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A Wall Street Woman Explains Dating Snobbery

Tuesday, 7 Aug 2012 | 2:45 PM ET

Over at Wall Street Oasis, a blogger writing under the pseudonym Bankerella has stirred up quite a controversy by rating the suitability of men in finance for extremely busy women in investment banking. (Spoiler alert: she prefers traders over all contenders.)
[Hat Tip to Linnette Lopez, who brought the post to my attention.]

It’s the type of thing obviously designed to stir things up. So far it’s generated hundreds of comments at WSO. Many are written by men, who are outraged that a woman would dare rate their suitability in this way (because, you know, guys never do that sort of thing).

But a few are genuinely insightful. The best one asked why Bankerella limits her dating pool to people in finance. Wouldn't it be better for her to pursue artists, actors, writers, waiters or musicians instead?

The question is even more revealing than I suspect the person who posted it realized. There is, quite obviously, a far broader group of occupations from which to draw potential mates than this banker/artist dichotomy. But for a certain type of person on Wall Street, this is basically how the world breaks down: you are either “killing it” it on the Street or starving while you pursue your “art.”

Bankerella’s response is extreme but also revealing.

She responds by describing the non-finance man as a “scrub” who cannot possibly merit her respect. It’s an extreme stance, but it is by no means unique among her Wall Street colleagues.

Take a read (I’ve cleansed her response of profanity but I think you’ll easily get the flavor of her language):

Sure, if you can find any that you can enjoy and respect. (Aw, hell, you got me started. Might want to skip this, readers. If you choose to read on, prepare for lots of f-bombs.)

So yeah, let's talk about the typical scrub, and why I can't handle being around him.

Every week I handle a bunch (call it a round half-dozen) of challenges that I consider to be a basic part of my life. You know: Take a bullet for the team. Be unable to get enough time to eat or use the bathroom for 6-8 hours. Get [____] on. Stand up for yourself to the guy who signs your checks. Make a big, career-defining decision on data you know is bad. Meet a big CFO for the first time and be asked to tell him, on the spot, in front of your boss, what you think he's doing wrong. I know there are a bunch of folks on here whose work lives are similar. This is what normal looks like in some industries, at some levels.

But this scrub? He's constantly freaking out about challenges that wouldn't be challenges at all if he weren't such a delicate [____]ing flower. I do not want to listen to him trying (and failing) to solve life problems that I consider insignificant. Those guys don't survive in the professional world, so if I get a seasoned professional, I'm more likely to get someone who can function as an adult.

Also, my time is [____]ing valuable. Scrubs don't understand this, because their time is not valuable. If they're half an hour late because they had to console a sad friend or finish that last fascinating [____]ing episode of Mad Men, what's the big deal, right? Seasoned professionals (especially traders, also lawyers) know that the clock is ticking. They want value for their time. So do I. If you get two hours on my calendar, I need to walk away with two hours' worth of good stuff, and I want a guy who expects the same from me.

Also, the time I've spent with scrubs has just been comedic. The conversations are an especially good example. What the [____] is television? What possible relevance could your new diet or your change in sleep patterns have for me? Really? You're pulling out your phone? You're texting your buddy? You're going to make me watch this awesome video you just saw on YouTube? You're really going to take ten minutes of my time to recount some conversation you had with two of your friends whom I don't know?

[___] it, I'm out.

This is where the transactional nature I mentioned before comes in. The hookup is not about building a deep and everlasting relationship, it's about finding a strategic partner who understands your need to squeeze every drop of deliciousness out of the few hours you have to yourself, and who wants to do the same. Scrubs don't even understand the deliciousness of those hours or why you need to squeeze anything out of them. I'm not even fully convinced that they know what an hour is.

Scrubs are okay with meandering, in both their work and personal lives. They expect little, are happy with what little they get, and assume they don't need to add (much) value.

Professionals (especially traders) understand that there needs to be a constant give and take of value.

Long story short: if a starving artist, musician, waiter, or actor can earn a girl's respect and deliver the goods like a professional, then he's just as good if not better. But let's be real: banker girls don't typically have time to search for the needle in that haystack.

Oh, and one more thing. Dating a trader isn't [____]ing where you eat, because bankers and traders don't work together. Obviously, you'd still want to get a trader from a different bank.

Note to Bankerella: it seems unlikely that you'll attract many men outside of finance if you keep calling them "scrubs."

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