Well, Mark Zuckerberg, you’ve finally made it: Cosmopolitan has written an article on the pros and cons — sorry, make that bros and cons — of dating a “start-up techie.” You may not have had much success with girls at Harvard, but according to Cosmo, your type is now “trending” as “Hollywood It Girls are snatching up web entrepreneur like they’re the latest iPhone upgrade.” That’s almost as monumental your whole being-worth-$27.8 billion thing!
I don’t usually have much to relate to in Cosmo articles (just can’t get that damn squirter thing to squirt) but this topic is actually something I know a thing or two about. You see, I’ve actually dated two different guys who launched their own start-ups — Ex-Mr. Jessica was one of them and the other sold his startup and is now some muckety-muck at Facebook. I’ve a fair amount of time around startup guys (they are for the most part dudes, although not always), and yeah, despite Jezebel’s snarking, Cosmo is on to something … particularly how a lady will always be number two in a tech dude’s life because “his devotion to his startup rivals Adam Levine’s love for Victoria’s Secret models” and “he’s always working.”
Here’s what I would say about dating a dude who works in (ugh, I hate this phrase) “the tech scene”"
1. He’ll have his laptop on his all the time, probably working. Lots of people work crazy hours and their significant others just find ways to cope. But the pernicious thing about a tech guy is that like most people, he probably has their laptops around all the time so it’s easy to just pick up his computer while you’re watching TV together and start coding, or responding to emails, or hatereading Valleywag post about Ben Lerer. In my experience, it was particularly hard for tech guys to “leave work at work” because their work goes with him … everywhere.
2. He’ll shill his product all the time. People in tech are always throwing fucking conferences. Or hackathons. Or going to Tumblr meetups. That’s fine, but it means you’re going to hear him explain what his startup does 6.13 million times. You had better pray to God that his startup idea is not a stupid idea, because he is going to tell anyone who will listen that “It’s a social media site for peanut butter fans that gives badges every time you eat a sandwich.”
3. He’ll be out lots of nights, schmoozing with investors. There’s a stereotype that people who work in tech are socially inept basement-dwelling dorks (assumed to be pasty and Caucasian, of course). There are some awkward people, I suppose, but not any more than in any other field. Because the reality is that if he is trying to get a startup funded, steal a good engineer from a rival site, or have his whole project bought by Google (the secret dream of every techie), he needs to be very social. Both the tech guys that I dated were often out at night schmoozing at industry parties or getting fed expensive dinners on a potential investor’s dime.
4. He’ll mostly be around other dudes (hence the term “techbro”). The tech scene, at least the ones in NYC and SF that I am familiar with, are predominantly male and mostly white or Asian. I do think diversity is improving slowly, but I recall both most social events as being really testosterone-y. As a feminist, it always made me really frustrated when I saw startups that only had one woman on staff — if they had one at all.
5. He probably travels a lot. A lot of investors are rich (and I mean RICH) people who live in places like New York City, Seattle, San Francisco or L.A. Your tech dude may have to fly out to meet lots of people. He probably also speak on a lot of conferences (see above, “schmoozing”). If your techie travels frequently, expect to be home alone a lot unless you’ve got lots of your own frequent flyer miles to use. (This turned out to be of the biggest problems in my relationship with Ex-Mr. Jessica, actually.)
6. There is a distinct possibility he’s broke, or close to broke … Unless he’s launching the startup in his off-hours from a 9-to-5, he’s probably living on very little money while he’s getting the project off the ground. If his startup has gotten funding, it’s probably not a lot at first (and it’s not always certain when the next rounds will come in, or how flush they will be). There’s a certain bohemian street cred in taking financial risks for his career. But that’s worrisome if you both need to, like, sign a lease. Expect to hear a lot of moaning from parents/grandparents about how he is flushing his life down the toilet and should have just gotten a job in finance.
7. … but he’s convinced he’s going to become a billionaire by selling his startup to Google. I’m not exaggerating. Just smile and be supportive.
8. He’ll be intelligent, but probably kind of a know-it-all. It takes brains to do this; that is indisputable. In fact, my ex that works at Facebook now dropped out of our high school so he could start working in tech. But in my experience, tech dudes — how do I say this politely? — are very aware of how intelligent they are. I’ve found that techies generally think that they know everything about everything. I suspect it comes from having to be seen as authoritative an in their careers. Alas, that attitude leaks into their everyday lives, where being a know-it-all just comes off as mansplaining and lecture-y.
After dating two guys who worked at tech startups, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with the specific problems that came with the field anymore. I was just never going to be compatible with the lifestyle that tends to come with it (kind of like how in my mid-20s I stopped trying to make it happen with musicians). However, it was interesting to watch from an outsider perspective, especially because tech is considered a hot sector right now. It felt like I was watching something culturally important from up close … even if I was mostly just watching stuff on Apple screens.
[Jezebel via Cosmopolitan]
[Image via Cosmopolitan]