Are You Too Smart to Date?
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By Lisa Daily
I am pretty smart.
Not Marilyn vos Savant smart, mind you, but always-the-first-one-at-the-table-to-figure-out-the-bill smart. Movie trivia smart. Finishes the daily crossword smart.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to end up married to a guy I considered to be at least slightly brighter than I am. I'm not sure why, but smack at the top on my laundry list of must-haves, there it's always been: A high IQ, wedged in between good teeth, a dry sense of humour and a working knowledge of basic chemistry. Nice hamstrings a plus.
Most of my female friends secretly feel the same. It's not that we're a bunch of Barbies looking for a guy who can squeeze the word asynapsis into everyday conversation, or explain the inner workings of quantum physics and nuclear fission to us over linguine and string bean casserole every night while we stare blankly into space and wonder what happened today on Days of Our Lives.
It's just that most women, when we think about long-term relationships, want to marry up. Biology compels us to seek out the best possible long-term mate we can snag for our own. In fact, statistics show we're looking for a man who is taller, older and smarter. Which is lucky, because men, apparently, are looking to be with someone shorter, younger and (gasp) dumber.
According to two recent studies, in Britain and the United States, smarter girls were less likely to find a man who wanted to marry them. More bad news for girl geniuses, their chances were reduced dramatically in direct relation to their level of intelligence.
For each 16-point jump in their IQ, their marriage prospects decreased by 40 percent.
In contrast, boys' chances for marriage increased by 35 percent with each 16-point rise.
The British study measured the IQ of 900 11-year-olds, revisiting them 40 years later to note how their lives had progressed. Their conclusion: men like to be in control of a relationship.
Another study at the University of Michigan, suggested that men would rather marry women in subordinate jobs because they think that high-powered career women are more likely to commit adultery.
According to a quote in the Daily Mail from lead scientist Dr. Stephanie Brown, "The hypothesis is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own."
So what's behind all this? One theory is that men want women who will stay home, raise the children and care for them.
Most of the press so far on this study has taken the stance that smart chicks are basically out of luck - no man will want them. (This is a common theme in the media - You're over 30? You'll never get married! You have Children? You'll never get married! ) I wonder though, do smart women know something the rest of us don't? (I mean, besides the molecular formula of spam...) Maybe it's not that smart women can't find husbands. Maybe they've seen the inventory, weighed their many options and decided to go it alone instead. Maybe some smart women just find the idea of being a wife unappealing.
As a smart girl who found my perfect match in a very smart guy, the study makes perfect sense to me. On the flip side, I have to say I was a more than a little disturbed when I began to wonder if my steady stream of boyfriends and occasional proposals meant I was the slightly dumber girl of their dreams.
Prepared for a duel, I approached my sweetie and asked. When it came to relationships, was he looking for someone smarter than him? Or someone dumber? He smiled, and answered, "someone exactly as smart." (I bought it, so maybe he is the smart one after all.)
As for smart girls who are looking to find love and marriage, don't despair. You don't have to be a short 23-year old with the IQ of a sand gnat to find your dream guy. Despite studies that say otherwise, even the brightest among us can find Mr. Right. Marilyn vos Savant, who is the smartest tested woman in the world, found her match in husband Robert Jarvik, inventor of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart. It just goes to prove, there's someone out there for everyone : He's not only smart enough to steal her heart, he can build her one from scratch.
© 2005 by Lisa Daily. All rights reserved.
Lisa Daily is the author of Stop Getting Dumped!
All you need to know to make men fall madly in love
with you and marry "The One" in 3 years or less. At bookstores everywhere.
As seen in Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post and HITCH: On the Set
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