I said I would be unlikely to go again because I have nothing in common to talk about with the men that I have met at these events.
He proceeded to give me a lecture as to why I shouldn’t automatically dismiss dating the two guys who were responsible for service washes in the launderette as they may be perfectly nice people and that career women in their thirties get what they deserve if they don’t.
A couple of years ago a reader wrote me to ask how old is too old to start a Ph D. 18 months later, to my surprise, it was my most-read post of 2014: almost 40,000 views.
I am just wondering how many other men think like this?For me, it seems plain common sense that, while professional women with masters degrees may be compatible with men in less successful professions, the guy that left school with no qualifications to work in the launderette is highly unlikely to be a good fit.I sought input from readers and here’s what I’ve got.In my case, I was 28 when I started my Ph D and 33 when I finished.If you’re under 35, I don’t think age will be a huge concern for an admissions committee.
They are mostly concerned with your raw intellectual potential and ability to produce distinguished research.
It is a commonly accepted idea that men prefer the company of younger women, while women prefer men who are older.
This is also in keeping with Parental Investment Theory, which maintains that men are attracted to women who advertise signs of fertility — that is, youth.
And, as it has been pointed out repeatedly, you could be 65 and received your Ph D last year (or be ABD), so when I say “old,” it just means that my Ph D is apparently old and out-of-date.
I suppose I could have gone further into debt by paying tuition for the past five years (although it wouldn’t have changed the content of the Ph D, just the award date), but that’s another red flag for search committees. I think many, many long-time (heck, even short-time) adjuncts and non-tt faculty’s hearts sank when we read, in plain language, what we had long suspected and feared (reading the comments on this blog didn’t help, either): we are not what departments are looking for. There is a sick irony to being the lowest-paid people on campus and then being told we don’t qualify for a job because we’re too “expensive.” This is the paradox of higher education today.
Seriously, the collective shoulder-shrug and justification from many people, after the knee-jerk revulsion, is telling to me (as is the stunning silence from any national organization who claims to represent me in all of my various roles), and in some ways I’m glad it happened at the beginning of the hiring cycle, before even the first MLA Job Information List was published; this isn’t an isolated incident, and now that one school has found a way to legally codify their biases, I’m sure we can expect to see more of it.