DARE TO ASK: 'Attitudes' of upper-class white women
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Why do a lot of upper-class suburban females have a stuck-up attitude when
lower- or middle-class dudes (mostly Latinos or blacks) try to talk to them?
Nick, Latino, Dallas
Please. You live in America, where money is king.
E.D., 48, black female, Missouri
There's a perception that girls who get hit on by blacks and Hispanics are
seen as an easy target (for sex): unattractive, overweight, poor, undereducated,
etc. I guess these rich white girls are saying that being with you might make
them seem not good enough to their friends.
Corey, 35, male, Dallas
A lot of upper middle-class suburban white girls are insulated. You know how
girls tend to marry someone just like Dad? Well, Daddy is a stockbroker.
Allison, 40, Seattle
Many of today's upper-income women have educated themselves and have
positions that pay good money. A woman running from meeting to meeting does not
have time for idle chit-chat.
Rhonda, 42, black, New York
These women are attracted to "success," which means that a man can carry a
formidable household. It's in their nature as subconscious mothers.
Nelson, 35, Venezuela
I grew up in a rich neighborhood and married a black man. Why? Because he
treated me right. He may not have finished high school, but he is the most
intelligent person I know.
Ericka, 36, white, San Diego
J. Courtney Sullivan of The New York Times interviewed more than 100 men and
women on this topic for her forthcoming book Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and
Find a Quality Man (Warner Books, February 2007).
A subtle approach works best with the sophisticated lady, she found. "Saying
cheesy pick-up lines like 'I'm glad I just learned the name of the most
beautiful woman in this bar' won't work. . . . I mean, for a certain type of
woman, like me, you need to feel as if someone is just trying to have a
conversation with you."
While women she interviewed were more apt to shun men perceived as financial
also-rans, they usually judged income as just one part of an overall "class"
package that includes chivalry, education, confidence, goals, etc.
"It seems snotty for a woman to say she doesn't want to date outside her
class, but in terms of looking further down the road, if being of a different
class is going to be fine when they have kids and a mortgage, that's OK, but if
it's going to be an issue, they need to talk about it up front."
And while some women squirm about interracial dating, most she interviewed
didn't view it as a make-or-break issue upon meeting someone.
"It's mostly the other things - approach, manners, respect - that matter."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.