5 things you should know before dating a journalist

So, you’ve been eyeing that smart, attractive journalist you’re lucky enough to know personally. You’re intrigued. Your journalist is smart, funny, confident. Visions of Clark Kent taking off the glasses and ripping off his clothes to reveal a perfectly toned body in blue spandex coming to save you run through your head.

Who can blame you? Journalism is a sexy occupation.

But journalists aren’t like the bimbos you usually pick up at the bar. Nor are they the assholes you ladies continually fall for. No, journalists are different beings (which is why you’re attracted to them in the first place), and you should realize — before jumping in — that this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill, boring, lame relationship you’re used to.

Here’s what you need to know:

1We can figure things out. Understand, we’re paid to dig deep, find the secrets and wade through bullshit. We can pick up on subtleties, so what you think you are hiding from us won’t be hidden for long. Sure, we’ll act surprised when you eventually tell us you starred in German porn as a freshman in college — but we already knew.

We don’t take shit from anyone, so don’t lie to us or give a load of bullshit. We spend all day separating fact from fiction, listening to PR cronies and dealing with slimy politicians. If you make us do the same with you, you’re just gonna piss us off. And don’t think we’ll be quiet about it. We’ll respond with the vengeance of an Op-Ed page railing against society’s injustices — and we’ll enjoy doing it.

Just tell us the truth. We can handle it.

2At some point, you will be a topic. Either through a feature story or an opinion column, something you do or say will be a subject. Get over it. Consider it a compliment, even if we’re arguing against you in print.

Think about it: we live our lives writing about life. If you’re a part of our life, we’re going to write about you, your thoughts or a subject springing from one of the two.

Don’t be upset when an argument against your adoration of Hillary Clinton turns up on page A4. We’re not directing the writing at you, personally — your ignorance was just our inspiration (there, doesn’t that make you feel better?).

3Yes, we think we’re smarter than you. In fact, we know it. Does that smack of ego? Absolutely — but that confidence is what makes your heart go pitter-patter.

We have a strong, working knowledge of how the world works. That makes us great in conversation. We can delve into the intricacies of zoning laws, local and national politics, where to find the good restaurants, what’s happening with pop culture, where the good bands are playing and more.

But there are pitfalls.

Guaranteed, when you say “towards,” we will automatically say “toward” — “towards” is not a word. We’re not trying to call you dumb (even though you don’t understand the English language), it’s habit. The same will happen when you say “anxious” when you mean “eager” and when you answer “good” when someone asks how you are doing.

We carry ourselves with a certain arrogant air. Embrace it (that’s what attracted you to us in the first place, after all). Don’t be surprised if we’re not impressed when you say, “I’m a writer, too.” No, you are not. The fact that you sit in a coffee shop wearing black while scribbling in your journal does not make you a writer. Nor does the fact that you “wrote some poems in high school” or that one day you want to pen “the great American novel.”

Look, we’re paid to write. Every day. What’s more, our writing matters. It changes opinions, affects decisions and connects people with the world around them.

We’re not spewing our angst or trying to fabricate an aura of creativity. We write about the real world — with real consequences.

Our words go through three or four cranky editors who make us rewrite before it’s printed a few hundred thousand times and distributed all over town. You don’t do that unless you’re confident, even egotistical.

You may have some great journal entries, poems and rudimentary short stories — good for you. Just don’t assume we’ll accept that as on par with what we do (unless you’re really hot, then hell, you’re a better writer than I).

4You’re not less important than the job — the job is just more important than anything else. One doesn’t become a journalist to sit in an office from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.

We do take our work home. If news is happening, we’ll drop whatever we’re doing — even if it’s with you — to cover it. We’re always looking for stories, so yes, we’ll stop on the street to write something down, interview a passer-by or gather information for a lead.

On that same note, don’t get upset if you call us on deadline suggesting some afternoon nookie and we say, “I’ve got to put the paper to bed first.” That could mean hours from now, but we’ll have plenty of time to put you in bed later.

5You won’t be disappointed. Journalists are intense, driven, passionate folk. We carry those same attributes into our relationships, making it an extremely fun ride well worth the price of admission. Our lives are never boring and each day is different.

If the pitfalls are scaring you away, consider this:

The fact that we’re inquisitive means we’ll listen to you. Even if it does seem like an interview, we’re paying attention to what you have to say (see rule No. 1).

We’ll write about you or your thoughts because you’re an important part of our life and we care about you (see rule No. 2).

Our brains are a great resource. Ever go on a date with an attractive person and wind up wishing you hadn’t because everything they say is just, well, stupid? That’s not going to happen here (see rule No. 3).

Yes, it may seem that we put the job ahead of you, but we’re driven. You’re not with that loser whose life is going nowhere and who’s completely content being mediocre (see rule No. 4).

There you go, five things you should know before dating a journalist. Feel free to add to the list, point out where I’ve missed something or leave a comment. And yes, ladies, I’m single (see rule No. 5).

496 thoughts on “5 things you should know before dating a journalist”

  1. You can correct my written English any time. Correct spoken language and you’re an asshat I have no time for. And I will break up with you by saying “I’m going towards something better in life, in the shape of a wonderful – or frankly even half-decent – person I can spend time with, for free rather than paying the exorbitant price of dealing with a dick who listens to how I say something, rather than what I’m saying.” I might think of a way to end the sentence with a preposition, too – just to really get your goat. And then I’ll send you an email telling you when and where you can pick your stuff up with no punctuation or capitalisation – and if you miss that date because of a deadline, you can buy your stuff back from Oxfam. It’s for charity!

  2. Ugh… I realize this article was written somewhat tongue in cheek, but you have done no favors in boosting your fellow journalists’ image. Prior to this, I would have said journalists were bookish, dorky but intellectual, well-meaning types. Now it’s all of the above, plus unwarrantedly arrogant. If you had reason to be – e.g., you guys were also hot in addition to smart – fair enough, but come now, one does not conjure up ‘model’ when referring to journalists; therefore…

  3. I was on board until I hit 3, 4, and 5. I don’t think I’m smarter than anyone. That’s why I write — I get to learn from everyone I meet. And come on, NO ONE likes a douchebag who thinks they’re smarter than everyone. Quit fantasizing that it makes you more attractive. It’s because of assholes like you that half of every interview I go on is spent actively trying to break down the stereotype of the smartass, holier-than-thou reporter who has no concern for others’ feelings…you know, the stereotype that this list does a FANTASTIC job of upholding. Thanks a lot, asshole.

  4. Well, if it’s just about your usage of something, than say so, don’t go claiming that ““towards” is not a word”, which is a general, absolute statement… and you used that “fact” in an imagined conversation with a person, not an AmEng born-and-raised speaker (in which case, it would still be untrue and spreading rumours, but you could maybe be forgiven in a real life conversation – but not an article… by a journalist).

    ““Towards” vs. “toward” — If you’re using the Queen’s English, go ahead and write “towards.” Here in the States, it’s “toward.” I do not use “bonnet” when referring to the hood of a car, nor do I use “fag” when referring to a cigarette. So I use “toward.””

  5. Love it–my husband sometimes lovingly complains about my “journalistic” flaws of correcting his grammar, spelling and word usage. I do look at what he is saying more than the words, but as a trained journalist it is something we can not separate from our personalities easily:) We have been happily married for 35 years!

    Another pet peeve of mine: Using lead instead of led–too many people make this mistake!

    A lot of what Chambers says is true, but not as some of those who have commented have taken it-yes, some of this information comes across as sounding arrogant, and some comes across as sounding pompous. It really isn’t meant that way, but then the true meaning behind Chambers’ words can only be understood by a journalist.

  6. If jounalists are so smart, why are most J-Schools filled with the most average students on campus. Hmmmmmm? Perhaps we have a contradiction…

  7. And you wonder why most people hate the media. Journalists are more about themselves, more about their personal interests & causes and more about their fame than reporting the facts.

  8. As a journalist married to an engineer, I smypathize with Brianna. But I cringed at the journalist newly married to another journalist. I’ve known some, and a few seemed to make it work. But for most ot us, it’s much easier to find someone in another occupation who can put up with our egos and eccentricities.

  9. You forgot to mention that the drive often eventually morphs into alcoholism and cynicism…

  10. This is Awesome! 😉 LMAO! I have never read something so entertaining as this, and I’m sure the spelling errors were on purpose too! 😉 LOL! You are good. I can’t stop laughing b/c some of the comments are so serious, people cannot take themselves so seriously or we lose all sanity! 😉 Sounds like you can laugh at yourself which is a great trait to have. Thank you for writing this, I can personally relate to #2 as I campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa back in 2007/2008 and met some very nice, single, good looking journalists that I wouldn’t have minded dating. However, it’s a life on the road unless you’re Brian Williams. 😉 Thank you for the insight and if I come across a single, good looking, nice journalist again, maybe I’ll give him a 2nd chance. LOL!

  11. “1We can figure things out. Understand, we’re paid to dig deep, find the secrets and wade through bullshit.” You’re paid to do so, but do you actually do so? No, you find the easiest and most controversial misunderstanding of a topic you can and pass it off as the truth.

    “2At some point, you will be a topic. Either through a feature story or an opinion column, something you do or say will be a subject. Get over it. Consider it a compliment, even if we’re arguing against you in print.” So you’ll take a private conversation into the public eye and shame them for daring to disagree with you over something that’s probably just really stupid, rather than actually reporting something important? Great to know.

    “3Yes, we think we’re smarter than you. In fact, we know it. Does that smack of ego? Absolutely — but that confidence is what makes your heart go pitter-patter.” So, basically, you (and all the journalists you speak for, probably without their permission all things considered) have an ego the size of Jupiter and maybe an ounce of intellect to justify it (yes “towards” is a word you stupid fuck, dictionaries aren’t rubbish just because you didn’t write them).

    “4You’re not less important than the job — the job is just more important than anything else. One doesn’t become a journalist to sit in an office from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.” Yes, one does (see point 1 above).

    “5You won’t be disappointed. Journalists are intense, driven, passionate folk. We carry those same attributes into our relationships, making it an extremely fun ride well worth the price of admission. Our lives are never boring and each day is different.” This is basically point 3 amplified even further because you apparently haven’t given everybody enough reasons to hate you.

  12. I also believe that it was written to be funny…some truth but taken to the nth degree. I am an unemployed journalist. I worked hard for a newspaper that has a standard business practice of firing their staff-writers after about three years so they can bring in new writers for less money. I loved my job but I was never arrogant about it. My sources came to me because they trusted me to tell their story accurately and truthfully. I never let them down. I am proud about this, not arrogant. As a retired volunteer EMT/Firefighter, I know a little about the adrenalin rush. Certain stories bring out the same chemical reaction. I loved it!

  13. I’ve saved this article and send it to every guy who insists on dating… they think it’s funny, but whenever they have an issue I always go back to this article and tell them, “You were warned.”

  14. How about # 6: We won’t make any money. Ever. So if you’re hoping I’ll be as rich as Matt Lauer, the chances are slim to none. So even though I think I’m smarter than you, I’m not smart enough to choose an occupation that will let me live like I’ve chosen wisely.

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  16. You are simply brilliant. I agree with you. Would love to have more conversations with you.

  17. When employees in a certain field need to actually create a website in order to inform everybody else that they are admittidely arrogant, and actually think that “writing” will be seen by anybody else as a “bad boy” job. Journalists, required just like every other job, write articles about events created by “other people”. Those are the people who actually created news. Not the ones who just write about it. This article made me laugh my ass off! I was thinking the same thing…cool people…..1. rock stars 2. athletes 3. journalists! …..Hmmmm….can anybody say misprint. Do you think anybody would actually buy that. This is like the guy in the stands of the baseball game who keeps score saying “We are the ones who get it done. Hit the ball? meh…anybody can do that. But write about actions created by the player. Now that’s big time baby!” Pretty much what you guys are saying. When you “gotta” tell somebody how cool, arrogant, and inflated you are, odds are you’re not! If it’s not noticed without having to write rules about it, it’s probably gonna get a lot of “LOL” responses. Next stop: My 5 rules why MMA fighters think they be bad ass! Do you think this website would actually need to be created, or would the content be understood?

  18. Egocentric wanking…written like a true journalist. Wonder why that print media is dying among a misinformed populace? Wanker journalists who suffer terribly from Dunning-Kruger effect.

  19. Too arrogant to be true. I prefer to date scientists. They are also passionate, they listen carefully and sincerely the other people, they can sleep besides their experiment if needed, they write carefully written papers under a savagely cruel peer review (your editors are newborn babies compared to them), and the best is: they are much brighter than journalists.

    I know what I am speaking about.
    I married a nuclear engineer with a Master in artificial intelligence, and which earned a Master in a foreign literature just as a hobby.

    Try to earn a Master in Physics as a hobby if you are so bright…

  20. How about #6: We journalists love to deliver our arguments in numerical subdivisions even if that makes no sense at all, because #1 it lends plausibility to the greatest horseshit, and #2 it proves we can count, and #3 that’s what every demagogue does.

Don't just sit there, say something!