Let's Talk About Sex and Money
Do you suffer from "Keeping Down WIth the Joneses Syndrome"?
I've found that men have no trouble talking about money. Men even love, love, love to talk about money! Whereas we females often feel shy talking about money -- as if it's somewhat vulgar to reveal just how truly curvy the figures we earn might be.
However, for men, talking boldly about money is right up there with sex for a big conversational turn-on. So much so, a great business venture might be a "1-900-MONEY hotline" -- where you can call up to hear all about huge, throbbing wads of money, stiff stacks of bills, softly rounded numbers, 24 hours a day!
I believe our female shyness around money-talk starts with our female grade-prudery, which was developed back in school. As students, grades are a kid's Monopoly version of money status. Straight A's are the equivalent of a seven-figure income. And as students, boys tend to flash their straight A's, whereas girls tend to flush over theirs.
I personally was teased about my high math grades. Meaning that I was taught, along with trigonometry, that if I wanted to be liked, I shouldn't succeed too much. One plus the other didn't add up, but rather divided me from my peers.
Same goes for big girls and big salaries.
Women are conditioned to feel guilty about shining at the office -- and then asking for more money because we are shining at the office -- as if this would make us greedy or crude.
I've seen this tendency so much in the women I know and coach that I've come up with a name for this syndrome: "Keeping Down With the Joneses Syndrome" -- and I describe it as when a woman feels afraid to rise up too high above her peers and partners so she keeps herself down either consciously or subconsciously.
I confess that I myself have suffered a bit from "Keeping Down With the Joneses Syndrome" -- and I'm far from alone. According to the book Women Don't Ask, "men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a starting salary."
Meaning? We women stand to lose more than $500,000 by age 60 -- due to not being ballsy and bold enough to talk about wanting more money.
I believe this monetary condition only gets worse due to "monetary conversational atrophy." Women -- even outside of business -- just don't spark to the idea of sitting around and gabbing about money.
For instance, here's a personal story, from back in my single girl days.
A True Urban Love Story
I once dated this guy -- cute, very cute even -- but he was like a human piñata. It was hard getting him to open up and reveal personal information -- basic stuff about his past relationships, his mother, his father, if he ever had a dog as a kid.
I jokingly asked him if he was with the Witness Relocation Program. (He claimed not!) Me, I was fine with telling him all about my mom and dad, and how I'd always wanted a dog but never got one until recently -- a part Jack Russell, part Chihuahua named Maxine and definitely my better one-eighth.
© Karen Salmansohn
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