Are men intimidated by women who have opinions and intelligence?

I recently tweeted this statement and it brought me a flurry of tweetbacks and emails, and I have been encouraged to expand on it. So I thusly do so.  While writing this article a friend Facebook Statused that she is giving up on men, that they make no sense. So maybe this article is timely for her too.

 

I have been on the dating scene long enough to be able to call myself a knowledgeable dater. It’s fair to say that I thought I understood what men wanted. But apparently it’s not me that most men want. See, I am somewhat of an intellectual, I am intelligent, I can really hold up my end of a conversation. I am also attractive, with a great figure too. A perfect package you say? Uh, no. From what I have begun to understand men want either looks or brains in their woman, not both. That would just be too much to handle and may make them feel inferior.

 

Maybe it’s societal? Traditionally men are brought up that the man is the breadwinner, and the woman stays home to keep house and wipe the messes that the kids leave behind. Even if the wife goes out to work, her job would be less “important” than his. A man needs to make more money that his wife, or his ego suffers. Or some such baloney.

 

Whatever happened to having an equal partnership? It’s not always 50/50, sometimes it is 70/30 or 25/75, but so long as it balances out eventually with everyone pulling their weight in the relationship – why can’t that work?

 

At lunch over Shabbat I thanked my hosts for facilitating a wonderfully stimulating conversation (that at times morphed into a heated debate), that I felt very comfortable partaking in. I have been in houses where it was apparent that the womenfolk were allowed to have an opinion, but not voice it in front of the men, for fear that the men would think us females were trying to be superior. Why is a man’s opinion more important than mine? It isn’t. Mine is just as important as his. Maybe he could be wrong and I could be right? Isn’t that possible? But admitting being wrong to a woman is tantamount to emasculation to some men.

 

Now I didn’t start out this blog post to bash men. Some of my best friends are male………… and it’s not about being better than men, or doing the same things as men. I want to find a man who understands that his wife is just as smart as he is, is just as entitled to her opinions and the expression of said opinions. I want a man to be proud to walk with me into a function, knowing that I am a knockout on the outside and on the inside just as I would be proud of him for the same reasons.

 

I do have to say that it is always surprising to me to watch people make snap judgements about me and realize how wrong they are. Let me give you a for instance. I was recently at a function, dressed to kill (I try) and the other women were giving me the jealous eye and the men were eyeing me up and down and being less than subtle about it.

 

I sat down at a table with my food and a friend and a couple of dudes came over to chat us up. Now neither of us gals are slouches in the looks department, or in the intelligence dept either. A little bit of superficial talk, and I segued into American politics. A little lightbulb went on over one of the guys and he totally got into the conversation with me, but the other guy looked at me as if I had totally misrepresented who I was by actually having something deep to talk about. He made some flimsy excuse and left.  Eventually the guy that stayed couldn’t hold back his comment any longer – he told me he had totally misjudged me, figured I would be an airhead because how could someone as gorgeous as me (his words) have brains too.  I guess on the day that G-d handed these guys brains, he didn’t teach them that a person with boobs can actually be smart.

 

Now I know there are some guys out there who have a deep and profound respect for intellectual ladies. But why oh why do they expect brainy women to have dowdy packaging? Glasses, librarian look…..guys, don’t you want it all in one lovely package? Let’s stop judging this book by its cover, and get to know the whole person, before you make a judgement. And if a lady is smarter than her man, he should be darn proud of her, because she chooses to be with him anyway.

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17 Comments

  1. Ron says:

    What can I say I have always believed that man and woman should be treating each other as equals, otherwise how will or would it work? I am constantly amused by my own wife’s interactions with the male world and how she deals with it. I am also constantly amazed by my friends who gawp at my readiness to cook or clean. It is just a matter of doing what needs to be done.

    All people are deserving of respect that goes beyond the superficial once over and the snap judgment that usually goes with it, When we both, men and women, are able to do that – we will be able to see that there are a great many things that need not impede a truer understanding of what we are all about.

  2. Jacob da Jew says:

    My wife is smarter than me in many ways, like she balances the check-I have almost no idea how much we have in da bank.

    I like the fact that she can hold her own in a discussion about politics, religion etc.

    Oh yea- And she’s hot :P

  3. I agree with you, Men should be proud of us lovely, kind women with brains. Thank-you for this post.

  4. Mo-tech says:

    Didn’t we have this conversation months ago? I have long had this theory that some men who come from traditional households are not only threatened by intelligent and articulate women, but also by the changing role of women in society. I find that if I am with a hot but brainless babe I will soon be bored. Brains, self confidence, and compassion are all sexy, and they will remain sexy long after the boobs droop and the butt sags (but for now, I won’t complain if she’s as hot as Hadassah ;-)

  5. Julliette says:

    ohhhh, now i understand, this is what must have been the problem with that guy known as 3am !! whatever happened to all those blogs???

  6. hadassahsabo says:

    Ron – as usual, i am in awe of you.

    Jacob – what am i going to do with you? you need to learn to balance the checkbook, but i am glad that you see that your wife is everything – smart and sexy. you very lucky.

    jew in suburbs – to quote my friend Treppenwitz “don’t thank me, I’m a giver”

    Mo-Tech – yes we did have this conversation months ago, and i have had this conversation with many different people. male and female people. so you would turn down a hot brainless babe? or keep her around until brains showed up?

    Juliette, about 3am – you will recall that i made a resolution not to curse this year. an additional part of that resolution was to try to tone down my lashon hora too. those posts, the ones that 3am and a ton of women commented on, were the ultimate in lashon hora (which is only lashon hora if it is truth, right?) and leaving them up just left a sour taste in my mouth. its enough for me to know that i blogged what i needed to blog, people commented with what they had to say, and we move on. as to this article being the basis for 3am’s issues – totally unfounded. i think that is an unfair assumption to make. not that i am defending him but…..fairs fair!

  7. ilanadavita says:

    how could someone as gorgeous as me (his words) have brains too.
    I had no idea there were still this sort of folks around! How pathetic!

  8. I found this throughout the jewish community when I was single…every jewish guy I went out with was either intimidated by me (and told me so) or lost interest when they found out I was not an idiot (I’m pretty good looking I think, and I’m also getting a phd at an ivy league university…). For a while as a teenager/college student I would try to dumb down the way I talked and sound like more of an airhead…but I got over that.

    Now I’m with a guy who is not only as smart as I am, but also (and he’s told me this) loves and respects me more because of my intelligence. And it’s awesome. But he’s not jewish, and he grew up in a family where his dad did most of the housework and both his parents had jobs…

    So guys like that exist. I just think they are a lot rarer in the jewish community, in part because a lot of orthodox men of our generation(s) were raised in very traditional households where women didn’t work and men did all the ‘intellectual’ stuff. Also they are taught that they are superior to women (don’t they say a bracha every day that thanks god for them not being female? And don’t give me that “it’s because women have it harder” crap). And that women can’t learn the talmud cause it’s too complicated for them…and that’s not even taking into account the fact that most of these men grow up in an atmosphere where they have little to no contact with any women other than their own stay at home moms and possibly sisters. It’s no wonder they have skewed ideas of what women are capable of. It’s still sad though.

  9. Rifki says:

    Abandoning Eden — Reminds me of what happened to me a few weeks ago, when I went shopping for a lulav and etrog with one of my sons. We went to a market in an ultra-orthodox neighbourhood, where there were mostly men doing the buying. As we approached one of the stalls, I heard one of the shopkeepers tell his assistant to put together a set for me. I kindly thanked him and told him that I was looking for something specific and that I would put one together on my own. He acquiesced, but was surprised nonetheless. When I chose to only purchase an etrog from him, and continued on to another stall to choose a lulav, as none of his met our standards, I was greeted by a much younger salesman who was amazed that a woman would know which way up to hold the lulav, and understand the intricacies of what makes it kosher and/or extra special (mehudar). He commented, “I’ve never seen a female who is qualified and understands the halachot/laws pertaining to the arba minim (four species), as you are obviously capable of!” I then relayed to him that my late grandfather, Zeidie, of blessed memory, had taught me everything I know regarding this, even to the level of tying the spine of the lulav together with its own sheaves, which even most men don’t konw how to do. He was truly impressed, and surprisingly was willing to admit so to me.

    I’m going to take a guess that you are quite correct in assuming that most of the men that cannot appreciate women who are able to hold their own, only do so due to a lack of education, either from their parents, their teachers, or their surrounding community. ‘Tis a real pity!

  10. Ron says:

    Me I know the basics of the lulav and esrog, but have only two criteria it should be without blemish and it should fit in my hand. along with the lulav in a comfortable way so I can juggle my siddur and wave. Now for almost 20 years I let the lady who runs the store pick it for me why? Because she knows more than I. I have yet to be disappointed. I am a firm believer in seeking answers from appropriate sources, irrespective of the sex of the person who knows the answer.

    I will offer up the followingas a tangent to the discussion. It was written after talking to several women in a very long week where breakups/abuse/divorce and just generaly mayhem against these women and all womenkind (or it seemed to me. It echoes some of the sentiments that are within this discussion I beg our moderator’s indulgence to showcase my work…..thank you

    Captivity

    When you realize that a held hand is not a chain
    and hugs are not straight jackets for the soul -
    even then the pleasure of a soft caress is not forgotten.

    When you realize that promises can also be lies
    and presents can be sugar-coated bribes -
    even then the smallest of token can send the soul soaring.

    When you realize that relationships are more than one
    and family is more than a clean house and a warm meal -
    even then a connection to another can be bliss.

    When you realize that forever can be no more than tomorrow
    and tomorrows do not a future make -
    even then the promise of a new day is enough.

    And when your grief is spent
    and your eyes have shed all their tears
    even then you must go on,
    for even now the heart still longs
    and the mind still quests
    and the soul still sings.

  11. Mo-tech says:

    To answer your question – I’d turn her down. I like women I can talk to and respect for their intelligence and sensitivity. Sometimes eye candy just leaves a bitter aftertaste; I like what makes me want to come back for more, whose opinions I can respect – and trust.

  12. Gavi says:

    I think it has to do with the fact that most men are not intelligent, nor respecting of intelligence. They therefore expect their female partner to be of a similar non-intellectual bent.

    [Full disclosure: my wife is much smarter than me. I learned that a long time ago...]

  13. Gavi says:

    Oh yeah – I also find my wife very attractive.

  14. Z! says:

    I guess I am just lucky to have found a guy from the religous community who finds my keen business acumen and sharp mind total assets.
    Perhaps it’s the influence of his mother and sisters, who all work out of the home, that make him open to the understanding that, especially in NY, it takes two to support a family.
    On the other hand, I have heard many a shadchan implore the girls to “dumb-it-down” and in the kollel system, the men want for their wives to work, but don’t want a girl with a “proper” degree. These are stigmas that we must work against, and break down.
    In the Frum community “learners” are the top of the pile, with their wives and the governement supporting them and their many children, while hard, honest and decent “workers” are often left behind.
    It is acceptable for a religious girl to become a speech therapist, nurse, midwife or teacher. But, should she over-reach, wanting to become a doctor, professor, or therapist, this is generally looked down upon.
    I certainly hope to send my children- male and female to college. I just hope that I can convince them of their own potential before the schools here convince them otherwise.

  15. Paul says:

    I actually came to this blog by way of someone else’s blog on myspace making mention of it…

    I see a few things where I might be able to shed light on some things…observed. I might present something that is from a source that has not changed in over 2000 years of translation(ref. Dead Sea Scrolls), despite the changes made in philosophy, psychology, literature, and critical thinking. But I do share a few passages from it as part of the problem today with couples is that there is little recognition of compatability today in people. Generally, there’s more skin on display, but less heart.

    A few, or many perhaps, will pose the question to others, perhaps even to themselves…

    “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

    There’s 2 things I’d like to share concerning this.

    1. The history…where did this DERIVE from, that is, where did it deviate from…get off course with.

    2. The nature of what you believe. Like, just because you have an opinion or believe in something, can you accept that it DOES NOT make it true.

    e.g. The idea that the Earth is the center of the universe. For many, many years, since the days of Plato this idea was BELIEVED and with such fervor that individuals who spoke out against it were excommunicated out of the church OR even put to DEATH!!

    p.s. If this is a **NEWSFLASH** for any of you I apologize ;) And yes, Astrology is a false religion ;) Large masses of rocks do not influence your life…unless it’s on top of you. =)

    So Love at first sight…

    If I may, can we just take a look objectively at the first man, Adam of the garden of Eden. We see Adam alone in the garden…in the moments up to the creation of Eve we see God bringing the animals (2 by 2) before Adam and God asking him what name he would give to each. It says he recognized them and he named them, “male and female” he named them. It also shows that Adam discerned in them that NONE were a suitable helper/companion for him. So then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and when he awoke he saw Eve (what a moment I tell ya! ;)..) And INSTANTLY, without God making any mention to Adam of His doings…from Adam’s rib (today we now know that it is indeed possible to make a human from the bone marrow of a rib – p.s. for credibility…6,000 year old document making this claim)…and Adam exclaimed without any coaching..”This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! She shall be called woman!” AMEN!! Hallelujah! (whistles)

    Thus…Adam…BEFORE SIN enterned in, before the Fall, was able to discern the nature of things SO MUCH SO he instantly recognized his ‘help-meet’ (companion, comprable, compatible, likeness) in Eve.

    Thus…”Love at first sight…”

    I apologize if this is getting long already. I’ll skip the 2nd tidbit for now.
    ——————————————–

    Now to get to a few thoughts on your words if I may…

    ——————-
    “I have been on the dating scene long enough to be able to call myself a knowledgeable dater. It’s fair to say that I thought I understood what men wanted. But apparently it’s not me that most men want. See, I am somewhat of an intellectual, I am intelligent, I can really hold up my end of a conversation. I am also attractive, with a great figure too. A perfect package you say? Uh, no. From what I have begun to understand men want either looks or brains in their woman, not both. That would just be too much to handle and may make them feel inferior.”
    ——————————–
    First off, I feel bad for anyone who gets into a relationship that compares themselves to anyone. If it’s a “you vs. me” scenario or comparison versus thankful for traits someone can offer, it’s not a relationship you should enter into. There should be a recognition of one’s complement. It’s what the TWO of you can bring TOGETHER that is the focus of a relationship. It’s NOT how they can make you feel, but how you can pour yourself out again and again and again and totally expose yourself emotionally, physically, and Spiritually, and for some reason, it doesn’t seem to be exhaustible. It’s a servant love, a reciprocating servant love. As you are in effect, taking someone and you’re trusting them with everything sacred about you and you give them a .44 magnum and you put the gun to your temple and you put their hand on the trigger and you trust them not to pull the trigger. That’s intimacy.

    You wanna know why SOME men are only attracted to your beauty or a woman’s beauty? Because they don’t want to have to open up in the other realms of compatibility. [There are 4 major areas of Compatibility - (in order of increasing maturity & thus strength) 1. Physical 2. Mental 3. Personality 4. Spirituality. Of which I will expounded on at the end. =) ]

    It’s EXACTLY why some men will go to a prostitute or another woman it’s because a wife, or their wives expect them not only to open up to them physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and that’s such exposure, meanwhile a prostitute, even as dirty and VILE as it is will only expect him to open up physically. And demand nothing of him in those other areas. [Granted if he keeps going back, she too will expect openness in those other areas]. There can be a number of reasons why some men [seem to] ONLY want the BEAUTY or the BRAINS part of you or your lady friends. For some may lack development in those other areas. Not all men or women are mature. What’s their excuse for not being ready at that moment? It varies. I’m still single because though I’ve met people with compatibility, they were not ready in maturity in other areas. It comes down to patience and lots of dating to see if they can even ‘run’ with me in those areas. I imagine you are finding that some men may match you in the physical compatibility (simplest form of love/compatibility) and others in the mental compatibility. But not both, and perhas not even in the other areas of compatibility.

    There are 4 major areas of Compatibility – (in order of increasing maturity & thus strength) 1. Physical 2. Mental 3. Personality 4. Spirituality

    Physical compatibility…physical love is the most immature form of love.

    Personality compatibility…..is the 2nd highest stage. Do you enjoy their humor? How they present ideas and/or opinions? Are they threatening to you or interesting?

    Mental compatibility…is the 3rd most mature form of compatibility…can you communicate with them on a level in which you are both understood and can understand? What is your view of ignorance? Do you enjoy or dislike learning? What you’re your mind call out to in wonder and in desire to learn? If he’s reading Tommy Nelson’s “The Book of Romance” and you’re reading “En Vogue” or “Covergirl” or the gossip news of celebrities then where will you two come together in this area of fusing two souls together?

    Then…there’s the most mature one of all, Spiritual compatibility. And I’m sorry I’m going to short this one here a bit. Some can have a decent marriage or partner with the first three. Some just don’t come to this level very often. It involves such openness and people being really, really, really (ridiculously good looking…I mean) …honest with themselves. It involves acknowledgement that we don’t have all the answers and the ultimate recognition of commitment to Truth. And that is where you have what the Greeks called “Agapos” that is a a “God-love” an unconditional commitment love. “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Notice the condition of the beloved there…”yet sinners”…they hated Him, there was NO love for Him, yet He LOVED them…how much?….”Christ died for us.” No matter the course of our action, love prevailed and stuck to us. That’s a ‘commitment’ love a “I will never leave you nor forsake you” type of love. Nothing is so strong a gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength. He went silent, as a lamb before it’s shearers, and took upon the Cross while no one loved Him. The night before, in the Garden of Gethsemane, all His “friends”, the disciples, in His greatest hour of need (sweating drops of blood), and Him asking them to stay awake with Him, they fell asleep on Him, and within hours after that, all fled, and the one who was closest, when asked if he even knew Him, denied Him 3 times. Yet, His COMMITMENT LOVE, His “Agapos” love for us, remained true. If you want a man who has a love that grows while the pleasures of the flesh fade, your personality, and even your mind (dimentia, etc – e.g. The Notebook) they will need a love that knows no exhaustion or as is said in many vows… “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…”

    WARNING: If you grow in any of these areas, be prepared for loneliness at times, for as you mature in these areas, you will find less and less people will maintain those levels of maturity. That’s where you see a lot of men these days, some are probably going back down the level of maturity (desire/want/expectation) and then you might run across a man or a woman who has ‘glimpses’ or ‘flashes’ of what you’re looking for but they’re declining and going the wrong direction. This is often in the “moral” category…and it’s a momentum thing, you can’t stop on a dime in those areas or just ‘grow’ in depth cause you read Oliver Twist the week before. Staying a Holiday Inn Express I hear may help though. ;)

    I love the post, brings up important things…just wanted to present a few ideas. See what you felt/thought/think.

    I apologize for them not being fine tuned, just here in the moment.

    Hope you (all) had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  16. Bobbi Palmer says:

    I married a man who loves, even brags to others, about my intelligence. I do agree that the outside is always what’s sized up first when a man meets a women. It’s their nature. They can’t help it. But once he decides that you look good, most men will get around to your brain and personality in short order. (And if they don’t, I agree, who needs ‘em?)

    What I did for so long while dating was to lead with my intelligence. I was so determined to let men know right up front that I was smart, so I came out punching with my quick wit and opinions. Because hey…I had to know right away if they were “one of those” who only went for looks, right?

    What I finally learned is that there’s nothing wrong with leading with your femininity and softness. We all have that part of us, don’t we? And it doesn’t take anything away anything from our brilliance. As soon as I started doing this consciously, things really changed. Giving a man even just a few moments to take in your beauty and your spark before hitting him with how darn smart you are — that was the way to go for me. My hubby apparently liked what he saw on the outside first, and then loved what he found inside.

    There are so many kind and loving men out there. I hope every fantastic woman like you finds yours!

  17. Mark says:

    I like intelligent women, dated intelligent women, and then married an intelligent woman!

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