13 August 2009

"I like them big and stupid" --Julie Brown

[Editor's Note: Yes, word verification is back on. I took word verification off my blog about a week ago. I've been spammed on three separate occasions since doing this. Giant crapweasels. Enough. ]


[Love Pink.]


I once had a friend--let's call him Fred--who wasn't popular with the ladies. Fred was a nice, intelligent guy but not what most people would call handsome. Add in some awkward, plus a sizable helping of shy, and he was the perfect recipe for spending a lot of time alone and lonely.

I watched this go on for years. I even set him up with another lonely but pleasant friend but they were spark free. Then, he met and started dating a perfectly wonderful woman. I was happy for him. He broke up with her.

Me: You broke up with her?!
Fred: Yeah. It wasn't going to work.
Me: Why?
Fred: She works at a think tank!
Me: Impressive!
Fred: Try: intimidating!
Me: Oh, come on. You're incredibly bright.
Fred: Not *that* kind of bright. I don't want to date someone who's that much brighter than me.

I was astounded. He really was a very bright guy. He was well read. He was highly respected in his field. Still, he'd rather be lonely than feel intimidated/inferior/take a chance on looking stupid. At least there was a happy outcome. Fred eventually met and married someone he thought was more on par intellectually.

Which brings us to the question(s) du jour: Would you date someone you knew was dramatically smarter than you? Would you date someone you knew was dramatically dumber than you?

30 comments:

Lemmonex said...

I have dated guys where I knew I was way smarter than them. They knew it too. That was where it got awkward. I don't want to be around insecure men.

As far as dating guys smarter than me? I don't know if that has ever really happened. One guy was much more "book smart" than me, but struggled socially so in the end I ended up feeling like we were pretty equal.

Rose said...

I hate to be like this, but I couldn't date someone who was dramatically dumber than me. I guess it depends on what the definition of that is. But if we can't be on the same page, at least a little, then it can't happen.

I would argue that my boyfriend is smarter than me, but I think it's just that he's interested in a field in which I'm not. Most other things level out for us.

So I guess I vote for... Equal! Or just both smart in different fields.

PQ said...

I couldn't date someone who was dumber than me...because I'm pretty average.

As far as 'smarter' guys, it does get a little intimidating sometimes but I like it because I'm always looking to improve myself so why not be around somebody who can challenge me intellectually?

As long as they aren't condescending assholes, of course.

Kate said...

Dramatically smarter? Probably. Dramatically dumber? No.

justjp said...

I will always date up. If I am not stimulated, then the whole thing is worthless to me.

Fiery Nuggets said...

Dramatically smarter -- yes, but only if they are not arrogant and condescending. I agree with justjp -- I have to be intelectually stimulated.

Dramatically dumber -- may sleep with but never date seriously. I just don't think I would be able to converse with the person. (I'm assuming that dramatically dumber goes beyond IQ and has something to do with culture/likes and dislikes/experiences etc. being different than mine -- not to assume that all people with different experiences are dumb, but that most people with whom I share smiliarities in the list above are smart.)

AbbotOfUnreason said...

smart woman good. dumb woman bad.

What I'm picturing about your friend is that conversation. The one where he and his wife talk about who've they've dated before. "Oh, yeah, I dated X. She was nice, but you know, just too smart. You're so much better for me."

Liebchen said...

I've done both and have to say I can NOT date dumber. It hurts sometimes.

liferehab said...

I'd much rather date someone smarter than me b/c I love playing the ditzy chick in the relationship. My bf and I have a balance. He was in mensa and is super smart when it comes to school stuff, but he has no common sense. People say I have no common sense, but seriously, my bf... he can't survive on his own.

Dmbosstone said...

I don't know if I could date a girl that was heads and shoulder's dumber than me- on the other hand I don't mind being the dumb one in a relationship... I think...

HP said...

I've dated a number of men of inferior intelligence and have found them all rather tedious. The worst though, is men who are dumber than you, who think they're more intelligent than you, and are always attempting to outsmart you in extremely transparent and pathetic ways. My last serious BF was like that and it drove me nuts.

Tina said...

Dramatically dumber - no way. Dramatically smarter - dunno - I seriously have not met one. I've met some smarter guys yes and some were asshole enough to think they were dramatically smarter. I can date "around the same level" or up. Down gets dull and annoying. Smart does not equal education though. I have three degrees and my husband is a HS grad. Still a very smart guy - just not formally educated.

J said...

I could handle being way smarter than the guy if he could actually handle it.

As for being way dumber than the guy, I could handle that if he didn't make me feel stupid or talk down to me, which has happened before, even though I wasn't way dumber than a guy!

Mike said...

I don't think dramatically would work well in either direction. Not that it hasn't. It just has a lower chance of working in the long run.

And besides, smarter at what? Turn off word verify - fail! Turn it back on - smart!

Wv: spanion - Spanish onion

repliderium.com said...

Exactaly what Kate said-
#1-yes
#2- not a fucking CHANCE!

Titania said...

Dumb is a huge, gigantic turn off to me. Smart, I have dated really smart men (and actually married one too, yeah, I know it didn't work, but it wasn't because of that)... Now, I have had guys running away from me at the very moment they learn I have a PhD, they wouldn't even let me show them that I am not that smart, but mostly a geek.

Little Ms Blogger said...

My ex admitted that he knew I was smarter.

It didn't work and it was annoying.

spleeness said...

I did pick someone smarter than me. My hubby is a genius. I think intelligence is relative though. A. I'm not as book smart as he but I am bright. And so I try to accept myself. And B. if the brain in the relationship is at least nice, shares what they know and doesn't make the other feel like an idiot, it shouldn't be a problem. No pompousness though, that's a turn off!

Alice said...

i would (and have) date(d) guys who are smarter than me, but the trick is not to date someone smarter than you who ACTS smarter than you. otherwise known as being a know-it-all asshole.

LiLu said...

Date? Yes. Marry? No.

There's also a difference between Actual Smarts and Knowledge, though. B and I differ greatly in Knowledge About Stuff, but we are right on par with Actual Smarts.

Bilbo said...

Crapweasels? What a great word...I may have to use it myself!

f.B said...

It has got to be challenging, stimulating, engaging somehow. If that happens because the person is much smarter, so be it.

Barbara said...

It's sort of nice to feel like the intellectual equal of your partner. That doesn't at all mean you have to be smart about the same things, but just equally smart. I remember quite well during a fight about 28 years ago when my husband in frustration said he wished he had just married a secretary (i.e., someone dumber than I was). I can't for the life of me remember what we were fighting about or what I did or said to deserve that retort. Thank God, he's given up on the idea after 33 years of being married to me.

Felisa said...

Interesting topic and one that I'm actually writing a post about right now. :)

I think I'm sufficiently smart as in I have common sense and street smarts. Within that definition, I will only date up. I'm also not too terrible in school but I wouldn't mind dating someone who isn't incredibly book smart as long as they have common sense and as long as they can still carry out an intellectual conversation.

Cyndy said...

First question - Yes, I think I would have enjoyed dating someone dramatically smarter than me if they also had a pleasant personality. I know that it can be frustrating for the smarter person when the intellectual levels are too far off - it can cause crankiness sometimes.
Second question - Not on purpose, but it has happened accidentally several times. No matter how cute or nice they were, it never seemed to make up for the eventual boredom.

Shannon said...

I'm less inclined to assess my intelligence in comparison to others - I would feel like I was competing with my partner.

So I can't say if I've ever had a partner who was dramatically smarter or dumber than me. I've had a partner who insisted on being PERCEIVED as smarter than me, generally by picking stupid debates over nothing or talking down to me. The feeling that I was in some sort of smarty-pants competition was awful.

One of the most important factors in a relationship is not running out of things to talk about - intelligence is a big factor in that, but compatibility is even bigger.

(Way to dodge the question, there, Shannon. Genius.)

lacochran said...

Lemmonex: Insecurity can definitely cause huge problems.

Rose: Why do you hate to be like that? Sounds like you're with the majority.

PQ: Of course. And you strike me as way above average.

Kate: So what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander?

justjp: But wouldn't you lose all respect for someone who wasn't also trying to date up? :)

Fiery Nuggets: Sounds like it's more about compatible values for you.

AbbotofUnreason: :) I think he's smart enough to avoid mentioning it.

Liebchen: At least you gave it a try.

Liferehab: Different forms of intelligence definitely should be considered.

Dmbosstone: So, you're okay being arm candy?

HP: And yet you were serious with him. Curious.

Tina: I agree. I think school is more about socialization skills than intelligence.

J: Why are there so many condescending jerks out there?

Mike: Thanks for weighing in, my little spanion.

repliderium.com: Kate is pretty bright. Thanks for chiming in.

Titania: Dumb makes you want to clamp your hand over their mouth, hm?

Little Ms Blogger: At least he acknowledged it.

spleeness: No pompousness! Amen!

Alice: They're the worst!

LiLu: You are well matched in many ways.

Bilbo: I heard it on Friends. Ross to Paolo: Do you understand what I'm saying? No? Well, then, you are a giant crapweasel.

f.B: Thanks for weighing in.

Barbara: I've known brilliant secretaries.

Felisa: I look forward to reading your post on this topic.

Cyndy: Boredom is deadly.

Shannon: I didn't see it as a dodge. I saw it as an important add. Compatibility is HUGE.

The Bug said...

The most important thing for me is someone who gets my sense of humor. Which means someone at least as smart as me. I just don't have the patience otherwise. Thank goodness my hubby fills the bill!

lacochran said...

The Bug: It's so good when it works.

HannahBlue said...

Drastically smarter-Yes
Drastically dumber-No

I'd rather feel a bit insecure than bored and exasperated constantly!