Is It Cool To Ask How Much Money My Date Makes?
After reading my article about e-dating, and the part about listing your job, a friend of mine emailed me to ask about one of the questions that is common on dating sites. It's a question that frustrates me to no end, but almost every dating site (even the ones geared toward kinky folks) gives you the option of answering it.
First, they ask about your job. And to a degree, this makes sense. Certain jobs indicate certain personality types, salaries, and availability. For example, someone on the East Coast fresh out of ITT Tech usually makes somewhere around $30,000 a year, while someone who just started at McDonald's makes closer to $15,000 if they're full time.
Someone with a career (in IT or any other profession) is probably salary and may spend a lot more time working than someone who works at McDonald's and has set hours. And let's face it; someone with an established career is more likely to be mature and ambitious and know what they want out of life than someone who's still kicking around at McDonald's trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.
I say “more likely” and not “definitely” because I once had a friend who worked at McDonald's because that's what he wanted to do. His life goal was to one day own his own McDonald's. At the time, I was surrounded by people going to college, and planning stressful careers as lawyers and doctors and network engineers, so the idea that someone might actually enjoy working at McDonald's was completely alien to me. But these days, I'm older, and have more life experience, and I realize there was absolutely nothing wrong with my friend's dream. At least he had one.
So I don't mind the job question so much. It's the question that follows the job question that bugs me; the question of salary.
People will argue till they're blue in the face about why they “have the right” to know what kind of money the person they're considering dating makes. I've actually read an article written by a woman who says she has the right to know whether or not her date is going to be able to support her in the future, since she, herself, is planning on being a housewife with no children.
I resisted the urge to tell her just how much that sounded like gold digging. Barely.
Here's the thing. Yes, eventually, the salary conversation should take place. But NO, you do not have the right to know the salary of someone who's profile you just found on the internet. I don't care if you took one look and decided you're going to marry that person. Mostly because if you decided to marry someone based on their profile on a dating site, then you're extremely naive and gullible. But also because, whether you're male or female, you do not have the right to a) be supported monetarily by your date or b) decide based on someone's current lifestyle who they will be in the long run.
I mean, half of you are in your twenties. I know you think you know who you are, and who you're going to be, but you've got so much life ahead of you. Hell, I'm 33, and I still have a ton of life ahead of me! I've made decisions on some things (I will always be hopelessly devoted to M), but other things are still up in the air (the direction of my career).
Most of my friends and family had a zillion majors before deciding on what kind of degree they wanted to graduate with, and when they did graduate, they ended up in different careers. M's boss has a degree in biochemistry, but runs an internet service provider. My dad has a degree in computer science, but is teaching middle school. One of my friends was an English major, but works in billing for a law firm. One of M's coworkers (a network engineer) was a history major minoring in literature.
Anything can happen. None of us has any idea where we'll end up.
My friend (mentioned way back in the beginning of this article) asked if I thought he should put his salary on the dating site he uses. And I told him no. My advice would be the same whether the person asking made minimum wage or $200k a year. Putting your salary on a site like that is setting yourself up for classist behavior and gold digging. And that just takes all the fun out of the quest to find someone interesting to hang out with.