Smart Girls Can’t Date

I’m going to take this post and veer in completely different direction because, well, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

I am 29 years old, and I do not have a boyfriend. I can barely get a date.

I’m intelligent and decent looking. I dress well, if casually. I can cook. I own my home, I drive a nice (but older) car, and I’m generally easy to be around. Not the perfect catch, but not a total reject, either. So what gives? Why can’t I get a date?

Don’t worry, I’ve asked this question before. I’ve actually taken an informal poll on the subject, questioning both male and female friends alike. The result: I’m intimidating because I’m smart.

That baffled me. I’m not exactly physically imposing, standing just below five foot seven, with honey-blonde hair and a sort of absent-minded aura. My arms lack distinct muscle tone. I’m quiet. How is that intimidating?

The responses that I received ranged from “you use big words” to “you’re really smart” and occasionally, “you exude confidence.”

Great! I like this. These are good things. Yes? Oh, they’re not?

Female intelligence is, apparently, scary. This is where a type of stealth double standard rears its ugly head.

We, as a society, are in the midst of a passionately fought equality movement. We’re telling fashion magazines to stop digitally altering pictures of their models so girls will have a more realistic perception of body image. We’re promoting “fit” not “thin.” We’re telling young women to get the best education they can, so they can get the best job, so they can change the world, which is something we’ve been telling men all across the globe for centuries.

We’re telling girls that the best version of their personality is the one truest to their inner self.

But we’re not getting the same message out to men about the women. I’m mean, I’m sure we’re trying—but the proof is in the pudding, as it were. Men that I know are still scared by intelligent women because they’ve been trained to believe that such women are bitchy, snide, high maintenance, and—most importantly—in competition with them.

I think that last one is what cinches the feelings of terror. It’s okay to be in competition with another man. That’s biology. But competing with a woman is evolutionary blasphemy.

I’ve been told by perfect strangers that I need to “tone down” my intelligence when I meet a guy. To hide it. To censor the big words and play off things that may scare him away, with the implication that to do otherwise would emasculate him.

Men that do the same things I do, like dressing nicely and speaking in complete sentences about complex subjects, are swooned over. Ladies like smart men.

And, to be fair, men like smart ladies. They just…run away from them. Because, obviously, dealing with a woman who is a match for your intelligence would be too hard. It would make you “less of a man” if your girlfriend had a better job, or a better vocabulary, or a higher graduate degree.

It’s tantamount to heresy if she’s in direct competition with you. You know. According to society.

Women are taught to be proud of their male companions’ achievements. To cheer them on. They are taught to cheer on their sisters and female besties as well, and to cheer for themselves.

I’m a little confused as to why the same lesson isn’t getting out to the men.

Fellas, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s 100% acceptable to have a girlfriend, wife, or female counterpart who is smarter than you.  She’s not trying to put you down. She’s not trying to make you feel bad. In fact, she wants to impress you, because if she’s with you, she already thinks you’re the bee’s knees and is hoping you’ll stick around.

Haven’t asked her out yet? (Alternately, did she ask you out and you ran in the opposite direction out of fear?) She’s hoping her smarts and personality will meld with her looks and create an irresistible allure. Smart is sexy. Smart is interesting. Smart is…experimental. Smart girls like to learn new things.

Like astrophysics. Stay with me, boys.

You know what else? Smart girls like men who are willing to learn. If you have no clue what she’s talking about, or don’t recognize that four syllable word, stop her for a second. Tell her to explain it. She’s not going to think you’re stupid. She’s going to think you’re interested.

So, don’t let the stealthy double standard contaminate your interest, gentlemen. Ladies, don’t let the stealthy double standard turn you mute, or worse, make you hide aspects of your personality. Be yourself.

We’re all victims of some mixed messaging. Hell, even women are sometimes afraid of smart women—and it’s because wires are getting crossed.

But it’s time we all got together and straightened it out. Do it for the cosmic, gravity defying sex. Do it for equality.

Do it for me, because I’m free on Saturday.

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15 thoughts on “Smart Girls Can’t Date

  1. I don’t think a woman should ever “tone it down” when it comes to intelligence. I would have to agree with your friends that it may be intimidating, but I will continue to say that any man intimidated by your intelligence shouldn’t even be a distant thought in your mind.

    I love intelligent women. My problem is I have trouble finding them. I am a fairly intelligent guy, and I constantly bump into pretty bubble-heads and it kills me. I think my favorite relationships have been with intelligent women because I feel like I grow with or from them. I love when you can bring something to the table other than a smart mouth and a nice ass (although, I love those two things lol).

    Don’t ever dumb it down. Women tell me the same thing about myself. That women don’t fuck me often times because I’m so smart that they feel like a dumb ass just speaking to me. If you’re intimidated by me because I can use a three syllable word in a conversation about something simple, then you’re simple and I wouldn’t insult my penis by trying to put him in you. I’ve told chicks that by the way and it turns them on somehow.

    Anyway, Don’t crumble to the fold. I’m sure there is a guy out there just looking for you, since from the sound of it I would be. Feels good to see that your kind still exists ;).

    • Thanks! I’m not going to crumble–that’s why I wrote this. I’m trying to convince the timid that the smart ones don’t bite.

      Dating is hard already. Societal mixed messaging makes it harder.

    • There is no “wrong,” Nacho. This is my experience. It is also a societal trend, as you can see by following the hyperlinks in the post.

      Is it a universal experience? I hope not. But it is mine.

  2. I’m gonna be frank here. You know my spelling and grammar are horrible so please don’t tear me a new one for twitches you get from reading this.

    Whoever you’re talking to is feeding you a tall glass of bullshit. Refined, unadulterated, probably regurgitated, class A bullshit.

    You’re a gorgeous *woman* (I emphasize woman because I have known you to be one since college, when most were still little girls) — that was the first thought I had the first time I met you in college. Getting to know you, I realized you’re brilliant and that made me like you more. No, I’m not trying to profess some undying love for you; I’m just trying to get a point across. My point being that your physical demeanor and mentalabilty (I know that isn’t a word but I’m making it a word because I’m not the wordsmith you are and I like making up words) *ARE NOT* the/a problem.

    Now, to your, uhh, perceived dilemma.

    When I’m hanging out with most (I say most because some are just batshit stupid) of my other single male friends and the conversation veers to our singledom, and the cause we discover it is not a fault of our character (or lack thereof) but rather a lack of quality in the opposite sex. We long for, deeply long for, intelligent women that can hold a conversation and talk about something other than their cat for 30 minutes (not an exaggeration). I’m not single because I can’t meet women; I’m single because the women I meet make me want to choke them. I’ve had conversations, if you can call it that, with some women where I’m left considering the benefits of becoming a beer making monk that learns kung-fu. I’ve been out with friends where we have very visibly and verbally avoided an 8-10 because they are dumb as shit for a 5-7 because they can hold a conversation without saying “uhh” and “you know” every minute.

    Men, let me emphasize that, *men*, are not afraid of intelligent women.

    Now, I have not hung out with you in a while so I could be wrong but here are some things I remember about you that might be worth introspecting over:

    – You are shy. Now, this is not a bad thing, not at all, but, unfortunately, at first glance shy can come off as bitchy. As not worth the trouble. You are not bitchy — quite opposite actually. I like meeting people so I’ll work at getting to know a shy person and most of the time the results are yielding. I’ve made some great shy friends. But, it took a lot of work. In that much time I’ve made multiple non-shy friends. Again, I’m not saying being shy is bad. I’m saying that in our society as it currently thrives, shyness works against you.

    – If interest were people, yours would be a minority. You like things that not a lot of people like. Not a bad thing, just a thing. This means that the available pool of men is smaller.

    – Maybe it’s because we’re not close friends but I never took you as a flexible person. You will do what you want and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing but guys want a woman who will be flexible with her wants/desires. Sometimes you gotta give a little. Again, maybe I am wrong as we’re not exactly close friends.

    I am curious, where are you going to meet people? How are you meeting new people? I wouldn’t worry so much about yourself (if you had any faults, I would bluntly tell you) but if you’re not meeting the right guys then try different places/avenues.

    • I understand all that, and thank you for the positive feedback.

      This post was meant as an observation about why some men feel smart women are scary, and how to rectify that through communication and open mindedness, and you are definitely helping 😛

  3. I think men do like smart women who use big words and can support themselves and know what direction they want to take their lives, but are you leaving enough room for inclusion. Is the message you are sending if you can’t keep up with my intelligence then their is no room for you? As far as being shy,I think men like this quality and it is a very good quality. Makes you mysterious,never lay all your cards out if you know what I mean.
    I also think you should never compromise yourself. Be true to thy self. If jeans and a tea shirt are your thing then wear it!! You will find that you will feel you and open and approachable without all the other bullshit in the way.
    Companionship is a tricky thing. The next young man could be as dumb as dirt but hold your interest in other ways. Sometimes equal is not the best thig.xoxo

    • I don’t intend for the message ever to be “if you can’t keep up with my intelligence then there is no room for you.”

      I try to be friendly and warm, and smile when talking to new people. If by chance a big word tumbles out of my mouth and it’s perceived the way you described, I can’t do much about that.

      Perhaps, and this applies to ALL genders, we should become more aware of non-verbal communication to help decipher verbal communication. That way, this variety of misunderstanding can be avoided.

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