Stop Playing Dumb: New Study Says Smart Women Intimidate Men

It’s essentially understood that men mature more slowly than women, but this is never more painfully apparent than when you’re splashing out into the dating pool. Recently, science has confirmed something women have known for years: men are much more attracted to a smart woman in theory rather than in real life.

"Dat brain had me liiiike" Trailer Park Boys/ Via

"Dat brain had me liiiike" Trailer Park Boys/ Via

According to this recent study, when “psychological distance” existed between the man and the object of his desire (a theoretical dream-woman), he was more attracted to the idea of her displaying more intelligence. However, when the men were face-to-face with a woman who outperformed him on a number of intellectual exercises, they tended to consider her less attractive and showed less desire to interact with her than with the women who they themselves outperformed.

Ah, fragile masculinity! Men want to feel as though they’re competing for female affections, but they don’t want to date a girl who outscored them on the SATs. (As a girl who outscored most guys in her graduating class, I can confirm.)

As a woman, the study backs up what many of us consider common knowledge; if you want to score points with a guy, laugh at his dumb jokes and don’t correct him when he misspells “Mississippi.”

How long are we expected to keep up the charade to protect the male ego? How far into the relationship can you get if you have to worry about intimidating your date? Do you have to have the ring on your finger before you can turn to him and say, “Actually, the white whale is a metaphor?"

Ultimately, playing dumb means you’re building that relationship on a lie, and that won’t benefit either of you.

I’m not saying all women need to act superior to the men they interact with. If women acted as superior as those guys at Starbucks who are dying to tell you about their pretentious screenplays, the human race would have died out when arranged marriages became unpopular because no one would have ever dated.

Men have been the intellectual, political, and financial top-tier for so long that some think they’ve earned the right to feel superior to their future life partner. The real secret to dealing with a man like that?

Leave him.



There will always be men who want to feel smarter than you, but the fact of the matter is that the more he insists on being better, the more likely it is that he’s not. Leave those guys for the girls who they may actually have a chance of beating in a game of Words With Friends.

No one should have to pretend to be something they’re not in order to score a date. This is common dating advice, and nothing about the basic rules of dating has changed with the publication of this new study.

The only difference now is that you now know exactly how men have stacked the deck in their favor.

Be yourself. It’s a simple decision, like choosing to wear heels or flats on the first date. Wear your personality and your intelligence with the same confidence as your favorite first date outfit.

Wade fearlessly out into the murky waters of the dating pool and cast your line. Just be ready to throw a few fish back if they tell you to get in the kitchen and make them a sandwich.

Feature photo by Julian Cousins, @blackligercc