1/03/2005

Smart Women, Dumb Men

Here's a news story about a recent British study that found that for every sixteen-point-rise in a woman's IQ, her chances of getting married dropped by 40%.


A high IQ is a hindrance for women wanting to get married while it is an asset for men, according to a study by four British universities published in The Sunday Times newspaper.

The study found the likelihood of marriage increased by 35 percent for boys for each 16-point increase in IQ.

But for girls, there is a 40-percent drop for each 16-point rise, according to the survey by the universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The study is based on the IQs of 900 men and women between their 10th and 40th birthdays.

"Women in their late 30s who have gone for careers after the first flush of university and who are among the brightest of their generation are finding that men are just not interesting enough," said psychologist and professor at Nottingham University Paul Brown in The Sunday Times.

Claire Rayner, writer and broadcaster, said in the article that intelligent men often prefered a less brainy partner.

"A chap with a high IQ is going to get a demanding job that is going to take up a lot of his energy and time. In many ways he wants a woman who is an old-fashioned wife and looks after the home, a copy of his mum in a way."


I note that the male professor quoted above essentially puts the blame onto smart women for finding men "just not interesting enough". (Is the subtext here that smart women will turn out Lesbian, or am I reading too much into it? And what an interesting argument, that intelligence causes Lesbianism, that would be.)(Come to think of it, I'm hard-pressed to think of ever meeting any really dumb Lesbians. . . .)

Whereas the female writer quoted says that a man wants "a copy of his mum". (Ummmm... let's not get too far into that....) (And perhaps, just perhaps, I should rephrase that last sentence....)

I think the study's results, as reported, though, are flawed. It would mean that a woman with an IQ of 140 has a statistically ZERO chance of ever finding a marriage partner. And I've known some women who are probably that smart or smarter, and seem to have found satisfying mates and had happy marriages for years. (Usually, I admit, women who've found men whose intelligence is close to their own.)

But the most important factor in finding such a mate, I think, isn't intelligence by itself. Indeed, I think the article is right in that a wide disparity in intelligence between partners can be an obstacle or hindrance in starting or maintaining a relationship.

More important, by far, is the "emotional IQ" or people involved in a relationship. Pulchritude, good looks, is nice, but it's surface. Intelligence, pure brain smarts, is good, too. But the quality that I've always found most attractive in women has been... competence.

By "competence" I mean an ability to cope with life. To deal smoothly with both the day to day stresses and problems of life, and with the sudden and major disasters. To work through them, and come out the other side either unchanged or improved.

I was lucky (luckier than I deserved) and ended up with a woman high in that emotional IQ. (How lucky Hilde was, to end up with me, is *ahem* *koff koff* a discussion best left for some other time.)

1 comment:

talpianna said...

George Bernard Shaw was once arguing vigorously, at some sort of bunfight, that men were smarter than women. He turned to Mrs. Shaw, demanding that she agree with him.

"Of course, dear," said the lady demurely. "After all, you married me, and I married you...."