Mailvox: Beauty and the Brain

Alex asks: What would you say Vox about attractive women who find average-looking brainiac types hard to resist? Do you believe that a beautiful woman can be attracted primarily to a man’s intellect, higher the better?

Absolutely. This isn’t always the case – it doesn’t happen anywhere nearly as often as your average computer geek wishes – but I’ve certainly known it to happen to more than a few individuals. Space Bunny, who is by all accounts a very attractive woman, has usually tended to gravitate towards more intelligent men. The Chilliette pursued Big Chilly remorselessly in preference to men like the UCLA quarterback she’d previously dated. And years ago, I happened to date an Elite girl who was only interested in either brains or fame. As long as the guy wasn’t a complete toad, looks were irrelevant. So, it happens.

That being said, it’s more the exception than the rule. You don’t see women flocking around game developer conventions the way they do around even college athletes, never mind that the game developers are smarter and far wealthier. I don’t recall hearing about Gatesian groupies either, for that matter. The problem, I suspect, is that women require a minimum level of social adeptness that many intelligent men cannot muster. Come to think of it, intelligent men whose intelligence tends towards the verbal instead of the math tend to do better, to put it in SAT terms.

The challenge for bright women is that intelligent men are even less likely to value intelligence in women. Too many intelligent women are brainwashed into being constantly and needlessly antagonistic through their educational experience, so the notion of a happy cheerleader is very attractive to a conflict-avoidant man. Intelligent women like to interpret this as being “too strong” for their opposite counterparts, but in reality it’s much more a case of being “too unpleasant”. But an attractive, intelligent woman who is able to portray herself as being easy to get along with will seldom fail to clean up with intelligent men. Men primarily want their women to be happy; a cheerful attitude goes a surprisingly long way with men, who contrast it with the many women of their acquaintance who are always bitching, moaning and complaining at the slightest excuse.