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The assumptions, they burns us

This article was linked in a flocked post on my flist and I decided to bitch about it here rather than spewing venom all over my friend's LJ.

"Why The Smartest People Have The Toughest Time Dating"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-alex-benzer/why-the-smartest-people-h_b_169939.html

First off, I know plenty of smart people who have no trouble dating. The fact that there is a stereotype of a certain kind of smart person having trouble dating does not mean that all smart people therefore have trouble dating.

precipitated by the endemic dating woes on the Harvard campus

If college students have trouble dating, it probably has a lot more to do with their being young, without much social experience, and trying to negotiate a culture different from what they're used to, than it has to do with their being smart.

Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you're not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex.

I am laughing my butch kitty ass off here. I mean, I suppose it might be true at a gross statistical level, but I know so many people who are so far from conventionally feminine or conventionally masculine who have no trouble finding partners.

And maybe when you're really sloshed at a party and your whole frontal lobe is on vacation in the outer rings of Saturn, you've noticed that your lizard brain knows exactly how to grab that cute girl by the waist for a twirl on the dance floor. [...] Actually, just stop thinking altogether.

Telling people to find dates by getting drunk and not thinking is a great way to help them get STDs and unwanted pregnancies, too.

Generally speaking, smart people seek out other smart people to hang out with, simply because they get bored otherwise. [...] Well, congratulations -- you've just eliminated 95% of the world's population as a potential mate, Mr or Ms Smartypants.

Hey, I'm a woman over 40 and I've neither been (legally) married nor been killed by a terrorist! I must be some kind of miracle.

I care a lot that my partners are in the same general intelligence range as me, and it's very important to me that my partners appreciate me in part for my intelligence. But I've known plenty of smart people who don't care about either of those things.

Starting when I was in my teens, I was convinced that I was so odd and had such specialized requirements in a partner that I would never find a partner. Even though I have three long-term partners right now, and have been with other people who were good partners for me, on some level I still believe this. Silly, huh?

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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epi_lj
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
There is a surprisingly vitriolic flame war going on on rec.games.interactive-fiction about whether or not interactive fiction can help you get laid or not. To its credit, it has spawned one of the funniest very-very-dorky jokes that I've heard in a long time. On the other hand, the assumptions are crazy. One person's photo was linked to as a basic QED-type assertion that he could never get laid, and there are all kinds of other qualifiers put out without many people questioning them, such as that people who write interactive fiction tend to be overweight (and hence would never get a date).
firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
Haven't those people on r.g.i-f ever heard of Ugol's Law?

Tangent: On my sock puppet FB account, sometimes "friends" put up profile pix that aren't really pix of them. Sometimes I see a profile picture of a fat person wearing unusual clothes. If I think it is a real profile picture, I feel happy, but then I remember it might be mockery and then I get sad.
(no subject) - jordan179 - Mar. 4th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, that.

If FSM forbid I ever find myself without a partner again, I expect I will start thinking of the entire last 18 (or however many) years of my life as a fluke.

Stupid lizard brains.
(no subject) - pir_anha - Mar. 4th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
the_siobhan
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
I always find it interesting when articles like this tell me that I have eliminated "X percentage of of potential partners" by wanting people who are smart, or who bathe, or who don't have a history of killing their partners and burying them in the backyard.

Because having a partner who bores me stupid is such a better option than being single, I guess.
xiphias
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Remember: if you eliminate 99.99999999% of your potential dating pool (and you date humans who live on earth) -- you'll STILL be going crazy trying to balance six or seven relationships.
(no subject) - firecat - Mar. 4th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pogodragon - Mar. 4th, 2009 10:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Mar. 4th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pogodragon - Mar. 4th, 2009 10:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Mar. 4th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pir_anha - Mar. 4th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcat_jewel - Mar. 4th, 2009 08:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jordan179 - Mar. 4th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jordan179 - Mar. 4th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
usqueba
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you're not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex.
I really TRIED to be more femmy but I CAN'T. And? Neither my husband (16+ years) nor my boyfriend (1.6 years) CARE.

Generally speaking, smart people seek out other smart people to hang out with, simply because they get bored otherwise. [...] Well, congratulations -- you've just eliminated 95% of the world's population as a potential mate, Mr or Ms Smartypants.
Uhm, you mean you can't date other smart people?
firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
But only 5% of the world's population is smart! You're limiting your options so much!
(no subject) - usqueba - Mar. 4th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC) - Expand
xiphias
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
Eliminating 95% of my potential dating pool? I'm okay with that.

I can only really manage one primary relationship, and one secondary. That's two relationships total. There are, let's say, six billion people in the world. Might be seven billion. Dunno. Let's say six billion, for now.

Heck, let's pretend I could actually manage six relationships, like I briefly did in college once (oddly, the semester just before I flunked out. But let's not go there).

So I'm looking for 6 out of 6 billion. One in a billion. I can safely eliminate 99.99999999% of the world's population as potential mates. I mean, how many mates do I really NEED? 95%? I think most people are going to have to eliminate more than 95% of the world's population as potential mates. I mean, who can really manage 300,000,000 mates? Even King Solomon only had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
The original article does some of that math and winds up with the dire prediction that "less than one in five thousand people" might be suitable for you. Oh noes!
(no subject) - xiphias - Mar. 4th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC) - Expand
daze39
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
can you spare any mental floss? I've run out ...
... and bits of the original article are now, to my annoyance, stuck in the cracks in my brain!

I mean - even aside from the "smart vs. instinctive" false dichotomy (and the underlying assumption that abandoning oneself to instinctive impulse is the only real way to make erotic connections with people), the unexamined conventionalism is just... ick!

"Or [maybe you] never bothered to cultivate your sensuality as a woman. Or your sexual aggression as a male." That's such a cookie-cutter view of intimacy!

Come to think of it, I believe my most recent heterosexual encounter was more a matter of my "sensuality" and her "sexual aggression" than the reverse. :)
firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:44 am (UTC)
Re: can you spare any mental floss? I've run out ...
*hands you mental floss*

That particular quote drove me crazy too.

oddly enough, exhibiting "sexual aggression" (if "I'm attracted to you" counts as aggressive) has gotten me laid more often than exhibiting "sensuality" (whatever that is supposed to be).
punkmom
Mar. 4th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
Dude, I already found as many of the 1% of 1% that match or meet my smart factor as I can successfully manage. So, I'm not seeing the problem here.
wordweaverlynn
Mar. 4th, 2009 10:01 am (UTC)
Also,, which sex is opposite?
Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you're not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex.

Fine by me. I do much better with unsuitable companions.
redbird
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
What they mean by "suitable" is that the person who isn't projecting that sort of gendered image won't be able to attract a companion whothe writer would consider suitable as a son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Fortunately, this is utterly irrelevant to everyone who reads this article. Even those who are currently single and heterosexual aren't going to bring potential spouses to meet the writer.

Of course, I don't appear to exist in his world, not just because I'm a smart woman with good, long-term partners, but because I don't consider "of the opposite sex" to be a relevant characteristic in actual or potential partners.

adrian_turtle
Mar. 5th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
You make an excellent point. Now I'm wondering if the writer has grown children. In the (extremely likely) event they fall in love with somebody who doesn't meet the patriarchy-compliant standards of a respectable potential spouse, I wonder if they'll bring the person home to meet dad. Could go either way, of course.
cakmpls
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading the article and reporting on it for me, because now I don't have to spend the whole day pissed off by it!
jordan179
Mar. 4th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you're not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex.

I am laughing my butch kitty ass off here. I mean, I suppose it might be true at a gross statistical level, but I know so many people who are so far from conventionally feminine or conventionally masculine who have no trouble finding partners.


Well, it's actually true that you must "convey femininity or masculinity." What the author doesn't get is that there are a lot of ways of being feminine or masculine, beyond stereotypical cheerleaders and jocks.

And maybe when you're really sloshed at a party and your whole frontal lobe is on vacation in the outer rings of Saturn, you've noticed that your lizard brain knows exactly how to grab that cute girl by the waist for a twirl on the dance floor. [...] Actually, just stop thinking altogether.

Telling people to find dates by getting drunk and not thinking is a great way to help them get STDs and unwanted pregnancies, too.


... heartbreaks, fights, etc. ... yep.

Generally speaking, smart people seek out other smart people to hang out with, simply because they get bored otherwise. [...] Well, congratulations -- you've just eliminated 95% of the world's population as a potential mate, Mr or Ms Smartypants.

... and it's not like you could find a smart person of the opposite sex in an Ivy League College ...???





firecat
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Well, it's actually true that you must "convey femininity or masculinity."

It is?
(no subject) - jordan179 - Mar. 5th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firecat - Mar. 5th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC) - Expand
queensheba
Mar. 4th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Errrr, I kinda like my women as masculine as possible, these days...
pir_anha
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
i have to stop reading the huffpo comment section. not much smartness evident there. though i bet they all think they are.
redbird
Mar. 4th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
I wonder how he feels about people who limit their dating pool to, say, the fraction of a percent of the population who speak an obscure dialect of German and are part of a specific Christian church? Or athletic people near their own age who like a specific kind of music?
starcat_jewel
Mar. 4th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
All I have to say is, this dude just put himself straight into the 95%! I wouldn't go out with somebody like him on a bet.
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