I recently had a Twitter discussion with a couple of my followers regarding how women are attracted, or not, to intelligent men. My Twitter followers are a good bunch but skew towards the younger age demographic. This means that their life experiences and observations are through the lens of relative youth.
The Twitter conversation started thusly with this Tweet from me:
Based on my research and experience, I have found that women are attracted to intelligent men. There’s an important caveat here: Intelligence without social skills and charisma is useless on its own when it comes to a man’s attractiveness. Illimitable Man (IM) came back with this Tweet:
He might have a point. Ed Latimore chimed in to support of IM:
Ed might also have a point. I made the point about age.
Of course, these are younger men. As we get older, there are changes in preferences regarding attraction to the opposite sex. Of course, there are consistencies as well. Men still desire women who are feminine in looks and behavior. Women still want masculine men who can also provide resources. For women, this ratio changes over time. IM made this point with a subsequent Tweet in the discussion:
As the years go by, a woman’s desire for masculinity wanes and her desire for security grows. This happens even if the woman has her own resources. Of course, the man has to provide even more security than she can provide. Hypergamy doesn’t care how much a woman has. Just know that charismatic masculinity always trumps boring security.
Because women are thoroughly obsessed – relative to men – with their financial, emotional, and physical security, it makes sense that they seek intelligent men because brains are a good proxy for the ability to provide. It’s not a 100% correlation, however. Yet, it’s close enough.
As well, a post-divorce woman with independent kids, in or out of the house, is thinking about her later years when she re-enters the world of dating. Sure, a silver-haired, charming Lothario with money is her first priority but she’ll take an intelligent, if boring, guy who can squire her to fancy dinners, swanky vacations, or just paying a mortgage. Even if the guy is a complete asshole, his intelligence has led him to the ability to be a good provider. Frankly, his assholishness is not necessarily a bad thing because at least he’s not boring. No woman at any age puts up particularly well with a boring guy.
It’s important not to conflate intellectualism with intelligence. There are plenty of smart guys who understand people and business but who lack any shred of intellectualism. These smart guys have succeeded over the years so they can provide sufficient security to a woman. If he has sufficient charm and charisma, he has plenty of options regarding women. Intellectuals too often lack social skills. Their conversations might be interesting to other men. But to women? Meh.
Some years ago, I watched a BBC documentary about the science of attraction. The presenter made the point that a man’s intelligence is his most important attraction point. Well, consider the source, a BBC presenter, a middle-age guy in this particular documentary. Of course he’s going to empathize intelligence because that’s what he brings to the attraction table.
For post-divorce guys, here are some lessons in all this:
1. Lead with your brains, preferably through charisma and charm. Social confidence and social skills are often perceived as overall intelligence, rightly or wrongly. Emotional intelligence also fits well here.
2. Be keenly aware that women might be after your ability to provide security, not your overall desirability. A woman over a certain age will trade true attraction for the promise and/or delivery, even if vague, of security.
In closing, I’ll refer to Briffault’s Law regarding the relationship between men and women.
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