English: Engraving on wood by W. M. Thackeray ...

English: Engraving on wood by W. M. Thackeray himself, for the first edition od The Book of Snobs. Chapter XVIII, “Party-giving snobs” . Mr Snob and Miss Smith Français : Illustration du chapitre XVIII “Party-giving snobs” de l’édition originale du Livre des snobs par l’auteur. Gravure sur bois. Mr Snob parle avec Miss Smith.(page 69) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have all been on a date with a person like this.  No matter what you say, or what you have accomplished in life, to a snob, it won’t be good enough.  Who is the snob?  And why are there so many of them in New York City.  I am going to use a male example here as that is my personal experience, but I know that this category especially has no gender specific qualifications.  The snob can also just as easily be a woman as a man.

The Snob

  • Any Age
  • Profession – Something high-profile – they have done press, interviews, written books, etc.
  • Advanced Degrees or Ivy League degrees
  • Enjoy hobbies and sports average Americans know nothing about – i.e. Squash, Polo, Sailing
  • Few live in Brooklyn or Queens and if they do this fact is a source of embarrassment  (Park Slope exception)
  • They have well-connected friends, constantly name drop
  • Brag about accomplishments
  • Blather on about expensive travel all over the world
  • Best paired with other snobs

A typical date with a snob will feel more like a job interview than anything romantic or fun.  They will judge where you live, what you do for a living, your background, where you grew up, the amount you have traveled and even your ethnicity.  Some snobs like the idea of “trolling”: going out with someone they believe far beneath them.  You have to watch out, because a snob will never really respect you or what you do.  You might just be another eccentric accessory he can show off to his friends.

Probably the biggest indicator of acceptance by a snob is education.  According to the most recent census, the percentage of Americans with college degrees is at an all time high of 30%.  So even though you may have had to work two jobs while getting your diploma and might have had to resort to a combination of college loans, the Pell grant and scholarships to go to school none of this will impress the snob.  If you don’t at least have a masters degree, or some type of ivy league affiliation you are simply not good enough.  Even though with a BA you are still doing better than 2/3 of the general population.

One snob that I had the displeasure of going out boasted of the extremely prestigious school of Oxford on his dating profile and his Facebook page.  Although in reality, he had only gone to Oxford for one year before he dropped out of a masters program.  His BA from an Ivy League institution and perfect grade point average is not enough, so he brags about a school he couldn’t hack.

I had another date where the man kept grilling me over my “life plan”.  I tried my best to answer him but other than working on my memoir and getting on stage as much as possible I don’t really have specific life goals.  Perhaps I should, but most of my energy is spent just trying to survive each month.  The whole experience just made me feel like I was defending my life, and every choice that I had made up until that point.  Never mind that I just went through a devastating divorce, have worked in an artistic profession for the past decade, and come from a blue-collar background.  This person ignored the success of this blog, the press that I have done for my articles on the Huffington Post and the huge body of work I have done on stage.  Needless to say the date made me feel crushed and about an inch tall.

Why are so many men like this in New York City?  My bet it is just insecurity on their part.  They may have worked extremely hard for all that they have accomplished and worry that if they date anyone beneath their status that it will somehow lower theirs.  What they fail to realize is that most of us work extremely hard at what we do, but we don’t all come from privileged or even middle class backgrounds.  Race, gender and socioeconomic factors are all at work against many of us, despite out best efforts.  The workforce is not exactly an even playing field.

A snob also might believe that their advanced degrees and their overflowing bookcases actually make them a superior person, someone society should value greater than a humble janitor or preschool teacher.  No one will ever live up to their standard, because they don’t live up to their own.  A snob is most critical of themselves than they are anyone else.  Their projection of arrogance towards you is just a symptom of their own feelings of inadequacy.  A person who was truly happy with their lives would never waste energy looking down on others.

Snobs exist everywhere but are especially a problem in New York City because of the many elite colleges on this little island, and the cultural and financial makeup of its residents.  As the city attracts the best and brightest many view significant others as an extension of what they have accomplished.  It is not enough to a snob that you are intelligent, well read, beautiful, young, creative, in amazing shape, have a great sense of humor, have a kind heart, or an open-mind. In addition to any number of positive qualities you must also have a résumé that rivals theirs.

So if you see the signs of someone who doesn’t think you are good enough for them…BOLT.  Try to find the inner strength to get up and walk out.  Point out to this person that they are being a jerk.  I can’t write how many times I have wanted to tell one of these jokers off and haven’t.   No person is better than any other, the distinction only lives inside their mind.  Don’t put up with it, just get back on that saddle and try to find someone who will appreciate you for all that you are.  The snob can sit and wait for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.


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7 comments on “Dating in NYC: The Snob

  1. tom dolak

    “…how many times I have wanted to tell one of these jokers off and haven’t.”

    i like that you do it here instead of out on your date.

    but – what would you gain from telling someone off? and why haven’t you actually done it?

    1. Debbie Miller

      Hi Juliet,
      So glad I came across your blog and this great article. A co-worker and I were talking today about NYC men. I’ve lived here 15 years and came here during a divorce. I tried many things to try to get to know NYC men and to date them, but have generally felt invisible. I agree about the snob mentality and you described it very elegantly.
      By the way, we met briefly about 7 years ago when you M.C.’d “Monologue Mania,” which my friend Suzanne McCoy and I co-produced at the Producer’s Club. I was Debbie Feldman then (I’m Miller now) and I performed two monologues in the show. Glad to hear you’re still performing and writing. I pay my rent with two part-time jobs teaching ESL, and still manage to write my plays and promote my little business (Anna’s Potions and Lotions) while living in Windsor Terrace.

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