Men Praise Intelligent Women, But Do They Ask Them Out?

June 15, 2017

business womanCongrats to longtime Hooking Up Smart reader Jenna Birch on her article in the July issue of Cosmopolitan! You can read Why Are Men Still So Afraid of Ambitious Women online HERE.

I’m quoted in the article, which is always nice. 🙂 But more importantly (and alarmingly), Jenna presents evidence that while men say they like ambitious women, they don’t actually tend to ask them out.

“Feminist bros seem to be in abundance. In Match.com’s 2017 Singles in America survey, men marked “entrepreneur” as the sexiest career a woman can have. That same survey found that 87 percent of men say they’d be with a woman who made more than they did and nearly 90 percent wouldn’t mind if she were more educated. (Match dubbed it the “Clooney Effect,” because … Amal.) And according to research by Marisa T. Cohen, PhD, and Karen Wilson, PhD, as men’s academic motivation rises, so does their desire for a smart partner. In other words: Driven guys want driven gals.

At least, they think they do. When it comes to who men ask out, the research looks different. A series of experiments at the University at Buffalo, for example, discovered that while men are turned on by the idea of intelligent women, the concept is tougher to swallow in practice — in fact, if a girl outperforms a guy on a test, he’ll express less romantic interest.”

This presents a challenge for smart, accomplished women because it narrows their dating pool. Rather than face that reality, some dumb it down for the boyz.

“Some single women faced with this situation keep on with their bad selves, refusing to settle for a BF who can’t appreciate their accomplishments. Others, though, tone down their ambition — or even drop goals altogether — in order to attract or keep a guy around.

…You may be handing over the majority of your ability to make decisions in the relationship because you’re signaling that your partner’s desires override yours, says economist Marina Adshade, PhD, author of Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love. Bottom line: Taming your ambition may land you a boyfriend. However, if you have a big vision of what you hope to accomplish in your career, there’s a strong chance you won’t be satisfied for long.”

The solution, according to Jenna, is threefold:

1. Adshade suggests that women focus on men with similar interests close to their own age. 

“Operating on similar intellectual levels will help ensure you have an equal partnership. And research indicates that partners who have common mindsets are the happiest.”

2. Figure out which guys truly want an equal partnership, and which ones are paying lip service to female ambition in the short-term.

“Next, when you’re on the first few dates, look for evidence that this is a person who will cheer you on, suggests Susan Walsh, dating expert and founder of Hooking Up Smart.

Most women fail to evaluate this early on but it’s crucial if you want to sniff out someone who’s only saying he supports you. “Observe whether he has specific curiosity or feedback about your work,” says Walsh. “If he’s genuinely interested, his enthusiasm will be obvious.” A red flag: “If he doesn’t respond or just gives you platitudes.”

3. Alpha up and let the guy take a supporting role. 

“At the same time, women should get more comfortable with the idea of being equal partners … or being the alpha. If you’re crushing it at work, a man who has a less demanding schedule could be an ideal fit, so it’s worth reevaluating your deal-breakers in terms of a guy’s job and/or income.”

I’m not sure about that last one, what do you think? Would you be happy in a relationship with a nice guy who had little ambition and/or income?

Have you had a guy express intimidation at your intelligence or accomplishments?

Have you found that guys pay lip service to female ambition but choose more submissive women for themselves?

Do you try to hide your awesomeness to be more appealing to men?

Let’s discuss!