The perception of Architects on Prime Time.

Listen, its a tough life as an architect. As much as the world sees us as high falutin social party animals, in reality thats not always the case. Architects come very close to the bottom of the food chain when it comes to pay scales vis a vis education received.

Therefore it would be good if we got some publicity as the person behind the profession, and not just the profession itself. Well the prime time TV show Bachelor on ABC tried to do just that in their next season

Among the professionals they’re considering: architects. Casting agents for the show have been approaching architectural firms across the country “searching for a 27- to 33-year-old single, handsome, successful, charismatic guy who would like to be whisked away to an exotic, tropical location dating 25 beautiful girls.”

So far, so good. Now comes the part that gets me all riled up.

But with a pool of architects — notoriously cheap, arrogant and generally terrible dates, if not altogether gay — as bait, will gals actually bite? It’s a move that gives even some architects a good laugh.

And it gets worse…

On the Gutter, a Web site and online message board for architects, the “Bachelor” posting has elicited these cracks:

  • “Most bachelor architects would be on ‘Brokeback Bachelor,'” a reference to the many gay men in the field.

  • “I can’t wait for the episode where his date spends the whole night in his studio, while he finishes hot-gluing a chip-board model,” because architects are known to put in long hours agonizing over minute details.

  • “After gluing the model all night, wait till she has to pay for dinner.” After years of expensive graduate programs, few architects are known for making big bucks, or being particularly generous with what they do make.

I don’t know which architects they are talking about, but then it ain’t me or any of my myriad of architect friends.

And as the article states, the bitching goes on…

“I went on a couple of dates with an architect I met online,” recalls Eve*, a 36-year-old social worker from Brooklyn. “He was gay and either didn’t know it, or didn’t want to be. He was so effeminate, I was shocked that he didn’t know how gay he was.”

But then to be fair, this is something I completely attest to. Its something that I am guilty of and that the missus gets all worked up about.

“If you were to date an architect, you probably wouldn’t ever see him in daylight,” she says. “On an average day I worked 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and everyone’s relationships seemed to be suffering. On days just before major deadlines, it wasn’t uncommon for them to work through the night, or even two or three nights straight. Some of the architects at the firm had memberships at the 24-hour gym nearby, so they’d have a place to shower when they worked straight through.

As Wendy Straker, author of “Men at Work: A Job-by-Job Search for Mr. Right” (Polkadot Press) notes

“Architects are a great balance between the artist and the suit,” she says. “They’re visionaries who know how to plan. But the risk of dating an architect is that they’re extremely set in their ways. They think they know what’s best for you and that includes everything from which direction your couch should face to where you should hang that new painting.”

Still, all is not lost

Still, despite all these downsides, there’s an undeniable sexiness to the field that reels women in. Think of Gary Cooper as Harold Roark in Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” an idealistic architect who refuses to compromise his principles and thus sweeps Patricia Neal’s married Dominique Francon off her feet. Then there’s Seinfeld’s George Costanza, who lied about being an architect to impress women, as does Matt Dillon’s character in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy “There’s Something About Mary.”

Read the entire article and then make up your mind. I would be really interested in knowing what you think of architects. If you are an architect, do comment on whether you agree with the article, and if not, then what it is that you don’t agree with. And if you are not an architect, I would love to hear your perception of what you think of architects.

One Comment

  1. BongoPondit March 20, 2006

    Whenever I hear about architecture being discussed as a profession, I am reminded about Seinfeld; George Constanza’s life-long ambition to be an architect (in one episode he denies a scholarship to a boy who initially wants to be an architect, but then changes his mind and wants to be a city planner) 🙂

    On a serious note, I have had several friends in college studying architecture, one of my neighbors and several of my relatives were architects and I do not think they shared any common personality traits based on their profession.

    Eventually, every profession has its own stereotype. If you think architects have it bad, think about how scientists are viewed and portrayed on TV/films (actually very few prime-time TV characters are shown as scientists by occupation) : the whole bespectacled, absent-minded, nerdy, geeky, socially inept but genius shebang is so tiresome.

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