Posted in dating

BRAINS,THE NEW TITS


Singles who claim to value intellect over looks are popping up on dating profiles from Tinder to OkCupid. But what does being a “sapiosexual” really mean?

You know what’s hot? Intelligence. “Brains are the new tits!” shouts a t-shirt slogan I saw recently. It also happens to appear on a facebook page . Because, yes, there is indeed a word for desiring smart people: sapiosexuality. And “sapiosexual” has become an increasingly common way of identifying oneself on dating sites and apps to emphasize intelligence as an essential criterion in what can often be a superficial, looks-obsessed world. But what does it mean to be seek intelligence when it comes to dating? Is it simply about communing with like-minded souls? Or is it about looking down on those who don’t measure up? Is it about knowing lots of trivia, such as the questions posed in an okcupid,a sapiosexual fetish test, or a deeper way of assessing one’s gray matter?

I first heard the word probably three or four years ago and it immediately resonated with me once I found out what it meant. Along with enthusiasm, humor, and kindness, intelligence is one of the main things that makes me really pay attention to someone in a romantic and sexual way.”Physical attractiveness does matter , but “someone who’s smart tends to look way better to me than someone who’s not. I don’t consciously try to assess people’s intelligence, but I definitely do notice things like: How many of my jokes do they get? How fast do they respond when I ask them a question? What’s their vocabulary like? Are they comfortable talking about loftier subjects than interpersonal gossip and the weather? I think intelligence often goes hand-in-hand with humor, or at least the kind of humor I appreciate, so if we’re making each other laugh a lot, we’re probably on a similar wavelength intellectually as well.”

When someone doesn’t live up to her standards in the brainiac arena, it’s glaringly obvious. “In high school, I dated this lass who just wasn’t anywhere near as smart as me—or at least, she wasn’t smart in the ways that I value and understand,I remember I used the word ‘swoon’ to describe how she made me feel, and she asked me, ‘What does swoon mean?’ Another time, we got into an argument because he had been flirting with another girl, and I asked her, ‘Do you even know the meaning of monogamy?’ and she admitted that she, in fact, didn’t know what the word ‘monogamy’ meant. I had been slowly discovering over the course of our relationship that she just wasn’t as smart as I wanted her to be, and those two incidents were basically the death knell of my attraction for her. Maybe we all are to some degree—just not the same degree.

Drawing the line between desiring “intelligent types” and using your own subjective judgment calls to rule out the “unintelligent” makes many people uncomfortable. Plenty of women who value intelligence—their own and that of potential partners—have balked at the ways “sapiosexual” is used in practice. I have found that emotional intelligence is far more important than the number of books you’ve read or the number of degrees you have. I’ve dated a couple of young ladies who have not and have no hopes of joining  college but were able to engage me in extremely intelligent conversation.

Women have been leaving men in the educational dust. In 2012, “there were 34 percent more women than men who graduated college,” and the National Center for Education Studies predicts that gap will leap to 47 percent by 2023.  I think we’re going to be hearing more about what I call ‘mixed-collar marriages,’ which are pairings of college-educated career women married to working class, non-college educated men.

In other words, when sapiosexuals judge how smart they think others are, based on very little evidence and using a very narrow framework, they’re almost guaranteed to be denigrating those who don’t fit into their definition of “smart.”

If you only choose partners based on the way our culture tends to view intelligence, you’re missing other valuable ways of assessing whether someone would be a good partner. I’ve known plenty of people I’d go so far as to call brilliant on an intellectual level, but on a human to human level have major catching up to do. Or,the most obnoxious online dating buzzword in history.We’re all intelligent in some ways, and completely hopeless in others. It’s called being human.

There’s never going to be a single test you can administer to find out someone’s emotional intelligence, how they’ll treat you (in bed and out) or what kind of person they are, beyond their brain; for that, you’ll need to talk, connect and figure out if you have chemistry—the outside the classroom kind.

 

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Author:

STUDENT, BACHELOR OF SCIENCE{ NURSING}, THE UNIVESITY OF NAIROBI

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