So, on Monday, I wrote a post inspired by a piece over at My Potential One True Love, on whether girls who don’t play down their intelligence are less likely to get laid. I concluded that, personally, I don’t ever feel that I have to dumb down to attract guys, although sometimes I choose to. Before I wrote the post, I had a conversation on Twitter with Juniper from The Cut of my Jib about what is actually is that puts guys off intelligent girls, if it isn’t their brain power. With regard to me, at least, these are my conclusions:
I never shut up
I live on my own, and I love it. Seriously love it. But even though I obviously get to talk a normal amount when I’m in the office every day, as well as when I’m out with friends, it’s as if when I’m home alone, the words are just building up in my head, dying to escape, and so, when I find someone to bombard with them, I, well, do just that. My parents say that when I go and stay with them, I’m exhausting for the first couple of days while I’m offloading the backlog of conversation that’s built up in my head, and then, once I’ve got it out of the way, I go back to talking a normal amount. I think uni had an impact here, too – my Cambridge friends all believed that any subject was fair game for an argument/heated discussion, so now when someone says something that I feel strongly about, I can’t just let it go.
I don’t think boys (and other people too, but this post is about boys) mind that per se, but I can see that it could get pretty tiring after a while. I’m always confused by those girls who drag their boyfriends round the shops on Saturdays – haven’t their boyfriends had enough of them by now, don’t they want a break from each other? – but maybe those girls are quieter and more restful to be around, so the boyfriends don’t have to have time out just to replenish their conversational abilities, or, y’know, just to remember what quiet sounds like.
Juniper said she even talks during sex, although about sex, not about what she’s having for tea. I think I actually have been known to talk about what’s for tea during sex – in my defence, it was because I got jumped while I was in the process of trying to put tea in the oven.
I overthink everything
Ah, another Cambridge legacy, this one – although perhaps one that’s linked to the depression, as well. If something hurts me, angers me, upsets me, I can’t just let it go – I’m totally incapable of distracting myself by watching a film, or reading a book – I just keep turning it over and over in my mind, considering the various what ifs from all the different angles, and often, when it comes to relationships, settling on the version of events that is most harmful, most destructive, because I can’t bear the thought of getting hurt because I was naive, or because I turned a blind eye to something. It’s knackering inside my own head – I can’t imagine how tiring it is for someone else to try to follow my train of thought.
I don’t really fit in / like other people
You know that line about how you can feel loneliest of all when you’re surrounded by other people? Yep, that’s me. I’ve never quite felt that I fitted in – I’m absolutely shit at small talk and I feel on the fringes of both normal people and people with a disability. At eleven, my mum took me to NHS physio sessions with a load of other kids who had cerebral palsy. I was pretty sure I wasn’t as disabled as the other kids in the group, but how could I be certain? It’s like that thing where you put on weight, but you don’t notice it when you see yourself in the mirror; only when someone shows you a photo of yourself. It was confusing, because I thought I was normal, and there was society telling me that I wasn’t.
Up to that point, I had a pretty big group of friends, but in the years that followed I found it much more preferable to have a handful of very close friends instead – people who understood and liked who I was, and who didn’t force me to step outside of my comfort zone. Meeting new people, which had never been my favourite thing in the world, became steadily even less appealing. I threw myself into my studies, told myself that boys would never be interested, and then set about proving myself right. And somewhere along the line, proving myself right, and disguising my vulnerability with an almighty temper, have become pretty much par for the course.
So yeah, I don’t think it’s my intelligence that puts guys off – I think it’s all this stuff: the fact that I’m a larger-than-life girl who’s capable of being much too intense, way too neurotic, and who won’t have watched any of the films you’ve watched, so won’t be able to have a casual discussion about those with you, either? I never, ever wish I was less intelligent, but I do often wish I could tone myself down a bit. Am I the only one that feels that way?