Is Dating Harder if You’re Smarter?
Back by popular demand! You loved this article about why being smarter can make your dating life more difficult.
You can solve complex calculus equations, expound on the relevance of the Battle of Thermopylae and diagnose enigmatic blood disorders (without the help of WebMD).
You’ve more than earned your smarty pants.
Just one problem – you have a hard time slipping out of those smarty pants and into the arms of an inamorata. (That’s smarty pants talk for lovah.)
Why is it that men and women who are the most educated, most accomplished and most intelligent seem to have the hardest time dating?
As one of my brightest friends, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, recently lamented, “I guess I just want the best and have a hard time overlooking the things about people that annoy me! It is really starting to settle in, however, that I am likely going to be single during my time at Cornell.”
According to Dr. Alex Benzer, author of The Tao of Dating books, brainy folks may be too smart for their own good when it comes to matters of the heart.
In an article for The Huffington Post, Benzer posits that “the smarter you are, the more clueless you will be, and the more problems you’re going to have in your dating life.”
So why do intellectual whiz-kids fare worst romantically?
First, Benzer says, smart people often grow up in families focused on academic achievement rather than relationship building: “Time spent studying, doing homework, and practicing the violin is time not spent doing other things — like chasing boys or girls, which turns out is fairly instrumental in making you a well-rounded human.”
This describes my family – and lack of early dating life – precisely. But I’m glad my parents prized intelligence over dating triumphs. It saved me a lot of wasted time wooing teen geeks. And made me an interesting person worthy of wooing adult geeks.
As Tina Fey said in a May 2008 interview with Marie Claire: “You know what? Let the boys practice on other girls. Let them treat other girls like crud, let them learn how to French kiss for, like, 10 years, let them give some other girl a bunch of crappy Valentine’s Day gifts, and then you just move in when they’re fully formed.”
But Benzer says fully formed brainiacs can have a tougher time with romance than young smarties. He says as adults, smart people often limit themselves to dating other high IQ individuals, thus eliminating 95 percent of the dating pool.
But wait – isn’t it true that smart men will date dumb women, as long as they’re hot?
“They won’t tolerate it after about seven minutes,” says one Ivy League grad I spoke to. After a brief pause, he added, “Okay, they’ll tolerate it long enough to have sex, but then they get bored.”
“My really smart female friends, in general, are less willing to tolerate stupidity in the name of sex,” he says.
Sounds numbingly familiar. So what are we clever lonely-hearts to do?
Well, there’s always Mensa. That’s right, in order get to the bottom of this dating dichotomy, I called in the big brains.