That’s a little joke I have come across that’s pretty funny. Like all jokes, there’s an element of truth to it.
The first truth is that many smart guys do go for dumb girls. Whether they marry dumb girls or not is another question. But I have heard many women distressed about why these intelligent, devoutly religious men are attracted to what they call “air heads”. Well, needless to say, there is probably an objectively gorgeous woman carrying that air head.
But in fairness to smart men, there are plenty who do want a smart girl, and are actively seeking them. And they don’t choose the great looks over the quality brain (though undoubtedly they would like both).
Perhaps it would be better to identify this issue another way. I have heard the women express, “What are we supposed to do while we are waiting for men to figure out what they want?” Women feel like life could pass them by waiting for a man. They have a legitimate fear that if they configure their life in such a way, it will backfire on them.
Unfortunately, the person women become while they’re single and pursue a career can be unattractive to certain men. By certain, I am thinking about Catholic men who want a traditional role of provider, and hope to have a stay-at-home mother for their children.
Does that sound too old-fashioned and stereotypical? Maybe even shallow? Regardless, a serious Catholic man will not mind a smart woman, as long as she is smart enough to want to give up her career once children come along and stay home to raise them. That’s what they are thinking.
And this is where a HUGE misunderstanding occurs, and both men and women can mess things up. The fact is, smart, educated, intelligent, practicing Catholic women who are successful career women do want to give up their careers to stay home with their children and be homemakers!
But there is a catch, and a smart man would do well to display his intelligence by heeding this catch. Smart girls need proof that they are not being stupid to give up their careers. In other words, they are not going to just give up their life and their work for anyone who comes along with their charming smile, good looks, and empty promises.
A smart man should want a smart girl, and he should be smart enough to make every effort to provide her the enthusiasm, trust and security she needs in order to make such a drastic change in her life.
Many smart men are sadly too dumb to realize that these Catholic career women will happily give up their career to have a family. In fact, many of them are dying to do it. While they wait for a good man who will not be intimidated by her intelligence, level of education, and perhaps even that she makes more money than him, they become career single women with no incentive to be otherwise.
So they wait and they wait.
What are the advantages to having a smart woman as a wife? A smart woman can manage a home. She has been out in the world, paying rent or a mortgage, paying bills, budgeting, etc. She knows how to organize and be efficient with her time. Yes, perhaps she is a little obsessive, or penny pinching, or particular, but that’s all part of her charm. (But girls, it’s not good to over do it in these management qualities, especially if you try to do so with the person of your man).
A woman who has experienced life before marriage is an interesting woman. Do not underestimate the importance of being with a woman who is interesting. Men who just want a woman who is uneducated, uninteresting, and simply capable of bearing him children and being at his beck and call is likely not going to respect that woman nor treat her well. Slaves don’t make for good companions.
So what are men really afraid of when it comes to smart girls? Well, they are intimidated by a woman who can hold their own. She causes him to face his own inadequacies. Just who she is convicts him of his lack of courage to be with a woman who is capable of being his equal, and who can challenge him to be the best man he is called to be.
The very things that intimidate them are the things men need. Marriage should be the love between a man and a woman who are good friends, who respect each other immensely, and who bring out the best in each other. Education and life experiences help develop a person into a balanced and interesting person. Men should not be afraid to make a woman like this his wife.
I believe men are concerned that smart women become too hard, too harsh, too unfeminine, too worldly. Well, perhaps some of them have and should work to reclaim her “femininity.” But there are many great Catholic women out there who are intelligent, educated, successful, and are still very feminine.
A woman will give the world to a man she knows loves her, respects her, and accepts her for who she is. When she sees a future with such a man, he will experience love like he could never imagine.
Smart girls, stay smart. Men who are afraid to pursue you are not ready to receive what you have to give. They want the wrong things from you. Don’t give it to them, especially in the area of sexuality. But be careful not to assume the role of the male in relationships. A smart girl knows the man must be the man, and a woman must remain the woman.
Smart men, don’t be afraid or intimidated. Pursue a smart Catholic girl. Be confident that you are smart enough for her and capable of loving her as she needs. Don’t assume. She may be nothing like the stereotype. Make her feel comfortable about being an intelligent woman around you. Then enjoy the dynamic, exciting, and beautiful relationship that can develop with a smart girl.
Oh, and if she does have a cat, give it a pass and let her keep it.
Anthony Buono is the founder of Avemariasingles.com. For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice. Visit his blog at 6stonejars.com.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.