Friday, May 14, 2010

more on being the smartest girl in the room

One of the great loves of my life told me years ago, "Look, I slave away all day in a highly competitive environment. When I come home I don't want to match wits with somebody like you — I want to drink a Bud and watch Laverne and Shirley." The TV reference should give you some idea as to how long ago this was.

My friend eventually married a much-younger woman who, while certainly bright, was no competition for him. Not much of a challenge, either. He wanted a nice housewife who would raise his children and support his career, and that's what he got.

This has become a sad pattern, I'm sorry to say. I meet a man who's clever enough for me, who gets my jokes, who's a great companion, and he weighs his options and picks another woman, usually one who's less prickly, easier to get along with, more subservient. Why? Beats me.

It's not necessarily that they're thinner or prettier, either, though that has often been the case. "She's not as funny as you are; she has less of an edge," one old friend told me about his new fiance, "but she's restful." Another of my great unrequited loves, calculating his romantic alternatives, said to me, "But if we became lovers who would I talk to?"

Sometimes I despair, I really do.

So don't be so quick to assume that Elena Kagan is gay. She probably can't get a date to save her life. Men are often afraid of the smartest girl in the room.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I recognize that this is several years old but I have just happened upon it and want to add a different viewpoint. I was always the undisputed smartest girl in the class, often the smartest student in the class. I had friends of both sexes, I had dates, I got married to a man who gets my jokes, is not intimidated by my abilities, and who finds me restful; I am his refuge. I have worked, I have mothered, I have homeschooled, I have supported and led and guided many people of many ages. And now in my 60's I am not done.

What is the difference? My husband is a great companion but I don't expect him to be my everything. I am not in competition with him; I am his helpmate. As to attracting and keeping men or any friend, part of the answer might lie in feeling confident enough in yourself that you are not compelled to constantly promote how smart you are and instead using that energy to be pleasant and to give and receive joy in the relationship.

Just thoughts in response to your article and to the apparent bitterness and unhappiness that seem to permeate. I hope that since this writing you have moved forward in your life and published your book too!
Best regards.

Kit Naylor said...

Thanks for your comment You are indeed fortunate, and I am happy to hear that you've found your soulmate. My friends and I have not been so lucky.