Best-Of Advice

On bad dating advice

I’m no Mensa material, but I’m smart; not hot, but pretty and fit; well-educated (medicine graduate next year) and open-minded (thanks to traveling, mostly). I am also a yoga teacher and know 4 languages. Now, I’m no ideal and I’m not looking for an ideal man either; neither do I want a copy of myself. I just want somebody equal, a partner. My grandma has recently told me that, with my brains and confidence, I probably scare men away, and I should lower my expectations (and pretend to be less smart and versatile, basically). Is she right? Is it that men I’d consider equal are not interested in women like me because they can, as a rule, “do better”? Thanks.

Listen up, everyone: STOP LISTENING TO DATING ADVICE FROM YOUR GRANDPARENTS. Yes, they love you very much, and you love them too. No doubt they are adorable and wise and they have your best interests at heart, but that doesn’t mean they have the slightest clue what it’s like for those of us trying to find a life partner in this century.

Everything your grandmother told you was wrong. You don’t scare men away. You scare boys away, (and that’s a good thing). If your expectations really are just to find an equal, then they are perfectly reasonable, and you shouldn’t lower them. Don’t pretend to be less smart or versatile. That’s insane. (Sure, playing dumb can come in handy every once in a while, but it’s not something you do with a man you respect.)

A man who is your equal by definition won’t be preoccupied with “doing better” than you. I think you may be in a mindset where you believe there is a certain tier of men that are your equal, that it’s something you can identify based on a list of skills and accomplishments. That’s your real problem. You’re looking for a guy who looks good on paper.

I get that you’re a box checker. It’s obvious that’s your style, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but try not to define your equal by matching up resumes. That kind of dating profile mathematics is an exercise in pure frustration.


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