Carolyn Hax: Brush off remarks about degree

September 14, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: I see that you have a liberal arts degree. I just earned my B.A. in English literature and I am proud of it. You would not believe the people who say, “What are you going to do with that?” Or, “You won’t get a job with that.”

I have a very long explanation of why liberal arts degrees are still relevant, but their remarks seem to call for a shorter response than a dissertation.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t actually figured out what direction I want to go in professionally, but I do know my degree has made me a more critical thinker and a better writer.

PROUD

All of which is wonderful, and none of which your questioners give a (poop) about, since they’re mostly invested in confirming their own biases.

So, just tell them this: The moment you actually get a job, you’ll let them know how wrong they are.

Re: Liberal arts degrees: People who say things like “You will never get a job” are rude. Just reply neutrally with a “Maybe” or “OK” or “If you say so.”

Anonymous

Hey, Carolyn: Back on the dating market after a multiyear relationship and I’m feeling a little unimpressed with the guys I’ve encountered. One thing I’ve noticed happening repeatedly is that after going on a few dates, the guys will always leave the ball in my court, usually by saying, “Text me if you want to go out again.”

To me, this reads as lack of interest, but then they want to know why I haven’t texted. This feels like terrible laziness and/or fear of rejection to me. Am I just behind the times?

SINGLEVANIA

If their asking you to text them is “laziness and/or fear of rejection,” then what do you call your refusal to text them?

Equality isn’t a la carte, so in that sense, what these guys are asking is not only fair, but culturally overdue: If you want to see them, then say so. To me they’re just being pragmatic.

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