Photo: Rosanne Wang
It wouldn’t be surprising to walk into any young woman’s home today and find the cover of TIME Magazine’s March 26 issue pinned to her fridge.In Liza Mundy’s cover story, “The Richer Sex,” experts predicted that by the time the next generation of twentysomethings hits the job market, women will not only have closed the gender wage gap but actually be outearning men for the first time.
“A growing body of research shows that while there may have once been a stigma to making money, high-earning women actually have an advantage in the dating-and-marriage market,” Mundy wrote, citing a study that found marriage rates for higher-earning women have risen 10 per cent.
We’ve still got quite a ways to go, but there’s no denying the Great Recession left gender roles even more blurred than usual, with male-dominated jobs disappearing faster than those typically occupied by women.
“For some guys, there may definitely be an ego hit, but it’s not the worst thing in the world (to earn less),” said Thomas Edwards, the Manhattan-based founder of Professional Wingman.
Edwards makes his living teaching men how to handle themselves in professional and social settings, whether they’re trying to impress coworkers or woo a potential mate.
More and more, he’s noticed that whether he’s working with CEOs or schoolteachers, his clients are going after women who can support themselves.
“It’s not becoming of you to have a job you hate. That’s not sexy.”
“When I ask them the kind of women they’re looking for, they mention the job and responsibility they hold,” he said. “Most of them are open. They don’t mind that she might make more money than them.”
While that may be true, he admits that women do sometimes balk if they think a man’s not living up to his professional potential. But it’s not financial insecurity that gives them pause, it’s the perception that the guy might not be ambitious or passionate – two signs of leadership he says women are attracted to.
There’s a simple fix for that.
In his work, Edwards finds as much as 70 per cent of attraction is based on presentation. If you walk the walk, you’ll impress women just as much or more than dropping a wad of cash on a fancy dinner.
“When it comes to professional stuff, if you’re starting a business or you want to take your business to the next level and move up the ranks, all of those things require specific actions or a plan,” he said. “Once you create a plan, the most important thing is to execute it. Doing that and making her see that will show you’re following through with your ambition.”
There are other ways to compensate for income as well, by providing partners with the emotional, physical and intellectual support they may need. And the more comfortable men become with higher-earning women, the easier it will be to project the most vital quality of all: Positivity.
“Some women don’t mind if you’re doing a job that may not necessarily pay well but it’s something you absolutely love to do,” he said. “It’s not becoming of you to have a job you hate. That’s not sexy.”