Scary Smart

I was in Barnes and Noble the other day and while I was looking at some coffee table books near the magazines, I overheard two guys talking. One was telling the other why he wasn’t going to date this girl he had recently met. He said he couldn’t be with her because she was “too smart”. The few other things I managed to hear were the phrases “don’t want a headcase” and “I find that intimidating.” I guess it’s telling that these two were standing in front of the Maxim magazines full of ads for Axe Body Spray, but that’s way too much of a stereotype. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. But as I continued walking around the store, I kept thinking back on what they’d said. I feel like a lot of people these days are scared of smart, and I think it’s a sad and dangerous thing.

If you think back to middle and high school, possibly even college, people would get annoyed with the smart kids. They’d destroy every curve and ace every assignment, and instead of taking their academic excellence as a challenge to rise to, we’d often resort to bitterness and social exclusion, throwing words like “nerd”, “geek”, and “goody-goody” around. Then we’d go back to our procrastination and screwing around, feeling undermined by the apparent lower social creatures with all the brains. I feel like this attitude has stuck with many of us into our adult lives. Not nearly as many people are going into the sciences or engineering any more (especially women), and I sometimes feel like it’s because many of us have this idea that intelligence is somehow a detriment to us socially.

Maybe we fear intelligence because it often makes us feel inferior in some way, but it really shouldn’t. Intelligence isn’t just test scores or GPA’s. There are many different types of intelligence, and all have great meaning and application. A PhD. in Psychology may be able to break down the differences in theory between Freud and Jung, but that doesn’t automatically mean he can build a table better than a master carpenter who never graduated college. I’ve met men and women who only had a high school diploma that could run me under the table with their amounts of knowledge and insight on a vast variety of subjects. Intelligence isn’t just knowing facts or having problem solving skills; it’s an attitude, a lifelong curiosity and desire to learn new things, even long after you’ve gotten the diploma. That is incredibly attractive to me, and I want to surround myself with those kinds of people.

I want someone and I want to be around people who can talk about a wide variety of subjects, and not just the contents of the latest Vogue or celebrity gossip site. I find intelligence attractive because there is a sense of confidence that comes with it. There’s something very powerful and attractive in a woman who is confident not because of her looks, but because of what she has in her head. I like friends who are intelligent because they challenge and push me to learn and try new things. We shouldn’t be afraid of that, we should want that!

If you’re sitting there and thinking you’re not smart, stop. Your identity and the measure of your mind is not your GPA, it’s your willingness to learn new things. If you could care less about learning anything and only care about when the next Call of Duty comes out, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot. You have more in you than that. Step outside the box and learn something. I guarantee you’re going to find brains you didn’t know where there.

Guys, don’t be intimidated by intelligent women. Celebrate it. Compliment it. Pick their brain. Listen to her opinions. When you care to learn about her mind and her heart and not just stare at her body, she finds immense encouragement from it.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to show off your brains. I’ve seen first hand when a girl plays dumb to get a guys attention, and it’s offering yourself on clearance. You’re worth so much more. Own your intelligence, use it. The people who belittle you for being smart are only painting themselves the fool. God designed the female mind to see things from a different perspective than men, so don’t be afraid to show it. Some of the most creative and innovative people in history were women who saw solutions to things others couldn’t. Do mighty things with your mind.

God created us with minds to think and create. If say we don’t have anything to offer with our minds, what does that say about the God who created us? Mark 12:30 says to love God with all of your heart, soul, MIND, and strength. We aren’t using our minds in a way that honors God if we let it sit and rot under gossip magazines and video games. We always talk about loving God with our heart and our soul. Let’s try to love him with our minds too, and put the beautiful and complex brain he created for us to work.

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