Most Men Brag About Their Salaries, but Most Women't Don't: Why?

My six-year-old daughter has an old friend—in as much as first graders can have old friends—who is a boy who used to live in Brooklyn but moved west. He visited again recently, and after a long absence, they fell to discussing something that has suddenly become important to them: money.

"I have $75," said the boy, a statement that his mother later verified as true.

"Oh, that's funny. I have $68," said my daughter, a statement that was categorically false. Even after Santa delivered that bag of real gold she asked for (ten Sacagawea dollar coins in a little satchel, as it turned out), she still doesn't have more than $25 to her name. But the old friends just turned to each other and laughed. "We have SO much money," they said one after the other.

The last time they saw each other, they really didn't feel this way about money. Yes, she's had a half-full piggy bank on her nightstand for years, but this thing of talking a lot about money, and this magical thinking (read: lying) about how much money she has is new. Watching them made me think that salary bragging might be an actual developmental step. Kids are often braggarts, which seems—if I can indulge in some armchair psychiatry—like a useful shield for them as they start to look around and see just how little they are capable of in the adult world.

The leap from piggy-bank fibbing to salary-bragging is a natural one. At an older age, it is still the defense of the braggart, particularly of men who are ever-aware that they have less and earn less and are less than others on this earth. But I'll say this about salary bragging and six-year-olds: as with so many social and cognitive milestones, young girls are simply a little more advanced than the boys.

–Nathan Thornburgh

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matt Gross, Theodore Ross, & Nathan Thornburgh

Matt Gross, Theodore Ross, and Nathan Thornburgh write for the website DadWagon. Theodore Ross is the author of Am I a Jew?

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

'Cattoo': The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

"Feline art is really popular right now," says a tattoo artist in Brooklyn.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Writers

Up
Down

More in The Sexes

Just In