How Important Is It To Date Your Intellectual Equal?

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I can’t stand a dumb man. Period.

For me there is something extremely hot about a man who is a thinker, politically astute, reads frequently and could articulate a thoughtful, well reasoned point. I put smarts up there with sense of humor, which is pretty damn high on my mental list of must-have attributes in a potential partner. There is nothing more in life I dream of than having witty stimulating adventures with the opposite sex.

Like many women, who value intelligence in a man, I used to think that the only way a man could measure up intellectually is if he had a college degree. In theory, it makes sense considering that the best way to rise socially and/or economically in society is for a person to pursue and complete his or her post secondary education.  And in practice it made even more sense considering how many men, I had come across in the dating world, who would proudly proclaim their disdain for anything remotely intellectual.  “Books are long and boring. Only thing I read is the sport section of the newspaper,” I had one particular suitor tell me.  His name was Darrell*, a 25 year old telemarketer, who felt that reading was for dummies. Any attempts at intellectual conversations with Darrell about philosophical topics like art or literature were usually met with blank stares and the verbal equivalent of “uh-duh.”  He had a pretty face though and a wicked sense of humor. So in an effort to salvage this dude, I decided to try to introduce my friend to some culture by way of a one-woman play that a friend of mine had starred, written and directed. But not only did this fool fall asleep during the performance, he had the audacity to snore so loud that people turned around and hushed us. That was it. Men, in general, may value things like mutual attraction and love; dependable character and emotional stability over how well versed a woman may be, but me, I’ll take the New York Times.

And then I met Shawn*. He was tall, dark skinned, college educated and had a brain worthy of MENSA. He walked around with a leather satchel filled with books, highlighters and a laptop, which if the inspiration hit him, would become his vessel to express his creativity. Shawn’s main love was poetry – slam poetry to be exact. He was passionate about word play, which made him always down for a good conversation. We would meet daily at a local coffee shop, pondering over life’s mysteries and musing over the collective works of August Wilson. He was cultured, creative and full of opinions. Always.

One night, we were on our way to our favorite after poetry slam spot – the 24 hour diner that serves breakfast food all day – when Shawn decided to rehash a debate we had had several times over the course of a month; does God really exist?  This time the debate was a variation of sorts over free will versus God’s will. “It just doesn’t make any sense. You can’t have free will and destiny. People who believe that are just as stupid as people who believe in God.”

My general feelings about the whole God stuff is that it is possible that he/she/it exists. However as far as religion goes, I think that people just make stuff up to fulfill whatever political and social agenda they are seeking at the time. As such, my own made up theory was that we are free to choose our paths in life and every cause has a consequence – good or bad – and that is where destiny, or God’s will as some may refer to it, comes into play. But Shawn wasn’t hearing it. “But that doesn’t make sense. Free will and destiny can’t exist at the same time. That’s a mathematical improbability. That’s the problem with people, who believe in a God and blah, blah, blah…” He spent 30 minutes attempting to debunk my belief and another 45 minutes, getting agitated because he couldn’t shake my beliefs. “…therefore it is inconceivable that free will and God’s will can exist in the same place.  And you are wrong. WRONG,” he said as he slammed his fist down on the table. “What do you have to say about that? I’ll take your silence to mean that you know I’m right?”  And I was like, “dude seriously, I just want to eat pancakes in peace.”

The thing about really smart guys is that more often than not, they are used to being the smartest person in the room, which also means that they are used to being right all the time. This makes them both endlessly enthralling and even more wearisome because at times, they will place their reverence for ideas and hardcore logic ahead of his concerns for you and your feelings. And Shawn was so blinded by his desire to be proven right that he failed to see that me and our pancakes were getting cold.  Needless to say my love affair with the smart intellectual ended.

That’s not to say that a man can’t woo me with a critical analysis of themes within Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”  but I no longer need to be able to vet  every thought he has in order for me to appreciate him as a person.  I guess my point is that the world is vast with knowledge and there are different ways to measure intelligence in a man. He doesn’t have to be a degreed professional, because let’s be honest, some of the most ignorant people hold high degrees. But he does have to be perceptive and intuitive. Truth of the matter was that despite his snoring, Darrell wasn’t that bad.  He was actually pretty good at mechanics and kept my older model Toyota Camry in excellent running condition.  And in fact, he did have a point: my friend’s play was nonsensical and dreadfully boring.

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