First-date Intellectual Dazzlement (was: Pig comment)

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 09:41:20 MDT

(oops, my server dropped the connection in the middle of sending.
Apologies if you receive this message twice)

From: Adrian Tymes <>, Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000

>Hmm...maybe this has been my problem. I, myself, value success, wit,
>intelligence, et cetera above physical beauty in my companions, yet I am
>a man. Whenever I try to date a woman, one of the things I try is to
>hold an intelligent conversation over a wide range of topics, including
>some that I estimate the woman knows better than myself - anyone who
>can't do that, I do not wish to share my life with. This has rarely
>failed to dissapoint, among the ones I have dated. One of them (who I
>am still friends with) complained, "It's like talking to God."
>So, is the message I should get from this thread that I should stop
>looking for intelligence and just adopt the common male practice of
>judging by looks alone?

No. There are many ways to look for intelligence other than seeing
how (or if) a woman can hold a conversation with a man. And note that
there are many ways that people "connect", that are complementary
to intellect.

(capacity of intimacy, use of intelligence, education, money,
appearance, skills, spiritual beliefs, leisure time use, money,
status, age, playfulness, emotional maturity, how your personal
power flows, energy levels, personal joys etc.)

Let's see if I can rephrase your first-date description in the way
that you meant:

On a first date you usually try a high-level conversation over a
wide range of topics in order to see if she can keep up, or, in some
cases, show her broader knowledge. (And in the process you learn
about her successes, wit, etc.) Did I understand you correctly?

So then, let's assume the above is your filter that you are running
*on her*.

You can be pretty sure that she is running her own filter *on you*.

Her filter is quite possibly working _between_ your words. That is,
not only hearing your words, but observing how you use them, how
you're paying attention to her, and then from your words and her
filtering process, she may be making a first hypothesis of who you

What are the possible items running in her filter?

"What are the ideas of his worldview?"
"What motivates him? What are his passions?"
"Is he giving me a space to state my opinion?"
"Is he paying attention and listening to my words?"
"Do his words match his actions?"
"Does his life and lifestyle match his worldview?"
"Do I find his appearance pleasant?"
"Are his actions towards me showing respect and consideration?"
"Do his actions show responsibility to his work, family, friends?"
"How does he handle money?"
"Does he appear healthy?"
"Does he take good care of himself?"
"Can he keep or avoid eye contact with me?"
"Does he seem kind?"
"Does he have any addictions that might be a problem?"
"Does he have hobbies? What does he do in his leisure time?"
"Is there room in his life for me?"
"Does he seem interested in learning about my passions?"
"How easily can he admit that he might be wrong?"
"Can he laugh at himself?"
"How easily does he laugh?"
"Does he appear comfortable with himself?"
"Is he looking for a relationship based on needs? or based on wants?"
"What is his opinion about children?"
"How does he educate himself?"
"What are his short and long term goals?"
"How much is he committed to learn about himself? About me?"

I suggest that it might not be a good strategy on a first date to
find a person of intellect by dazzling that person with a broad
range of conversational topics. Why?

1) If she is running some of her own filters, then you'll run a risk
of overloading her. She has enough of her own processes running.

2) If you are trying to dazzle her, then she might not find the
space or opportunity to state her opinion. Plus, even if she did know
more about some of those topics than you, being in a situation of
talking with a fellow who is presenting himself as the expert might
annoy, disinterest, or otherwise not motivate her to say anything.

3) If she is intelligent, then she probably has equally intelligent
friends, and therefore she might not be easily impressed by your
intellectual dazzlement.
(And if she _is_ impressed by your intellectual dazzlement, then is
that really the kind of woman that you want?)

I suggest that women you meet might repond much better to behavior
that shows curiosity, interest, honesty, gentleness, vulnerability,
humor, playfullness, consideration, and respect much more than a
bold presentation of one's wide-ranging intellect and successes.



*************************************************************** Amara Graps | Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik Interplanetary Dust Group | Saupfercheckweg 1 +49-6221-516-543 | 69117 Heidelberg, GERMANY * *************************************************************** "Never fight an inanimate object." - P. J. O'Rourke

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:13:27 MDT