So You Want To Date a Start-up CEO? Get in Line, She’s Busy…

Think you want to date a powerful female startup CEO? Think again, it might be tougher than one expects...

A recent Facebook note surfaced on the web about what its like dating a start-up CEO. The note bluntly outlined what “he” would be like and how “he” would act – and since virality knows no gender, the note got a group of female start-up CEOs talking.

Is it really different dating a female start-up CEO than male? Are we wired all that differently or does society just look at us differently? Are we in fact different?

Before looking at how us FSCs (female start-up CEO) are wired, let’s take a quick look at society.

The title CEO is synonymous with man.

From my own experience, we were finalists with The Funded earlier this year. Fifteen start-ups on the phone, practicing our pitches, and I was the only female founder. We didn’t make stage (top 10) so that meant 100% of the showcase was lead by male presenters.

When I talk to people about the cool startup I run or work at (depending on my mood) very often the response is “Yeah, but what do you do there?” I founded it, I run it, I sign corporate documents with logos on it.

Even in New York City, which has so far been the least gender adverse city I have lived in, my CCO and I did a test. My temporary lease is up and I need a new corporate apartment and wasn’t getting any responses back from people. Stephanie (@stephaniehaller) started emailing brokers and agents using our company email and stating, “Our CEO is very particular about where she lives.” Not only did she receive almost instantaneous responses, many responded with: “Great, what does he like, where does he want to be?”

Trying to Be a Man

So of course a woman performing in a man’s role is immediately out of place! But the pressure for children and marriage and the multitude of family obligations still exists; a FSC is not only performing the wrong societal role but is expected to still perform her traditional one. This is why many moms end up becoming superheroes who keep the house and business together – but what does these super power days do to their significant others?

The biggest difference is in lifestyle.

As told by someone who dated a FSC, “The fact that a female founder needs to party (work) until 2am, be on the phone at 3am, sleep for 2 hours, and email and text at 5am is a nuance that is unique only to the startup world.”

He continued. “We [men] typically need a manual for women, but we need a flak jacket, a cyanide capsule, and a set of roller blades for female founders. Think, ‘crash test dummy.'”

Another FSC dater put it this way: “Know that at any given moment she will be communicating with 5 other people at the same time as you. Deal with it – she’s with you.”

Most female founders I talked with said dating a female start-up CEO vs a male is pretty similar, but because of societal gender roles a woman gets more backlash for doing the necessary things to keep a successful business running – things like dates being canceled at the last minute and checking a Blackberry every two minutes. When a man checks his phone during dinner, he’s busy – when a woman does it, she’s rude.

It’s no surprise why CEOs tend to date each other. Would you rather spend twenty minutes at dinner explaining why you had to check your phone or send the email and enjoy your partner? But then again, a FSC dating another CEO can come across as trying to “sleep her way to the top.”