So assuming that your current job isn't the apex of your ambition, don't let it bother you too much.

Go on a date, discuss the things that interest you. Stay within your means, don't try to front.

You never know.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on June 5, 2012

My mother used to be a college professor of English and Women's Studies, and generally she prefers to date women.

She is currently married to a man, though -- a retired lumberjack who can barely read (because he grew up in an extremely rural area where his dyslexia went entirely untreated).

Which just goes to show you that you never know whether another person will be into you until you give it a shot.
posted by BlueJae at 6:31 AM on June 5, 2012

I am going to counter the flood here and ask one very important question.

Will it be important to /you/ if she makes more than you? Do you think that you'll be able to respect her and stay happy, even if she always makes more than you? Or will you continually question, wonder what she's doing with you, and be on edge.

Hi. I might be this girl. I've made more money than the guy in almost all of my adult relationships. And every single time, what defined the success or failure of the relationship was not my feelings about the amount of money he made, but /his/ feelings about the amount of money I made. Some guys felt that it "unmanned" them. Others got angry at me, or funny about money. And some didn't let it affect them, and we were just fine.

If you don't think you can be cool about it, don't call. But if you can, mazeltov, and enjoy.
posted by corb at 6:54 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

Absolutely call her. I love adding interesting people to my life, so anytime I manage to meet someone interesting, I try to avoid worrying about what FORM they will take in my life. Worst case scenario, dating doesn't work out, and you've got an interesting new person in your life as a non-dating person.
posted by Richat at 7:02 AM on June 5, 2012

Should you call her? YES!
Should you expect anything of her? NO!
Don't expect her to have been super-interested in you romantically. Don't expect her to have given you the wrong number because she was afraid of conversation. Don't expect her to have assumed you were rich and well-educated. Don't expect her to want you to be rich and well-educated. Don't expect her to ... well, anything.
You don't know her well enough to have a clue what to expect. You honestly have no idea what her ideals are so there's no point in assuming you don't meet them, OR in being dishonest with her or with yourself in an attempt to meet them. Call her and let things happen as they'll happen.
posted by aimedwander at 7:34 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a woman with a master's degree, and I would totally date a guy who had only a BA or BS degree. I would understand about the $11 per hour, because that's what I made for years, in a dead end job. Can totally relate. Call her.
posted by lex6819 at 9:20 AM on June 5, 2012

I don't think this would turn off the majority of women. I think most men would be put off by it, as you are, and never give the woman a chance. I make several times as much money as my boyfriend, and it doesn't bother me at all, but it took him a little while to be comfortable with it.
posted by jacalata at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2012

A couple I know is pretty much the same situation. He's a music major without a music related job, working in a coffee house. She's a lawyer. They seem to work out well together (heard some recent talk of engagement).
posted by Doohickie at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2012

Mr Corpse was working in a coffee shop and I was working on my master's from a fancy-pants school when we got engaged. Call her.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2012

Sorry, I just had to laugh at this question. Dude, you're EMPLOYED! In this job environment, that's a darn good thing. I presume you have a good job history, you're a steady worker, and you might be open to the possibility of going back to school and/or getting a better position.

Or maybe you're happy where you are, and that's OK to. Mr. BlueHorse never finished his BA and was never really driven to climb the job ladder, but he has other great characteristics that make him very comfortable to live with. I'm not the biggest go-getter either, although I have two degrees (and I clean houses--damn small towns.)

The point is, if there's chemistry, and you enjoyed the chat, call her.

It's not like you're proposing marriage or anything.

(and please let us know if it turns into a date, I just die from curiosity wondering what happens with these AskMefi questions.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:59 AM on June 5, 2012

This makes a good companion to the shitmydadsays linked above.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

You should call her and go out on a date or three, and see if you hit it off. Don't bring up your salary on the first date. Or maybe not for a few dates. Salary is a very private thing. As long as you have a reasonable plan for your life and are a responsible person, if she is reasonable, your job/education level won't be the dealbreaker, if there ends up being one.

I'm 42. For most of my life, I thought if I was smart enough, good looking enough, made enough money, and was nice enough, the world would give me what I deserved. The world doesn't work that way and it shouldn't work that way. It is true that everyone has a "wish list" of who they think will make them happy, but I've come to believe that the most important factors in finding lasting love is being happy with yourself, and that the someone who you are with is someone who you're attracted to, who is attracted to you, and that you have shared values with.

Good luck!
posted by simongsmith at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2012

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