Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Here’s another one of those New York things that I’m not sure if people in other places can relate to.  I’m sorry if it’s too New Yorky.  It’s hard for me to tell.

I was on a recently and the guy was telling me that he’d recently moved to a new neighborhood.  Well, where he moved to is not that far from where my family is from (where my mom and dad both grew up, and where I lived when I was very little).  So I mentioned that and how much that part of the city has changed.  And then he asked me a follow up question and the next thing I knew he said two of the most condescending things I’ve heard in ages: “you’re a working class girl” and “you’ve come a long way”.

Now in his defense, though why I’m defending him I have no idea, this guy is a total leftie (which I knew) and he was saying these things with a tone of admiration in his voice.  He’s from a pretty privileged background (from what I can tell).   Kind of a limousine liberal.  And people like that tend to romanticize hard work and crappy jobs and not having enough money.

He wasn’t entirely accurate.  I’m from a very typical middle class background.  My parents were from crappy neighborhoods/poor families but they worked hard (dad went to a city college, blah blah blah) and we moved out to the ‘burbs and things were actually pretty easy for me.  Never cushy, but easy.  But just the fact that I have people in my family who didn’t go to college, or lived in an apartment in a not so great part of the city when I was a kid is a big deal to someone like him.

Anyway, it’s a strange thing but dating in New York can sometimes feel like class warfare.  I’ve always made a concerted effort to not date guys from “good backgrounds” and “good families”.  I feel like I can’t relate to them or them to me.   I don’t really care what someone’s doing now, or what he’s earning, but a guy from a wealthy family is usually a big turn off.

And so, back to my date.  He said that.  And I smiled and said yes and then changed the topic.  He’s a nice enough guy.  I think I might like him.  I might even go out with him again, just to see what happens.  But I already know that I could never take him home to meet the family.  Never.  Everyone would hate him immediately and with good reason.

Silly, huh?

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7 to “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby”

  1. starangel82 says:

    It’s not just an NYC thing. Sometimes I think it could be worse in the South (or at least in my area). Most people are lower to upper middle class. Then you’ve got people who live at or below poverty level. That leaves us with the tiny percentage of well off families. The difference is here it isn’t an admirable ‘you’re a working class girl’, but a ‘I am so much better than you’ form of elitism. I find the better than you sentiment is even more disdaniful to the working class when people come from old Southern money. I’ve also watched sweet little kids who used to play with everyone turn into teenagers and adults who start to shun their childhood and move to play with the rich kids. It’s just how it works here.

  2. starangel82 says:

    Okay, just reread my comment and realize I sound bitter. I’m not. It’s just simply how it works where I live.

  3. MissMollyMoo says:

    I dated a guy from a very well off family. His family always sort of looked down on me because my family wasn’t wealthy (I’m typical middle class too, but grew up in a rather affluent suburb). I remember his father very condescendingly asking “Did your mother go to college?” Yes ass. She went to an Ivy League University. Now normally I wouldn’t mention that, but to him I felt like I had to qualify my mother’s intelligence/existence. It always made me uncomfortable. He got along well with my family, but I never EVER felt comfortable around his.

  4. MindyMom says:

    I don’t think it’s strictly a New York thing but condescending in ANY form is a total turn off for me.

  5. Veka says:

    Eww this guy sounds like a total jerk. So I have to ask: If you know there’s no future with him, why would you continue to go out with him, especially because of how condescending he is? Is “like” really enough? And after only one date?

  6. valeriekw says:

    It’s not strictly a New York thing. There are jerks everywhere! Our society puts too much emphasis on elitism. For your fabulous fix, follow me at !

  7. Simone Grant says:

    It seems like the class issues are deeper and play themselves out in a much stricter way in the south. Or maybe they’re just as deep here but I don’t realize it because “I’ve come a long way” and lost my accent so I pass?
    Yeah, I’m not a big fan of condescending. But like I said, he had no idea that he was being condescending. And I guess that’s why I didn’t get mad.
    Well, he’s not a total jerk. He comes from a place and background that have imprinted certain values in him that are very different than mine (or yours or most people who read my blog). He’s asked me out again and I’m not sure if I’m going to say no. I know I probably should, but I’m not sure.
    Welcome to the blog. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of elitism. In any form.