Over the past century, women have fought for and achieved massive societal advances. Although we’ve yet to become a society that is even close to being completely free of discrimination, sexism, and misogyny, women in many first world nations have undoubtedly seen massive upgrades in their collective treatment.
With increased personal and professional autonomy, women—especially Black women—have made incredible leaps in entrepreneurial eminence, career success, and academic achievement. In fact, Black women constitute the most educated group in America.
Yet, when we begin to discuss dating, there’s an all too common perception that not only are men intimidated by successful women, but that men are largely unattracted to “smart” women. The latter comment, on its face, may definitely apply to some men (as I’m sure most broad-sweeping generalizations do), but the problem with this assertion is that it’s too commonly uttered as fact without any real context. It makes it seem as if a man can meet a gorgeous woman and build a great rapport with her, but the second he discovers she’s a Mensa member, he starts putting on his jacket, calling for the check, and getting ready to bounce, abandoning all hope of cultivating their physical/emotional chemistry.
This is largely BS.
As a man, I want to include some context into this conversation because it’s time for women to stop saying that men don’t want smart, educated women. First, everyone (but specifically women as it pertains to this debate) needs to stop pretending that intelligence is an all-encompassing trait. Brilliance is mostly an individual topic thing. Ben Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon, but outside of the operating room, can we really assert that his views on society and policy are any more intelligent than Flava Flav’s? Hell, I put more intellectual value in Flav’s “so get up get, get get down/911 is a joke in yo town” lyrics than Carson’s “Obamacare is worse than slavery” comments.
The idea that any person—man or woman—should be exclusively or predominantly judged by their intellectual acumen while effectively ignoring how reprehensible, annoying, or ignorant they are, is stupid. There are many smart single women out here, but their academic achievement does not automatically absolve them of having a distinctively unattractive character.
Secondly, for us men, intellect is just a SLICE of the pie. I’ve been on many dates in my life, and I’ve NEVER thought to myself, “Man, I really hope this girl is cognizant of the Pythagorean theorem. She might be the one!” The truth is, the same things most men look for in a woman on the first date, the simple traits that coalesce into an amalgamation of her character, are the same things men look for in a woman we want to date long-term. And despite how people may protest this point, when it comes to building chemistry on a date, intelligence is not a character trait; it’s a background virtue that rarely overcomes glaring flaws and mismatches.
Most men who have been out here on today’s dating scene appreciate having an educated woman because they understand the necessity that academia plays in one’s ability for professional upward mobility. But rarely is a brother going to tolerate a substandard connection, or be with a horrible person simply because of their great GPA. We’re just not wired like that.
And finally, despite all of these artificial polls and studies, an IQ number doesn’t speak directly to our chemistry. Of course there are some men who may truly be sapiosexuals who desire highly educated women with advanced degrees, but for many of us, when we prioritize what we need from a significant other, there are other traits that we hold more valuable. Those traits are different for different dudes, but they all speak to enhancing our connection.
Look, men want educated women. Men want smart women. But for a lot of us, those two things alone aren’t important enough to satiate our relationship needs. It’s definitely an important part, but the idea that men are running away from smart women with advanced degrees solely because they’re smart and have advanced degrees is a perspective lacking in self-awareness and reality. Just like any man, a woman is much more than her degree, and 9 times out of 10, it’s that other stuff, the things she chooses to be willfully ignorant about, that marks the demise of our connection.
Please, let’s end this BS myth in 2017.