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Unpopular opinion: Intelligence is blah.

It is often said (to me, at least) that intelligence is a (core-)quality.
That having a brain is attractive. That knowing things about certain things and having stuff to say about stuff is a good selling point. That IQ lasts a lot longer than a pretty face and that making smart choices will win out over making the fun ones.

Want to hear my unpopular opinion?

It isn’t.

Not when you’re a single woman in her thirties, at least.
Or growing up.
Not in my experience.

The hierarchy of compliments is very simple, in my experience:
It starts at aesthetics-based compliments (You’re pretty!).
Which, if they don’t apply to the person in question move down to qualities (You’re so funny!).
And if people are neither very beautiful not very capable…only then comes the brain.
You’re so smart’. Looks – merits – intelligence. It’s a simple slope down attraction lane.

I need more hands and feet to be able to count the times I’ve had comments of a negative nature made on what’s going on up in that head of mine. Starting from a young age where ‘it’s a shame you don’t look a bit more like your sister. She’s so pretty. Too bad you ‘only’ got the brains.’ was a run of the mill party conversation at family gettogethers. Moving up into school it was ‘don’t be such a show-off.’ Followed by high schools ‘she’s such a nerd! Who would ever wanna date that?’.

(No worries, I’m just ranting here, there was a whole lotta more good things to outweigh these fits of unpleasantness. I had fun in school, with great (equally smart) friends regardless of those. It didn’t weigh me down nuttin’.)

These days it takes the shape in Tinder potentials unmatching me right quick, or real life guys poofing like ghosts. Usually after the conversation of what schools we attended or that education panning out into an (apparent) uncloseable rift between the army of builder, carpenter, plumber and the like and me as a masters student holding down a good job in IT. Their words. Not mine. I like men who can work with their hands. Practical knowledge is going to last a lot longer in a Zombie apocalypse than book smarts.

Now. There IS (obviously) the chance that my beaming personality doesn’t come across in writing text messages to potential suitors. Or that it’s my (lack of) bodily goodies that are the turn-off instead of my diploma’s. Or that I may be a horrid person all-round regardless of that silly 140 range IQ that keeps rolling out of tests (I seriously don’t get how they get that idea, maybe they’re as bad at maths as I am.).

And hell – there might be a plethora of other reasons why they always seem to unmatch me right around the time ‘the smarts’ are a topic of conversation. I dunno. But my head has made a causal link.
Intelligence is, in fact, a turn-off. To most men. I meet.

(although, I suppose I should be glad I even GET matches that DO talk. It could always be worse.)

‘You’re quite intimidating, you know?’
‘That sounds like a very responsible and complex job…I’m only a builder…’
‘Do you even have time to date with all that career work that you do?’
‘I don’t think I can keep up with you…’

But riddle me this.

If I’m supposedly so smart…
Why am I sitting here writing a blog, because I forgot my passwords to the work laptop in the one week (!!!!) vacation that I had?

Who’s the smart one now?!

Ps. I called it an unpopular opinion because I know a lot of people feel differently. But it’s not really an invite to try and change my mind about it. I don’t think you can. I gots the numbers on my side. Plus. There’s a charm to complaining just for the sake of complaining. I’m charmed. :X

57 thoughts on “Unpopular opinion: Intelligence is blah.

  1. Meh, I’m in the middle here. I’ve met plenty of smart people in my time. Most of them lacked ANY modicum of common sense or wisdom too. Knowledge is useless without the discernment to correctly apply it.

    HOWEVER… I’ve met my share of people who were thick as a brick and had trouble with doors too. Overall, I’d definitely prefer brains. 😀 I think in dating terms it comes down more to how the other guy or gal handles their intelligence. If they think it makes them superior, that’s a deal breaker there.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t get this idea that the two have to be exclusive. I feel kind of lucky that in my family, there’s a few engineers, like my dad who is excellent at both computer programming and making literally anything out of wood that he decides to (and able to problem-solve and fix things round the house etc). It just occurred to me that that pretty much defines engineering doesn’t it? Applying technical knowledge and analytical thinking pragmatically.

      Yet it does seem that my family is fairly unusual, and on the whole certain traits DO tend to be exclusive in most people. Which just annoys me!

      I feel like I’m in a very weird situation, where I’ve picked up all of these technical/analytical skills, but I am also very physical and sporty/outdoorsy, good with language, can build things/problem-solve day-to-day things, and I happen to be very emotional and empathetic. I’m very thankful for all of that but it makes me simultaneously relatable and intensely unrelatable, and vice-versa. And a lot of stereotypically-male attitudes are so alien to me.

      And this whole ‘intelligence intimidation’ thing… WHY!!? The world is a total mystery to me, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know it’s a cliche, but … “Real men don’t LOVE the most Beautiful Girl in the World, They LOVE the Girl who can make their World the most Beautiful”

    And you’ve got all the tools! Without a doubt!

    That’s why I ‘disagree’ with you, this time,. I like to repeat what I’ve said before: “Don’t be Eye Candy, Be Soul Food.”

    (To be honest: to me you actually ‘are’ both, but personally I prefer the latter (in any girl): I think the sexiest on anybody is intelligence! But maybe that’s just me …)

    You’ve been messing around with Maslow – for good reasons – in an earlier post and I think this is the time to ‘rethink’ (or ‘over-ponder 😉) your “hierarchy of compliments”: start with your real powers and qualities, that’s the base for your personal pyramid. And, as I said: I think ‘pretty’ deserves to be in the lower tiers of that pyramid, too!

    Embrace all of You. You’re Worth It.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A different spin on this…It seems sad to me that so many people in construction and other trades discount their work. It’s important and this days it’s pretty technical requiring knowledge of math and science. And like you say, they’re more likely to survive the Zombie apocolypse.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, I’ve always thought this! This also annoyed me even at university, where people distinguish between level of ‘worth’ between degrees! Like, people would talk themselves down for ‘only’ studying History, or Sociology, or even Psychology, or introduce me to people as studying a ‘real’ degree. Hilarious, because I’m interested in all of those things too! 🤦‍♂️

      I mean, if you weren’t interested in studying it why were you studying it? Surely it had value to yourself? It distresses me how society/culture ingrains this kind of thinking, an over-dependency on validation from others, rather than seeing things for their personal or even objective value.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And of course a lot of people are going to university precisely for that validation from others— studying something for the purpose of getting a job, even if it’s an unrelated field. As a purist, that also distresses me. And how satisfying that I’ve been the most unemployed/repeatedly-employed of all my friends since university 🤣. But still with the same passion and wonder for the subject which I studied (and a lot of others).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Predictably, I’m gonna tell you that you’re smart, funny and pretty. I’m also gonna concede that you don’t need anyone to tell you what you are or aren’t. But hope you like the compliment all the same and it’s one of honesty, not flattery.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I understand that, I have a problem with compliments. I also assume the worst all the time and deem myself not worthy of anything or anyone. Did you have a good weekend?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed indeed – compliments are tricky bastards!
        I had an amazing weekend to finish off my week of do-nothing-vacation. Now it’s bavk into the fray of workworkwork. Hope you got through yours unscathed too!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Unfortunately not. I’ll be on crutches for a few weeks and need a lot of physio and painkillers in the meantime. Probably sidelined for 2-3 months and won’t be able to drive for a number of weeks 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      4. She is right – while they’re useful for team spirit and bonding and the obvious exercise, they can be pretty painful and dangerous. Mine happened completely innocently too. The muscle just tore when I was getting up off the ground.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Pretty only gets you so far. I personally have always preferred depth over pretty.

    Good looks might spark an attraction, but I’ve met my fair share of hot women that ended up turning me off because of their lack of ability to talk about anything with substance. When I was still on the dating circuit, I was alone more often than not because of my intolerance to people who couldn’t talk about anything outside of the latest entertainment news or fashion. If you were a bookworm, or could talk tech, or wrote poetry, I was vastly more interested in pursuing you than if you’re claim to fame was being able to put on a good face.

    You mentioned trade skills. Goodness, I wish I could justify the lower pay and get back into something I could do with my hands.

    Full disclosure: before becoming a desktop scientist, I was a janitor, hairstylist, barista, printer, bookseller, and courier (to name a few, Jack of All Trades…). I get paid too much to go back to any of those, but all were 100% more fulfilling. I especially miss the barista days (as a working manager). Watch out Zombie Apocalypse! I have a steam wand and a shot of espresso!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So recognisable!

      My bestest and favoritest working years were slaved away at a McDonald’s.
      First booth, taking and cashing orders in a team of glorious misfits and just having A BLAST!

      And indeed – it’s only the money and praise stopping me from going straight back 😳😅🤐

      With your steam wand and my grill spatula…halfway to a decent restaurant!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Shit can relate to this too. After finishing my degree, I worked in a shop for a bit. Ultimately I got bored, yet it was still the most competent and fun job day-to-day that I’ve had, for the time that I did it. Fun because I was moving and socialising. After that I did computer programming, but that was totally unfulfilling socially. Now I’m unemployed in the midst of a mental health crisis 😅. I do have a better plan now for when things have recovered.

        But yeah, the basic roots for contentment are missing in a lot of modern-day lifestyles and that needs to change. Just that some struggle more than others.


  6. I may write a post in response to this. You have made many valuable points that I find valid. Beauty fades over time. Poise, personality and intelligence can develop into a gorgeous of it’s own. I was raised to look at a person for who they are and I miffed my share of young ladies for not addressing the exterior properly. I faced an uphill battle for declining to love a pretty face.

    Wow, you brought a lot of thought to this post. I am wowed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You quoted some men saying you’re intimidating. I think that’s nail-on-the-head. You’re pretty AND intelligent… I’m puzzled by your family members’ cruel remarks about your sub-par looks.

    So, here’s my suggestion… if you’re (potentially) dating a man less clever/academically accomplished as you, just pretend to be stupid. At least for the first date or two. Make him feel powerful and clever. Then, slowly, let him realise you’re not a bimbo.

    BTW, one of the smartest guys I know is a builder. I actually had a drunken fling with him ages ago, but don’t tell his builder mates LOL.

    Lots of men have easily-bruised egos. And some men are pretty traditional – they want an angel in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I guess it’s up to you how much you want to deviate from the real you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww man. Ya’ll keep making me blush.
      Guess it says something about my sister then, eh 🤭😜 she’s gorgeous.

      And the dumbing down – I’ve been doing that ever since I hit the dating market. See where it’s gotten me?
      Cats is where it’s gotten me.

      And since I can’t cook to save my life there’s no hope for me there 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair – I never had to get close to any routers (although I might hobble over just for a well-earned high five). I did software testing when I started. I do bid management now (and that’s barely IT anymore).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hehe.. Don’t know
    About you but
    Would Rather
    Be Challenged
    Now Like Writing
    A 55,444 Word
    Weekly Blog Post that
    Is of No
    Or Artistic
    Value by
    Science of
    Paint by
    NumBeR Rules
    WHere Naked
    It’s What You
    Do That ‘Counts’
    Whether People
    Value What You
    Do or Not i
    Am Going to
    Follow You as
    i think You are
    Attracts me
    Most as i Don’t
    Swipe Left or
    ‘Write’ and
    Don’t Have
    To Ask Girls to Dance
    Not Even At 60
    Happily married
    To A Woman
    Who Never
    Ages at
    50 and
    i Prove that too
    With Plenty of
    Blog Proof as
    It is When
    You are
    Not Looking
    ‘They’ Naturally ‘
    See’ You When You
    are Just
    Fun Being
    You Without
    Even Trying Just FLYiN




    No Modern

    First World

    Problems of


    Ease Where

    There are No Rules For Free

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Intelligence is such a convoluted construct. Beauty is a lot easier for the simple people to dissect, it is there, or it isn’t. Intelligence is not that easy – do they have it, or not?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Now. There IS (obviously) the chance that my beaming personality doesn’t come across in writing text messages to potential suitors.”

    I suspect this exact same thing with Tinder/online dating, lol. I’m a total ‘failure’ at it, and after many attempts with it have realised it’s really not suited to me.

    And this fucking stressed me out to read:
    “they always seem to unmatch me right around the time ‘the smarts’ are a topic of conversation”


    Haha, sorry, this particular post has triggered a lot of thoughts for me. Sorry if I’ve spammed you!


  11. I think you’re just looking in the wrong place. About 80% of engineers are male, similar fraction of physicists. Many have no common sense or ability to fix/build things, but there are so many excess males in those areas that there must be some useful ones left… Most of the post-docs where I work are single. Perhaps I could post you one? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What??? Zoe, you’re gorgeous!! 😘😍 I have always thought so. 🤍 My youngest sister is beautiful and super tall, and she looks like a supermodel. Her husband is handsome and her daughter is angelic. I like to show them off, and friends go “Wow,” and open their mouths, because it’s too much cuteness for a photo, and I’m happy about that. I’m happy members of my family are fortunate enough to be very easy on the eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😳😳🔥

      I love how happy you are to show them off! That is such a great take on it. I usually shove a picture of my gorgeous sis in people’s faces and go ‘SEE? SEE HOW GENETICS FUCKED ME OVER?!’

      Although she does have an angelic son…so maybe I should switch to your style instead 🤭

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A great post. I definitely get how girls are taught that brains are more important than looks. It’s meant to build confidence. With that said, if they kept telling you that intelligence it’s where it’s at but then they complained about your looks being less than perfect, then I’m confused. Pick one and stick with it.

    Kids/ teenagers are told many things as they grow up. The reality isn’t always the same when they become adults. As you’ve said – not everyone seems to think that being smart is a good thing. There’s plenty of women that I know that are labeled “intimidating” because they appear more intelligent. A lot of the time a label “stuck up” is also thrown that way. Not many people can keep up, and, it’s in their nature to point fingers at others (you) instead of trying to improve themselves.

    If someone is smarter than me, I want to be around them more often. Listen to them, learn, sponge it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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