Education Inequality and Your Barista Boo-Thang

second opinions

“There’s this girl who works at a coffee shop that I’m super into, but she just has a high school diploma and I’m working on getting my masters. We’re both into each other, but I can’t get over the fact that she isn’t really doing anything with her life. Am I a horrible person for letting this get in the way?! UGH! How do you handle education inequality in dating?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Shane Says:

Oh man, those girls in coffee shops…. putting heart shapes in your cappuccino and drizzling their number with chocolate syrup. I hope you don’t even drink coffee, and you’re just ordering it to seem caffeinated and cool for your barista boo-thang.

With situations like yours, it’s important to not let the idea of a thing (the implications of her education level) interfere with the thing itself (your mutual attraction). There’s nothing wrong with wanting specific qualities in a partner, including a certain education level. However, your concern seems rooted in a couple of assumptions — that MAYBE your coffee shop lady doesn’t have an advanced degree because MAYBE she doesn’t have ambitious goals for success, or MAYBE she doesn’t care about her future. Don’t give those “maybes” any control over your love life.

Truth is, your coffee shop lady lover is doing things with her life. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but she’s got an income and a love interest… and most people would kill for just one of those (please don’t kill anybody). I’m willing to bet that if you ask her what she’s doing with her life, she’d have an answer. And that’s the fun stuff! Getting to uncover all the details that make a person complex and three-dimensional, those are the things that will anchor your feelings in reality. Maybe she is, in fact, too cool 4 school. School — especially higher education — is not for everyone, and isn’t a comprehensive metric for success or value in a person’s life. Don’t hold it against her.

So take a hot minute, while you’re sipping your hand-crafted mocha made special by your barista lover, and think about why higher education is important for you in a partner. Then take another minute (OMG so many minutes) and see what Aziz Ansari has to say about dating, specifically how people often realize that the qualities we say we’re looking for… don’t match the partner we actually become interested in.

You’re not a horrible person, at least not in this case. Maybe you don’t pay your taxes, or maybe you fart in crowded elevators. But like I said, “maybes” are just emotional contaminants, and don’t deserve the swaying power they have over our decisions. Don’t let the idea of a good relationship defeat an extraordinary opportunity that looks and feels different from what you expected.

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Originally published at everyoneisgay.com.

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