I Acted Dumb To See If It Attracts More Men

Over the years, I’ve been known as “the smart one.” Whenever Charlie Rose has an interesting guest or NPR’s “Science Friday” features a new discovery, I get very excited. I’ve been to the top of the academic food chain, taught at the university level, and even used the word “symbiosis” off-hand during a conversation on a date before diving into a deep dive on plate tectonics and subduction zones.

In addition, I’ve always owned the stereotype of the sexy librarian, and I consider it a strength. You’d think that men would be swarming over me by now, what with all my intelligence and attractiveness, not to mention my ability to hold intelligent conversations about anything from Shakespeare to politics to earthquakes. Not at all.

My track record with males is infamously poor. My experiences in the dating scene before I got married are tragically dramatic. In a romantic comedy adaptation of my life, I would play the role of the eccentric best friend who is always passed over for the leading man.

Men would usually dump me after a few dates for a woman they met at the gym who worked as the shot girl in a nightclub, and then claim they wanted to remain friends with me because I was “interesting.”

My mother always told me that men found me intimidating because they knew they had to “bring it” (do more) in order to impress me.

The greater difficulty came from my mind. Being around me took more effort because I wasn’t as “easy” as the Fun Girls.

That’s why I went ahead and set up a little experiment. I thought maybe if I pretended to be a little more of a “Fun Girl” I could get the attention of more men if I just lowered my standards a bit.

I was a regular user of an online dating service before I met my husband; when I first created my profile, I made sure to hide any indication that I was smart and replace it with sexy photos. I tried to be as succinct and cliché as possible without making myself gag when describing things.

I did go so far as to boast my fondness for spontaneous trips and long beach strolls. My inbox went from receiving one message per day to several per hour after I removed the entire paragraph describing my enthusiasm for literature and science. The results of my experiment were promising.

Only college graduates, the typical nice guys my mother would have approved of, got a response from me. For some reason, I always assumed that the intelligent men I was attracted to preferred less intelligent women. I made an effort to be lighthearted and humorous on the phone, rather than serious or opinionated.

In what way? I had the potential for three dates per day. That’s the number of fellas who wanted to set up a date with me.

Also, guys used to be more open to meeting for coffee, but now they all want to take me out for drinks and are very adamant that I drink during our dates.

In person, I held back a lot of “oh my god wow that is so amazing”s and smiles.

I pretended to be clueless about politics, pop culture, and everything else because I noticed that the men I was seeing seemed to take pleasure in “educating” or “enlightening” women and placing them in a position of subservience by introducing them to “new” things.

But, alas, not in this case. Also, most of these guys weren’t even aware of the fact that they were talking nonsense.

They were all obviously trying to get me drunk, but I was too savvy for that.

There were a lot of offers for follow-up dates, and I noticed something interesting. Men who liked me initially because they misjudged my intelligence usually turned out to be insecure jerks. They were all control freaks who didn’t want to be challenged on anything, and they showed it by making sexist comments, criticizing others, and acting jealous.

Some of them even asked me directly if I’d had plastic surgery or if I was willing to undergo it (um, no). Oh, and they kept trying to get me drunk, which a male friend had previously explained to me was an attempt to gain unrestricted access to sexual activity.

The mission was canceled on the spot.

Despite popular belief, it’s not because men prefer women who are mentally slow.

The truth is that most men just want to relax and enjoy themselves with a woman, and that includes engaging in sexual activity. They aren’t interested in finding spouses. They want a woman on their own terms and on the surface level so they can boost their own self-esteem.

It has less to do with smarts and more to do with being easily replaced. They also don’t want their pride hurt. I hope they rot in hell. If I were to dumb myself down, I might get more dates, but they wouldn’t be with good guys.

Weary of online dating, I deleted my profile. Two months later, I met the man who would become my husband. I was totally genuine and authentic on our first date. We didn’t waste time with small talk and instead dove into the meat of the discussion. There was much discussion. We were able to contribute equally thanks to our varied areas of expertise and enjoy ourselves through shared dry senses of humor.

‘I like you because you have opinions and passions that are your own,’ he told me. To quote one of our conversation starters: “I like that you can show me new things and I can talk to you about so many different topics.”

That’s the kind of thing a guy should say to a girl when the date is over, so I married him.

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