Why Being Attracted to Smarter Men Is the Biggest Reason You’re Single

“I can’t help what I’m attracted to!”

If I had a dollar for the number of women who have said that to me, well, let’s just say I’d be writing this from Tahiti, not Los Angeles.

And I can’t disagree with you: attraction is NOT a choice.

Yet if the very thing you’re attracted to never leads to the relationship of your dreams, don’t you think it may be wise to make some adjustments?

I think so.

You’d make adjustments if you didn’t feel good about your body on January 1st.

You’d make adjustments if you were only looking for jobs on Monster.com and it never got you a job.

You’d make adjustments if you alienated your co-workers and wanted to feel better from 9-5 every day.

We’re constantly making adjustments in life.

Except in one arena.

You’d make adjustments if you didn’t feel good about your body on January 1st.

Should it be any news that it’s the one arena in which you struggle the most?

And a big reason you struggle to connect with men is because you’re so bright.

I hear ya.

Like many of you, I’m a bit of an intellectual snob. I read voraciously. I like to discuss weighty issues. I know a little bit about a lot and can pretty much hold my own in any cocktail party conversation.

You want to know something else about me?

I’m a know-it-all.

I’m difficult.

I’m moody.

I’m opinionated as hell.

I’m a workaholic.

I’m an egomaniac.

I always want things my way.

Now before you decide that you hate me, I’d like you to consider two things:

First, does that description remind you of any of the men you’ve dated in the past?

If so, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

That’s the thing about really smart guys. They live in their heads. They’re somewhat tortured. They know what they’re worth. They have enough information and ammunition to be impossible to argue with. They can be endlessly fascinating and even more frustrating.

You’ve seen this yourself MANY times.

And yet you still say you want a man who is smarter than you are.


Sounds like a pretty exhausting relationship, doesn’t it?

Sounds like the price you pay for dating a great conversationalist is pretty steep, huh?

On one side, you get a brilliant, stimulating mind, which really turns you on…

On the other you get a narcissistic, difficult, self-obsessed, coldly logical man who is much more concerned with ideas than feelings, and much more concerned with himself than with you.

Once again… Hmmm…

Before I forget, there was one other thing I wanted you to consider:

You will STILL be attracted to geniuses, but you now know that they do not make for a good fit in your life. Never have. Never will.

Very smart. Know-it-all. Difficult. Moody. Short-tempered. Opinionated. Workaholic. Egomaniac. Judgmental. Always want things your way.

Does that describe anybody else besides those brilliant men you’re drawn to?

It certainly describes my clients. And I wouldn’t be all that shocked if it somewhat described you as well.

And when two people who are that smart, that opinionated, and that strong-willed get together, it should obvious that sparks will fly – and tensions will mount.

So while I’m not judging you for being just like I am – I AM pointing out to you that if you insist that you can ONLY be attracted to men who are smarter than you, you are relegating yourself to less than 2% of the population (before we consider things like looks, height, money, religion, humor, charm, attraction, values, etc.)

Moreover, you’re relegating yourself to a man who is NOT A GOOD FIT FOR YOU.

And therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’re attracted to only MENSA men.

The key to your future successful relationships is going to come in opening up to smart guys without all the baggage that comes from being brilliant and driven.

That does NOT mean that you are going to find yourself with a man who has never read a newspaper, who has no interest in foreign travel, or who can’t keep up with you and your friends.

It does mean that you need to accept men who are not in the 98th percentile of intelligence, and recognize that there are plenty of amazing, bright, relationship-oriented men who may not be smarter than you.

It’s not all or nothing.

We compromise on things every single day.

Your job isn’t perfect. You put up with it for 10 hours a day.

Your friends and family aren’t perfect. You put up with them for the rest of the time.

And yet you still hold your boyfriend to a ridiculous standard, as if a man who went to a state school and doesn’t watch Sunday morning political talk shows is a dullard.

I know, I know.

You can’t help what you’re attracted to.

Me either.

But I spent the first 35 years of my life chasing women who were just like me – the smartest women in the room. And I put up with the same things that you have to deal with from men – selfishness, difficulty, self-righteousness and so on.

I married a woman who was smart – who gets every joke, who knows about Shakespeare and classical music, who has definite opinions about Israel/Palestine – but she’s not necessarily in the 98th percentile of intellectual curiosity.

And you know what?

It feels GREAT.

Because most of our lives are not spent discussing the finer points of Proust, or the best way to fix the 2-party system, or the science behind String Theory… our time is usually spent talking about fixing up the house, raising our daughter, planning our next vacation, figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner, etc.

Thus, my wife doesn’t HAVE to be like me – because we’re great together.

So if you believe in self-help, if you’ve read books about spirituality, if you’ve gone to shrinks and taken weekend seminars, and yet you still think your husband has to be on the exact same wavelength as you?


He doesn’t.

He just has to respect you. And you have to respect him.

My wife hasn’t done any of that personal growth stuff and you know what?

She’s happy. Better than that, she’s CONTENT.

Have you ever been with a brilliant guy who is, at heart, a miserable person?

I’ll bet you have.

And I’ll bet you’d do it again – hoping for a different ending this time.

Once again, there’s no different ending.

Brilliant men tend to be bad partners. You’ve seen this numerous times.

So, from now on, you’re going to discover the virtues of smart, kind, thoughtful, generous, easygoing, commitment-oriented men.

You will STILL be attracted to geniuses, but you now know that they do not make for a good fit in your life. Never have. Never will.

You CAN get the relationship you want; just not with the man you always thought you wanted.

Trust me, the reality is FAR better than the fantasy.

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  1. 1

    Great post.

    Evan if i may ask, who is the “pickier” of the two sexes? My female friends want it all, height, money, intelligence, looks, full head of hair etc…the guys i know who have it all(for the most part) are happy with a fun, attractive girl. Why is there such a discrepancy?

  2. 2

    @JB come on, we all know that guys who “have it all” in a woman are never satisfied with what they have. They’ll want a playmate too, who is probably her exact opposite.  

  3. 3

    “Men say exactly what they mean. Yet somehow, women still look for alternative explanations. Why? Is it because you don’t say what you mean?”

    Evan, I wanted to take issue with this Tweet. I didn’t want reply on Twitter because I don’t want all my (male) friends knowing I listen to a dating coach. And my response is way longer than 140 characters. 

    Men are not as direct as they claim to be. Now, I’m not saying you all are difficult to figure out. You’re not, once a woman has the “code” – and what you are so great at, Evan, is translating and giving that code to women. But men aren’t that direct. For instance, if a guy is stringing a woman along in a FWB situation, he does he say? “I’m not ready for a relationship/I’m not ready for a relationship right now/I’m not looking for anything serious.” Taken literally, none of those things mean he won’t or can’t or doesn’t want to eventually get serious with you. Which is why, I think, women don’t take those phrases to mean as such. If a guy were to be direct and say something like, I dunno, “[Woman’s name], you’re great and I really enjoy spending time with you, but I don’t ever see you becoming my wife” – I’m pretty sure he’d never hear from her again. And guys know that, which is why they don’t say it. 

    1. 3.1

      HAHAHA lawyerette I love your answer. I’ve had this situation long term fwb, although ::plot twist:: neither of us were looking for anything serious and when I (finally) vocalized that, >he< freaked out. Too honest about my intentions. Or lack there of… Also, he was an ‘experiment’ with someone of lesser intelligence, didn’t work obviously. Very happily taken by a smart man now.

    2. 3.2

      Post of the thread!

      1. 3.2.1

        “Taken literally, none of those things mean he won’t or can’t or doesn’t want to eventually get serious with you.”


        No, that’s you interpreting.


        His words: “I’m not ready for a relationship”. You assuming he may be ready sometime with you is all assumption on your part.


        You’ve just shown a perfect example of wehat Evan was talking about – a man spoke clearly and you reinterpreted it to fit your agenda/paradigm.

        1. Robert

          Wrong. That’s you refusing to string two possibilities together for your own confirmation bias.

          Let’s get something straight right now. No man and no woman is exactly alike. To think, “because I think this way, he must.” — or — “Because I did things this way, he will do the same.” is very wrong.

          No one group likes to be painted with broad brushes… Not even prisoners on death row. Nobody is exactly alike and to assume that “a man doesn’t want anything — at all, ever — is intellectual dishonesty.

          This is equivalent to a woman wanting sex, but not wanting, nor seeking parenthood.. Remember now, when women fought for abortions, they used the excuse that “consent to sex was not consent to parenthood” and thus the statement:

          Taken literally, none of those things mean he won’t or can’t or doesn’t want to eventually get serious with you.” actually becomes a factual statement.

          If one person falls out of conformity, than surely there is another….and another…. and another… We’re talking about a dynamic scale here… Not an individual paradigm such as you vs. me.


  4. 4

    WHO are these women wanting men smarter than they are? Please tell me why!!!

    Like Evan, I am an intellectual snob but I keep it well hidden most of the time. Must be my Southern Belle training, which, all things considered, has served me very well over the years in a variety of situations, not just romantic. I mean, I guess I come across as cerebral, been told I am very strong, smart, informed, well read etc. but still I think people tend to underestimate me til they know me well ’cause I don’t mouth off too much about my many opinions. Learned over the years people aren’t interested in what you have to say too much, just who you are and how you make them feel.
    To repeat, I am 58. I remember growing up with this sense from the media, society that women just weren’t as smart as men. I resented it, knew it wasn’t true. It’s why I’ve always REALLY resonated with, understood African Americans and the prejudice they have had to endure. Many are friends, and not just casually.
    But I’m getting off track here, sorry. So imagine my surprise when I start dating 3 years ago and realize, with force, that I am probably smarter than 80% of the guys I contact/contact me! Sobering. Ironic. So when on occasion I date a REALLY smart man for a while I often get nervous ’cause I figure he can out-maneuver me every time (’cause he’s more head than heart- see comment below). Knows all the gender wars ends and outs. Will make mincemeat of me eventually.
    Still, I’m attracted to them, them to me ’cause of who we are (I am VERY into ideas, the big picture). My banner on all my dating websites reads: “Looking for a man who’s a good blend of head and heart”. ‘Cause the super cerebral types seldom have well developed hearts usually. ‘Cause Evan’s right, they DO live in their heads too much.
    I overthink things too (a lot actually), but I always view the man as a child of God first and foremost. They seldom return the favor. If I had a dollar for every smart man who’s tried to play me, I could fly to Tahiti tonight! First class! lol

    1. 4.1

      I have always been attracted to smarter men. In my life I have dated men dumber than me, and it never worked out. I can’t respect a man I think is not smarter.

      I am lucky to be married to a very intelligent man.

    2. 4.2

      Highly intelligent are my downfall. I’m a sapiosexual for sure. I’ve always been complimented on my intelligence. Or, rather, friends, employers, men I’m conversing with or on a date with have always given me a strange “look” when speaking with me or made a comment on how intelligent they believe me to be. One man at a bar said flat out, “I think I have to stop talking to you. I think I may be too dumb to talk to you.” Granted, I’m African American, so men always seem so shocked by this woman of color in front of them or in emails with them that show a high sense of intelligence. I’ll never understand that sort of ignorance…

      Anyways, I am incredibly attracted to highly intelligent men. I’m very into ideas and the BIG picture too, and get immense delight discussing the elements that create the BIG picture. Any man who enjoy doing that with me gets my motor running. Every single one of these types of men have never worked out. Ever.

      However, you know the type of men who truly are into me? The men who always want a second date or a third or a fourth? The men who are always willing and ready to take me anywhere I want for dinner or talk about *gasp* being my boyfriend if we things work out? The not so brilliant dudes. The dudes who use “your” instead of “you’re.” The dudes who don’t know who Franz Kafka is, but really love that movie about the human fly with that Jeff guy. The ones who type scarcasm and actually, really mean to type scarcasm as if it’s a word.

      It hurts my heart every time one of them goes gaga for me. They are the sweetest men, but conversations with them are like getting my teeth drilled at the dentist. I really try to give it them a chance, but it is so difficult. And, I know the aversion and difficulty I have dating this sort of man is exactly why I am single to this day.  I am an intellectual snob and it is keeping me single.

      1. 4.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        If you are in the 95th percentile, try dating down to the 75th percentile. They’ve heard of Kafka and know how to spell. Promise.

        1. Kyra

          Ha! “Scarcasm.” Nice Evan.

          “Scarcasm” was a real guy, btw. He liked me and asked for my number. I gave it It didn’t work out for other reasons, but I’m trying. I trying!

  5. 5

    JB, I think many older woman (30+) may be pickier because they may have this sense that men aren’t worth it in general, aren’t worth the huge hassle of attracting and keeping them unless they can get EXACTLY what they want.

    My sense/experience is men are happier in general in long-term relationships than women and so maybe more willing to “settle”, especially after marriage.  Save childbearing and/or extreme loneliness, women proceed with much more caution after a certain age or give up altogether. I can’t tell you how many women I know who have given up on men and they are still fairly young.

    I am middle-aged and feel somewhat similarly except that in my saner moments I sometimes try to find “good enough”.

  6. 6

    [email protected]

    Women are far far pickier. It’s in the genes, they can’t help it.  Pregnancy is a major commitment, and they have only so many eggs (90% of which are gone by the time they are 30 I believe).

    As a man its frustrating, but it is what it is. Remember though that although men will set the bar comparatively low, they compare all women to an average 20 year old. This leaves women over 40 seriously compromised, and those over 50 mostly out of the game.

    I’m not sure it’s easy to compromise though. We make compromises on the jobs we have and many hate every day of it. I think I read somewhere that most people are dissatisfied with their job, but income has to be earned somehow.
    I know a guy who is married to an unattractive woman. That is all he could get. He is constantly looking for a replacement.

    I’m sure you have seen the film Shallow Hal. The film was trying to get across the idea that a short poor man is shallow in wanting attractive women who would all reject him. This is of course nonsense. If anything the attractive women were shallow in rejecting him.
    The interesting thing was that, thanks to hypnotic suggestion he was able to see a very ugly woman as extremely beautiful.
    If only that were possible in the real world.

    1. 6.1

      Speak for yourself. I tend to value older women’s input. I’ve been burned bad from young chicks. They are too busy dodging the 50 flirts from great men they tend to deem unfit, even though the majority of women have nothing to offer, in the personality department. Yes… that was an opinion, not fact.

      But… I’m as of now, asexual. I’m married to my research. OOH-RAH! 😉

  7. 7

    Couple points…
    1) As someone who’s currently seeing a very smart guy, and has two very smart guys (age 16 and 18) living at home, I’ve got to say that not all very smart guys are the unsufferable a-holes that you describe. Just had to say this, because if I don’t speak up in defense of very smart guys, who will? 🙂
    2) As someone who’s been around Mensa members long enough (two annual gatherings, more FB friends than I can count, etc) I have a hard time equating qualifying for Mensa membership with intelligence. Yah, these people have all passed a test that evaluates your logical reasoning and your ability to solve certain problems quickly. Some of them are highly intelligent, some are not. Some are great husbands and partners. Most will (and have) send a woman running for the hills. Likewise, one of the smartest guys I’ve known has tried taking an online Mensa test and failed. He was devastated, poor guy, but to me, the problem is with the test and not with him. It’s almost like being in the proverbial 2% is not related to actual intelligence.
    3) It’s not the intelligence that you’re born with that is important, it’s what you do with it. I’ve met enough highly intelligent men who are not interested in anything other than sitting on a couch and watching whatever happens to be on TV. Regardless of how smart they are, we won’t get along.
    Which leads me to thinking, maybe instead of saying we want intelligence, we need to stop and think about why we want it. What is the end result we want to achieve with an intelligent partner? I’d say I want someone I can respect, and have fun with. As long as he’s intelligent enough for these two things to happen, I’m good.
    @JB, I like how in your comment women want it all – height, looks, full head of hair, while men just want an attractive girl. Aren’t these two things the same? unless men don’t care about the “attractive girl”‘s height and whether she has a full head of hair! I bet they don’t care about her weight either, as long as she’s attractive 😉

    1. 7.1

      Well… I would speak up… But honestly, no one is going to give a shit about men…

      Women have an in-group confirmation bias and men favor women over men, for the pussy… So… men will never be able to objectively admit that they sell themselves out for companionship.

      But, no one listens to me anyway… Does it really matter? I hate humans. We are sucky animals…and what really sucks… is that my research? I’m not so sure I want to help humanity afterall… I think we’re better off extinct.

      Society even hates men… Hell.. Men don’t even have reproductive autonomy, nor do women want to grant men “equality”.. Wow… Such hypocrisy. So sick of society.

      1. 7.1.1

        I understand your frustration man, but I can sense the bitterness. Don’t interpret that as a jab at you. Like I said I understand, we have every reason to be bitter. Sexual selection, while remarkably successful, is cold-hearted.

        The reality is that most men and women only see their respective half of the game, not seeing the full picture. You see the full picture, but you can only relate to your half. I can’t claim to relate to both, but I just try to remember that these women that seem terribly in-compassionate to men probably have no idea what the other side of the game is like and have never thought about it.

        Neither side invented the game, but everybody plays it. It sucks but its necessary. The blessing to all of this, is that we’re now an evolved form of naked ape that is capable of self-reflection and understanding that the game exists, and this gives us the capability to make our own rules.

        But before we can do that, the rank and file must be educated and trained to understand the game from both perspectives. Unfortunately you are correct that men can never do this, empathy for men must come from women, because men have no in-group. Men are cooperative to an extent, but that extent ends abruptly when it collides with an individual’s mating prospects.

  8. 8

    Evan, “very smart” does not equal “know it all”. In fact, most of the times the “know it all”-s are actually not smart at all and don’t really know what they’re talking about. The really smart guys with occupations in math, science, etc. are mostly geeky and type-B personalities, not assertive or aggressive or street-smart. Think the big bang theory types 🙂 I was married to a guy like that once, They’re very mellow in relationships and gladly surrender the leadership 🙂

  9. 9

    Great article, Evan.  I think it goes both ways:  if we stereotyped all men as those who wanted Pamela Anderson types – blond, size 2, enhanced with plastic surgery, and an IQ slightly above their shoe size – they would never be happy with one of us.  We rail on them for holding women to ridiculous physical standards, and yet many of us are guilty for doing the same thing to them on an intellectual level.

    1. 9.1

      Don’t forget the physical level: Initiating divorce for petty shit. MARRIAGE TAKES EFFORT!

      If you don’t want effort, don’t marry. Marriage is obsolete these days. Good luck American women finding a man that isn’t a freaking feminist pussy.

      There is no incentive for a man to marry. A man doesn’t even have reproductive autonomy to protect his own offspring. Imagine if it was up to a man, if a woman had a child or not…and then he could force her against her will and make her pay into something she never wanted..

      Yeah…women are so freaking innocent and it’s “got to be the patriarchy!”

      Usually whatever progressives say, end up projecting the exact opposite… Because you know: Actions speak louder than words.

  10. 10

    I really love your blog and follow it religiously. That being said, it feels a little weird when you say your wife was not necessarily in the 98th percentile of intellectual curiosity. To me she sounds like just the smartest woman out there, she doesn’t seem to challenge you and she seems to listen, that tells me she’s a very smart person, well above the 98th percentile… because … how often does it happen that you find a person who just “gets it” and who isn’ll all “it’s my way or no way”… the odds are pretty slim if you ask me. 

  11. 11

    There were a few directions you could have gone with this. Well played sir.

  12. 12
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thanks for your thoughts, everybody. And while I thought it might be obvious after my many years of blogging, but just because there are exceptions to every rule doesn’t invalidate the rule.

    @Lawyerette – who comes up with an example of men not saying what they mean. You’re right. They don’t in every single instance. But even those men will generally not say “I love you” if they don’t mean it or “You’re my girlfriend” just to sleep with you. But even this misses the larger point – women speak with nuance and subtlety. They avoid conflict. Men are blunt and callous. Once again, these are stereotypes. But if I meet a woman who is blunt and callous, she reminds me of a man. So let’s not get too focused on the fact that there are exceptions. Lets think about why women look for alternate meanings in what men say when he says what he means.

    @Goldie – you got a little too focused on the MENSA qualification. That wasn’t the point. I went to one MENSA meeting and my head almost exploded from the social awkwardness. It was just a marker for 98th percentile, nothing more. Yes, there will be many beta males at a MENSA meeting which might make for good partners, but this has nothing to do with my post about women who are attracted to very smart men *who also have looks and social confidence.

    @Stacey – same thing. Most of my readers aren’t looking for Big Bang guys (so to speak). They’re looking for the Bill Clintons of the world. Those guys are generally bad bets for peace and long-term commitment. Read the papers if you doubt me.

    @Suheil – my wife has the highest emotional intelligence of any one I’ve ever met, but she’ll be the first to admit that she’s not that curious. The fact that I married her should tell you all you need to know about what I truly value most.

  13. 13

    Hmm, i still think Evan is basically trying to tell everyone to stop being so full of yourself and adjust your outlook for a mate accordingly.

    I agree Zaq, it is much tougher for older women, but as Evan and Lori Gottleib state, women in their 20’s and early 30’s have a huge amount of men chasing them before the dropoff begins..better to grab a guy who’s an 8 now than wait for a 9 or 10 that will never settle for you. Also, guys who date models are guys who can get models. That’s maybe 2% of the population, the rest of us are more down to earth with our requirements.

  14. 14

    PS everyone: The PERFECT movie metaphor for Evan’s point is “Crossing Delancy” with Amy Irving and Peter Riegert. One of my all time favorite romantic movies.

    Amy plays a cerebral bookseller/agent who repeatedly turns down Peter (her grandmother’s suggestion as she is a traditional Jewish matchmaker) because he’s not smart enough, sophisticated enough. He runs a pickle stand on Delancy Street while she works in Manhattan….I won’t ruin the movie, but she slowly comes ’round.

  15. 15

    Evan, looks like both Stacey and I misunderstood your post, because the Bill Clintons (and G.W. Bushes?) of the world is not what comes to mind when I see the words “really smart guys”, “brilliant guys”, “geniuses”, “cerebral” etc. What I just listed are, as Stacey correctly said, the Sheldons of the world. That’s the category I thought you meant. Looks like, in fact, you are referring to the successful, powerful etc men. I don’t specialize in those, so apologize for my comment. It was made in reference to the “really smart guys”, whom I do know a lot about.

    1. 15.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Bill Clinton is brilliant, Goldie. Rhodes Scholar. You can’t lump him in with Bush. His intelligence IS what makes him attractive – not his looks.

  16. 16

    Interesting article, but I’ve got to come from the other side.

    “Smarter than you” does not necessarily mean genius, since not every woman who is intelligent is at a level far above average.

    Further, not every smart guy shares the qualities  (rather, negative attributes) that you listed. In fact, you’ll find many highly intelligent men who are humble, quirky, and just plain comfortable in their own skin. Not every intelligent guy is insecure.

    Lastly, I’m not sure just how many women want a man they are way smarter than. The likely result is a deep insecurity in the male, which leads to a lack of leadership on his part and an unfulfilling relationship.

  17. 17

    I’m not looking for a man who’s smarter, but one who is of similar intelligence. I can’t think of any single friend who is looking for someone who is “smarter” than she is. A guy in the same ballpark will do. As far as “narcissistic, difficult, self-obsessed” goes, I’ve met some men who fit that bill and they weren’t necessarily all that bright. Frankly, when I’ve tried to date men who are less intelligent, it doesn’t work because they tend to feel inadequate. The best relationship I’ve had was with a guy who was brilliant and fascinating to talk to. He was also kind and responsible. If I was lucky enough to find a man like that again, I’d want to marry him in a heartbeat.

  18. 18

    I LOVE this post…

    I have been very happy with loving, sweet and relationship oriented men. And miserable with highly intelligent, moody etc. men…. What women don’t understand is the competitiveness that exists between two people that have many of the qualities Evan listed.

    Believe me…you will NOT feel loved if the man in your life is always trying to “one up” you.  Rather…you need someone who is secure, smart and confident in what he does that will LOVE and SUPPORT you in all your brilliance….Amazing wise advice Evan…much love…. 

  19. 19

    Yet another great post. Even if i agree with you on what you said about the PROs and CONs about being in a relationship with a smart man, i have the feeling that the ‘smartness’ concept you use is rather fuzzy (and probably that’s why many people who commented here see a different side of the issue)
    Intelligence is so complex, so fluid, that you simply cant put it in a box and expect it to fit only into that one particular box. Some people are book smart, others are street smart. Others are simply wise. Some are good with math/logic, but lack social skills. Some are good with languages, but can’t read maps. And the list goes on.
    You can’t claim Einstein was smarter than Mozart or Jane Austen. You can’t compare Newton, Dickens, Bach, Kant, Picasso, Spielberg, Bill Gates etc to eachother. 
    Even psychologists agree with the fact that IQ tests are not that reliable, because there are so many other traits that are not taken into account.
    As long as you are compatible and can have interesting conversations, is the MENSA score really that important?

    1. 19.1

      You are exactly the kind of person I find attractive. Someone who understands that there are countless flavors of giftedness, and that even the most incandescently brilliant people are as dull as a household light bulb in most areas. 
      They possess a special radiance, but it only pierces through the atmosphere when it’s focused entirely through the narrow lense of their talents, which are limited in scope and only allow them to scan a limited portion of the sky.
      No matter how luminous a person is, they can never light up the whole sky.
      People who realize this have a profoundly attractive perspective. They understand that we are a species that possesses innumerable facets. Everyone is a searchlight in a special few, a light bulb in most, and a dim candle in some. 

      People who realize this are gifted with a grounding humility that prevents them from letting their heads fill up with the hot air of egotism, which raises us above others in a vessel of condescension.

      Go you, and everyone like you. If everyone was like this, the world would be a far sexier place.

  20. 20

    @ Ruby:
    “Frankly, when I’ve tried to date men who are less intelligent, it doesn’t work because they tend to feel inadequate.”
    Agree, I’ve tried it a few times too. Poor guys act so intimidated and out of their depth, I have no choice but to end their misery by telling them this isn’t going to work. Then a few weeks down the road, they’re perfectly happy with someone who’s in their league intellectually. They’re nice guys and deserve to be happy, you know?
    @ Evan #16, point taken. Can I rephrase and say that, if life is high school (come on, we all know it is), that Stacey and I had assumed that you were talking about women wanting to date geeks, when in fact your post was about women wanting to date preppy kids?

  21. 21

    Also, when I think of my happily married friends, not one of them married someone  who wasn’t their intellectual equal. Not smarter, not less smart, but similar.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ruby – nobody said to do otherwise. It’s women who need men who are Taller. Smarter. Richer. And if he’s an inch shorter or doesn’t have a masters degree, he’s out. That’s the dangerous phenomenon. Nowhere did you hear me to tell a woman to marry a man who was “less than”, but rather, marry a guy who has a higher emotional IQ – which is a greater predictor of relationship success than a regular IQ.

      1. 21.1.1

        Not all of us. I’m a very smart woman; I need a very smart guy. Not smarter. And I don’t care about weighing out exactly where we fall on IQ; it’s about feeling that you have an equal, which takes a whole bunch of elements into account beyond intelligence. Richer, taller, degrees — god, who cares. Give me a great guy who gets the joke.

  22. 22

    As the saying goes, “there’s a fine line between genius and insanity”.
    Or as I like to put it, “cute & clever” is good but “cute & clever & crazy/kooky” is not.

    I’ve know many exceptionally intelligent people over the years (from a wide sample that includes family members, friends, lovers and colleagues).
    Some of them were “human” and could relate to the rest of the world (ie: had emotional IQ to go with their exceptional brains). They were/are abolutely fantastic people to know and be with.

    But there were others that could barely conduct a conversation and/or were totally self-absorbed with themselves/their research projects and/or considered anyone less intelligent than themselves to be 4th class citizens – almost disabled at an emotional or personality level – which does NOT make for a great partner at all.

    It takes more to make a great partner than having high IQ scores / oodles of degrees & diploma’s / MENSA membership / fat salary. Unfortunately the really essential factors (like “EQ”, attitude, ethics, personality) are way harder to quantify or measure than IQ or salary numbers on a W2.

  23. 23

    My husband Jake is in Mensa, and he has EVERY SINGLE NEGATIVE QUALITY you describe.  And, to top it all off, he’s STILL not as smart as me! (I’m in Mensa, too).  What makes it work is that:
    (1) I am a female raised in the South (so I have all the stereotypical emotional intelligence of a woman as well as life experience in a non-confrontational culture),
    (2) We agree on a variety of other issues that only really small subsets of the population do (atheist, vegetarian, not wanting kids, etc.)
    If it weren’t for that, living with him would be intolerable.  Still is, sometimes.  While I am happy with him in a way that I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t my “equal,” if I had known 10 years ago what I know now about long-term relationships, I would have married someone in the 80th percentile long, long ago…

    1. 23.1

      Thank you for sharing. This seals all the flying questions / arguments in my head.

  24. 24

    A couple of points I’d like to make. I think the terms “smart” and “intelligent” and even “rich” are so subjective and open to so many different interpretations that they’re not really useful in this dialogue. It hit me when Bill Clinton’s name came up. In my opinion, Bill Clinton is the perfect example of this phenomenon. He IS a very smart, informed, shoot-from-the-hip man. He’s got charisma, incredible people skills, and is “book-smart,” as well. He’s also capable of being manipulative because he reads people well and plays to their sweet spots. Not surprisingly, he’s a politician and a chronic philanderer. I don’t think that’s ever been any big secret to anyone who knows him — especially not to Hillary. But is Bill Clinton wise with his talents? Not so much, much of the time, even though he continues to be sought after and is now extremely wealthy. Does he always consider the other person before jumping into a situation in order to gratify himself? Don’t think so. So, he’s likely emotionally immature and grossly impulsive. He acts now because it feels good and will deal with the repercussions later.  To a Type-B, this seems like a man who acts very unwisely. But to a Type-A, (male or female) he’s an attractive challenge. My point is that I think what we’re talking about here — in addition to scholastic intelligence and emotional intelligence — is charisma, the power to attract & entertain & seduce. Also know as great social skills. I’ve known many extremely educated & truly intelligent men & women who were painfully socially awkward, shy, moody, introverted. I might find their brains impressive and attractive, but not as much as I find the extrovert irresistable. More than the brainy guy, I’m drawn to the guy who makes me laugh, who talks a blue streak, knows a lot about many things, or if he doesn’t, he’s a really good Bullsh*tter. He’s sexy because he’s confident and can think on his feet. And he’s almost unfailingly very, very hands-on, very affectionate & tactile. What’s not to love? This is the guy who has drawn me in my whole adult life (and I’m frickin 59), and he still does. I can spot him a mile away. I know he’s a dead end for me, because he loves himself way more than he can ever love me (or anyone else.) It’s not personal, it’s who he is. His talents have allowed him the luxury of a neverending supply of people who want to know him and hang with him. But he’s not Relationship material & he never will be. He may have married, several times, he might have kids, even grandkids. But he doesn’t have staying power, the patience, or the emotional maturity (there, I’ve said it) to be a long-haul guy. He doesn’t like to sacrifice or to sit still and look at the long-term goal. I guess the extreme end of this is the narcissist, but more often he’s the guy who is warm and seductive and entertaining, and soooooooooo smart. He’s a guy’s guy and a ladies’ man. There are men my age who still embody these characteristics, although they’ve mellowed and their prowess is somewhat limited due to aging. But it’s a head thing, and they don’t lose it, and I still find them (almost) irresistable. Is that because I’m also smart, funny, entertaining, informed & I just want to cuddle up to another me? Or is it because this particular type of Alpha Extrovert is irresistable to almost everyone. Would you rather engage over a nice glass of wine with Bill Clinton…. or Harry Reid? (And forget GWB — he’s not even in the ballpark here; he’s as dumb as dirt and too shallow to care.) I have never found long-term happiness with the Extrovert, and yet I’m still attracted..but it’s an informed and knowing attraction, if that makes any difference. I may be older but I can still be a magical thinker. And extremely single.

  25. 25

    The bell curve for men spreads wider than for women on every measure.  There are more clever men than clever women just as there are more stupid men than stupid women.  A taller, cleverer man than herself is not an impossible requirement.  However, 5′ 11″ with an IQ (for what its worth) of 140 might be.  And what about a 5′ man with and IQ of 160 (although most tests stop at 140 so don’t believe him if he says 160)?  I think that 5′ will be more improtant for most women than an IQ of 160.

  26. 26

    I’m not buying into this moody,workaholic, egomaniac stuff. Everyone is different. I do think that a very intelligent man is likely to be opinionated and a little arrogant though. When you are right most of the time that is fairly inevitable.

    I agree with Permanentguest and Ruby. A man will feel insecure with someone significantly more intelligent than him. This is borne out by studies that show that in contrast to male attractiveness, female attractiveness falls with increasing IQ.

    The requirement for a man of at least equal intelligence sounds reasonable. Unfortunately it isn’t. Men of (practical) high intelligence are in high demand from all women. Women will need to have higher levels of physical attractiveness to compete with the other women, because their intelligence holds less weight for the men they are interested in.

    It seems to me that women with significantly above average intelligence, but very average looks, are in the worst possible situation. They find it hard to respect less intelligent men, but they have few options other than perhaps a beta “Sheldon”

    1. 26.1

      Zac, I disagree with your conclusion that intelligence is automatically a detriment to women in dating.  According to a British study ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9453842/Playful-people-more-attractive.html ) , the quality of playfulness is the most sought after quality in a potential mate, for women and men alike.  That means that smart females can use their intelligence to create fun, games and humor in their relationships. 

      1. 26.1.1

        But it’s not their intelligence itself that’s attractive – it’s the playfulness – the FUN factor.


        So unless an intelligent woman realizes this, and is willing to foster it, she’s at a disadvantage relative to the less-intelligent but fun gal that she’s competing with.

  27. 27

    Um, Evan… doesn’t your own example negate your point?

    You’re a smartie. 🙂 You’re in MENSA. How can you expect any of us to believe that you’re a bad catch if your wife is happy and content with you?

    And if ONE good brilliant guy exists, why shouldn’t many more? I’m married to a sweetheart who is smarter than me, too. At work, I’m surrounded by loveable men who are smarter than or equal in intelligence to me. As Goldie said, there isn’t a one-to-one correlation between intelligence and bad relational traits. As for social awkwardness, which IS associated with intelligence: I don’t see that as a dealbreaker. There are far worse things a person could be. 

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I hate to say this, Helen, but I’m somewhat of an anomaly. A very driven guy who owns his own business, makes good money, and prioritizes family above all? A guy who’s off on Fridays and home at 6pm every day? A guy who is naturally sensitive, overcommunicates like a woman, and spends 4 hours a day on the phone talking to women and listening to their needs?

      I’m not the only guy in the world who’s like this, but I’m somewhat unusual. Most guys with my demographics aren’t as sensitive and self-aware. And if you spend your whole life holding out for an anomaly, you might spend a lot of time alone.

      It would be like a man holding out for a supermodel/Rhodes Scholar because he knows a few. That leaves out a lot of quality women, don’t you think?

      (And no, I didn’t mean to compare myself to a supermodel/Rhodes Scholar…that was incidental, to make my point).

      The bigger picture is that there are plenty of smart men who aren’t necessarily smarter, successful men who aren’t necessarily rich, cute guys who aren’t necessarily gorgeous…and you should be giving those guys a chance. Are we cool?

      1. 27.1.1

        To be totally honest, that just sounds like narcissistic BS to me.  With this response as context, the whole blog post sounds a lot like a huge self-righteous ego boost too, really.  “Hey, most intelligent guys are this way, but I’m totally not, I’m way more awesome than them!”  See what I mean?
        There’s plenty of intelligent men that aren’t ego maniacs with borderline personality disorders, and I can certainly confirm that you’re not an anomaly (if you’re all of the qualities you claim to be).  No stable, well-adjusted woman actively seeks out a narcissist that can’t or won’t compromise or treat them with respect.  Maybe those women who do prefer men who won’t treat them as equals need a healthy dose of self-respect more than anything.

  28. 28

    I get why Evan suggests that smart women should consider dating men of more average intelligence (there are more of them, its less confrontational etc…) but my question is, how do you make it work? I have tried dating these men but generally I find a)they don’t “get” my jokes b) they don’t entirely “get” me (although they are sort of adoringly in awe) and c)they repeatedly exhibit poor judgement because they’re not that smart and don’t seem to think things through properly, and this leads me to lose respect for them. Compared to that, I think I’d rather deal with arrogant and self obsessed!

    1. 28.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Actually, Helene, I didn’t say men of average intelligence. I said men who are not in the 98th percentile. That leaves, oh, everyone from 70-98th percentile available to you. My problem isn’t with smart men. My problem is with smart women who think that only men who are SMARTER are eligible. You can’t date “up” in every category, and, if you do, you’ll discover that those super impressive men aren’t always a great bet for long-term commitment.

      1. 28.1.1

        I have read this blog, and I literally LMBAO!! I have date the street smart guy to the corporate exce.. what I can tell you is this, I have to center myself around somebody who can engage in an intelligent conversation. I’m sorry smart, intelligent people don’t intimidate me one bit. I have been a around a number of people who can’t even tell you what  day of the week it is. The man I’m seeing is now is not only smarter than me,  but is socially gracious and down to earth. He can engage with highest of people to lowest, it’s a called being well rounded. I would not have it any other way. Someone who is socially and intellectual inept. DEAL BREAKER!!! SORRY

  29. 29

    One final comment: Goldie, Mensa is no big deal. Experts have identified at least 7 different types of intelligence, including musical and “body”, i.e., athletes. Imo emotional intelligence tops the list given the sway of ego in the world today. High IQ people, and I am on the cusp, should be considered mental athletes only- they arrive at the answer a few minutes/hrs. before everyone else. Big fu&king deal doll! 

    And creative types are seductive, but the correlation between genius and neuroticism is now well established I think.

    Do some research and you’ll learn the best leaders/CEOs have average-high IQs, went to only ok colleges, but were highly motivated for very personal reasons. Barbra Streisand felt compelled to succeed because of a stepfather’s neglect, etc. 

    Humans have this unnatural need to differentiate themselves, to be different, at all costs. Let’s seek oneness, unity, not stress how very different we are.

  30. 30

    Hi Zap
    Don’t know what you mean when you say women are free to “choose” who they mate with and tend to pick “winners” since they are more invested in their pregnancies. Aren’t you aware that it is only a recent phenomenon (in the context of human history) that women were allowed to choose their mates ? And only in modern anglo “socially advanced” societies. At late as the turn of the century, women had to put up with who their families picked out for them. If they had any choice at all, it was limited to a shortlist her family picked out for her. More often than not, even her family did not have a choice in the matter. The village chief, warlord, duke etc would have a say in it. Back in caveman days, a female would often be forcibly taken, or had to mate with the male whose territory she wandered into looking for food.
    If left to their own devices, the female reproductive strategy (as evidenced by primate studies and anthropological studies) would be to mate with a variety of males, some “superior” and dominant and others which are most decidedly not. Scientists can only speculate as to the reasons, where they relate to primates closely related to humans (eg chimps). The speculation is that females mate with a variety of males to confuse paternity – so males (irrespective of their position in the tribe) would not harm their children if there was a chance those children could be biologically theirs. Another speculation is that females “hedge their bets”. Yes, even weak inferior males can rise up the ranks since the superior ones tend to get challenged at lot and often ended up dead or seriously wounded/maimed. Then again, maybe its the variety that is the heart of the matter here. Weak inferior males may have recessive genes from superior dominant ancestors, or have politically powerful relatives.
    Sure women these days tend to be fussy but that is mainly because she is now confined to mating only with one male (or one at a time at least). The same may be said of men.

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